Monday, 7 February 2011

Human Interaction

Human Interaction is undoubtedly one of the most complicated endeavors we face on a daily basis. Every day we meet and greet a varying array of other ‘beings’; human, animal, insect or other. Some individuals interact with hundreds (if not more) of these ‘beings’ on a daily basis. I cannot say I envy them.

Everybody knows (or should know) that no matter what your profession is, almost all of us have to deal with those we work with. Things don’t get done if you fly solo, at least not as efficiently. As the overly simple yet effective adage goes: “Many hands make for light work”. Thinking one can do everything oneself can and will drive you into the ground, leaving you alone and desperately sleepless.

There are, of course, a wide array of positive attributes that can be granted to the notion of working as a team, with your colleagues, with your partner, and yes even family. Even if you freelance from home, you are working for somebody – be it next door or on the other pole of the globe; even if your family lives in Japan and you live in Greenland – you attempt to communicate with them (hopefully you want to). One has to exercise an appreciation for social skills, daily, even if you have had the worst night, day, year, life ever – otherwise you don’t get anywhere and might as well emulate the life of a mole which we stereotypically assume is a lonely, subterranean, and an isolated existence.

Human beings are distinctly and necessarily social, from birth to death. Our societies and cultures did not develop at the wave of a wand. They grew and flourished over a span of millions of years of cultural evolution. As our primate ancestors gradually approached being human, a shift occurred whereby our behaviour was more influenced by cultural evolution. Biological evolution did not cease obviously, it did however alter direction resulting in the emerging human body evolving to fit its ecological niche, to survive as a living creature. The emerging human mind now evolved to fit its cultural niche, to survive as a social creature. (Leakey, 1978)

After years of evolution I cannot help but query why we continue to struggle so in this ‘social’ environment we now inhabit? Connected through the means of a perpetually growing global network with a snowballing social media (facebook, twitter, LinkedIn etc.) we now not only deal with others in the ‘real’ world but in the virtual world too. We can even attend mind boggling conferences anywhere in the world by simply creating an avatar version of ourselves. Take your avatar anywhere you want, whilst you rest on your spreading loin’s day in and day out. So, what ever happened to the idea that, practice makes perfect? One could assume that our interconnectivity would have diminished prejudices, broken borders, and united human beings on several fronts. One could safely assume that these technological advancements would catapult our cultural evolution into a level of high speed development. It is safe to say that it has. I do not disregard the admirable work that has been carried out using the internet as a means of bridging borders, as a means of fostering improved International relations through bridging intellectual gaps and encouraging greater understanding for different cultures and traditions. The World Wide Web has indeed done as its name implies, it has created a web of interconnectivity that has joined the world into a unified entity. We do not, however, find ourselves living in some sort of Utopia, by virtue of the Internet. The Biblical story of the Tower of Babel rings true in our daily lives. We do not speak the same language, even if we now are connected by the unifying language of the internet which aims to translate our differences . In order to climb the tower of Babel – we must understand one another, in short we must speak the same language on a series of levels.

Human interaction is a complex matter, which I do not assume to be able to decipher here today, or ever. Perhaps it boils down to just not being an asshole? The other day an esteemed mentor of mine mentioned a book which highlights the "No Asshole Rule". This seemingly simplistic title delves deep into the working relationships that hinder a business from functioning effectively. Assholes in the work space should not be tolerated. Of course there is a difference between a "temporary asshole" and a "certified asshole". I would advise reading Robert I. Sutton's fantastic book - "The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't" - if you have a strong hunch that you work in the vicinity of an asshole, and if you have the ability to realize that you potentially are an asshole.

This approach of avoiding assholes could be applied to our daily lives, not just in the workspace, for let's face it, assholes can be found everywhere. How many times have you had to deal with someone, anybody- and thought "what an asshole!" [You may of course have described said person with other florid adjectives such as: dick, jerk, wanker, pendejo, cabron etc.] Don't be coy now, sainthood is an honor, but even Saints have endured inbiciles, perhaps even Mother Theresa had her days when she wanted to lay the cards on the table and call a spade a spade, i.e. call an asshole an asshole]. It is human, and indeed part of the mosaic that comprises our social behavioural responses towards people who are frankly not very nice. Nobody has the right to be an asshole, at least not a certified one.

At times, some humans supersede others, in their actions, behavior and comments. They intentionally attempt to put you down. This, the most natural high, results in an inevitable sense of self, heightened disproportionately, no doubt, but heightened nonetheless. Human beings love to feel ‘better’ – we smoke and savor the nicotine as it pushes all the right mortal buttons. Issuing scathing comments intentionally and even unintentionally can have a similar effect – we may indulge in a temporary sense of satisfaction resulting from demeaning another person, or simply just putting them down. This sensation, as much as a cigarette, is addictive, and if nobody challenges your actions, you will remain and grow as an Asshole.

We must not forget those who fall victim to the Asshole’s endeavors. I say victims as a manner of identifying them, but honestly I do not consider these people victims. These are the people who have the skill, wit, knowledge, intelligence to supersede these Asshole characters; these ‘victims’ have the choice of either continuously receiving such unnecessary abuse or cleverly learning how to manage Assholes.

I have encountered Assholes, (just like you have), and I fear I always fall back on what some consider baloney, others the truth, but we must all agree it is a damned great piece of literature, The Bible. I admit I have never read the Bible, I have merely profusely enjoyed parts of it at Christmas sermons, referenced in a book, article, or by someone using a phrase to get their point across. The Bible is home to some pretty good phrases, and constitutes a valuable piece of Literature, despite ones beliefs, one cannot argue this. When I have encountered vacuous and void comments at times spewn thoughtlessly in my face I always remember the phrase: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12)

It seems human beings have far more evolution to go through before we learn how to communicate more effectively. This is not news, nor any novel thought. It is merely a reminder that when you hear, witness, or experience somebody thoughtlessly elevate themselves above others to hurt, insult, discredit, or dismiss anybody – inform them of their actions. These actions come from a nurtured sense of indifference, and permitted sense of apathy resulting in a diminishing level of empathy. Calling people’s actions into question could aid in what hopefully is not a bleak social evolution culminating in social mayhem and destruction where humans become immune to others and empathy fizzles into the null and void of our universe.

We all must aid in making a difference – start small. Perhaps five simple steps, for example:

1. Identify if you are an Asshole

2. If you are, change.

3. Identify Assholes around you.

4. Decide if they are certified or temporary assholes, and if so whether you can talk about their Asshole qualities, helping them shed their Asshole coat.

5. Do not give certified Assholes the time of day, and surround yourself with people who contribute to making your life better, more inspired, and just plain good.

On that note, I leave you all pondering and wish you an Asshole’less week, month, year and life.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Driving alone. In L.A.

Growing up in Oslo has meant that I never ever had to drive. I would take the bus or the tram or the metro or walk or skip or even bicycle. Driving was just not necessary. The lack of necessity proves a great hindrance to getting ones license. That and the fact that the cost of attaining a driver’s license is ludicrously expensive. One has to also take a written exam that if you fail, you must retake. This all sounds well but the exam itself is pricey and burns a painful hole in your pocket (especially if you, as most of the population, have to retake the tricky exam). In addition to all of this one must do a driving test, and pay a driving instructor for a minimum number of driving lesson. The pièce de résistance is the ice driving. This I confess I know little about, other than that one drives on a giant ice rink and skid round and round in circles. I sometimes tell people that whilst one skids around in circles human dummies are thrown at you from a far. I realize this sounds fairly brutal and is probably a figment of my imagination. Furthermore, there are probably, and hopefully few critical situations in which human bodies would be flung at your vehicle, in a city, such as Oslo. I longwindedly conclude that driving in Oslo is expensive.

Now as I have now explained I never drove in Oslo. I never drove in London either as the concept of driving on the “wrong” seemed silly as I barely learnt how to cross the road. I would always look right, which was wrong. Even now I am unsure as to which way I should have looked. I am here to tell the story though, so perhaps my head shaking franticly both ways worked. Yet even if I could have driven, I wouldn’t have with the marvels of the glorious tube and irreplaceable double-decker buses.

Then, life changed and I moved to Mexico. It was never a question of it being difficult to drive in Mexico that hindered me from driving. In fact my current license is indeed Mexican, because one buys it under the oath that one can drive. I consider the fact that I said I could, not a lie, because I can. I can drive; I know the basic things one needs to know, gears, clutch, accelerator etc. I may not be the best driver, yet. SO you see the inverse, namely saying I could not drive would technically be a lie. Regardless or semantics and the concept of whether I lied or not, driving in Mexico just didn’t tickle my fancy. You see it is rather scary, violent, and without rules governing the road. Sorry, there are rules, just a minute amount of people abide by them; driving in Mexico means succumbing to a lawless jungle of cars.

Living in Los Angeles, however, does require that I drive. The buses are okay. There is no subway, (yet), that comes to Santa Monica. I have a car, and should use it though. I would, however, like to note how there is a huge population of people who don’t drive in L.A. Those who wait in the crisp early hours of the morning as others gently sip their coffee as they peruse the morning news; those who grasp their bags as they doze off in the late hours of the night dreaming of reaching their home, their bed. Having a car is a luxury. When I mentioned to some people I took the Big Blue Bus, (which is honestly quite alright), they looked at me in horror. I am not exaggerating. The concept of taking the bus amongst those who can afford not to (to put it one way) is not an option. I hope that L.A. starts a better bus and subway system. And…I have gone off on a tangent again, sorry.

So, yes! Onto my epic drive, alone. Ah Ladies and gents, it happened. I say this as I enthusiastically rub my hands together and chomp at the bit. As some of you know, I can be a bit of a scaredy cat. My wonderful boyfriend, (well partner in life seems more adequate of a term if we must use one) tells me that I exaggerate my fright. That it is such an implausible illogical fear it just cannot be. I don’t and won’t attempt to analyze this quality about myself just yet in life. Suffice to say that driving scared me, scares me, but I recognize and accept that this fright may dilute as I repeatedly practice. Hmm.

It is now two days ago that I first drove - alone. I was to have a meeting fairly close to where I live. Several days prior to this meeting the idea of driving there had started to simmer. I tossed it about, and thought “no! I won’t! I can’t! I will bicycle…or should I?” I taunted myself with how it would go wrong, how I would crash, how the car would explode, implode or just simply fall apart. Then the day before what has now become an epic meeting arrived. I had bitten off all of my nails at this point and was now working on the surrounding skin of my sacrificed nails. I had unnecessarily picked a miniscule pimple on my face leaving a giant red boulder on my chin. I had bitten my lips. I resembled a recovering drug addict at their finest hour. My poor boyfriend was slightly disturbed at my behavior but generously and almost angelically suggested we practice driving to the meeting spot several times during the morning so that when the clock struck three I would heroically manage to maneuver myself by vehicle to my final destination.

We practiced. I reluctantly walked down the five flights of stairs of our apartment building, scuffling my feet like a petulant child. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to drive per se; It was that I was paralyzed by fear. (Don’t roll those eyes of yours this is serious business). I must have looked like a prisoner being taken to my death, the noose awaited me. It was a scene from the French Revolution and I, the martyr was being taken to face the blade. A cold eerie layer of mucus had been fluctuating up and down my throat the whole morning. Practicing with my boyfriend went well. I am used to driving with him now, and find it quite nice now. It was the idea of driving alone that haunted me. After driving the same route several times we practiced parallel parking between two palm trees, followed by a lamp post and my boyfriend. Poor thing, I almost flattened him once, nevertheless he persevered. As mid-day approached we decided to go home, have some lunch, and go our separate ways. Well, by that I mean, he would retire off to work, and I would stay at home and prepare for my meeting.

Should I drive or bicycle? After all the practicing I couldn’t bike could I? I had three hours to prepare for my meeting, all of which were spent staring out of the window, at the car. I admit I was ridiculous. If a car parked behind our car, I would decide that was a sign and I was not to drive. “Decision made!” I would utter throwing my arms in the air and would plonk myself on the sofa. Two seconds later I would hover at the window again, nervously biting at my lips, nails, fingers, pens as I rested my forehead against the newly washed window pane. Then someone would move the car behind ours, and my doom would be decided again: I was to drive. This masochistic game continued until an hour before the meeting. There was no car behind, next to or in front of our car. It was alone. As alone as Greta Garbo in “Grand Hotel” would have requested it to be. One part of me said, “Just go now Jenny. Stop suffering! Just do it!” The other part of me said “well get on that bike as it is going to take you one hour to get there now”. I compromised with myself. I packed up my things and decided to go sit in the car. If I felt I could do it then, I would do it. As I nervously stumbled down the stairs, the nauseous sensation I had endured that morning intensified dramatically. My heart started to beat wildly as if it were emulating the beat of African drums. I was about to embark into the jungle. The jungle of cars. The world became a savage place and I was to harness this beast of fear. I the lioness was off to hunt my prey, rarrr! As I approached the car I quickly became a mouse, petrified and squeamish.

I situated my handbag, containing my license and passport (just in case) in the passenger’s seat and touched it longingly. I pulled the seat all the way forward so that I could easily push the clutch all the way in. In this fetal pose I adjusted the rear view mirror. And then, I prayed. I lay my head down on the wheel and prayed for some courage, please. All the while a Korean man who owns the shop downstairs was standing sipping his coffee, watching me tremendously entertained. It was then that I went on auto-pilot. My body was limp as if to say “no!! You shan’t do this!” but my mind edged me on. I lifted my lead like arm and popped in the keys. Turned them and heard the gentle hiccup of our aged car as the engine started to hum. I felt as if I was about to attempt to ride a puma. This live animal I was about to steer seemed savage. My legs by this point had turned to jelly. I was sweating like a farm animal, my bottom was sweating intensely, my hands seemed to have morphed into icicles.

It was then that I started to talk to myself. A strict yet encouraging voice emanated from my very own lips, “Jenny. Pull yourself together. You can do this. Just push in the clutch, put the car in reverse, and slowly push in the accelerator as you release the clutch. Be calm for God’s sake”. As I said this I did just that. The car slowly and beautifully turned as I gently geared it out of the parking spot and onto the road. At this point the Korean man must have thought I was a genuine schizophrenic. As I passed him he winked at me. Then I got to my first ‘STOP’ sign. In the U.S. they have these all over the place in residential areas. I stopped, and off I went to the main road. “You are doing it Jenny! Yes you can! Fuck anybody that honks at you. Just keep going, yes, you are great, amazing in fact, you are brave, and this is wonderful, truly glorious yes it is…” And so I continued in a never ending rant.

I talked myself through the stop lights, “okay now the light is red. What’chu gonna do? Stop. Oh yeah bebe! Did it, done it! Yeah yeah yeah”. I think I may have high fived the air at some point. Never did I turn to see if people were watching me. I didn’t care. I was beyond caring; I was in intensive couching mode – survival mode. Then I approached my right turn. I had to get into a bike lane to turn right and there was an enormously large human being slowly pushing the peddles of his gold bicycle. I had seen him before on the boardwalk. He always wears white (not so flattering for his size) and blasts R&B songs from his yellow and pink boom box situated in his front basket. He’s like jabba the hut on wheels. I usually love him, but now I hated him. He was very much in my way. “What, why why why!!!!” I screeched at him. Luckily he could not hear. All the while I am driving calmly, however, and smoothly turned to the right without killing him, or anybody else for that matter.

Then another near fiasco occurred. There was a car blocking half of a lane, and I was the car to pass him. I stopped as other cars sped by. A line accumulated behind me. I didn’t honk at the nincompoop who was blocking the road. I merely spoke to myself. “This is totally fine Jenny. So some schmuck is in front of you. Look back, when you can pass, pass…take it easy…easy..Yeah…okay go!” and I passed. Nobody honked at me. I smiled, giggled, and congratulated myself profusely. It almost felt like the excitement one may feel when you hear “goooooooooooooooooool!!!” Yes I had scored a goal. And won. 1-0 for my brave persona against my scared one. That’s right. Game over.

There I was approaching my last turn left into the Ralphs parking lot. Already? It almost seemed disappointing. I turned in easily as no cars were coming towards me and quickly found a perfect parking space with my name on it. On with the brake, check, into neutral, check, off with the car, check. Put the gear stick in a gear as I have been taught, checkity check. Now, Breathe. I closed my eyes and wallowed in the sheer joy of having managed to drive on my own. Then I sat in the parking lot for an hour and e-mailed people about my feat. It all felt oddly similar to when I was little and was being potty trained. I vividly remember proudly depositing a “number two” into my red potty and beaming with satisfaction and pride entering the dining room, where my parents had guests, to show off my obvious success. Similarly I boasted my success to friends and family. I have not been this satisfied and proud of myself in a long time. The glorious sensation of fighting what you fear most is truly delicious.

I had to buy a cup of tea from a place called “the coffee bean” in order to justify parking at the Ralphs parking lot. I did not want to park at the official parking lots as it was large, dark, underground, and scary. One step at a time. I bought a supposed English tea. It tasted like slimy cream combined with five packs of artificial sweetener. Nowhere in my cup could there have been any tea. A pang of missing how the English make tea washed over me, and then I wandered over to have my meeting.

After the meeting I realized I had to drive home. I was so cocky about having driven; it felt like a fait accomplie. Done and dusted. But no. I had to do the same thing, again, alone, in the dark. It was fine. Beyond fine. Instead of talking so much to myself I replaced the strict comforting tone with singing my soothing conciliatory remarks to myself. By the time I got to our car park, which is rather tricky to park in, I found a great parking place. I then proceeded to back in and out of it several times wanting to have parked perfectly. The Korean man at one point walked by me. He must have been going home. He looked at me and laughed.

As I walked up the five flights of stairs, exhausted, satisfied and content, I realized that I would be able to drive alone soon. A fairly obvious realization, I know, but a breakthrough nonetheless. I still have not mustered the high way completely. The highways here are a million lanes long and people drive viciously. My boyfriend consoled me that in L.A. people are friendly drivers. I quickly realized that this is because he is Mexican, so his bar for car etiquette is warped. They may not almost kill you here, but they honk, shout, and swivel around you if you are driving just a teeny bit slow. (This for some reason upsets me). In Norway we don’t have the right turn. You can’t go right unless you have a green light. Here you can, if no other cars are coming, go right on a red light! Nuts! The turning left business is also madness in my head. Nevertheless, it works, and I am learning to work it baby. Yes I am. Yes I am, Yes I am, and Yes I am.

Stay tuned for my next road escapades…on….THE HIGHWAY!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Cross your legs

I have been living in Los Angeles now for about six months. I arrived and before you could say jimminy cricket I blissfully fit in. Upon realizing that everyone speaks about everything with everybody, I quickly adapted to the sociable lifestyle. I started riding my rusty old bike cruiser along the Venice boardwalk, I went to painfully trudge up and down the Santa Monica stairs, I lay out in the sand when the sun was warm and the wind was quiet, I watched dolphins jump playfully in the sea as I sat reading in my cosy bed, I even started to take yoga classes...... and yes, I meditated.

I must admit that several of these activities are very new and continuously exciting to me. When I see dolphins I don't look up from my book and gesture regally "aha, the quaint". I do, however, dash towards the window and squash my face against the windowpane panting with pure joy at the sight before me. Equally when I proceeded to plonk my fairly stable bottom upon the bicycle seat of my green (with rust) beach cruiser- instead of speeding off into the sunset, I catapulted violently to the ground. I had forgotten to peddle.

Walking up and down steps had always been something I had equated with those who cannot afford a "proper" gym. My older brothers used to scoff at my love of the stair master. "Why don't you just walk up and down the stairs?" I would roll my eyes at "the brothers" (as I call them) and despair in their lack of understanding. "Stairs, ha!" I would retort, "you guys don't get anything do you..."How they would squeal with joy at the sight of me, walking up, walking down, walking all around the blasted Santa Monica Stairs. It is, I admit an excellent exercise routine; albeit dreadfully boring. The thrilling part is eves dropping on other people's conversations. Once I heard a rather heavy man become pals with a rotund lady. It was a perfect match, not because of their similar physique but because both were the most hysterically funny, wonderful people. I grew to adore them quickly. He had a large round face, a mid-riff shaped like a pear, plump legs and his balding head was covered delicately with the hair that continued to grow out of his right side. It was gently folded over to the left. She was a wonderfully loud "mama" who had a bottom the side of three of my heads. I was admittedly tempted to touch. It looked firm and big. She had the most beautiful smile that glistened with her dark exotic eyes. She must have been from Jamaica as her broad accent sent chills of joy down my spine. "ey man - if we talk you goona see how fasta this is gonna go..." And they did. They talked about life, their wife and husband, their children, politics, told jokes and laughed. Soon I found myself not only eves dropping but following them. They seemed to pick up on this as they repeatedly looked back at me as if to include me in their conversation. I feigned ignorant to their actions. When I giggled along with them I had to cover my chortles in a cough, other times I would just nod along in agreement. Sometimes fiercely especially when they touched upon politics as we just so happened to agree.

The moral support found at these stairs is very endearing. Everyone sort of cheers their fellow "steppers" on. "It's worth it... You can do it!.... Keep going man! .... Girl, you got it!" - are but a few of the merry catch phrases that emanate from people's lips as their sweaty bodies barely pass one another along the famous, narrow, steep Santa Monica stairs.

It was one day that my friend Gaby and I were panting up and down the stairs that she asked me to come to yoga with her. "Jenny, come... neh?" she luringly purred in her soft Brazilian accent. "I don't know...Gaby. I don't think I'm ready"I hesitantly replied. To this she gave me the look. The look of 1) Jenny I have invited you twenty times, when will you be "ready?!" 2) Shut up and just accompany me you will love it, and 3) Jennnnyyy.... come to yoga....

So I did. I had been putting it off for weeks and finally decided I would try this "yoga" business everyone found so bloody enjoyable. The room smelt of sweat as we walked in barefoot (we had to leave our shoes in the entrance... I was told this as I clumsily marched on into the room, uggs and all..) But it wasn't a bad smell. It was sort of warm, human, and comforting in an odd way. I sat down on my borrowed mat which the lovely girl Nicole at the front desk had smilingly handed over. She had winked at me and muttered "This mat is one of the best...enjoy". I am a sucker for such VIP treatment so I was sold quite easily from the onset. "How lovely!" I thought. People started pouring into the class, each one of them wearing white. All white. I would dare to assume that even their undies were white. As more people entered a soft merry murmur filled the room. People hugged, kissed, waved, laughed, and then lay their fit, streamlined yoga bodies down on their comfy colourful mats. I followed suit having gawped at everyone coming in, I felt as if I too had participated in the welcoming ceremony that had just taken place. As I lay down my head all I could think of was "what shall I do if it goes all quiet and these crazy movements I am about to attempt, make me ... break wind". This seemed like something I could possibly do. I had been told that this is a regular occurrence and is not frowned upon, per se. Unless the smell is unbearable. Then what? Is one sent out? Oh my God the panic...Just then the class fell silent.

A human form floated by me, her toes gently kissing the wooden floor. I opened my eyes and sat up. There was Kia. Ah Kia. The beautiful magical wondrous Kia. She wore all white. But she didn't look like any of the other people in the room. They did not emanate the same positive something that she did. I suppose I should say she emanated a positive energy...she really did. She made me smile and all my previous thoughts, all my worries of creating disastrously awful stenches, ceased. "How is everyone feeling today?" Kia asked in her warm gently voice. I was kind of tired. Having gone up and down the stairs ten times I was feeling mildly shaky. Everyone in the class, however, was tired. "Alright" Kia said mischievously, "lets get the energy up...ready" Then she made us stand up, and dance, on the spot, for ten minutes. At first I thought, "Oh help". Moments later I still thought, "this is ridiculous", and then something happened. I let go. I looked around at everyone smiling and giggling around me, and I too started to giggle and dance enthusiastically waving my arms in the air. Oh, I failed to mention we had to keep our arms in the air for those ten minutes. "Whatever you do, keep those arms up!" Kia exclaimed happily as she bounced from foot to foot and circled around her mat gleefully. We all copied. "Okay, now deep breath. Hold it in. Reach up...and let it out". We then sat down, cross legged, and the class began. We chanted, we did downward facing dog and flowed from one position to the next. At first I could barely touch my toes, and then my body gave in. My fingers conquered by toes clasping them firmly as my head swung back and forth upsidedown. Never before have I saught my "third eye". A mystical place in between your eye brows. But as I stared, and engaged in a florid conversation with myself, I started to see a bright circle, there, in the middle of darkness. "Is that it?" The more we breathed, moved, and meditated the quicker I could reach this mysterious circle. Soon my mind shut up (well almost). When I finally stopped thinking for 2 seconds I felt as though I was floating. As we lay in shirvasana at the end of the class, a time to feel gratitude for practising, and all life hands you, and a time to tune into one self even more, I felt as though I was spinning round and round. The way I had previously done from inebriation when I had gotten into bed and had to place one foot on the floor for stability and as a vomit prevention method. Yet whilst I lay there spinning I felt a tremendous sense of security. All was well. Then I felt as though I was flying. I was light. My body no longer rested on a mat, on a wooden floor, in Santa Monica. No, my body was flying, over trees over mountains. I felt my arms moving steadily up and down beside me. I was flying - like a bird! No other word can summarize the feeling other than it was truly - awesome - in every way. I then, unfortunately, started thinking - about how I wasn't thinking and therefore was able to reach this flying state. "Bam!" End scene. I was back on a mat, in Santa Monica.

When the class ended and we all namas deyed our way out of the room I felt like a different person. Something had shifted. I know, yes these are all eye rolling worthy statements, yet, believe me I felt different. How? Suffice to say that I felt happy. I felt this was good, and I have felt continuously better the more I do yoga. I now could basically call myself a yogi. I practice yoga. I am not used to saying this yet, probably because sitting crossed legged seems to not be in my genetic make-up; I just can't, however, I practice on a regular basis, and feel pretty freakin' good about it. This is taking me somewhere good. Maybe to a place where I will be able to sit cross legged without looking like a squatting chip-munk - who knows.