‘Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down”
Judith Hanson Lasater
‘Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down”
Judith Hanson Lasater
Once upon a time in my early twenties I made my living by posing in front of the camera. I actually paid my rent, and a good chunk of my undergrad loans doing so.
I’m not going to tell you I was some awkward teenage girl turned model and I hated it. Blah blah blah. I dreamed of being a model. The gorgeous photos, of one day making it into Victoria’s Secret or Sports Illustrated. Or Both.
At first, I caught a high from organizing and styling test shoots, and submitting myself for freelance work. I took commercial and television acting classes and weekend hosting workshops with talented coach, Marki Costello, who molds the hosts of E! News, shot head shots with the best photographer in town, all on my own dime. I didn’t have an in; I knew no one who could get me to the top quickly and I refused to do anything against my morals to get there. I worked hard to get in with the right agencies the honest way, and I did. In the span of a few months, I had an agency for each county in Southern California, and I didn’t stop at that. I had separate agents for print, commercial, theatrical, and hosting. I wouldn’t accept ‘no’ for an answer (exception: Ford Agency, who regretted to inform me that at 5’7.75, I missed the cut by a quarter inch). I’d drive from San Diego to LA and back again for a 5-minute audition, a four-hour trip without traffic. I’d bring my homework and reading, stop midway in Orange County if traffic was at a standstill, using the time to study at the closest coffee shop to the 5-freeway onramp, and arrive back in time for classes at UCSD.
I graduated UCSD a quarter early and high-tailed my life to an apartment in Santa Monica, a share with a recent MBA grad off Montana and 7th Avenue. I found a night job at the Huntley Hotel’s Penthouse Restaurant the same day I found the apartment. I hit the Los Angeles ground running, auditioning all day and hosting at the Penthouse by night. Squeezing in runs along Ocean Avenue and yoga sessions at Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga inbetween. It all just sort of flowed easily.
Once my La-la-land affairs were in order, the mission began: get into the prestigious Screen Actors Guild Union and get me some real work in this town. SAG jobs are generally higher paying than non-union work, often pay residuals on top of a one-time day rate, and to many, membership in the union translates into respect as a performer. An actor is not eligible to join SAG unless either a) the actor is already a member, or b) the actor is Taft-Hartley ‘d into the union by being cast in a principle role and paying SAG dues within 30 days, c) OR, works as a background actor on three SAG projects, for each project one is given a prized yellow SAG voucher. Thing was, at least back in my entertainment days, it was not easy to be cast on a SAG job, even as a background actor. Casting directors preferred to use actors already in SAG. I didn’t let that stop me.
My collection of yellow vouchers numbered only two out of three by the time I decided to change career directions one November morning. I was sitting at an acting coach’s house in Sherman Oaks, rehearsing for an audition for Days of Our Lives. I’d just booked an ad for Nissan to appear in Sports Illustrated later in the week (one dream come true!) and was to fly to San Francisco to shoot. I was happy about SI, but feeling ambivalent, if even a little depressed, at the prospect of auditioning for a soap opera. In the middle of practicing my lines, “I don’t think I want to do this” slipped out of my mouth. The coach was not happy. Agency was not happy. I left.
And so I went to San Francisco a few days later and did my Nissan-SI shoot, on the fence about my career. On a break from the camera, I checked my voicemail to find a message from Jaime, my agent at a boutique agency in Beverly Hills whom I adored, asked me to call back immediately. So I did. The agency was closing as the economy tanked. Don’t worry, I’d be paid for my all my jobs…would you like us to place you with another Los Angeles agent? My immediate gut answer was “no, I’ll stick with what I have going on”. I bought one of SF’s famous Ghiridelli Dark Chocolate bars at SFO Airport and ate the whole thing while waiting to board, out of relief. The universe made my decision for me.
After a prodding e-mail from my parents inviting me to move back home, unnecessarily concerned about my welfare down in Santa Monica with the economy and all, I took them up on their offer and decided to move home to Ventura and give up on my dreams, at least for the time being. I was anything but broke, I’d been booking steadily and could still work through my other agents. I wasn’t that model who dove into hard drugs or the party scene. I was more like the image of health: I went to bed right after work at the Penthouse instead of going out with my co-workers, woke early to walk, jog, or dive headfirst into yoga, and I spent my time off wandering the Farmer’s Market. I’d made a network of professionals and friends, even a best friend, Jen, who I’d meet up with for fun lunches between auditions at places like Toast on LA’S West 3rd Street and A Votre Sante on Brentwood’s San Vicente Boulevard (we’re still BFF to this day, even if those precious lunches are few and far between). But, the luster had worn off the job, and I’d started questioning my image and authenticity. Bleach Blonde? Tan? Boobs? Bikinis? High heels? Getting your nails done every week? The physical upkeep and projecting of a certain facade was wearing me out. It just wasn’t me. And trying to pretend was exhausting.
I worked a commercial through another union, AFTRA, in 2008. Even though I haven’t actively pursued talent work, there’s been no question about paying the AFTRA bill when it comes because I’ve had residuals coming in for the past few years. By sheer luck, I was made a SAG member by default when the two unions merged in 2012. I reiterate: SAG is notoriously diffiult to get into. And I just got lucky because I just happened to pay the dues because the money was still coming in.
As of a few months ago, I unfortunately no longer have commercial residuals coming in. I’m not currently actively pursuing a career as a model actress. I see my career goong in the writer-naturopathic doctor-traveler direction…and I can’t tell you if that future will or will not include some more time in front of the camera.
I received a bill from SAG-AFTRA in the mail last week. Unlike prior bills, where paying wasn’t a question because the dough was flowing in from way-back-when, I found myself rather broke, and moreover, faced with questioning ‘why am I paying this bill if I’m not acting or modeling or doing anything remotely so in the near future? Would I even want to go back to that life?’.
What would it mean to let go of my SAG-AFTRA membership? What would it feel like to shut the door on this potential future?
Am I ready to let go of my dreams?
No, I’m not.
So much has changed, but in ways, so much has not. I don’t color my hair, spray tan, nor laquer my fingernails, and I simply don’t do high heels. However, to this day, I am quite fond of brazilian waxes, facials (check out my at-home Alpha Hydroxy Acid facial using Papaya Seeds), and suntanning the good old-fashioned way , donning a big straw hat and zinc oxide. I still appreciate gorgeous photography, styling clothing, and even have a just-for-fun shoot planned with one of my closest friends, Stacey Millett, who happens to be an amazing photographer. Only ‘cerebral masturbation’ can describe the evening we began our shared private Pinterest board full of shoot ideas last winter.
If there’s one thing I could tell my younger, early twenties model-actress self:
Be yourself. Be natural.
So, if I ever end up back in the spotlight, note to future, SAG-AFTRA member Beach Girl Abroad, I’ll do so with authenticity, speaking and acting, in both real life and on stage, from my truth. I didn’t know who I was back then, or if I did, I wasn’t solid enough yet to fully come into my own. Now, and future, self knows better. I guess, one could say, I paid my dues.
And so, I pay my dues.
There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…
not going all the way,
and not starting.
Hey Beach Girl Abroad readers! I’ve had no trouble writing lately, except writing for school, where it really counts right now. Even with an interesting topic, Dreams and Decision-Making, and a loquacious composition streak running through my chakras, I’ve had a hard time focusing on typing up a six-page academic paper. After a quick meditation on how to motivate myself, I finally came up with the brilliant idea to pen my paper in WordPress. Low and behold, as I sit in my new favorite local hangout, The Sandbox Coffeehouse in Ventura, after a semester’s worth of procrastination on the weekend before its’ Monday evening due date, my Psychology term paper is coming right along.
Dreams and Decision-Making
Dreams are a topic of interest and conversational common-ground across generations and cultures, scholars and laymen alike. I’ve taken a personal interest in dreams since childhood, asking my family or mi Mama Maria, our El Salvadorian nanny, what a dream meant over lox and bagels (parents) or sunrise platano con canela, banana-cinnamon, smoothies at sunrise, a special morning time when only Mama Maria and I stirred in the house. Always curious, and a writer from an early age, I’ve kept journals and written about my dreams for years. I’m continually amazed and affected by what comes up in my dreams. An ‘early-bird’, my mind has always functioned at its’ clearest in the hours of the dawn, which I strongly believe aids my penchant for dream recall. Most recently, I’ve become interested in how our dreams influence our decision-making.
Following your dreams, literally, is neither a ‘pop psych’ nor ‘new age’ theory. In fact, heeding the guidance of dreams dates back Before Christ. In the view of the Bible, “angels, visions, and dreams are all part of the same reality”. Abraham and Jacob, biblical patriarchs, were “guided in most of their important decisions by dreams and visions. Both the Joseph of ancient Israel and the Joseph of the New Testament found the understanding of dreams to be of life-saving importance. The psalmist of ancient Israel probably had dreams in mind when he said, ‘I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel; my heart teaches me night after night.’ In the Rabbinical tradition, the Talmud says that dreams which are not interpreted are like letters which have not been opened” (Clift 5). Once these ‘letters’ are opened, myriad ideas exist on how one should go about ‘reading’ what has been ‘written’.
Dream interpretation theories in the Psychological field are varied and contradictory. Freud and Jung, fathers of psychoanalysis, and with it, dream analysis, both suggested that images within dreams are not to be interpreted as literal, but rather as symbols to decipher for deeper meaning. These theories represent dreams across different peoples, creating a “fixed universal symbological language of dreams” (Goodison 83). Freud essentially viewed dreams as symbolical “poems we tell ourselves at night in order to experience our unconscious wishes as real. Dreams allow us to be what we cannot be, and to say what we do not say, in our more repressed daily lives”. In Freud’s eyes, any dream fulfilled a wish not granted in one’s waking life, and nearly any dream object took on a sexual definition.
Wish fulfillment, however, does little to explain those ‘everyday’ dreams, or on the opposite spectrum, nightmares. Carl Jung, Freud’s successor of sorts, took note of repeating images in dreams that were common amongst different cultures and times. Jung named the “collective patterns and figures from the collective unconscious ‘archetypes’. An archetype is a typos, or imprint…a pattern which is restored to life by the primitive, analogical mode of thinking peculiar to dreams” (Clift 12). By means of a collective unconscious brought forth during dreamtime, when archetypes could freely appear, dreams of very different people could be interpreted as having essentially the same meaning. The collective unconscious and its archetypes symbolized much more than the, at times, narrowly sexualized interpretation of Freud. Jung “came to see that dreams, as well as other unconscious material, should not only be viewed ‘reductively’”, as in Freud’s wish-fulfillment, “but that they also provided clues for future development” (Clift 6). ‘Water’ in its myriad forms may indicate a need for ‘cleansing’ of the psyche, ‘running’ could symbolize one’s avoidance of an issue, sitting in the driver’s seat (or chariot seat, back in the days before Christ and Chevrolet), may interpret as ‘taking control’ of one’s life.
Dr. Christianne Northrupp, M.D., a well-respected women’s health, mind-body expert, and author, supports a Jungian view of dreams along with a spiritual component. Northrupp writes of her own work with Dr. Doris E. Cohen, a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who has spent decades studying dream analysis as a way to help people on their soul’s path” (Northrupp). Dr. Northrupp and Dr. Cohen describe a defined symbolic language of the unconscious which parallels the theories of Jung. The “basement in a house represents the subconscious, a door indicates access to something that perhaps wasn’t there before, technology indicates the need to upgrade something, water indicates cleansing of old emotions, clothes represent the roles one plays” (Northrupp). By taking the time to recall dreams, Dr. Northrupp feels she “has opened up an entirely new relationship with [her] unconscious and [her] soul” (Northrupp). To fulfill the wants of one at a soul level, Northrupp directs readers and patients to attempt a similar investigation and interpretation of their own dreams.
A unique viewpoint unlike that of Jung or Freud, is that of Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., a sleep and dream expert on the clinical faculty of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine who specializes in integrative sleep and dream medicine with a scientific and a spiritual perspective similar to Dr. Northrupp and Dr. Cohen. According to Naiman, “dreaming is ‘a kind of psychological yoga’, that contributes to emotional wellness. Dreams “in the first part of the night appear to process and diffuse residual negative emotion from the waking day; dreams later in the night then integrate this material into one’s sense of self.” (Weil). If taking the theory of Naiman, dreams would then serve to create emotional balance, alleviating depression and anxiety in our lives, while providing us the glue to stick our puzzle pieces in place, making us feel emotionally ‘whole’.
Yet another theory approaches dreams with a “flexible view with few rules”: Jane Roberts “agrees on a ‘translation’”, in line with the aforementioned symbology theories, “which when we wake we ‘clothe dreams in symbolic material most readily available to carry the dream feelings and thoughts into wakefulness’” (Goodison 83). Somewhat paralleling Jung’s theory of collective unconscious, due to “common culture, people in the same society may use similar symbols”. However, Roberts states “because of different life histories, we may also use very different symbols. The dream symbol of a gun may stand for a penis, as Freud suggested. Equally, the opposite may be true: the dream symbol of a penis may represent something completely different. There are dreams using sexual or body imagery which turn out to be not only or not primarily about the body or sex. They are using that symbolism to comment on other issues” (Goodison 83-84). Dream interpretation theories then, stand to be discerned by psychologists and moreover, by the dreamers themselves.
Yet another dream expert, Cleantis, agrees with Freud so far that “dreams are the royal road to the unconscious”, but takes a similar individualized dream analysis stance as Jane Roberts. Cleantis encourages one to “go to sleep. Dream. Wake. Write that crazy dream down in a journal and ask yourself the simple questions, “What does x mean to me? What does x remind me of?’ You are the expert of your dreams” (Cleantis). According to Cleantis, one’s personal connection with dream objects is much more relevant to understanding what a dreamer’s subconscious is trying to tell them than what any ‘dream dictionary’ interprets.
Ernest Hartmann, a doctor at Tufts University, researched the emotional growth curve that occurs in dreams. Hartmann theorizes that “dreaming puts our difficult emotions into pictures. In dreams, we deal with emotional content in a safe place, making connections that we would not make if left to our more critical or defensive brains. In this sense, dreaming is like therapy on the couch: We think through emotional stuff in a less rational and defensive frame of mind. Through that process, we come to accept truths we might otherwise repress” (Simons). Our dreams could be our best psychotherapists.
Although theories of dream interpretation are diverse, and at times, hardly support one another and instead, contradict each other, the mere fact that psychologists, medical doctors, academics, and figures across history take such interest in examining dreams marks the importance of the night-time phenomena in our lives. Dreams may affect our everyday consciousness and therefore, our decisions. Our decisions guide our lives.
“Life is a sum of all your choices”
Albert Camus, French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist, philosopher
Dreams and Decision-Making:
Dreams affect their dreamer, at all ends of the psychological spectrum. At their most innocuous, dreams may simply bring forth self-awareness and lead to more contentment. Jung found, above primal drives described by Freud, patients expressed a need for meaning: “worthwhile values and purposes are as necessary for life as the sex and power drives” (Clift 10). Dr. Christianne Northrupp writes on her blog, “if you can interpret this language and make connections between your unconscious thoughts and your waking life, you can discover a lot about yourself and what makes you happy” (Northrupp). Ones nightly activity of the psyche can change one even on a subtle energetic and mood level. Dreams “affect the person, whether understood, remembered, or forgotten. Dreams may leave one depressed the next morning or, on the contrary, bounding with energy” (Clift, 8). Even if the dreamer does not recall the dream, his or her waking life is altered by the previous night’s dream(s).
Matt Wilson at MIT’s Center for Learning and Memory theorizes, “if we remembered every image of our waking lives, it would clog our brains. So, dreams sort through memories, to determine which ones to retain and which to lose. He put rats in mazes during the day, and recorded what neurons fired in what patterns as the rats negotiated the maze. When he watched the rats enter REM sleep, he saw that the same neuron patterns fired that had fired at choice turning points in the maze. In other words, he saw that the rats were dreaming of important junctures in their day. He argues that sleep is the process through which we separate the memories worth encoding in long-term memory from those worth losing. Sleep turns a flood of daily information into what we call wisdom: the stuff that makes us smart for when we come across future decisions” (Simons). By dreaming, we may just be organizing our thoughts into ‘keep’, ‘file away’, and ‘delete’ folders much like a computer. We may just be growing more adept, articulate, and wise in our waking lives; more able to make sound decisions.
By attending to one’s dreams proactively, a dreamer may gain an advantage in their waking life over those who passively allow their dreams to slip away from memory. Attempting an understanding of “the picture of the psychic situation as the dream presents is that dreams give additional data upon which to base conscious choices. Paths of action not seen before may be recognized as possible. Understanding dreams is not essential for life, but they can enrich life and increase the possibility of making wise choices” (Clift 8). It may mean work for the dreamer to recall and ask themselves about each symbol, object, and situation, but the effort may be well worth it. One’s “psyche chooses images that it knows they will understand. It wants the dreamer to understand the dream and so it speaks in symbols the dreamer will understand if they just take the time to unpack their associations (Cleantis). How does one go about ‘unpacking their associations’?
Dream interpretations, and decisions made based off their analysis, are highly personal. One “cannot possibly know which is the correct interpretation without talking to [the dreamer]. Any interpretation given by another person would be unhelpful and perhaps very upsetting unless she had a chance to make the connection for herself, and think about how that issue comes up in her daily life” (Goodison 83). Dream dictionaries may serve a purpose according to some theorists, however as far as decisions go, “sometimes people need to find something out for themselves before they can make use of it or decide to make a change, need to time to absorb it. An off-the-cuff interpretation given by a dream dictionary [etc] may be useless or worse” (Goodison 83). One must take a proactive approach to defining their dreams, even if choosing the defined symbolical approach. A dream can serve its’ dreamer, and only its’ dreamer.
According to Dr. Northrupp, dreams may assist their dreamer with their decisions regarding health. One of Dr. Northrupp’s “colleagues once dreamt that he was bleeding to death from his rectum. The dream was so vivid and frightening that he went in for a check up, including a colonoscopy. It turns out he had very early colon cancer, which was completely treatable. He credits the dream with saving his life” (Northrupp). Had the man not heeded the dream, would he have taken the time to visit the doctor? His one dream influenced his decision to go in for the check-up which rescued him from later stages of cancer.
Dr. Naiman believes that “dream loss” rather than sleep loss per se, is “the most critical overlooked socio-cultural force” in the development of depression” (Weil). If one’s ability to dream is negatively affected, and one becomes depressed, one may not make the most rational or best decisions for themselves or others, personally or professionally. If “one dislikes or even fears dreaming because the emotional content of their dreams tends to be negative, keep in mind that “bad dreams” may serve a vital function” (Weil). It may serve us to remember even our darkest dreams and make use of them.
If one decides to try following their dreams in their daily life and daily decision making, plenty of credible advice is offered. The path to dreaming includes sufficient sleep, which in itself, as a by-product, will improve one’s moods and decision-making ability. Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., founder and director of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine, and best-selling author, suggests “embracing rather than suppressing your dreams”, even if their messages are painful, in order to “experience better moods”, and therefore, better decision-making. If one has “difficulty sleeping or is not getting enough sleep or sleep of good quality, one needs to learn the basics of sleep hygiene, make appropriate changes, and possibly consult a sleep expert. One may also keep a dream journal at their bedside, which will help develop the habit of recalling dreams upon waking, which in turn can help one embrace and value dreaming” (Weil). Dr. Northrupp suggests, when first endeavoring to recall dreams, “to be accountable to someone else: creating a dream buddy or a dream circle where one routinely discusses their dreams with someone else. If one sets aside a regular time to discuss their dreams, one finds they remember more” (Northrupp). What if one has an enormous decision to make, but has not been blessed with a dream? Dr. Northrupp suggests “a ‘dream incubation’, which is a way to ask your subconscious to give you a particular dream for guidance” (Northrupp). Many people do not recall their dreams upon waking and find it impossible to do so most of the time. However, “it’s VERY common to be going about your day and suddenly remember your dream from the night before. PAY ATTENTION. Your soul is trying to tell you something.” (Northrupp). Indeed it is.
Our psyche’s nightly activity, specifically in the form of dreams, certainly affects our waking behavior, moods, and decisions, whether the dream is remembered or forgotten. Dreaming is crucial to our emotional health, and sound choices are made when we are at our best emotionally. If a dream is recalled, translation of any images, symbols, and meaning is highly subjective to the dreamer. In order to stimulate dream recall, one may write, visualize, and/or speak with others, but what is at the utmost importance is sleeping well in order to get to a point where the subconscious is actually in the dream-state, or Rapid Eye Movement sleep. Whether the dreamer decides to take a defined or undefined symbolical approach, a scientific view, interpret the dream as spiritual guidance, and/or combine theories, one’s dreams unpacked absolutely hold potential to assist in making conscious choices which influence one’s life.
Goodison, Lucy. The Dreams of Women: Exploring and Interpreting Women’s Dreams. 1995. WW Norton & Company, New York, NY.
Berry, William LMHC. Your Dream World: Don’t go through life unaware you are projecting the inner world onto the outer. January 6, 2013. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-second-noble-truth/201301/your-dream-world
Cleantis, Tracey LMFT. Freudian-Express: Dreams, The Royal Road to the Unconscious. January 14, 2011
Northrupp, MD, Christianne. Dreams: Your Inner Guidance Every Night 12/1/12. http://www.drnorthrup.com/blog/2012/12/dreams-your-inner-guidance-every-night
Simons, Ilana Simons, Ph.D., The Literary Mind, Why Do We Dream? Five Modern Theories for Dreams and Nightmares, November 11, 2009. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-literary-mind/200911/why-do-we-dream
Weil, Dr. Andrew. Why Dreams Are Vital to Emotional Health. 03/04/2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-weil-md/dreams-depression_b_1273422.html
As result of totally switching gears last Fall from heading to Big Island for a permaculture course, calling a tent ‘home’ for while to pulling a Dorothy, clicking my heels ala Wizard of Oz, and moving back home, I have a flight credit with Hawaiian Airlines for $436.50. It expires on September 4 of this year.
Grounding myself in tadasana, mountain pose, during today’s early morning sandy stroll before a juicy-full day of teaching yoga and boss-hogging (Urban Dictionary definition: to win, dominate, or take something over) the subject of Physics, I visually absorbed the pure beauty of a school of dolphins and wetsuit-clad dapper dudes alike surfing the morning glass waves.
Contemplating the thought of an upcoming trip to the islands, an unfamiliar thought crossed my typically gypsy-footed mind:
I don’t need to go anywhere right now.
For the first time in a long while, I’m pretty darn content. My life is bursting with the simple pleasures that keep Beach Girl Abroad happy: family, friends, community, sharing my passions with the world through teaching yoga and writing, enough space when I need it, intellectual stimulation via studying the core sciences, inching closer every day to my big-time future goals of becoming a Naturopathic Doctor and published writer, and daily communion with nature and it’s expansive ocean only a block from my parents’ house. I’d say I’m on a good path towards santosha, contentment as described in Patanjali‘s Yoga Sutras.
A warm, strong Santa Ana wind kicked up during my block-long walk home, gusts not unlike the warm Fall tradewinds that’d breezed along my skin in Honolulu. Ah, the perfection of a California morning like today’s. On a day like today, I don’t particularly feel like going anywhere.
But I could.
A significant chunk of a flight credit and what looks like will be my last rare window of time away from school in early June…
The wheels are turning.
I’m not rolling in a whole lot of cash, but I’ve been working hard and saving enough to make up the difference in flight fare, stay at a hostel and/or Couchsurf and feed myself. Not to mention, a handful of lovely sisters with whom I’d love to reconnect, and one last island, Kauai, that I’d left unexplored. Oh, and my birthday is coming up during the first week of June
What a nice way to feel. Not running like I’d admittedly done in past instances.
Just the possibility of taking a trip.
For a myriad of reasons, I’m happy with the hard decision I made to leave Hawaii Nei, beloved Hawaii, last September. It just wasn’t right at the time, at all. Although surrounded by beauty, blessed with ohana and opportunities, my spirit had run low and my health wasn’t 100%. Nearly a year later, with a mind and body feeling renewed, I can’t deny a slight pull back towards the aina. This time, for the right reasons. In good health, body and mind.
Getting quiet and listening to my intuition on how to proceed from here…
I’ll keep you updated.
Beach Girl Abroad
Last night, I was blessed with quite the insightful dream.
In my waking life, as my energy has picked up, I find myself opening up; excited about everything and everyone around me. One day not so long ago, I woke up, decided enough hermit-ting was enough, and decided to channel tons of energy and be happy. Basically, I chose to say ‘Yes’, and that was that. I still take my vitamins and supplements for adrenal fatigue, see my Naturopathic Doctor, and eat like a Modern Day Wildwoman, but mentally I had to instigate that final round of healing. Yes, I’ll take vitality, thanks!
However, a pattern of too much ‘yes’ has befell me before. I definitely learned this lesson hard in Honolulu, where I wound up packing my schedule (how can you say no when everything coming your way is good?!), scattering my energy, flaking out, and running my body into the ground. I learned I am not a Pitta, a ‘fire’-dominant person in Ayurvedic Medicine, who can go, go, go. I’m a ‘wind’-dominated Vata person: I love go, go, go but need much more grounding than Pitta, or bad things happen for Beach Girl Abroad. Creative, sensitive Vata thrives off routine, regular meals, meditation, and rest. Without it, burnout and anxiety ensues.
This weekend, I found myself calling out another girlfriend for her non-stop motion, then caught myself realizing what I really needed to do what check in with the RPM of my own wheels. After all, I’d written last week about how when we see someone else’s darkness, oftentimes it’s a mirror reflecting a similar issue in ourselves (works the same way with their light and awesome side, by the way
I retired to bed by 9:15pm last night, asking the universe, God, Mother Earth to send me a dream for some clarification regarding my life plate. What can I handle right now? How much can I do without losing focus, burning out, or squandering precious time family and social relationships right here, right now? We talk frequently about what’s sustainable for the planet; what’s sustainable on a personal level? I’d like to leave the huge mistakes I made last year on that little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, thankyouverymuch, instead of repeating self-defeating behaviors like a broken record.
Interestingly enough, an intuitive friend in real life made a cameo in my dream world. As I attended some sort of outdoor dream wedding where guests wore bikinis, sundresses, and board shorts, my friend appeared. She didn’t say a word, but passed me by with a brief smile and left in my mind the image of a typewritten “45 squared-45 squared- 90 squared”.
After jotting down notes from the dream, the puzzle of dream images started to piece together. The trigonometry that’s been so crucial in my study of physics lately came to mind. A 45-45-90 degree triangle has two legs of the same length while its hypotenuse is a little longer. One big angle with two smaller angles of the same size. Find any side of a triangle by using the Pythagorean Theorum: A squared + B squared = C squared. Each angle and leg affects the other angles and legs of the triangle.
Metaphorical Triangles have made their way into my life as well lately. A love triangle or two, yes (just say no!). More relevant, however: a friend of my Father’s mentioned last week (in real life) that it’s best to have three things going on in your life, on your ‘plate’. Any more than three, we discussed, it’s simply difficult doing anything well and your relationships tend to suffer. Any less, well you just aren’t applying yourself. A life triangle of sorts; A trio which belongs on one’s Life Plate.
So, I drew out a little 45-45-90 triangle, symbolizing my ‘output’ in the world. At 90 degrees, I wrote in my largest focus: school. The other two angles, each 45 degrees, get equal attention, and luckily in my case, overlap: “work” and “creativity”: yoga and writing. All support one another, forming a nice little triangle to fit on a maneagable, stimulating, well-rounded, yet not overtaxing life plate.
Dreams are such blessings; I encourage everyone to scribble even a few words upon waking to stimulate dream recall. The subconscious has much to tell us about ourselves, and I think it takes getting to know yourself well enough to know what should–and should not– make it into your triangle. That is, if you are a triangle person. Perhaps you are one of those people who can fit a square or even a hexagon onto their lifeplate (Even though I love the positive tendencies of my vata-ness: creativity, sensitivity…how I envy such Pittas at times…)
What’s up on your triangle? What’s your 90-degree focus, and what are your 45-degree angles supporting it? Or are you balancing a square or hexagon on your plate? Maybe you’ve chosen one focus, a circle? Please comment below, would love to hear your thoughts!
There are so many contridictions In all these messages we send (We keep asking) How do I get out of here Where do I fit in? Though the world is torn and shaken Even if your heart is breakin’ It’s … Continue reading
Do what you love to do.