Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Passionate about Pot?

At the close of last year, voters in Colorado and Washington State set a new precedent by passing a referendum to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

The change to the state's constitution allows anyone over the age of 21 to possess it and also for businesses to sell it.

And so it was that my friend and I began talking about whether or not the Colorado/Washington State trend would move other states to advocate the legalization of marijuana for recreational use and if it did, would using marijuana be preferable over the widely accepted use of alcohol?

We got into a heated discussion about what we would want for our kids when they ultimately face the choice of choosing a beer or a joint and the pros/cons of alcohol-a stimulant/depressant versus a  marijuana-an organic, mild hallucinogen.

Let me begin by saying that you'll never find a girl who was more, "Nancy Reaganish" when it came to drugs than this girl.  I proudly displayed my "Just Say No" button from school and firmly believed that ingesting drugs was a sure ticket to downfall.  And particularly, as a college bound young woman focused on her academic future, I feared that if I ever tried pot, I'd become the stereotypical movie image of the pot smoking worthless you know what.

I was however, indoctrinated at a very early age into the "coolness" of house parties and consuming massive amounts of alcohol.  At the time, both in high school and in college, drinking jungle juice usually comprised of Everclear or Vodka and some concoction of fruit juices housed in a garbage can was the drink of choice.  I participated in and watched countless friends, get crazy, lose their inhibitions, then their lunch, and sometimes, other things.  Getting drunk was considered and still is deemed a right of passage.

But alongside that experience is another one that no one wants to address because no one wants to admit that they've smoked pot.  And that a mild, organic hallucinogen addictive in the way that alcohol is and quite frankly, even remotely as damaging?

All I can say be the judge of that.  But don't stand on a pedestal if you've never smoked a joint and your only perception is what you've been told or seen in a movie.

The effects of alcohol are devastating.  I've watched the addiction to it rip apart marriages, families, careers and people.  I can't say the same for marijuana.

My children are young now.  I'm not sure what the legal options will be when they're old enough to make that recreational or medicinal choice.  For now, I just plan to have a candid dialogue when the topic emerges that doesn't include Nancy Reagan slogans.

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Waiter...there is too much pepper on my paprikash."

"...but I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie....pecan pie...pecan pie."

It was a busy morning consumed mostly by grocery shopping with my two-year old toddler... trying to ensure that she didn't mow down other unsuspecting shoppers at Trader Joe's with her trusty red cart.

And so, in a moment of gathering a breath in the car and sipping my really cold coffee, I checked Facebook.

My friend from graduate school posted a one sentence line in her status update..."Word of the day.  Paprikash. Go."

Brilliant.  I hadn't heard the word paprikash for many moons and the only time that I recognized its' usage was delivered by Billy Crystal in my bar none favorite movie, "When Harry Met Sally."  See the clip above.

The reason that I love this scene so much is that in the middle of a museum, he, Billy Crystal takes her, Meg Ryan out of her comfort zone.  He tells her that for right now, in this moment, they're going to talk "funny like." And she, like me, a semi-control freak, does it and can't stop laughing in the process...until he asks her out and she's snapped back to reality.

I've been trying really hard lately to do things for the sheer Hell of it.  So much of my day is consumed by the shoulds, the to-do's, the obligations, the "needs to get done."  I suppose, it's really no different than anyone with kids, a job, a mortgage, bills to pay.

But too much of the time and too many times, we forget to laugh.  We forget to let go.  We ignore the whimsical and we trade it for the practical.  We teach our children how to view the world and I fear that on many days, mine think that it comes with task lists, chores, and irritability....instead of magic, wonder, curiosity and gut wrenching belly laughter.

And so, for a 15 minute window, I've been having my own dance party in the kitchen, sometimes naked.  It's fun, you should try it.

I've also been trying to get to a yoga class every other day.  Last night, I tried to go into headstand.  For fear of farting, I decided that this was not my moment...but someday soon, it will be.

And, I'm laughing with my kids especially when the jokes on me.

Because really, what do we have to lose?  Life's too damn serious.  Let's all find the time to say, "Waiter...there is too much pepper on my paprikash....but I would be happy to partake of your pecan pie."

Saturday, January 26, 2013

When it comes from Love...

We gather.

Sometimes over a glass of wine or a flute of champagne. 

Sometimes over a piping hot cup of coffee or a mug of tea.

Sometimes its an impromptu emergency.  One of us has to get out of the house and needs to see our faces and hear our voices.

Other times, it's planned and we all climb in the car and take a trip.

We say, "Fuck," a lot. 

Collectively, we have 17 children between us and well, when it's inappropriate to curse in front of the littles....we yearn to unleash the fury of the four-letter word with our inner circle of girlfriends.

We cry when it's hard and someone is facing something that is uncertain, unfair, or just plain hurts.

But mostly, we laugh especially when "J" graces us with her colorful dialogue....reminding us that most of the time, it's okay to "Focker Out, Bitches."

And so it went last night.  Someone's husband was out of town, so we rallied the troops, the truffles, the red wine, and the morale.

And that's when I learned a powerful lesson....that I just keep ruminating on. 

I've always had this thing I do.  I suppose like a good Catholic, I feel that if overall, I'm doing the right thing for the good of my family and friends that in general, good things will come my way.  Conversely, I harbor irrational fear that if I slip up and don't do the right thing that I'm doomed to have something tragic come down the pike.

Expressing this crazy philosophy with my besties, one friend said, "Nothing bad comes when decisions/choices are made from a place of love."  And it's hard to focus on the negative hypothetical, when even in the midst of semi-regret, you keep your eye on gratitude and the multiple blessings that abound in your life.

And so, at the gym this morning, I's time to start making decisions that emanate from love and not fear.  Because in the end, we have control over so little and ultimately, bad things will happen regardless of our, focusing our choices from a place of warmth, kindness, and love can only be a good thing....regardless of the outcome.

Post lots of chocolate noshing and champagne guzzling, I realized on my late night drive home that I am extraordinarily blessed to call these girls friends.  Every last fucking one of them.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pigeon Pose

Last night, I feverishly prepared dinner, laid backpacks and school uniforms out, swept the floor, and flew upstairs to wash my face, throw on a tank, locate my mat, and head out the door for a coveted yoga class.

I had been dreaming about the experience all day.

Praying that my body would melt into the poses and become one with the earth.  I wanted to hear language like, "Hello friends...plant your sit bones...root, down dog...and, up into Warrior I....Namaste."

But it was in "Pigeon Pose," that I found my slice of Heaven.  My right IT band has been on fire, so consequently, I've been soliciting advice from everyone on how to heal it.  Once Thea, our instructor (which of course, her name is Thea...a fabulous yoggiish kind of name) situated us into this birdlike stretch...I was where I was meant to be.

Have you ever done this pose before?  If not, check it out.

Beyond the fact that Thea allowed each person to be where they were in the moment and for the practice, she spoke to us in a way that I needed to hear.  So, while my heart cooed in Pigeon, her language went something like:

"Breathe...always breathe, yogiis...Remember that yoga is about clearing away that which detracts, that which hinders us from embracing joy, wholeness, fullness, and complete gratitude.  There is no delayed gratification.  There are no goals.  There is no right.  There is no wrong.  Because yoga is both the means and the end."

And in that moment, I was sunk.  Sunk in the land of the pigeon and in the land of surrender of both body and mind.  And I was free.  Free of hip pain.  Free of inadequacy.  Free of fear.

Big lesson for an hour class.  So thankful for my body, for Thea, and for Pigeon pose.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On a Quest for Clarity

Last week I logged in close to 30 miles and injured myself.

My IT bands on both legs are throbbing.  My hips are sore.  My mood has been a bit foul. And, I'm losing my mind going stir crazy with frigid temperatures and an involuntary need to take some time off.

And while doing so, I've been revamping my playlist, stretching, downing ibuprofen, and meditating on this song entitled, "Home," by Phillip Phillips.

It's the opening tune on my playlist and over the past couple of days, I've become more and more aware of the lyrics.

Settle'll all be clear.

Pay no mind to the demons that fill you with fear. might drag you down.

You get can always be found.

Just know you're not alone....cause I'm gonna make this place your home.

There's no question that at some point, when the survival turns into thriving and the routine becomes a bit more auto piloted, we all yearn for meaning.  We want to know that what we do matters and that there is purpose, clarity, focus, and ultimately, a vision for our lives.

And this is what I've been struggling with.

Running is a fantastic mechanism for dispelling stress, friction, chaos, exhaustion.  It provides rejuvenation, power, mental relief.  But mile after mile after mile can have you wondering, what are you running away from and if not, what are you running toward?

It's more than the next race.  It's larger than a personal record.  It's more complex than doing it for a charity or for the good of the cause.  It's finding "home" in the midst of the noise and seeing the purpose in the places where it all feels same old, same old.

So, last Saturday morning, I set out with the intention to run 9 miles.  At the sixth, I heard a pop and then felt waves of pain up the right side of my leg.  And, I had to slow down.  Crazily, simultaneously, a friend drove by and offered me a lift home.  I thanked her and said, "Naw, I'll walk it off."

Pissed that I'd never cut a long run short, I spent the beginning of the walk fuming, even trying to hobble back to a run.  And then, I pulled out my ear buds and looked at the trees, took in the people I walked past and thought, "It's's time to run toward that which is waiting...the gift is now to figure out what it is."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

100 Years to Live

Like most mornings, I wake up at 4:30am and head out the door for a run.

Post the 3 mile adrenaline rush, I was back at the house, feverishly making coffee, getting out the peanut butter to make my son's school lunch, grabbing library books for back packs, laying out cereal bowls and in general, reviewing what the day would look like.

After my family headed out the door, my 2-year old and I turned on some tunes and got ready to tackle our plans.

That's when this song came on.

It's an acoustic live version of the song "One Hundred Years," by the band Five for Fighting. Suffice it to say that I hadn't heard it in many a moon.  But it got me thinking...

My 20-year high school reunion is 8 months away.  Twenty years.  How is that possible?  Where has the time gone?  Oh sure, I can timeline it out and it appears orderly...high school, college, career, graduate school, wedding, marriage, motherhood...but really, where has it gone?

One of the first lines of the song says, "Fifteen...there's still time....time to buy and time to choose...there's never a wish better than this....when you've only got a hundred years to live."  And certainly that's the truth.  When you're in high school, the world feels magnanimous and small all in the same breath.  You're on top of the world/King of the Hill/ruler of your domain in one breath and then instantly fucked in the next when she says that she won't 'go-out' with you anymore.

Your possibilities are also endless.  You'll be anything you want to be.  You'll make a million dollars.  You'll save a million lives.  And you'll do it all when you want to do it.  And no one will tell you differently.

And then, as the song goes, you're 33.  And maybe you've got a kid on the way...and suddenly, the stakes are higher.  The world is bigger and your desires have a shelf life.  And you're doing what's best for the family...which may or may not be in line with your self interests.

And then, you're 50, and you're looking back and you're no longer young.  Maybe you've lost friends to unforeseen health challenges.  Maybe you didn't save a million lives.  Maybe, you're just trying to save your own.

And then, you're my dear friend's mother was who recently passed away and you're looking at your legacy and your time here and you're thinking...did I do it all?  was it enough?

I'm excited for this upcoming high school reunion.  Much more on that later.  For now, I'm just pondering the seasonality and temporalness of life.  It's such a fragile deal.  And at the age of 37, it feels like so much time has already gone by...I can only imagine what the future has to offer.