Oh, you saw it coming. ;-) There might be a lot of things wrong with Charlie Sheen (DUH), but at least he's got a positive outlook and can spin whatever happens into a win. I'm not so much into the delusional part, but celebrating small victories? That I can get behind.

I had quite the day yesterday. You'd think I'd be used to the emotional self-confrontations, breakdowns, life lessons, etc. but I'm somehow always surprised when 'ow, my hip hurts in this pose' turns into a teary 'blah- blah-blah as a child.' I had a lot to sort through when I got home, and was looking forward to an evening on the sofa finishing up some homework and drinking tea to recover. Unfortunately, as soon as I opened my laptop, my host's disgruntled cat walked into the living room, looked me straight in the eyes, turned it's ass to my duffel bag and peed all over my stuff. {cue meltdown}

While my first inclination was to freak out, I didn't have time for that little luxury. Fortunately, I have some really great friends in Boulder (#WINNING), one of whom has a futon (#WINNING).

I have another job interview today (#WINNING), which puts me one step closer to being able to get my own place (also #WINNING)

I have an amazing community of folks to go through all of this with in my fellow Tillai hOMies, (#WINNING), and an amazing studio full of amazing teachers and incredible classes (#WINNINGx3).

SO, in spite of the fact that my duffel smells like cat pee, I've got plenty of #tigerblood to get me through the setbacks.

Life is full of bumps and challenges, but sometimes, that's the point. The hard times give you an opportunity to come out with a big win. So thanks, Charlie Sheen, for this unexpected wisdom.

Defeat is not an option. It's ON!


if you need some context.... http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/xhdm0r

Nevermind the Grass.

"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are."                                                                                                           -Kurt Cobain

In keeping with my earlier post about naming what we are not in order to get down to who we are, I inadvertently conducted a little experiment. Dissatisfied with my mat, I purchased a new one. Convinced that it would solve all the world's problems, I took it with me to class last night. After slipping all over the place, covering myself in a rubbery smelling funk, and reawakening the excitement that is a latex allergy, I had only solved one problem: my dissatisfaction with my (read: super sticky, super cushy, totally latex-free) mat (of amazement).

Two big lessons here. The first, sometimes you don't know how good you have it. That old adage, the grass is always greener? Well, as per yoga and as per my class last night, the mat is not always stickier. A stickier mat isn't the solution to my asana issues anyway, a stronger set of arms is, and that's on me, not Manduka. Second lesson, you may look across the room and see someone else's mat / practice / etc. and think 'I want that.' But the part you don't see, is what got them there - the history behind their behind, if that's what you're coveting. I've seen plenty of people with the 'new mat' that was to be my savior, but it wasn't really the mat that I wanted, it was the perfect ardha chandrasana. How could I know that the reason they could stand facing their future and supported by their past, in perfect alignment with the present of the pose had nothing to do with the thin layer of rubber beneath their feet? (I'm exaggerating, but you get my point). We all come to our mats from a unique set of experiences that no one else has. What I learned last night was that no matter how much I'd like to do a handstand right now, that's just not where I am and wishing that I could trade places with someone who is there, who can kick right up into some crazy pose, well, a lifetime of work for five breaths upside down? that doesn't exactly seem like a fair trade.

So today, I return the mat-that-would-solve-all-my-problems, and go back to working on my down dog, and myself, one day at a time.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxkdmL3iMCY&w=480&h=390]

I Want to Break Free

There is a pose, I'm not going to say which one because I don't want to let the disfunction of our relationship get blown out of proportion, but there is a pose that I struggle with to no end. Last night, I wanted more than anything to break through whatever it is that is holding me, quite literally, to the ground in this pose, and preventing me from feeling light and strong. I did not break free, but instead I gave in to my frustration, to my basest emotional nature, and hated every minute we spent in the stupid pose. I felt as though I were banging my head against a wall, over and over and over and wondering why my head had started to hurt. I realized that I had two options: I could change my approach, or I could change my expectation.

Interestingly, and not surprisingly, there is a situation off the mat that feels just as heavy. My finances have always been a problem for me, and they quite literally hold me down sometimes. I just bear the burden and trudge through paying my bills, hating the last few days of the month because I know what is coming. I see the parallel between what's going on with me on and off the mat, and I'm hoping, praying, that when one situation resolves, the other will follow suit. That's not to say that as soon as I solve my financial issues I will suddenly find myself in the fullest expression of the pose-that-shall-not-be-named, but that the extra stress and worry that surround it may be alleviated somewhat. And, on the flip side, if one day I find that I can, in fact push up into this oppressive asana, I know that the strength I find there will serve me in other ways as well.

In both scenarios, I have to change how I am doing things. Maybe in the pose I need to activate my core to achieve a better result and with regard to money I need to be clearer about my priorities. Either way, given that I'm not willing to let go of the expectation of success, I need to change my approach if I am going to achieve something greater.

So here's to looking at things differently, getting creative and pressing forward towards success.

Onward + Upward!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM8Ss28zjcE&w=480&h=390]

That's Some Heady Shit, Brah (or: you are a unique snowflake)

It's taken some time for me to process what happened during training yesterday, and while the title of this post is certainly making fun, it is in no way intended to discount the gravity of what we all experienced. A little context for the situation: yesterday was a lecture based session. We learned about the philosophy of flow, we learned about the concept of a guru, and that of a kula (tribe) and that of a guru kula, in which each member of the tribe's gifts start to emerge. Within our kula, on any given day, any one of us could be the teacher depending on the challenge and who's strengths would best meet that challenge.

We learned about our dharma, or our highest alignment of purpose, not our divine purpose (god-given talents) - because you can easily walk away from a gift. But that thing that calls out to your soul, that makes your heart sing, that's your dharma.

We learned the difference between a dual system ( transcendent, classical yoga in which the physical body is a problem to be solved and man is moving through various stages of enlightenment in pursuit of that goal), a non-dual system (essentially what happened in the 60s - it's all LOVE, man!), and a paradoxical (Tantric) system in which this can me this and that. We experienced meditations from each yogic tradition.

When we got to the dual meditation, we went into a manta of neti-neti - translated as 'not this, not that.' After a few minutes of going through what I am not: I am not my job, I am not my parents, I am not a tuna sandwich, I am not a failure, I am not a shoelace, neti-neti, neti-neti, neti-neti.... I began to wonder, what the hell am I???

As I spoke to myself, I began to feel a pressure around my heart, followed by a pressure around my head, alternating, keeping time with my declarations of not-ness, until I realized  - in true Fight Club fashion - I am Catie's Eternal Head / Heart Conflict. Head, heart, head, heart, head, heart. It was hypnotic, until it stopped, for the briefest of moments, and I began to panic. Then, ever so slightly, I felt the pressure return. I felt my heart...and my head begin to pulse together, as if to tell me that I didn't have to choose one or the other, I didn't have to align myself exclusively with my heart or my head, but that on any given day, I am my own guru kula, and at any moment my heart or my head could be my teacher.

As I opened my eyes and came out of my trance, Shannon asked if anyone had experienced anything interesting. Wellllll... uh, define interesting. As I shared my experience, two things happened: my body temperature rose about 5 degrees in as many seconds, and Shannon announced to the class that they had just witnessed someone's entire world view shift. I left class in a daze (and a mild sweat), unable to process exactly what had just happened. I came home, ate dinner, got in bed and passed out. I woke up this morning, pen in hand, and as my words began to give shape to my experience, I saw things so clearly. When we remove all the things that we are not, we are left only with the purest essence of who we are, and we are forced into all of our brilliance, amazement, and beauty, and we cannot help but be successful in doing so. You may not do such a great job of trying to be someone else, or fulfilling the expectations that others have for you, but no one will ever be more successful than you, at being you.

Onward + Inward.