Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to be Alive...

Practice yoga and drink juice.  I promise you, it will make you feel alive. 

I have been a substance abuse counselor for 17 years.  One principle of sobriety is to rely on a Higher Power.  Throughout my years of counseling, people always stumble on Step 3 of the 12 Steps of AA (or whatever _A group you attend).  The step states "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him."  Many people misunderstand this step.  They believe that some kind of magic will happen when they get to this step and they will not have anymore "bad" thoughts or behaviors.  If you break down this step and really look at the words, it will take on a different meaning.  To make a decision does not imply action.  A decision happens in one's head.  After making the decision, then there will be action steps to realize that decision in a more concrete manner.  In AA, those steps follow in steps 4-9 of the 12 step program. 

Yoga has a similar misrepresentation.  Sometimes people think that practicing yoga makes a person automatically become calm and fluid.  Like some stressed individual who just popped 2 Valium with a glass of Moscato.  This could not be further from the truth.  I practice yoga.  I practice yoga almost daily.  However, I still over-react to most things that occur in my life.  I can throw out curse words like I was raised by the merchant marine.  I hate confrontation and I'm definitely not all "Namaste" about things all of the time.  That doesn't make me any less of a yogi or any less enlightened then anyone else.  See, yoga teaches the principles of tuning into your inner peace but like recovery it's not a black and white deal.  You don't either have it or don't have it.  You cultivate it, little by little, breath by breath, posture by posture.  The difference is, today I may recognize my neuroses a little sooner and have tools available to me to find my center again.  In this way Yoga makes me a better person, even when you don't see that side of me. 

Yoga has 8 limbs.  Only one of those limbs has to do with the physical postures, called asana.  In making one's way to true enlightenment, one has to pass through the Yamas, the Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, and Dhyana.  Only then can you get to Samadhi.  As I study some of the sacred yoga and Hindu texts I have come to the conclusion that I may never want to be "that" enlightened.  I enjoy worldly things and indulgences.  I also sometimes enjoy the chitta (mind stuff) that allows me to be sarcastically humorous at appropriate (and inappropriate) times.  I enjoy the taste of food, the feeling of making love to my husband and the sound of good music.  I have no desire to renounce those things or even become indifferent to them...maybe in my next lifetime.  For this one though, I will enjoy life, act wildly inappropriate sometimes, use the "f" word excessively sometimes, laugh uncontrollably and sob inconsolably sometimes.  Through all of that, I will be a yogi.  A perfectly imperfect expression of life and love.  I will honor the light in myself and the light in you.  I will not apologize for my tarnished yet authentic expression of self.


Today's Juices


Tropical Greens (Jamba Juice)
A combination of spinach, apple, chia and carrot
**I also had a single shot of wheatgrass while I was there.


Carrot/Beet Surprise (I made up the name)
2 carrots
1 apple
1/2 smallish beet
1/2 lemon
ginger (my juicer is a cheap one so it takes more then most juicers require) 
**I'm hoping Santa brings me a new one for Christmas


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