60 Days On the Mat — Day 56: Role Models and Road Trips


Perhaps all of those self-help books I gave to Goodwill did teach me something?

This question enters my psyche like a flashing neon sign at 5:00am.  I ignore it until a more reasonable hour and go back to sleep.

While drinking green tea, I glance through everything I have written over the past 55 days.  I think about self-help books.  I think about Oprah.  Yes, Oprah.  She is the Mary Tyler Moore for my generation.  We grew into women with her as our guide.  The Oprah Winfrey Show started nationally my senior year in high school.  Looking back, I think Oprah had as much to do with my book addiction as my own inner drive to figure myself out.

I laugh now because honestly, I will never figure myself out exactly.  I like the mystery.  The complicated algorithm.  The minute you figure yourself out you stop growing through life.  You’re stuck.

I hate being stuck.

I went to the mat at noon with Ellen.  My energy was good, but I was still a little sore in the shoulder and upper arm area.  The pain is dominant in the left bicep.  I do not understand my body.  I think this has to do with the fact that since January 1st I have taken a flow class every single day.  20 days in a row.  No restorative.  No Yin.  Perhaps my shoulders are fighting back from lack of rest?  I push up into downward facing dog and decide I will have plenty of time for restorative yoga after the embryo transfer.

While moving through the flow; working precisely on my transitions —  I start to think about my friend Elaine.  It’s not surprising to me that Elaine is at the forefront of my mind as I think about self-help books and Oprah.  When describing my book addiction she always says something like — you kill me, you have a stack of books on this side of the bed, you read one and move it to the other side of the bed.  It’s not one kind of book — Marianne Williamson, Leo Tolstoy, travel books, Dean Koontz, Tennessee Williams, Oprah’s Book Club selection — it’s everything.  You will read anything and you read the WHOLE book! 

I think to myself, if she could only see my iPad Kindle app … I have not changed, except now I carry around twice as many books in my purse and I have less time to read.

Elaine - me - Amy - Chase - Kristin Georgy Porgy, 1988

Elaine – me – Amy – Chase – Kristin
Georgy Porgy, 1988

Elaine and I met in 1982 when I started attending CATS.  In our late 20s and early 30s we were always taking road trips together on the eastern seaboard in honor of one of our birthdays.  Vermont.  Maine.  We would rent canoes, bicycles, bring our journals and talk about our lives for several days while staring at some body of water and eating really great food.  I always felt completely re-energized after each trip.  I wish we still did it.  I miss that kind of time with her.

While balancing on one leg my mind goes blank.  I think only about foot placement.  I am using my feet to help secure the pose; pressing into the ground through my big toe side.  I connect the abdominal muscles simultaneously and feel stable; I mentally tell myself to remember this feeling.  As we move into the release of a forward fold, Elaine is still on my mind. There are so many memories popping in, making me laugh to myself — specifically the phrase, Maine is a BIG state!  I refocus as we rise up from the forward fold.

Me and ElaineAugust 12, 2007Pine, CO

Me and Elaine
August 12, 2007
Pine, CO

I start thinking about female friendships in general.  How important they are.  Yes, my husband is my best friend, but if I want to talk about anything Oprah has ever said or recommended, and I mean EVER — I need to bend another ear.  He will humor me for a few minutes if I start to go into chick lingo, but his eyes are generally glazing over before I finish.

I completely understand this.  It’s the same way I feel when he wants to replay something in baseball or hockey and explain it to me.  I try to get it, but something is always lost in translation.

The Oprah Winfrey Show was the world’s longest running chick flick.  I think about young women today and wonder who they are listening to?  Who are their role models?  Who is teaching them how to live their best life?

As the possible celebrity options enter my mind I get scared.   The Kardashians?  Lindsay Lohan?  Honey Boo Boo?  I just put Honey Boo Boo in this list because the fact that we have a show based on these people and this topic — that is highly rated —  says a lot about our culture and the intellectual curiosity among the masses.

Young women can’t possibly be paying attention to Honey Boo Boo can they?

That poor exploited little hillbilly child.

Oprah needs to groom someone for these kids and quick — Super Soul Sunday and Oprah’s Master Class — for Young Women?

We need more people encouraging curiosity — telling young women they need stacks of books on the side their bed on many different topics from varied points of view.  If I were to look at budgets from my 20s and early 30s (or lack there of) — hands down my number one expense after the essentials was books.  I would walk into Barnes and Noble — I never left without spending at least $50.  Ever.  When things were really tight for me, I would implement self-enforced bans on book stores or shop at used book stores.

I have always been a sucker for the smell of a new book.

I walk in clothing stores and my eyes glaze over — unless it’s Whole Foods clothes, apparently.

I’m lying in shavasana,  Ellen tells us to think for the first part of the resting pose and then empty the mind.  As I do this, I think about all the great friendships I have developed across my lifetime thus far — Elaine. Amy. Kelly. Heidi. Lori. Spring. Gennifre. Shannon.  Gwyn.  Stacy.  There are more, but these sit at the forefront of my mind.  I am so grateful for all of them.

When I get home, I stare at my bookshelf.  The Oprah’s Book Club selections line the top shelf along with every Barbara Kingsolver book.  Below that sit the few self-help books I was unable to let go of because they were anniversary editions — Louise Hay, Shatki Gawain, Julia Cameron.  I’m nothing, if not sentimental.  Perhaps I’ll glance at them again someday …

As Oprah would say, I know one thing for sure — they did teach me something.  I just never realized it until I started writing.

While getting ready for bed I begin to get slightly anxious about the doctor’s check-up for me and the Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings tomorrow.  I push the anxiety away and say a little prayer.

As I close my current book for the night (Dropped Names by Frank Langella … I fluctuate between that and reading about decorating a vintage nursery) — I hope one day I can bring the ladies road trip back.  Not a la Thelma and Louise but a la Terry and Elaine.

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