Monday, April 23, 2012

Gracie Goblin and the 1 Year Hiatus

I openly admit that I have been cheating. I have spent the little free time that I have in my writing world in the arms of another blog. A totally different blog with totally different motives; one that doesn’t even really exist yet. Right now it is purely a fantasy, a vividly creative fantasy. So is it really cheating, if it’s just a fantasy?

I’ve been forced to reevaluate what this blog really is to me. It is my wagon wheel. A place I can document anything and everything infinitely imaginable including black holes, right?! So why the long pause, why the one year hiatus? It is because I cannot put to words the experience of the birth of my daughter. My daughter, who upon breaking my water caused a city wide power outage all the way to Mexico.
You think that freaks you out?! I feel blasphemous just writing about it. The events of the entire experience are so colorfully imprinted on my mind, the pain branded into my retina. They say a woman forgets the pain. Biology makes it this way so that we continue to have more babies. I won’t forget and yet I don't need to. I succumbed to an epidural, that helped a bit. Regardless, if I could I would have a hundred babies. Every labor experience is magic. There are so many things I will never forget, so maybe I’m taking a great risk by not documenting the experience, but I feel confident the real reason is that in this case: there are no words. She takes my words away.

So call it a hiatus, call it writer’s block, whatever it is, I realize if I do not write through it I will lose all that is special about putting words on paper; I guess in this age text on screen.

Parenthood is amazing. I don’t want to go into it any more than that and how the hardest part was going back to work. I ache for her every minute I am away and only do it because I feel strongly that it is good for her to build the strong relationship she has with her Grandpa (her care provider). I understand that I am blessed.
What I really want to document after all of this catch up is simply back to the yoga mat. I did not practice in the hot room during my pregnancy. I was afraid of the heat and having lost a baby previously (not yoga related) I couldn’t take the risk. I practiced Rajashree’s pregnancy series in the comfort of my living room and I still wonder if this was the right choice, for me and for Grace. I think something happens in parenthood when every day worries related to yourself diverge into everyday worries related to someone else. Again, it is biology making a mother protective of her baby but it really becomes obsessive. There is SO much to be afraid of during pregnancy and it’s exponential once the baby is born. Not just in pregnancy, in life.  There are so many things openly available to scare the crap out of you, so many things to keep you awake at night thinking about all the soul suckers and all of the infinitely imaginable ways they will find access to suck out your soul. I’m beginning to believe the only thing you can do is stand tall on your mat, don't be scared, take a deep breath, full lungs, drop your head back and basically let go.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” –FDR

I am afraid of getting Malaria. So afraid that before traveling to India and Costa Rica I obsessed over TOX reports evaluating DEET and the effects it and Malaria (as well as treatments for Malaria) have on developing fetuses in various stages of pregnancy.

I am afraid of getting eaten alive by sharks. So afraid that when I swim from the shores to the cove I swim with my head down and I swim very slow because I am looking for sharks, the big sharks.

At one time in my life I was afraid to get married. Afraid that I wouldn’t be able to live up to my vows and that I would make promises that I wouldn’t be able to keep. So afraid that one day I packed my bags and ran away, down the highway in Napa, away from the direction of a wedding.

There is an evening I remember so clearly when my dear friend told me the best day of her life was her wedding day. I remember thinking ‘Wow that sounds like the scariest day of my life. She must not be afraid of anything’.

This May I found myself standing at the altar of the ocean and I was not afraid. I knew without a doubt that I wanted to marry this man since the day I yelled it on the top of my lungs on the beach, our secret beach. Nothing about the wedding was scary. Not the planning, not the promises, not the sound of my own voice in the microphone. I’ve said it a million times: It’s not the fear of getting married; it’s the fear of marrying the wrong man.

                       He is the right man.

Every part of that wedding night was magic; it was the best day of my life. Rather, the best 1.25 years of my life devoted to the celebration: bridesmaids’ boat days on the bay, dress shopping, bachelorette weekends in Santa Barbara, bachelor camping trips, make-up consultation breakfasts, rehearsal taco dinners in the back yard…not to mention seeing my friends and family constantly, to plan, chat in parking lots, and investigate details. Details that were meaningless…what color for this, what flavor for that? Meaningless only because no matter what we would have chosen, the choice would have been perfect. What were meaningful details were the times that we got to spend together. Sure things went wrong but they aren’t worth mentioning, because they aren’t worth remembering. And wrong is a relative word.

There are moments I never want to forget. I am afraid that when I get older and my neurons stop firing that I will lose my memories. So afraid that I will document these moments here, just in case:

When I walked down the aisle I saw the faces of my dear friends and family so full of happiness and so full of love. When I walked down the aisle I saw him and time stopped, frozen. Like when I come home from work and he kisses me in the door way, all things fade to grey.

Time stopped again when we danced. The world disappeared, vanished like the night we heard that same song at The Gorge, the final song of the encore, when it was just us and the music. The night when I realized anything was possible because they would never play that song, it was a cover and they hadn’t played it in years. It would never happen, especially since I wanted it to. And there we were, listening to ‘The Maker’.

When I danced with my dad it was a waltz of the wind. How we pulled that together is beyond me. I watch it on video every day, sometimes twice. It makes me cry because he loves me so much. I am the cup that catches his overflowing love. Dare I say, that cup is as big as the oceans.

There was a moment I looked up and saw all the people dancing, filling up the entire floor, spilling onto the deck and up the stairs. Jumping up and down and throwing fists into the air. This is so much fun!

And the girls sang a song and danced a dance, to a poem they wrote about hearts as big as whales and love that parts the oceans all to the tune of ‘Minnie the Moocher’. In front of all those people. They did something so big, and everyone could see how big their hearts are. But this didn’t shadow the best man’s speech especially since I had just written myself that everything with this crazy couple is “so much fun and so damn funny”.

So when I think about being afraid of it all, I feel silly. In Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible the little girl hides her Malaria tablets and sticks them to the wall behind her bed. But it’s not the Malaria that kills her; it’s the bite from the green mamba. It’s never the things we worry about that get us; it’s the things we don’t expect, the things we don’t see circling below. So as hard as it is to sit on that porch in the jungle with the mosquitoes buzzing in your ears, enjoy the moment and listen to the rain. You’re not going to get Malaria.

                                                 Congo Bongo, Costa Rica

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Reflection is Overwhelming me. Or is it Just me Overwhelming the Reflection?

When I look in the mirror I hardly recognize myself. When I sit still I don’t feel anything like myself. I’ve changed faster than a leaping tadpole in the past few months: there is a baby growing in my belly, I am now the super age of 30, I traveled with my Mamma to India, oh and I was promoted. Along with the current wedding planning… (aka wedding backtracking because the dress won’t fit anymore) I’m beginning to think again about that quicksand, but in a different way. More like a whirlpool, or even better, the grand black hole! Yes, it is like a black hole: the mass of things that are happening in my life right now is so great, the gravitational pull swallows everything and even warps space time.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful for a second; I just want to document the feeling. I created this black hole and the more I explore and understand it, the more I realize I wouldn’t want it any other way or have it located in any other part of my universe.

I am beginning to wonder: although it is great to have all these spokes for my wagon wheel, is it possible to have too many? Is the wheel truly infinite and if so, as we approach infinity, does the quality or rather the limit of the spoke equal zero? By having more spokes, do we make the other ones thinner?

The greatest thinning effect so far has been on my memory. They call it 'pregnancy brain', I call it 'doing too many things at once brain'. What scares me is that it will all go by, before I even have the chance to enjoy it. Additionally, one of the greatest struggles I’ve overcome is taking the edge off. So many new responsibilities provide so many new planets to juggle. In the past nothing could satiate me better than a few good beers. Sure a drink now and then they say is fine, and I saw the gal put beer in the bottle that night on the patio in Germany, “It helps her sleep”, but I’m talking about fine inTOXICation. That is what I need and what I cannot have.

Although, I can have music. As much as I want, whenever I want, even at work and it works even better. Nothing makes me wiggle like that. Nothing makes the rhythm of my heart change like that. Beer never made me feel that good in my soul, not even Paulaner on tap at Oktoberfest in M√ľnchen, and not even Winter Solstice at Humpy’s in Alaska on the longest day of the year.

Music holds it all together so much so that I think as long as it is part of the equation, the wagon wheel has no limit.

* This is a photo I took when we were in Agra (there is a reflection in the water).

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Holiday I spent Developing in the Womb of Transformation

One of my biggest pet peeves is waste. It bums me out like crazy every time under some condition or another, I light that match and ‘accidently’ throw it onto the pile of money I ‘accidently’ covered in gasoline so that two things are wasted: gas and money. So after I found out I had 12 days of my Bikram membership with 15 days to do them in, it was originally all about the money. Then I thought about the commitment it would require from me considering it was smack in the middle of the festive and fun holiday season and it became all about a personal challenge. Is this something I would even be able to manage? I’ve never practiced more than three days a week. 

I feel so silly saying this as there are so many brilliant bodies who do 30 and 60 day challenges all the time. There is even a wonderful gal at my studio who goes twice a day every day of her life and must be pushing her 60s (maybe older as she is clearly drinking from the fountain of youth). I would have never known this though had I not jumped into my puny excuse of a twelve day challenge and witnessed the kind of magic that really goes on at my studio. Magic I say because I knew before I started that this event would change my life, and it did! Even as I write, my blood is flowing into a different direction, but future Martina will dive into that bizarre blog another day.

It was challenging at its best because it became a routine. All other priorities ceased; I had to find my way into the studio one way or another. After late nights of drinking and celebrating, my body broken in the morning with hangover thinking to myself: ‘I am going to die. The heat will kill me and I will die in a standing bow’. This never happened. These were my best practices. As soon as the instructor walked into the room and turned on the lights, I had my first experience when I really let go. I decided: OK! My body is broke! My mind is useless! There is nothing else I can really do right now but let the instructor be my mind and through the dialogue my body will do all the work. I’ve heard this idea before, but at that moment I truly tried it and because of it my body went into postures like never before; my mind into dimensions like never before. If you want to know where I went, I suggest packing your bags for a very personal journey you’ll never forget to a land where everything makes sense and everyone understands your nonsense.

And after it was over the experience didn’t stop. I noticed I was drinking out of a Chargers water bottle with the name Gina written across the side. Seriously?! Who is this Gina and how did her water bottle find its way into my kitchen, how did her water find its way into my body?! I’ve never even used this before, is the universe playing a joke on me?! I received constant nameless attention as did a gentleman named ‘Gino’ who practiced next to me one day. Really?! Gino?! Of all the names…

Towards the end of my challenge, though, I was a little disappointed because I expected great sadness upon its completion, but I had none. In fact I was happy it was over, rather thrilled. I felt I couldn’t handle anymore epiphanies, my neurons were saturated and I feared poetic tachyphylaxis. I welcomed the reality of my familiar universe as I returned home from my ‘trip’.

I had decided a while ago that I would start practicing primarily at home. One reason being that we recently installed a furnace in our house along with actual doors to hold in the proper heat. Another reason being that I wanted to save money (here it is about the money again) for my wedding in May and my dear friend’s wedding in India in February where she has asked me to be one of her bridesmaids; I am overflowing with honor. There are other financial reasons but in the end it is not about the money. I’ve decided to practice on my own because I believe I am ready. This jellyfish has been swept away into the current of independence and the journey has just begun.

* These black beauties came into the waters of San Diego this past summer...symbolism at its finest!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

12 days of Yoga

This past Saturday I was told I have 12 classes available in my membership before it expires on December 29th. I’m excited to begin my own personal challenge that in the spirit of the holidays I will be calling:

‘The Twelve Days of Yoga’.

A gift to myself, as I will be practicing every other day for two weeks then three days in a row. I feel a little selfish taking so much of my time for ‘me’, but hey it’s Christmas. I’m going to splurge.

To add to the festivity I had to write a song to go with it:

The Twelve Days of Yoga 

On the first day of yoga, my teacher gave to me a standing bow with a locked knee…

On the twelfth day of yoga, my teacher gave to me:
Twelve standing postures
Eleven locusts lifting
Ten lords a pulling
Nine ladies stretching
Eight breaths a breathing
Seven umbrellas breaking
Six toes a standing
Five ben-gal tigers
Four one tailed cobras
Three gazing eyes
Two (.5) tortoise poses
And a standing bow with a locked knee.

Feel free to add your own ... I feel these could be better ...

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Sisterhood of the Bridesmaids' Dress

Recently my interest has been struck by an ongoing debate.

I couldn’t help but get excited. After all, who doesn’t love a little intelligent heat? In brief it is a dispute concerning the origins of yoga, the influences upon it, and the influences it has upon those who practice. Basically, there are some who argue that yoga is being distorted as it emerges exponentially in the western world and others who argue that there should be no ownership associated with the rights of Yoga.

The debate has risen in popularity within the past few weeks appearing as far as the New York Times to the HAF.

Both sides of the argument are perfectly understandable. Yoga was designed and intended to be practiced in accordance with its original motives and it should be protected. Conversely, as it is exposed to alternate cultures, faiths and religious backgrounds it is changing. Or is it?

Who decides what was and is now the right way to practice yoga?

I believe Bikram said it best: “What’s right is what works”.

This weekend my bridesmaids, my mom, and I all got together at a cute little dress shop with the intention of figuring out what costumes to wear to my upcoming wedding in May. Everyone had total freedom (at least I hope they all felt so) to pick out whatever they wanted. They could all wear the same dress or totally different dresses. I did mention a few times that I really like blue.

They tried on many dresses, like I had, hoping to find that ONE dress. The one you fall in love with when you put it on and never want to take it off.

There was this one dress.

When first discovered it was loved so much that it was immediately claimed. It stayed on the wearer through a few more costume changes by the other girls and then it was passed to another who upon zipping up the back, also fell in love. For this dress equally flattered and complimented the other with its style and excellence.  Clearly this dress knew how to charm the ladies, as it was already quite enamored and courted by two. Now only two other girls remained single, eagerly awaiting a similarly passionate romance. Until eventually girl number three tried on the dress followed by girl number four. It was girl number four who said the vows: “This is the dress that looks damn good on us all.” We were all reminded of that book/movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

What if there was a universal costume that was a stunning fit for everyone? One that made us all feel greatest in our potential. One that made us all healthy, strong, handsome, and beautiful. What if it was a costume we enjoyed wearing so much that we never wanted to take it off?

What if yoga was a universal guidance to help everyone improve their quality of life?  What if it didn’t matter how it was manipulated, changed, or integrated, it still managed to maintain its original purpose?

What if yoga fit everyone perfectly?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Its All About Chemistry

My experiment this weekend did not go as I expected; such is science. It was non-the-less an atom splitting discovery. Eureka! I think I’ve got it!

I started my trial with an hour of full productivity ( A Pickle in Time) and ended satisfied. Next I began a full hour of doing as little as I possibly could. I lay in savasana, eyes open, trying not to think of anything at all except to rate how ‘fast’ time was passing.

Great idea until 15 minutes in I fell asleep and woke up to the timer beeping, time perception was over, my analysis ruined. Statistically, there was not enough evidence to conclude that my first hour spent was any different than my second hour spent. Statistically, there was only enough evidence to conclude my whole idea was flat ridiculous.

To get over my poor study design, John and I decided to go get some dinner. It was a Friday night and very early. Early enough to go down to Phil’s BBQ which usually has a line wrapped around the building. But at 4pm we could walk in nonchalant, share a beer and even sit and chat with no pressure from the wait staff to turn over our table. ‘Twas lovely!

Afterwards, it was still so early we decided to stop by Home Depot and dream about our house and build ideas about our future projects. On the way home I remember looking at my phone and shrieking in amazement “Baby, its only 6 o’clock. We still have all night.”

Once we got home we tinkered and goofed off and then just got super silly, cracking up a few side splitting laugh-o-thons. Finally, we calmed ourselves and started a fantastically smart new television series ‘Boardwalk Empire’. It was on the couch when I finally sat down where I had my epiphany.

I was falling in love with the evening. We had done so many things and were having so much fun, and time was at a stand still for no reason at all. Time was not flying by, it was right there in the moment.

This was a typical evening for us and there was no other place in the world I would have rather been. There was nothing else in the universe or any other dimension I would have rather been doing. It was there that I realized I cannot control time, nor even try to control how I perceive it.

It is like falling in love. That desperate emotion to guard it, keep it and maintain it will only suffocate it and smother out its fire. And no matter how difficult it was, I remember, at that time in the beginning when things were in romantic chaos, I knew that I had to let go. I had to let fate, and the universe do what it wanted to do because things like these cannot be controlled. It was at that moment I jumped in.

And so I jumped into the time in my life where I could just let go and enjoy being in love with the moment.