Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Year of Living Dangerously

Happy you, and to me.

Today is the seventh day of the Chinese New Year celebration, which traditionally lasts 15 days. Each of the days is significant in its own way, and the seventh day is 人日 (ren ri) or a day dedicated to all mankind. It is literally celebrated as a symbolic birthday for everyone.

It seems almost poetic to 'launch' my blog on this day, as I celebrate my rebirth from the year that has passed, into the year of the Golden Tiger. Astrologers and Feng Shui practitioners believe that wealth will be abundant this year (good, I need some of that) and that this is the year when things will happen at great speeds (procrastinators, beware).

So this is as good a time as any to finally stop procrastinating and JUST DO IT. I have resisted doing this, as I usually resist everything that is popular, or the 'in' thing to do/see/read/eat for a very long time. For someone who loves to write (and usually writes too much) it should have been natural to hop on the blogosphere mass rapid transit when it became the 'it' way to ride some years ago. But I resisted it.

So why start now, when there are already so, no, too, many blogs and bloggers out there -- some of which are mind-blowing good reads, but most of which are mind-boggling obfuscation?

Well, because the Tiger has jumped me. I started the year finally understanding the path of least resistance. (No, it doesn't mean eating for almost two hours at Momofuku or finishing the whole extra large piece of pecan pie by myself for lunch.) I finally stopped beating myself up over not being able to become 100 per cent vegan. It started with eating a piece of chicken from another person's lunch and not feeling guilty about it. That night, after yoga practice, I had a conversation with my teacher about it. Then, I had an epiphany.

Not eating meat didn't make me a better yogi. Neither did beating myself up when I succumbed to fish or shellfish. The core learning of my practice has been about letting go and learning to go with the flow. After eight years of practice and four of teaching, I thought I had learned what I needed to. But instead, my streak for freakish control and self-imposed perfectionism had taken root right at the heart of the practice I thought had elevated me above it. I was driving myself crazy trying to be a 'perfect' yogi by striving to become 100 per cent vegan, when that was clearly not what my body wanted and not something I could or wanted to least, not at this point in my life.

The one teaching that I learned early on in my yoga journey that drew me in was that there is one truth, but many paths. My only goal should have been to find and learn my path, and let the journey take me there...and not to restrict myself to the straight and narrow road that I believed to be the way the journey should take.

So once I found the path of least resistance, I could start to live dangerously. It's amazing how much we're all creatures of habit and opinion. We resist because we're afraid of change, of new things, and/or we fear what others may think of us. It is hard to shed those misgivings and misconceptions that we spent most of our lives building up around us. (I can't dye my hair bright orange because everyone will think I look like a clown. I am not a romantic person; I'm so going to hate this movie.)

Once I got started down that track, it became eas-ier (not easy) to just do stuff...try stuff. From a small step like finally picking up 'Eat, Pray, Love' (maybe it's the cabin fever speaking but I don't hate it) to a huge leap of faith like laying it all bare in the blogosphere...the process feels incredibly liberating.

So now I'm jumping the Tiger, and riding its back. This will be my year of living dangerously.

p.s. anyone wanna take a trip to Vegas (to see Marie Osmond) and/or take kungfu classes?


  1. Wow, bearing your soul....good job. Surprised you are so hard on yourself.
    You already are a tiger but that tiger needs to lay down and enjoy the effects of gravity and two awesome kids! I guess I can give frank advice, seeing as how I mentored you and got to know you on a somewhat intimate "journaling" level. So now you have entered the ultimate journal, the universal journal in more ways than one. I applaud you and am happy to read you. I show up here as chuck because I started his blog for him but yes, it is Deb and I love you!

    Got to figure out how to change that!

  2. Thank you, Deb. You're still my mentor and I hope you'll be for a long, long time!