The Year of ‘Yes’

My thirty-third year of being in existence was a little…. hectic. For those of you that were there for it, yikes, I feel for ya. I also really appreciate you for helping me get through it one way or another. Everyone whose path crossed with mine offered a lesson, tiny and huge, that helped me get out of the shit storm I was in. Many, many thanks.

The moment I turned thirty-four, I made the decision to step out of my comfort zone whenever an opportunity presented itself to me. It happened almost immediately. I treated myself to a trip to SLC to see one of my greatest friends in life (yeah, you’re welcome) and he had some great activities planned for us, one of them being a huge haunted house that offered a couple of thrill options at the end. I started off by telling him I didn’t want to do anything that resembled bungee jumping, I hated that shit. I opted for zip lining, but since he does a lot of that at his job, we decided on what they call the “Free Fall”. Now, I asked the lady to describe this “ride” to me and, bless her heart, she struggled to tell us that you fall, but the cable thing slows down and catches you before you hit the ground. Hm. Yeah, ok. Whatever.

We get through the haunted house, including the part where we were separated, the ONE THING he didn’t want to happen (yet another yes), and I ended up with Freddy, he with Jason. Great costumes, lots of flashing lights, but this was in September for god’s sake, so not a lot of people. We’re then directed to the “Free Fall” and I immediately see it’s pretty fucking similar to bungee jumping. I shook my head, “you mother fucker” (he knows that’s a term of endearment, calm down), and poor guy looked genuinely sorry. In fact, the guy that was up there at the time ended up backing out and disappeared into the building. Not the best motivation, let me tell you. But something snapped in me in that moment. I said “alright, fuck it, let’s do it.” I made the decision and wasn’t going to let myself back out or stall.

We climbed up to the platform where the barely 18 year old’s were sending people to their potential deaths. I made my friend go first to see what was going to happen, but I was too chicken to stand on the platform and watch, so it was all up to me and 3 teenagers. The odds were ever in my favor. The boys could somehow sense my fear. It definitely wasn’t me telling my friend that I couldn’t believe I was up there, about to do this. Or that I was like, “hey, I’m scared shitless,” no, it was all intuition. Anyways, they were actually great and told me to look up, not out, so I wouldn’t get tripped up by my fear of heights. I stepped out to the platform, took a step to the right, then took a deep breath. Looking up and gripping the rope for dear life, I walked off into the abyss. I was free falling, then promptly slowed down before breaking both legs during the landing. Seriously, what a fucking rush. I kinda wish I’d taken a moment to look around and be a little more scared. Anyways, I took that very uncomfortable harness off to find my friend who was telling me I came down too fast for him to get any video. Good!

From that moment forward, I’ve said “Yes” to many situations I’d typically not find myself in. It’s been beyond amazing.

“Wanna go to a concert?”Jamina asked me. Hell yes!!!

“Halloween at my place?” Said Clint. Fuck yeah!!

“How about the Abbey?” Clayton and JoAnna after breakfast. Of course my friends!!

“Let’s go to my place??” asked the cute guy in glasses. Yes please!

So my mind has been blown, my psyche explored different places, got to watch my favorite band (Gogol Bordello) ON STAGE, and finally saw the inside of a tour bus. I’ve been on the best motorcycle rides. Saw James Bond in the theater. Jumped off of buildings. Kayaked in the mountains. And my biggest yes ever?? Let’s move to Mexico!!!

My decision to move came before my year of yes, but I honestly think that I would’ve changed plans if my mind had been in a different place.

Moral of the story? Say ‘yes’. Even if you’re not sure, say it. Do it. You can always change your mind, no? But you’ll regret the no’s that should’ve been yeses. You’ll regret the people you didn’t meet. You’ll regret the personal growth that would change you. And above all, you’ll regret not taking the giant leap into the unknown. Why would you deprive yourself?! I said “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and haven’t looked back.

Whatever is Happening to Me, I’m Starting to Understand Why

*I’m not going to repeat my current situation, so please hop over to other blog to catch up if you haven’t already. :)

After weeks of accepting my current fate, moving forward with plans, and getting excited to once again get on the road, I’m finally seeing some of what the Universe, or whatever you like to call it, has been trying to show me.

I’m just going to dive right in here. This weekend, I met a guy who made quite an impact on me, physically and mentally. We met through a mutual friend and got along immediately. I’m not using the phrase “hit it off” because it wasn’t really like that. We had an easy rapport from the start, and shared a morbid sense of humor. Cool, I’ve actually met a lot of people like that. We hung out, let the night take us to none-of-your-business and had a great time in every aspect. It was so great that we agreed to meet up again a few days later.

Second round was as great as the first, but it also involved a little more of the “getting to know you” type of conversation. What I got to know, albeit briefly, was that as a person, I wanted to be more like him.

He is very put together and for all intents and purposes, has his priorities straight. His style is clean, it suits him well, and it’s quality without being over the top. He’s the type of person that doesn’t keep around a lot of “stuff”, but it’s not stark minimalism by any means. Not only does he look and act put together, he actually is. Well-liked by his employers and looked to for direction by his employees, this guy’s obviously going places in life. And I want that.

I want to be put together in the way I look. I don’t apologize for the days I wear sweat pants in public, but I won’t be attracting the right opportunities that way either. It’s time that I start taking a look in the mirror before leaving the house, maybe put some effort into which shoes go with my top, which earrings would look good today, and not keep them in for a month. And maybe, just maybe, see what some of the current trends are. I know I have a good sense of style, but I feel it’s time to refine it.

Next, it’s time for me to stop living like a slob in my home. I’ve been embarrassed by that for years now, but just can’t seem to get my shit together when it comes to cleaning up. When I finally get my place in Mexico, I have to get everything unpacked and put away immediately. It feels so good to have an organized home. I can’t tell you how many times I have dreaded going home because I had a month’s worth of clean laundry taking over my bed, or that my kitchen sink was full of every glass and dish I owned. I can’t even invite people over at times because it’s just too much. What a gross feeling, and I’m fucking 34 for gods sake, get a grip Barbara!

As far as my career goes, I’m grateful that I can always fall back on waiting tables, for work and extra income, but I’m also ready to find my passion. Rarely does anyone do what they love, but a lot of people I know love what they do, or at the very least it doesn’t suck and their paycheck helps. I haven’t felt lost in my life by any means, but I’ve felt unfulfilled in many parts of it and I’m still unsure of “what I want to be when I grow up.” I’m ok with that, I’ve been ok with that, but I’ve been feeling like it’s definitely time for me to figure it out.

I’m getting back in touch with my writing (obviously since I’ve kind of become a blogging fiend lately) and am looking at opportunities to work my passion into earning a paycheck. The Internet is vast and flexible, offering tons of satellite job options. It’s time for me to buckle down and search those jobs out, and start building my portfolio and resume.

Another passion I have, which cracks me up, is the krauting! I’m really good at it. It’s really good for you, and it’s part of a fast-growing food trend. I’m not sure how making fermented foods will fit in with my Mexican life, but I’m going to pull up my big girl pants, ask around, and figure it out.

These realizations are huge to me. A lot of people get to this point because of something terrible in their lives. It could be because they lost jobs, or friends, or both. I’m fortunate that’s not how this came to be in my heart and head. Did something terrible happen? Yeah, it did and it was fucked up. But it led me to meet a few amazing people, one in particular that, unbeknownst to him, has awakened in me the desire to better myself.

Finding My Zen

Earlier this year I did something I’ve always wanted to do in a place I’ve never been: a yoga retreat in  Costa Rica! I was so thrilled to go for a number of reasons.

  1. I had never traveled to an exotic, rain forest-y place before and had been longing to do it. My sister went once, years ago, and told me how beautiful and amazing it was to zip line through the tall, tropical trees, spotting monkeys here and there. So, yeah, monkeys.
  2. I know a lot of people who have done yoga retreats and they seem to be stress-free for years on their return. Everything about them screams ‘At peace with myself’ when they return and I was needing that in the worst way.
  3. 99.9% of my trips out of town are for/with family and sometimes work. Yes, I go to Mexico every year. Yes, I go to California multiple times a year. These trips are great, they really are, but they are to the same place in a very comfortable setting. It was time I acted like a 32 year old and went somewhere new and different. This is not to say that I’ve ever had a bad time with my family, just a bit lackluster.
  4. Yoga is a newer hobby/passion/exercise/practice for me that 10 years ago I would have excelled at, but over time, my body is not as flexible. I like to be good at the things I enjoy doing. Two, 2-hour classes a day seemed like the best, most efficient way to improve.
  5. Also, I was in desperate need to clear my head and find my happy place again. Someone close to me had been dealing with addiction and I was letting it affect me and take me to some really dark, terrible places. I had lost my Zen, my patience, my sanity, and I really wanted it all back.
Costa Rica Travel

Heading to Costa Rica!

The trip was amazing and fulfilled everything I was hoping it would. The RAINFOREST is absolutely stunning. Just the exotic sounds constantly coming from it was enough to make me catch my breath frequently. The cicadas were doing their annual noise making, pretty much drowning out any attempt at conversation three times a day. You could set your clock to their schedule. And we did during our yoga practice. By the time we settled into Savasana the bug’s song would be going at full-volume, creating an intense aural pattern that deepened my meditation.

Yoga-ing in the jungle

Yoga-ing in the jungle

When I wasn’t doing yoga or resting in my tent, I was checking out the other amazing things to do in the area. The first adventure we went on was a hike not far from where we were staying. It was guided by one of the gardeners at the retreat and he pointed out flowers and small animals for us. One of my favorites was a blue shrimp in the freshwater stream.

Blue Shrimp in Costa Rica

It was humid and hot, but gorgeous and green. There was a very refreshing waterfall at the end of the trip too.

Waterfall in Costa Rica

Photographer Kristen Cheatwood was kind enough to capture us all in this heaven.

I did end up zip lining, which was so scary, but beautiful. I would like to go again because I was focusing so hard on not scaring myself or running into the poor guy waiting for me, that I didn’t have a chance to really enjoy my surroundings. Being so high up in the trees though, that was an emotion in itself. You could feel the movement of the giants as we each landed on the platforms and hear so many different, unfamiliar sounds around us. The family who owned and operated company was wonderful. Each guy was incredibly nice and obviously loved what they did, and where they lived.

Costa Rica Zip Line

Me being so dainty while zip lining.

The last, & most terrifying, take-off platform.

The last, & most terrifying, take-off platform.

The other adventure I went on was probably my favorite. Four of us went horse back riding up a trail into the jungle where our guide pointed out the super-cool Golden Orb Spider, so named for making beautiful golden webs that can be used to make Kevlar material. To prove it, our guide took a little bit of web, spun it a bit, and had us try to tear through the string. It was impossible. We also saw toucans and a very sleepy monkey hanging in trees. At the end of the trail was a beautiful, secluded waterfall that we had to take a dip in.

Waterfall

Perfect to cool off

My friend Val, a fantastic architect out of Tucson, was kind enough to pose for me.

ValWaterfall

Tree in a Waterfall

After the hike, we took the horses through a field with those beautiful white, soft-looking cows that you see in these parts of the world. This guy was very curious about my horse Colibri and I.

CostaCow

And moo are you?

We ended the ride by galloping on the beach, just like the movies, or a cheesy cliche. It was amazing.

OntheBeach

That’s my way-too-excited face.

That day, I skipped the afternoon yoga class while Kristin {photographer extraordinaire} and I hung out at the little cantina and learned more about the locale. I felt more alive and empowered that day than I had in a long time. I was nervous about the horse back riding because of the galloping that I knew was coming. But I did it, and I did it very well, and I couldn’t have been more proud of myself.

There were only two more days of this amazing trip, and they were equally eye opening and special. I spent time in town with an old friend and we talked about everything, and that night I welcomed the evening yoga class to focus inwardly. Dinner was delicious as usual, and the evening was left for us all to talk about our wonderful experiences, what we had learned and what the future held for us.

CostaDinenr

The dining room

The trip home was long and arduous, as it always is when traveling to and from Sun Valley, but it gave me time to reflect on what I had learned and experienced, and how I wanted to live my life from that moment on. I still do yoga, when I can, and have recently gotten back into CrossFit. I try to not let the little things get to me and to not judge others so harshly.

My life is still complicated, but thankfully not nearly as much as before this life-changing trip. Knowing that I have the ability to find calm and peace in the chaos that can be around me makes life that much easier. Namaste bitches, and thank you Beth, Patrick & Carling for the unforgettable experience.

Today, Tomorrow & the Day After

a. an act of concentrating interest or activity on something
b. pay particular attention to
c. concentrate

These are a few definitions of ‘Focus’ and I need to work on doing just that, especially at my job, at which I’m obviously currently not focusing.

It’s not just at work that my mind easily and frequently wanders, it’s whenever I’m doing anything ever and unless you experience this as well, I can’t tell you how frustrating it is. I literally forget what I’m thinking mid-thought because all of a sudden, something else – an idea, a to-do, groceries, etc. – will take over and usually only for about a second. But that second’s enough to throw my train of thought into a tizzy.

Don’t jump to the ADD/ADHD conclusion, I’m pretty positive that isn’t what my problem is. That’s not to say that I have any idea of what my problem is or if I even have a problem. I could just have a very active mind. I could be eating the wrong foods. I could tend to keep too many things and ideas organized in my head. I do know that I’m easily distracted, and it’s not fun.

This Monday {and tomorrow, and the day after}, I aim to stay focused and concentrate on paring down my ridiculously long list of to-do’s and articles to read. It will be a challenge, but the plan is to stay on track.

Stay On Track, Stay Focused

I’m sure I’m not the only person who experiences this. Any suggestions, feedback and stories are welcome, and encouraged.

Refreshing Mondays

Mondays. Ugh. No one likes Mondays, especially Garfield.

Garfield hates Mondays

They represent going to work and the beginning of the rut that as adults, we’ve seem to found ourselves stuck in ~ work, home, work, home, etc. I’m guilty of trudging into the office, barely awake and grunting responses until the early afternoon when the Monday-pain goes away. Lately though, I’ve been changing my Monday-tude and have realized that actually, there can be Refreshing Mondays.

Sundays are typically my last hangover day of the weekend {which isn’t nearly long enough, by the way} but I was starting to get mighty tired of wasting an entire day, so now, they are catch up days. Whatever hasn’t been finished throughout the week gets worked on during this ‘day of rest’. I’ve decided to make Mondays my Things-to-Focus-on-for-the-Week to get me more excited about the dreaded day and impending work week.

This week my focus will be on:
• Practicing yoga handstands to get me ready for the Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica I’ll be attending next month. Patrick Beach is the expert on handstands and will also be one of the teachers. I’ll be starting with his helpful videos.
• Cleaning up after myself. I have always been a slob in the sense that I leave things strewn about the house, but I really do hate having dirty dishes on the counter. For the last few years I’ve been making much more of an effort to tidy up as I go, but it’s been quite the struggle. I’ll be focusing on folding my laundry and organizing my closet to put it away. It can be even more of an endeavor as my boyfriend is still in the ‘messy’ stage of his life, but I’m sure he’ll grow out of it someday. :)
• Another activity that takes up a lot of my time is preparing food ahead of time for the week. My work, The Picket Fence, has joined the Y’s Corporate Challenge this year and I’ve been doing pretty well as far as food is concerned. With all my experiences in Paleo challenges, it’s been very easy for me to keep my meals healthy and mostly grain-free but the time putting these meals together is ridiculous, especially now that I’m working 2 jobs. Today I will create a menu for the week, purchase any ingredients I need, and prep as much as possible. This is an all-day endeavor as it’s my only day off this week.

The list is short, but intense. I use Todoist.com and app to help keep me on track. It’s a free online program that is cloud-based, so every change you make is updated on every platform. You can prioritize, create custom labels/tags, have reminders, sync with your calendar – everything you need to be efficient. I ♥ this technology so much!

Anywho, wish me luck on my first official Refreshing Monday!

Refreshing Monday

Setting My Intentions

In the first half of almost any yoga class, the instructor asks the class to set their intentions of their practice for the day. I’ve always let that part of class go one in ear and out the other, throwing it out to the Universe if anything. What do I need to set an intention for? I’m just there to stretch and take a nap at the end {thank you Corpse Pose}.

But the other day at Gather Yoga Studio, I realized I had an intention to set.

First, what is an intention? It is not a goal. According to YogaJournal, a goal is an attainable thing, act or outcome. I have plenty of goals that I have set and some that I’ve even accomplished! {Sorry laundry, you ain’t one of them.} When you set your intention, you are

setting a path or practice that is focused on how you are being in the present moment.

I didn’t even realize I didn’t know exactly what this meant while I was sitting in the cross-legged position at the beginning of class. The understanding of this simple practice came to me immediately and naturally. Like a light bulb going on in my head, I knew at once what my intention was that day and the rest of my days until I felt it had been set completely: my intention was {and still is} to heal myself inside and out. I made a

commitment to align [my] worldly actions with [my] inner values.

For sometime I have been feeling physically, emotionally and spiritually toxic. There have been personal issues in my life that have affected me negatively which in turn have made me into a negative person. I don’t like being a negative person. I can’t be supportive. I can’t be understanding. I can’t be fair to others or myself. And I imagine I can’t be very fun to be around.

Rather than send my intention to the Universe, I kept it for myself that day. I am not focusing so much on how I attain my intention, but rather focusing on when to change my negativity as I feel it coming on. This practice also helps to stay in the present which is important to me as I intend to heal myself inside and out.

Thank you Universe for showing me the meaning of setting my intention.

yoga