We are all connected to each other.

 

yogis

 

 

First of all, I would just like to apologize that it has been so long since my last blog post. Inspiration hits when it hits, I suppose.

I was in a packed class the other day, of about thirty plus people, mat to mat. It’s mid summer, hot, and were are all sweating somethin’ ugly. With all of us so close together, we were grazing each other with our hands and arms during the class. Most of us just smile and keep going with our sun salutations. No big deal, right?

Suddenly, I had a flashback to when I first started yoga in the gym. I remember this woman who was next to me in class. We were starting our sun salutes, and I accidentally touched her hand with mine. She immediately made a “Oooh, I know you didn’t mean to touch me, but I really wish you hadn’t” face. Then, she moved her mat farther away from mine, to make sure we wouldn’t make contact with each other again. I have to say that her actions didn’t make me feel too good about myself, or about her.

It’s funny how things like that stay with you.

When I started going to yoga at my studio, it was completely different. My teacher encouraged touch, connection with other students. She would encourage looking each other in the eyes and smiling. A lot of the time, we would all face our mats in a circle during class. That way, we couldn’t help but see each other’s faces. It was nice. Yes, I realize that sounds like a very “Peace and love” kind of attitude. But, it made me realize how rarely I did these simple things. A lot of people are so caught up in their own lives, that they forget they are sharing this world with other people. And what they do affects the world around them.

Living in LA for so many years, I’ve learned that a lot people would rather walk past you on the street, than make eye contact. And, God forbid…say hello. So, I try to look at it as more of a game. So, whenever I’m out in public and catch someone’s eye, I say “Hello”. I have seen a wide variety of responses. I have had people stop, say hello, and comment on the weather. Some people give me scared, half grins, and quickly start speed walking. Others give me eye contact with no facial expression. Then there are the people who don’t acknowledge me at all. And, that’s okay.
It just surprises me how many people aren’t interested in connecting with people that they don’t know.
Maybe it’s that Texas boy coming out in me. I don’t know.

Yoga, to me, IS about connecting with other people, especially in class. When my teacher comes around and just pats me on the back, I feel more plugged into class. He could say, “Good job, J.”, and I’m grinning like an idiot. Something so simple can make such a huge difference for me. It makes me feel good about myself, and brightens my day. I recently held hands with someone I know, during savasana. After that, I was beaming from ear to ear. Are you kidding?? Human touch can be very powerful also, but you have to be open to it.  I’m not saying to go and grab someone’s hand during savasana, either. If you don’t know them, they may not be down for that.

What I am saying, is that we as individuals, have the power to affect the people and world around us. You have the ability to single-handedly put a smile on someone’s face, or completely fuck up their day. So, I choose to say hello to people, make them laugh. It’s what I’ve always done to the people I know. But, yoga has reminded me to do the same to others that I don’t know. It gets me some funny looks, but like I said, I’ve made it into a game.

What I learn in class, I use outside of class.
Yoga has definitely broken down some emotional walls for me, and has got me out of my shell quite a bit.
It has made me a more confident, loving person.  And, for that, I am grateful.

So, maybe the next time you pass someone on the street, look at them instead of through them. Say hello and smile. It could potentially brighten their day!

Lastly, if you happen to graze someone in class, I promise… you will be OK. And, so will they.
Just brush it off, along with the sweat, and finish your sun salutes! It’s not that serious.

In a way, we are all connected. We are all one.
Maybe we should start acting like it?

 

Will you listen to yourself???

 

Before:after

“Let’s listen and bring our voices together with three, sweet oms”, my teacher says.

The students, one by one, begin chiming in with their voices to produce the sound on an “om”. It starts out so sweetly and innocent.
And, then out of nowhere, you start to hear, “aaaaaaAAAAAHHHHHHH”. This sound will seek out a grown persons spinal cord, and your body starts to twitch as a result.
I always sit in the very front, so this off key “om” hits the back of my head and engulfs my body like Santa Ana winds.

“WHOOOSH!!”

Of course, the first thing I say to myself is, “What the fuck is wrong with this girl? Is she tone deaf? In the room of elephants, does she NOT know she’s the pink one??” I usually roll my eyes to myself and try to clear this irritation from my mind, and pray that the end of the “Oming” comes soon. I also quickly realize that I’m in a yoga studio and it’s not nice have asshole thoughts while I’m on my mat.
She needs to LISTEN! Listen to herself and the people around her.

Listening is a skill, I believe. And, I’m still learning. I posted a side by side picture recently on my facebook page. It was a picture of me with a black eye, next to a picture of me recently, smiling. The one with the black eye was when I was in my slightly abusive relationship and before yoga. The other was post yoga, full of happiness, and maybe a little vodka. :-)
Right after I posted that picture, I was flooded with comments and support. I also received a few private messages from people telling me that they are/were in similar situations. They reached out for help, an ear.  And, I was more than happy to oblige. I know what it’s like to be not happy in your life and not know what to do. Actually, I did know what to do. I just didn’t have the courage to do it.

Looking back on that whole experience, I can honestly say that I had absolutely no business being in a relationship at that time.
Period.
I wasn’t happy in general, at that point in my life. I especially had no business moving to another city to be with someone who constantly put me down, and made me anxious. No business. It’s because I wasn’t listening to myself, my gut. We all know when something isn’t right in our lives. A lot of times we may perk up, take notice, but ultimately fall short on taking action. If you want to change your situation, changing your way of thinking is a great start. Listening to yourself would be step one.

“Why am I so unhappy? Why do I hate my job? Why does my mate make me want to vomit from anger?” 

For the longest time, my life was just in chaos, a true mess. Until I found my yoga practice, I had no idea that my life could harmonize with the world around me. I had no idea that I could be happy. Did you know this??
Since I started yoga three years ago, I’ve been able to find clarity in many things that were hazy for a long time.  But the trick is that you have to listen and recognize what is making you unhappy or stressed.

I think a lot of us tend to put up with certain things because we think that they can’t be changed. And, a lot of times that may be the case.
However, you do have control over one thing…yourself.  You have the ability to make better choices, which help to improve your mental health.
When I finally realized that I wanted my life to change, I did the following:

1. Listened to myself and the people who cared about me
2. Made a list of goals for myself
3. Surrounded myself with good/positive people
4. Did a “friend cleanse” (I was tired of hanging around with assholes and negative folks)
5. Stayed focused by going to yoga (yoga might not be your thing, so find something that keeps you steady)

This WORKS!

I truly believe that once you rid yourself of the crap in your life and stay focused, good things will come.
With that being said, you have listen to yourself and recognize the “crap” that is causing your problems.

Your happiness is worth more than anything. Take care of yourself and make a change.

Most days you can find me on my yoga, at the studio. And, PLEASE, listen to yourself when you’re “Oming”.
The voices are supposed to become one.
If this is a problem for you, let me know ahead of time.

I’ll bring you a bucket so you can carry a tune!

Yoga, Religion, And Spirituality…Oh My!!!

 

I went on a date recently.

“So, tell me a little more about yourself. What are your hobbies? Are you religious?”, I asked.
“Actually, I am. I’m a Christian. I don’t like the gay churches because I feel like they push gay pride on people. They aren’t there for that reason. So, I just go to the churches that don’t accept me, sit in the back, and listen to the sermons. I like the overall message at those churches.”
“Are you serious? Because that doesn’t make any sense.  Well, I’m agnostic with Atheistic tendencies and I haven’t been to church since I was eighteen. By the way, how was your steak?”

I quickly flagged down the waitress and gave her the universal “finger check sign”. I practically hurled my debit card at her.

Religion/Spirituality and Yoga. Can there be separation, or is it all intertwined?

Religion and Spirituality are always touchy subjects for me; I guess they are for most people. I grew up in a conservative town in southeast Texas and attended Catholic masses every week. I went to church camps, catholic retreats, fundraisers, attended CCD classes, and even sang in the church choir. Not to mention that I was an altar boy for several years! So, I knew my way around the catholic church.
After practically growing up as a Catholic, I never really felt good, saved or accepted. There was always something missing; this was even BEFORE I realized that I was gay. I remember the parishioners outside of church calling people names, and doing “unholy things”. I couldn’t understand how people could in “the house of God”, hear these great stories about love, and then walk outside talking shit about people. It just didn’t make sense to me. It wasn’t right.
As I’ve grown older, my views of religion and spirituality have changed quite a bit. I don’t really believe in a giant ark with two of every animal on board, talking snakes, and taking ribs from people. It’s even harder to swallow due to the fact that these are stories/interpretations written by people (some illiterate I might add) thousands of years ago. What might have been blue with yellow dots last week, is now purple with black stripes today. Stories ALWAYS change with time.

With that being said, I DO believe there might be “something else” going on besides what we see. I do believe in spirits. And, the only reason why I say that is because my sister and I both have had personal experiences with them. Plates moving, hearing noises, seeing lights, and something grabbed my foot when I was alone one night. I can’t explain them, I just know that they happened.

When I started my yoga practice almost three years ago, it was all about the asana. Gaining muscle, flexibility, and working up to that sweet savasana. Then, I began to hear stories about Hindu deities, buddhism, miracles, purple rain, and elephant gods during classes. I started to shutdown and tried to separate the two.  And, “What the hell are mala beads anyway??”

I didn’t want any part of it.

I mean, how could I? I was a self-proclaimed Agnostic that was leaning towards Atheism. If I wasn’t sure about Jesus, why would Lord Shiva and Ganesha be any different? I was very conflicted. Because most religions/spiritual groups seem to believe that they are “right”, or know best.

So, what’s the answer here?

I sure the hell don’t know. I say to myself, and other people, that I don’t consider myself religious. Yet, I have a 16″ Nataraja murti on display in my living room. I have it because of what it means to ME. I’ve heard the stories and meaning behind this murti (why he’s positioned this way, what he’s doing, why he’s doing it, etc…) and I like them. I like the stories and how they relate to MY life.

I recently had to part ways with a friend of mine due to our differences in regards to religious beliefs. I said that people should “believe what they wanted to believe in. Just as long as they weren’t hurting anybody. And, that there are many ‘Truths’ with everything.” She didn’t agree and we had to end our friendship after a several heated discussions. This was upsetting because we should all be able to believe in whatever without judgement or fear. Unfortunately, this is not a current reality.

I DO believe that there are many “Truths”. It doesn’t mean one is more “right” than the other. Just different. One of my favorite stories, that I heard in yoga class, was the story of the six blind men and the elephant. Check it out HERE. I think you might enjoy it!

I’m still on the fence about Gods, religions, purple rain and spirituality. I can only do what I feel is right for me, and my own personal experiences with them. I’m not saying that my way of thinking is right. It is what I believe, to be my “Truth.” Everyone needs something to believe in. Whether it be Catholicism, Buddhism, Hindu, Science, or nothing at all.  I think belief systems become a problem when one tells another that they are wrong, and “this is what is going to happen if you don’t believe this.” Spiritually/religion/whatever should stay within ourselves, make it our own. Our own truth.

I thought these stories in class were going to affect my downward dogs and handstands. But, they didn’t. I take from them what I want, make them my own, or just tune it out. Some of the stories are fun. It gives me something to listen to when I have my leg behind my head. :-)

And that’s the truth!

New York, New York

 

“I hate Cedars Sinai, I fucking hate Los Angeles, I just want to be back in New York! My flight was delayed due to weather last night. I only had four hours of sleep before having to come here today. The only reason I even bothered to show up was because I didn’t want you to give me another verbal warning like you did the last time. I’m in no mood to take care of patients today!”

I’m ninety-nine percent sure that those were my exact words to my supervisor, on my first day back to work. I had just got home from my first trip to New York City. It was a little fuzzy only because I was balling uncontrollably for about ten minutes in his office. I had my face in my hands, crying. I was crying like a little girl who’s brother had just ripped the head off of her barbie. And, the only reason my hands left my face was to curse and to tell him how much I hated where I was geographically.

It was really something.

Following the “Cry me a river” meeting, my boss sent me home.  I couldn’t have been there for more than thirty minutes.

To say that my first trip to Manhattan/New York was amazing, would be a bit of an understatement. It’s still hard for me to find the right words to describe my six days there. I’ve always heard how great the city was for years, but never had a huge desire to go. Once I finally got there, I got it. I just got it.
The friend who I was visiting was an incredible host. He was able to spend every day with me while I was on my vacation, from morning until night. He lives in the East Village, which was so cool. I didn’t want to do a lot of touristy crap. I wanted my friend to show me HIS New York. Here are some of the memorable highlights:

1. Spent the first day basically restaurant and pub hopping. We were drunk most of the time.
2. Times Square
3. Assisted my friend while he did makeup on the Tranny who got kicked off of America’s Next Top Model.
4. Took the subway, a choo choo train, a bus, and a ferry in order to get to Fire Island.
5. Running running hand in hand through the sand, drunk, from one part of island to the other, at 3am. (We had just left from watching a bad drag show)
6. Falling off a peer and scraping the shit out of my leg on the island.
7. Eating a dessert that you would step over your own mother to get.
8. Holding hands with my friend and running around the city.
9. Going to the Central Park Zoo
10. Seeing a broadway show (Peter and The Starcatcher)
11. My friend agreeing to take a yoga class from an amazing teacher I know in Brooklyn.
12. Seeing The Stonewall Inn
13. Seeing Carrie Bradshaw’s apt
14. And, on my last day…my friend showing me The Statue of Liberty on his computer because we ran out of time to see it in person.

 

I never realized it before, but by comparison, Los Angeles is really boring. Everyone has the same car, wears the same brand name clothes, and strives to be buff and beautiful. Yes, New York loves its fashion, too.  But, for the most part, everyone wants to be unique individuals. I also found it easier to strike up conversations with people in NY. People just love talking in that city, which is the opposite here in LA; no one wants to know anyone.

I met/saw more interesting people in six days than I had in a long time on the west coast. It was incredible, and very inspiring.
Naturally, halfway through my vacation, I asked myself, “What the hell am I doing in Los Angeles?? How and when can I move here?” I truly fell in love with the city and I am looking forward to my next trip out there.

I also realize that I was on vacation. I’m not walking around in the snow in the winter, and sweating profusely in the summer. I’m not hauling groceries up three flights of stairs or paying an outrageous amount for rent. I was completely free of responsibilities and it felt amazing. It wasn’t my every day reality.  But, it’s nice to escape every now and then.

 

For now, LA is my home, my reality.  My dog, cat, amazing friends, and yoga kula are here. LA is a great city;  you just have to see through all of its bullshit to really appreciate it. And, I can. :-)

And who knows, I may move to NYC one of these days. And, if not, I will always remember the incredible experiences I had during my first time there. The first, of many times to come.

Thanks for everything, C.

XOXO.

 

PS- If you’re ever out that way, check out Julie Dohrman’s classes at VIRAYOGA, in the city. She also teaches at Bend And Bloom in Brooklyn. You won’t regret it!

And, you can grab that Prune/mascarpone cheese dessert at Frankies 570 on Hudson St in Manhattan. You’ll DIE!

I realize this post wasn’t very “yoga-ish.” But, ehhh…it is what it is. There were also way too many moments during my trip to write down or to put into words. And, I don’t know…most of the specials ones, in my mind, are just for me. :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Grandmother Just Passed Away

Louise Wismer, my grandmother, passed away last Thursday (April 5, 2012), at the age of 85. And, to be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about it. When I had first heard about her death, I was sad and angry at the same time. I wanted to rush to my computer and start typing away in the blog to get my thoughts out. Instead, I took a step back, and thought about what I really wanted to say.  Before I get bombarded with condolences, please allow me to explain.

I always believed that my grandmother and I had a very close, loving relationship. I would stay and her and my grandpa’s house almost every summer when I was a kid. They would take me on small trips, my grandpa would teach me how to oil paint on canvas, and I would help her cook dinners. My grandmother was at every orchestra concert that I was in during school (I played the violin), every church event I was a part of, and we celebrated holidays at her house. So, it’s safe to say that she had an active role in my upbringing. She and my grandpa would always tell me how proud I made them, and how much they loved me. I had no reason to question this.

This woman was extremely independent, never complained about any problems she may have had, kept busy and up to date with modern technology (we would chat on AIM for god sake). The woman worked until she was 83! With that being said, I have come to realize something over the years…everything changes. It’s inevitable. In 2007, my paw paw, and her husband of sixty plus years, passed away. That was the first time I had ever seen her cry. I couldn’t image losing someone who was that close to you. And, as to be expected, she changed a bit. Her sadness was evident. My aunts and the rest of the family made sure she was never really alone or ever bored. I would call her several times a week as well to chat with her and keep her up to date on whatever I was doing. Her spirits did lift a bit for a while.

Then BAM! My mom, her daughter, passes away in December of 2010. And from then on, I didn’t know who she was. I’m going to tell you right now, death can bring out the best or worst in people. Unfortunately, I experienced the latter. There was a LOT of drama following my mother’s death, and most of which was my grandmother’s doing. I go in specific detail about those events in THIS blog entry. When my mom died, I was nine months into my yoga practice and was ridding my life of negativity. My aunts and my grandmother were a part of my cleansing, my healing. As much as I loved my family, I refused to be around such hatred; It wasn’t healthy for me. How could one word tear a family apart? But, it did. I haven’t spoken to my aunts for a year and a half now. And, as of a few days ago, I will never be able to speak to my grandmother again. It’s not that I never tried to reconcile, it’s just that she wasn’t interested.

My life has changed so much, for the better, over the past year and a half. I’m the happiest that I’ve ever been and I’m surrounded by people who love me. I couldn’t imagine harboring such anger towards someone, and a family member no less, until my death. I never want to know what that feels like. I have forgiven my aunts long ago for their actions, and I hope they can find happiness in their lives. We would have never known my grandmother died, had my dad not looked in the paper and saw her obituary. No one even called us.

After sharing this news with my yoga teacher, she told me something that I really liked. “I understand your anger, my friend. They aren’t evil. They have hurt you and your family. Think of them as wayward children who are lost and don’t know to find their way. You are on your path of love and forgiveness. Forgive them and send them peace; It’s the best work we can do.” I have forgiven them.

I know my grandmother still loves me and is proud that I’m her grandson. I truly hope that she is finally happy and at peace. I do miss her.

I love you maw maw!

 

“It’s easy to forgive someone who deserves it. However, it’s not as easy to forgive someone who has harmed you in some way. But, we need to try, as they are the ones who need it the most.” ~ JOHN FRIEND

I Have Family Everywhere I go!

I recently returned from a short trip to San Francisco. The original intent of my visit was to participate in a 3hr yoga workshop, with the main focus being arm balances and hip openers. I also planned on reconnecting with a few friends that I had not seen in a good while. Leaving the city, I left with more than just sore muscles. I had acquired new friends, family.

A few months ago, I had made 2 new facebook/yogi connections, Scott and Jeannie. I met these guys through my friend Sean, and his partner, Jeremiah. I had never met these two in person, just online. And, since we had mutual friends, I already knew they were good people. Sean was teaching the workshop I planned on attending at Yoga Tree SF. Sean and I planned a get together at his place after the workshop was over, so that I could meet my new facebook yogis in person.

I had just booked the hotel about a week prior to my visit when Scott contacted me. “That’s silly for you to spend money on a hotel. Why don’t you just stay at my boyfriend’s place for the weekend? He’ll be out of town, and I’ll be at an immersion Saturday and Sunday. That way, you’ll have the place to yourself?” I was truly stunned. I’ve never physically met this person, yet he opened up his home to me. I mean, who does that??

Yogis.

The workshop on that Saturday was intense. I had not sweat that much in a long time. And, I’m not talking a “I just worked up a little somethin.” No, it was a “get away from me, you look and smell like a wet dog” type of sweat. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Three hours full of arm balances and hip openers are things that I have no problems with doing on my Saturday. And the fact that the workshop was taught by a lovely friend of mine was an added bonus. After heading back to the house for a much needed shower, I met up with Sean and Jeremiah at their place. When Scott and Jeannie walked in, I felt like I had known them for years.  Like I was reuniting with old friends. That evening was full of laughter, great conversation, food, wine, and positive energy. There was also handstands and other crazy poses thrown in as well. But,  that’s to be expected when you get five yogis together over wine.

At one point of the evening, I took a step back, and just watched everyone for a moment. I thought to myself, “These guys are my family. I’m home.”  Yoga has brought me together with these wonderful people, who truly care about me.”  And, I usually feel this way towards other yogis that I meet around the country. I have family everywhere I go because of my connection with yoga. It has brought nothing but good things to me. Sean, Jeremiah, Scott and Jeannie are no exceptions. I don’t go to class three of four times a week just for the asanas. It’s mainly because of the connections that I have made with other like minded people.

I think it’s difficult for people, who aren’t yogis, to understand why I would take plane trip for a three hour workshop. Or, why I am able to stay at someone’s place whom I’ve never met.

But, hopefully, with posts such as this one, they will have a better insight on my yoga journey.

 

Sean Haleen is a Hatha teacher at Yoga Tree Sf, Hayes location.

Jeremiah Wallace is a yoga teacher and dedicated student.

Jeannie Page is a dedicated yoga student, author of the blog, “TheAwakenedLife“, and a regular contributor to ElephantJournal.com.

Scott is a dedicated yoga student, and loving every minute of it.

 

I love you all!

 

 

Finding Clarity…In Vegas??

When people take trips to Las Vegas, they usually don’t remember most of it. And, if they do, they probably keep it to themselves. Binge drinking, meeting “professional women” on the strip and losing their entire paychecks in one weekend, are things that most people like to keep under wraps. There is a reason why Las Vegas has a slogan, ya know. But, my trips to Las Vegas are very different than most. I’m not too fond of the city itself, but the people I know there, are a different story. I go there to have coffee with friends, reflect, and do yoga.

I don’t need to lose money in Las Vegas. Los Angeles takes advantage of my bank account enough as it is. And, not as quickly.

I’ve come to the realization that the last few times I went to Vegas, was when I am really stressed and needed a “break.”  I did my taxes recently (which was disgusting), work has been stressing me out, and the drama within the Anusara community was confusing for me. And, I had been getting tension headaches because of all of this. So, away I went towards the desert.

I stayed with my friend, Tracie, and her family. She always opens her home up to me and knows why I go out there. She knows that I am there to see her, and she also understands that I’m there to find clarity with whatever I’m dealing with. I spent a lot of time with her over coffee, dinner and just hanging out. I took her and her husband to see the Cirque Du Soleil show, Zumanity, to show my appreciation. It was the least I could have done for them.

 

 

My main purpose of the trip was to get some insight from my teacher about the Anusara controversy. Where I stand, and where she stands.  After talking with her in class and at her house, I begin to realize that no matter what happens with Anusara itself, it shouldn’t affect me or my practice.  Yoga is always about the individual. You make it your own. If my teacher were to resign tomorrow, it would not change anything, nothing at all. No matter what she calls herself (Anusara, Ashtanga, etc.), I’d still be in her classes and follow her anywhere. The same goes for my teacher here in Los Angeles. I’ve already formed bonds with these people, and many with the other students as well. I love the style of yoga, yes. But, I love the people that I’ve met through it, more. It’s the people, and not so much the style, that keeps me coming back. It took many discussions over wine and cheese for me to understand this. But, I finally got it. 

Karen(my teacher) knew I had been struggling with various things recently. So, she got about six people from the Las Vegas kula together for wine, cheese, music and laughs. It was a real treat and just what I needed to cheer me up.  I’m not surprised. Most of my friends know what will cheer me up. I consider them my family. And, that’s what I got out of this trip. No matter what I’m going through, I remember that I have friends who are my family. And, that’s really all I need…to be surrounded by love and like minded people. I’m grateful for each and every one of them.

 

But, after four days of being in the desert, I was looking forward to geting back to Los Angeles. Las Vegas is full off dirt and it dried the crap out of my skin!

 

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D.C. Birthday…Round 2

 

So, I’m going to Washington D.C. for my birthday in a week and staying for four days. I’ve been to D.C. about 5 or 6 times because my ex was living there when I met him online 3yrs ago. I was in LA at the time. We had an online romance which turned into phone calls, visits, moving to Las Vegas together, buying cats, buying horses, matching mini coopers, owning a house, loving, fighting, breaking up numerous times, police involvement and THANK GOD THAT IS OVER! Oh…I’m sorry.

 

Despite all the crap that happened with the ex and me, I always enjoyed going to visit him in D.C. There is a lot of history and beauty within that city. This will be the first trip back to the city without him. And, almost 2yrs to the day since I have been there. During my prior visits, I acquired a friend in the process, Dell. We always stayed in contact during and even after the breakup. I got him in the divorce. :-) I still consider him a great friend to me. Very sweet, funny, eccentric and an overall good person. Just like all my friends. So I’m super excited to see him and meet his partner of 2yrs, Sam.

 

 

The last time I was out there, I was turning 30. And, I have to say, it was probably one of the crappiest birthdays that I can remember. My ex and I flew out there to see his friends and to celebrate. Which ultimately led to: Him seeing his friends, making the trip about him, and us getting into a fight.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

Dell and Sam are super excited that I’m coming to visit; as they should be. ;-) And, I’m really excited to get out of L.A. for a minute and reconnect with a friend I haven’t seen in a while. Dell says he plans on showing me the parts of D.C. that I haven’t seen before, and making this birthday experience UH-MAZING for me. This time ’round HAS to be better, right?  I was going to try and take a yoga class while I was out there, but I have a feeling I’ll be liquored up most of the time. So, we’ll see.  Some time away from L.A., work, and my kids will do me good.

I’m not saying that scooping litter during my birthday isn’t important…but a guy needs a break sometimes. Damn!

I’m sure this will be a birthday to remember.

Dell, Sam – I can’t wait to see you.

 

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On The Boundary…


 

To say that I’m not a fan of Tori Amos, is like saying Rick Perry loves gay people. Both of those statements are ludicrous. I saw her on December 18th, 2011 at The Orpheum Theatre, in downtown Los Angeles. It’s a very old, charming venue where every seat is a good seat. I’ve also see her twice before, in LA and Houston. Jamie, who I’ve known since I was 8yrs old,  introduced me to her music in 1997. We used to sit on her brother’s back porch (the one attached to his trailer), and analyze Tori Amos lyrics. If any of you have listened to her music, then you’re aware that you’ll spend most of your time trying to decipher what the hell she is even saying. Then once you can understand the words, you have the figure out what they lyrics even mean. It’s metaphors on top of metaphors. It’s like peeling the layers an onion when you’re listening to her music. It can be a challenge to figure out the meaning behind it all. But, somehow it all comes together.

My first Tori concert was 10yrs ago with Jamie, in Houston. So, when I got the tickets for this past December, I thought it was only right that Jamie go with me again. Tori played a wide variety of new and old tracks, which were UH-MAZING! It was her, her piano, and a string quartet. She usually has a band with her, so this concert was a bit different. A “sweet” different. A few songs stuck out and resonated with me a lot. I actually began crying during a couple of them. God, I’m such a wimp! :-) About midway through her performance, she played a track that I had never heard before. It was an OLD song from back in the late 80’s when she was first getting started in the business. It was called, “On the Boundary”.

Songs can mean different things to different people. For me, it was a song about someone who is love with another person that is emotionally unavailable. I’m sure we’ve all been in this position before. And, if you haven’t…good for you! But, you probably will come across this one day!  You may care and love someone very much, but that doesn’t mean they have to feel the same. As messed up as that sounds, it’s true. The timing could just be off. I remember thinking a long time ago, “How is it that I put so much effort in someone, and care this much for them…and they don’t feel the same? I don’t get it! ”  It’s an odd feeling. It was a song that resonated with me a lot. As sad as the message is, the song is so beautiful…

 

Check it out!

 

The night was quite magical. The piano, her voice, the quartet…brought back good memories. And, I captured some new ones to look back at in the future. Tori Amos is one of those artist that isn’t mainstream and isn’t for everyone. But, the ones who are fans, really “get” her. Isn’t that why love who we love? Because we “get” them? Or is it because we think we do?

 

On the boundary, baby.

 

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Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a very interesting year for me.  My mom passed away, I was laid off from my job, moved back to Los Angeles, short sold my first home, went back to work for Cedars Sinai(which I vowed to never do), and even reconnected with my ex. But, I’m still smiling!  Had it not been for my  friends and my yoga practice, I’m not sure how I would have turned out. I truly believe if one thinks positively and tries to find the good in everything, they will be successful in their life. Despite all the crap I had to go through, things just kept getting better and better. The way I like to look at the past year was this: My mom is no longer bed ridden, getting laid off got me out of Las Vegas(Thank god), I sold a home filled with bad memories and my job is great. My friends ARE my family and I couldn’t have done it without them. There are a lot of shitty people Los Angeles, and I do mean a LOT. But, this is my second time ’round with this city and I feel like I can see through all its crap . It’s not about what you’re wearing, how much money you have, where you work or how many times you go to the gym. For me, it’s about the relationships I have with others.

Next year will be filled with fun, good intentions, abundance and LOTS of handstands! I’m the happiest that I have been in a LONG time, and I don’t plan on that changing.  Thanks to everyone who was there for me when I needed you. You know who you are. I love you!

 

Merry Christmas!

 

J

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Email: JustinsJourney1@gmail.com