Here is another set of some of my most recent, highly recommended reads:
The people I admire the most are the people in my life who are really open and honest.
You always know what they are thinking without them being rude about what they don’t like.
They don’t sugar coat their bad days, their mistakes or their life challenges.
They laugh wholeheartedly.
They don’t let thoughts of rejection stop them, even though they hate it like everyone else.
They show their love openly.
They don’t cover their anger/fear/disappointment with a smile unless they actually feel like smiling in the moment.
If they want something they ask for it.
If they don’t want to do something they say “no.”
If I am being an asshole they kindly tell me so without being an asshole.
They are genuinely generous with their whole being.
They do not prewash their life in positivity for the sake of appearances.
They are not “nice” people, they are whole people.
This is a very brief and incomplete synopsis of my Baja trip. Oh the stories I could tell, but your are going to have to be a pretty close friend of mine to ever hear them.
Sometimes travel can be a bit rough. As Yogi Bahjan says, “Keep up, and you will be kept up.” After all, going with the flow is all part of the adventure, don’t you agree?
On my first day in Loreto, I walked down this promenade to the beach. Where I fell asleep under a palapa and woke up incredibly ill from dehydration.
So ill in fact, that I spent the rest of the evening and night in this bed at La Daminana Inn…absolutely miserable…
…while my traveling companion sat in this window both comforting me and mocking me. Both of which helped.
The next morning I woke up feeling fabulous, and we went on a drive up to San Javier mission.
Cool huh? We ate lunch up here. Machaca quesadillas. Machaca is a dried, cured beef. 40 minutes later we pulled back into Loreto where it came to my attention that I now had food poisoning.
The next day we had a beautiful drive from Loreto to Mulege, picked up some hitchhikers going to work, had an easy breeze through the Federales check point (glad we weren’t smuggling drugs), and ended up at the Serinidad Hotel.
For the next 24 hours, I swam in the pool, worked by the pool, watched the Hobbit on my laptop, and generally relaxed, because, well you know, I had food poisoning.
The next day, finally feeling somewhat better, I decided I had the energy to camp on a beach along Bahia Conception.
Yeah. Awesome right? The water was the perfect temperature which made for some of the best swimming I have ever experienced.
And there was a “restaurant” there…that did not give me food poisoning.
“I’m on a boat!” Kayaking was pretty cool.
Ok, so this is my favorite part of the whole trip right here. This is where I slept. When I went to bed, the air temperature was perfect, there was some music off in the background and a sky full of stars overhead. I woke up in the middle of the night and the shift of the sky left the milky arms of the galaxy above. The air temperature was even more perfect. Not warm, not cool. It felt surreal. The only sound amongst the silence was the occasional, gentle plopping of fish jumping up out of the water. It was damn near magical. I drifted back to sleep in awe of the universe.
The next day we drove back to Loreto where I then embarked on a drive by myself to Aqua Verde. This is the start of the drive. The 2nd half of the drive was a narrow, rocky “road” along steep ravines that was sometimes eroded partially away into the ethers. I was pretty sure I was going to die for the 3rd time on this trip.
But I didn’t. (I also didn’t take this picture.)
The drive back up wasn’t as terrifying, and the occasional group of horses, cattle, and goats along the way comforted me a bit in knowing that I was not completely alone in the middle of nowhere.
5 hours later, and still alive, I made it back to the hotel in Loreto to my air conditioned room. Ate the best New England clam chowder I have ever had. Which was so awesome after finally getting my appetite back, that I went back for a second round. Did some swimming in the pool right outside of our room, and spent hours luxuriously reading the biography of Che. I slept gratefully in a real bed after the previous night of sleeping on sand, and then left the next day to return home, no worse for wear.
A very Louisiana vacation, April, 2013 …
Have your travelling companion carry your bag because your endurance is diminished…probably from the two screwdrivers you drank on the plane.
Walk around the French Quarter in a thunderstorm early in the morning till you find a place that is open for a cappuccino and a chocolate croissant. Do the very same thing again later that day.
Drink a bunch of beer on your private balcony while talking about the meaning of life until the rain stops.
Bourbon Street. “It is what it is.” Nuff said.
Work at coffee shop while on vacation, but make up for it by working with a 9am screwdriver and a 2000 calorie breakfast. Then go next door and get a foot massage.
Speaking of food. Eat A LOT of fried food. Seriously, everyday. A lot.
…from restaurants that have kitchens like this. (at Coop’s Place)
Steal a rock from Lafayette Cemetery #1 in the Garden District.
Eat more fried food. (at Joey K’s)
Drink too many expensive tequilas (white tequila on the rocks with lime) at Fritzel’s jazz club.
Disrupt wildlife in their natural habitat out on the bayou.
Have a 4 hour champagne picnic by yourself (and 2 bottles) on an old plantation property in St, Francisville.
Take this picture and then look down at the garden snake by your foot. Totally over react by screaming and running away.
Go to Wal Mart in New Roads (aka the middle of nowhere along the Mississippi river and some oil refineries) because your travelling companion wants to buy a new wireless router for the plantation house you are staying at…which you then install…slightly grudgingly, because you ate some really bad mexican food in New Roads and kinda just want to lay down on the 150 year old bed to watch Game of Thrones before going to sleep.
The next morning you sit on the porch while doing absolutely nothing except relishing in the fact that someone served you coffee…in the quaintest way ever.
Then do more of nothing. With your feet up. Because you can.
Special shout out to the Olivier House where I stayed in New Orleans and the Cottage Plantation where I stayed in St. Francisville. My stay at both of these places was exactly what I was hoping for and more!
I get your emails on a regular basis. Very long emails. You generously tell me about your life, and what you want to be doing compared to what you are doing now. You tell me there is something you read on this blog that inspired you. You want to know how you can do what it is you want to do.
I have the same answer for everyone. It is the same answer I give myself every day. Sometimes multiple times a day.
Just open the file.
At this point in my career I am a thriving freelance graphic/web designer and online marketer (though you wouldn’t know it by the shape of this blog…and we can define “thriving” at a later date.). I have many regular clients. I have a fabulous home office. And….I have freedom to choose when, where and how I work.
Freedom is a lot of responsibility.
The fact is, though I love my work, I would rather not have to do it on a daily basis….or even at all, really. But I still enjoy it for what it is. It is what I do for my energy exchange in the universe, and it has many perks.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning and all I want to do is dance in my living room, listen to music, read, play outside, daydream, and talk with friends.
But sometimes shit’s really gotta be done. (You can quote me on that…)
I have two driving forces:
(not necessarily accomplished in that order)
Inspiration sometimes comes, and I sit down with no blockages, and work flows through me with ease…and if I am lucky every now and again it comes out with brilliance.
Most of the time, I am on deadline and things just have to be done no matter what.
Even when I would rather…not.
So when I find myself dreading the prospect of sitting down to work I tell myself:
Just open the file.
I don’t have to do ANYTHING but open the file. Once I get to that, then I am fine, and deadlines are met. The work gets done.
It doesn’t matter what it is you want or have to do.
Just open the file.
It’s good to see the big picture. It good to see the end goal.
See that. Then just start. Somewhere. Anywhere. In anyway possible.
It doesn’t matter where you start, but you can only get to the finish line if you start.
You can only get to the finish line if you START.
I went camping for two days with one of my design clients in the middle of the week (’cause I can – being a location independent entrepreneur and all). Some may find that strange, but rest assured my client relations are all fairly abnormal. At any rate, we spent a lot of time talking about who we are, what we want in life and basically…how we roll. I have been realizing more and more that I am slightly..ummm…eccentric and this conversation really helped solidify for me that I am kind of an odd duck. I have no desire to be like anyone else. NO desire. This has become apparent to me even more so recently, than ever before, when I decided to take a break from teaching yoga for awhile. My path of being a yoga teacher, as it has been, was the last bit of me trying to be like others which simply did not mesh with who I actually was. I am not a golden light of health and earthly transcendence. I like the earth. I like the struggle. I like the raw and the brash and the wild. The irreverent and the novel.
I practice yoga to keep from being in pain on a daily basis, to push the boundaries of my body and mind and to become more aware of the ways in which I limit myself. I sit in meditation for the sole purpose of watching thoughts arise so I can create space from them in order to choose how I think instead of being on the auto pilot program prescribed by my past, society, media, people around me, etc.
I do these things so I can be more me. Not to be more graceful. Not to be softer. Not to be kinder. Not even to be healthier.
Frankly I would rather sit around at any given moment and drink coffee or beer, smoke a cigarette and talk to another human being about our experiences on this planet while throwing out a few f-bombs every once and awhile (often).
And that is a-o-k with me.
For a long time I used to think that the Buddhist concept of releasing the illusion of duality meant that I had to change myself in such a way that my actions were all more in line with each other. That if I was going to be a yoga teacher, I had to stop eating meat, be a size 2, and speak the half-truth of positivity at all times, and if I couldn’t do those things and fit myself into the idea of the mold that I had in mind, then I was somehow less-than and lacking. What a messed up ego trip! By the way, life is not all positive. It is yin and yang baby – all the time.
Now, I realize that releasing the illusion of duality means just that – releasing the illusion of duality.
I am embracing myself with a giant hug and a pinch on the butt.
All the things that I do and say and think and feel ARE me. I am one, whole, fucking human being.
So for now I am giving up the idea of “bettering” myself. I am just going to do what I do – work, play, travel, practice yoga and meditation, swear , smoke, drink, laugh, talk, dance, sing, write, eat this bacon and egg breakfast burrito sitting here next to me (yum!) and explore what it means to rest in my wholeness, imperfections and all. Who knows where being comfortable with myself at this moment might lead to.
My life is awesome and I live it on my terms. I enjoy my own company and no one seems to think I am an asshole (that I know of…or care about).
What greater success is there? I am not talking about saving the world here.
How would you feel and what would your life look like if you stopped trying to be something that you’re not?
P.S. Here are some pictures from my super awesome, mid-week, trip to the Carrizo Plain National Monument … I give it 5 stars for SPACIOUSNESS.
Funny enough, it just so happens that I stopped at the James Dean memorial site on the way to the Carrizo Plain.
Hey you! Yeah you! The person sitting there in your cubicle hating your boss or sitting on your couch crying over your relationship while you read this blog and dream of a better day.
Seriously, I mean it. You have spent all these years languishing in a life you don’t want. That takes some major resolve to deal with the debilitating misery and boredom of your life. I commend you. You’ve got some big time willpower.
Crazy huh? I bet you thought you didn’t have willpower, didn’t you?
Now that your eyes have been open, for god’s sake, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING IN LIFE THAT YOU THINK YOU HAVE TO DO IN ORDER TO PLEASE YOUR:
Conservative best friend from childhood…. (wait…what? LOVE YOOOU!)
Etc. etc. etc…. (yawn…)
Why are you doing this to yourself?
FYI 1: Catering to the whims of what other people think you should be doing with your life does not make them happy.
FYI 2: People will approve and disaprove of you no matter what you are doing.
FYI 3: YOU can totally be happy and successful even if you are totally not at this moment.
FYI 4: If you think your life kinda sucks, I promise that the stress of changing it is way better than what you are doing now.
FYI 5: Relax man, most things are not a big deal. Take a deep breath. Shit passes (heh).
FYI 7 (cause 6 is lame and I wanted to get to 10 FYI’s): You absolutely can make a living doing what you want. The internet is pretty awesome. You can learn anything. Stop making excuses.
FYI 8: It IS better to be alone than to be in an unhappy relationship. Great things can happen when you are alone. Relationships that don’t coincide with who you are and what you want, drain all your energy until you’re dead.
FYI 9: The fear of loosing everything is pretty scary (being a fear and all). Actually loosing everything (ok maybe not EVERYTHING) can be one of the greatest gifts you may ever experience in life.
FYI 10 (whew…I made it): People who try and make you feel like you shouldn’t start your own business, travel the world, or whatever that thing is that you want to do, are INSANELY jealous of your verve. Nothing more.
I would apologize for sounding a little brash, being that this is a yoga blog (partially) and therefore I **SHOULD** be using a higher vibration of conscious communication, right? Whatever. I am who I am. You are who you are. And sometimes you just gotta be set straight about the fact that you are perfectly set crooked. Embrace it, get out there and live your own damn life on your own damn terms. THEN maybe you can start thinking about how you are going to truly and deeply affect others in a positive way.