Archive for February, 2011

February 28, 2011

And the winner is … THE WIZ!

Sunday, 4:30 p.m: I pick up my daughters who are opposed to ending their weekend with their Dad. The girls have shared time between two households for three years. Transitions are tough. While I’ve learned to not take it personally, it’s only recently I’ve learned to not placate. I stick to plan despite outbursts, sullen looks, silent treatments.

After mass and Sunday sauce, we look for a post-Oscars show on television. As my daughter channel surfs, we see the Wiz is beginning. I had never seen the movie in entirety but have always enjoyed the music.

Slide Some Oil to Me … I am 10 years old, in tap shoes and fringed leotard at the Rochester Institute of Technology auditorium for a dance recital … Ease on Down the Road … I’ve loved for years … Everybody Rejoice …  my love-at-first-sight introduction to influential fitness educator Petra Kolber, her warm-up song in the first class I took with her.

But the music takes on a deeper meaning as I watch with my daughters whose great-great grandmother Clara Hampton was the first in her family’s generation to be born free. Her parents were slaves in South Carolina. Everybody Rejoice is more than a Pollyanna perspective on a new day. It’s about life-changing liberation.

Throughout the musical, there are nuances and nods to African-American culture that my girls appreciate. (Scarecrow being illiterate and encouraged to remain that way, Tinman’s sassy silly expressions, the yellow brick road leading them all the way to the grand entrance of the Wizard’s urban palace where they’re told to use the back entrance) Although the film is more than 30 years old, it resonates with them (especially 19-year-old Michael Jackson’s brilliant performance); with what they’ve learned about their family history.

10:30 p.m. While The Wiz tanked at the box office in 1978 and was panned by critics, on this Oscar night it is our top pick.

We’ll have to find out who won what tomorrow.

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February 25, 2011

Bending, Not Breaking

It’s very late and I still can’t sleep. I don’t want to be awake.

I take a deep breath, close my eyes. I open them.

It’s still there; the anguish is palpable.

I tell myself a lie: that there’s only one way to escape it.

I eat.

In those moments, food that normally nourishes, robs me of what is most sustaining: knowing myself, living truthfully, having faith. And my body, that I like to move so much, falls victim to self-sabotage.

My greatest joys have been dynamic: being pregnant, running the Boston Marathon, teaching group fitness, working for a School of Public Health, dancing … even enjoy shoveling the snow. Where does my passion, my self-care, go in the empty moments?

I begin to take notice.

Anguish; its gripping tightness reminds me of how I feel when my yoga teacher cues wheel (a backbend) for the fifth agonizing time. And then takes 10 minutes to countdown from five to one.

My mind protests: I can’t.

Yet I’ve discovered, with the slightest encouragement, I can.

I breathe, even when it feels like there isn’t a place for the air to go. I breathe and the air feels stuck. I breathe and focus my eyes and turn off my thoughts. I breathe and know that if it is too much, I can back off. I breathe … and the teacher cues to gently come out of wheel.

I always thought the answer was to dig in my heels and break this bad habit. In truth, the answer is bending. Being flexible, gentle and patient. Bringing mind and body together, one breath at a time.

All through love. Not through force. Not through fear.

February 11, 2011

Wannabe Versus Imma Be

Last year I began a blog. After four posts, I stopped. I could easily say I didn’t have time, had too many responsibilities. The heart-stopping reason? I was afraid it wouldn’t be good enough. But what could be worse than feeling in my pores the desire to do something I’m perfectly capable of (at least capable, never mind perfect) and do nothing?

It’s none of your business what other people think ~ Wayne Dyer.

How ironic that the inventor of the light bulb wasn’t considered bright. Thomas Edison’s school teacher called him stupid and said he should try to get by on his pleasant personality. Walt Disney wanted to be a journalist but was fired from a newspaper because he didn’t have any original thoughts. He was told he lacked imagination. Michael Jordan didn’t make the cut for his varsity high school basketball team. History shows us time after time, it isn’t our critics who stop us.

The only thing that stands between what I want and who I can become is my own inner critic. It is the illuminating words of Edison that remind me to just be.

If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.   – Thomas Edison

I am writing a blog because I feel compelled to share thoughts the same way I feel compelled to move when I am listening to Black Eyed Peas. There’s just an excitement that can’t be denied.  And …

Imma be, Imma be, Imma, Imma be bloggin

… why should it?

Livin’ life, feelin’ free, that’s how it’s supposed to be
Come join my festivities, celebrate like Imma be – Black Eyed Peas

(how ironic that the inventor of the light bulb was considered unenlightened)
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