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OCT
02

For Cleveland

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Yesterday was a big day for me. I left a city I loved. I know there are many who have put in much more time in much grander cities, but the thing about my six years on the great Cuyahoga is that Cleveland gets under your skin. Into your pores. It starts to grow roots inside you, even if your roots already exist somewhere else.

I'd never had my own city before Cleveland. I grew up somewhere, went to school somewhere, but neither of those were really my own. And think about that for a minute. A girl from small-town west coast. Far from home, didn't know a soul, no experience driving in snow. I felt like I had every reason to hate it. To want out. Not to say there weren't moments when I did (like how about every moment of this past winter), but what I wasn't expecting was this alarmingly fierce sense of loyalty that would develop in relatively short order. I mean, when you see montages of your city displayed on the jumbotron prior to sporting events and they give you goosebumps, you know it's got a hold on you.

I'll spare you the sap by simply saying that I'm pretty sure I will always feel like a Clevelander. I think when you leave a big enough piece of yourself behind, that can't be helped. Cleveland. The place where I became an author, an aunt; the place where I fell in love, then fell apart; the place where I discovered yoga, adopted my cat. It's the place that first made me feel like I was my own person; that my life was mine to make. It's a realization I now take with me to a new city, where a whole host of new opportunities, experiences, and (inevitably) mistakes await me. I'm looking unequivocally forward, but if I occasionally stop to look over my shoulder, I pray you'll indulge me. If you'd ever lived in Cleveland, you'd understand why I'll never completely let it go.

 

 

JUN
28

Sky View

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I've got to hand it to yoga. Or maybe I've got to hand it to Cleveland. Or Tammy Lyons. Or any of the people behind last night's Believe in CLE event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After all, it's not every day you get a shavasana view like this. Shavasana is a relaxing, restorative pose that ends a yoga practice, and surrounded by 2000 other yogis outside the rock hall, the wind blowing off of the lake on a sunny and 75-degree evening, I couldn't bring myself to close my eyes. Which is sort of key to the pose, the closing of the eyes. But, um, did I mention the sky view? I simply could not help myself.

I've probably mostly got to hand it to my friend KJ who introduced me to yoga in the first place. I began attending solely for the workout (sidenote: it is a phenomenal workout), and scoffed at the very idea of all the other "benefits" of yoga. Emotional, mental, spiritual, etc. It's  not that I resist or don't appreciate these aspects of life. On the contrary, I very much embrace them. It's just that a yoga classroom isn't the place where I necessarily want to deal with them. I just want to sweat like hell. So that's where I've been. The girl beating the Other Stuff off with a stick.

Maybe it was inevitable, in that the longer I'm involved with yoga, the more I realize you can't really escape the Other Stuff, because it is, in fact, central to the very practice of yoga. This past week I even found myself--and the "I am only here to work out" part of me is a little embarrassed to admit this--crying in a yoga class. I didn't see it coming, and so was rather surprised to find myself almost instantly emotional when we settled into shavasana, warm tears streaming, well, basically into my ears.

It was this shavasana I was thinking about while lying under the Cleveland sky last night. Not because I was crying--I wasn't, and I doubt that will happen very often. But it's strangely comforting to know that this kind of emotion--true and completely unbidden--is possible. It's comforting to know you can be surrounded by dozens (or even thousands) of strangers and feel so connected. It's also comforting to know that you can eventually come to embrace things you initially may have been wary of. It's life, it's change, it's betterment and growth, and live from Lake Erie, folks, it's happening all the time.

 

NOV
17

Thankful

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My life flashed before my eyes yesterday in hot yoga. Which reminds me--a few words about hot yoga: So. Hot. Granted my barefoot, tank-top-clad self thinks it feels breathtakingly cozy upon first walking in. But within about two minutes I feel grossly overheated. And about halfway through the workout I swear my heart starts palpitating, my body preparing for an imminent end. Having made it out alive yesterday, I felt a renewed appreciation for life, for sweat, for what the body can do while working out in 100 degrees of hotness. Which, incidentally, I should turn into a scandalous trilogy.

In the spirit of gratitude for not keeling over in the middle of downward dog, or maybe it was all these month of November gratitude musings I've seen on facebook, I started thinking of things I was grateful for, and in a moment that had me convinced I was hallucinating, the first thing I thought of was country music. It's like that forest scene on The Proposal where Sandra is asked to chant from the heart, and Ryan Reynolds says, "Balls? That's what came to your heart?" Look, I don't make the rules. And while not a hard core fan of the stuff, what came to my mind was country music. In particular, the Mary Chapin Carpenter album I just found at a used book sale.

See, I was introduced to country music at age 9 by my neighbors who watched CMT. And while I have been a spotty follower of the genre in the majority of the years since, any country song circa about 1992 is near and dear to my heart. Pam Tillis, remember her? How about Suzy Bogguss? Lorrie Morgan? I thought Something in Red was about the most dramatic and mature song I had ever heard. And don't even get me started on Trisha Yearwood's Walkaway Joe. Whoa.

I still like country music, although don't consider it as clutch as it used to be. And I sure wish our little T. Swizzle would re-countrify herself. Still, it's the morning station I listen to every day while getting ready for work, and it's what I most often play on the radio. Maybe it all reminds me of my childhood, of sneaking next door, or hoping my favorite video would be the next one on. For that childhood, and those neighbors, I am grateful. On this day and always. To quote Mary Chapin Carpenter, I feel lucky.

.

 

 

OCT
19

Yoga: The Aftermath

The tight pants really weren't a big deal, in that I'm sure no one noticed. Except me, who kept looking down at myself and thinking, "Oh my gosh, what am I wearing??"

Overall, I have to say I enjoyed it. It will take some time to get the breathing right, as I had to concentrate so much on the poses themselves that the frequent "inhale up, exhale down" instructions went over my head. Or more likely over my butt, which was pointing proudly toward the ceiling during downward dog. And since a few of the moves stretched me in ways I really fought against being stretched, I can already tell the soreness that awaits me over the next few days will be brutal.

But I think that's good. It made an impact, right? Shook things up. And I'm looking forward to going back and getting better. And getting my mat a little sweaty.

OCT
16

Yoga Shmoga

b2ap3_thumbnail_yoga.jpgOr, more appropriately, How Does Lululemon Get Away With Charging So Much? It's a question for the ages. I didn't even know the store existed until a friend of mine convinced me I should try yoga. I'd always been turned off by how not exercisey yoga seems, not to mention the whole spiritual aspect, which, when it comes to anything in the exercise realm, just seems like mumbo jumbo and completely out of place.

Then she sent me to Lululemon to get suited up. It's worth noting that because they are in the same complex, I had dropped by Tiffany & Co. just prior to Lulu. I don't make a habit of buying expensive baubles (wait...yes I do), but I'd just survived a heart-wrenching breakup, and if that doesn't deserve a treat, I'm not sure what does. Anyway, imagine my surpreeze when my ONE OUTFIT and mat from Lululemon ended up costing the same amount as my Tiffany necklace. THE SAME AMOUNT. And to think I had initially planned on buying two outfits. Aw naw.

And as long as we're talking about the outfits, let's talk about how tight they are. I prefer working out in basketball shorts and a t-shirt. And when I see women walking around wearing yoga pants in their normal lives, I feel like I must be hallucinating. Or that maybe they are. From lack of circulation. In any case, if any of you are on hand for my first yoga class this weekend, I'll be the one in the back corner trying to shield the contours of my butt from being seen by the general public. I'll let you know how it goes.

 

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