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30 Days of “A Year of Living Your Yoga” — Day 13: You’re Awesome! Share It!

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Welcome to Day 13 of my blog series based on Judith Hansen-Lasater’s “A Year of Living Your Yoga.” While the book has 365 quotes, I picked only 30.

My goal is to stay close to 500 words excluding the quote.

Ready? …

October 3 — We bring the world our goodness. Too often, we focus on our faults and shortcomings. Today, remember that you can offer the world your best self.

YEAH! Let’s go!!!!!

“It’s not bragging if you can really do it.” — Babe Ruth

“Find a parade and get in front of it.” — Bill McGowan (founder of now long-dead communications company, MCI)

I prefer the first quote but the second one makes me laugh. It’s not so much that you’re stealing someone else’s thunder, it’s that you’re stealing someone else’s thunder.

Let’s adapt that second quote to allow ourselves to be a part of joy and to create joy as we share ourselves.

So instead of thinking that the cake you made was not as moist as you’d like it to be, give yourself a chest bump because YOU FREAKING MADE A CAKE! And EVERYONE LOVES CAKE!

In terms of yoga: go for it in that triangle pose! Don’t sweat the details, just feel the stretch and the breath and the lengthening and the fact that you’re balancing all your twisted open and bent-sideways body on your two powerfully extended legs and straight feet and one hand instead of grousing about how you wish you could go deeper into the pose — maybe this IS your triangle! Rejoice in it!

Who needs to be another Tara Stiles? The world doesn’t need another Tara Stiles — it’s GOT YOU!

Do you think I’m blowing smoke up your skirt?

I suppose I might be.

GIVE YOURSELF A HIGH FIVE THAT YOU BUSTED ME!

Here’s the thing: no one can make you feel good about you except you. Someone else might be the agent of that feeling, but you make the decision; you’re the one who allows it… You’re the one that says, “I dunno… I’ve been pretty contemplative all day; I’m not sure I’m ready to offer the world my best self… I feel like concentrating on my faults and shortcomings….”

NOT WITH HAIR LIKE THAT! You have awesome hair! NOT TO MENTION THAT SKIRT! DID YOU PICK THAT OUT? WHAT STYLE YOU HAVE!

I think this quote is pretty simple: snap out of it. Stop being such a jerk to yourself. If you’re a mother: HOT DAMN: you birthed those kids. If you’re not a mother, HOT DAMN: you know what you’re made of… (work with me here).

I’m not going to ask you to do this:

But … they work.

One of the comments on the YouTube page said that when he was a kid and watched these affirmations on SNL, he used to think they were hilarious; now that he’s gotten older, he sees them as a necessity.

The world can be a pretty harsh place. So many people project their own self-loathing and insecurities on to other people and it can do some damage. The goal is to become resilient and know that you’re really a pretty amazing person.

Just remember to be good to yourself.

Thank you.

Health: Oil Pulling. I’m Swishing. It’s Bizarre.

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I found this wonderful blog post last week about Oil Pulling written by the amazingly patient Erica Stolling.

What is oil pulling? In a nutshell it’s a multi-thousand-year cleansing ritual with Ayurvedic origins which combines the antibacterial properties of your own saliva and salivary glands with the antimicrobial, anti fungal and anti-inflammatory properties (and other benefits) of unrefined coconut oil to correct numerous health concerns.

Ayurvedic health is: – (ayurveda) (Sanskrit) an ancient medical treatise summarizing the Hindu art of healing and prolonging life; sometimes regarded as a 5th Veda.

Because many toxins posses oil-linking properties, they attach to the oil which is being swished in your mouth for just 20 minutes daily and are excreted when you spit out the oil. The claimed benefits associated with oil pulling are myriad:

  • whiter teeth
  • better sleep
  • healthier gums
  • healthier teeth
  • addresses hormonal imbalances
  • helps with pain
  • helps with psoriasis
  • reduces or eliminates pain from TMJ
  • helps with acne
  • reverses cavities
  • cures / aids a hangover (what?!)
  • aids with migraines
  • reduced allergies or better tolerance

Here’s another blog post about the benefits of oil pulling which does a better job of explaining the hows than I do. I can’t be bothered with details right now; I just want to try it:

What makes oil pulling effective? According to its advocates, swishing the oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes eventually gets bacteria to cling to the oil. When the oil is spit out, so too are the toxins that are harmful to your body.

The reason I did it is because I wanted whiter teeth and healthier gums and let’s face it: I’m beginning my womanly eventide and if this can help balance out the hormones… I am IN.

Erica has entertained numerous repeated questions on her own blog and so I’m going to distill them down to the common denominators:

  • The best time to oil pull is in the morning with a clean palette.
  • DO NOT SWALLOW THE OIL in your mouth. Spit it out.
  • Use between just about a teaspoon to a tablespoon. I’m using a teaspoon. What you put in will double in volume in your mouth because of your saliva.
  • You can use oils other than coconut due to allergies or taste preferences; suggested oils are sesame or almond and sunflower oils.
  • Unrefined coconut oil is the best to use; I bought mine at Costco months ago after my yoga retreat and have been using it for cooking and skin and hair care.
  • Coconut oil will melt to liquid when exposed to temperatures above 78˚f. If you have issues with texture, place it under your tongue and let it melt; I wouldn’t dare expose it to a microwave. You can also run the oil container under warm water to melt it; but I don’t know if that’s good for the oil that’s left over or if it would speed up its aging.
  • If you can’t do 20 minutes, try to do 10 minutes twice a day.
  • 20 minutes is the magic number.
  • RINSE!! Swish more with JUST plain water in your mouth for 10 seconds and spit. Three times, just to get all the residue out.  

Here is the tub of unrefined Coconut oil that I bought at Costco:

it's massive. i think it won't run out until 2020. but it expires in 2015. i better get a move on.

it’s massive. i think it won’t run out until 2020. but it expires in 2015. i better get a move on.

Remembering to swish is hard for me. Yesterday I worked harder to swish and my cheeks tired out; today was easier because I took it easier. Look, anything new and funky will throw you off a bit, so go into it all gradually.

I take a teaspoon. It’s all I can muster. The funny thing is, after the initial intake, it doesn’t feel oily; it’s rather fluid, almost watery.

I find myself fighting a gag reflex; I know I’m not swallowing the oil, but I have to calm myself down a little, center and count a smidge. I know it’s a matter of habituating the experience.

I do it after I have something to eat. Sorry. Maybe once I get more used to this I’ll do it first thing in the morning.

Today is day two. This is is a pic of my teeth today:

my teeth. look only at my teeth. ok... look at my bookshelf. it's like my intellectual medicine cabinet.

my teeth. look only at my teeth. ok… look at my bookshelf. it’s like my intellectual medicine cabinet.

I will also update this as I go along.

So far:

I slept beautifully last night.

My teeth were squeaky clean after I spat it out. I drink coffee or tea every day, so this is impressive already.

I spat it into a baggie. Then I trashed the baggie. To be more environmentally conscious, I will try to spit it directly into the trash next time… baby steps.

I didn’t have any yucky feeling or taste in my mouth afterward.

I hope it helps my teeth; my parents had teeth trouble, but a lot of that could be chalked up to lifestyle.

I’m in. I’ll update this every once in a while after the first week.

(Day 3: it’s getting less gross-seeming; it’s definitely a psychological hump to overcome.)

If you do this, tell me how you’re doing! Ask me any questions!

Thank you.

Ps — here’s a nice post about the benefits of coconut oil… on Dr. Oz’s website. 

Here’s another great post: http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/

Just in case you’re stuck in carpool and want to read 333 reasons why coconut oil is beneficial: http://www.endalldisease.com/333-uses-for-coconut-oil/

Here’s another post, The Edible Beauty Routine” written by the lovely and dazzling Lillian Connelly: http://www.makesfunofstuff.com/2012/10/coconut-oil-the-edible-beauty-routine/

30 Days of Wisdom — Day 1: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Oft-Misquoted Line about Permission

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Hiya! Welcome to 2014!

I am embarking on a new series today. I’m thinking that soon I’m going to commit to a plan (isn’t that conveniently vague?) for the whole year to write a series per month — I need to write something every day that is public so I can write more that is private. That doesn’t sound very sensical, but it makes sense if you’re avoiding working on a memoir.

Here is today’s quote:

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt, This is My Story
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I’m glad to have this cleared up. For years, I operated under the presumption that the quote was “No one can take advantage of you without your permission” which is an important concept, but it’s nothing like what Roosevelt actually said.

Inferiority. That’s deep. It taps the nerves of Brené Brown’s stuff I covered last month and I guess, judging by the way my body is reacting right now as I type, it really still hits my nerves, despite my insistence that I do my best to not feel inferior. What is the opposite of inferior? Superior. I don’t think that’s where I’m wanting to go either because both of those self-concepts are sort of delusional.

Which is better: A superiority complex or an inferiority complex? Both of them can lead to personal disaster: depression, addiction, self-harm, isolation. Feelings of inferiority stem from deep stuff that didn’t come from nowhere; the problems arise when those feelings go unchecked.

Feelings of inferiority in all people are created by other people. People who tell other people they are no good; that they are failures; that they will always be failures. Those feelings also come from nothing being said at all: being ignored, being cast aside, being emotionally abandoned or discarded in preference for something else. Those feelings of inferiority are so unbearable by the projector of those feelings that they have to be spewed upon someone, anyone, with a pulse.

Roosevelt is expressing the confident notion that we can reject these feelings; that we can refuse to take another person’s crap just because they’re leaking self-loathing and they want the company.

An adequacy complex seems to be the best route: to be enough, but make it run on a law of averages: that sometimes we are amazingly adept and other times we fall spectacularly short. This to me is more like life. The trick is to not let those highs and lows so get to us that we lose our perspective of the importance of the notion.

I just saw “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” while in Buffalo visiting family. It was a “B” movie’s take on an “A+” short story by James Thurber. While Ben Stiller brilliantly endowed it with breathtaking cinematography and he captured the spirit of Mitty’s fantasies. I’ve always loved Walter Mitty; his is a caricature of all our less-than moments and the escapism we all concoct in order to deal with it all.

Whatever way you’ve grown familiar with Roosevelt’s quote (inferiority or being taken advantage of), it’s safe to say it’s a very popular quote with the self-improvement and self-help set. “Be your own person and reject the silly notions of others” is what it’s all about. It’s also (to me) rife with controversy though and here I go stepping into it on a very controversial topic: victimhood. Who hates the notion of victimhood more than the perpetrator (who would rather think s/he has done nothing wrong)? The victim. It’s all about righteously rejecting feelings of being taken advantage of or being led down a path that is not yours, which is more in line with how I’d continuously mistaken the quote. I’m about to reference a blog post that confuses me; my friend posted it on her Facebook wall and it’s title immediately offended me, which probably led me to dislike it right off the bat:

“14 Fucks I refuse to Give in 2014.”

I am uncomfortable sharing it because I have a Big Thing about swearing just for shocks. People can be just as influential and thoughtful without abusing other people with their vitriol and the referenced post just makes me think that the writer is desperately fighting her own self-imposed inferiority complex by being crass and what I consider to be unnecessarily ugly just to get her point across. It’s like “I LOVE ME, BUT I’M NOT ENTIRELY COMFORTABLE WITH THE CONCEPT, NOR AM I GOING TO BE NICE ABOUT IT.” I have suspected since reading it that the writer is much younger than I am. So that makes her about 90. I’m interested in hearing what you think of her post.

Back to me and Roosevelt: When I was in my raging 20s I was literally on a tear to be no one’s bitch. Being no one’s bitch meant that I was hell-bent to make other people my bitch without ever really wanting them around any way. I would be snarky and sarcastic and incredibly assholic. I was angry. Like most adolescents (even though I was deeply in by this point, but I was delayed) I grew up in a world that was becoming clearer to me day by day that it was completely upside-down. I hated the feeling of my parents’ unwillingness or more perhaps inability to change the circumstances of our lives. My crusade wasn’t about desperation, it was about feeling trapped in a crazy screwed-up world of denial and abdication.

So to differentiate myself, I grew fangs and horns and refused (from what I can see now in retrospect) to be defineable. I became not sullen and deep, but comical, flip, glib and really pissed. On the good side, I earned a high school “most likely to …” out of it, we called them Senior Superlatives. I earned “wittiest,” a moniker which I wear proudly to this day. On the less-good side, I was incredibly needy and available to anyone who would give me the time of day. Angry, self-destructive, sarcastic, manipulatable, an emotional push-over and deluded is no way to go through life.

So that was my personal interpretation of that world — here’s the reality though: no one actually tried to make me feel inferior. It was all my reactivity; it was all my doing. I made myself inferior without my own consent. I subjected myself to personalities and situations which were detrimental but familiar. Eventually, I figured it out, but it took finding a mate who wouldn’t exploit me, and creating a family that I could be proud of and focus my energies on first.

In the meantime, I let myself be a doormat and felt like crap about any decision I made. I was full of doubt, even though I possessed the intellect and energy to move beyond it all.

Do you do that? Do you pile crap on to yourself when no one has even suggested it? Do you take responsibility for a thunderstorm on a picnic that was planned? Are you Zeus? Do you summon the cold fronts? Are you a meteorologist? Do you say, “Sorry!” if a movie you picked out (which you’d never seen) sucked? Did you direct it? Did you star in it? Did you threaten people if they didn’t go with you? Do you wear other peoples’ shame without being asked to? What if you are asked to? Do you wear it?

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This is the kind of inferiority that Roosevelt is speaking of as well — not just the crap that other people try to foist on to us, but the crap we foist on to ourselves without others even knowing.

Hey! That’s MY CRAP! What are you doing taking it on?! No one takes MY CRAP without MY permission. That’s what the world needs more of.

The creepy underbelly of this inferiority stuff, this taking it on, this stuff we SWEAR we don’t want any part of at all is …. drumroll….

Narcissism.

Do you know how close that behavior is to narcissism? It’s a hair’s breadth away from martyrdom, which is just another form of manipulation and making other people feel as though they are inferior, which then creates more isolation… It’s a slippery slope. I wonder, if Roosevelt’s quote were expanded upon (and I’ll look for the book) there might be more to this line than presented.

The thing is: everyone’s in this freakin’ battle all the time. We all have moments of doubt, moments when we need to eat our fears and poop them out and flush them so they can be recycled into freedom.

Share your moments with me. Let’s beat the crap out of inferiority complexes. We can do this. I know we can.

Thank you.

30 Days of Brené Brown — Day 31: The Index

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Happy New Year’s Eve!

I report to you from the snowy shores of Buffalo, NY, where my boys and I are visiting my cousin and her team.

By the time you get this, I’m back on the road to my home with Mr. GrassOil and The Murph. Here is the index for all the quotes and posts in this 30-Day journey of self-awareness, the gifts of imperfection, embracing our vulnerability and learning to trust ourselves and more importantly, our people.

I want to thank everyone for joining this adventure. Not just of the blog series, which brought in some readers who are new to me, but also to everyone who has supported me on this entire blog adventure. Also, if this post is all wonky, it’s because I’m trying to do it on a tablet using the web-based thingamabob and the paragraph spacing is a nightmare. If a quote is in red, that’s the link.

. . . .

The internet is a silly thing. We take a risk by sharing our photos, our thoughts, our dreams and our goals. People think I am brave. I suppose I am. But I am chicken guano compared to some people our there who really take chances and reveal themselves to the work on this most unpredictable of mediums. While I believe in bravery, I also believe in caution.

Getting me to THIS POINT, “publicly” is big for me. But I also stand by everything I present, at least at the time I’m presenting it.

Right?!

I just returned from seeing “The Life of Walter Mitty” and I loved it although I will say that my cousin and I agreed that it fell short in some places. No pun against Ben Stiller who isn’t very tall. The takeaway is that we are here to live. No matter how shitty we think life is, we’re here to live it and take risks and jump. Seems trite, but it’s a nice message. A great quote in it from the storied face of Sean Penn is, “Beautiful things don’t ask for our attention.” Or something like that. I liked that line.

I’m going to try to keep things active here. This trip without my husband, has created appreciation for my own parents and the act, feat, and gamble of parenting itself. It’s a lot of work and we make mistakes all the time. Maybe I will write 30 days of parenting. Maybe I will post photos. Maybe I will share a video I like. I don’t know, but I do know that being active helps me get to know me.

ok. if there are errors in the formatting, it means i’ve allowed myself some imperfection here and i’m not going to sweat it, despite the fact that it really bugs me.

if i can’t let this slide, then all my embracing of this Brené Brown stuff is smoke and mirrors. if you think my pressing on is taking the easy way out by not correcting the formatting. you’re quite wrong. it’s not easier. not by a long shot.

So thanks, I really mean it. It’s been a very huge year for me personally.

Let’s do this.

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tags: faith

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12/27: my title: “I feel like a football player on a hockey rink” for the quote: “Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” ― Brené Brown

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12/28: I skipped a quote entirely from #27 (because it was department of redundancy department and my being off by one day was giving me a tic) and went straight to: “We’re a nation hungry for more joy: Because we’re starving from a lack of gratitude.” ― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

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12/30: “To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.” ― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
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. . . .

Thanks, everyone!