Sunday, May 16, 2010

Feel Important or Go Crazy?!

This year I transitioned from driving a car to taking the metro, and it's been interesting to say the least.  I feel like I am actually getting to know Montreal as I cross paths with students, businessmen, young mothers, musicians, and an array of fashion statements.  I have also become connected to a whole new category of people: crazy people.  Literally.

Two days will not pass without me noticing or interacting with someone who is mentally ill as I commute on the metro.  To recount only a few situations, I've been serenaded by a woman who was sure she was Barbara Streisand, and I've been asked if I "want to hear a loud noise?!" while a guy brings the lighter in his right hand to the firecracker in his left (I got off the metro!!!).

This has made me wonder, "Why are so many people mentally ill?"  What are these people's stories?  Well, Dale Carnegie asked the same question and found some interesting information:
"One-half of all mental diseases can be attributed to such physical causes as brain lesions, alcohol, toxins and injuries.  But the other half--and this is the appalling part of the story--the other half of the people who go insane apparently have nothing organically wrong with their brain cells." 
 So, do people go insane by choice!?
"Some authorities declare that people may actually go insane in order to find, in the dreamland of insanity, the feeling of importance that has been denied them in the harsh world of reality..."
What Dale Carnegie is trying to say, and what others like Freud and Dewey have also said, is that one of the chief human desires is to feel important.  We all want to know that our existence is meaningful and will do things to validate it.  Charles Dickens wrote novels, John D. Rockefeller gave millions to erect a hospital in China, Al Capone became America's best-known gangster...and my singing friend on the metro?  She decided she was the Grammy Award-winning Barbara Streisand.

So, I have a few questions for us:
  • Do you feel like you're going crazy?  Don't yet!  You were made to do something important...don't shy away from finding it.
  • What are you doing/can you do to feel important?  
  • What does what you do to feel important say about who you are?  
  • Who can you appreciate more so they realize their importance?

 (Quotes from How To Win Friends and Influence People)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Three Days Of Yoga!

Hey guys.  I'm here to happily report on the three days of yoga I did last week.  I wrote down a few things after each class and have elaborated further below.

Day 1:  First day back to yoga after two weeks in Italy.  After having eaten pizza, pasta and chocolate croissants without restraint, I felt, well, fat!  If only we were conditioned to see chubbiness as beautiful.

 I injured my wrist while away, so I started to have some red-flag pain while doing downward dog, plank, chaturanga and upward dog (all four together are called 'flow').  The coolest thing is that my teacher caught on to something being wrong when I didn't do a certain balance pose, bakasana, that I normally do.  She showed me a modified way to flow without straining my wrist.  Now, that's an aware teacher!


What's cool about Moksha Yoga is that any given teacher may share a little snippet of wisdom from their lives or a book during class.  When two girls started talking in class, our teacher told them to be quiet and reminded us all that it was a silent practice.  She reflected on how difficult it is for us to be quiet and still because we've created these fast-paced, multi-tasking lives.  It made me think of something I had just read in The Witch Of Portebello:
"I felt uneasy:  Shouldn't I be doing something?  Well, if I wanted to invent work, that wouldn't take much effort.  We all have projects to develop, lightbulbs to change, leaves to sweep, books to put away, computer files to organize, etc.  But how about just facing up to the void?... Was it really so hard to just stay where I was, doing nothing?
Day 2:  This was the hottest class I've ever done!  Typically, the rooms are heated to 39 degrees celsius, but I swear it was like 45 in there!  I got really hot and then observed some ugly things going on inside of me.  As the class neared the end, I was judging my teacher.  Instead of being focused on my practice, or, essentially, on my breath, I was wondering whyyy she wouldn't open the door for a sec and allow some cool air in.  "Does she not realize this is too hot!?"  I was able to recognize that I was being a baby, and so I committed to stay behind and remain in our finishing pose, shavasana, until all of my lower back tension was gone.  It's crazy how much thought space we waste on making ourselves victims of stuff that is  bearable!

Day 3: I was very tired and sore going into this third day of yoga because water polo practices have been quite intense.  My wrist was still hurting, but it is getting better.  It's funny how in some poses I still feel some instability in my ankle I sprained a few months ago.  Am I getting old?!

Also, during our swim sets that morning at water polo, my feet and calves were cramping up, which is most likely due to dehydration.  Although I keep a close check on the color of my pee--clear as water, folks!--my muscles must have been dehydrated somehow.  I sweat like a banshee in Moksha Yoga, so I have to make sure to drink!

Ok, that's it!

The goal of this week: 4 days of yoga (7 water polo practices!)

Bye for now!