Wednesday, February 28, 2007

And the journey begins.

Holy..... Ohmygod, I'm going to Hawai'i. HAWAI'I!!!!!!!!! I was emailed Tuesday, February 27, 2007, that I've been accepted for teacher training. Holy, holy, holy.....!!!!!! Is this real? *pinches self, blinks really hard* But please God, I hope this is real!!!! 'Coz if it is, I'm totally committed; I've been hoping and praying for this, well, it's coming soon, and I hope I'll succeed in it. And this is only the start; hopefully there will be more to follow. Ayurveda, Jivamukti, Iyengar, who knows? Once there, I have to attend class here to prepare myself. Hopefully it won't be so expensive. Mapquest, I truly, truly love you. Thank you, H, for introducing the wonders of Mapquest.

To adjust to the timezone, I have to arrive in Hawai'i a bit earlier, hence the need to book a place. This will be my first time to book with an agent online, so I'm a bit cautious (she said skeptical). Thinking about getting travel insurance, but $$$, so maybe not. Hopefully, it'll be ok.

Training was moved from Los Angeles, though, where it would've been cheaper, and I could've seen as well as other veganfreaks from that part of town, stayed with my aunt in San Diego while adjusting to the timezone, possibly have my childhood nanny fly in from Vancouver, but no. Ah well, I'm hoping the facilities in Hawai'i will be cleaner, the place more pedestrian-friendly and the experience totally fulfilling. Let go, let go. This early on in the game, I already worry about my overabundant hair growth, what to bring and what to leave behind, and how to memorize the dialogue (when it arrives, which it hasn't: Saint Anthony, let it come to me safe and sound!), and I know I should let go. I can try. Those are also all for the future: I should focus on what I can do now, which is to have enough strength and stamina, be relatively free from injury, and have well-aligned asanas. Also, to read the journal. Then maybe make my own, hmm?

On a slightly different tangent, in relation to ahimsa, go watch A Peaceable Kingdom, if you need that last push to go vegan, or are even considering going vegan.

Go, go, go.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Love Revisited

I got this song from this movie. It's entitled "Way Back Into Love":

I've been living with a shadow overhead
I've been sleeping with a cloud above my bed
I've been lonely for so long
Trapped in the past, I just can't seem to move on

I've been hiding all my hopes and dreams away
Just in case I ever need 'em again someday
I've been setting aside time
To clear a little space in the corners of my mind

All I want to do is find a way back into love
I can't make it through without a way back into love
Oh oh oh

I've been watching but the stars refuse to shine
I've been searching but I just don't see the signs
I know that it's out there
There's got to be something for my soul somewhere

I've been looking for someone to shed some light
Not somebody just to get me through the night
I could use some direction
And I'm open to your suggestions

All I want to do is find a way back into love
I can't make it through without a way back into love
(Bridge:) And if I open my heart again
I guess I'm hoping you'll be there for me in the end

There are moments when I don't know if it's real
Or if anybody feels the way I feel
I need inspiration
Not just another negotiation

All I want to do is find a way back into love
I can't make it through without a way back into love
(Bridge 2:) And if I open my heart to you
I'm hoping you'll show me what to do
And if you help me to start again
You know that I'll be there for you in the end

Speaking of movies, there's a movie with a strong animal rights-empowerment message. Go watch it!

And I've finished my 30-day challenge (albeit with a pulled left hamstring and doing doubles once a week to replace my absence on Sundays, but YES, I DID IT!), I've submitted for (God-willing!) the Next Big Step in my life. It'll be held here, but while I merrily traipse around before The Big Event (note to self: replace with "chapter 22" at end to finish), I think I might stay here (as I'm told it's cheaper) though I'd prefer this (as I think this is even cheaper), but IT'S FULLY BOOKED, so distance-wise, this looks to be the best bet, though this, on the other hand, seems cheaper and safer, while still being close enough. Ah yes: for directions, Mapquest is truly my best friend, while for reviews, Trip Advisor is it.

But I'm straying. The song above has been on loop in my head since I watched the movie. As cheesy as it looks, I found it to be a truly enjoyable movie. Really. That song, to me, encapsulated the movie's message. And as much as the movie screamed budget flick, I liked the message it conveyed. After all, sometimes, it is these so-called budget flicks that prove to be the diamonds in the rough, so to speak. In this case, I loved the movie's message-in-the-song: To find a way back into love. And love not necessarily in a platonic sense, but love for self, confidence in oneself--enough to take risks, get out of one's shell, take that leap, and GROW.

Love is not what Candace Shapiro in "Good in Bed" said:

"Love," I said, "is the rug they pull out from under you. Love is Lucy always lifting the football at the last second so that Charlie Brown falls on his ass. Love is something that every time you believe in it, it goes away. Love is for suckers, and I'm not going to be a sucker ever again." When I closed my eyes, I could see myself as I was, lying on the bathroom floor, highlights in my hair and makeup on my face, the expensive shoes and fancy clothes and diamond earrings that couldn't keep me safe, couldn't keep the wolf from my door.

"I want a house with hardwood floors," I said, and I don't want anyone else to come inside."
He was touching my hair, saying something. "Cannie," he repeated.
I opened my eyes.
"It doesn't have to be that way."

And I agree with Dr. K: it doesn't have to be that way. Love can be found in many ways, can be found in the everyday, in other beings, such as:

1. good music (be it pop, opera, new age...)
2. organic, (no-preservatives/HFCS/hydrogenated fats) crunchy peanut/soy nut butter and tahini
3. practicing yoga
4. companion animals
5. (early) morning stillness
6. almond essence and cinnamon--the taste and smell of both!
7. blogging and contemplating
8. naps
9. the scent of rain hitting the earth
10. the sound and feel of palms swaying in the breeze
11. the feel and sound of crunchy leaves
12. chili and ginger--the latter especially beneficial to the body
13. finding vibrant colored clothes of good material and fit
14. chamomile, chai (cinnamon with cloves), peppermint and/or rooibos tea
15. tofu and soymilk!
16. edible mushrooms
17. singing/dancing whenever I feel like it
18. sago
19. good books, of whatever genre
20. the sea breeze on my face and grainy sand on my toes

Love is going to the cemetery with my grandma to visit her parents, lighting the candles under the bench because the wind is all around us,
then finding the most ginormous pile of dead, crunchy (oh joy!) leaves, right there to jump into and stomp around in, and
love can be twisted enough to find Aunt Flo visiting on Valentine's Day. A red day, indeed.

Love manifests itself in many ways. It is in us, around us. The above excerpt really just made me ache for Cannie, so much so that even as it ended on a note of hope, I still felt so torn up and maudlin and angsty. It made me think of the past, my past, my regrets, the could-haves and would-haves...but weirdly, I didn't see D there at all. That was a shock. I have no idea what that means, though N may be right in that D was my "token" for my yearning for my past, where it's safe and familiar, where choices don't have to be made yet. But again, the past can stifle. After all, love is also about taking that leap of faith--trusting in myself, in the cosmos, that all will be well.

And indeed, I have taken that leap--for yoga, for myself, for my fragile future. And if I fall short, well, love gives us strength enough to get up and take another leap, another path somewhere else.

But of course, I hope there is enough love, enough faith, to make me reach my goal, reach that outlying star. As the song goes, "if I open my heart again, I guess I'm hoping you'll be there for me in the end."

Indeed, indeed.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Extraordinary from the Ordinary

It came from something as simple as printing forms. Seriously. Thing is, previously, I would not have even dreamt of printing them out--12 full-colored pages, plus some black and whites, some with a background, some without--26 pages all in all, give or take. I had previously been worrying from what Internet café I could print them, and how much they would cost, but yesterday, I don't know what possessed me to just take that leap, to hell with what happens, but to just do it.

I crossed my fingers, but at the same time was ready to print the rest at an Internet café in case the printer ran out of ink, as prior to printing, it had already been flashing the notice "Black Ink Low; Color Ink Low" (hence the dilemma). But wonder of wonders, all forms printed safely. As mundane as this sounds, it kinda told me not to fear but to step forward and take that leap. This is kinda reminiscent of what my friend N told me when I griped to her about failing: "So what if you fail? It's a part of life; you just pick yourself up and do something else." And indeed, my whole life is riddled with gripes on what-ifs; now to let go of that and fully commit in the present moment. Whatever fears I have, let them go. If I fail, I can always get back up again. I should remember this.

Speaking of my friend N, in one of our recent conversations, we talked about *the past*, and last Sunday, I saw this article. In relation to the gospel last Sunday, where the presiding priest exhorted us to let God speak through us, perhaps this is God's way of telling me to just drop *the past*. Like a hot potato.

If only it were that easyAmen.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Yoga + Peanut Butter = Bliss

Hatha yoga isn't just a physically-beneficial exercise; as I've always maintained, it's also a mentally and spiritually calming one, as well.

And there are no diets involved, so I've lately been indulging in a perennial love: peanut butter! When I mention this to Europeans, they seldom are enthusiastic; teacher F had asked us after class to show him "Filipino passion," and my friend S listed shopping and eating, then I turned to F, grinned and said, "I have a passion for peanut butter." And he gave me the oddest look, hahahahah!!! Thinking about it still gives me a smile ;)

There are two kinds: creamy and chunky. I personally prefer chunky. Polls have shown that folks from the East Coast prefer creamy, while those from the West prefer chunky. Also, women and children prefer creamy, while men generally prefer chunky. PLUS! It doesn't necessarily follow that chunky peanut butter is peanut butter ground less; there are actually more peanuts thrown in! See for yourself.

I just had peanut butter, on a banana. Potassium, tryptophan and protein: the best combination. But man, am I stuffed. I think I'll stop now, and practice Dandayamana Janushirasana later as I told teacher F I'd do, whoops, plus Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimottanasana because my hamstrings are tight and I was told I hyperextend.

As the Nike slogan goes, "Just do it." And indeed, as teacher F tells us always, "Don't try; just do it!" similar to what Yoda told young Luke: "Do or do not. There is no try." Indeed.

Now for some inspiration, by Ida Ripley.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Focus, let go, achieve.

Yesterday saw me in front of Apples Aberin-Sadhwani again, from last Thursday, along with the likes of Rhett Eala, Vivian Velez and Vicki Belo. It was her [Apples'] first time to practice Bikram yoga last Thursday, and I still remember first finding out I was to be in front of her, then feeling horrified, intimidated, envious, apprehensive, and generally uncomfortable. I usually feel this way with celebrities--I dunno, maybe 'coz they're on television, for goodness' sake, hence usually with perfect bodies, and gorgeously fake faces. And being in front of Apples, being her "guide for the day" as teacher F put it, didn't help any. But I breathed it away--or tried my best to(!), reminding myself to focus on my own practice, that she's human, after all. Well yesterday, she came to class again, and placed herself behind me *again*, telling me "because you're good, eh." Of course I demurred, but still, I was pleased by that compliment. Being a celebrity doesn't make them any less mortal, as it doesn't make us ordinary lay people any less special. And in realizing this, I've come to see they're not so different from you or me. I have to remember that.

As much as I had previously mentioned aparigraha, I would like to relate to this concept again, as well as on a checklist to check consumerism:

-do I have enough money [for it]?
-do I have enough room [for it]?
-do I truly want it?
-do I have time to care for it?
-will I really use it?

Bottom line I guess is, is it truly necessary? I relate this to my fetish with depilatory services. I have a *huge* fascination with hair, especially removing it (though I do not exactly relish removing my Mom's white hair, but that's not the point), and as I am mentally going over things I need to get done before leaving, God -willing, in April, I thought about hair removal--the parts where I have hair removed, and if doing so is truly necessary. And I know it's really vanity more than anything else. Time for aparigraha to come in.

Maybe it's nearing my time of the month, or whatever, but I have also been, just barely, resisting the urge to snap at our driver--for his lack of knowledge of the lay of the metropolis, his laziness, his heavy foot on the clutch, his smart-aleck replies, and so on. Still, having violent thoughts is still promoting violence. I need to let go, relax, practice ahimsa, for really: violence is needless and spawns more of it, so why continue the cycle?

Again, I have much to learn. Namaste.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Be Yoga. Do Yoga.

...when she [Tara Guber] asked a public elementary school in Aspen, Colo., to teach yoga in 2002, Christian fundamentalists and even some secular parents lobbied the school board. They argued that yoga's Hindu roots conflicted with Christian teachings and that using it in school might violate the separation of church and state...

Outrageously arcane? Surprisingly true. See the full article here.


It's day 16 of my 30-day challenge, and I think I'm going strong. Trying to do the poses as best as I can, taking criticism as positively as possible, too--and I'm told I'm improving (if I look really hard at certain angles, and fine, stretch my spine and suck my stomach in, my ribs peek out), so woot! :) Now to improve some more. One thing that plagues me, though, is whether using lotion impedes my practice or not. Ah crap. I have yet to find out.

This is building up for April. So I've been scouting for places to stay in, with Craigslist and Mapquest. Plus I don't even know what to do or where to go in LA, though I'd love to learn. As of now, however, I'm still unsure of how to proceed, let alone if I even get accepted, but I'm hoping to hurdle that when I get there.

I've recently been jonesing for something sweet, and I must admit I was thinking of a chilled, sweet tea in the middle of yoga class today, eek (Chitta Vritti begone!). I finished my beloved agave nectar awhile back, but we have maple syrup, so that'll do: Hello, hips and tummy. Despite this, I've been told I've lost weight, and been subsequently asked if I diet, but as can be seen, I obviously don't! As my grandma said, "You do eat a lot--just all vegetables."But seriously, what's so deprived about maple syrup, bananas, peanut butter, especially from this store???? They're all scrumptiously vegan. Oh, and don't forget potable water. Thank God for that.

I've also recently been buying stuff--Kathy Phillips' book, the Jivamukti bible, Michael Ende's famous book, even a Lululemon Power Y top (on sale!) in a lustrous red-violet shade and my first Shiva Rea DVD (still looking for her music, though), among other things. A lot of stores have been going on sale, so it's so fun to go around, but at the end of the day, I sadly ask myself if I really needed to buy, period (hello, aparigraha?). However, I know I was told that a decision should be stuck to, so I try to do that, anyway. Besides, I think I made wise purchases (and I really love that Power Y top, anyhow!), but's money! Ack. Plus my cousin's been pushing to go to Hong Kong. I think if I'm firm I can continue practicing Bikram yoga, plus I want to check out a store there, but still: $$$. Accccck.

Yesterday, among the stuff Mom and Dad gave me was a Celine top (and a gorgeous vegan denim Braccialini bag!, which is obviously not an issue). But it was cream/buttermilk-colored. And I hate that color as I just find it, and revealing, but in the wrong places. At first I didn't like the top, and told Mom so, but after some thought, I realized it's a lesson in opening myself to new experiences, in this case, to dispel my prejudices about certain colors. I confess to still having a difficult time about it, but as my good friend N put it, "You have to open yourself up to new possibilities, otherwise, you will stagnate, and you don't want that, do you?" Indeed I don't, hence I will try not to. I am now wearing the aforementioned top, and finding it's not so bad.

I still have much to learn, and surprise, it's okay.

Note to self: Now stop editing, dammit.