One Awkward Shavasana (Or: An Attempt at Yoga and Meditation)

Friends! How was everyone's weekend? Mine was PDG. Pretty Darn Great. Sorry, Monday  mornings lead to some highly unnecessary acronyming. Also: turning nouns into verbs. It's a thing. Just go with it. Anyway, have you guys heard of yoga? It's this centuries old spiritual and physical discipline and also a fitness trend that became popular, oh, twenty years ago. Ever ahead of all the workout crazes (next up: Zumba!), I have recently started yoging and mostly enjoying myself. I have just done beginner stuff so far, so I can't stand on my head or anything, but I'm excellent at corpse pose, which is where you just lie on the floor like, you guessed it a corpse and have also finally figured out how to do the sun salutation, which is like flowing from one move to the other and also a basic tenet of yoga that I'm pretty sure should take five minutes to master and has taken me seven beginner classes. Basically: I'm amazing.

But! I still like it, even though I'm mostly terrible. I like feeling myself using different muscles and trying new things and challenging myself to stand still when I'd much rather just hop around.

The one thing I just can't seem to come around to is the meditative stuff. Meditation and breathing and holistic, body-focused, nature inspired, chakra power is a huge part of yoga but it is just not my bag. I KNOW that this part of yoga is probably the most important for anxiety monsters like me and I should stop being cynical and rolling my eyes and just go with it but eeeeeehhhhhhhhh: no. No matter how hard I try to turn my brain to nothing and banish all thoughts (maybe I'm trying too hard), I just can't seem to do it.

And I have a question: can anyone? I'm serious. I'm sure there are plenty of yogis out there, and I would truly love to hear. When you are meditating/doing shavasana or whatever that is where you lay on the floor and become jello, does your brain ACTUALLY stop thinking and just start om-ing or become a big glowing ball of light or whatever or are you actually laying there, thinking, just like me? Tell me, tell me!

That said, despite my inability to stop  my brain entirely, I have found that at the end of a good yoga class, when we have to lay on the floor and the teacher whispers all quietly about sinking into the mat and relaxing and focusing our minds, my mind still does, wander, always, but I seem to manage to get it down from about 100 miles / hour to, let's say 15. And my thoughts tend to be on things like homemade juice and fresh tulips and how excited I am to see my mom next weekend instead of work or life or money or what people are thinking about me. So that has to count for something, right? Positivity?

So that got long and contemplative, deal with it, but I HAD to tell you about this hilarious experience I had in yoga class yesterday morning. So we yogied and yogaed and yagood and then laid down like dead bodies to meditate and breathe and relax and I managed to get my brain semi-focused on the task at hand when all of a sudden, beside me, I hear a faint snort. Then another, and another until it builds into a cacophony of snoring. The guy beside me had FALLEN ASLEEP and was sawing logs like a goddamn carpenter, all the while the teacher is softly whispering about emptying our minds and being one with the universe and I could not keep it together. It took every fiber of my being not to burst out laughing. I nearly peed myself right on the mat. My roommate was laying to my other side and we both had sense enough not to even glance at one another, or else we would lose it.

So then, of course, I just laid there thinking  how I had to run home and blog about him. Excellent meditation, Liz. You nailed it.

But, I mean. AH! It was hilarious! What was I supposed to do, tune it out? Focus on my inner core being and the breath of the world's goodness? There's only SO FAR I can go with this Yoga scene and if it involves NOT making light of awkward situations around me (in a gentle, loving way, obvi), well, I don't think it's worth it.

Next class I'll bring a big box of breathe right strips to pass out to other yogers, just in case.

You never know!

Ok, upon re-reading this story wasn't thaaat great and maybe you had to be there. Mostly I just wanted to brag about how I'm into yoga now, so everyone thinks I'm fit and awesome. And also get some backup from the internet. Seriously, yoga professionals, am I doing it right?? Back me up that I'm not the only bad Yogi in the room thinking about apple juice and giggling to myself?!

Anyone? Bueller?

And that's my story. The end! Wishing everyone a centered and spiritual Monday (yeah, right!) and here, apropos of nothing, is a beautiful picture of a magnolia tree because it is spring and I read somewhere that people are more likely to read your blog if it has photos.

magnolia

YOU'RE WELCOME!

PS! On Wednesday I'll be announcing the big winner of my amazing joke contest, so be sure to tune in, and if you have yet to put in your guesses, now is your chance!  (Spoiler alert: the prize is nothing.)

xoxo Liz Ho

Another Awkward New Year: 2013!

Happy New Year!! I hope everyone ushered in 2013 with plenty of champagne and ridiculousness. I celebrated at a friend’s party in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He hosts an amazing bash every NYE - last year I left with a huge goose egg on my knee after a too-much-bubbly stumble and the year before, just hours after chopping off half of my hair in what is now known as the Great Round Brush Incident of 2010, I met Brian. Two years later, my hair’s better than ever and so are we. Worth it.

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I already posted this photo to instagram and facebook but wanted to show it off on yet another online medium, lest anyone not fully grasp how cute we are.

Alrighty then, once you've finished barfing over that internet PDA, let's talk New Year, New You type stuff. As is customary in this country and probably others, now is the time to look ahead and make some resolutions for the upcoming year. But before we do that, let’s take a quick look back at the past 12 months, shall we?

As a whole, 2012 was a good year for Ol Hobags. I got a promotion, made Freshly Pressed twice, ran a race, went from long distance dating to down the street dating, got a sassy new do, discovered glitter nail polish, drank a lot of wine and, of course, cured the common cold. Patent pending on that one, though. All in all, I’d give it two thumbs, way up. Beginning the year, I set a lot of lofty, extremely serious goals for myself, too. So how’d I do?

  • Catch up on Breaking Bad - NO :(. This is the greatest shame of my year hands down. One of the downfalls of having a boyfriend in the same city is that we have to...I mean GET to... hang out all of the time, which means I have less time to lay around, alone, bingeing on TV. Brian is currently catching up on BB but is still several seasons behind me so it's hard to catch on my end when we're hanging out. Boyfriends ruin everything. I just spent twelve minutes trying to think up a clever “bros before hoes” riff on this and the best I could come up with was “Mr. Whites before Date Nights.” That should be twitter trending worldwide any minute now.
  • Finally choose between Ryan Gosling and Jon Hamm (anticipating this is the year one or both of them proposes) - Threesomes! Why pick one? (gross.)
  • Figure out ideal hair color - did not even try
  • Try one new type of cheese each week - probably
  • Stop texting while crossing the street - absolutely not. Now that I own a smart phone, I “like” instagram photos while crossing the street. I am basically the Amanda Bynes of walking: a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Go to yoga class at least once - Yo, I went TWICE. Yoga is incredibly difficult. I know I’m late to the party on this, but it’s a lot more than just sitting around breathing. I went to a class on Sunday and can still barely move my arms.
  • Put a bird on it! - constantly
  • Wear red pants - yes!
  • Try Zumba - no!
  • Learn to correctly spell the following words: alchohol, wierd, Carribbean, embarass - alcohol, weird, Caribbean, embarrass (thanks spell check!)
  • Perfect faux British accent - pip pip, cheerio, old chap!

Giving it a very rudimentary glance it looks like I accomplished possibly half of these, mostly ones involving cheese and pants, so I think I did prettttty good for myself. Pretty, pretty good.

Now! Sayonara 2012, So Long, Farewell, Al Wiedersehen, Goodbye! It is time to turn our hearts and minds and belly buttons to the future: to 2013. I have been thinking long and hard (TWSS) about what I want to accomplish this year and think I’ve come up with a pretty solid list. Last year I didn’t get around to doing this until January 23 so I’m already a significantly improved human being!

  • Write More. I am in the midst of compiling a detailed plan of action called “How To Become a Famous Writer in ?? Easy Steps,” the ?? because I haven’t quite finished yet. So far it is 12 steps. Simple.
    • Step One: Blog More. I plan to be writing here three times a week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday. So technically I should have written this yesterday but I was confused and thought it was a Monday...which is still no excuse, I just said I’d write Mondays...off to a great start! Listen, it was my first day back at work after a week and a half off and I decided it was the perfect day to simultaneously give up coffee and begin an intense course of prescription sinus medication. I’m lucky my head hasn’t just fallen right off my neck at this point. What I'm saying is, stay tuned. It's happening.
    • Steps Two through Twelve: TOP SECRET!
  • Eat Nicely. This sounds hippie dippie but don’t worry, I’m not turning vegan. Hopefully! Actually, this resolution was initially entitled “Conquer IBS!” but another of my resolutions is “Stop Talking About Your IBS In Public All The Time,” so I decided to change it. Figure out what ails me and cut it from my diet. Even if it is something delicious like coffee (sob!) or gluten. But oh god, PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE LACTOSE! #cheese
  • Learn How To Wear Red Lipstick and Drink Whiskey. I yearn for someone to call me a “broad” by the end of 2013.
  • Be Present. Ack, again, this sounds very crunchy and hippie. Apparently I am turning very spiritual in my old age. Scary. But straight talk, for just a moment: I have a bad habit of fretting on the past or worrying about the future and it’s not great. Sometimes it is very not great, and leads to some rather serious anxiety, but other times it’s more subtle, I’m just never quite focused on the moment I’m actually living. As I get older and begin to think more about “adulthood,” I find I am constantly trying to speed things up (I need to get married! My eggs are drying up! What retirement community should I move to?!), or slow them down (my youth! We have to go back, Kate, we have to go back!) when I should be just enjoying where I am now: happy, healthy, relatively settled, hilarious, good looking and generally in a great place. Looking back on 2012 I feel like it flew by. I know it is a cliche to say that every year goes faster than the last, but I’m beginning to see some empirical proof of that and I don’t want my life to buzz past while I’m busy picking out linens for my imaginary future wedding. (Um, just kidding Brian!) This year I’m slowing it down, living in the present and savoring every moment. And if that makes me a crunchy spiritual hippie weirdo well, Namaste Bitches.

So there you have it. 2013: The Year of Living in the Present While Wearing Red Lipstick, Not Pooping as Often and Writing Up a Storm. I’m excited!

And what are YOUR resolutions?!

Happy 2013, my loves! xo Liz Ho

On Growing Older, But Not Up

Fall has flung. The World is Your Apple Orchard, Go Pick Something. (Copyright LizHo, September 2012.)

I love this time of year. I always feel very renewed with the turn of the seasons, especially at fall. September is my favorite month –apples, school supplies, chilly evenings and the best holiday in all the land: my birthday.

Tomorrow I am going to turn 28 years old. (Most online retailers offer overnight shipping, for those who forgot to shop early.) TWENTY-EIGHT! I know in the grand scheme of things I’m still a spring chicken…or perhaps a summer chicken…a Memorial Day chicken, if you will, but I still can’t help feeling old. Or at least aware of my age in a way I’ve never been before. It is a weird age, 28, and one that seems so much older than the year before it. I’m officially late 20’s, closer to 30 than to 25 (but still closer to 18 than to 40, booyah!), I’ve out of college for longer than I was in it and seemingly every other day a friend announces their engagement…if they’re not already married. I think the first sign I really knew I was getting up there was when I stopped being scandalized every time a friend got knocked up. A few years two of my friends (both 25 year-old married ladies) announced, on the same day, that they were both with child and my first thought was to ask if they’d told their parents and offer rides to Planned Parenthood. I couldn’t process the idea that we were now at the stage in life when having a child (for some of us, at least) wasn’t some kind of disastrous Degrassi Junior High Life Lesson situation to be dealt with but, you know, an actual blessing and natural occurrence. I now just accept the news with a happy shrug and hunker down for an eternity of “bump” photos (the worst) followed by baby photos (every baby looks the same, let’s get real about it), finally followed by toddler photos (which are the greatest) until finally they post a detailed status update about potty training, and I am forced to defriend them and forget they every lived. Just kidding, friends, I love all of you and all of your children and I’m happy they’re regularly pooping in their big boy potties. Mazel tov.

 

 

The Awl (a website you should be reading, if you’re not already) has this great series on youth, and one of their writers just wrote a fantastic piece on being 27, an age that seems mythical, important, ripe for growth and change and yet carries with it a deep yearning to turn back towards younger years. I recommend reading the whole piece. It made me cry a little, half out of happiness because someone said so perfectly what I’ve been feeling and half out jealousy because, well, they said it better than I ever could.

She wrote: “At twenty-seven, everything before you is clean and solid and everything behind you is a bottle of Strawberry Kiwi Snapple, stuffed with cigarette butts.”

That might not seem the most poignant pull-quote but tell me, mid-twenties friends, isn’t that exactly how it feels? We have one foot firmly in adulthood, one still in youth and in between a gulf of wh-knows-what. We have to decide. Or do we GET to decide?

 

That’s me, here, with under 24 hours left in my golden, sexy, flighty mid-twenties: half old, half young, 100% undecided. I still love to get my drank on, so long as it’s before 10 PM and I give equal air time to NPR and Justin Bieber. I wear things called slacks and blouses, but buy them at Forever 21. I have health insurance, but don’t understand (or attempt to understand) anything my plan entails. I make regular dermatological and gynecological appointments without my mom having to remind me, but still call her at the earliest sign of a cold, flu, rash, weird ache in my leg, intestinal cancer, scabies or whatever other fatal disease I’ve self-diagnosed via the internet. I can’t eat spaghetti without getting sauce on my shirt. I don’t know what marjoram is.  I have a great job, a beautiful apartment, a handsome boyfriend who makes me daydream about the future, I know how to cook. I have so much student loan debt that if you paid it in quarters, it would circle the earth 786 times (Ok, I made that up. But it’s a lot!), I live in abject horror of pregnancy and childbirth, I can’t imagine every being responsible enough to own anything: a house, a car, a bicycle, nice pots and pans.

I have married friends and single friends and pregnant friends and friends with three year olds and friends sleeping with their ex-boyfriends and friends who’ve never slept with anyone and friends who might marry their current girlfriends, but don’t know and are OK with that and friends starting new jobs, idling in bad jobs, going back to grad school, buying houses, adopting cats, killing house plants, writing novels, living at home, drinking too much, not drinking at all, having it all together, having nothing together, not having a clue.

And I don’t know what’s going to happen to any of us, but I think we’re all going to be just fine.

Change usually make me panic. Unknowns usually make me panic. And yet, on the eve of a new year, a new phase in life, a gaping hole of unknowability and possibility and change, I feel as cool as a goddamn cucumber. There will be time to figure it all out, to get it together, to go from cigarettes & Snapple to clean & solid and on the way, why not just enjoy being a little bit of both? Let’s raise a drink – make it something totally mid-twenties: a warmish natty lite poured into a crystal goblet or a five-year-old Châteauneuf-du-Pape in a red solo cup, a cocktail with half watermelon vodka and half prune juice – to not knowing and not worrying about it. To being half old, half young and totally fucking awesome

Twenty-eight, let’s do this thing.