60 Days On the Mat — Day 27: Look Beyond the Backyard


December 22nd:  You can’t plan Christmas without making lists.  So today I broke down and made a very long one for the store.  I then went to the store and bought it all and threw said list in the trash can at the store.  This is what lists are meant to do, I think — not sit all over the house for weeks on end unaccomplished.

I woke up late and missed my regular Saturday yoga class with Ellen.  I was not distressed, I opted for a noon class with another teacher.  It was a solid class.  I love Ellen’s classes because she tells stories and antidotes which often bring life into yoga.  The teacher today just spoke yoga.  It was great for my technique, but my mind thought of little beyond arm positions and abdominal control during the beginning of class.

As I pushed back into my first downward facing dog, I was trying not to think about what was in front of me.  The dinner.  The presents.  This Christmas I had decided to create was a lot of work.

I know why people get frustrated and quit Christmas, but I was trying to make peace with this fact:  the rushing around to get to the day is part of it.  Just breathe.  Almost everyone does it; some better than others.  Try to be one of the ones that does it better.

I want to be part of the group that does it with a smile and the spirit of the season, not the grumpy group.  This became increasingly difficult as I was rammed twice with a cart at Target by mindless irritated shoppers, but even then I smiled and said, Merry Christmas!  The second cart rammer stopped and returned the sentiment with a rather embarrassed look on his face.

Overall, class today was very deliberate.  The flow was not as quick.  I became methodical in moving through it.  The clear mind, created by the type of practice this teacher was leading, put me in a completely different place.  I felt more like an athlete preparing for a big race.

The Christmas Race.

We held pigeon pose for a long time, and as I was lying there I went back to my childhood Christmas traditions.  A lot of it was complete mayhem, and often we were getting each other lots of junk no one needed or wanted.  Not every present was like that, of course, but there was a lot of excess (it was the 80’s).

As I start to think about how we want to celebrate holidays, I’m also thinking about those things I’ll gladly leave behind.  The mindless spending.  The mindless giving.  Less is generally more, if you think about it.  For me, it’s more about the festivities and the gathering of friends and family.  Presents are nice, but honestly, my ornament friends and my snowmen are just as meaningful.

My favorite quote recently is from my friend Gwyn’s little girl Scarlett.  She asked her what she was going to tell Santa she wanted for Christmas and Scarlett replied, “Surprise me.”

That’s how I feel.  Surprise me.  Though I will confess, I did ask Jonathan for a new alarm clock.  The old-fashioned ringing kind — not the kind that charges everything but forgets to wake you up.

We opened into V stretch with the legs.  As they are becoming stronger and more present in my practice, I am really starting to feel how the abdominal muscles connect everything. The inner thighs, the mid-back … it all changes with the strength of the abdominals. Mine still have a long way to go, but I’m grateful I am starting to feel the connection.

Everything is connected.

I came home after class and going to the store, and systematically started to plan our Christmas.  Yes, a list was involved — but just one.  I pulled out our china, our glasses, our linens and all the other things I was waiting to use someday and began to create a schedule.

About midway through the afternoon, Jonathan turned on Wizard of Oz.  I stopped and watched the whole thing.  All the way to my favorite quote:

” … if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”  ~ Dorothy

Despite the fact that I was still crying (I know, I’m ridiculous … when she says goodbye to the Scarecrow I’m a mess!) — I saw the ending with a whole new set of eyes.  For the first time in a very, very long time I was grateful I had looked well beyond my own backyard.  I was glad I went to Boston Conservatory.  I was glad I went to Milwaukee Repertory Theater.  I was glad I move to New York City and Long Island.  I was glad I went back to Texas and worked with my Aunt Bridget for almost a year.  I was glad I had roamed all over the place.

And most of all, I was glad I moved to Los Angeles.  I was glad I worked at Celebrity Connection.  Because without Los Angeles and Celebrity Connection, there would be no Jonathan in my life.

Tonight, December 22nd, is the 10-year anniversary of our first date.  The date where we went to see Lord of the Rings in the Cinerama Dome at the ArcLight in Hollywood.  The date where he pretended to like ranch dressing and shared my salad.  He made me warm homemade bread, and he has been warming my heart ever since.  (Though he has yet to make me anymore bread …)

I always knew (even when I thought I didn’t ) I was able to roam all over the place because my backyard, in some form or another, was always there waiting for me.  And it was.

So, sometimes when we go looking for our heart’s desire, we do, in fact, find it outside our own backyard.  Hopefully, as we build a new backyard, we can bring some of what we loved about the old one along with us.

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