The Pursuit of Balance

I have an addictive personality. For the most part, I’ve either been lucky enough or strong enough not to get into anything too bad – gambling, heavy drugs, etc… even when I had an alcohol and/or soft drug ‘problem’ it still wasn’t ever as bad as it could have been.

Hip Hop Dance Class with Danny Davalos

My latest addiction? Exercise. After giving up my aforementioned vices1, I just can’t get enough. It all started because Marie was tweeting about the progress she had made after two weeks of working out; she got me a guest pass her gym and the rest is history. I have been trying all sorts of classes2 and I can feel myself getting stronger every week. I remember feeling this way a few years ago when I first started really loving biking around the city3, and thus beginning my foray into exercise – yes, for the first time in my life.

Now more than ever though, I’m glad I started my fitness journey with years of practising Yoga. After several days of beating my body up through all sorts of different work-outs, I end up with all sorts of kinks in all sorts of places. Yoga, especially hot yoga, gives me a way to massage and stretch all those aching muscles and still get some strength training in. Yesterday, I tried a version of Yoga that was a little harder than the kind I normally do.

I usually go to Moksha Yoga which is practised in a hot room, and you are meant to gracefully, purposefully and gently move in to every pose and hold each pose for a few breaths. This kind is by far my favourite for obvious reasons. The class yesterday, which was Ashtanga Yoga, had some similarities, and a lot of differences. The biggest difference that I really struggled with were the poses that had us contorting our bodies into all sorts of weird, limb-tangling positions. I thought I was flexible, and I am, but this is a whole other level. I’m kind of interested to try to see if I can practise to the point of completing all the poses one day though.

The instructor was talking to us in between his chanting-instructions4, telling us about how when you feel tension in those positions, you have to breathe into the spot to help release the tension that is there. Within reason, he said, that tension is your body’s signal to you that there is something that needs to be worked out. Sounds like it would add some balance to the intense workouts I put my body through the rest of the week.

It’s all about balance, after all. It’s all well and good to be “fit”, but what good is being fit if you can’t function on a day-to-day basis? I wish it were that easy to maintain balance with emotional and mental fitness though, but I’m working on that. Productive distractions5, focusing on work, and the awesome projects I get to be a part of all help but they aren’t always enough.

I have to remind my self constantly that balance isn’t about forgetting or getting rid of the bad. It’s all about learning how to leverage the bad to make the good even better. The bad highlight the good by contrast. I don’t think it’s ideal when the bad and the good are present in extremes, but for some people that’s just how things are. I’m still trying to figure out how to maintain balance with such heavy emotions tipping my scales on any given day, and I doubt I’ll ever have to stop trying. I just hope one day, I can be okay with continually having to try. I’m pretty sure that when that happens, I’ll find that peace I’ve been searching for.

Footnotes:
  1. ok I didn’t give up alcohol completely but trust me it’s a big change[]
  2. click on that link if you want to watch me at hip hop dance class this past Saturday[]
  3. and having semi-acrobatic sex with a partner who shall remain nameless[]
  4. which is another thing I need to get used to, the instructors at Moksha speak to us in English[]
  5. like podcasts and audio books, home projects and the like[]

Love and the karma bank

Momentum Dance Toronto's 'Under Cover' was performed at the Al Green Theatre April 13-16
Momentum Dance Toronto’s ‘Under Cover’ was performed at the Al Green Theatre April 13-16. Photo above was taken during the opening moments of ‘Beautiful People’.

One of the worst symptoms of living in fear is that it becomes very difficult to give love without expecting some love back in return; at least that’s what I noticed in this time I’ve spent trying to heal my self, and my heart.

My heart and soul feel worn, used, and utterly exhausted. Somehow though, I still want to love. I still want to love with the same intensity I used to before I knew what pain was. There’s a part of me that judges myself for it. It tells me that I am a fool, and I’ll only continue to get hurt and abandoned by those I love. I choose not to listen to that part of me. I know that my strength lies in being able to be kind and, loving and being a human being regardless of whether or not the person I’m sending my love to reciprocates.

I should stipulate that I’m not just talking about romantic love. I’m talking about love in all forms. One can love our family, our friends and even strangers. How many times have you held a door for someone and become pissed because they didn’t express gratitude? Maybe they just found out their family member was diagnosed with cancer, and they’re trying their best to keep their shit together while they’re out in public. No matter what their reason for not thanking you, it really shouldn’t matter. If you *want* to hold the door open for someone, do it, just don’t expect them to thank you for it. Put it in the karma bank.

This has been the best philosophy to have come back to me from my formative months of zen many moons ago. And in this difficult time when I find myself in an emotionally challenging position that I am unwilling to remove myself from1, it is a welcome breath of fresh air. Giving myself permission to send out love, when I feel like it, knowing full well that it may never get returned is saving my life.

Some people have a seemingly endless supply of love to give the world, and some have a limited supply; there is no reason that each of these people can’t do what they need to do in this life to feel safe. Whether or not there are supposed relationship commitments or ties or whether you’re just acquaintances with umpteen mutual friends; there really is no reason that you can’t take space away from someone to become whole again and it also doesn’t mean that you can’t send love when you feel ready.

Because I’m being vague, I feel I need to specify that when you send love without expecting anything in return: that includes a response. So… if you send a message, and they don’t respond: don’t send a follow-up message; especially if they’re someone who has never responded to any of your previous messages. Y’know. Be cool.

Sending love out to all of you. i hope that 2016 has been treating you well so far.

*This blog post is extremely vague because of reasons.

Footnotes:
  1. I am not done loving here yet, and I am certain my situation is not uncommon[]

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Taking a break from my regularly scheduled ramblings to wish my favourite man in the entire world, a very Happy Birthday. Words can’t express how much I adore this man.

daddy_biker_gang

Check out this photo from his younger years. You get 3 chances to guess which one he is, but you should know he’s always been badass1.

Footnotes:
  1. should make this a no brainer[]

Revelling in Quiet

When your mind races like mine does – like a broken record – you have to revel in the days when it takes a rest. I look inside myself and marvel at the absence of the giant knot in my stomach, take an enormous breath in as slow as I possibly can, filling in every nook and cranny of my being and exhale just as slow.

Most days I can use tools I’ve learned through books I’ve read and listened to, the yoga classes I’ve attended or meditation. And sometimes, there is nothing I can do but cry it out. Sometimes a 15 minute cry will last me weeks, and sometimes it only lasts some hours. I’m trying. I’m trying so hard to remain at peace at all times.

Maybe that’s part of the problem. I’m trying too hard.

I can’t write anymore today. My mind is quiet, and if I write anymore I’m worried it’ll run away from me again.