Girl vs. Distraction

How is it possible that a month has suddenly slipped away without my notice? The last four weeks have passed me by so quickly…I mean, did you know “Toy Story 3” is already out on DVD? When did that happen?!

I’m not trying to pass the buck, but I have to place partial blame on this entertaining, seductive, overwhelming girl who goes by the name of Amsterdam. I could sit here for hours pouring over how wonderful she is, but I’d rather not fill you with envy imagining her gorgeous canals, mind-blowing museums, generous availability of… everything, or her citizens that harbor no judgement whatsoever. But please, I’m sure you can see how it’s easy to lose track of time here. If anything, this lady specializes in hour upon hour of Distraction. Only the sharpest of minds can maintain focus here.

I have to be honest, this is the third time I’ve sat down to write to you. Again, it’s not that I don’t have much to say… you know I do. But the Distraction is completely overwhelming. I seem to have the attention span of a Jack Russell terrier… look! Something shiny! And I truly have the best of intentions. “Today I will get all the things done on my list. I’ll go for a run and have a nice long yoga practice.” Three hours later I’m still sitting in the same chair talking to Monkey or ‘A’ about everything and nothing.

Amsterdam, while the epitome of everything I could wish for in a city, really makes you earn your fun here. What I remember from my last trip to The Netherlands is that when it rained, it rained directly into you. The flat landscape and powerful winds make you the perfect target for a 15 minute thunderstorm. She’s moody. And that’s okay. I know how she feels. But that just adds one more reason to jump up and hit the canals the second the sun is shining.

Look, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking the reason for my Distraction is due to the readily available supply of Amsterdam “coffee”. Well, Smarty Pants… you’re partly right. Hey, when in Rome…

But seriously, the weeks come crashing into me one after another. She’s a social city and I can’t help but feel like I want to take advantage of what she brings out in us. Every little circus freak I call my family seems to be happier, friendlier, more willing to go hard or go home. We frequently remind ourselves that in a few short months we’ll be in Charlotte, NC and will pine away for these weeks of constant entertainment.

Is it wrong that my Amsterdam playlist consists of mostly Usher, Ke$ha and Katy Perry? Or is it entirely appropriate?

I’m not even kidding, a yellow balloon just floated past my window. The entire city is conspiring to keep my attention. It’s amazing.

So what have I gathered from all this Distraction? The bonds that I have with my touring friends, or as I refer to them, my extended family have grown stronger. Everyone is bouncing along on the same vibration of positive energy. As I approach my 28th year of life I feel more loved and the ability to love more than any other moment in my life.

So I bring it back to the mat. When I was first learning how to meditate, my teacher told me “You’ll have distracting thoughts, something to pull your focus. And that is okay. Just let them pass over you like clouds floating through the sky.” I reflect on that. One of my very favorite concepts of yoga is non-judgement. She looks to me and says “Yes. You’re allowed to be distracted. But don’t hold onto it. Let it float by. You’ll return to your focus when you’re ready.” If only the rest of the world could be as non-judgmental as her.

So if you don’t hear from me in the next month in a half, you’ll know why. I’m floating along on the cloud entitled “Amsterdam.” And she’s just lovely…

Girl: 0

Distraction: 1

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Girl vs. Shameless Self-Promotion

Part 1

I’ve neglected you, my friends. Of late my life has consisted of nothing but yoga both self-practice and teaching (of course), p90x, and The Contest.

Ah, The Contest. For those of you who haven’t been following my daily (albeit, annoying) status updates on Facebook, allow me to catch you up. In the last few weeks our lives have been consumed by an online contest to win our “dream wedding” (or at least a $100,000 dream, if one were able to actually put a dollar value on dreams). So let me take you back to how this all began…

After leaving glorious Vancouver, where I was living earlier this year before deciding to rejoin A on tour, I found myself in Montreal, wondering what to do with my time and how to organize my new life. Granted I’ve been on tour for over five years now, but this is a new tour, new people, (some) new cities… all in all, a new life. I went from working each day at a trendy yoga/running clothing company and teaching both in the store and privately AND still training to run the marathon… to “Well, here I am. A housewife. In a city where I know no one, on a tour where I know…8? people. This should be interesting.”

But I’m all about adjustment. Like I’ve said before, I’m a Sagittarius in every sense of the word which basically means I’m incredibly RESTLESS. Can’t stay in the same place for too long or every fiber of my being begins to itch with boredom. So there I was, in Montreal. A city that by no means would leave one bored, but when A got up to go to work everyday, and my practice was done, and my chores completed, I began a deep and meaningful relationship with… TLC. Yes, TLC. The Learning Channel. The home of reality gems such as “Kate Plus 8”, “What Not to Wear” and “Toddlers in Tiaras”. I know… completely rotten. But I suppose it was better than “16 and Pregnant”, no? Anyway, at the core of this relationship was a little show known as “Say Yes to the Dress”. A reality show all about the Kleinfeld Bridal Salon in New York City and their customers…. brides-to-be. Now let me tell you right off the bat, I despise shopping. Honestly. I’m one of those girls that has a list, checks it off as I go and then needs to get the hell out of there before the flourescent lights (which have the lovely ability to highlight each inch of hard-earned cellulite on my thighs) and Top 40 music eats away at my soul. (Shopping on vacation is a whole other story…but I digress). However, I could watch these women shop for wedding gowns for hours. Literally, hours. So one day there was an episode on and the bride they were following had won a contest on the radio which awarded her a “dream wedding” with rings and catering and all that other ridiculously expensive stuff included. I say “stuff” because a lot more than I ever thought goes into planning a wedding. Which is one of the many reasons The Wedding itself kinda fell to the bottom of our list of things we’d like to do with our money in the next few years. So this particular bride made me think “Wow, that’s genius. A contest. What a shame there isn’t something like that for same-sex couples…wait a minute….” So I turned to my trusty friend, Google, and typed “same-sex wedding contest” into the magical little box. Google thought for a few seconds and then replied to me, “freedom2wed”. And just like that, everything changed.

Freedom2Wed is a group of top wedding vendors in Washington DC who decided to celebrate the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia by organizing a contest, awarding one couple with a “dream wedding” valued at $100,000 (Say that three times fast!). All they required you to do to enter was fill out a form telling the story of how your couple got together, why you want the wedding, etc. etc. And then attach a picture. “Writing? This is something I can sink my teeth into.”

So I began pattering away at the keys, telling the story of how A and I found each other, and what a day in the life of two circus nomads is like. I’ve told and retold the story so many times. It’s pretty cute, if I do say so myself, and I’ve even considered turning into a screenplay someday. Perhaps I’ll share it with you at one point… but that’s for another day.

So for about an hour I pounded away at the keyboard, smiling as I recalled the early days of our relationship, and silently thanking myself that some of those days have passed. As a couple, like wine, we’ve definitely gotten sweeter as we’ve aged. After finishing another day at the circus, A walked through the apartment door (always with a smile) and asked what I was writing.

“Baby, I’m going to win us a wedding.”

She is a master at humoring me. I truly believe that is one of the reasons we work so well. “Oh. Okay! And how exactly are you going to do that?”

So I explained the contest to her and together we picked out a photo for our submission and with a final click!, we sent our entry on its way. Out into the universe… possibly never to return. But for the rest of the evening I fed off the high of retelling our story. Such warm, yummy, fresh from the oven chocolate chip cookie type memories. Like every single moment in my life up until that point led me directly to her.

And then, as it does, life went on. We transferred to Quebec City and began to make a new home, as we do… every. six. weeks. Then, out of nowhere, Fate decided to send me an email. And this is what Fate said:

“Hi Girl, I’m not sure how else to get in contact with you but I wanted to let you know that your couple has been selected as one of the finalists in the freedom2wed contest to win a dream wedding. Please contact me as soon as possible so you can participate.”

Sidebar: One of the most valuable elements that yoga has brought into my life is the relationship I’ve developed with my physical body. My teacher told me that yoga is the ability to diagnose your own sensations. Well, the “sensations” I had at that particular moment were definitely something to be observed.

My hands began to shake uncontrollably. My chest felt as though Thumper himself had taken up residency there. It was one of those feelings that before had only been brought on moments prior to stepping on stage, or those seconds at the top of the hill on my favorite roller-coaster right before the plummet to the earth below. It. Was. Awesome.

So I made the necessary phone call, found out the details of what we were required to do next, and discovered that we had three days, that’s three days to put together a video explaining to all the world why they should vote for us to win this once in a lifetime event. Of course this came at one of the most critical times of A’s working schedule. Setting up the circus. Bringing each show to life is something every single employee takes part in, hard-hats, steal-toed boots and all. And long days. The first day she had off would have to be the day we memorized, recorded, edited and submitted our video. With the help of another circus comrade known to you as Technology Guy-Extraordinaire, we did all that was required and submitted our video at 1:30AM, the day of the deadline. And then… we waited.

One week later the 6 finalist’s videos were posted on the freedom2wed website and the hurricane of voting began. As did my Shameless Self-Promotion. Every avenue I could think of was jammed with emails and messages asking people to support us in this contest. And most importantly, to support Marriage Equality. To allow to us finally not feel like third-class citizens. Never, in all my wildest wonderment did I think the reaction would snowball into what it has.

We have been flooded with messages of support, pride, love. Friends from past lifetimes have reached out to us, showing signs of assistance. People from all corners of the globe have rallied around us to help us win this contest. And instantly, it stopped being about The Contest. The very first night the voting was open, I lied awake, feet twitching with anxiety into the early hours of the morning. But after that initial day of worry all of that fell to the wayside. I never felt the effects of Six Degrees of Separation as I do right now.

During my teacher training, one of my teachers would always say “I am you, you are me, we are One.” He would mesmerize us with the idea that the very air we were currently breathing had traveled thousands of miles across the jungle, the oceans the desert to nourish our bodies. The prana (life force) we were sipping had also breathed life into the trees, the animals, and friends on the other side of the globe.

What a beautiful sentiment. And now, I actually get to experience that to the utmost degree. The web of people we have around us from Chile to Australia, Germany to Vegas, Singapore to good old Youngstown, Ohio is overwhelming. And it is the most evident example that we are all connected. It’s remarkable. And not only is it logistically impressive, it reminds me that no matter what, I am never alone. Which in turn means you are never alone.

We still have eight weeks left to go before they announce the winner. However, like I mentioned before, it’s not about The Contest anymore. When I went into this I simply thought that it was about love. The love A and I have for each other. The rights we should have to celebrate that love freely. I was both right and wrong. It’s no longer just about the love we have for each other, but the intense love we have from our community. You. The love you have for us. And we can only hope as this comes to fruition that you know the love and pure gratitude we have for you.

So as the journey continues, I’ll document it here. Another avenue of Shameless Self-Promotion, I suppose. And in one more plea for support I ask you, my friends and readers to share the link below with every single person you love. And help me marry my best friend. In the country that prides itself on the promotion of freedom.

Girl: TBD

Shameless Self-Promotion: TBD

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Love Freely.

Freedom2Wed.com

Girl vs. Tomorrow

People love a good countdown. I love a good countdown! The build up of excitement, the anticipation of things to come… it’s all so delicious. The ball dropping in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, Facebook statuses announcing “Two weeks ’til I’m in Cabo San Lucas!”, “Only 6 essays left of the Bar Exam!”, “19 days until our wedding!” and on and on and on…. I’m a sucker for a good countdown.

This morning after a little p90x Kenpo Cardio, (I’m currently in the middle of a torrid love affair with Tony Horton, which on most days is less love and more “If this is how P!nk got her rockin’ body, Tony must be doing something right.”) our little friend, Monkey, came to our room for help booking a hotel in Vegas. A and I have become somewhat the Go-To-Girls for all things Vegas. No one really takes into consideration that we haven’t lived there in over 5 years and that menagerie changes faster than my favorite head-lining drag queen on a Sunday night between a Cher montage and Whitney’s “Greatest Love of All”. But we help when we can. I digress… After booking Monkey’s stay in Vegas I had a moment to think about the next 6 months of my life…which includes but is not limited to:

5 more weeks in Quebec City, 1 month home in Las Vegas which will include visits from my favorite gay Aussie couple, 4/6 of my best friends from high school (including myself, known as The Super 7…wasn’t high school fun?!), 4 days of Monkey, plenty of time with my little sister, LJ (who is way cooler at 15 than I could ever be at 27), a trip to Disneyland to run the “Fabulous 5K” with A and Mommy and THEN

4 days in Ireland, 3 months in Amsterdam where I will run my first (eek!) Half-Marathon, and 6 weeks in delectable London where I’ll get to catch up with my darling Zo, spend Christmas on the same streets as Harry Potter (my boyfriend) and ring in 2011 watching the fireworks amidst a Big Ben backdrop.

Fun! (and exhausting)

The  eagerness for all that fun-having is a bit overwhelming. And it came to me, the more I think about how great tomorrow will be, the less I have the time (or attention span) to think about how great today is. “Aye, there’s the rub…”

And in comes yoga. (You knew it was coming, friends. All things are yoga.) In my practice, especially over the last year, I have truly tried to inhabit the concept of remaining present. Meditation has brought me closer than ever to feeling Now. When you think about it, sitting still, in silence for just 10 minutes and completely observing what is going on in the present moment… how often do you get the opportunity to do that? Sure you have plenty of time to stop and think, on the bus to work, waiting in line at the grocery store, at airport security while they look through your jacket, shoes, watch, carry-on, water bottle, underwear… but these are times we’re forced to stop. If you don’t have a regular meditation practice, how often do you choose to sit with yourself and just observe? Just be? My guess is not too often. And I’m no expert. I’ve had to give myself a “Meditation Challenge” of at least 10 minutes a day which on many days I’m lucky to complete. When I first came to my teacher training and was asked to meditate, wow, let me tell you how many show-tunes got me through the moments of silence on the beach. It’s a practice though. You’re not supposed to be good at it the first time. I may have a bad-ass Vasisthasana (Side-Plank Pose), but quieting my mind? Practice, practice, practice.

Running has been another tool that is capable of snapping me into the present moment. It’s too challenging to think about my To-Do List or having a picnic in the park next Monday when “I’m going to die, I’m not going to die, I’m going to die, I’m not going to die, I can do this, No I can’t, Yes I can, No, Yes, No, Yes….” is on constant loop in my head. It also causes me to come into my body (shhh…just like yoga!) when I am forced to take my awareness to the pain in my left knee, or how quickly my legs are moving today. It’s a beautiful thing.

After I completed my teacher training on that magical beach in Mexico (plenty of material for later posts), I decided to stay a few days longer and relax (such a grueling month at yoga school! Ha!) before heading back to the chaos of Mexico City and my “normal” existence with the circus. During my training I befriended a supernatural girl from BC, The Surfer, who was also hanging around for a few days. One of those days we found ourselves in the back of a pickup truck, speeding down the highway to Los Cardones, a surfing lodge where we’d be camping for the next few nights, escorted there by the owner. Cacti whipping past us, salty, damp wind in our hair, scratchy sand still caked to our toes… For no apparent reason, The Surfer looked at me and said something to the effect of “It’s so easy to look down the road to see what’s coming at you, where you’re going. The challenge is looking out the window and seeing where you are right now.”  Uh, YEAH!

“So what’s the point, GirlSeekingBliss?”, you ask. The point, my friends is if you’re too focused on what’s to come, how can you possibly enjoy or even befriend what is? You can’t. My father, the voice of all that is practical and fact in this life, always says “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.” ( I may get him a t-shirt with that printed on it.) Basically, he’s saying that if I want to have a successful and happy future, I need to plan for it now. And while that’s all well and good I’d like to pay more attention to where I am, rather than where I’m going…because who knows if I’ll ever get there…wherever “there” is. And what about a successful and happy present? I refuse to be one of those people who is told their entire life how amazing my life is, but I don’t realize that until it’s past.

So, I’m all about looking forward to tomorrow, but I’m focusing on today. The alternative is waking up one morning and (after my p90x, of course) wondering where the hell all my yesterdays went.

“No day but today.”

Girl:1

Tomorrow: 0