Archives for the month of: July, 2012

So the Skeptical Yogi has been nursing a pretty major heartbreak during the past week, and as such, has been too much of a Sad Bastard to post. However, life is insisting that I pull up my bootstraps! I have things to do! There are some Big Changes on the horizon for me. I’m trying to focus on the future and stay positive. It isn’t always easy, but as my new perfume reminds me: Carry On.

In a fairly desperate move for a quick cheer-up, I recently went to Sephora. I knew it was bad when even the prospect of new lipgloss didn’t bring a smile to my face. So when the salesgirl (annoyingly cheerful salesgirl, I should add) bounced over to suggest I look at a new aromatherapy line, I immediately agreed. It’s called 21 Drops, and they are artisan blends of essential oils (100% natural! yes!). The one I chose was “Carry On”, a blend specifically for heavy hearts. There’s even a little catchprase under the lid, “I grieve. I let go. I move forward.”

The scent is nice, with notes of rose and sandalwood, but it doesn’t last as long as I would like. Regardless, it does perk me up a bit when I apply it, which is worth its $29 pricetag in itself. The packaging is a little excessive, given the tiny bottle, but it’s snappy enough that I’ll give it a pass.

In another effort to cheer myself up, I looked over my notes from my philosophy class in India. It was very useful and comforting to immerse myself in the widsom of my teacher, Swamiji (AKA Swami G). Being able to separate yourself from your emotions and experience them as just that – simply, emotions – is a powerful tool. We are not our thoughts, or emotions, but it’s easy to forget that and become overwhelmed by either one. I also found one quote that I have underlined – “Projecting into the future creates anxiety”. I will carry this with me in the coming weeks, as my life continues to move and shake!

Until next time! Carry on! 🙂

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“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.” – Pema Chodron

So, what to do when life hands you an unexpected surprise? Not the good kind of surprise, like winning the lottery or finding your favorite T-shirt you thought was lost. The not-good kind of surprise. What is the best way to handle sorrow?

While doing a swan dive into a bottle of Merlot and/or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s is extremely tempting, it’s not the Skeptical Yogi way. I’ve spent most of the day today thinking of positive ways to deal with loss, and I’ve decided to post them here, both as a blueprint for myself and for anyone out there who needs it.

1) Take some time to be with the sad feelings. It sucks, but it’s important. Masking them with alcohol or food or anything else doesn’t make them go away. Our feelings are what make us human, and it’s healthy to honor them, even when it’s not fun. But don’t get too caught up in this part, because then…

2) Get the hell out of the house. Allow yourself to dwell and feel miserable, but not for too long. I put an expiration date on my “Sad Bastard” phase. It’s important to allow yourself the Sad Bastard phase, but after a while, it stops being a phase and you become an actual Sad Bastard. After a crummy breakup a couple years ago, I decided (after the Sad Bastard phase) to become a “yes” person. I said yes to every single thing I was invited to for two weeks. In that two weeks, I had my fortune read by a psychic and met a fire-breathing clown named Colin, to name just two experiences. Also, I developed relationships that changed and enhanced my life forever.

3) Fake it till you make it:  Studies have shown that simply smiling (even if you’re faking it) can trick your brain into thinking it’s happy, so do something that makes you smile. This is what Will Farrell movies were created for.

4) Exercise. This is key. It’s a quick, easy mood booster that can even be free. It’s also a good way of working through residual emotions that tend to pop up.

5) Remember: This too shall pass. I’m usually a die-hard optimist, but during times like this, even I sometimes forget this one. Life is all about learning, but sometimes we can’t see the lessons right away. This sucks, but the universe is the ultimate teacher, if you have some patience and trust its wisdom.

“India, the motherland and eternal mine of spirituality, stands transfigured, a beacon of hope to every one in search of Him who is the only real existence in a universe of vanishing shadows.” – Swami Vivekananda

New post over at my personal blog about India – what I will miss and what I won’t!
http://megisjackiechan.blogspot.com/2012/07/reflections-on-journey-good-bad-and.html

This morning, I woke up in my very own Brooklyn!! Next to my very own Lovely Boyfriend!! Granted, it was 4:45 AM and I was wide awake (thanks, Jet Lag), but that’s just a minor detail! I tried not to wake up Lovely Boyfriend (let’s call him LB) as I bounded out of bed. Seeing as it is LB’s birthday today, I thought that I would make good use of my early morning rising and surprise him with some breakfast.

I headed to the butcher’s shop, but was sad to learn that they hadn’t yet opened. I guess it’s the baker that opens at the crack of dawn. Clearly, I have limited experience with early morning vendors.

I ambled dejectedly into the local bodega (which is more of an overpriced health food shop than a true bodega) with a single goal: BACON. Now, I’ve recently converted to vegetarianism, but that doesn’t mean LB has. And I can’t think of a better way to say “I love you” than thick, fatty slabs of breakfast bacon (in the shape of a heart, if all goes according to plan – eat your heart out, Hallmark).

As I was perusing the depressing assortment of Oscar Mayer’s finest pork (why couldn’t you be open, butcher? why??), my stomach growled. I felt a pang of uneasiness – what if this is the part where I waffle about being a vegetarian and do a swan dive into the increasingly tempting variety of pork products in front of me?? Is this that part?

No, it would not be. I marched determinedly over to the closest NON-MEAT section, which happened to be the dairy section. Before India, I wasn’t too into dairy. One tango with intestinal bacteria later, I’m a fan. Probiotics are my friend. I snapped up a bottle of low–fat, strawberry kefir. I settled on a package of thick cut bacon for LB, and grabbed a banana and a package of chia seeds on my way to the register.

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El Breakfast of Championes, ole!

I needed a quick breakfast that didn’t involve cooking or blending (my beloved blender is packed away in storage for the time being). It had to be filling, as it was still DIRT EARLY and who knows when LB would be rolling out of bed. I wanted it to be nutritious, as I would very soon be facing the ultimate vegetarian breaker: Delicious, freshly cooked bacon. Kefir, give me strength!!

Back at the bat cave, I chopped up the banana and chucked it, along with a teaspoon of chia seeds, into a cup of kefir. A quick mix and breakfast was done! Best of all, it was pretty darn good. Chia seeds are kind of expensive, but they’re a great investment. A teaspoon of these suckers in some yogurt or a smoothie will keep you feeling full for hours. Overall, it had a little more sugar in it than I would prefer, but for a quick fix, I’d call this experiment a success. 🙂 Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a heart-shaped bacon arrangement to assemble.

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It’s a face only a momma could love, but trust: It’s good. 🙂

Inspirational image! Imagine a gong or some chanting or something to go with it!

The word “yogi”, that is. By no means am I actually a yogi. I can imagine my Indian teachers shaking their heads at the silly American throwing that word around willy-nilly. What I actually mean is closer to “The Skeptical Sadhak”, but it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Even “sadhak”, or spiritual seeker, would be a bit of a stretch. To trot out an old cliche, I think the best place to start is in the beginning:

I just spent two months in India studying yoga. I fulfilled a 15 year old dream of getting my 200 hour yoga teacher training certificate and am now ready to unleash myself upon the unsupecting denizens of the NYC yoga scene (if there is, in fact, a yoga “scene” – although, in NYC there are “scenes” for everyone from drag queens to young Republicans, so it’s a safe bet). I’m not really much of a “scene” kind of person, so this will be a bit of an adventure for me.

The purpose of this blog is to have a forum to explore the things that interest me, and share my findings with other people. In India, I learned a lot about holistic living that intrigued me. I also learned a lot about chakras, which I’m not convinced actually exist. I learned about ayuruvedic medicine, which fed into my slight obsession with natural beauty products. I also learned about yogis who can (allegedly!!) make their hearts stop through meditation.

I walked away from India with more questions than answers, and it’s my hope to get to the bottom of some of these, and to share what I learn on this site. I’m eager to get back to Brooklyn and get started! As my interests are quite broad (anything in the “natural health and fitness” category), and my appetite for new experiences never seems to be satisfied, this should be quite an interesting ride.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be joining my friend’s hoola hooping club (it’s for adults and I’m 99% sure there’s nothing pervy about it), looking for yoga teaching jobs, and conducting some mad scientist beauty experiments from my Brooklyn laboratory (read: home). And I’ll be posting about everything, so check back from time to time!

For now, namaste, y’all! I’m headed home!

-SY

12.7.12 Helsinki, Finland