Thanks for coming November

This has been a week I’d rather forget (and believe me, I’m all about seeing patterns and learning from them, etc, etc, but damn the last 7 days have kicked my ass!).  In fact November (I usually love November as it’s my birthday month and indicates all sorts of much anticipated things like summer holidays, beaches, sea swimming and sleeping in late), has been a month from hell.  Really.  November 2011 almost had me in the ground (or at least on some serious coping medication).

And the last weekend in November pulled out all the stops and said: “Hey, bitch, you are 30 and awesome and everything, but for fuck sakes can you please sort your shit out!”  Take three ex-boyfriends, one foot-in-mouth friend, too much wine, some insane blasts from the past, a long-desired unrequited flame, a bad case of an inability to say ‘no’ and some wild hormones, and you have the following:

  • Exhaustion on a very basic level (and finally making some decisions because something had to give)
  • A realisation that even when money is good, toxic work environments contaminate your soul (and may led to homicide)
  • Ex-boyfriends arriving in your space literally one behind the other is something to take note of.  Some represent a youthful love that has a special place in your heat always, but is so very far removed from who you are now; some represent something you’ve always wanted, never had, and on reflection may not want at all anymore; and some just leave a bitter-sweet taste in your mouth and a desire to shake your head and shout “Really?! Really?!”. 
  • Being on The Pill is not a joke and the beginning of that journey shouldn’t be taken lightly, because: goodbye contraceptive pill, hello mad moods and a body in turmoil. 
  • When I am unable to practice every morning, I need to reassess.  When I am hating practicing, my body hurts all over and I keep hitting snooze, taking a few days off is ok.
  • Thank God for the lightness of retail (thank you Anthropologie):


Vegetarian guilt

I braced myself and watched Earthlings yesterday. Ok, so I watched the trailer, but that was more than enough.  I was 4 seconds in and sobbing, and 20 seconds in I was gagging.  It’s the kind of movie where the images live with you for days afterwards, and part of me wants to jump off a high building because I feel so utterly devastated by the state of the humans in this world.

I’ve been a vegetarian for 16 years and seeing documentaries like this reminds me why I became a vegetarian at 14 and why I still am one.  I’ve never been a preachy veggie, but there are days, like today, where I feel pretty damn militant.  I think the problem is that so many people have no idea where their meat comes from (and it’s not from the meat aisle in Woolies, FYI…) and they remain completely (and mostly by choice) uneducated about the treatment of the world’s animals (and not just in terms of the meat industry: fur, testing on animals, puppy mills, hunting, whaling…it’s an almost inexhaustible list). 

[I get that you like meat, but, really, you like it that much?  And, no, you do not need it. Really.]

And then I get to thinking about my own place in the world, and maybe I need to re-evaluate.  Perhaps being vegetarian is not enough.  I was a vegan for 2 years, many years ago, and damn, veganism is hard work, and shit, I like milk chocolate and dairy products, but maybe that isn’t the point.  Just because it’s hard and hampers my social life, doesn’t mean that I should be eating animal products, or anything that supports the exploitation of animals – maybe it’s about making sacrifices for the things you really believe in.

It also means not buying leather handbags, belts, shoes and flipping gorgeous leather biker jackets; it means being educated about eating locally and sustainably, knowing the lifecycle of the food you consume, recycling, and checking the contents of all the products you use and eat/drink, even if they happen to be products that promise to takes years off your age, or are things you love to eat. 

It becomes completely unnerving if you start to think about the implications of everything you do and everything you buy, and I feel a quite defeated, I have to say.  What impact does my veganism have on the people slamming clubs into seal skulls, or those walking through the litres of terror and blood on abattoir floors every day?

I’m not sure where to next.  Sign up with Green Peace and hope to make a difference in a world consumed by money and small-mindedness, or give it all up and sit atop a mountain in the Himalayas with just the clothes on my back, meditating and living on air and water?
Make the Connection.

A change in decades and a decade of changes

This weekend is a birthday weekend.  A 30th birthday weekend.  Here’s what happens when you change digits so monumentally (and turning 30 is a big deal, let nobody tell you otherwise):

  • You realise that you were a jerk at 21 to think that everyone over 26 had one foot in the grave (and that they had life all figured out)
  • You have decided who you love and who you don’t – you have a select group of friends who you respect, admire and who make you laugh.  It’s awesome
  • You’ve had your heart shattered, indulged in some pretty crazy obsessive behaviour (in the name of love of course), usually succumbed to some pretty intense depression, taken some drugs, partied like you should (and thought you should), slept with inappropriate people, kissed people of the same sex for the attention, hated your body, loved your body, mistreated your body
  • You have worked your way through your issues, sometimes paying years’ worth of therapy bills.  You can now eloquently describe your stuff and why it’s there (even if you’re still not sure how not to repeat those same old patterns)
  • You’ve experimented – sexually, with your career, with your diet, with your chemicals, with your style
  • You know what you believe in – things like vegetarianism, living as green a life as possible, buying organic, local and in season
  • You have identified the big loves in your life – the important, significant relationships that you’ll still be thinking about when you are 94.  Maybe they never worked out, but there will always be one or two people that give you goosebumps just thinking about them; people you will love forever
  • You’ve discovered the strength of both hormones and the sun
  • You’ve travelled with just a backpack and haven’t given much thought to putting money away for a rainy day
  • You don’t really care so much what other people think
  • You know what you like, who you are and what you will and won’t accept
  • You also know that what you know isn’t really all that much, and that having an open-mind is your biggest asset
  • You’ve learnt through lengthening and strengthening that all the hype about yoga isn’t just hype
  • You know that people change; everything changes.  All the time.  Your joy is your number one priority. 

I don’t really feel very different to what I did at 27 (that’s the age I still think I am), but I feel way different to what I did at 21 (thank God).  2011 has been a wild but wonderful year – pretty much 3 years in the space of 11 months – and although I didn’t really have a list of things that I ‘would be’ or ‘would have’ at 30, I do feel like my 30th year has been bloody phenomenal, with so many things coming together (sometimes through coming apart).  I by no means have very much figured out, but I can say that I am happy: being the age I am now is

Beyond November

It’s a case of over-commiting and under-delivering, which is not a great place to be as a freelancer.  It’s where I find myself now though, with the end of the year hurtling towards us.

I have a string of jobs on the go, with every minute of every day accounted for.  I also have a whole lot of amazing ideas crashing around my head and I’d love to devote some proper time to them (and get a business plan penned), but there isn’t any.  So I am waiting for the beginning of December when everything should start settling – the schools break for the year (no more kids yoga), one of my contacts ends, and work pretty much starts winding down to shutdown, Kenton, Cape Town and Mozambique.  Holding on!

One thing I’m tying my hardest not to cut (when all I want is more sleep) is my practice. 

Ashtanga is usually practiced in a studio without mirrors, which is something I like.  I’m not terribly fond of the observation of my reflection, although there is something to be said for it, as I discovered:

  • My chaturanga is a bit odd in terms of symmetry and I can’t decide if that’s why my elbows are sore (golfer’s elbow, can you believe it?!  The irony: I go out of my way to avoid golfers, who eat away weekends walking with their mates, chasing little white balls)
  • My practice is different – sometimes I forget (although I say it to my students all the time), but the more you practice, the more your body changes (it’s actually a no-brainer)
  • I have muscles and my body has changed considerably in the last 3 years
  • A look in the mirror really illustrates the point: We can sometimes feel so very different in our body’s to how we look to the world and how the world perceives us
  • A mirror is a distraction: good for alignment and a lightbulb moment, but then it’s better to put aside reflections.  And that goes for every day.  Throw away mirrors and scales 🙂

Thanks Kino: