Happy 2011. Happy Year of the Rabbit. Happy.
Confession: I empathize with the Groundhog. Like our squidgy little friend, from about Thanksgiving through to February, I tend to want to withdraw. Of course the cold, grey, depressing skies don’t help, the fact that I usually put on 5-10 pounds on warm, gooey Christmas goodness, and the tradition in my family as I’m sure in many of yours that no holiday can pass without some level of heightened drama sees me retreating to the comfort of my favorite armchair under piles of blankets for days at a time. I tend to spend my afternoons with Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha, and my evenings with Joey, Chandler, Ross, Phoebe, Rachel and Monica. I think any logical psychiatrist would diagnose me with Seasonal Affective Disorder (or ironically enough, SAD), however I just think I empathize with the Groundhog. And by February, I’m back to my bunny-like self.
The holiday hysteria (or the hysteria it invokes in me) is finally starting to seep from my veins. Little by little the affect of the season is dissipating and I’m starting to feel more like myself.
And I’ve found myself quite recently looking at my Reflection. Both figuratively and literally. Not just merely out of vanity, but because I have something to celebrate. In 5 months.
November 30th, 2010 was the Eve of my 28th birthday. So to celebrate I practiced 27 rounds of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) with the intention set that each round would represent a year of my life. I wouldn’t be who I am today at 28 had it not been for all the experiences I’d had in the years past. And as I exhaled through the rhythmic repetitions, I truly tried to focus on the year I was Reflecting upon and send gratitude to the lessons I learned that year. I can honestly say 27 was my best year yet…. although I’m guessing I had a pretty good year at 5 too…
December 1st, 2010 I proposed to my best friend. And she said yes. (I’m sure the tone of this submission would be a bit different had she not.) So within the week we found ourselves planning a wedding. Up until then, even though we knew we’d be partnered up forever, we hadn’t really committed to the whole idea of a wedding (Internet contests aside!). Mostly because there are so many other adventures we wanted to pursue, that a wedding just seemed a bit unnecessary. So with a slight change of heart we visualized a small, intimate ceremony that Reflected who we are as a couple.
Yeah, well all that sounds very Hallmark Cardy and peaches and cream, but within days our vision began to slip away. I’d love to say I’m to blame, but what fun would that be? However, I will say that the American Wedding Conglomerates are at least 85% responsible. All other parties will remain nameless as making enemies is not my style (even if it ends up happening on a less-than-desirable basis).
Did you know a “wedding checklist” has been created and published that has over 500 To-Do items on it? As in 5-0-0? If you did know that, it’s because you’re married. And you had the big, princess, fairytale shebang. And you lived through it! So I say, “Go You. You are a better woman than I.”
In a moment of weakness and my penchant for theatrical events, I was swept right up into the Wedding Planning Tornado and I’m still recovering from her tossing me like Dorothy into a bizarre land of favors and place-cards and Save the Dates, Oh My! Soon our small, intimate ceremony was taking forms of tents being erected and $3000 cakes and I was spending way too much time talking about color themes.
Then while going over the venue contract which was written in French, my Québécois Beauty Translator mentioned how a friend of hers and her fiance discovered how much it would cost to throw a big wedding, scrapped the whole idea, eloped to a dreamy, white beach, and spent the money on a really cool vacation. They felt it was more of a Reflection of who they are as a couple.
How ’bout that?
So you mean the way you express your love in vows toward each other has nothing to do with cohesive table linens and centerpieces? You mean the ungodly anxiety that it seemed no amount of yoga could combat is really unnecessary? You mean spending $ 20 or 30 or 100, 000 isn’t going to make our marriage a success?
When you look at your Reflection, do you like what you see? I don’t mean your literal, physical Reflection. What you see inside yourself when you look at you… that’s the Reflection I’m talking about.
I believe you can decide to reinvent yourself at any moment. And I don’t think you should apologize for that. The Buddha said “Everything changes, nothing remains without change.”
So we reevaluated what our wedding was Reflecting about us. We didn’t like it. So we changed it.
2 days ago I took a yoga class at the gym below our London flat. I love saying “flat”. It makes me feel oh-so-British. Spot of tea, anyone?… I really appreciated the way Alex, an Ashtanga yogi, taught in a very workshop sort of way. Her knowledge of anatomy was spot on. The way she broke each posture down was enlightening, and I’m a fan of any yoga teacher who can comfortably say “ass” in front of 15 people with a Zen smile on her face. The class was a practice in Arm Balances, Bakasana (Crane pose), Tittibhasana (Firefly pose), Tolasana (Scale pose). Fun. So as I found myself stepping into Crane pose, trying to find the delicate balance between my head and my Christmas-Victim bum and place all of my weight evenly onto my “Peter-Pan” hands (I’ve been told I have the hands of a 12-year-old boy.), Alex came over to stand at the top of my mat. I had just the tip of my big toe still working as a crutch, preventing me from crashing down onto my face when Alex said “Go. GO! I know you have the skill, what you need is the confidence.” Don’t you just hate it when your yoga teacher is right?! After class I lingered back to thank Alex for her guidance when she asked me what I was afraid of in practicing Arm Balances. “What is the worst possible thing that could happen?”
Nose-diving into the mat in front of 15 people! Explaining to my fiancée that my broken nose was from the strenuous practice of yoga! Never being able to get over the humiliation of that fatal fall so as never to practice a Sun Salutation again!
You could pick any one of those, I guess. So she said “May I suggest that you visualize yourself in the posture far before you even physically attempt it? You know how dancers “mark” their choreography before doing it, or climbers visualize the sequence of their climb before they head up? If you are visualizing yourself falling, your muscle memory will Reflect that.” God. I. Love. Yoga.
Now I find myself looking at my Reflection in a wedding gown. I look more like my Mother everyday.
And the Reflection I’m looking forward to the most is the one I see in *A’s eyes 149 days from now. Who needs monogrammed napkins after all?