Recommedation Letter and Losing Track of the Days

39 people came to the Yoga Challenge  yesterday. And 39 people came today, too. Not all the same people, but some were the same. It’s funny that the same number came on both days.

I am losing track of the days of the week already.  I know that today is “Day 2.”  Beyond that, not too sure. I found myself in the bike shop today, talking with my friend Jim and experiencing a brain gap when it came to knowing what day it was..

“Surely you jest, my good man. It can’t possibly be Monday.  No, no. Mondays mark the  beginning of the work week . My week began yesterday, so today must be Tuesday.”

But no. It’s Monday. What I want to know is: Since when did the earth stop revolving around me?

After my morning ritual of 750 words, I wrote a letter of recommendation for one of my students, who also happens to be a person I really love and enjoy.

I’ve written my fair share of recs, but this one was actually fun. This person wants to go to YTT at Kripalu and she’s applying for some scholarship money. Kripalu both is, and isn’t, like corporate America. It has to be in a way, because of all the money involved in keeping such a place afloat, but they don’t subscribe to the corporate paradigm in a big way.  That’s why it was easy to write this rec. I know how they see themselves and how they like to be seen.

They like it real. So I told them stuff about this woman that I know they think about when they think about propagating the Kripalu name. They want teachers who are competent, but also dynamic and charismatic. Solid in their skills, but also good at representing the brand, which has always been kind of nebulous, if you ask me. Beyond BRFWA, it gets a little murky.

I didn’t feel like I had to write a bunch of bullshit nonsense but could give them a picture of this person. That’s what you want in a rec, right? You want the person writing it to tell you the down low on this person, who they are, as people.

I think I did that.

Now I need to go to bed.

I am incredibly tired.


One Year of 750 Words

Warning: Horn-Tooting to follow

Yesterday I got my Pegasus Badge on 750 Words. This badge marks 365 days of posting without a miss.  Here’s a screenshot of my page as it looked this morning when I logged in:

Pegasus Badge! One Year of 750 words!

I was never a Girl Scout so I never had the satisfaction of earning Merit Badges, but this is what I imagine it must feel like to finally finish crocheting that last damned  potholder, or squire that last widow safely through the intersection.

Holy wow.

The Pegasus Badge.

I must say, it feels sweet. And now, on to the Space Bird! (that will come at Day 500.)

But as happy as I am about 750 Words, I did not win NaNoWriMo. Not even close. I got to about 15K words and bonked.

Spinning plates smashed.  Shards everywhere.

I kind of knew it last week when I posted here, that I had about a snowball’s chance.  All week I have been dreading having to confront the reality of my failure. I have been trying to figure out what lessons could be learned from the wreckage, and what my response should be.

One good thing that came of NaNoWritMo was that I finally learned how to use the software program, Scrivener after a year of having it lie dormant in my Applications folder. I did not learn  every feature of Scrivener lord knows, — that will take years. But I learned a lot.

So what I did yesterday in response to the NaNo failure was open a “New Project” in Scrivener. I created a separate folder for every day in December and I set up a “Word Count Target” for each of those folders, and a “Project Target Word Count” as well.

(See? This is why I love Scrivener. You can do all kinds of stuff like this.)

And I now plan to do in December what I tried, and failed, to do in November: Write 1,667 words a day for 30 days.

I learned a lot about myself as a writer this past year doing 750 words a day, and now I plan to apply this knowledge to this “New Project.”

Here is what I now know:

  • If I think what I write has to make sense, I won’t write.
  • If I think what I write will be evaluated or graded by someone, I will resist and procrastinate endlessly, until I am forced to write at gunpoint.
  • If I think it has to be informative or witty or interesting, I won’t write.

The only way writing gets done for me is if I approach it as an amusing pastime, like doodling. And the only way it can be amusing for me is if I take myself totally off the hook as far as quality goes. If quality happens: Surprise!  But in order to even start, I must give myself carte blanche to scribble (or tap out) complete and utter nonsense.

I will, however, happily write to a specified volume of words, as long as I have time and those words don’t have to make sense or be “good” in any sense of that word.

I will also write daily, and not miss a single day (see Pegasus Badge above) as long the writing is permitted to have the smell and texture of cat vomit.

And as for this blog. I still don’t know what I am going to do with it. I changed themes yesterday to give myself the illusion of a “fresh slate” but I’m not going to make any commitments here yet. I’m just going to see what happens.

Till the next time!


Spinning Plates on Sticks

I just realized that it’s been almost a month since I’ve written here and there are actually few people who still subscribe to this blog who may be wondering WHY they do, given that there is clearly nothing happening here.

I’ve been seriously considering blank-slating this blog and starting all over because I don’t think I can, in all honesty, live up to its initial promise, which was to provide “inspiration.”

I’ve been re-reading some of my more recent posts and this is not an “inspiration location” AT ALL.   Quite the contrary.  But that is a discussion for another day.  All I wanted to do today is account for my absence to my loyal readers.  (Who I appreciate, thank and love.)

As you know, I am into streaks, and keeping streaks going.  And once I have a streak going, it’s like spinning a plate on a stick: I have to keep tending to it, because come hell or high water, I do not want to break that streak. I do not want that plate to crash. And I will organize my whole life around seeing that that streak stays in tact.

Before November began, I had 2 streaks going: 750 words, and a daily yoga/meditation practice.  Both of these plates are still spinning strong, by the way. Today was Day 355 of 750 words, which is 10 days shy of a whole year without a miss, and Day 50 for the yoga/meditation, which isn’t a lot, but that streak is getting a strong foundation under it.

But as every juggler knows, it’s no trick at all to juggle two balls. It’s only when you add the third ball that it becomes legitimate “juggling.”

So in November, in a moment of insanity, I added my “third ball” or, as I prefer to think of it, my third “spinning plate.” On November 1st I joined “National Novel Writing Month” aka “NaNoWriMo.”  I wanted to see if I could use this annual crazy competition to fuel myself enough to finish the book I have been dinking around with for, perhaps, EVER.

I wanted to see if I could just stay with the damned thing and see it through to some END.

Just to see.

Just to see if I had anything. Just to see if I could not fink out on it because I was bored or frustrated, or because it read like a dog’s dinner.

Because believe me, this inchoate thing that is half inside my brain and half hanging out of it, is a bloody mess.  I wanted to see if I could crank out 50K words on the same topic, in the space of 30 days, just to once and for all, DO IT.  Could I reach a finish line? Maybe not THE finish line, but SOME finish line?

So, that’s why I’ve not been posting here. I’ve been writing. I am also, in the process, trying to learn Scrivener, which if nothing else comes of this, I think I have found a really amazing and kickass piece of software that I am completely loving as a tool to organize and work on different pieces at the same time.

But I have to confess.  As I sit here now, writing this post, I am so very close to be being on the verge of NOT MAKING IT. I am woefully behind in my word count (to make this manageable, you should write 1,667 words a day, every day and I have not been doing that.)  I don’t even know how far behind I am, actually. I am afraid to look.  At this point I am just trying to pound out words whenever my schedule opens up.

So, that’s why I haven’t been here.  And why I won’t be here until December.

But thanks for checking in, and I promise to report back on how things turned out. I have 10 days to go. Miracles can happen, and sadly, I think that’s what it’s going to take.

Wish me luck.

12 Things I’m Loving Right Now

I know that “The Best Things In Life Aren’t Things” but lately I’ve been trying to focus my attention away from this endless winter, and on all the things I do really love and appreciate in my life.  This post is about things.  Objects, food, technology, yoga apparel and gear.  All the things that I am really loving right now.

So here goes:

Kashi Frozen Pizza, especially the Mushroom and Spinach one.  It is saving me on nights when I come home late from class and just want a little snack and a glass of wine while I watch The Biggest Loser.  The crust is really thin, it’s light, has good ingredients, and I like the eco-packaging.

Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice.  I even posted about this on Facebook the other day.  I can get it at Wegmans, and they also sell it at Wal-mart, surprisingly. It’s a little pouch of microwavable rice that I put stir-fried veggies on top of for a satisfying lunch.  Cooks in 90 secs. It is wicked good.

Nourish.  This is a powdered meal substitute that I drank when I was on the Clean Program.  I am not on Clean officially anymore, but I love this stuff.  It’s filling when I don’t have time to eat.  I like the chocolate.  I make it with Almond milk, put in frozen blueberries and some flax seeds and buzz it up in the Vita-Mix.  It’s spendy, though.  Still, I would be lost most days without it.

IPad.  I love this thing with my whole heart and soul. It’s ridiculous how much I love this wondrous piece of technology.  I let G take it to Florida with her on spring break and I’m totally jonesin’ for it!  Love IT. If you’re on the bubble about getting one, think you don’t NEED one, think again.  I have the older model, and this link is to the new one.  I love my “old” one and they are being sold cheap on ebay now that the new ones are coming. You won’t regret this splurge.  Guaranteed.

Zen Timer. I am in love with all things gizmo.  I love my Ipad. I love my Touch, I love my MacBook Pro.  I love this app. I use it every single day to time my meditation. I use it in Yin Class. It’s really great.

Sudoku Daily.  If you love sudoku, electronic sudoku is so wonderful you’ll think you have died and gone to heaven.  This is a free app, and while it is not as good as, say, the sudoku game on The Daily (for the Ipad), this is a great app for your touch, your phone, wherever you play games.

Timex Marathon. I have been wearing this watch for years. When the band breaks I go buy another one.  I am stupid when it comes to wrist chronographs. I don’t need lap times or splits.  I want a watch with the date and time. I want a timer and a stopwatch.  I want to read it in the dark if I have to. I want everything to be intuitive to program.  I never have to consult the manual.  This watch tells me how to set it.  I love this thing. Not pretty, but it gets me there on time.

Kor Delta Water Bottle.  This is the bottle that is going to cure me of my hatred of drinking water. It is so beautifully designed I want to pick it up and sip it every time I look at it. I have ordered 2 to raffle off at the end of the Yoga Challenge in April.  This is what happens when design meets function.  True love.

CVS Lens Wipes. Without these I wouldn’t be able to see.  I like them because they are not really WET.  They do the job with just the right amount of moisture. I use them on my glasses, my spendy sunglasses, my Ipad screen–everything. They are individually wrapped so not eco-friendly, but they fit in my purse and go everywhere.  Love them.

Kickbooty Yoga Pants. These are the best yoga pants I have ever worn. They make my ass look amazing.  I love them. Period.

Manduka. I love my Manduka mat. I practice on the Pro.  But I recommend this Pro-Lite mat to all my students.  Can’t go wrong. Not too tacky, not too slippery, really easy to clean.  To my mind, the perfect light-weight mat for toting to class.

750 Words This site is just the most rockin’ writing site in the world.  If you ever tried to do Morning Pages, a la Julia Cameron, this the online version.  No Artist dates or any of that other hoo-hah, just 750 words of brain clean-out every day.  Like taking a shower.  I feel clean and refreshed when I’m through. Plus, Buster gives you BADGES!!!!

Okay, there’s my list.  What are YOU  loving lately in the world of “things?”  Would love to hear!

Trying to Decide…

I just got an email from the poobahs at WordPress.  They are challenging bloggers who use this platform to commit to blogging every day in 2011.

I am sorely tempted…

Confession: I get totally STOKED around New Years.  I am a hopeless resolution maker.  I love to make resolutions and then buy tracking equipment: calendars, software, stickers, etc. to keep myself accountable.

When this email came, I was SO ready to jump all over this.  After all, tomorrow I will complete the December challenge at 750 words and earn my Albatross badge.  (!!!) Last year I did Holosync for 436 days without a break.

I am a complete streaker, love stacking up the days.  But EVERY DAY here???   What it will mean is some decent posts, but a lot of just showing up for the sake of showing up.  It might mean just a picture some days. It might mean a paragraph.  It might mean less than stellar content.

What do you think?

Since you check here in and read this blog, should I just continue here as I have been doing, being fairly consistent, albeit with longer breaks here and there?  Or do you think I should take the bait and try for 365 days of posts, regardless of content?

I’d really appreciate your input.


Accentuating The Postive. Eliminating The Negative

Social Media Landscape

Today’s Reverb10 prompt is: what do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing –and can you eliminate it.

Of course the answer is: All my internet addictions: facebook, twitter, email, blog reading.  Sometimes I tell myself that the blog reading in particular gets my juices going, gets my mind thinking in bloggy ways, and while that does happen sometimes, it happens far more often when I read books.  So I’d be better off spending the time reading rather than wasting time online.

Most of what I do online is avoidance behavior, but a lot of it is also voyeuristic.  I want to see what other people are doing with their time, with their lives. I want to know what their “obsessions du jour” are. Do I want to know these things in order to be inspired?  To feel companionship? To feel connected?   All of the above?  None?

If it is connection I crave, who am I connected to?  And how deep are those connections?  When I have to answer that question, the truth is revealed.

But if I were to be really and truly honest I’d have to say that  I spend time online because it is just plain fun.  It makes me happy.  It has always made me happy, from the first day I opened an email account back in ’93 or ’94, until this day.

I have always loved my computers, my babies, and  I have always loved the internet. I have always wanted to know more about the  innards of these magic machines, and I have always been frustrated with the limits of my knowledge about them. I have even dreamed of going to study web design.  I purely and simply just dig it the whole scene.  It has provided me with hours and hours of happy.

But it is, without question, a time suck.   I’ve tried limiting myself to a daily portion of online “calories” of its yumminess but as with food, computer diets never work.

I’ve also tried “media fasting” where I unplug for a weekend, or just a day, and that definitely feels good.  Once I’m off, I don’t really miss it all that much. (For a while.)

So for me it’s a matter of limiting it rather than eliminating it.  I don’t want to eliminate it because if it were not for social media and blog reading I would never have found 750 words, where the idea for this post was born, or the reverb10 challenge that’s keeping me disciplined, and many other sites and people who have really enriched my life.

And if  I weren’t so in love and entranced with computers, I know I wouldn’t have a a website, or a blog, or the ability to make a podcast. I like that I can operate fairly competently in this whizzy world.  I like having these skillzzzz.

But the thing is, if I am, in my heart of hearts, a writer.  If I am, in the deepy-downy recesses of my soul, a person who loves words and yoga and the connection between the two, then there needs to be more time spent writing on 750 words, and blogging on this blog, and writing in my paper journal, and less time cruising around aimlessly, wasting gas online. I need to discipline myself to leave the internet and go into the yoga room and play on the mat and make discoveries there, so when I come back I have something to say.

The content for blogs and tweets and facebook status updates–at least content that’s interesting and sometimes even helpful for others, can most reliably be found for me when I go and DO things, and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN, and create CHANGE.

Whenever I think, “I have nothing to write about,” that should be the red flag to STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER and go live life:  read a book, have a conversation, do some yoga, workout, write.  I don’t want to eliminate social media, I just need to use it better.  I need to put a little fence around it with a sign that says: Playground Hours are from blank to blank.  I need to be doing more living so I’ll have a better chance to be able to share  something useful and valuable here.

So here’s a little Aretha to give it to you a bit more soulfully: