Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Lights

I saw this photo on facebook (I smeared the top word in case anyone gets offended easily, but I'm sure you get the point of what it is saying) and wanted to share. It is a great representation of where our mentality is at as a society.

At some point, we all have pulled out the wad-o-Christmas-lights from a box where they were packed a year ago in a non-ideal fashion. You begin to untangle them and the wires get caught on the bulbs and after a few tries you start to get irritated. We are so used to immediacy nowadays. If anything takes us longer than a moment, we begin to get impatient. Our entire mood changes and we start snapping at people ("I said hold THIS strand!"). We may set out to have a festive family day of decorating, but then whole afternoon gets ruined when the lights don't cooperate.

I was thinking about this this year as I trimmed our tree. As usual, I pulled out the lights and they looked very similar to the above photo (even though I SWEAR I put them away in a very orderly fashion last year). I started to push and pull, thread and unthread the strands. Once I saw I was making it worse I could feel the annoyance creep up. But this year I did something different. I recognized the annoyance. I didn't react on it like in previous years. I saw it coming from a mile away and chose how to react instead of blindly doing so.

I considered what I was doing - untangling Christmas lights. Plural. Hmmm.....That was my problem. I was trying to untangle the entire strand of lights at once. I was the rabbit, trying to save time in the imaginary decorating race by speeding things up. But it wasn't working. So I chose the route of the turtle - slow and steady. I began with just the first light bulb on the strand. Then the next. Then the next. Over and over I did what it took to just untangle the next bulb, not the entire strand of lights. I broke the task up into manageable parts, feeling a sense of accomplishment over every bulb I set free. Slowly, the strand became linear. When I finished there was no annoyance left, just the joy I began the decorating with.

I will remember this lesson for a long time to come. When the task at hand is a bit overwhelming and not able to be accomplished immediately, quickly, use it as an opportunity to grow. Look for ways to quell the negative emotions that come up so you can still think rationally. Break the task into smaller pieces - that gives you more opportunities to feel successful. Concentrate on just the task at hand instead of the larger picture. And most importantly, don't let a silly inanimate object dictate your mood for the rest of the day!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


2011. What a year. It amazes me how much has happened in just 12 months. My life pre-2011 is almost unrecognizable to me. It has been a year of major life changes, ones that will shape the next 100 years of my life (who knows, with all of this yoga and healthy eating I actually may live to be 135, don't want to sell myself short).

2011 packed quite a wallop:

  • I broke free from the cubicle! After 9 years at a company I truly loved, but in a 9-5 office environment that wasn't for me, I took a leap in January 2011 and turned in my notice. The result has been amazing - working in my pajamas, having control over my life, being free enough to explore and create what I want.
  • I turned vegan. Ok, so maybe my family and friends aren't a huge fan of this change, but I think it is for the better. I broke a 34 year old cycle of coughing and plugged up nose. My hands finally look female because my nails are long and strong for the first time ever. I feel amazing inside and out - everything is working like it should. Plus, I'm helping both the environment and animals. Oh, and I challenged and was victorious over my "there is no way I can give up cheese and ice cream" mentality. I learned I'm stronger than I thought. Definitely worth it!
  • I went through yoga teacher training. That experience will stick with me always. I met people I will be forever connected to. It made me think of the yoga industry as a career path rather than just a hobby. It opened my mind to possibly owning a studio one day, gave me the inspiration to start TravelingOms.com, and made me think maybe I could do more than just sit in front of a computer all day.
  • I committed to a daily yoga practice. It makes my mind more steady and productive. It has made my body stronger than I could have ever imagined it. It has shown me that I can do more than I had ever thought to expect out of myself - especially on those cold winter mornings when my bed is so warm. Pattabhi Jois once said "Practice and all is coming" and I now understand what he meant. Consistency in practice brings about changes we could have never imagined in our wildest dreams.
I wrote a blog about the number 11 a few weeks ago, about how that number lost all numerical meaning and transformed into a path right before my eyes. That pattern is reinforced here. The year 2011 has been a pathway showing me where my life could go. It has set the scene for change, and now it is up to me to continue on.

What has the year 2011 brought to you?

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I want to support small local businesses this holiday season, I truly do. I think it is important for my money to vote for my displeasure at monopolies and huge corporations controlling everything. However, that is proving to be extremely difficult, and I'm at a loss as to the best way to deal with it.

Someone on my Christmas list (keeping it vague in case they read this) wants something, we'll call it Product A. I was at a small local business a few days ago that did, indeed, sell Product A. So I had them give me a quote on it. I then checked that exact model online and found 3 stores whose price for that exact same model were less than HALF the price I was quoted. But they were all Big Box Stores. I told the small business about the other prices and he just kinda shrugged and said he can't go that low. So what to do? If I bought it from the small business I go over my budget and can't afford anything else for this person. If I get the better deal I am aiding the corporations which will eventually force the small company out of business. 

Every day we are faced with decisions such as these. Do we do the thing better for ourselves or better for what we believe in? I want to be selfless and supportive of things I believe in. But at what cost? I hate that corporations control our government which in turn control our perceptions of things ("Got Milk" anyone? Or how about the fact pizza is now a vegetable for school children?). Yet here I am contemplating supporting these bullies.

And it isn't just this one present - everything people seem to want is affordable at the larger stores but out of my reach at local businesses (if I can even find it there). Do I get people stuff they don't want, just because it was sourced locally? Or give them what they asked for from the chain stores?

Honestly, on Product A, I am probably going to go with the cheaper price because I just cannot justify getting the same product but paying twice as much. But I feel horrible and un-Christmas-y about the whole situation. What would you do in this case? How are you spending your money this holiday season?