Saying “Yes” to NO in order to say “Yes”

One of my teachers once said, “By saying NO to something, we are inherently saying YES to another.” I’ve been around people who have this Just say YES mentality. In fact, if I had said NO…they got pissed. So, maybe I didn’t want to try THAT particular meditation. Or so what if I’m not into cars?

My sentiments EXACTLY.

My sentiments EXACTLY.

Maybe, by saying NO to things, I’m creating space for something else. Is there an area in your life where You need to say NO?? If you say NO, you’re lying. Well, probably. In fact, I’ll say you are definitely lying–just so I feel better about this post.

Ahem.

Anyone who knows me (or has read my blog) knows that I have been struggling with depression for the majority of my life. (Please, don’t give sympathetic comments…that’s NOT why I’m stating this.) And, most of you know that I’ve been working extra super stupidly hard on my life–essentially trying to feel good about living. This determination led me to yoga…which led me to therapy…which led me on a heart wrenching, embarrassing and joyful journey. Throw in any pair of opposites and I’ve experienced that too.

Eventually, about two years into this, I found myself in a place where things were going well. I was feeling full just by living. But…if things were going well on the inside. Let’s get real…life doesn’t cater on silver platters. (Usually, it’s some sort of dish composed of turds and twigs one moment, and golden tigerlilies the next.)

Everything was unfolding as I had worked hard for it…except for one area.

No, really...everything's perfect.

No, really…everything’s perfect.

Not that I wasn’t working hard…Actually, I was working hard. Working hard at suffering and bottling emotions up. Working hard at forgoing my own needs for that of another. Working hard at lying to myself; if I just give a little more, this will turn out how I want it to. Working hard at lying to my friends and family; Things are going GREAT!! *Smiley face* *wink* *giggle*

There came a tipping point. I needed out. And finally, I was able to get out. I said NO to the person in my life I cared most about.

When he finally was gone, I cried. I wandered around my apartment looking at how EMPTY it was. I could barely fill up a third of the space in my home…what the fuck?

A couple days later, there was a shift. I became happy. Really happy. No, seriously. I mean, for the first time in my life, I wasn’t depressed. I didn’t realize it was even possible. I wanted hugs (which is a big fucking deal if you know me) When I was with my friends, I just wanted to hug them and tell them how much I love them. I thought my heart was going to burst open. Where did this abundance of love and joy come from?? My only conclusion is that it was there the whole time…lurking beneath the dank and dark layers of childhood, personality and giving up my power to someone else.

So, saying NO can literally create a space to say Yes. Yes to love. Yes to tenderness. Yes to joy. Yes to life.

I finally figured out how and why I want to teach yoga.

What do you think...is he or isn't he making a personal connection with himself through yoga?

I am learning many, many things on my “journey” to be a yoga teacher.  When I finally decided to take the training, I told my sister first.  It made sense because she was already a yoga teacher.  She asked me, “Julie, why do you want to teach yoga instead of finishing up college?”  And I did what any other regular human would do…

I lied.  Well, sort of.

I stated that I had grown so much as a person through yoga, and that I wanted to help others do the same.  (I just wanted this to be the truth.)

What I really should’ve said, is this:

School isn’t working out for me, and…I want to believe that yoga has helped me transform into a better person–I hear it can be done…maybe if I teach it, that would speed up the process?  Plus, isn’t it SO AWESOME to be a teacher?  It is very glamorous: people love you and look up to you!

Here is the truth now:  I really do believe yoga can help to improve–kind of.  I think whatever you put into the practice is what you’ll get out of it.  I want to help people find that meaningful connection; to use the practice effectively for personal growth.  Yoga hasn’t transformed me…in fact, I’ve only recently been able to use the practice for my own growth since I’ve started therapy.  Through counseling, I’ve figured out what yogis mean when they say, “Turn your gaze inward, that’s where the answers are…not outside of us.” 

I mean, when I would turn my gaze “inward” I really was in my own head…only I was judging and comparing myself to others or to what I thought I should be doing.  And that pattern of thinking isn’t helping me out any…I was  just doing what I ALWAYS did, but this time it was on my yoga mat inside a studio. 

So, now that I’ve been gazing inward effectively, here is something I’ve discovered:  I really do want to facilitate others find their OWN connection through yoga. 

With this realization…a couple others follow naturally.

One, is the understanding that with wanting to help people find their own connection working at a studio severely limits the type of people I can reach.  So, it is now less important for me to teach at a studio.  I can reach a more diverse crowd of people through other means…like people who are too intimidated to enter the studio because it seems so serious and spiritual and they have no idea what they’re doing.  (And rightfully so.  I’m pretty sure I covered this aspect of a studio in my previous entry, “Namas-uck-my-dick-te.”)

Two, is that although teaching at a studio is less important, I still want to do it.  Yes, I will jump through their hoops…(which sometimes seem never ending), only I will do it on my own time now.  Stay tuned, because this part will make for a fascinatingly entertaining blog on its own…(as it is filled with DRAMA!  EGO!  REALLY BAD JOKES!  and OTHER THINGS THAT MAKE  YOU GO “GAASSSPP!”) 

So, I hope to see you all around…especially when I’m teaching!

…or as the wonderful site stats on this blog.  I can tell how many people a day read this stuff! 

Thank you.  And namasuckmydickte!  (biiiiiiitch)  I’m talking about the dog.

Namas-uck-my-dick-te

There have been and still are, in fact, plenty of people who think they know what’s best for me and my growth (and yours as well).  When I was a child, this sort of bossiness was okay.  I mean, I couldn’t really understand how eating peas was good for me…they tasted so nasty!   Bathing merely served to take away from play time, which when you’re 6-years-old is pretty important.  (Yeah, I was one of those kids who hated taking a bath.)  And it’s really hard to follow directions in class if you were talking the whole time.

Fast forward to present day.

I started regularly practicing yoga when I was about twenty-five.  Initially, I began because I wanted to look good.  Go ahead and judge away if that’s your thing…but don’t pretend that if that’s not why you started practicing, that you don’t care that you’ve lost ten pounds or look ten times better in booty shorts than before.  (We’re only people.)  After awhile, I had a feeling that there was something more to this yoga thing, and, as it turns out…I was right. 

I had never considered myself spiritual…and actually hated the concept.   Rightfully so, I might add.  In every religious constitution there are universal beliefs about life and what is wrong/right.  Now, some of these are agreeable–thou shalt not kill (unless thou doth kill, then it’s ok to kill you back.)  But others are questionable and aren’t really deciding factors if you’re living a right life or not:  Who watches porn?!?!  Be honest, because if you don’t, I won’t hang out with you.  (And clearly, I’m A LOT of fun to hang out with…but mostly because I like porn.)  Well…you get the point.

Anyway, when I found yoga, I thought it was perfect!  A nonjudgmental body of people who encourage me to just simply be me.  And not just me…but the BEST version of me!  (Just when you thought I couldn’t get any better.)  And, as it turns out, when I say “nonjudgmental” what I really mean is a group of people who are judgmental.  They just do it under a foggy haze of what’s right–like Veganism and Sobriety.  (In case you were wondering what’s right.) 

Now, I’m not saying that everyone is a judgmental asshole.  However, ask

This is an example of a yoga babe. She will probably be judged.

yourself this question:  Have I ever judged anyone in the community for eating meat?  Or drinking a few too many drinks?  For talking too loudly in the practice room?…(have some respect for crying out loud)  Or how about judging a girl for her super skimpy yoga outfit…(did I mention that I like pornography yet?)  What was she…a slut?  Some girl begging for attention?  Now, if you’ve answered “No, I have NEVER done that,”  I would judge you as a liar. 

Vedanta encourages us to question EVERYTHING.  Every thought we have, every action we take, every maxim we’ve believed in.  (I’m a personal fan of not counting my chickens before they hatch…but mostly because I am vegan and like the idea of eggs producing chicks.)  I would take this a step further to question authorities–yes, even in my Kula (what real yogis call their community).  I mean, if I’m going to be a part of something…I need to know WHAT it is that I’m a part of…(not just what somebody wants it to be…but what it actually is.  This is a huge difference.) 

This is 1 chick I can count...

And I, for one, will not let anyone tell me what my right way of living is.  Incase you don’t know…we are all different.  (Now, I’m not talking about the universal love juice that enlivens this entire world.)  I’m talking about my physical body and that which is enveloped in it (mind and intellect).  One prescribed way of doing things is not meant for universal application.  There are a million different types of yoga, religion, philosophies, etc.  (Thank god because otherwise the majority of us would be effed.)  So, I don’t think twice when I’m judged for drinking a few glasses of cabernet.  A couple glasses of wine will not make me less worthy of a human, I already know this. 

And when we say Namaste at the end of class…we are not honoring the sober lifestyle we’ve adopted since becoming a committed member to our studio–nor are we honoring all the meat we did not eat since we’ve watched all those PETA videos…we are honoring that universal love juice; the sameness in all of us that happens to produce the diversity in the world we live in.

Everyone’s an asshole to somebody

Yes,  even I am included in that statement.  I know, I know…hard to believe right?

I’ve been trying my whole life to be well-liked by everyone.  And, I’m finally sick of it.  Not that I want to be a cold-hearted you-know-what to all the people I encounter…

…But let’s face it: 

1) Not everyone thinks jokes about cancer and pedophiles are funny.  Strange but true.

2) Not everyone wants to be in the company of someone looking to just have loud, good-old-fashioned obnoxious fun. 

3) I just learned that even if I’m drinking wine…(which I once thought made me elegant and classy) that, if I drink enough  of it, it will make me (and I will take a leap here and go so far as to say YOU too) anything BUT elegant and classy.  Ok, unrelated…SORT OF, but still a good thing to know.

4) My definition of well-liked is a little bit skewed because when I think of being well-liked, I think of being the best.  Which, to my disappointment, I found is impossible.  (lol, just kidding.)  It’s only a disappointment to my Ego. 

And, what a relief it was to finally figure out that impossibility.  There is no way I can be the funniest, smartest, prettiest, bravest, healthiest, most talented, honest, compassionate, caring, kind, loving, nurturing, giving, hottest and best scrabble player out there to you all. 

Phew. 

And, sometimes I’m in a bad mood.  I just had to face it:  I am a human too.  Which means, that I honk my horn at your slow-ass in traffic, and if you’ve made me angry I have probably passively aggressively farted while walking by you.  (sucker!)

Shine My Heart Through the Gates of My Arms?

I’ve been practicing yoga seriously for about three years now.

(Yes,seriously.)  I can perform all the basic asanas…the Warriors, Boats,

let me show you EXACTLY where it is...

any angle, etc.  I am so good at engaging my mula bandha…(if you need help, I could help you do it too.)  My lions breath is a force to be reckoned with–especially if I drink a coffee right before class.  And, I can practice a whole hour without paying attention to YOU, right next to me.  (But you definitely should be modifying that side angle…you’re DUMPING ON YOUR HEART, FOR PETE’S SAKE)

Let’s see…what else am I good at in yoga?  Oh, I can follow directions really well.  I mean, I know my left from my right…unlike the idiot in front of me.  And I’m pretty sure those around me feel uplifted and inspired by the flawless engagement of ujjayi pranayama.

I mean, I’m a YOGINI, everyone…

But, the other day in class, the instructor said, “Now, shine your heart through the gates of your arms…”  And I was like, “whoa!  what does that mean Mr. Yogi?”  I found myself frantically scanning the room as if it were my first time…and then I realized, oh, he means Updog.  Well, I’m really good at that too.

this is NOT me in updog. it is a DOG in updog.

Why a monogomous LTR? Well, I’ll tell you why

A few months ago, the person I thought who was going to be my life partner asked me, “Why do you even WANT a life partner?  Why is that so important to you?”  The question stopped me dead in my tracks…I was thinking, “How can you even ask that?!”  <jerk!>  I know, my feelings were just hurt…good question!

Well, I was so shocked, I couldn’t come up with a better reason other than, I just want it.  And, I don’t think I’m the only one in the world who wants it.  (obviously.)  There are many benefits to having a partner in crime…companionship, safety, someone to share not only living expenses…but living spaces as well.  There is a part in every human (unless you’re a sociopath) who craves the not only the physical intimacy, but the emotional and intellectual intimacies as well and there is something special about sharing all three with one person.  When I thought of these reasons…I realized that they all have one thing in common, which is how having a relationship serves ME.   Sure it’s mutually beneficial…I mean, the other person is experiencing companionship, security and all that jazz too. 

But I kept going back to how special it is to share a life with somebody…what about it is so special?  And, after a long time, I think I’ve figured it out…FOR EVERYBODY!  No, just kidding.  But here’s what I came up with: 

(It’s really beautiful, I think…so be prepared.)

run really fast if you see this guy

From my understanding of yogic philosophy, everything in the Universe is One.  The separation we experience in life/the world is an illusion.  In other words, this is not real.  (But if a murderer is chasing you, please run because we do still die when killed.)  The word yoga means to yolk…or to merge with your true Self, hence, to the divine and experience real Love (or universal identification).  Now, it seems to me that all religion has this background of Love and forgetting about the individual or ego in order to become selfless and serve and all that good ‘n holy stuff. 

Sounds beautiful, right?  Right.  Now, somehow we as people have a real talent for distorting all this stuff to fit our own needs.  And, if everyone not only knew this, but understood it and lived it, the world would be a totally different place.  (But, the world doesn’t even exist as we know it, right?)  Ugh, could this be more complicated? 

Although I have a knowledge of this philosophy, I cannot pretend to truly understand it and live by it.  I mean, really, who can?  Unless you’re Jesus or some other enlightened being…and even then, I would have my doubts.

So what does all this talk on universal love have to do with life partnership?  Well, as it stands right now, we humans (for the most part) cannot possibly conceive of living life this way.  However, we have an opportunity I believe, to experience this type of Love on a smaller scale, one we can relate to.  And that, folks, is the LTR (long-term relationship, if you don’t obsessively read personal ads or missed connections on Craigslist.  Which, by the way, I would highly recommend to everybody because boy are these people hilarious!) 

Painting by Alex Grey

I imagine that in an ideal partnership, despite the fact that I will benefit from certain factors, there is an opportunity to experience true identification with another.  (Not to be read as enmeshment, people.)      Meaning that I have an opportunity to see and create divinity in action.  I can create a relationship that is not just about me and what I want, but about the other person as well…and together, we work and strive for something greater than each other.  It seems that a partnership is a way to experience this universal love thing that eludes me on a daily basis.  I mean, if this is love on a smaller scale, maybe I can work up from there.  Or maybe not, who knows?

Sounds beautiful, right?  It surely does.  But, let’s not forget all the actual work that goes into creating this.  The decisions, compromises, personalities and daily obligatory duties we have to fulfill…makes it a bit trickier than one might think.

Odd places I’ve found yoga, maybe you have too

Lately, I have been branching out a bit.  And I don’t mean stretching my arms out in tree pose, letting them move with nature’s wind…feeling my own divinity as it mingles with the Orgasmic Universal Love.  (Errr…I mean Cosmic Universal Love.)  What I mean is exploring what the terrestrial world has to offer.  (Some might call this, REALITY…but let’s not get into semantics here.) 

And, with this exploration, I’ve realized that yoga can be found in many mediums the world has to offer.  Here is a short list I’ve compiled:

1)  The anime series GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka)  He is an incredibly horny, 22-year-old, ex-motorcycle gang leader who decides to become a middle school teacher.  Academics isn’t his strong suit…so he just teaches life lessons.

2)  My catholic, student therapist.  Because she’s a student, she doesn’t actually get paid to listen to me.  But she does anyways and offers sometimes valuable insights to the way I’ve created my life. 

3)  Drinking and dancing.  Can YOU think of a better way to be in the moment? 

4)  Writing.  A way I can express myself and not actually care what someone else thinks about me.  In other words, I can be me…really me.  Not who somebody else thinks I am or how I want somebody to think of me as. 

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that yoga is not just meant as studying the scriptures, chanting, praying, practicing in class or smiling at someone when you really want to say Eff off. 

Until next time…