Category Archives: In The News

If Only There Were A Yogic Reality Show…

Dare to dream.

I love me some trashy, reality TV.  I do have limits, but I’ll admit, I find Billy The Exterminator, sweet, Toddlers and Tiara’s mind-boggling and a Hoarder’s marathon?  Don’t even think about interrupting me.  But my all time favorite is Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise.  And even though each season more and more of these ladies get divorced, lose their fortunes and dignity for their 15 minutes, I keep watching, rooting, discussing and most of all, judging the shit out of these ladies.

So when I heard that there was some drama brewing in New York City yoga circles – like a car accident, I couldn’t turn away.  If you too like some asinine with your asana,  head over to Shine to read my post.

Mazel Tov!

At 12:01AM today, gay marriage became legal in New York state.  Andrew Sullivan wrote an amazing piece on The Daily Beast which includes this passage about his own marriage:

I still didn’t think it would ever happen to me. I thought I was too emotionally damaged, my emotions and sexuality severed by all those years of loneliness and arrested emotional development. I thought my heart had too much scar tissue, and I could live my life well enough with just friendship and occasional sexual encounters or dates. But when I first set eyes on my husband, I knew I had lucked out. Some things you simply know. And when we finally got married, a few years later, and our mothers walked us down the makeshift garden aisle, and my sister gave the reading through tears, and one of our beagles howled through the vows, and my father put his arms around me and hugged, I did not hear civilization crumble. I felt a wound being healed. It is a rare privilege to spend your adult life fighting for a right that was first dismissed as a joke, only finally to achieve it in six states and Washington, D.C. But how much rarer to actually stumble upon someone who could make it a reality. And to have it happen to me in my own lifetime! This joy is compounded, deepened, solidified by the knowledge that somewhere, someone just like I was as a kid will be able to look to the future now and not see darkness—but the possibility of love and home. That, I realized, was really what I had been fighting for for two decades: to heal the child I had once been—and the countless children in the present and future whose future deserved, needed, begged for a model of commitment and responsibility and love.

And isn’t that what marriage is about for everyone, gay or straight?  The healing of who you were by two people lovingly joining forces to consciously co-create a new reality?  You take remnants of your old life with you to the new one, but the one created will be very different from the one you left behind.

Why on earth anyone would be against this, I’m unsure.  I don’t understand the anti-gay marriage people whether it’s the haters that are violent or the super religious, loving folks that “tolerate” gays while praying to their God that these gay people see the light and “change”.

Sure the latter ones are nice and non-threatening, but it’s insulting, frankly.  People don’t want to be tolerated.  They want respect and reverence, which is different. Which brings us back to New York state who’s dishing it in droves today.

Congratulations!

Ode To Oprah

I received an offer from O, The Oprah Magazine for a $12 yearly subscription.  I haven’t been a subscriber in a while but since the show is ending and a $1 per month price is crazy, good, I decided to send in a check.  Besides getting a free O totebag and a chance to win a Kindle loaded with every Oprah book pick ever featured, I also got a leaflet that noted Oprah’s all time, top 10 “What I know For Sure” tenets.

In honor of the final Oprah show airing tomorrow and all that we’ve learned from her many guests, I’d like to give a shout out to Ms. Winfrey as these tenets definitely have stood and will continue to stand the test of time.  Some I’ve used. Other’s I’m still working on.  All I’ll try to pass down to my daughters.

  1. What you put out comes back to you.
  2. You define your own life.
  3. The past has no power over the present.
  4. When people show you who they are, believe them.
  5. Worrying is a waste of time.
  6. You become what you believe.
  7. The only prayer you ever need to say is Thank You.
  8. Your happiness is directly proportional to the amount of love that you give.
  9. Failure is an opportunity to go in an different direction.
  10. If your thoughts and choices are different from others the world will not fall apart.

Number 4 is the tenet that has helped me the most.  I’ve ended friendships, kept my distance from people, made important life decisions – all to my advantage by  following that nugget of wisdom.  I use it at work, at home, in my neighborhood and even at dinner parties.  I used to make excuses for people’s behavior.  I now see bad behavior as information that I need to have.

Other Oprah life lessons that I’ve benefitted from are:

  1. To get your attention, the universe will drop a pebble on your head.  If that doesn’t work, it’ll drop a rock, then a brick, etc.  I’ve found that over the years, I’m better at reacting to the pebble and not needing a piano to drop on me.  Thank you, Oprah.
  2. When you see crazy coming – Cross the street! Iyanla Vanzant  taught us that one and it’s very similar to the when people show you who they are, believe them philosophy from the above list.  It also works with when you see bitterness, laziness, judgement, I’m going to take advantage of you, or I’m going to be a pain in your ass, coming – cross the street as well.
  3. Knowing when you’re trying to be right versus trying to solve a problem.  (A Dr. Philism from his early days pre-his own show). This has assisted me when having discussions with my husband as well as shaped many an argument with my teenage daughters. I’ve definitely not mastered it, but at least it’s in my consciousness.
  4. Truly tapping into and trusting your intuition is one of the most powerful things that you can do for yourself.  I’ve had the opportunity to be in situations where I knew no one, had no background information and only had my intuition to guide me.  My internal guidance system was eerily accurate during those times. Thank you Gary Zukav for sharing this with your readers and the Oprah show audience
  5. Seeing fear as a gift that keeps you safe.  Security expert Gavin de Becker’s idea that you should ALWAYS listen to that voice in your head and never out logic yourself when it comes to your safety.  Who knows if it’s worked as I’ve never been a victim of anything violent, which could in fact be proof in and of itself.

I can honestly say that over the last 25 years, I’ve learned quite a bit from Oprah’s show, her magazine and all of the experts she’s featured.  Of course not everyone agrees.  Joan Rivers was once quoted by The National Enquirer as saying that “She feels Oprah’s real gift is exploiting people’s suffering and emotions and turning them into TV ratings.”  I don’t think she exploited people’s suffering as much as she’s wanted her audience to learn from it.  Many of her viewers featured these last few weeks have illustrated that point by coming forward to share how the show has changed them, or even saved them.

One woman said that a show about safety made her fight an attacker to avoid being taken to second location and thus saved her life as her attacker as she later discovered that her attacker had killed people in this manner.

Another viewer said that show about a stressed out mom who’s baby died when she forgot and left her in a hot car made her a more mindful parent.  When her own baby’s cries that she normally ignored as fussiness seemed different one afternoon, she remembered the mom that had been featured, walked into the nursery only to find her infant being strangled by the cord of her window blinds. She believes that being inspired to be more present saved her child’s life.

One mom said that advice given to a grieving mom on Oprah was her only “anchor” as she dealt with the overwhelming grief that she was experiencing when her own child died.

That’s powerful and important television.  How many talk show hosts even come close to that?

Oprah isn’t perfect.  Not every guest was phenomenal.  In fact, I’m still a little confused as to why she gave so much airtime to celebrities without medical training spouting medical advice?  But in the end, even the gaffes are okay because I also believe that…

  1. The universe honors intentions not necessarily outcomes

and I believe that her’s were good.  She never guaranteed results as much as she simply gave us more options.

I think the Season 25: Oprah Behind The Scenes show that’s been airing on OWN really drove home how the “Oprah Way” of doing things is not a bad way to live. Each week you get a behind the scenes look at Oprah and her team pulling together two shows.  Many of these hard working producers (that are clearly working long, stressful hours) are at their core, very centered and present people.  When something goes wrong, they are surprisingly calm, compassionate and gracious, even.  They, along with Oprah, seem to really live this “Oprahic lifestyle”, if you will.  Yes they get angry and disappointed and flustered, because they’re human – but they stay centered in a way that you don’t see illustrated in most reality shows. It makes you wonder what it would be like to work in an environment like that every day?  Or better yet, be the type of person that brings that energy to a work environment each day.  Maybe that’s why the show has been so successful – because it’s not only been hosted by Oprah, but produced by people that are very “Oprah-like”.  People with good intentions that are mindfully attempting to do their jobs well.

I’m definitely going to miss Oprah.  I think women over 50 are just beginning to settle into their power so imagine what else she could’ve taught us had her show stayed on the air?  I look forward to seeing what she’ll do with an entire network.  I’m guessing that it’ll be pretty spectacular.

Thank You Oprah.  Wishing you all the best.

Yoga Over The Past Ten Years

It’s been ten years since Christy Turlington graced the cover of Time Magazine in a kukkutasana, a very difficult post that not only requires core strength but very open hips and knees.

Yoga was the spotlight in April of 2001

What were the predictions for yoga back before 9/11?  How has yoga evolved?  I wrote about this for my yoga studio – Check out the post and if you’re into yoga, let me know your thoughts.  How has yoga changed over the past decade?

Be An Investor Next Year

I stumbled on an interesting site this morning.  Kickstarter founded by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler, is (per their website description)…

The largest funding platform for creative projects in the world.  Every month, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food publishing and other creative fields.

A new form of commerce and patronage.  This is not about investment or lending. Project creators keep 100% ownership and control over their work.  Instead they offer products and experiences that are unique to each project.

All or nothing funding.  On kiskstarter, a project must reach its funding goal before time runs out or no money changes hands.  Why?  It protects everyone involved.  Creators aren’t expected to develop their porject without necessary funds, and it allows anyone to test concepts without risk.

Each and every project is the independent creation of someone like you.  Projects are big and small, serious and whimsical, traditional and experimental.  They’re inspiring, entertaining and unbelievably diverse.

So what does that mean for you?  Like honey?  Super.  You can kickstart The Bees Of Crockett

Earl Flewellen's Artisan Honey, anyone?

and they’ll send you some of their delicious honey.

Enjoy street photography?  Then kickstart the documentary, Finding Vivian Maier

Her work was discovered at an auction and once revealed to the world via John Maloof's blog, has become a viral sensation.

and get a copy of the DVD.

Always wanted to write that book?  Make that product?  Develop that software? Start that business?  Finally get your yoga teacher training?

No really.  I’m serious.

Neal Pollack , writer of the very funny, Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude got his 200 hour yoga teacher training funded on Kickstart.

Very funny book whether you're into yoga or not.

If you gave him a dollar, you got an email excerpt from his latest book and he promised satirical postings about his training.  If you pledged $200 you got signed copies of various books, handmade jewelry and collages from his artist, wife, Regina Allen, plus a private yoga class for you and 15 of your friends per completion of his training.

Of course now I’m wondering how I can kickstart something and what gifts I would give in exchange for getting my dream off the ground.  I could get my own public access talk show funded by giving free speech therapy to any donors that pledge, say, $500 AND have a lisp.  I could finally write the follow up to Confessions of a Self-Help Junkie, entitled, Confessions of a Diet Junkie, and promise folks free copies of my books.  And a food scale.   Or maybe, like Neal, I’ll get my 500 RYT training funded someday by a group of people that dig me, have a few bucks to spare, and just so happen to need accent reduction therapy or vocal training?

But enough about me and my pipe dreams.  Head on over to Kickstarter and see if there’s a project that resonates with you that you’d like to fund and get cracking.  Or better yet, dust off that great idea that you’ve been pushing toward the back of your brain and get moving!  You’ve got no excuses now.

 

Happy Holidays

I hope you’re not offended by the title of this post. I honestly don’t get why folks complain about the decreased use of the phrase, Merry Christmas.  Why would anyone be offended by the wishing of happiness between people?

I thought folks said “Happy Holidays” in order to cover both Christmas and New Years in one swoop whenever the oh so witty, “Merry Christmas! See you next year,” quip started to feel old and overused. I never thought people were trying to remove Christ from the equation. I just figured they were being verbally efficient.

I had 2 Jewish friends in high school and didn’t make any Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim friends until college which is why it wasn’t until college that I thought about what it must feel like to live in a world where you’re inundated by another religion’s traditions every year. Where every commercial, ad campaign, window treatment and even the damn store hours are focused around a holiday you don’t celebrate.

As a parent, I wonder how non-Christian moms and dads deal with the television specials, Santa questions and plethora of decorations with their kids? How do you explain to a 5-year-old that he really was a good little boy this year, even though a fat guy in a red suit didn’t drop off a load of gifts during the night.

The way I see it, others have respected my beliefs for decades, no questions asked. Once I lived a little and became exposed to other religions, traditions, and belief systems I figured what’s the harm in respecting them?

The word holiday literally means, an official day without work; festive; and if you’re British, vacation, which is exactly what happens this time of year.  Most jobs give you December 25th off whether you celebrate it or not; you get invited to lots of festive parties and often times use the time to travel.  What’s wrong with calling this weekend exactly what is and wishing that it be happy?

The way I see if, if the new agers never bitch about the dropping of Thanks and Giving when wishing family a Happy Turkey Day and the religious fanatics don’t freak out when Halloween replaces All Hallows Eve and TV pundits don’t chastize folks for wishing each other a Happy 4th of July in lieu of Independence Day, then why do Christians bitch about the specific salutation terminology surrounding Christmas?

Personally, I think all of this fuss is a ruse to draw attention to the complainer (i.e., TV pundits, radio hosts and NY Times best selling authors), make them more money and has nothing to do with Christ or Christmas. If it did and we all were truly offended, none of us would perpetuate the Santa myth, put a live tree in our homes or a giant, inflatable snow man on our front lawns. Instead we’d  simply bake a cake that said Happy Birthday Jesus and focus on the true meaning of the holiday.

We don’t.

So cut the crap. What do you care if I wish you, Season’s Greetings?  Relax and enjoy a festive, vacation day.  You’re free to spend it worshipping, praying or watching the Christmas Story marathon on TBS for that matter.  No one can take the day and it’s personal meaning away from you and it’s time to stop pretending that they can.

Bullies, Bullshit and Middleschool

Yesterday was my youngest daughter’s last day at her home middle school. Next week she ventures out of district to see if a fresh start at a new school will fare better for her.

Last year she was bullied and threatened physically. This year the bullying was verbal but in the end, more damaging. This year my daughter and hopefully her classmates learned that the adage, “Sticks and stone can break your bones, but names will never hurt you” isn’t quite accurate. Name’s might not hurt you – but they can ruin the hell out of a person’s reputation.

To rehash the dirty details at this point would be fruitless.  Suffice to say, for no clear reason whatsoever a kid decided to call my daughter a hooker in front of a large group of middle schoolers and it took on a life of it’s own.

Not that it would ever be okay to call someone a hooker, but she was simply walking through the gymnasium when her reputation started to unravel.  It’s not as if she was caught under the bleachers with a boy.  I can’t imagine what happens to the girl that makes that mistake because apparently once you’re called a hooker, just like in the real world the assumption is that it’s okay to disrespect the hell out of you.

Questions about “How much she charged” to “Wondering if she really had slept with an 8th grader” eventually lead to pretty vile and sexually charged comments/suggestions being leveled at her between classes, during class and on the walk to/from home.  Finally she went to her guidance counselor and I must say, the higher ups at her school did everything right.  But when word got out as to what had happened, instead of getting empathy from her peers, she got put down even more for being a snitch.

We realized that she needed a fresh start with a new group of kids where she wasn’t labeled and could have a “do over” of sorts.  That do over starts on Wednesday.

In the meantime, here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Middle still school sucks as bad as it did in 1982.
  • Kids don’t understand half the shit that comes out of their mouths at that age, but it doesn’t stop them from saying it.
  • They also don’t understand that their comment alone might not seem like a big deal, but when lumped together with other comments can become pretty damn oppressive to a person.
  • Kids are allowed to fuck up at this age but that being said, they need to own what they do and say.  Schools can only do so much.  Parent’s are the ones that need to follow up and make sure that their kids makes it right.
  • The names didn’t hurt as much as the realization that friends she’s known since kindergarten were okay with treating her like shit – And that other friends were okay with witnessing this treatment.
  • To the parents that made their kids apologize: Thank you.  It made all the difference to my daughter.
  • To the parents that didn’t make their kids apologize:  You dropped the ball big-time and did a huge disservice to not only my kid but to your own.
  • To the kids that stood back and said nothing, I apologize the we adults didn’t better teach you the power of “group think”.  Sure this power can be used for bad (bullying) but it can also be used for good (ending bullying) and we dropped the ball when we didn’t teach you that’s it’s okay to get involved if it’ll help another kid’s situation.
  • Teachers have a hell of a lot of power.  The ones that use it well – I salute you.  You’ve been wonderful.  The ones that don’t, I can’t even begin to tell you how fucking annoyed I am with you as I exit your school.  The fact that I have to craft a separate email this weekend and tell another adult my age that telling a kid that’s transferring that you’re going to throw a party once she’s gone, is a shitty thing to say.  You don’t kick a 12-year-old girl when she’s down, asshole.

When word got out that she was transferring, one of the boys asked if she was leaving because of what he had said to her.  When she verified that his actions definitely lead to her changing schools he said, “What’s the big deal?  I said that stuff to you weeks ago!”

Lets look into our crystal ball and imagine this punk at 25, shall we?  Why do I picture him cornering some poor Executive Assistant in the copy room at work? Or worse yet, imagine his sleazy defense lawyer admitting into evidence the miniskirt worn by his victim while trying to drag her reputation through the mud during this idiot’s trial someday.

I give my daughter a lot of credit.  Once she was told she could transfer, a huge weight was lifted and she left her old school with a smile on her face and without any hard feelings. She’s hopeful about her new school and ready to get back to studying and having fun without worrying about such grown up situations.

I’m very grateful that she’s comfortable telling adults when she’s bothered and upset.  Her willingness to be open and tell not only her parents but her guidance counselor, enabled us all to monitor the situation.  Thus we were quick to realize when the problem at hand became unsolvable and transferring became the best option and were able to pull her before she got depressed or gave up on school entirely.

So that’s my final observation. Stay involved.  Hound your kid.  Be a pain in their ass.  You don’t have to have all of the answers as much as you simply need to have all of the information.  The answers will came later once you have all the facts.