05 December, 2012

Experiments in … Henna!


Last night I [finally!] got around to dying my hair.  Yes, that’s right, I did it myself.  But I didn’t use any of those stinky-chemicals-in-a-box deals.  I went old school with henna.  For those who may not know, henna,also called Egyptian privet or Mignonette Tree, is a tropical shrub whose leaves, when powdered, create a safe and natural dye for human hair and skin.  It has been used by humans for ages and ages.  According to Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal, “records dating back more than 5,000 years specify its use as a medicine, talisman, ceremonial substance, and cosmetic used to color hair and paint the body.”  It is often associated with the ancient Egyptians.  It is even purported that Cleopatra regularly used henna in her beauty rituals.  And, well, if it’s good enough for Cleopatra, then it’s good enough for me!

Rosemary Gladstar goes on to write the following in her amazing Family Herbal (which is an excellent book, and should absolutely be on your bookshelf):

“The basic shade of henna is red, and all henna has a whisper of red in it.  But by carefully blending different parts of the plant that are harvested at different times, a whole range of colors is created.  Colors range from neutral to blond to the reddest of reds to black.  I further like to blend the shades together to get more specific colors. … Not an instant dye nor a neat and easy process, hena requires time and patience.”

rainbow henna
I’d bought a jar of Rainbow henna about six months ago with the express intent of dying my hair.  I finally got around to doing it last night.  (I am highly skilled in the art of procrastination.)  I went for a simple dark brown.  I just wanted to add a little richness to my own color, cover up my annoying, persistent grays, and give my hair a good conditioning. 

Let me just warn you, if you’ve not tried it before, that henna is a messy business!  In fact, it’s much more fun if you henna with a friend (or several).  Check out Meghan Currie and her best friend using henna here to see what I mean.  Unfortunately, I was solo on my henna hair project, so you won’t get to see all the behind the scenes shenanigans and green-goo-splattered bathroom snapshots from my experience.  I can, however, tell you that there was lots to clean up afterwards. 

before mixing ...
... after mixing










I whipped up my henna cocktail with black coffee (to help with covering the grays), apple cider vinegar (again, to help with covering the grays), and an egg.  The egg was for extra protein and conditioning since my hair’s a little dry and neglected right now.  Then I oiled the skin around my hairline with a little kukui nut oil, wrapped a towel around my neck, donned my vinyl gloves, and started slapping henna all over my head.  In case you’ve not experienced my hair before, it is super thick.  I mean, I have thick individual hair strands, and I have A LOT of it.  So, this took a long time to do.  It was crazy messy.  And, let’s be real, my arms were getting stupid tired.  So, I may have gotten a little lazy distributing henna to every single hair strand.  Still, I think I did a pretty darn good job considering I was all by my lonesome.  When most all of the henna goop was on my hair, I smooshed it up into a weird mud-covered-looking kind of beehive and wrapped it in a plastic shopping bag.  I know you are so envious of my mad style right now.  


oooh
aaah











Before I cleaned up, I used the leftover henna mixture to make a little viney design on my arm and hand and a little heart on my neck.  Unfortunately, the heart got rubbed off almost immediately by the towel.  Oh well.  Ninety minutes of watching Once Upon A Time and Glee, and I was ready to rinse.  Now I have soft, shiny, bouncy luxurious chestnut colored hair (with a few dull spots where my arms got tired).  Yay! 

post-henna luxuriousness

admit it ... you want to run your fingers through it!











Have any of you every used henna on your hair?  How was it?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

Hope you’re having a swell Tuesday today!

xoxo,

Melanie








01 December, 2012

Experiments in ... Makeup: Smoke + Sparkles for a Holiday Party






The first holiday party of the season is tonight.  It's a somewhat casual affair, so I kept the clothes simple - gray skinny jeans, black turtleneck sweater, red heels.  To add a little festive flair to the mix, I gave myself a classic smoky eye with pale pink lips, and lined the eyes with silver glitter.  (You can't really tell in the photos, but, trust me, I'm sparkly.)  I'm off to celebrate the season now.  Hope you're holiday season is full of celebration, as well!
xoxo,
Melanie

07 November, 2012

Experiments in ... Makeup!

Look of the Day:  Modern Geisha







Korres Wild Rose liquid foundation in WRF2
Korres Quercetin & Oak concealer in 02 Light
Sephora Nano lip pencil in real red
Wet & Wild lipstick in 514 A
Sephora gel eye liner in black (from palette)
Revlon Grow Luscious Mascara in blackest black


NOTE:  My lighting situation is so much less than ideal, but I hope you get the picture.  Would love to hear your thoughts as I try out new looks during my esthetics training.  Thanks, and happy Wednesday!

PS:  Congrats to everyone who voted.  Even if your candidate didn't win, you showed up, and that's something to be proud of!

24 October, 2012

What's the story, morning glory? What's the word, hummingbird?



I continue on with my struggle against the busyness of work/school/life.  Sadly, my current schedule keeps me from doing many of the things that bring me simple joy, such as taking walks with friends, taking myself to the movies, and writing blog entries.  When I find myself getting melancholy at this acknowledgement I just remember the medicine of Hawk:  Fly up higher to see the bigger picture.  When I remind myself why I decided to go back to school, and, more to the point, that it’s only a ten month gig, I can breathe a little more easily in the confines of my claustrophobic schedule.  I play this game with my Self pretty much every day, but at least it’s still working … sort of. 

I have been hearing the whisper of Change on the air, though, so I know it’s coming soon.  I’m getting so restless.

I’ve had a pretty eventful past few weeks.  I’ve been wanting to post about these happenings individually and in depth for some time, but, well, the aforementioned time bind means that these little blurbs will have to do.  I at least have to get the gist of what’s happening recorded for posterity’s sake.  One day, I imagine, it will be amusing for me to read back over the events of my life. 

I’m still having struggles with my health – physical, yes, but also emotional and spiritual.  In case you are wondering, there is no cause for alarm.  From a public perspective, I still appear quite healthy.  And, to be fair, I am in many ways.  Mostly I’m dealing with extreme mold and mildew in my home, and the physical, mental and emotional repercussions that such a toxic state entails.  It’s been even worse with all the rain we’ve been having lately.  I’m doing my best to maintain.  But this disease lurking deep within me makes things a bit of a challenge sometimes.  I find that I have little energy for anything.  I push through school and work .. and do alright there since I’m out of the house.  But once I’m home I’m just so tired that I can do little but curl up on the couch or go to bed.  It’s exhausting and frustrating.  But, since I haven’t the time nor the energy to try to break my lease and find a new place to live, I am just trying to manage it until May.

During this down time, I have been trying to remain open to hearing the stories of my Self and of the world around me.  I am in a place of unknowing at present, and despite my appreciation of the infinite possibility and adventure that lives in this space, it is a very uncomfortable space for me.  I suppose part of that discomfort lies in the very base awareness that I am uncomfortable here.  (Chicken?  Egg?)   I feel a sense of weakness, I suppose, at my cowering in the face of what could be (and likely is) a most exciting new beginning.  It’s hard to get excited about anything when my health is in such a lousy state.   But the idea of change on its way is what keeps me pushing through this current discomfort.

So, on to other news …

The biggest bit of news is that I got a car.  I know, I know, I wasn’t going to do that.  I wrote about how wonderful it is to be able to walk around town and really see the nooks and crannies of the place in which I live.  I touted the benefits that walking everywhere has on my health.  I recounted how nice it is to not have to worry about traffic jams, or the price of gas, or finding a parking space in a college town in September.  And all those things still ring true, I promise.  However … yes, there’s a “however”.  However … once school began, new layers of experience around the not-having-a-car situation developed.  First of all, Durham’s bus system, though adequate, is not great.  They are continually making improvements, but it is still not absolutely reliable.  And while there are some really wonderful, interesting and diverse folks who ride the bus, there are also some really … well, let’s say less than pleasant folks who ride it, too.  Some are very rude, some (though few) potentially dangerous, and some with some really poor hygiene habits.  Buses are small, enclosed spaces containing tightly packed groups of people with recycled heat or A/C and little or no fresh air ventilation.  This makes for some potentially very unpleasant transport experiences.  Finally, the bus route that goes to my campus is being canceled come January, so I will no longer have a way to get to school in the new year.  All of these factors played a role in my decision to finally get another car.  And I feel really good about it. 

It’s fascinating to me how I always oscillate between extremes in my life.  Just a couple years ago I was beginning to shed all my belongings, setting out to live a much more sparse existence.  More and more these days I find myself longing for more stuff.  I am craving a better living environment, super excited about having a car again, wanting to go shopping (sometimes just for the sake of going shopping).  I’ve even caught myself daydreaming over owning a mobile phone again.  Crazy!  Whether my rediscovered appreciation for the convenience of a mobile phone will win out over my intense distrust and abhorrence of the mobile phone service provider industry is yet to be determined.  Still, I cannot overlook the fact that I have a life pattern of swinging from one extreme to the other.  I suppose it is this very pattern that drives my desperate search for balance.  Hmmm … I digress …

In other news, I attended my 20-year high school reunion earlier this month.  I must own that I was feeling pretty trepidatious about it.  It’s been a long time (20 years!) since I’ve seen most of these people, and I have changed so dramatically in that time span.  I am sure that everyone else has undergone their own changes, as well.  I still have a very wounded relationship with my past self, and was just feeling really unsure about how I was going to feel revisiting those old relationships.  I almost didn’t go. I didn’t go to my 10-year reunion.  But I felt like I just needed to do it and deal with it.  So with my Sister and a bottle of bourbon in tow, for support and courage, respectively, I went. 

It wasn’t so bad.  In fact, it was kinda fun.  Unfortunately, (or fortunately, I’m not sure which) there was a very low turnout.  But it was nice seeing the people who did attend.  My only complaint was that I didn’t really get to talk much with anyone beyond the quick “what are you doing now?” updates.  That was partially my fault, as we had a heck of a time finding the place in the dark, so were late arriving.  And we had to leave a little early.  (More on that in a bit.)  But, too, this event, on the whole, wasn’t very conducive to in-depth conversing.  (Or at least not for someone like me, who is not a natural conversationalist.)  Mostly we ate and danced.  Now I kind of feel like I am left with the unfinished business of visiting my past without making any reparations while there.  I take full responsibility for not being better at really talking with my old classmates.  As I mentioned already, I’m a very uncomfortable conversationalist, in general.  So, if anyone from the reunion happens to be reading this, I hope you’ll forgive me for not talking with you more.  It was fun to see you.  I’m glad I went.  I’m glad you went, too.

The reason Sister and I left the reunion a little early was to drive up to Asheville for the night.  We thought it’d be a good opportunity to visit Sister’s friend and to become more acquainted with the town.  We visited several spas, including the famed Grove Park Inn Spa, and picked up the local rag (comparable to The Independent here in Durham) to get an idea of town happenings, job openings and housing possibilities.  It was a good trip, when all was said and done, despite its brevity.  Thanks to Sister for being my brave and accommodating companion!

This brings us to my final bit of news:  A couple of weeks ago I found myself running late for school.  In my groggy, early morning fog I managed to misread my clock.  When I realized what time it actually was, I threw on my clothes, scooped up my bags, and bolted out the door.  I really didn’t want to miss the bus.  If I miss any of the three buses that take me to campus, I have to wait a whole hour to catch the next round.  No good.  So, I’m running to the first bus stop, which is about 10 minutes from my house on foot.  A couple blocks from the stop, it happened.  I tripped on I don’t know what.  Next thing I know I’m airborne.  I began to experience the inevitable slowing of time as I realized I was falling.  After a split-second infinity my left hip hit asphalt, followed shortly thereafter by my left shoulder.  Luckily my head did not hit the ground as it ricocheted with the force of the fall.  Lucky, too, was the fact that it was so early in the morning that there were no cars on the road (I fell smack in the middle of it), and it was too dark for anyone to witness my spill.  I managed to get myself up and hobble to the bus stop with even a few minutes to spare, so it all worked out that morning.  Unfortunately my body has been jacked up ever since.  I have managed to schedule one bodywork session, but this is apparently going to take a few more to get me back to normal … whatever that is.  The really funny part of it was that during that slow-motion descent all I could think was:  I don’t fall!  I’m a yoga teacher!  I’m a massage therapist!  What is happening here?  I DO NOT fall!!  Oh well … I guess we all fall sometimes. 

So that’s the nutshell version of this life of late.  It’s been a roller coaster ride of ups, downs, twirls and whirls.  I’m still hanging on, though, and, most of the time, having fun.

What have you been up to?

While you prepare your answers, I’ll leave you with this little pearl from Rumi.  Hope you enjoy it!

I am smiling at myself today
There's no wish left in this heart
Or perhaps there is no heart left
Free from all desire
I sit quietly like Earth
My silent cry echoes like thunder
Throughout the universe
I am not worried about it
I know it will be heard by no one
Except me.

~ Rumi

11 September, 2012

sprouting


Growth is happening – within and around me.  I can feel it stirring and whirring and burrowing under my skin, into my sinews and sucking my marrow.  I’m transforming.  It’s happening now.  Yes, right now.  Do you feel it, too?  My inky early mornings still find me dragging this bag of bones to the mat. Some days begrudgingly, some days joyously, most days both, as I practice the art of opening my Self, my soul, my joints, my hamstrings.  I am practicing being me.  I am practicing shifts in perspective.  I am practicing love.  And truth.  And beauty.  And freedom. 

bakasana - crow pose
It feels good.

03 September, 2012

holiday weekend and an update


I realize it’s been an inexcusably long time since I’ve written.  But I’m going to excuse myself nonetheless.  I do apologize for my tardiness, and only offer up some seriously lacking time management on my part as explanation.  I hope you’ll forgive me.

In the time since I last wrote, so much has happened! 

The most notable is that I started school.  You may recall that earlier this summer I made the decision to go back to school for esthetics training.  I am now one month into the program, and I’m happy to report that I absolutely love it.  I love what I’m learning.  I have a lovely instructor and a fantastic group of classmates.  I am so happy that our class is not only small, but also very diverse.  We each bring something completely unique to the learning experience and it seems to be working beautifully so far.  If I had any reservations about this decision, they have all been quelled.  So far, we’ve learned hand treatments, mini facials, and facial waxing.  We’ve also begun practicing makeup application and applying facial masks.  We spent a little time on life skills and time management (yes, I’m working on it), and a lot of time on sanitation practices in the esthetics workplace.  Fun, fun, fun!  Our clinic opens to actual customers in a couple weeks.  I’ll keep you posted, or if you want to experience it for yourself, let me know and I’ll get you hooked up. 

Since school began, I have had time for very little else other than class and work.  I get up at 4:45a most mornings.  Yoga practice every day and calisthenics/cardio work about four days a week.  I have had some health issues the past week and a half that have been keeping me from the workout, but I am trying to figure that out so I can jump right back into the groove.  Otherwise, just trying to get adjusted to this very new schedule and to get as much sleep as possible. 

I did manage to get out of town this [Labor Day] weekend for a friend’s wedding in the mountains.  Sister went with me, and we had a grand time touring through NC and Tennessee.  The wedding was in Erwin, TN, which is just across the NC border. The ceremony was followed by a back yard reception and cabaret in historic downtown Erwin.  A buffet spread of good Southern barbecue and tasty Venezuelan dishes kept everyone fed and happy.  Then, with full bellies and bevvies in hand, we sat back in our chairs to enjoy the show as various friends and family performed for the bride and groom.  With so much talent under that tent, we couldn’t help but enjoy ourselves out there under the trees.  Thanks to Robert and Camalge for inviting us to celebrate their nuptials.  Buena suerte a ustedes! 

So, now the weekend fun is over, and I’ll be spending tomorrow recovering and studying for my upcoming test.  I hope you had a fun and festive holiday weekend, as well.  Happy Labor Day!

xoxo,

Melanie

PS:  I don't know how to layout my photos, so apologies for the boring 'one after another' situation below.


the happy couple 

check out the spread!  so delicious!

performers take to the stage ...





and party-goers take to the dance floor!





13 July, 2012

a birthday wish

Today I'd like to take a moment to celebrate my sister.  It's her birthday, today.  I am so happy she was born!  I hope you'll take a moment to celebrate her with me.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SIS!

I'm wishing you a day lifetime full of unicorns, bubbles, faerie friends, giggles, candy-coated wishes, and all the joy and wonder the world has to offer!

I love you!

- your big sister




(Please join me in raising a glass to my wonderful sister on her birthday!)

14 June, 2012

Big News and a Plea for Help



Greetings, gentle readers!  I have some big news today, and will be brief sharing it as I am super excited to get things rolling …

After meditating on the matter for some time now, I have finally figured out the next phase of my journey.  I am going back to school.  No, not for a masters degree or anything so time intensive.  I am going to get my training and certification in esthetics.  In layman’s terms I will be learning all about skincare.  I’m super excited.  It’s something I’ve considered doing for years, but the timing never seemed right.  But now it does! There’s a program in town, and it’s on the bus schedule, so I will actually be able to get to it without a car.  It’s not quite a year long, so I won’t feel like I’m tying myself down to one location for an excessive amount of time.  And the class hours fit with my current schedule beautifully.  Plus, I’m still in time to make the deadline for the fall semester!  It’s destiny, I tell you!

 The only hard part is funding the tuition.  While it isn’t a grand sum, it is grander than my budget allows at present with my measly schedule of a few hours of scattered part time work each week.  While I am looking around for more part-time work that will still fit in with the new school schedule, I am swallowing up my pride and asking for help.  (I’m not very good at asking for help, so please bear with me if I don’t do it so eloquently.) 

I have set up an indiegogo campaign to try to raise funds for tuition and supplies costs.  Here is the link!



119533.png


Please do not feel obligated to donate, but if you are moved to do so, I will forever hold you in great esteem and gratitude.  I will very likely need folks on whom I can practice my new skills, too.  So, if you are local, get ready.  Preference will be given to those who contribute to the campaign, of course, but I’ll do my best to fit in all interested parties at least once.

Please take a moment to read through the campaign spiel.  If you are moved to donate, THANK YOU!!  If not, then thank you for at least taking the time to consider. 

This is one more step closer to living my dreams, people!  I’m so glad I get to share it with such a lovely audience.  I would love to hear about your dreams, too, so tell me all about them in the comments section, okay?!  We can keep each other motivated! 

Happy experimenting!

xoxo,

Melanie

04 June, 2012

Experiments in … Experimonth!


My friend, Erin, who left NC for IN a few years ago, is a pretty amazing lady.  She has a beautifully curious mind, an artist’s eye,  and such a generous heart.  Erin is a woman who experiments with life, as well.  This month she participated in a program called Experimonth, a program organized by the Museum of Life and Science here in Durham.  (This is Erin’s former employer.)  This month’s Experimonth theme was “Trade It Up”.  The idea was to encourage folks to give you something that you would then trade to another person for something they had on offer … and so on and so forth for the duration of the month.  Erin took it a step further by tacking on her own rule that everything traded had be to be something created by the giver.  The word created was given some freedom in this context.  Basically the item had to be made or crafted or explained or verbalized or physically enacted, etc. for Erin, and likewise she would trade this craft/experience/activity/whatever to the next recipient in the same manner. 

Here’s what I sent Erin:



I went a little overboard due to the fact I’ve not been a good penpal since Erin moved away.  I wanted her to be able to actually keep some of what I sent for herself.  So, I gave her the option of choosing what she kept and what she traded.  Enclosed in the package I sent her were some peanut butter bacon cookies (ala Joy the Baker) with recipe card, a pair of handmade mother of pearl earrings, a personally blended tin of herbal tea, and a card made out of a photo that I took during my visit to Greenville earlier this year.   I also got crafty with the packaging by wrapping various yarns around aluminum cans and jelly jars for some added pizzazz.  

The earrings were traded. 

This is what I was traded in return:



It’s a beautifully rendered recipe for homemade "world class" macaroni and cheese.  Delicious!  And I love the artfully drawn recipe image.  I haven’t made this yet, as mac + cheese seems more appealing in cooler weather to me, but I look forward to whipping up a bowl of the creamy goodness once Summer begins to fade into Autumn. 

Thanks, Erin!  And thanks to the Experimonth participant who contributed this recipe.  I’m sure to enjoy it!

Hoping all your experiments are blissful ...

xoxo,

Melanie

29 May, 2012

Experiments in ... patriotism.

Happy Memorial Day!  And thank you to all of you who have served to safeguard the lives of Americans - in whatever way you may have served.

xoxo,

Melanie

28 May, 2012

Experiments in … bliss: Sweet Saturday



Yesterday was sweet, indeed.  Although to many this weekend is a holiday weekend riddled with meticulous plans and high expectations of fun and frolicking, for me, it’s just another weekend.  Now, don’t get me wrong … I’m very thankful for those who have risked much so that I might experience the freedoms that I do.  It is not my intention to belittle the significance of Memorial Day.  I just mean to iterate that I have an unconventional work schedule, and, therefore, the fact that Monday is a “bank holiday” does not affect my schedule the way it affects the majority of Americans. 

Now that my disclaimers are out of the way, I’ll get back to my sweet Saturday. 

Yesterday was only a casually planned event.  And that’s using the word ‘planned’ in the loosest of definitions.  It started out with a trip to the farmers’ market with Sister.  As usual, we had mentioned a proposed meeting time the night before.  Also as usual, we ended up meeting about an hour after that originally proposed time.  So, I got to her house around 9am, and we strolled through town toward the market.  Once there, we were enveloped with the telltale signs of the impending arrival of summer on the farm:  the brilliant greens, yellows and reds of the vegetables on every table; the mouth-wateringly heady aromas of freshly baked breads and pastries; gorgeous bouquets of flowers; the promise of pie reflected in the rows and rows of strawberries, blueberries and peaches; and, of course, the throngs of people emerging from hibernation to celebrate the return of this hot-headed southern sun that lords over us as summer comes to call. 



We were blessed to run into our good friends Chris, JD, Theresa, Lula and Shady.  Isn’t it always nice to share unexpected encounters with the people we love?  I think so.  We strolled the market together for a few moments, made plans to have lunch soon, and parted ways feeling even warmer than we already had in the early morning heat. 

The market and the surrounding areas were even more bustling than usual yesterday.  Apparently there was some kind of road race (or, possibly, a triathlon?) happening downtown.  It generated a good crowd of jolly townsfolk and athletes and even a very stylish gentleman with the most delicious hat I think I’ve ever seen. 


After filling my bag with some of Durham’s finest and freshest produce, Sister and I proceeded to Parker + Otis to share a drink and some conversation.  She had a soda. I had tea.  We both ogled the fine wares of the shop longingly.  We enjoyed sitting for a spell in the fun atmosphere and the good company, before parting ways around noontime.



After coming home to unload my market loot, I headed back into town and to The Carolina Theatre.  This weekend marks the last days of the Alfred Hitchcock retrospective.  I treated myself to a double feature of Strangers on a Train and Notorious.  (Isn’t Cary Grant just the dreamiest?)  I had never seen either film, and enjoyed them both a bunch!  (Today I’ll be seeing SpellboundGregory Peck, anyone?)  Then it was back into the sunlight of the early evening for a lovely promenade home. 


I had made no plans for my evening, but after practicing my Spanish during all my walking trips, I decided to lie back on the couch and watch the Spanish-language film, La Misma Luna (Under the Same Moon).  I’ve wanted to watch it for ages, and I wasn’t disappointed.  It is such a beautiful story of the bond between a mother and her son.  It also portrays the plight of illegal immigrants in a very poignant way without being overly sentimental about it.  It broke my heart over and over again, but also gave me hope and some valuable insights into a growing group of people who are finding themselves in a sort of purgatory between two cultural identities.  I totally recommend this film.

As I was getting ready to turn in early (yes, on a Saturday night), the phone rang.  As if my day wasn’t already wonderful enough, my parents were calling.  We managed a relative glitch-free trans-world skype video call.  It was great catching up with them and hearing all about their adventures and upcoming birthday plans!  Mom and Dad, if you’re reading, I’m so glad we got to talk last night!

Then it was to bed to read a little before succumbing to the comforting embrace of Sleep.  Aaah.  What a sweet Saturday!

How was your Saturday?  What did you do?  I hope it was sweet, as well!

xoxo,

Melanie






23 May, 2012

Previously on Days of My Life … plus a Resolution Roundup


When last we met, I had committed to getting my body off my couch and into motion.  Well, I am happy to report that I have been keeping up my end of my bargain with myself.  I have generally been sticking to a 6 days on / one day off plan where workouts are concerned.  I did allow myself a couple extra days off while trying to heal from the worst case of poison ivy I’ve ever endured.  After the first 10 days of my previously mentioned TAM-esque 15-minute muscular structure (MS) workouts followed by 20 minutes of rebounder/floor combination cardio work, I upgraded to a new TAM-esque MS sequence that take about 30-45 minutes followed by 30 minutes of mostly, or all, floor dance cardio.  I began this sequence with 25 reps of each MS move, and have gradually worked up to 40 reps each.  (That’s why the 30-45 minutes.)  As soon as this 10 day period is finished (which is very soon) I will begin the actual Tracy Anderson Method Metamorphosis program.  I would have started it sooner, but there was an ordering glitch and it took forever to get here. 

I am feeling pretty good – physically and mentally/emotionally.  I weathered the whole poison ivy storm.  I managed to slightly injure my foot, but am still getting my cardio in (while taking reasonable precautions, of course).  And while it can feel excruciatingly difficult when I’m doing the work – especially by the time I’m nearing the fortieth rep of an already challenging move – I am finding that I look forward to my workouts.  It’s a pretty amazing feeling.

I referenced the notion of failure in my last post.  That’s a topic that has continued to roll around in my brain lately.  I continue to question my understanding of what failure is and how I perceive failure in my own life.  I have been using these internal discoveries and analyses to help inspire me when I’m feeling like giving up or taking the easy out during my daily experiences.  It has been amazing to notice just what exactly has been playing on my internal radio for years!  So many excuses doled out as inevitabilities … so much power given over to other people and external circumstances … so much bullshit!  As I begin to really listen to all that bogus programming I become much more able to negate it.  I am finally beginning to take responsibility for myself and my situation a little more fully and with a little more presence and prescience to what my internal naysayer is likely to toss at me.  So, I suppose this is part of that “sound mind in a sound body” thing?  Points for me!  Progress is being made already! 

In the spirit of gauging failure and success, it seems a good time to do a resolution roundup.  By that, I mean that we are nearing the halfway point in this calendar year, and it seems like a good time to see how I’m faring with all those resolutions I made back in January.  So, here we go …

1.  I resolve to maintain ample space in my schedule for my Self.

I fixed this one by leaving my job at the inn.  I was finding that the job was consuming way too much of my time and energy leaving me too exhausted to do much else.  Not conducive to Resolution #1!  Now, I have lots of free time and tons of me time.  And I remember why I made this resolution in the first place.

2.  I resolve to regularly take classes to better myself.

Well, this one started strong out of the gate, but has slowly petered out over the long run.  I am hoping to get back to some yoga classes soon, and have signed up for an e-textiles workshop later this month, but am not taking a regular class at present.  Will work on finding a class to rectify this slip.

3.  I resolve to clean up my diet, and eat a sustainable diet of whole foods that nourish the whole me.

Well, this one is a little loosely worded, so it’s tricky.  For the most part, I’d say I’m doing alright here, though I could definitely make some improvements.

4.  I resolve to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep every night.

As mentioned in #1, this was beginning to get bumped during my overworked days at the inn, but now I’m getting a solid 8-10 every night … just like my body likes it!

5.  I resolve to do some form of mindful movement (yoga, stretching, dancing, etc.) every day – even if only for 10 minutes.

As in #1 and #4 … as I started working too much and falling behind on my me time, this didn’t always happen, but I’m back in business now, and that business is boomin’!

6.  I resolve to cultivate a daily meditation practice.

Oops.  This one didn’t last very long … again.  Geez Louise!  Why is it so hard to make time to sit for 10 minutes?  Will have to work on this!

7.  I resolve to get a pedicure every two weeks.

Oops, again!  Haven’t gotten a single one.  Though I still think about it regularly, and hope to figure out how to fit it into my lifestyle.  It seems like when I have the money, I haven’t got the time and when I have the time, I’m not sure it’s the best way to spend my money.  Must remember this is an investment in my Self. 

8.  I resolve to get a massage or other healing bodywork session at least once a month.

Nope.  Have only gotten one massage this year.  Yikes!  That’s terrible!  Why is it that so many people in healing professions have such a hard time making Self care a priority??  Argh!

9.  I resolve to dance at least once a week.

After dance class ended, so did my regular dancing … until I started the cardio dancing a few weeks ago.  Now I dance almost every day.  Hooray!

10.  I resolve to write in my blog at least once a week.

Umm … if you ever read this blog, you will know that’s another fail.  (See … failure!  It’s popping up everywhere!)  But, while weekly posting is still a wonderful goal, I am happy that I am still writing at all.  (Take that, Failure!)

11.  I resolve to cultivate a daily practice of acknowledging and expressing gratitude.

While I have not managed to establish a specific routine of when and where I express gratitude, I do acknowledge the things in my life for which I am grateful on a very regular basis.  In fact, I am grateful that I can report that right now.

12.  I resolve to take at least 2 vacations (min. 3 days) each year.

Well, to be fair, the year’s not even half over yet, so this one gets a free pass for this round up.  (And while, no, I have not taken a vacation yet, I am planning one for next month.)

13.  I resolve to experience at least one social activity with friends every two weeks.

To be truthful, I haven’t really paid too close attention to when my social activities have taken place, but I’ve been more social this year than in many recent years, so I consider it a success!

14.  I resolve to support my local organic farmers by buying much of my food from my local farmers’ market.

Yes, indeed!  This one I’ve been doing!

15.  I resolve to give my Self a full body exfoliation every week.

Bummer.  I forgot all about this resolution.  It’s a good one, though, so I think I’ll work to reinstate it!

16.  I resolve to fast on each full moon and new moon.

Check!

17.  I resolve to observe the power and magick during full moons, new moons, and the holidays of the Wheel of the Year.

Check!

18.  I resolve to avoid looking at my computer screen first thing in the morning, or just before bed at night.

Since I’m typing this at 10:30p, I can’t claim total success with this resolution, but I’ve kept it much more often than not.

19.  I resolve to always resist the temptation to say something negative about my Self, opting, instead, to say something positive and wonderful and maybe even glorious.

I can always improve here, but I think I’m doing pretty well with this one.

20.  I resolve to resist the temptation to mindlessly eat/drink in an attempt to sate my emotional needs.

This is still a huge struggle for me, but I have been making vast improvements here.  I will continue to work on it throughout the year!

21.  I resolve to resist the temptation to beat my Self up if I break my own rules or resolutions.

Done!  (Though I do reserve the right to give my Self  regular pep talks and motivational speeches.)

How are you doing with your resolutions?  I’d love to hear from you!

xoxo,

Melanie