Here’s what I’ve learned over the years – if plans change, if something doesn’t turn out like you expected – good. Expect the unexpected and learn to roll with it. It’s juicy. On Thursday morning I turned up to my yoga class as normal – to find that it wasn’t on. The class had been cancelled last week, and as I hadn’t gone to that class, I didn’t know about it. I considered getting cranky – after all, an email could have been sent, and if I knew I didn’t have to go to yoga I wouldn’t have left the house quite so early, and I wouldn’t be stuck in town wearing my yoga clothes all day. After a couple of seconds I decided not to waste my long, lovely day by being cranky. Another woman had turned up to class as well – I had chatted with her a couple of times, and had thought that I would love to get to know her better. So, I invited her to have a coffee with me at the cafe my friends and I usually go to after yoga class. I didn’t get to do my yoga class, but I did get to make a new friend, who’s funny, kind, interesting – and we talked a lot about yoga, if that counts :). And later on, guess who walked into the cafe? That’s right, my yoga teacher with her mother (also a yoga teacher) and her two children :).
The Goodest, Hardest Look at Yourself by Jennifer Pastiloff at The Manifest-Station
I know, I just love this woman – her writing is superb, she’s a yoga teacher, travels the world and beautiful to boot. Yet, she’s just like us. For 13 years she worked as a waitress in the same restaurant. Feeling like a failure, not writing, having a half arsed go at life. And then she had a good, hard look at herself. Things changed, as they do. I know this story you see – I worked in a supermarket for four years after I left school, hating myself for being stuck in this job, but not knowing how to leave it. I can’t describe how soul destroying those years were. And you know, things changed for me too. I took my own life in my own goddamn hands and steered it in a direction where I wanted to go. But the point is, at some stage we all have to have the goodest, hardest look at ourselves.
So I hope that if you are in a place in your life, or a job, where you feel stuck or miserable or like you want to crawl under the table and hide between the customer’s legs and eat the scraps off the floor just so you don’t have to face the world- I implore you to do something. I don’t know what that something is. Maybe it’s writing. Maybe it’s taking the goodest, hardest look at yourself you ever did take. Maybe it’s asking some uncomfortable questions and waiting for the answers. I don’t know. I did those things.
I came across this wonderful poem the other day from Diana on A Holistic Journey:
st r u gg ling artist
so i decided
i am more than the answer to "what's for dinner?"
the unrelenting pile of dishes
i am more than the name i changed at the altar,
and the ways i fail Husband
i am more than the boy i nursed 'til i was spent
and would give up my only breath for, more
than the worry over the
mishaps that visit children
caught. i feel caught between
the rock of guilt and the hard place of time
as i push push my way through this beautiful life i don't deserve
for a chance to paint the helpless run of words
en route to errands i pop in an audio - Pooh's tales,
then settle back for the story that wants to tell in my head
and catch it on paper when i park the car
i race, i snatch and just the same watch
the minutes fall
i am more than the faith that rose from my dead life
because we are more than spirit but too, flesh and mind,
borne of the Living Word that justifies our reply
what does it say of me as Wife and Mother, my grateful honor --
but that i am happiest
(clap hand over mouth)
when my dreams find their light in the words
that come together, sometimes soldiers
in sharp line or ballerinas
in fluid form?
i realize it is never a burden, a fresh joy each time
i am the song of history and hope
(except the Greatest Women past and present have denied themselves)
through the fatigue i wear in my bones, i delight through
the hard, hard way to get it down just so
so u can s e e the art and grace in the world that thrill me
i know the prince and the pauper are apportioned the same
hours but my time feels rationed
pl e a se, let me finish this thought, but
-- the but --
incommodius conjunction, dissolution
of my right to self
i am more than the Kitchen i have loved but it needs taming
because i am Wife and Mother and there i go to
the unrelenting pile of dishes i am
Doesn’t it just slay you?
I saw this the other day, and I wanted to share it with you:
This picture is part of a size doesn’t matter yoga movement, challenging the yoga images we see every day of thin, bendy girls doing impossible things. Chances are, you don’t look like that, you can’t do those things, and neither can I. Guess what? It’s okay, more than okay actually. If you’re on the mat, practicing yoga, you rock. By the way, isn’t her standing forward bend fabulous? If you click on this image, the link will take you to her facebook page. Check out the one where she’s doing Hanumanasana – the monkey pose. Awesome.
I received a highly amusing tumblr message the other day asking “if you do so much yoga, shouldn’t your extra weight be melting off?” While my knee jerk reaction to this query was somewhere between ‘jaw scraping the ground’ and ‘angry white woman with an incorrect Starbucks order’, I’ll try to manage a response that avoids both of those extremes. So….here’s the thing- Yoga is not a weight-loss magical solution. Practicing frequently is not the solo key to massive weight loss. For the record, I have actually lost a substantial amount of weight since I began practicing regularly- it came off very gradually, and I’ve experienced more toning, strength conditioning, and muscle definition than anything else. However, it’s kind of impossible to lose weight (IN A HEALTHY WAY) without regulating your diet to some extent. And therein lies the key difference- I don’t regulate my diet. I mean, I definitely actively avoid “non-food”- sodas, most snack-y processed foods. But if I feel like eating a bacon wrapped @KrispyKreme doughnut, I’m going to eat it. Because… (pause for dramatic effect) I DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT. It’s not important to me. Being thin is not one of my life priorities. I don’t think it will make me a funnier, smarter, more interesting creature. My practice fulfills me in a way losing weight never has- and THAT’S why I do it. So if you’re out there thinking “Damn, how does that fat girl keep the pounds on when she maintains a regular #yoga practice?”- now you have your answer. Because I like being fat. Case closed.
Now, this isn’t particularly new – but hey, that’s why the heading says Best Music rather than Best New Music, right? If you’re Australian, you might be familiar with these guys, but if you’re from anywhere else, you probably won’t be. Here’s the thing: you should be familiar with them, because this is one awesome album.
Thomas Busby and Jeremy Marou are the duo behind Busby Marou. This is their first album, released in 2011. Their second album, Leaving Fitzroy was released in 2012. They are both from Rockhampton in northern Queensland – Jeremy Marou has Torres Strait island heritage and both performers come from musical families. They have won several awards, including an APRA award for Best Blues and Roots Work.
This is the second song off this album, and their hit single, Biding my Time:
Emma Watson (from Harry Potter fame) is the UN Women’s Global Goodwill Ambassador, and is speaking here to the UN about gender inequality and the HeForShe campaign. It’s a beautiful speech, but what I really liked about it was how it showed the evolution of the feminist movement into a gender movement. Emma says:
How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcomed to participate in the conversation? Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation.
Gender equality is your issue too. Because to date I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s. I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them less of a men or less of a man. In fact, in the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 – 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.
We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.
I want men to take up this mantel so that their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too, reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.
This is real, 21st century feminism, because it’s not just about women. Men are suffering too.
That’s it from me, my friends – have a beautiful weekend.