Welcome to Reflections of a Buddhist Pole Dancer!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Re-routing the Trip to Crazyville

Once I am strapped into my rocket and headed to Crazyville, I rarely stop and think about changing course. And if I do pause, I usually assume learned helplessness (thank you, B.F. Skinner) and continue on the path of doom. I can tell I am getting closer to Crazyville when I resort to familiar taunts and even find new ways to attack myself (today it was all about my sagging neck skin). I wash my hair more than once (twice today, and it still looks like a hair helmet). With glazed-over eyes I mindlessly shove fistfuls of sugar into my mouth, anticipating some sort of relief. I know I've reached my destination when my thought and speech patterns are reduced to all things negative. Simple pleasantries cease to exist. Case in point: when Brian came in from running errands this afternoon the first thing out of my mouth was, "Where's the broom?"

So here I am, looking to find my way home. I thought I'd write about it while in the moment and see what strategies I could pull from my ascot (which is covering my neck-skin, right?).  Here is my quick survival kit and map back to myself.

1. Breathe. 
Yeah, you knew I was going to start with that plum. When I'm in Crazyville I feel like taking away breathing privileges from those who tell me to breathe. But hold on... Dr. Andrew Weil's 4-7-8 breathing technique has a science behind it and proves to be good for the body and mind. I teach it in my stress reduction classes (ah, the irony) and my students swear by it. When mindful of it, I am a fan, too. 

I'm going to try two rounds right now. There. I did it. Good stuff. 

2. Put on animal ears.
In this month's O Magazine, life coach and all-round awesome being Martha Beck talks about the power of dialoguing as a means of addressing one's inner mean girl. What really struck me when following her tips was the practice of anchoring your higher self (she calls it your Best Friend Self, or BFS. I love that!) with an item such as a ring, pen, or anything else that, when used, signifies an enlightened perspective. Naturally, I chose to anchor my BFS with my red wolf spirit hood because I am certain that any higher version of myself is part canine. While I can definitely attest to the power of dialoguing this way, I can also use this tool-- a symbol that grounds what is good-- to get off of a destructive path. 

There. Done. I am now sitting here with my ears on. 

3. Drink a glass of water.
I know, I know, this is not new news either, but for me it's an important strategy. Lifted from Happy Living magazine: 

"In a post for Shape Magazine, Cynthia Sass explains, “if you always feel tired, run down, stressed, and foggy in the brain… a lack of fluid could be a factor.” According to an article on the Mayo Clinic website, “even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.”

Here's what helps me drink water: First, having my favorite water around. I love the taste of the water from Pure Water in Santa Cruz. I am not a fan of the cold, filtered water from our fridge, but it's okay in a pinch. I also think that tea in my favorite cup counts as water. I had a favorite water glass that I bought from Z Gallerie, but it cracked. While I can keep an eye out for its replacement, any old glass will do for now. The point is to make healthy steps toward action, not excuses.

Slowly sipping a glass of water now...

4. Change into comfy clothes.
As someone who constantly bloats up like Miss Puff from Spongebob's Bikini Bottom, I am usually uncomfortable in my clothes. When I am off track and bloated, my mind is cruel, and it uses the tight waist band as evidence of my inadequacies. So here's a love note to me: Change your clothes, Michelle. Go do it now. Put on something comfy. Goddesswear, perhaps (super stretchy yoga pants with a lovely name), or loose jeans. Stop worrying about how many notches you have to let out on your belt-- actually, take the stupid belt off! Then, sweet girl, breathe, put on your spirithood, and enjoy a cup of tea. 

Welcome Home.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Brown Sugar vs. Plain

Vibing high today-- which is a really good -albeit surprising- thing. Coming from this plane, ideas flow freely and my default switches to positivity (another welcomed surprise). Brian got me a book of daily readings and the other day's really spoke to me. Essentially it pointed out that we have two choices that influence what we do, say, and think. The alternatives are: what is pleasant and what is beneficial. They're not necessarily mutually exclusive, but certainly polarizing in many instances. Pleasant choices offer instant rewards, while the results of beneficial choices might be delayed. Think short term/long term. I am used to choices of right/wrong, love/fear, giving/taking, but this was a fresh perspective for me. Now (when mindful) I'm filtering my thoughts, words and actions through the new lens--  it's eye opening! So far I have 20/20 vision on the days that I try it. Here's what it looks like:


Pleasant: = extra brown sugar and salt on my morning oatmeal (yum...yum...yum)
Beneficial: = plain steel-cut oats (ho hum)
Bonus Combo: Things that are pleasant and beneficial, like the chai protein smoothie I created today. :)


Pleasant: Staying up super late mindlessly reading celeb gossip on Yahoo until I can't keep my eyes open anymore (I like to call it "unwinding")
Beneficial: Prioritizing sleep by getting in bed early, allowing a margin of time for a good fix of fiction, and then calling it a day at a reasonable time (But this takes discipline and I won't know who wore it best!)


Pleasant: Skipping it because I am tired
Beneficial: Moving my bod anyway, but being gentle with the work-out choice and duration


Pleasant: not doing it 
Beneficial: doing it (ugh)

You get the idea.

When I apply pleasant/beneficial to my words, a whole new level of accountability rises to the top. It's similar to the Buddhist perspective of asking if your words are helpful, true and kind before speaking. 

For example, my sense of humor can be a bit dry and sarcastic.

Pleasant: Getting a laugh because I am *clever* 

Beneficial: Choosing my words carefully to create a positive impact and loving environment instead of a critical one (But this is hardly as fun and it takes thought, time and effort!)

Dang. So much self-censoring to do. And I guess that's the beneficial choice to make.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pretty Little Rationalizations

Rationalize: (v) attempt to explain or justify (one's own or another's behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate.

My mind has a very loving, protective part that's job is to translate reality into more palatable bites.  I call it my Kind Mind. This is a list of recent aging-related realities that my Kind Mind has tweaked on my behalf.

Harsh Reality: Last spring's khaki pants are quite snug.
Kind Mind Rationalization: Brian must have dried them in the dryer on a high-heat setting.

Harsh Reality: Most of my "skinny style" pants are particularly tight in the knee area. (Me? Fat knees? Impossible.)
Kind Mind Rationalization: Skinny pants are made for tweens with three-percent body fat and, of course, Brian must have dried all of mine-- including the ones I've not yet purchased but have tried on in stores-- on a high-heat setting.

Harsh Reality: My neck is collecting rings that rival those of a towering Redwood.
Kind Mind Rationalization: Neck rings are all the rage and if I looked closely, I'd see that we're all one big National forest.

Harsh Reality: My long-distance vision is getting fuzzy.
Kind Mind Rationalization: I have x-ray vision in reverse and everyone must envy my new super-power.

Pretty little lies or not, I love my Kind Mind. :)

 P.S. My Kind Mind says Uni-Kitties likely exist.