murphyormel

wacky reflections from a nutcracker wannabe

Month: January, 2015

The only place the head bob is acceptable.

I am currently sitting between flights in Atlanta- as I have done dozens of times before- and I must smile to myself at this silly, unpredictable, loud, over-stimulating, professional, traveling life I purposely chose to leave behind. ūüôā

The bald man to my left is doing a full-out head bob asleep in a sunny corner as he awaits his flight. They just called for Nashville. Do I wake him up with sunscreen or the possibility he just missed TN? (And no, I can’t judge the head-bob, as anyone who has flown with me knows I too have placed my sleepy head on many a shoulder, stranger or not. Something about walking on a plane says, Melissa, no one needs you, the phone won’t ring, emails can wait and that darn 4:30am wake up call to get your arse to the airport at all, deserves a catnap.)

The young girl across from me is on the phone and clearly panicked about weather on the East Coast. What about travel misadventure requires her voice to soar an octave higher, quicken and may require a decibel meter reading? Apparently, they are expecting 6-12″. Lol, I still smile. My days of panic are long gone.

Folks are clinging to limited USB ports with wires draped over each other and talking as if old friends while sharing the ports (ironically) to text (not talk) to the people they actually know and love at home.

And is it just me, but is it an addiction when we need the communication medium charged at 100%? Anything less feels like we might lose our connection to the real world.

Even me….using my iPhone to craft this while listening to an old school iTouch with an iPad in my carry bag.

And the people watching in any airport (!!!!), fantabulous! You know what I mean, right? To be fair, I’m here in my fav skinny jeans, a pink shirt, black shortie combat (but cuuuute) boots with hot pink socks, a darling banana republic briefcase and my yoga bag, so while not a fashionista, I have makeup, comfort and weather-appropriate fashion and function for East Coast fun. It is great however to watch the breadth of fashion fun in airports.

Looking around right now…a less than attractive dog attached to a man with gold bracelets, the dog has attracted two young kids (unrelated to the dog or man) and they are petting him backwards (against the grain), the mom (unrelated to both the dog and gold chain man) is well, representative of all moms who bravely travel with small ones….hair frazzled, face slightly contorted, past exhausted and just tired enough to wear silly socks with flip flops and convince herself she can manage two kids, three carry-on bags and a car seat. Man, that is parenting. (And another validation why drugs during childbirth are key- traveling isn’t listed in the “what to expect when you are expecting” book.)

Cheers to parents traveling alone with small ones. I’ve been there, and it is always, always, always harder on the parents than either the kids or the people seated around the kids. Shame on you, professional snooty traveler who scoffs when a baby is near you. Get that parent a cocktail, and I promise the trip will be better for everyone. When my daughter was young, I used to offer to trade with business travelers to be near kids just because the mom needed to know it was ok to fall apart in peace. Thank goodness for computers on planes these days! Crayons, fruit snacks and a teddy bear aren’t the answer. And a shot of Jack, well, that is illegal.

Additionally observations on today’s ATL Concourse T:
– women over 40 should not wear turquoise nail polish or mimic the middle school fourth finger shade change
– how many coffee and bagels can people consume?
– before phones, did we let people know we were safely at the mid stop? (Oh wait, direct flights existed.)
– remember pay phones with sit down booths? And funnier still, the Ethernet line to get internet off the pay phone?
– we went from large ear phones in the 80s to buds to now, these huge Beats? Seriously, is Bieber going to market a boom box over-the-shoulder option soon?
– no one follows the “your carry-on must fit in this display”. Why bother?
– the “herding of cattle” movement toward the door as boarding begins. Enough said.
– is there a speed limit or again, noise limit, on those internal airport motor vehicles? In 25+ years of travel, I have never seen an actual emergency.
– Why is the large electronic sign of departure listings just outside the exit doors causing a jam of frantic, silly travelers trying to find their next gate?
– And finally, no matter how many times I’ve traveled or checked my gate or departure time, I still check it multiple times as if the number has changed in my hand. (Not unlike your number in a fast food restaurant, right? You are 22. Always going to be 22.)

High waters, high heels, cowboy boots, ball caps, backpacks, golf bags, paperbacks and jewelry galore…they do say “life is a journey, not just a destination.”

Safe travels. I have a flight to catch.
Mel

I thank you for loving me.

I am privileged to have had many, many wonderful people love me in this life.  Each of those who do today, or have loved me in the past, have been a teacher and gift-giver.  Through tears. Through laughter. Through joy and drama and dress up and sweat.  Through dares of silliness and darkness of hurt. Through meditation and prayer.  So many of you.  I thank you for loving me.

You have sent me silly notes, beautiful flowers, read to me, told me ghost stories and held my hand.¬† You have dropped off gluten-free goodies at my door or sent inspirational quotes or murphy moments of your own to make me laugh.¬† You have started dance floors, walked through snow, run through mud, been tattooed, ordered silly drinks, taught me to ride a bike, walked along city streets, traveled all over the globe, skipped along side me, suffered in silence on long drives, or sung loudly to songs only I would like.¬† You’ve been caught underage with me.¬† You skipped school with me.¬† You drove me to the hospital when the diagnosis came and came again….and still again. So many of you. I thank you for loving me.

I am blessed for what each of you have gifted me in growth.¬† It hasn’t always been easy, and more than a few times, loss has hurt like hell, but I’m stronger and with age, listening closely to each grand lesson.

This sudden strike of hurt parallels the likes of a hurricane.  You know it is coming, and yet, while preparing and seeking cover, the blow is still internally painful and alters the landscape while we ride the wave.  It is just that, interpersonal suffering. But it is only a wave. That blow ends.  And something new gently unfolds.

This is the gift.¬† The path of our truth and personal landscape comes from each of these wonderful souls along the wave – sometimes blowing in like the strong gusts of wind in a storm.¬† We ride the wave as the feeling isn’t forever.¬† It comes and goes.¬† It ebbs and flows.¬† It balances us and sometimes tosses us high in the air for that deep-down giggle or sharply drops us as we feel the sting of reality. A reality that forever changes the person we were the day just prior.

Sometimes the strangest and most profound friendships come into our lives when we least expect- for reasons unknown to us.¬† In fact, we may not even like or remember you at first.¬† Some friendships dissipate, but they always leave a mark.¬† These souls may encourage us to want more, to ask for the order, to start or finish something, to begin again, to find our truth, to follow our heart, to change, to let go, to leave when it is right, to help us find courage or beauty we can’t see inside ourselves, to live authentically, to truly know love, to love again, to say thank you, to forgive, to get help, to be a better person or parent or friend.¬† Perspective from outside of our own head is healthy and a gift, when thoughtfully presented with loving-kindness.

“As I look back on my own yesterdays”, I am honored by the immense amount of love given to me freely and without expectation.¬† I didn’t always appreciate nor have I always reciprocated that unconditional love in an overt way, but I am indeed grateful for the souls that have and continue to cross my path.

The holes of heartache; however, are never holes for long.  There will be new characters in the plot.  New friends and loves that enrich our experience in this universe and teach us self-awareness as we ride our wave.

Cheers to a new surf board and the ebbs and flows of what is a certain wave called this wonderful life.  I thank you for loving me*.

Mel

* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMG8EVEwdA8 (You Tube, Tenors, “I thank you”)

The mat is a magical place. Just breathe.

‚ÄúBreathing gives man strength, vitality, inspiration, and magic powers.‚ÄĚ – Chuang Tzu[1]

Teaching college coursework and years of public speaking in advance of yoga teacher training gave me confidence in front of a group. Prep work, delivery of material, study of my 20+ year professional world and critical lingo to the subject. Check!¬† But to be in the real seat for the first time in this new world as a Yogini Tour Guide ‚Äď a world that brings me deeply profound and personal passion and emotion that I don‚Äôt teach in a college class room- has indeed been humbling. The mat is safe. It is sacred. It is mine.

I knew having fun was key. I knew prep, material, time and sharing an authentic me would make for a strong teacher and rich class experience where students want to follow and return. But when the bell rings and class starts, I am again reminded this journey of a beautiful practice of asana, pranayam and anatomy take time to strengthen (a practice of its own), and they are looking to me to guide them through a journey, an experience not for a grade or degree but for something deeper and heartfelt.

My magic wand of knowledge can indeed be magic only if treated with respect, integrity, candor, knowledge, selflessness and loving-kindness to the body.

The opposing forces of knowing what I have learned thus far; however, are causing me internal angst. I know just enough to be a yogini snob, meaning test my own waters of ego, as I briefly return to the role of student. I‚Äôm struggling with alternatively trained or not trained teachers leading postures that I now know are risky to my body and full of ‚ÄėSimon Says‚Äô moments and ego. I find myself having to breathe deeply and let go of my want to correct their approach, cry out or protect my neighbor who doesn‚Äôt know any better. Certainly, this is some awareness to Santosha[2] (ethical concept of Indian Philosophy, one of the Niyamas meaning contentment, satisfaction) I didn‚Äôt see coming my way. But I continue to come back: 1. To remain faithful to my mat. 2. To observe this experience as it continues or dissipates. This ‚Äúpractice‚ÄĚ of letting it go- like letting a passing car go without thinking about the passengers or destination – is the test.¬† And my self-reported inability or insecurity around the concept of “letting go” is an entirely separate blog post. ūüôā

The most significant observation I’m practicing today is the role itself, meaning Teacher v Student. Sure, I can prep the class sequence with planes of movement in pratapana (warm-ups), teach basic pranayama, explain benefits/contraindications for varying asana, share a poem or reflection for meditation prior to Savasana, etc., but guiding someone’s personal journey doesn’t require a course syllabus.

As I continue this transition from student to teacher and back to student, I continue to observe my ability to be in the moment (or not). A student yogini for many years, I know my own body, I shift when good pain turns to bad, I adjust/realign based on my own anatomy, and I know to breathe thoughtfully in order to maintain my balance. I don’t even think when I do these things, the mat is the magic carpet with a guide leading the way.

So now, I face a world knowing far more about anatomy, philosophy and pranayam (breath work) than ever before. Acting as the tour guide not the traveler is a shift of self-awareness, breath, and trust. I must be AHEAD of the moment for the students‚Äô experience and protection rather than IN the moment with my own body. And most importantly, I must learn to let go of my own ego as ‚Äúteacher‚ÄĚ. I am honored to know what I have been taught thus far, but realize this is simply the beginning of the practice as teacher.

Joyfully and with thoughtful intention, I commit to inhale the experience and accept my opportunities for change as new learnings of discipline, philosophy, acceptance, non-judgment and friendship emerge.

The mat is a magical place. Just breathe.

Om Shanti,

Mel

[1] Anatomy and Asana, Suzi Hately, Section 3:Principles, pg. 27

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santosha

I dance at red lights.

I recently overhead two men reconnecting after some time apart.¬† While I was actually trying to study my anatomy lesson, I found myself caught up in their delightful and joyful discussion of friendship, relationships, “stuff”, travel, etc.¬† “I dance at red lights” being my favorite takeaway statement from my, yes, eavesdropping.

I too realize I am a sort of living caricature.¬† “Dancing at red lights” is fun and real and freeing.¬† Like the Six Flags caricature that made you appear bigger than life – with thoughtful color and much intensity. Don’t we all have moments of joy so intense we too, want to (or do), dance at a stop light?

My friends and family – many of crazy aunt delilah’s own followers- have enjoyed many of my dating, parenting, professional and travel misadventures, and my own daughter calls me odd but secretly likes me holding court at the popular table for the career day events.

But that is the beauty of caricature. We laugh. We look silly in the moment. We smile on through a voice of humility and authentic, heartfelt joy. It doesn’t come every day, or even every week, but the moments when that feeling of profound intense joy are truly inhaled, they are priceless.

My daughter was honored with an individual award for showmanship at a recent dance competition. Of hundreds of girls, only seven were selected. That moment when her name was called, she grinned her “million dollar smile” and looked up to me in the stands. A priceless mama moment not because she won, but because I could see inside her heart at that very moment. She earned this honor based on grace and hard work to a craft she adores. She was “dancing at her own red light” and confidently so. We both inhaled the experience in her honor.

Dancing at red lights states a profound reality of both age and confidence. We are who we are. And regardless of what others’ judge, we make our own choices. The poet, Jenny Joseph, inspired a red hat phenomenon based on her prose, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple”.

So, crank up the tunes at the next red light, dance a little jig, and the push off the gas pedal when green.

Om shanti,
Mel

the opposing forces of my OCD and flakiness

a former beau pointed out the irony of never tightening the lids on anything remotely liquid in the fridge; thus, spilling on everyone other than me, yet every single morning, I make the bed immediately upon alarm (as if I can’t start my day until the bed resembles the Westin Heavenly). Poor man couldn’t even go to the restroom too early in the morning, or I might make him out of bed.

the concept made me aware of how else I live these two opposing forces in my day…..

  • Shopping to get ready for vacation
  • Asking where the ambulance will be parked for my second polar bear plunge
  • Taking a shower to shave my legs BEFORE going to the gym
  • Going to bed early only to wake-up, read a book and take out the dog in the middle of the night, then need my missed sleep and skip the early bird yoga class
  • Pulling the car to the side of the road to return a text
  • As long as my winter coat covers me for warmth, it is acceptable to wear my night-clothes outside to walk the dog.
  • Multitasking butt crunches while blow-drying my hair
  • Rarely matching in gym clothes (sure, a neon orange tank goes with a turquoise sports bra) but ensuring they are properly fitted to the activity, meaning cycling, yoga, sitting at Barnes and Noble.
  • Speaking of B&N, reading every book in the “hot sellers for teens” before my daughter.¬† And not because I am over-protective, because I genuinely enjoy.¬† I simply justify as my pre-movie screening of that which is to come.¬† (For the record, I’m one of those wacked-out, two-three book a week readers, so I do get my fill of the adult section as well.¬† NOTE: adult not “Adult”.)
  • Needing a nap after all cycling excursions.
  • Diligently conditioning my hair one-two times per week, only to realize that I was using a conditioning shampoo, not conditioner at all
  • Sticky notes, sticky notes, sticky notes…..but the note isn’t legit unless written with a Sharpie.
  • Driving to the coffee shop for the atmosphere and literary vibe but ordering a soft drink.

I suspect we all have a little bit of this same irony in our daily lives.¬† Perhaps my own candid ‘OCD meets flaky’ will encourage you to observe your own.

Namaste,

Mel

“Mom, you just make it awkward.”

Ahhh, the wonders of the 14-year-old vernacular! ¬†And just when I finally get that funny, “fierce” selfie thing down.

Keep in mind, I’m not anywhere near the track suit type of mini-van mama. ¬†I like my boots over skinny jeans, a kick ass suit with a great pair of heels, my tattoos, MC Yogi, and a manual transmission, so to hear my girlie-girl and make-up-loving, fashionista tell me, “Mom, you make it awkward” is slightly disconcerting. In fact, together, we¬†chalk-boarded our newly themed, IKEA style great room to compliment a¬†rockin’ red couch and black/white polka dot¬†rug just this week.¬†No framed¬†embroidery or large silver plated utensils on walls for us! ¬†But I’m awkward? ¬†Lol, I prefer her previous comment, “…you are limited edition..”. ūüôā

So, with “limited edition” in mind, and in the spirit of another grand year of silliness in front of us, please enjoy some unshared ‘Murphy or Mel’ moments……

– My daughter needed some teeth pulled¬†before the braces could be completed, so of course I encouraged her to place them under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy. ¬†She rolled her eyes, but she is 14, and well, come on, needs¬†cash. ¬†Rushing out early and distracted the next morning, I completely failed in my role to call on the Tooth Fairy, and no cash was discovered. ¬†Well, I wasn’t admitting fault, so I fixed the situation. ¬†The second morning, I left a note, cash and signed the belated note, “Congrats…..love, E.B”. ¬†Upon returning home, my daughter happily announced, “I’m happy for the cash, but the Tooth Fairy¬†signed the note from the Easter Bunny.”

Р Regular gym girl for 10+ years and practicing yogini for over 12.  But last year, I found a way to sprain my ankle AT the gym AFTER the workout while walking DOWN the stairs.

– ¬†Traveled to KY last year with teeth intact. (there is a sentence I never expected to type.) Needed a treat on the way out-of-town, and my love for the Bit O-Honey caught my eye. ¬†Well, it also caught the top half of an entire molar, and so I left KY without all my teeth. ¬†Fitting? ¬†(Sorry, Zac and Alyssa. UK rocks. ūüôā

Р Last year, the entire family traveled to Tahoe, CA for a week of skiing/boarding, skating and snow tubing. Finally my old travels offered a perk as my standing with Budget saved us.  I had pre-booked an SUV for eight days in Park City, UT.  (and yes, I asked permission before hugging Dan the Budget man after he fixed a Mel travel misadventure.)

Р Pumping gas then driving away while the hose is still attached does happen to real people you know.

– ¬†Just today, while (not) speeding home from Chi-Town, I was singing (not loudly) to old school Maroon 5, and I got caught. ¬†Not the, “I can fake it like I’m on the phone”, the “Look at her- she is belting it out stare”. ¬†Again, teeth become an issue. ¬†This trucker appeared to be missing several. ¬†But the wave, priceless.

– ¬†Why do people insist on texting me while they know I’m driving long distances? ¬†I need reading glasses to see the type on my phone or computer, so I have to live with that darn dot that says, “open me” when I can’t while driving. ¬†It is like the itch you can’t reach, right?

Perhaps I really am awkward.

Nope, just lucky to be ok with my quirkiness.

Cheers to the silliness, laughter, humility, grace both when the jump rope is up AND down, and being confident enough to laugh¬†over my¬†OCD for¬†making the bed immediately following the¬†alarm¬†but rarely tightening a lid for anything in the fridge. ¬†(come to think of it, there might be a blog for the opposing forces of my OCD and flakiness¬†….note to self.)

Namaste, Mel

p.s.  Teeth are an under appreciated part of the body.  Until they are missing, folks simply take them for granted.

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