Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Recording the journey...

I learned how to journal as a child.  I grew up in a church that taught us to chronicle our lives by writing our story down.  I got away from it after I found out my parents were reading it.  I got back into it in my 20's but they contained a lot of negativity, so I stopped again.  I've been journaling again in the last couple of years.  I feel like writing helps me work out my bullshit in my head before I spew it out for the world to hear (you're like, wait this is you holding back?!  I know, right?). 

My latest journal is pretty awesome so I wanted to share it.  It is leather bound with a thick cotton paper.  (I actually have two journals right now as I am still in the middle of the Rituals for Transformation, which is 108 days long).  I really do feel like writing helps on my journey towards enlightenment.  

Anyway, I hope you enjoy -- it makes a great gift too!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I Am So Fortunate

I originally titled this piece, "I am so lucky."  But luck seems so random.  Like I bought a lottery ticket and was the lucky winner of millions of dollars.  Being "fortunate" feels more like a choice and feels a little deeper.  It goes along with all the joy and gratitude I feel lately.  I also feel like I am noticing more synchronicities in my life as I relax into a more content state (4's are kind of my thing and I will often notice repeating 4's in times of stress so I use them to calm myself down).  Sometimes those synchronicities read like a "theme for a day."  For example, Saturday I was staying out of town with friends and I woke up to a text which included a photo of me wearing a unicorn head from a trip to a costume store we took a couple of weeks ago.  Kind of random he chose to send it at that time.  Minutes later, my sister-in-law tagged me in Facebook a video that drew a unicorn.  Then I logged into Instagram to see someone had left a unicorn emoji as a comment on one of my videos.  I laughed when I unpacked my clothes for the day.  I had forgotten I brought a unicorn shirt and socks to wear whale watching.  I went in to have breakfast and saw Diana was wearing her unicorn leggings, and her husband had a unicorn shirt.  It was a pretty magical, unicorn kind of day.  I mean, I did declare myself a unicorn very recently.  My Facebook profile also says it, so it's true.  Facebook would never lie!

We celebrated Rita's 52nd birthday over the weekend.  Rita feels pretty fortunate.  She's had three kidney transplants and never thought she'd make it to 52.  I guess my good fortune feels kind of material next to that, but I am grateful Rita is still here and that I have her in my life.  I thought, as I slept for free in a multi-million dollar house in Pebble Beach, that I am so very fortunate.  I am surrounded by pretty amazing people who take good care of me.  We enjoyed a beautiful weekend of whale watching, beach sunset photos, really amazing singing by me (happy birthday, Rita!!), and several hours relaxing at a day spa. 

You know, when my roommate left six weeks ago, I worried that money would be tight and I would struggle.  Then I just decided that it would not be the case.  And it hasn't been a problem.  I have no issues paying my bills, and I have continued to enjoy adventures.  That is due to the fact that I have a great group of friends and family who include me in the fun things they do.  The added bonus is now I also enjoy coming home!

I also recognize that in this day and age of people struggling to feed their families, facing terror attacks and other political strife, the fact that I have a little bit of self-esteem bullshit and anxiety to deal with means I'm doing pretty well. 

Still.  This journey has not been an easy one for me.  I am shedding all kinds of bad habits and limiting beliefs.  Sometimes I don't know if I'm a butterfly emerging from my cocoon or a snake shedding her skin.  And not because I'm a snakey person.  The whole process has just felt kind of ugly (sorry, snake lovers...but I'm not a big fan), but I am feeling like I've turned a corner and I finally see the light. 

Anyway, I didn't mean for this to be a long one.  I just find it helpful to get my thoughts out when they are swirling around in my head.  Thanks again for being on this journey with me!  I know this blog was initially set up to chronicle my pole dance adventures, but I believe we are all dynamic people with multi-faceted lives to share.  Sharing these different aspects of my life seem to be helpful for those who are also struggling (thank you for all of the comments and messages that you send).

Until next time, keep twirling! 




 
 



 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Full Moon

A couple of months ago, I apparently did some sleep shopping (no, I don't take ambien).  I woke up to a confirmation from Amazon -- something about a moon lamp.  What the hell?!

Well, when the thing showed up, it was pretty damn cool.  So I thought I'd share a link.

Enjoy my full moon!


Thursday, December 7, 2017

How I yoga!

Over the years, my bag of yoga tricks has really grown.  I used to just use whatever props were at the gym or studio.  Recently, I started buying and using my own props.  A) I know I have what I need.  B) I know they are clean.  So, I thought I'd share some Amazon links on products that I actually use.

First is my mat.  I was extremely excited to find an extra-long (and decently thick) mat.  At almost six feet tall, my feet were always hanging off.  Now I fit!  I also ordered two to cushion my knees.  

  

Next up, I needed an extra wide bag to hold my two thick mats.  I looked everywhere for a good bag and couldn't find one I really liked.  I saw a fellow yogi with a similar bag to this one and so I took to Amazon to find one.  I love it!


I always carry a wedge with me.  I sit on it or put it under my heels when I squat.  It is extremely helpful when your heels refuse to touch the ground.


Although these aren't the blocks I have, I prefer the cork yoga blocks.  They are more sturdy than traditional blocks.  Blocks help raise the floor a bit if you're not extremely flexible in certain positions.


A yoga strap is also essential to my practice.


Anyway, these are just a few of my favorite things, which I use to help my inflexible ass during yoga!  Namaste...bitches!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Operation Upside Down: Month 5

Here we go.  Another month gone.  I can't believe I have finished five months of trying to go upside down already.  This month was way less exciting than last month.  I'm not suddenly busting out Iron X just because I went upside down once by myself.  You can read the Month 4 update HERE.

I don't feel like I gained or lost much this month.  I couldn't take lyra as much because I had an appointment on Monday nights.  And Thanksgiving was last week, so class was canceled.  I am writing this on the final Thursday of the month but I feel a cold coming on and my head hurts so going upside down doesn't sound fun.

It looks like I will be adding two more lunch time yoga classes at work next year, so that should help with strength and flexibility.  However, I may also be facing more surgery to fix the last surgery (which was fixing the last surgery before that).  If I go forward with that, its another three plus months off the pole.  I still haven't decided what I am going to do.

So here's how the rest of my month went.

Early in the month, trying the bad side:




Monkeying around:




Almost!




And some more trying..







Scary but super cool:




Take 2:




False start, but then we go upside down:




Scary for me:




I'm not touching the ground!




Getting back to lyra after almost a month off was difficult...my hands hurt!




It all hurts, actually...




I'm still progressing, although I know I'm not working as hard as I could to get to where I'd like to be.  Still, I do often like to take the long, meandering path, and I am still enjoying the journey, so I won't beat myself up too much.  See you next month!

How I got thicker lashes after destroying mine...

Pretty lashes but they left me bald!
Yesterday I wrote about my favorite false lashes.  The problem with applying lashes is that the glue generally rips some of my own personal stash of lashes out when I pull the falsies off.  A couple of years ago, I started looking into those products that promise to give you longer, fuller lashes.  The biggie was a prescription that was expensive and had a potential side effect of turning blue eyes brown.  (In the interest of full disclosure, my true eye color is brown, those blue contacts are pretty fun, though.  I wasn't sure I wanted to touch my eyes with a product that had that power, however.)

Anyway, a friend told me about Mavala.  She said she had been using it and liked it.  It was a lot less expensive than the prescription and I could get it on Amazon.  So I ordered some.  I applied it like mascara randomly here and there.  It never really did anything, but I also wasn't following instructions or applying it on a regular basis.

I've been seeing more and more lash thickening products on Facebook.  My first issue with most of them is that their "before" photo is someone's regular ol' sad lashes with no mascara.  And their "after" photo always has them wearing mascara!  It makes me crazy!!!  Of course they look longer and fuller!

Regular ol' lashes
So a few months ago, I applied my big ol' fake lashes, using the "good expensive" glue and that evening I essentially ripped half of my real lashes out (for the record, I like to use cheap drug store glue because it keeps my false lashes on but rips out fewer real lashes upon removal).  Anyway, my eyes felt naked and I decided to pull that Mavala out again and see if it would help.  This time, instead of just applying it like mascara, under the lashes, every night I applied it over the lashes, at the lash line, and on my eyelids.  Within six weeks, my lashes were completely back, and WAY fuller than they were before.  I didn't notice a difference in the length (and doubt most of those other ones are making them longer either) but they were noticeably fuller.  I wish I had bothered to take a before photo for you to compare!  All I can do is say I swear this product worked for me...pinkie promise (Seneti's new favorite phrase).  And, had I bothered to apply it twice a day like the instructions called for, perhaps they would have grown in even faster.  Today, I still apply it right before bedtime.

So if you are looking for a lash thickener, check out Mavala!  You can get in on the Amazon link below.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The path of least resistance

In June 2008, I hiked Half Dome with my friend, John.  I was in fairly decent shape, and didn't necessarily train for it.  I was 215 pounds, which is a good weight for me (about ten pounds less than I am now).  I read several sites about Half Dome and most seemed to think that as long as you were in semi-decent shape, this was a completely do-able (although not necessarily easy) hike.  John had hiked it many times and I think his best time was six hours up and back.  Apparently he thought my long legs liked to move fast and we decided to drive up, hike and drive back in one day.  I may have long legs but I don't walk very quickly, and I also seem to enjoy making things more difficult than they need to be.

We got in the car around 4:30 AM to make the three-plus hour drive to Yosemite.  After a couple of stops and getting ourselves set up, we were on the trail by 9:00 AM.  No big deal, right?  It is a 14 mile (round trip) hike if you take the waterfall trail up.  If he could do it in six hours and our friend AJ said she could do it in eight, I wouldn't take more than ten hours.  It was summer.  We'd be off the trail and back in the car by the time the sun was down.

WRONG!

John walks fast.  Lori does not.  We hiked most of the trail together, but then he would get ahead of me and I'd lose him for awhile.  He would find a log or a rock, he would sit and take conference calls, and I'd round the corner to see him resting.  And all I wanted to do was rest, but he wanted to keep us on schedule.  By the time we got to the cables that lead you to the top of Half Dome, I was pretty much done with that fucking backpack I was carrying.  Who the hell suggested all this frozen Gatorade that weighs 87 pounds?!  I was ready to throw it off the side of the mountain, but John took it from me and carried both packs.  The switchbacks to get to the cables almost killed me.  John just kept saying: put one foot in front of the other.  And the cables can be pretty scary, especially when you have people coming down as you're trying to go up.  But, we made it.  There was no other option.  Making it to the top was like nothing I had experienced before.  I've never had to physically exert myself like that.  The view was amazing.  The feeling of accomplishment was indescribable.  (And the marmot trying to steal our food was pretty cute.)  We didn't get to spend much time at the top because it was going to get dark and we needed to get back on the trail.  Coming down the cables was terrifying.  I had to turn around and back down so I wasn't staring down certain death (over and over I imagined myself falling over the side...don't Google those stories, because they exist).  I believe it was around 5:00 PM when we started down the cables.  Eight hours in and we were barely heading back, but walking down a mountain should be WAY faster than going up, right?!

John learned something about me on the trail down.  I don't like to be followed.  And I walk very quickly when someone is behind me.  He probably wished he had known that on the way up.  We may have made it up a lot faster!  Anyway, as we were walking down the trail (we decided to forego the shorter trail down as it was slick with water from the waterfall, thereby adding two miles to our hike), we were using flashlights, trying to avoid the uneven trails, listening for the bears and mountain lions that were certainly waiting in the dark to eat us.  I would wander all over the trail trying to avoid rocks or other dips.  John kept yelling: LORI, TAKE THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE!

I had no clue what he was talking about.  In my mind, I WAS taking the path of least resistance.  I was avoiding those stupid rocks and potholes that were clearly trying to trip me and roll my ankle.  I just kept doing what I was doing.  I didn't realize he wanted me to just walk a straight line and step over the shit in my way so that we could get down the trail faster.

There had to be a point where John wanted to just throw me off that fucking mountain and be done with me -- just like my backpack!  John doesn't want to go to jail.  John is a good friend.

Almost ten years later, I finally get what John was saying to me.  I find I like to make life difficult sometimes.  More difficult than it needs to be.  It is easy to blame other people for making me feel a certain way, when I had control of how I felt (and where I stepped) the entire time.  Sorry it took me a decade to understand, John, but I finally get it.  And I don't need to return to Half Dome to learn.  (I did try to hike Half Dome again in 2009, but didn't make it to the top...my quad seized up and I decided I better head back down before I had a repeat late return.)  I think I am finally finding that peace I have been searching for and am ready to let my life just go with the flow so I can enjoy my time here.

I know.  I know.  At this point, you're probably thinking, who gives a shit about your spiritual awakening!?  What time did you get back to the car??  11:00 PM.  It took another six hours to get down the trail.  The entire hike was 16 miles and took 14 hours (I was wearing a watch that tracked the calories you burn and I burned over 10,000 that day).  We still had a long drive home.  John found a park ranger who let us into the closed showers so we could at least clean up.  Then we got into the car to drive back.  John drove first but he started talking to people who weren't in the car with us, so I took over for awhile.  About an hour and a half into the drive, I realized we were going to die if we kept going in that state.  I pulled over and got a hotel room.  At that point, we had been up for almost 24 hours, and I had been through the most physically grueling thing I had ever experienced.  I don't think I've ever slept so hard in my life.  I was sore for an entire week.  It is on my list of top five life experiences, though.  I'm glad I did it but I don't know that I ever need to do it again.

I've been thinking about this trip a lot lately and the lesson it took me so long to learn.  I really appreciate John's patience with me and am pretty proud of myself for finally learning the lesson.  Better late than never!