Make Love and Meditate

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I knew it was something after we made love and meditated.

Maybe it was the fact that he didn’t have a bed.

Because although it was rustic and made me feel like an earth goddess, lying naked on the floor is lying naked on the floor and lying naked on the floor can hurt my bony bits.

So when he asked if I wanted to sit with him I felt a lot of things see I begin to feel a lot of things

I feel my heart and the sternum that holds me. I feel my breath and my lungs that contain me. I feel my blood and my vessels that carry me. My insides are alive in a way that compares to that other yes thing and my whole container tightens. My whole container tightens but my insides are alive and

Yes.

I say yes.

And maybe my yes is just my yogateacher speaking maybe my yes just means giving more support to my lumbar spine maybe the meditating part is secondary. But regardless of the love for my spine or the love we just made, when he asks if I wanted to sit, I feel my container and I say yes.

He looks at me like a sparkler that’s about to start sparkling:

“I’ll prepare the stools.”

He starts sparkling.

If I could blow it out I would. If I could blow it out, just for a second, I would. Just for a second to stop and ask:

Did that sparkle in his eyes almost outsparkle the sparkle from the first time I said yes to the thing we did just moments ago? I feel the sparkle in his eyes almost outsparkled the sparkle from the first time I said yes to the thing we did just moments ago. My brain wants to be upset but my body is not. A sparkle is a sparkle and it makes me feel good. I let what wants to feel good feel good. I resist the urge to blow out light.

He leaves the room.

I put on clothes and feel more naked.

He re-enters the room.

I can’t see his face because of the books. Something about “Quantitative Methods” is covering his eyes but I don’t need to see them and I don’t want to know about quantitative anything so I close my eyes and feel his glow. I open my eyes.

Two separate stacks.

He covers the books. The books become stools. He covers the bookstools in two pieces of patterned cloth. The books disappear and with sit-bones supported we sit on our stools. And although they appear similar in height, similar in patterned cloth, mine is made up of Financial Reporting and his Derivatives and Portfolio Management and we each have our own. Propped up by the pages of his MBA, we close our eyes.

We close our eyes and feel more naked.

I tune into sensation.

I feel my left nostril.

My left nostril is naked.

I tune into sensation on my naked left nostril.

Dear lovely left nostril, I know you are naked. I know you are scared and naked but I will stay with you.

I feel an expansion. I feel a contraction. I feel each expansion each contraction start to still what is fast and moving. I feel calm enough to move my awareness throughout my whole body. I feel the breath, the blood, the nerves, the heart and the container that carries it all.

I feel the container that carries it all and

I am not naked at all I am covered in vibrations.

I feel what is inside the container that carries it all and

I see home

I see home

I see home

I feel home

I feel home

I feel home

I come home.

The second time we did it there was a full moon and I straddled him. My legs over his my lips close enough to his but not touching. Close enough to feel each other’s breath but far enough apart to keep each exhale separate. Because,

I can bring you to my home and you can bring me to your home but when we come home and we sit on our own separate bookstools we remember that yes waters merge but every river started somewhere.

And now, whenever we make love, whenever we come together, I want to come

Home.

Because to sit with you, to come home beside you is to be more real with you than if I took off all my clothes when I was sad and turned around slowly.

And the more familiar I am with my home, the more I’ll be able to let you in.

The more familiar I am with the door and its hinges and more I’ll be able to open it for you.

The more familiar I am with the walls that were stacked, the more I’ll be able to stand by you.

The more familiar I am with the floors that were laid the more I’ll be able to support you.

The more familiar I am with the roof that was built the more I’ll be able to cover you.

….

Weeks later he got a bed.

But we promised that no matter how much we enjoyed what was soft and lovely,

We’d always do it on the floor.

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Wake up and Want (Do it Again)

I want to make you pancakes.

I want to pour maple syrup and I want it to be real. I want to spill some on your chest hair on purpose. I want it to be there tomorrow because

I want you to taste like syrup always because

I want you to have the qualities of a tree.

I want to lie in a pile of puzzle pieces with you. I want to spend the afternoon only working on the corners and what if we left the middle. What if we left the middle as a big empty space the middle just space to stick our fingers through.

I want to make you pureed soup and

I want to blend only what’s in season.

I want to make you Middle-eastern food. I want you to eat it with your fingers and I want our kisses to taste like a delicate mix of lemon and mint.

I want you to place your hand on my belly. I want it to be below my belly button and I want you to tell me you like it best when it’s soft and round.

I want you to photograph me.

I want you to think I’m beautiful when I’m sleeping. Even when I wake up and my pillow is wet and I didn’t take my double-black mascara off the night before.

I want you to think it’s cute every time I wake up to pee.

I want you to never call me princess.

I want you to be curious about my first boyfriend.

I want you to be curious but only because that tells you more about me see

I want you to be the perfect mix of jelous and accepting.

I want to leave my underwear in your bed.

I want you to find them.

I want to leave my hairs all over your apartment.

I want you to find them.

I want to play the piano for you.

I want you to listen.

I want to slow dance with you and I want there to be no music and I want it to be the middle of the day.

I want you to help me when I’m lost.

I want you to fix the faucet.

I want you to hold all the broken faucet parts and try to put them back together.

I want you to hold all my broken parts and not try to put them back together.

I want you to know the difference between me and the faucet and

I want everything to be both literal and metaphorical,

Especially when we garden.

I want to wait for you to get home from work.

I want to be wearing an apron when you get home from work and

I want to have dinner ready.

I want to do all of these things and I want you to never think I am anything but the perfect mix of 50s housewife and independent woman.

I want you to like hanging out with my parents as much as I do.

I want you to massage my feet.

I want you to put my socks back on after.

I want to keep waking up,

With you

I want to keep wanting

With you,

I want to keep wanting,

You,

Even when we’re old and buy a house in Florida.

I Don’t Want to Teach Yoga Today

I like people, I love people. But on certain days, I don’t want to see people, and

I don’t want to teach Yoga today.

I wouldn’t say I’m a complete introvert.

But on certain days,

(the day before my period day, the anniversary of the last time I saw you day, valentines day this year, valentines day last year, my late great grandmothers birthday day, the day my turtle ran away day, water retention when it’s not even my period day, the day the chain falls off my bike twice day, the day I fall off my bike twice day, the day my bike is stolen day, the day my bike is stolen twice day, the day a strange man on a bicycle picks up my purple vibrator day, valentines day, valentines day, valentines day),

I want to be under something soft.

I want to observe and I want only to listen.

I love you, I do,

But on certain days

I don’t want to touch you,

I don’t want to talk to you,

I don’t even really want to see you and

I certainly don’t want to teach you Yoga.

When I started teaching, this freedom to hide, to crawl under, slide behind, to take the back door, side door anythingbutthefrontdoor in and out all changed.

On days I want to hide, I have to show up. I have to squeeze into something relatively small and tight. I have to step into a room with an entire wall of mirrors and turn the temperature up high so that what is small and tight becomes smaller and tighter.

I have to arrive not fashionably late but 30 minutes early. The first to arrive at the party I don’t even want to be at. I have to arrive early not as an anonymous guest or a friend of a friend but a generous host.

See my job is to make sure everything is ready. The room is ready, the lights are ready, the temperature is ready , the props are ready and then I have to stand by the entranceway and find a way to smile and greet all those people I might not want to see today because I am a yoga teacher and

Yoga is about connecting.

And when I see the brunette with the high pony who walked out on me in the middle of savasana last Sunday, I will greet her just the same as the rest. I will greet her and I will stand tall and breathe when I do it because if I’m going to lead a group of students through a series of backbends I better learn to stand tall and offer you a hair elastic even though you made me cry because I am a yoga teacher and

Yoga is about connecting even in the unpleasant moments. 

And when I walk into a room with an entire wall of mirrors I will look into my own eyes when I talk about drishti. I will look into my own eyes even when I ate chocolate cake for breakfast and skipped meditation to look up all my ex-boyfriends and all my ex-boyfriends girlfriends on facebook because I am a yoga teacher and

Yoga is an honest practice.

And when you lift your foot higher than it needs to be in tree, I will find my vrksanana. I will keep my left toes on the earth and my hip-bones square to the mirror and I will connect to what is beneath me even though everything feels like water because I am a yoga teacher and

Yoga is finding the courage to lead, even when you want to follow.

And when I see your hips lifted in Childs Pose, I will offer you an adjustment. I will place my palms on your low back on an inhale and I will press down on an exhale. I will synch my breath with yours your breath with mine and I will be taken out of my own sillycycleoftoomanythoughts for a minute because I am a yoga teacher and

Yoga is about something bigger than the physical body.

And when we finish Kapalabhati I will invite you to seal your practice. And when you seal your practice I will seal mine by thanking the earth for every one of you. And I will send you love and I will send a little more to you, brunette with the high pony because I am a yoga teacher and

Yoga is about letting go.

And when I walk out the door and leave you in Savasana I will resist the urge to check my phone within the first 30 seconds. And when I’m cold and I wrap myself in a blue towel, I will resist the urge to put the towel over my my whole head. I will resist the urge to run after sharing something vulnerable. I will instead drape the towel over my shoulders and I will wear it more like a blue cape and I will invite you to sit and have tea with a superhero because I am a yoga teacher and

Yoga is a courageous practice.

And when you sit with me and tell me that class was special I will resist the urge to deflect the comment by complimenting you on your very exciting pink tank-top. I will meet your gaze and because my pores are wide open I will allow the gratitude to enter every cell of my body because as much as yoga is about giving,

Yoga is about learning to receive.

And after I hear you I will stand there in a blue-towel cape a little bit proud. Because after 60 minutes of teaching I will see each student and notice the difference in them from when they first came in.

I will see them and I will become less aware of what is small and tight and stuck to me and more of aware of what is big and round and bigger than me and I will be reminded that

This practice isn’t about me.

As as soon as I’m reminded of this, I want to disappear

A little less.

Want to work on Vrksasana? Start with your Mom.

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Before I became a Yoga Teacher, I had visions of all the wonderful things I would do. Hearts would heal, hips would open. Hearts would heal, hips would open and winged-things would come out, a rare species the kind you mostly see behind glass, dead. This kind, alive and flying. Hamstrings would release and become string instruments to play, the whole body a chorus of music and butterflies.

I would teach and the world would be better. I would teach and the world would be better and I would start with my Mother.

Before I flew home, I made the goal of working with my Mother.  We would wake up in the mornings and walk up to the loft. Sun would stream through the big bay window and we would look out onto the lake, white and frozen and become everything but. We would be the Mother/Daughter Yoga pair I so often envied in the city. The pair that arrives together, sweats together, leaves for sushi together. The kind that says goodbye in unison and walks down the stairs, backs turned, you can’t tell which one’s which.

My ideas were very idealistic. I would work with my Mother, bring ease to her low back, her painful shoulder, her busy mind. Together we would instil peace in our home at Christmastime and our family would feel closer together.

My Mother and I, closer together.

The reality was different.

The reality was each morning brought up immense frustration, anger and sadness. I experienced a kind of impatience I’ve never even came close to feeling in all my teachings in Toronto. I was annoyed when I had to explain things twice, when I didn’t see a change even after specific instruction. I was annoyed when I saw the imbalances in her body, her inability to respond to lefts and rights. I was annoyed with all the imperfections I saw in this body that so closely resembled mine.

Usually, I only express this kind of disgust or impatience when it’s directed at myself. And with this in mind it makes sense, because in a way, it was.

In my Mother, I saw me.

Jess Robertson, co-founder of Moksha Yoga, said something that always stood out to me:

“I have two Mothers. My biological Mother and the Earth Mother. My aim is to Serve them both.”

My biological Mother and the Earth Mother. If you go down deep enough, both lead to the center. If you really go down deep enough, these two Mothers become one Mother. My biological Mother and the Earth Mother, one Great Grand Earth Mother.

My Mother is the root of all things. The heart, the breath, the soil, the sky. The roots down low and the branches up high. My mother is the root of all things. She is my creator, my maker, my shaker and breaker. She is the woman who gave birth to me in her waterbed at approximately 5 PM on May 21st 1987 and she is the woman who gave birth to it all, before time began. She is every question I have, she is every answer to every word why.

Her roots are connected to my roots and actually her roots are the source of my roots and actually her roots are my roots and she is why I am here.

To teach Yoga to your Mother is to get to the source. To stand eye to eye with the source. To open stand open palms, open heart with the source. To breathe with the source, to move with the source.

When I serve Mother, I serve myself.

To teach Yoga to my Mother may just be the greatest challenge there is. The greater the challenge, the more potential for change. The more potential for change, the more potential for good.

So to anyone looking to bring more Peace into your life, look to yourself, yes. But if you want to look deeper, look to your Mom.

The sole purpose of Vrksasana (Tree Pose) is to come back to your foundation. The roots, the centre, the source of it all.

Want to work on Vrksanana? Start with your Mom.

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(Dear Mom:)

Place your hands on your hips. Pour your weight into your left foot. Raise your right knee forward. Notice the tendency for your right hip to lift. Bring it back down. Draw your knee out to the right. Without using your hands, place the sole of your foot to the inside of your left thigh, calf or toes to the earth. Bring your palms to heart centre.

Lengthen your tailbone,

I lengthen my tailbone.

Draw your low belly in

I draw my low belly in.

Soften your shoulders,

I soften my shoulders.

Breathe.

I try to breathe.

Breathe, Mom.

I am not breathing.

Inhale

I see her collarbone soften and her sternum lift and inhale air comes in her heart lifts lifting my heart with it.

Exhale

I see her chest fall and her jaw melt. I see the outer edges of her lips turn up and, like a puppet from above, make two tiny bows attaching each string to the outer edges of my own lips, pulling gently.

You breathe, I breathe.

(Love: Sarah)

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Letting Go of the Absence Of

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My favourite part of the day was taking off my clothes and staring at my armpits. 11:45AM-12:05PM, my designated shower time. It was during these twenty minutes I learned to let go of the absence of.

The bathroom was small and still warm from the previous bather. I shut the door and was in the most glamorous place in the world, Spain or something. This activity, this environment was the closest thing to “outside” life. Nothing big, nothing fancy, but next to the small sunken bed in a shared room with a white curtain, next to the blue cushion and the brown stool I sat on for twelve hours a day, the plastic shower became Mediterranean and spa-like, the ceramic toilet, a stone-encrusted throne. These twenty minutes provided me with the comfort of a Spanish Nun, if Nuns had any comforts at all.

By the second day, I establish a Royal Routine. I have only a handful of items to my possession. All of which have now become treasures. I place my face cream on the small shelf under the mirror. I place my face wash and my small shampoo and small conditioner on the shelf in the shower.

Finally, I place my tweezers and my nail file next to the face cream. I place my orange shaver in the shower on a shelf of its own.

Then, I slip off my damp socks and lay them on a shelf under the illusion they will dry. I slip off my dirty sweats and fold them like pressed linens. Then, I cross my wrists and grasp on to the bottom of my shirt to pull it up like if Sarah Michelle Gellar did Vipassana in 1999, like you try to do in front of your first boyfriend but get stuck. I get stuck. Then, I position myself in front of the mirror. I soften my jaw, the backs of my eye sockets and prepare for the reveal. Like a slow-motion sun salutation I reach up.

Armpit hair.

Fingertips, higher. Underarms, wider.

I have armpit hair.

I keep my arms up. My eyes move from my face to my armpits. My eyes move from my armpits to my face. This is what it looks like for me, Sarah Ruth Brose to have armpit hair.

I didn’t expect on showering every day. And although it crossed my mind, I didn’t expect not to shave my armpits. I brought my orange shaver. I placed it in the shower on a shelf of its own. But soon my desire to shower became less about cleaning myself, becoming less dirty. It became about becoming more of, exploring more of.  The parts of me I wasn’t use to seeing, feeling.

Day after day I reach up. Each underarm, an undercover garden. And-thanks-to-my-all-natural-tea-tree-oil-deodorant-that-does-not-clog-my-pores, my armpits stay moist, the most fertile soil.

Day 2, I reach up: What is typically smooth and bare and flesh-toned is speckled with black.

My eyes move from my face to my armpits, from my armpits to my face. I have armpit hair.

Day 4, I reach up: What is typically smooth and bare and flesh-toned is covered in black.

My eyes move from my face to my armpits, from my armpits to my face. I am that woman with armpit hair.

Day 6, I reach up: What is typically smooth and bare and flesh-toned is abundant and black.

My eyes move from my face to my armpits, from my armpits to my face. I am a woman with armpit hair.

Day 8, I reach up: What is typically smooth and bare and flesh-toned is beautiful and black.

My eyes move from my face to my armpits, from my armpits to my face. I am a beautiful woman with armpit hair.

Day 10, I reach up: What is typically smooth and bare and flesh-toned is wonderful and abundant and now kind of curly and black.

My eyes move from my face to my armpits, from my armpits to my face. I am a beautiful woman with beautiful armpit hair.

I am a beautiful woman with armpit hair and my armpit hair is not separate from what makes me beautiful. My armpit hair is in fact part of what makes me beautiful.

It’s so easy to label the woman who has armpit hair, to categorize the woman who has armpit hair. She is “the other.” She is the free-spirited hippie who’s just a little too free. The kind that looks good from far away but when you see the shaves the side of her head because she likes to feel the wind on her skull you place her in a specific category. She becomes the “the other.” She is the deodorant over anti-antiperspirant wearing woman who is dirty. Not the “all-natural tea-tree oil” dirty, “dirt under the tree dirty.” The one who is actually comfortable being dirty, who wonders at the black bits between her nails because what is more beautiful than the soil of the earth, the soil of the earth inside her.

Vipassana is about tapping into the reality of the world as it is. By observing the reality of the world as it is, I started to observe the reality of myself as I am.  

I started to observe the hairs on my feet, my ankles, my baby toes. I started to observe the hairs on my legs, the backs of my thighs, the few on my chest. I started to observe the hairs on my knuckles, my upper lip, beside my ears, the base of my neck.

I started to observe the feeling of my leg hair. I began to touch it. Sometimes while meditating I would reach down, slide my fingers under my sweats and stroke what was soft and fury. I was surprised at how full it felt, thick it was.

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I started to observe my habit patterns. I noticed the tweezers, the nail file, the shaver. Before, I reached for these tools out of habit. This is part of what I do. I tweeze my eyebrows and I shave my armpits and this is how I maintain me. The absence of my hair makes me more me.

I continued to observe my habit patterns. Every day I would place one hand on my low belly. Out of habit,  I would place one hand on my belly to see if it felt smaller, flatter. I would do this particularly around 4AM, as it was now sixteen hours since my last full meal. My belly felt small and flat and my brain attached a positive meaning to this sensation. I was conditioned to be more comfortable with the absence of what is soft and round.

Shorter, smoother, smaller, flatter,

Beauty has come to mean the absence of.

As my eyes moved from my face to my armpits, from my armpits to my face, I discovered reality as it is cannot co-exist with “the other.” I am her, I am the woman with the armpit hair. I am her and she is me.

My idea of beauty began to shift. What if beauty became the reality of what is, of what just is.

The reality of what is is that I have Middle-Eastern Roots. I have hair on my toes, on my legs, on my thighs, on my bum, on my belly, on my chest, on my arms, on my neck, on my face. My hair is black and coarse and grows quickly. My hair is abundant.

The reality is my low belly is softer than my upper belly. I get this from my Mother. My low belly is abundant.

I didn’t shave any hair until the 14th day. And it was actually really hard. Like a slow-motion sun salutation, I reached up. I saw what was smooth and bare and flesh-toned. I did not pair this absence of with beauty. I ran my palms along my smooth, body-buttered legs. I did not pair this absence of with beauty.

What if beauty became less and less the absence of? What if beauty became what is abundant? What is already abundant. What is. The reality is, is there is abundance all around us. There is abundance in us, on us, always.

We are abundance.

We are beauty.

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This is the reality as it is.

10 Days of Silence, 7543543594350435 things I learned

44. People are like trees

44. People are like trees

1. When I am alone I cry and there is no one there to comfort me except myself.

2. Even when there is my Mother and my best friend and my bear named Rosie, I will cry and there will be no one there to comfort me except myself.

3. Even when there is my Mother and my best friend and my bear named Rosie, I will continue to cry and there will be no one there to comfort me except myself and I am enough.

4. I am enough.

5. When boundaries are made, I want to break them.

6. When you tell me I can’t go on the men’s side, I want to go on the men’s side.

7. When boundaries are made, I want to break them, especially when they have to do with gender separation.

8. When I see a steep edge of a hill with a river down below, I want to swim in the river.

9. When I see a steep edge of a hill with a river down below, I want to roll down the hill.

10. On the second day, I farted when the room was quiet.

11. My diet is largely made up of legumes.

12. I will always fart when the room is quiet.

13. Birds wake up at 5:30AM.

14. Birds have nests that they come back to every morning at the same time to take care of what is most important.

15. We can learn a lot from birds.

16. Everything that happens is reflected in nature.

17. It is impossible to sit still for 60 minutes unless I do it with a strong determination.

18. It is impossible to do anything extraordinary unless I do it with a strong determination.

19. Pain is just physical sensation.

20. Fear is just physical sensation.

21. Love is just physical sensation.

22. We are vibrations.

23. The bug that flew into my nose on Day 4 helped me become aware of sensation in my right nostril.

24.You can learn everything you need to know from sensation in your right nostril.

25. Your right nostril can help you see a really attractive man and not spend 7543543594350435 hours thinking of all the things you want to do to him.

26. It will never stop raining.

27. If someone offers you a rain jacket, take it.

28. Someone will always take care of you, if I let them.

29. It is easy to say things, it is not as easy to do them.

30. Killing a spider is killing.

31. We are not our words, we are our actions.

32. If I can make friends with a spider, I can make friends with anyone.

33. 4 o’clock in the morning is very early.

34. Solitude is finding peace in the centre.

35. Solitude is different than loneliness.

36. When I don’t shave my armpits for 10 days, I get hair under my armpits.

37. Just north of Barrie is beautiful.

38. My bum will never not be round.

39. Trees talk.

40. Trees dance.

41. Trees cry.

42. Trees are like people no,

43. Trees came first, so

44. People are like trees.

45. When I`m gone, people notice.

46. When I go away for 10 days, my Mother misses me.

47. When I go away for 10 days, my friends miss me.

48. When I go away for 10 days, people I didn’t think would miss me, miss me.

49. I am worth missing.

50. Death is like an exhale.

51. My house plants are resilient.

52. If my Mother needed me to sit with her for 10 days, I would do it.

53. If my best friend needed me to sit with him for 10 days, I would do it.

54. If a stranger needed me to sit with him or her for 10 days, I would do it.

55. I am worth just as much love and attention as my mother. I am worth just as much love and attention as my best friend. I am worth just as much love and attention as a perfect stranger.

56. I am worth love and attention.

57. Noise distracts us from ourselves.

58. We can say everything we need to say in silence.

59. I live in a world obsessed with the absence of.

60. I live in a world that is abundant.

61. I am abundant.

62. My armpit hair is proof I am abundant.

63. As soon as you are brave enough to look pain in the eye, it changes.

64. Everything changes.

65. As long as we are breathing we are moving.

66. We are always breathing.

67. We are always moving.

68. When I laugh, I stop laughing.

69. When I stop laughing, I will laugh again.

70. I will never stop laughing.

71. When I cry, I stop crying.

72. When I stop crying, I will cry again.

73. I will never stop crying.

7543543594350435. I don’t think I will ever die alone with a flat bum just north of Barrie pregnant, but even if I did I believe that as long as I had my right nostril and the hair under my armpits I would be okay.

The Day I put my Purple Vibrator on the Curb

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It was Spring Cleaning Day.

The day you pull the fridge out, wash the baseboards, the day you get on your knees. Not the kind of get-on-your-knees-to-please knees. This isn’t about him, this isn’t about anybody else. This is the day you get on your knees because you want to, this is the day you get on your knees for you.

The day you find something old and it feels like a present even though you’ve had it since you were seven.

The day you find the thing you never want to see again and so you put it in a yellow bag and leave it on the curb.

Liam and I usually do our seasonal clean together. We put on a playlist and slip into awkward tank-tops and reminisce. The ones that say things like “Moose-aging,” the ones that have a picture of a Moose texting, the ones your Mother bought at the Gas Station near your house. Liam finds my hairballs and pretends to be grossed out. I find his festering Tupperware and I don’t pretend but we’re even.

This year I started the Spring Clean earlier. I wasn’t able to balance in Crow. I knew if I got rid of some stuff, I would really start fly. I went through the closest and chest in my room, all the in-between places. I gathered all the things that were not serving me in Spring 2013. I placed all the objects in a large yellow bag at the top of the stairs. After a week, I placed the bag at the bottom of the stairs. When something is at the bottom of the stairs, it’s closer to being taken to the Goodwill down the street. Sometimes it takes me a very long time to do things, but I always keep a forward momentum.

I forgot about it. Or maybe it was because the bag was filled with things I didn’t want in my life anymore, I wiped the bag and its contents out of my conscious. The bag and its objects didn’t exist anymore. Sometimes it takes me a very long time to do things, sometimes I keep a forward momentum.

So then, the yellow bag became Liam’s yellow bag. Liam’s bag of stuff he’s left at the bottom of the stairs for a really long time. It was this morning, our official Spring Clean morning, that I saw the bag and thought gosh darnnit, Liam. I’m going to make him get rid of this yellow bag today. It’s crowding up our life. It’s sabotaging Crow.

I confronted him about the bag.

“That’s not my bag.”

I look inside. I see my old things.

…..

This is my bag.

…………….

I’m going to put it on the curb.

………………….

I put the bag on the curb.

I get great satisfaction from putting things on the curb. My old things become someone’s new things, a redistribution of love. I can no longer love you, but someone else can. Some of our finest treasures are things found on the curb. My bedside table, a handful of mugs, our Indian-inspired toilet-paper platter, shining silver. Someone else cannot love you, but I can, this home can.

I start hosing down the recycling bin. Moments later I look up to see a man on a bicycle stop at the yellow bag. Pleased with myself, I anticipate the redistribution of love as I continue to spray down the dried up yogourt and tomato sauce I’ve been ignoring for months. Yes, this Spring will start fresh.

I glance up again and something catches my eye. A flash of purple. I look down. Yogourt and tomato sauce. I look up. A very distinguishable flash of purple. No. Down. Yogourt and tomato sauce. Up. A very distinguishable flash of purple. Down. Yogourt and tomato sauce. Up. A very distinguishable flash of purple. This is not the colour of love. No. This is the colour of something very different. I look down.

Down down down down. I am much more comfortable with yogourt and tomato sauce. Down down down.

I look up. A very distinguishable flash of purple. I see a man on a bicycle. The man on the bicycle is smiling. The strap to his helmet tightly around his chin squeeze his cheeks together only to make his smile smilier.

This is not the smile of love. This is the smile of something different.

I am wearing Liam’s shoes, pajama shorts and a Moose-aging tank top. I am hosing down dried up yogourt and tomato sauce. A man in a bicycle helmet is holding my purple vibrator.

I am wearing Liam’s shoes, pajama shorts and a Moose-aging tank top. I am hosing down dried up yogourt and tomato sauce. A man in a bicycle helmet is holding my purple vibrator.

I am wearing Liam’s shoes, pajama shorts and a Moose-aging tank top. I am hosing down dried up yogourt and tomato sauce. A man in a bicycle helmet is holding my purple vibrator.

 A MAN IN A BICYCLE HELMET IS HOLDING MY PURPLE VIBRATOR.

I drop the bin and run inside. Liam is on the porch, cleaning the windows. He does a really good job cleaning windows and has a clear view.

LIAM GET INSIDE.

We get inside and shut the door.

Now I remember what is in the bag. Memories, now buzzing through my mind on level three, the quickest level, the hardest level, the level that was always too fast. I explain to Liam when I was getting rid of stuff, I finally threw away my old vibrators. Oh my goodness. I just put an “s” on vibrator. Vibrator PLURAL. THERE ARE TWO.

We peer through the red stained glass. I pray that he will leave. Please strange man on a bicycle put down my purple vibrator and leave. I pray that he will not make the purple vibrator plural. Please strange on a man on a bicycle do not make the purple vibrator plural. He leaves, but not seconds pass before someone else walks up, and then another and another.

I can’t look anymore I duck down. I can’t not look anymore I look up. I see a woman holding the second vibrator, the remote control dangling down. She thinks it’s a computer mouse. She places it in her purse, pleased.

I am forced to watch as person after person rummages through the unwanted contents of my past. My parents camera I broke and always felt guilty about. The character shoes I bought from theatre school that I never used enough. The jewelry box my ex-boyfriend’s sister gave to me. It was very beautiful but I could not love it anymore. All these things, I could not love anymore. I am forced to acknowledge this as I watch person after person pick it up, and eventually, take it away. Memories, now vibrating through my mind on level one, the level that was always too slow, too uncomfortable, I watch as person after person rummages through the contents of my unsatisfied sex-life, my yellow bag of purple secrets.

The purple vibrator was given to me as a gift. My girlfriends presented it to me on my 23rd birthday. It was after a bad break-up. I just wrote a piece about my vulva and my girlfriends gave me a basket of things to feel empowered. Floral gardening gloves and a purple vibrator. A way to get dirty but not too dirty. A way to get off and get up from getting down on my knees too many times.

It broke two weeks later. I got down, I took it as a sign. I deserve to be unhappy. One day something changed and I thought no, I am in charge of my own happiness. I went to the store and bought a new one. I’ll get the one that looks like a small computer mouse. Yes, the small, sexy one.

It broke two weeks later.

I got down until I realized I didn’t need a vibrator to get off or up, or anywhere really.

I’m not sure what it means to have a history of broken vibrators.

But I do know it’s a very vulnerable thing to see a strange man on a bicycle hold your purple vibrator. And I also know that usually, the more uncomfortable the thing, the more potential there is for something good.

I think back to the yellow bag. I felt so much aversion to those objects, I actually wiped out their existence. The whole out of sight out of mind thing is silly. It is impossible to wipe something out of existence entirely. It will come back and you will face it. One day, one fine Spring day, you will hose down your recycling bin and you will come face to face with more than just yogourt and tomato sauce.

It will catch you when you least expect it, and you will face it. It will catch you in your Moose-aging tank top, the one that nobody’s suppose to see, especially him. He will see it and he will smile bigger than you want him to. 

There is a difference between shoving things out of sight so that you forget about them as quickly as possible and truly saying goodbye. Sometimes you need to be reminded what you are letting go of. So that you really let go. And although I don’t think I needed a strange man on a bicycle that I’mnowconvincedisgoingtoshowupinmynextyogaclassdownthestreet to help me realize that, in a way he did.

I see you purple vibrator. You are smooth and purple and you do not work anymore. I see you sneaky mouse-like one. You are small and black and broken.

I see you, the strange man on a bicycle sees you, the strange woman not on a bicycle sees you, THE WHOLE SAINT CLAIR WEST NEIGHBOURHOOD SEES YOU.

I see you and I say goodbye.

Goodbye yellow bag of purple secrets that are no longer secret. Goodbye to all the things that are not serving me in Spring 2013.

10 Days of Silence, 42374982374923 Things I’m Scared of

Soon I will be leaving for Vipassana, a 10-Day Silent Meditation Retreat. Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation.

Most people I mention this to react in horror. It’s interesting that the idea of spending 10 days with only yourself can be that scary. Months ago I scoffed at these people. Spending 10 days with only yourself shouldn’t be that scary. Sure, maybe for someone who’s really disconnected from their true self, not someone like me. Not someone who breathes and sits still regularly. But that’s all blahblahblah bullshit Yes I’m connected to my body yes I know how to breathe yes I know how to sit still but my god I’ve never done it for 10 days straight and I’m scared.

1. I will cry.

2. I will cry and there will be no one there to comfort me except myself and what if I’m not enough.

3. I will not cry and I will leave feeling like nothing happened and the deepest part of my soul is made of silly putty or stone or something.

4. I will think of the most brilliant receipe or article or magic code to happiness and I won’t be able to write it down and I will

a) only be able to focus on that and it will fuck up 4437289 hours of meditation.

b) forget it on the next exhale.

5. See a really attractive man and spend 4328974832543653443 hours thinking of all the things I want to do to him.

6. See a really attractive man, a different attractive man (what if there is more than one attractive man) and imagine all the scenarios we might secretly meet and make out.

7. See a really attractive man, a different attractive man (fuck, three attractive men) and actually start making out cause as long as we’re really quiet and there are no sucking sounds, making out is not talking.

8. That all the making out will lead to doing it but it will end up being really bad because we can’t make any noise.

9. All of this will lead to getting kicked out for breaking the code of sexual misconduct and I will have to explain it to my father because we’re really close and talk about stuff.

10. I will fart when the room is really quiet.

11. I will go for a walk in the woods and get lost and not be able to yell for help.

12. I will go for a walk in the woods and get lost and ask someone for directions but they won’t speak to me because they don’t want to break the rules.

13. All the things I thought I’ve dealt with will rise to the surface. That I will have to face them again.

14. I will be faced with all the horrible things I’ve done that I’ve never heard of because I’ve suppressed them into forgetting and oh gosh what are all the horrible things I’ve done that I’ve forced myself to forget about.

15. I won’t like the food.

16. I will find it really hard to talk to anyone after.

17. I will never want to talk to anyone again.

18. I will run out of toilet paper.

19. I will forget something really important like a tampon and I won’t be able to ask to borrow one and I’ll have to do the toilet paper wrap around thing.

20. The toilet paper wrap around thing won’t be possible because #18 will have come true.

21. I will come back pregnant. Not because this could be physiologically possible but because that’s what happened to my best friend and somehow I keep thinking our experiences will be the same or hers will always be better because she came back pregnant and what a great story.

22. I won’t stop crying.

23. I won’t stop laughing.

24. I will get really sick.

25. No one will miss talking to me.

26. My house plants will die.

27. Someone I love will die and how will anyone tell me.

28. I will die.

29. I will sit with myself like I am sitting with an old friend that I realize I don’t really like.

30. I will scream.

31. I will stop breathing and not notice cause I’m so deep in meditation that I’ll actually just fall over and I will die alone in the forest just north of Barrie.

32. My bum will be really sore.

33. Everyone will be talking behind my back about how weird I am for going to a place to be quiet for 10 days.

34. Nobody will notice I’m gone.

35. I will meet the man of my dreams and I won’t be able to charm him with my words so I’ll just have to use my looks and I’ve never really felt that was enough/words are really my strong suit.

36. I will get lost on the bus ride over.

37. My bum will flatten from all the sitting.

38. I will cry.

39. I will cry and there will be no one there to comfort me except myself and what if I’m not enough.

42374982374923. I will cry and die alone with a flat bum, pregnant.

He left me, I found my Heart Centre

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I didn’t really believe he was gone until I burned my toe in the bathtub.

Or maybe it was when I listened to the door slam. Or when I ran over to my bedroom window to pull back the curtain. Or maybe it was when I watched him get in his car and drive away. Or maybe it was when I stared at the empty parking spot that used to not be empty.

But I’m pretty sure it was when I burned my toe in the bathtub. After that my heart starting talking.

Talking. Actually talking. Not the kind of talking you do in your head. Not the kind of talking you do just to hear the sound of your own voice. Not the kind of talking you do to practice a speech or a pick-up line or sexy role-play or something. Not the kind of talking you do when you’re singing out loud because that’s singing not talking.

Talking talking. The kind of talking you do when you’re sitting with someone you love, your best friend or your Mother. The kind of talking you do when the need is so great you don’t even realize you are talking. Where the words flow out not because they should or it sounds good, but because they have to.

You know how if you stare at something long enough you start to become like it? Back to me and the parking spot. The parking spot wasn’t a lot of things really, it was a parking spot, it was mostly just empty. I was a lot of things but suddenly I was mostly just empty too. Like my heart was a plug attached to a string attached to the front door. When he left he pulled it. Empty.

And cold. Suddenly I’m cold. The kind of in-your-bones cold. Curse-word cold, the kind of there-is-only-one-cure cold. He left and I was empty and I was cold and swearing and I knew there was only one thing for me to do. Get in the bath. I will counter what is cold and draining. I will make the water go past the round safety thing under the faucet. I will fill.

I turn the knob to the right. More right. Righter. Hotter than usual. I’m getting emptier by the minute, I will feel.

I peel off my clothes and pause.

First to look at my naked body and because I’m sad have really unproductive thoughts.

…………

Second to get colder. The colder I am, the sweeter it feels to slide in. I know I really really need to feel sweet so I make the pause extra long.

…………………..

I make the pause too long.

Because the temperature of the water increased and because the temperature of my skin decreased, I burn my foot. Any strong physical sensation can be used as a tool. I hear myself say this in the 9:45AM class this morning. Feel your skin, feel your sweat, feel your right big toe, press it into the mat. Any physical sensation can be used to bring you back to the present moment. Remind yourself that you are right here. You are right here.

I scald my foot and I am reminded:

It is 9:45PM

I am in my bathroom

I am going to take a bath

He left me

He left me

He left me

He left me

He left me

I am alone

I am alone

I am alone

I am alone

I am alone

…..

9:50 I get in.

I reach for the bar of olive oil soap. I run it over the legs I shaved with him in mind. Combined with the almond oil body butter I put on this morning, it creates a white film. I don’t care because it’s soft.

The water is warm and I start to feel. The tub starts to fill and so do I.

I reach for my heart. I actually reach for my heart. I actually place my hands on my chest, just left of the center. I grip hard, the soft soap in-between what is hard becomes hard with it. I grip with force like I have it. Like I can hold it. Like I can have and hold it.

And then the words start. The sound clear, the soap, it is my microphone. The words start coming out, like water from the faucet flowing through me. I didn’t make the conscious effort to speak. I didn’t make the conscious effort because I wasn’t speaking from my head. And whenever the words bypass the brain, they come from the body, they come from the heart. They come from the heart and if you place something soft and natural like olive oil soap against it, you can hear it more clearly.

My heart is talking.  Not in my head or in my body but out loud. Lying in the bathtub, my heart is talking. Sound reverberates off the mustard-coloured tub and the mustard-coloured tiles, the acoustics are everything but mustard, they are fantastic. My heart is talking. I am the last act, the final act, the act in this toilet-room cathedral. What everyone has been waiting for. By everyone, I mean me. Or my Mom, who always wanted me to be happy.

My heart is talking. Not in my head or in my body but out loud:

I love and I let go. I love and I let go. I love and I let go.

I love and I let go.

Over and over and over again,

I love and I let go. I love and I let go. I love and I let go.

I love and I let go.

The repetition starts to sound nice, kind of upbeat even,

I love and I let go. I love and I let go. I love and I let go.

I love and I let go.

Paul Simon-ey.

“I love and I let go” becomes the chorus from my favourite song: “I know what I know.”

I speak from my heart and my head listens.  My head, the part of me that identifies with being in pain. The part of me that intellectualizes the fact that it is before ten o’clock on February fourteenth and I should be covered in chocolate or getting my feet rubbed or getting my feet rubbed in chocolate or something.

I speak from my heart and my head listens.

When he walked out the door, my fight or flight response kicked in. My heart started to beat louder, faster, because it was feeling. It was feeling and it had something to say and I let it.

And because my heart is a heart and every heart has a lot of really great things to say especially when it starts to sound like Paul Simon, I calmed myself down.

My inner world moving fast but I am calm. I feel alive,  full of pain but centered. I lay in this naked stillness and I am at the core of something whole.

The good thing about real pain is that it makes you feel. From the inside, from the centre of your chest, it makes you feel. It reminds you where you heart is. It reminds you where to lead from in Camel, to soften in Sleeping Hero. It reminds you where to sing from when you’re alone in the tub and you start to cry.

And because it is from the inside, it reminds you you are whole.

So,

When he leaves you

When she leaves you

When your fish leaves you

When your frog leaves you

When your cat leaves you

When your dog leaves you

When your turtle leaves you

When your baby bird leaves you

When your grandmother leaves you

When your great grandmother leaves you

When your brother leaves you

When your sister leaves you

When your mother leaves you

When your father leaves you

When your father’s father leaves you

When your mother’s mother leaves you

When your roommate leaves you

When your curlingmate leaves you

When your soulmate leaves you

When your dinner date

When your mall date leaves you

When your high school sweetheart leaves you

When your mistress leaves you

When your employer leaves you

When your lawyer leaves you

When your mailman leaves you

When your ice cream truck driver leaves you

When it seems like the entire world is leaving you

You will not leave you.

Run the bath. Grab some soap. Feel your heart centre and sing.

HeartCentre2

Date a Girl who Practices Hot Yoga

Emily Vettesse

Emily Vettesse

Date a girl who practices Hot Yoga. Date a girl who spends money on electrolytes instead of lattes.  Who has problems with closet space, not because she has too many clothes or things even, but because she’s jammed everything out of sight so she can have a proper space to meditate. Date a girl who is comfortable in silence, who knows when to flex her toes and when to let them go, who believes in building forts and sitting in them.

Find a girl who practices Hot Yoga. You’ll know she does because she’ll arrive to the party 15 minutes early. She’s the one in Mountain Pose wearing something really tight or really flowy, the one without a drink in her hand. Not because she doesn’t drink, but because she spent four hours in the hot room and is concerned about her state of hydration. You’ll thinks she’s drunk because she’s laughing loudly and making gestures, but really it’s because she’s comfortable releasing on sound and moving. She’ll come alone and leave alone and no one will wonder why she is alone because you’ve never seen a woman walk out the door with such a tall spine.

She’s the girl at the Saturday Morning Farmer’s Market. You’ll notice her over by the peaches. You’ll notice her and you won’t know why but it’s because she’s breathing from her pelvic floor. You won’t know what a pelvic floor is but you’ll talk to her and feel really good because being beside her helps you breathe too.

Date a girl who has an imagination. Who believes in animals and pretending to be them. Who is a Rabbit, a Camel, a Hero or Half a Moon. Who pretends to be a tree because she knows you have to be anchored down to be free anywhere else. Who is comfortable tying a string to her heart and pulling it upwards.

Buy her a block or a strap or a bolster. Better yet, a bean-filled eye bag. She’ll already have one, but any experienced yogi knows that props mean support and the more support the better.

Sometimes when she’s doing the balancing series she strains her neck and compresses her low back on purpose. She likes to think she can do it all herself, even though she would never admit it. The next time she’s in Dancers, push her over and pretend it was an accident. Let her go and tell her she’s graceful even when she’s falling.

It’s easy to date a girl who practices Hot Yoga. Tell her a story from Hindu Mythology, like the story of the great goddess Lakshmi. If you’re intimidated by this, tell her any old story. Tell it to her while she’s lying on her back. Then leave the room and dim the lights. Even if she doesn’t get it just say Namaste after and the outer edges of her lips will curl up.

Watch her. Upon first glance it may appear as though she’s checking herself out in the mirror, but really she’s practicing her Drishti. And if you look really closely you will see her eyes are like fire because she knows the difference between looking and seeing. Either that or she’s trying to practice her drishti but it’s difficult to stay still especially during the time of month when her blood rages.

Why be afraid of everything that you are not? Girls who practice Yoga understand that people are like animals. And the more you pretend to be them, the better person you will be.

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If you find a girl who practices hot yoga, keep her close. And when you find her up at 2 AM sprawled across the bedroom floor in a tantrum, look closely, because she’s actually in Pigeon. When you ask her what she’s doing, she’ll tell you she’s letting go of all her ex-boyfriends. Don’t take it personally because what it really means is she’s making more space for you. Breathe in, then let it go on an exhale because if she’s taught you anything it’s been that what matters most is what you let in, not what you let go of.

When you propose, do it in the hot room. Kneel down on your mat, but put down a towel first. She’ll say yes by kneeling down beside you. Place her hand in yours but keep it relaxed. Tell her you’ll hold her for all the days of her life, but with an open palm. If she doesn’t believe you, press your thumb on that place in-between her eyebrows. Tell her to look from that place and she’ll turn fire into water.

She’ll try and go into Headstand because she’s so happy but invite her to stay just how she is. Meet her gaze and place one hand on her belly and keep it there until it becomes like the belly she was born with.

You’ll look at her with her skin all wet and you’ll wonder how you’ve fallen so hard for a lady with a sweaty face. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will teach your children the difference between Chatarunga and Modified Chatarunga, when to lower your knees and when to keep them lifted. That every inhale is an opportunity to take in what you need, and every exhale, an invitation to let go. Because a girl who practices Hot Yoga knows that things don’t stay one way forever. That life is meant to strengthen and stretch and moments are meant to be lived fully, let go of, fully.

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Inspired by “A Girl you should Date” by Rosemarie Urquico

Also found in Elephant Journal: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/04/date-a-girl-who-practices-hot-yoga-sarah-brose/