Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Catching Up

Right now, I'm feeling a bit scattered. My thoughts are all over the place and I cannot seem to collect them into one theme. So, you're getting a bit of a modge podge. Enjoy!

Right now: On the drive to my yoga class tonight, the radio DJ was talking about how it would seem that technology should bring us closer, allowing for deeper and stronger connections to one another; but that doesn't seem to be the case, at least in her life. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have agreed with that statement. Today, however, I think the strength of the connection you build with a person through technology is determined by how you use it.  For Greg and I, technology is all we have right now. If you put your heart into your communication across wireless channels, your message reads stronger on the other end. The same is true for this blog; the more heart I put into what I write, the more it will resonate with the reader (in theory :)).

Yoga: It feels like someone cracked my heart like a glow stick and now it's shining brighter than ever. This is how I have been feeling after my yoga practice lately. The downside is that when we get to final resting pose (where you lay on your back with your eyes closed, remaining completely still with a clear mind) I'm feeling so bright and shiny that I'm actually fidgeting, making it impossible to rest. I've been working hard to deepen my practice lately and I think the intensity of results that I am getting are more or less overwhelming my body after each class. If I figure out how to fix this little hiccup, I'll let you know.

BEYOND: On the weekend of the one year anniversary of the tragic January 8th shooting in Tucson, the Tucson Trails Tribute Fund put on BEYOND, a series of over 25 events to get the community outdoors and active to commemorate the victims of the shooting, celebrate the togetherness we felt in the days and months afterward and commit to building a stronger, more hopeful future. For the last month or so, helping to plan and organize this massive day has kept me very busy. Hence, you haven't seen me post in a while. If you didn't hear about BEYOND or want to learn more, check out the website and the Facebook page. It was really quite amazing and its happening again next year.

The most moving part of the tragedy's anniversary was, without a doubt, seeing the Congresswoman lead the Pledge of Allegiance at Sunday's candlelight memorial. She would have made Gabe (her aide who fell victim during the shooting) so proud.

Raleigh & Sessa: Raleigh has now graduated from spending the night in his cage to sleeping in the bed. Raleigh has claimed my feet while Sessa rules the area around my head. Needless to say, I'm never short on cuddle buddies!

Italy: Greg and I are meeting in Italy for his leave. I'm so excited! I'm also so stressed. Due to our circumstances, I am planning the whole trip. This means I'm worrying about making sure we do all the things we both want to do without running ourselves ragged in the process. Is it possible to do Italy in moderation? I think not!

Well folks, that's all she wrote!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Push all four corners of your right foot into the ground; make your standing leg strong, lift your knee cap, stay grounded; extend your left leg up and back, flare your left toes; strengthen your core; lift your chest, shine brightly through your heart. As the clock struck midnight on New Years Eve, I stood in dancer pose on my yoga mat, shining out through my opening heart while grounding myself into the present, setting the tone for the next 365 days to come.

Yoga Dancer Pose, Natarajasana

Instead of drinking and toasting, setting New Years resolutions I didn't intend to keep and starting the new year with a hangover, I choose to intentionally step into 2012 with all the patience, love and acceptance that a fierce yoga practice cultivates.

My yoga studio holds a 10 pm - 12:30 am class on New Years Eve. This year, we were asked to bring a journal.

"Please write 4 difficult things you faced in 2011, 4 wonderful things from 2011 and 4 things you grew from most in 2011," instructed the teacher.

(The number 4 is used because (2011) 2+0+1+1=4)

4 Difficult Things I Faced in 2011:

  • Being apart from Greg
  • The January 8th shooting in Tucson
  • Moving twice
  • Being on my own
4 Wonderful Things From 2011

  • Falling in love
  • Bringing Raleigh the Menace into my life
  • Having my own place
  • Moving home to Tucson (I moved back to Tucson, my college town, from Phoenix in February; I met Greg the week I moved)
4 Things I Grew From Most in 2011
  • I always feel the need to be in constant motion; training Raleigh has taught me (some) patience.
  • I never knew the capacity I had to love until I met Greg.
  • Living on my own and Greg being away has helped me cultivate self reliance and true independence (as opposed to theoretical, idealistic independence).
  • I have had four jobs this year (due to extraneous circumstances); the trials of learning new tasks and procedures has humbled me and taught me to be patient with myself.
The items in each list blatantly overlap. The hardest challenges tend to help us grow most and yield the most wonderful results. This year has not been easy; it's been a year of both miracles and tragedy and I feel blessed to have survived it and grown so much.

"Think about the ways in which you identify yourself. Who would you be without those labels? Would you still be you? If you were no longer angry all the time, or sad, or stubborn, are you still the same person? Think about who you might be without being who you claim you are," my teacher told the class.

My Identity
  • Strong
  • Independent
  • Woman
  • Feminist
  • Democrat
  • Fur Mommy 
I would still be these things without claiming that I am but removing the labels could make me a more open minded person, more willing to accept the views of others.

"Set 5 intentions for yourself in the 2012, list 5 things you want to let go of in 2012, write 5 ways you will make this happen in 2012," instructed my teacher.

(5 is used because (2012) 2+0+1+2=5)

5 Intentions for 2012
  • Heal
  • Expand and explore my capacity to give love freely to others
  • Accept where I am at each moment
  • Cultivate patience
  • Love myself and respect what my body needs
5 Things I Want to Let Go of in 2012
  • My poor body/self image
  • Close mindedness
  • The need to constantly keep moving, planning and driving forward without appreciating the present
  • Worrying about the future
  • Doubting myself
5 Ways I Will Make This Happen in 2012
  • Reach out more to others; close connections help us heal.
  • Attend yoga more regularly to cultivate self-love and self-acceptance and patience with myself.
  • Listening to my heart/body/mind and respecting its needs.
  • Taking time to appreciate the good in my life at present.
  • Saying no sometimes and not over-committing my time. 
I chose to start my new year in Dancer Pose because in Dancer Pose, you shine brightly and expand your heart while standing still, grounded in the present. In 2012, I will strive to be more accepting of myself as I am, in my present state. While I will never stop moving forward, I will try not to forget to love where I currently am. 

Happy New Year readers!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Different Kind of Christmas

I am spending this Christmas the same way I have year after year. On Thursday I ended my work day, boarded the pets and headed to the always empty Tucson airport to catch my flight home for the holidays. My mom has the tree all set up and my sister is home causing her usual trouble. We will be cooking all our favorite holiday foods and wrapping gifts not so different from the ones exchanged last year. Every Christmas has been this way; every Christmas has been spent with my wonderful family.

But this year is a different kind of Christmas. Happy and jolly yes, but also bittersweet and a bit sad.

While all the family traditions feel normal, the holidays as usual, this year there is something missing. Or someone, rather.

Greg and I have never spent a Christmas together so I cannot say for sure what it might actually feel like: kissing the man I love under the mistletoe, decorating a tree together, exchanging gifts face to face. But I can imagine. And boy have I imagined!

It's rumored that the holidays are the toughest time of year for military couples during a deployment. I can understand why. While everyone else is snuggling together, you are watching, waiting and wishing. No one ever said this was easy but does it have to be so hard?

This year will be the last Christmas of it's kind. And although it is nice to be able to spend one last traditional holiday at home, I cannot help but wish I did not have to.

This is a different kind of Christmas.

Today's lesson: Always appreciate what you have but never let that stop you from dreaming big. One day your wishes might just come true.

Happy holidays readers!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Book

Greg and I have found many ways to stay connected while he is gone this year. None of them, however, seem to have quite the effect on me that this little brown book does.

Each morning, Raleigh and I drag ourselves out of bed, leash up and rush to the mailbox (with a quick pee-pee pit stop along the way for the Ra) to check for The Book.

It only arrives about once a month. When it comes, my heart pounds with excitement as Ra and I hurry back to the apartment to read the newest entry.

I tear open the white cardboard box and let the book fall into my waiting hands. The leather is smooth and warm, even though its freezing outside. It's almost as if Greg had just put the book down, still toasty from his touch.

The Book brings me to tears every time I hold it. I'm awed by the long journey The Book makes each month. Not too long ago Greg's hands rested on these same pages; grasping the leather reminds me of holding his hand. I'm teary eyed before I even read Greg's words and the water works only continue from there.

Many couples write letters during deployments. Greg and I write books. He writes his entries in blue; mine are penned in red. Back and forth this little book goes, across oceans and continents, connecting two hearts and telling a story of hope and love.

This deployment will one day end and Greg will come home. The Book will retire to a shelf to spend out its days in one place. Before that day comes, The Book will make many more international excursions, reminding us upon its arrival that the world is smaller than we think.

Of all the ways Greg and I stay connected during his absence, this method is my favorite.

Please note that Princess Cat appears in both pictures of the book as she was trying desperately to get my attention just because she wanted it. Oh, pets!

Monday, December 12, 2011

One Lucky Girl

This adorable little animal was sitting at my desk today when I returned from lunch.

My boyfriend is in the middle of a war zone and he still has time to show me how much he loves me. He's a keeper! And I am one lucky girl to call him mine.

I spent the evening trying to keep Sessa cat from chewing the ribbons on the balloon and explaining to Rara that the big stuffed animal was mommy's, not Raleigh's.

The last week or so has been a total mess, hence my absence in the blogosphere-sorry readers! (Shout out to my grandma, an avid reader of my blog. I'm surprised she hasn't emailed me yet wondering where I am :) I love you!)

When life gets hectic, I often let my mopier side get the best of me;  especially when I have something as significant as Greg's absence to mope about. I forget to enjoy the little things throughout the day and just focus on the negative. I don't think that is an uncommon side effect of stress. Did I mention I'm now working two jobs and trying to keep up with all my volunteer activities and political hobbies while maintaining my (very) long distance relationship? Life is currently pretty stressful.

But seeing this cute little bear sitting on my swivel chair today reminded me of how fortunate I truly am and how petty I have been lately. How could I not appreciate life when I have someone who cares about me so much? How could I not appreciate life when I come home each night to a dog who loves me unconditionally and a cat who behaves like the queen of the apartment? How could I not appreciate life when I have the ability to make a difference in the lives of others?

Human streams of consciousness, at least mine, is sort-of like a yoyo. You figure something out and you feel like you've mastered it and then just as quickly as it reached you, it falls away for a while and then something happens and that realization returns.

I find I have to continually remind myself to enjoy each day and love myself and those around me for all their endearing qualities and their imperfections. I guess, the more I practice joy and love, the more natural and instinctive those emotions will become.

That is the purpose of this year and this blog after all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's Not Easy...

It's not easy to admit when you are wrong.

It's not easy to ask for help.

It's not easy to acknowledge your fears.

These things are difficult for anyone to come to grips with, no matter who you are or how strong of a person you believe yourself to be. I have trouble admitting when I'm wrong. It takes a lot for me to ask for help. I pretend my fears don't exist until they bite me in the bum. I do it and I know you are nodding your head thinking 'Yes, I do that too.' Saving Jane even wrote a song about it:

But my boyfriend? He admits when he's wrong and apologizes. He asks for help when he hits a wall. He admits his fears and then takes them head on. And he does all of these things from a million miles away while he endures constant moments of terror and trials of courage.

The strength he has shown over the past several months is incredible, but he doesn't see it the way I do.

Well Greg, allow me to show you the world through my eyes.

I know you have moments of fear as anyone in your position would. But what amazes me is not that you put on your tough, I can take on the world face and charge head-first into danger to fight for our freedom, although that is incredible! What amazes me is that before you face what scares you most, you admit your fears. It takes a strong person to face their fears but it takes even more strength and courage to admit those fears first and then face them.

Humans by nature are prideful. We like to accomplish things on our own. We believe we are invincible and that we don't need assistance. When we reach the edge of a cliff, we grope around and try to find the nearest ledge to save ourselves; we do everything in our power to back away from the edge before we shout for help and then we still wait 10 more minutes before screaming. But you, Hunny? I have seen you put your pride aside when you see the ledge approaching and speak up to prevent a fall. And you do it so effortlessly, without even realizing you are making a sacrifice.

Greg, you know one of the hardest things for me is admitting when I am wrong. It takes a lot of soul searching and ferocious inner monologue for me to come to terms with a mistake I have made and it takes even more effort and struggle for me to admit my faults to others, especially when that acknowledgment requires an apology. I don't think I'm the only one out there with this fault; I like to believe it's common. But you? You've admitted your flaws (however few they may be) and apologized for your mistakes. And no one made you do it. No one told you that you were wrong and no one requested an apology. You came to terms with these things all on your own and you left me all but speechless.

I think you are incredible. Some days I wish I could learn to be as strong as you. Don't get me wrong, I love myself the way I am, flaws included. I just think that with all you deal with each day, you forget how truly amazing you are. So I'm reminding you. I know you are probably shaking your head and thinking I'm ridiculous. But I'm not. If you could only see what I see Greg, you'd be as in love with yourself as I am with you.

I love you baby and don't forget how strong you really are. I believe you can make it through anything.

And for some comic relief, here is Pooch the Menace in a Christmas sweater. Isn't he cute?!?!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stuck In My Head

There are several songs that have been cycling through my head over the past few weeks. 

And they would be driving me nuts if they didn't all make me think of Greg. 

I think that's why they keep playing over and over in my mind.

Because I miss him and it is the holidays and he shouldn't have to be anywhere else but here. 

But life doesn't always work the way we think it should. This season won't be the way I wish it could be, but that just means next year will be twice as special.

Wishing you all a happy holidays with your family and friends!

After Thanksgiving, Christmas Crafts will begin! Get ready for lots of glitter, ribbon and green and red sparkles.