Tag Archives: adventures

The Lazy Perfectionist

I think an acupuncturist described me as such when I was in college after telling her about myself. I don’t know if I’d call myself a lazy perfectionist anymore. I think perhaps I’m lazy (can you relate?) but have developed habits that urgently push me out of bed in the morning and have learned set goals that keep me on track. And the simpler and shorter my goals and “to-do” list is the better…

Back in March some of you may know I signed up for a half-ironman.Seemed so exciting at the time…and doable!  It’s next Saturday. The training has not been as consistent or as hard-core as I would’ve liked, and I have also had some great moments.

For any of you other Lazy Perfectionists or  Type-A-Wanna Be-Neurotics you might be able to relate. Perhaps you you  don’t always wake up saying,”YESSSSS!!!!!TODAY I’M GOING TOTRAIN!  YESSSS!!!! or even, “TODAY I MUST TRAIN, AND I WON’T COMMIT TO ANYTHING LESS..” By the way, you can substitute work or any other goal (it doesn’t have to be training) and this entry still applies.

This mind of mine gets really excited about doing a large volume of training or a really fast pace.. But then And it gets really upset when I don’t complete that large volume or that really fast pace.

So lately I’ve started training my mind in a different way…instead of telling myself that we are going to train hard (anyone else have multiple personalities, ha!) I tell myself that we are going to train focused.

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Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis

I know that sounds strange. One of the delights of longer trainings is letting the thoughts drift. Getting lost! Exploring! And it is! But that’s not necessarily what I need for my day at that time.  And f I let my thoughts drift too much without feeling my body and my brain rooted in the training then I stop…and drift some more…

…..and knowing that sustained focus is something that I consistently  need to practice, why not do it during a time in which a repetitive movement is already built in to my week.

 

 

 

 

Walking Towards the Sun

Lands End

Lands End

“What would you do if you had nothing?” an ex-boyfriend once asked me. I was in the middle of preparing report cards, and training for a half-ironman. I didn’t have a whole lot of time for him, and he was frustrated. Nonetheless, his question gave me pause. I loved being busy. It’s who I was, and without it? I didn’t know. I never stopped to think about what “nothing” was.

Coming back to San Francisco this past December, I felt totally lost and lonely. I had entered a huge urban metropolis that I wasn’t used to anymore. And I was confused by that lostness as I had once loved this city so much. I realized over that month that I was holding onto expectations of what this city was for me before, thinking that  I would drop back into the life I had previously and pick up where I left off. Once I started to let go of those expectations I was able to have patience with the ups and downs that come with moving to a new place. But still, I marveled at the busyness of it all. Maybe because I wasn’t part of it. And of course I had just come from living in community where, part of the busy day was consciously stopping to make time for meditation and for conversations at meal time.

So yeah, I was confused…especially because I had been a part of a bigger urban metropolis just 6 months prior. So the fact that it was strange and foreign was strange and foreign. Had I changed that much in just those six months? Was I jealous of all the busyness that I no longer felt that I was a part of? Did I suddenly feel that I had “nothing?”

As it was, my loneliness led me to the Integral Yoga Institute. Having just come from Yogaville, I was rejuvenated with the idea of teaching yoga again and was determined to do so. The Integral Yoga Institute is a center in San Francisco related to the Yogaville Ashram in Virginia. It is situated in an old victorian up on a hill from Dolores Park. At night, when I stand outside on the front steps the sun lights up the sky with different neon colors as it settles over the top of the city.  Since I was there, and desperate for housing in a seemingly very expensive city with a housing crisis I thought I would ask about residency as well. “Yes.” They said.  And so here I am two months later living in a yoga center with housemates and a community that practice meditation and yoga, and embraces peace of mind and transition.

Shortly after I moved in, I came down with a cold. That ate up quite a few expenses as well as had me laying low for almost a month. Almost no work, no going out, and certainly no signing up for the classes that I had hoped. I was, by nature of the cold, forced to stay home, get quiet and meditate. And meditate. And meditate. It was stressful at first. I am active. I am an ironman! And to sit and watch the busy lives of those around me while I had to sit, drained of energy was indeed frustrating. And then, something happened. I relaxed. I stopped worrying. There was no need. There was no use.

I have heard that if you trust in the universe it will provide. I have some tension with this. How is that not lazy? I believe that if I want something to happen then I need to put the energy out there to make it happen. And yet, once that’s done there needs to be a certain amount of trust that the right thing will bounce back.  I think what it comes down to is listening. It doesn’t mean being  lazy.  It means sitting and listening to that voice inside even if it doesn’t make sense. It means, at least in my case, practicing patience.

So in my three weeks in which I couldn’t do much I sat and listened a lot.I did nothing.  I have achieved a certain amount of relaxation that I fear is lethargy, although I am also making sure to keep an eye on that.I am yoga-ing, journaling, involved in a small fun project, discussing,  and my favorite, practicing to be a professional coffee shop dweller, an aspiration of which I had in my early twenties.

Simple Pleasures Cafe

Simple Pleasures Cafe

I was coming back from my favorite coffee shop, Simple Pleasures, late afternoon one day, after a morning in the foggy part of the city. I called my friend to say hi, and left a message. She texted me back and said, “I hope you get this with your phone dying and all, but I love that you ended your message with ‘I’m walking towards the sun.’

The Birth-Month

Anyone who knows me, reading this entry, knows that the birth celebrations start on November 1st and last the whole month. The festivities  take many forms. Here is how I have welcomed thirty-two into my life:

  • October 27th-Olympic Distance Triathlon in Acupulco with friends. I was so focused on the triathlon I forgot we were going on a mini-vacation!

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    Training hard the day before!

The triathlon itself was so much fun. There were a few things that made this triathlon different. One, everything was in Spanish. Two, I didn’t have to wear a wetsuit. The water was such a beautiful temperature. Three, it was HOT. By the time I got to the run I was an oven. One of the highlights was as I was on the bike, I caught up to a woman to ask her a question. Hearing my accent she asked me in Spanish, “Oh, do you work at the American School in D.F? My daughter’s in first grade there!”

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First time around on the bike…didn’t quite have the same grin on the next round

October 31st: Haunted House Halloween Wedding Celebration in San Francisco

The year I moved to San Francisco I was introduced to the Haunted House in the Outer Richmond in San Francisco. This is not just any haunted house with orange and black streamers with scary masks. The planning for this haunted house starts in August and takes place in a store’s basement across the street from my friend’s house. Not too long after I moved, the founder of the House found the perfect person to run it with him. This year, the Haunted House community (or the Undertakers as they call themselves) came together to

welcome Alex and Kirsten officially as a couple. It being a water theme, the bride and groom were dressed as sea-horses and their incredibly talented seamstress friend (creativity just attracts more creativity!) had made the outfits for the wedding party: silk, satin with fins at the bottom to represent the sea. The couple had gotten a block permit, and in true San Francisco fashion people were dressed: in costume, wedding attire, and jeans and a t-shirt.

  • November 1st-November 2nd: Spend a whirlwind 48 hours catching up with beautiful San Francisco family and friends.
  • November 6th: Obama is elected (even the U.S. voters recognize my birthday!)
  • November 9th: Go out to an amazing tapas restaurant, Broka, 5 blocks from my house with three nearest and dearest that I met in August, 2011, moving to D.F.
  • November 10th: When I move somewhere, I joke that I do not leave the 10 block radius around my house. It is good, then, to have friends introduce you to fabulous spaces that might be a little bit further away. When I got to D.F. last year, my friend Tricia introduced me to her boyfriend’s pizzeria, Chinirindoguería Antojería Pizzas Pastas,
    simply by taking me there. It is located in “El Centro” hidden in a little alleyway. It is comfortable, fun, cozy, and yummy. ImageNovember 16th: Huasteca Potosin
  • The wonderful thing about traveling during Thanksgiving in Mexico is that any place you go is virtually empty! A friend recently moved to the state of San Luis Potosi. After making the decision to visit him, friends of ours told us, “Oh well then you have to go to Huasteca Potosini:

We drove three hours, first to the Cascadas de Tomosopo. Puente de Dios, we were told, was the cascada worth going to. It is actually possible to go under the waterfall here. Once we got into the water we held onto a rope that led us into a cave. Keep holding onto the rope, slide through the cave opening that has just about enough head space to get through and there you are holding onto the rope while swaying back and forth with the current. Keep holding on and moving and then you are under the waterfall. Every place we visited was as magical as here.

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Puente de Dios

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Sir Edward James Crazy Idea

A crazy artist, by the name of Sir Edward James decided that he wanted to build a surrealistic castle in the middle of the jungle. It is a surrealistic castle that has the illusion of no end and no beginning.

And of course it is surrounded by waterfalls and natural pools that are perfect for taking a bath.

Waterfalls of Xilitla

Waterfalls of Xilitla

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Waterfalls in Xilitla

Besides the exquisite natural beauty of each of these places we also encountered incredible kindness from the locals. We traveled next to the Cascadas de Tamul. I did not take pictures for fear of losing my camera. Upon arrival to the shore, a local guide greeted us and helped us into an old rickety canoe…and life jackets. No motor boats here…keep the waters clean! As we are turtling along I am dying to jump into the sea-green water. “Soon, soon.” And we stop at a rock where we can jump in the water and then let the current take us back (until we get tired and then we hop back into the canoe. Before heading to shore, we stop off at another place to swim. We are walking to the sounds of the rushing waterfalls and I am wondering where we are going to swim when suddenly I see a giant cave with dark blue water. We jump in and the only other sounds around us are those of the water and bats flying above us. On the way back, our guide asks if we are hungry (of course we’re hungry!) and he takes us to his friend’s restaurant where there is no menu…only fresh fish.

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Children playing in the street.

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The Cave

Before finding a place to stay, we must, we are told, see the Golondrinas. We drive down a muddy, rocky, road to a tiny pueblo, where children stare at us, and some young boys are eager to help us park the car and watch it for us while we are gone. A young girl takes us and

another couple down the stairs. And at the bottom, we see where the golondrinas will fly. It’s about six o’clock pm. We sit on a rock and suddenly hear the flapping of wings and see a group of birds circling all together and then “VOOSH!” in the cave they fly. The pueblito is so small there is not even a place for us to stay. As we are driving back on the dark, muddy, rocky roads with no homes in sight it is then that I start realizing how lucky we are to be in such a place and also how scary it would be if something happened to one of us being in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

We drive to the closest town and park ourselves at the only hotel. In the morning we go to what I like to call “Abuelita’s”because when we walked in the elderly woman in the rocking chair served us Huevos a la Mexicana.

Our last stop, Thanksgiving day, before heading back to the city, San Luis Potosi, we stopped at Media Luna, a large park with a river flowing through it. Although there were no waterfalls to speak of, the water was so clear and as we were driving in we saw a guy swimming  along the road.

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 I am continually amazed at the natural beauty that this world has to offer. I am also continually surprised at how differently people live, and yet distance-wise they are so close.

Coming back to a city of who-knows-how-many-millions-of-people was quite a rude awakening. And transitioning back into the every-day schedule was definitely not easy. However, the wonderful thing about living in such a huge city is that there is always something to do.

On the last night of my birth-month, November 30th, a friend invited me to a party. Her friend had converted his apartment into a store in which they were starting to sell Mezcal. The store/apartment, so tiny, that people were tunneled onto the street laughing, talking, dancing, and drinking. I swear, waiting in line for the bathroom has never been so fun!We were packed in so tight (Mexico City) but surrounded by such interesting, creative,people. I met a guy named Aristotle who studies philosophy…I’m serious!

And so, in conclusion, although ups and downs are always part of this crazy roller coaster, what a joyous way  to welcome another year.

Blissful at Media Luna

Blissful at Media Luna