New Year’s Day

And so I begin another trip around the sun.

I’m a different Me this year. Or, rather, I’m more ME now than I have been in a very long time.

victoria, sitting with hands in prayer position

Over the past year I’ve made an assessment of my life and have been sorting what I’m bringing with me—and what I’m leaving behind—in the year ahead.

I’ve done some Spring Cleaning in my apartment: a first pass of the bookshelves and donated four boxes of books and carrying piles of magazines to the recycle bin. I’ve also been working on some Spring Cleaning of old beliefs and habits that are harmful…though releasing some of those beliefs and habits is not quite as easy as putting books in boxes and driving them off. Sometimes it requires driving the habit away several times before it stays away for good.

The year ahead guarantees challenge and change. Victories and setbacks. And learning. All the learning. I know that I’ll come to know myself even more deeply, and that many of my relationships will strengthen (and that some may dissolve entirely). I begin this year with a list of behaviors that I will no longer tolerate, just to keep peace. In turn, that allows me to begin this year with my feet firmly on the ground, and an open heart.


How I Know That My Birthday Is Near Without Looking At A Calendar

I’m sick again! I thought my suddenly stuffy sinuses meant that my allergies might be taking off, given the pleasant weather we've had this week, following two or three solid months of rain (POLLENPALOOZZA). Alas, as the afternoon wore on yesterday, I was ticking all the boxes for Cold (allergy attack generally means stuffy and itchy; cold means stuffy and body-achy). The only box I didn't tick was the sudden intense craving for tomato sauce or salsa: that seems to have been replaced with the craving for Thai curry.

Admittedly, this is an improvement over last year, when I caught the Death Flu, missed several days of work and then had to cancel my birthday vacation to make up for the sick leave. At least with this cold I'm somewhat functional, despite snot-induced sleep apnea preventing me from getting much rest overnight. (On the plus side, I don't really need to wear my night guard, since mouth breathing keeps me from grinding my jaws.)

Since I've got stuff to do this weekend (ex. Charlie and Clancy have now decided that they hate the "yellow" can food and prefer "blue" can, so I need to exchange cat food), I'll be packing the hand sanitizer and limiting my interactions as much as possible. (EDIT) As much as I looked forward to attending the viewing party with my fellow Alamedans, I’m grateful that today’s Action Event livestream will be available to watch from Casa de los Gatos Locos, so I don’t have to worry about infecting other people (or grossing them out). This is a really important event, so I’m grateful I’ll get to attend without leaving home.

The theme for today: tea, tissues and leftover Thai food.

vicster, holding a cup of tea and a box of tissues

A Day Without A Woman

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; A Woman's Place Is In The Resistance

Today is International Women’s Day, a day on which the organizers of the Women’s March called for a strike. I elected to withhold our labor today. Instead, I attended rallies at San Francisco City Hall and at Justin Herman Plaza. It was beautiful to be in such great energy.

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; International Women's Day Rally, San Francisco (6)

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; Strong Women Scare Weak Men

We live in a time where straight white men who have too much societal power routinely dehumanize people of color, LGBTQ, immigrants, and women. We have to come together to fight to have our humanity recognized.

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; Sign O' The Times

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; Vladnald

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; There's a MADMAN

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; Pup Sporting a Pussy Hat

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; Stay Nasty

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; For ALL Sisters

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; Quality Man

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; Hands Off

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; An Immigrant Woman

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; Pedicabs Against Patriarchy

On Re-Thinking

I’ve been working on a writing assignment that, on the surface, sounded fairly straight-forward. But by the time my terrified perfectionist and inner critic got done tag-teaming me, I started re-thinking this whole Writing As A Thing That I Do business.

All the while, in a very significant part of my life right now I’m feeling like I’m being pushed forward and dragged back simultaneously. Nothing in particular has been coming up in meditation, but my dreams keep playing themes of healing.

And then this evening’s yoga practice started to take a bit of a bad turn. Despite my effort to buy their cooperation with food, the cats were being just disruptive enough to distract me from my flow (because Sun Salutations aren’t challenging enough for me). Then came my balance poses. I have been so strong and steady in my balance poses over the last several days, but tonight? I could not balance on my right leg if my life depended on it. My Tree Pose uprooted after a couple of breaths. And as I fell out of Dancer’s Pose on the third try, I felt my frustration envelop me. I clapped my hands hard and stifled a scream as tears started running down my face. The old stories were trying to spin up again: No one is interested in your aspirations and they’re too busy to offer any support, anyway, and you’re going to have to go this alone like you thought you might. And this writing thing? Are you kidding? You’re falling apart over a few paragraphs, just like you’re falling apart here!

But this time I was able to stop those stories from gaining traction. I paused and observed them and took note of how I was physically reacting (pulling myself in, like a turtle). I reminded myself that I’m consciously choosing flow over frustration and love over judgement. I also reminded myself that I came home from work this evening and held my handstand longer than I’ve ever held it before. So balancing on my right leg is a non-starter tonight? Try something else! I don’t need to scrap the entire practice over a wobbly leg, I just need to get back into my flow!

I settled myself in Hero’s Pose for a few breaths, then did Child’s Pose and some flowing poses from my knees, to reset the link between my movement and my breath, before I worked my way back to standing. I went through my series of Warrior poses and came back for one last balance (Half Moon) pose. It was shaky AF, but I managed it on both sides! Forty-five minutes later, I enjoyed a peaceful Savasana.

After a brief meditation, I made myself a bowl of oatmeal for supper and took another swing at the writing assignment. I cut some sentences here, swapped some words there and finally decided to just post it, remembering one of my favorite painting quotes:

A painting is never really finished. It just stops in an interesting place.

Is it perfect? Well, if I wait for perfect, I’ll never post or publish anything! And the Universal Lesson was about finding my way through the sticky parts, moreso than writing flawless prose.

As for the other parts of my life that have me stymied right now? I’ll find my way, and I know I won’t do it alone. Instead of my default Shut-Everyone-Out Mode, I’ll keep my heart open to those who do care about what I’m doing and are willing and able to support my efforts.