Monday, August 30, 2010


Short post today because I do not want to give in too fully to this anger that is boiling in my belly, that is making my scalp tingle, that is making me make some very. ugly. faces.

You all know that I tend toward the "it's all good" argument in terms of types of yoga, and I still feel that way.

We have no idea what another person is getting out of anything, much less their yoga, regardless of where or what or how.

Furthermore, some people get their "union with the universal/divine" experience from running or from soccer or from...whatever.  It's not ours to judge.

But as teachers of yoga or dance or movement of whatever system we are utilizing to help people come to a deeper understanding of their own capacity for joy and peace, we bear a burden.  We are to be held to higher standards.  We should be held to higher standards by our own hearts, but there are lesser evolved humans in every sphere of human action.

And the lure of celebrity status is not known to attract the most...selfless among us.

I am particularly angry, though, about this current yoga "scandal," because it is being perpetrated by a woman against other women.  A woman who calls herself a yogi, at that.

Do not buy Tara Stiles' new yoga weight loss book.

The advertising is base, classless, and cruel.

Thanks, Tara, for setting unrealistic and unhealthy goals for the women who look up to you.  Thanks, Tara, for contributing to women's self-loathing.  May your namesake Hindu Goddess bring you the wisdom you desperately need to use your privileged platform for good rather than self gain.

Enough said.

(Though if you need more, you can read Linda or Svasti, both of whom are covering this debacle wisely.)

Instead of wasting any money on that book, go out and take a class with a rockin', local teacher, or purchase some excellent music and dance in your living room.

It is never too late to embody your bliss, as I like to say, and that means swayin' those hips and lovin' that booty, until a smile is inevitable and self-hate is impossible.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Remembering 12 & A Giveaway!

You know that one of my favorite questions to ask people who say they don't know their bliss is: "What did you love when you were 12? Why has that changed?"

It changes, of course, for 1 million reasons and for no reason at all, as I like to say about the depression that almost stole my life and with which I battled tooth and nail until it coughed up my Dancing Soul.

It changes because we hit puberty and something happens to us...something inside starts to feel so precarious that outside forces start to have way too much power.

Instead of being protected from those outside forces by the women around us, a lot of those women offer us up to them.

Then we are lost, and if we are very persistent and very determined and do not harden our hearts, we find our way back, eventually, to ourselves.  Often this happens at around the age of 40.

(Marcy and I will be both writing more about this phenomenon in the near future, because we are both experiencing it in profound ways.)

Here is step one on this Quest: Remembering Twelve.

Who were you before the hormones washed over you?  Who were you before the cultural expectations grew dangerous claws and swiped at you every chance they had?

What did you love when you were twelve and what happened to it?  Where is it now?  What are you willing to do to get it back?

Answer those questions in the comments and you could be one of two people to get a sampler box (30 mixed packets) of this great, natural electrolyte drink that practically saved me from collapse when I had to teach in unbearable freaking heat this summer!

Ultima Replinisher asked me to try their product and I told them, sure, but no promises, because I only ever tell you guys about things I really truly like.  And I think in over two and half years of blogging, this might be only the second (third, max) time that I have done this.

I like this stuff.  A lot.

My dancing self loves it.

My students appreciated the fact that I could last through a class even when it was over 100 degrees (with humidity) and we were working in a studio with no air.

Enough said.  Leave a comment about those twelve year old related questions and you'll be entered in a drawing.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Put Down that Book!

(Lilly cat is one of my main gurus. You can see why, I'm sure.)

I have mentioned many times that reading pretty much saved me when I was young.  I would just dive into books and stay there for hours and days on end.  I think, too, that books gave me these wonderful glimpses into other ways of being.

Any time I was interested in anything new, my first instinct was to head to the library and read about it.  Part of this was a general fear of living, a fear of anything new, and a safety inside those pages, and another part was that, due to my home life, it was very unlikely (pretty much 100% of the time) that I would actually get to try any of those newly intriguing things.

Living vicariously, for sure.

This habit continued into adulthood and only recently have I started to see how negatively it has impacted my life.

(Thank goodness I did not just stick to reading about dance, for instance...or yoga!  Thank goodness I also DO those things.)

I have also mentioned, only half jokingly, that I have read enough in the field of psychology to be awarded some level of degree.

So when we finally figured out that I suffer from Complex PTSD, I started doing my thing.  I started reading anything I could get my hands on about it.  I started looking for the most current thinking about treatment.  I started digging into the cutting edge work about what they think is going on in the brain.

And then it happened.

Something I thought would not happen to me, for some reason.

Have you ever seen those blog posts written by trauma people that say at the top "Warning: This may be a triggering post."

I always think, "Yeah, whatever..."

I don't know why I have dismissed this.  Perhaps because I have just always seen reading as part of my "medicine."

About three weeks ago, I was reading about how and why our brain will cut up the most difficult memories into sensory chunks, storing them in different parts of the brain and not creating connections between them.  This is why a smell can bring back part of a feeling of a memory but not the whole thing, for example.

This article really stuck with me.

And then...a wave of partial memories started washing over me.  One after another.

It made me sick to my stomach.

I used to get so angry that I couldn't "complete" these bits and pieces of memory, that I couldn't figure out what and when they came from.  Now I know that my brain is a bit smarter than I have ever given it credit for.

Sometimes our brain is protecting us.  Sometimes things aren't meant to ever be remembered whole.  Sometimes our brain knows that that would be too much for us.

We had a couple of very difficult days here at the Lilypad from my reading induced trigger episode.  But we got through it.

And now I have some new rules for myself:

First, no more reading (for now) about Complex PTSD; it really can trigger you, even just the theoretical stuff.  Or maybe MORE SO the theoretical stuff because it allows your triggers to fill in the blanks, so to speak.

Second, no more disrespecting my brain's wisdom.  I go on and on here about body wisdom, and I often bash brain, but brain is part of this body and now I see what it has been up to all along.

This is not about intentionally repressing.  NO WAY!  But it is about appreciating the function and efficacy of the brain's natural tendencies.

It is also about respecting the fact that I know enough of my own story (in great detail) to know why I am the way I am.  I know enough to now notice my triggers and to work with and through them.  I know enough to figure out why I behave the way I do sometimes.

I know enough to heartily and steadfastly work toward health.

I know enough to respect the intuitions of my brain and body and put down those books.

Monday, August 23, 2010

And She Returns Amidst Some Chaos...

This photo is just a sneak peak into my brain and things that are whirling around in there regarding this blog.  And yes, those are my feet at our lake.

My time off from blogging daily has been a much needed break, and again, I thank all of my regular readers for your patience, and I welcome all the new readers.  Posting less frequently seems to give the material time to be read by a larger audience, and so, though I have learned tons that I will be sharing over the following days and weeks, one thing I have learned about this blog in particular is that I change the content way too quickly and way too often.

So I will, for a time, be experimenting with a three-times-a-week schedule, starting this week.

The chaos to which I refer in the title is that some unexpected and good things have happened during my time off.

I was out of the blue offered a writing class to teach at a local college that is a branch of my alma mater.  I have not taught writing in any setting for a few years and so I am nervous but excited to begin TODAY.

In the meantime, I have been trying to finish up with some project work centered around my yoga and dance teaching, and eventually, hopefully quite soon, you will see the fruits of that around these parts.

And in just under two weeks, I will be headed to a weekend retreat with Erich Schiffmann, my first teacher -- via video, and I am super excited to meet this man.  I adore his writing, his teachings, and his VOICE.  (Giggle)

After Labor Day week, I will be changing and adding to my yoga and dance teaching schedule, so, for approximately 12 weeks, I will be teaching 7 days a week!  I am NUTSO, obviously.

How about you?  How are you all doing?  Anything new and exciting going on during this back-to-school time?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Trying Too Hard with a Little Side of the Reality of Injury

This is another check-in post to let you know a bit about where I am in this process of learning about and working with Complex PTSD.  I think I may get back to regular blogging next week, and I appreciate all your patience and your helpful words of wisdom.

Recently, I've had a bit of an epiphany about how I go about Pushing Through Life.

When you are a small person living in precarious circumstances, you learn a few things about Trying.

You learn to try really hard to keep the peace.

You learn to try really hard to help other people feel good.

You learn to try really hard to be the person other people need you to be, according to whatever is happening in that moment.

You learn to try really hard to never reveal your fear.

You learn to try really hard to justify your very existence.

Living in an environment as I did (and as many of you did, I'm sure), you learn, one way or another, that you are not valued simply for being you.

You definitely get the message that you may very well be a waste of space, a waste of breath.  So you learn that if you try hard enough, maybe, just maybe some day...some day, someone will say, "Okay, you earned it. You're allowed to be here. You can relax."

Of course, this never happens, and so we grow into adults who think we have to prove ourselves.

We grow into adults who assume, for instance, that people don't simply like us but that we must earn their tolerance, and one wrong move...

It's a little like being perpetually on audition, but, of course, it's much worse than that.

This habit of trying too hard is very tiring, indeed.

I am always, pretty much, exhausted.  And I am always, always, always whining about this and wondering why.  Wondering what food I could eat or what exercise I could do or what magic pill I could take to feel energized.

But it's not about what I put into my body; it's about the injuries that I have in my Being.  I don't mean that I am intentionally holding onto those injuries (and please don't insult me by leaving a comment along the lines of "let it go...").

When your physical body is injured, there remains forever a shadow of that injury, whether it be a scar or that place on a bone where it has re-knit after a break which can be seen on thousand year mummies.  You know...evidence.

But we, as a culture, don't allow for the fact that the same happens to our emotional bodies.  We are not weak for having scars on our psyches that will forever be shadowy reminders, occasionally aching like a phantom piece of ourselves.

We would never say to someone, for example, who has lost a limb, "Why don't you just grow that back?  I mean, if you would just get over it, I bet that would grow back all on its own..."


Okay, I am getting off track.

Trying too hard...

I do it every day and it's worn me out.  So now I have to figure out how to stop.  How to get to that place in Taoism of "no effort."

Have any of you succeeded with this?  Are any of you struggling with the same?

Monday, August 9, 2010

This Pain in My Ass that is Chronic Fear & Anxiety

(Title + Photo = Weird Juxtaposition but oh, well...)

I am not back to daily blogging by any means, but I wanted to write a "what's up" type of post.

I recently wrote about the awareness of pain and that continues to be the thesis of my daily life -- the recognizing of what I have been living with in this body for many decades.  The feeling of it.  The noticing of it.

Layer upon layer of noticing.  (And I thought I was a fairly awake kind of person so there is this added layer of "what the...")

The newest thing I am recognizing is the pervasiveness of fear and anxiety in my life.  Like pervasive as in "never goes away."

Anxiety and fear may simmer at low but they are never just gone.

Around every corner -- whether literal or in my mind -- there are threats to be negotiated.

What a way to live!  Sometimes I don't know how I have managed thus far (oh! Hello, repression).

Though Marcy would argue that I was born this way (and not because of genetics or biochemistry but because of some things that happened while I was in the womb), I would say that at the very latest, this manifested by the age of four, when I heard someone's life being threatened.  No more details necessary.

This was a key moment in my little life.  At the time, I stood up and left the room in which I was sitting, thinking to myself that that was something I should not have heard.  This memory is crystal clear to me.

So when I say I suffer from chronic anxiety that is the moment it was born.

I am researching natural remedies, though Marcy is actually encouraging a temporary usage of a pharmaceutical.  I do not favor this at all, as any regular reader knows.

In the meantime, yoga, dance, breathing...all of that and more but I am still this little person walking around with continual fireworks going off inside.

It hurts.  It sucks.  I am sick of it.

(Do not mistake that for despair or depression or giving up.  I do not and will not give up.  It is my nature to keep learning and keep going.  Period.  But for the first time, I am admitting how very hard this has been.)

Friday, August 6, 2010


 But the monks of the Middle Ages, and the clerics too, believed that the inner paradise was the ultimate ground of freedom in man's heart. To find it one had to travel, as Augustine had said, not with steps, but with yearnings. ...Paradise is simply the person, the self, but the radical self in its uninhibited freedom. 
Thomas Merton. Love and Living. (New York: Harcourt, 1965), p. 8. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Interview Over at Magpie Girl

Just stopping in for a second to tell you that I am part of an amazing interview series today over at Magpie Girl.  She is talking to people about being creative in spite of chronic conditions.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Give Me A Break

I need a break. Quite uncharacteristically, I'm giving myself one.  I've never done this in the approximately 28 months I've been blogging.  I was proud of that fact, but now other things need to take priority.

I'll be back.

Things are just extra hard...

I did not realize how much of my experience I was not feeling, and now that I am feeling it and noticing it, I am overwhelmed by and flooded with fears on a regular basis.  Welcome to awareness of Complex-PTSD.

I can't write a blog called BlissChick when I am feeling predominately like SadChick right now.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sometimes Everything Tastes Like Medicine

(Warning: This is a bit of a Rant & Whine.  We all need these once in a while.)

This is why people choose to stay asleep: it's hard to wake up.  It's uncomfortable. It can be painful.  It's so easy to just keep hitting the freaking snooze.

Like I wrote about last week, the awareness of pain can create more pain.  I believe this is temporary (like anything), but it can get tough.

I had a really tough Friday that had been building for a couple of days before that.

At times like that, suddenly, everything in my life tastes like medicine, feels medicinal.  Nothing is just for the fun of it.

I have to dance and move and do yoga...because it grounds me and gets rid of toxins.

I have to eat right...or I have no energy for the movement work that I have to do.

I have to sleep right...or I can't think straight the next day and watch out!

I need to spend time in prayer and meditation...or I become scattered and start to float away from myself.

You get the idea.

Everything I do is to help me Keep It Together.

All of these things are also the things that I love to do.

Here's where I get angry (and rightfully so):  I could just savor this stuff; I could just freaking ENJOY MY LIFE and have a most fan-damn-tastic life, at that, but I have to really work at what comes quite naturally to many humans.

For whatever reason...

I know that injuries can also be gifts.  I know that what I have been through has also made me who I am.

But what really, really pisses me off:  Child abuse changes who that little baby girl was born to be.  Then she has to fight damn hard to get back to that.