Direction. / by vanessa

For the first time in my life I'm deriving more pleasure from NOT spending than from spending. This is monumental for me, because new *anything* (I'm not kidding -- I can get excited about a bar of soap) has long been both reward and solace. But shopping is like sugar so there's always a point where it wears off, quickly, and then I'm shopping again. I've found that the difference of living more simply has a palpable, grounding effect; it's like turning off the background noise. Bruce Lee said, "In building a statue, a sculptor doesn't keep adding clay to his subject. Actually, he keeps chiselling away at the inessentials until the truth of its creation is revealed without obstructions." Nothing happens in a vacuum except dust so I'm kinda excited to see how this will affect the rest of my life.

Note to my friends: In case you're wishing that I'd "discovered" simplicity after the holidays, fear not! I can totally make the hottest recycled bottle cap handbag you've ever seen. Seriously.


I got my clock cleaned in yoga tonight. First, let me sheepishly note that I think the last time I practiced was a week ago. Second, let me humbly admit the error in my thinking that running is an ample substitute for yoga. It's not for want of trying to convince myself otherwise that I've come to this conclusion. I hurt my wrist several weeks ago and so I've mostly used that as an excuse to ignore yoga. Instead of modifying I stopped practicing and started running exclusively. Because I dig it so much I've been trying to reason that any form of exercise is tantamount to asana. It's not. I can't explain the magic of asana, it just works.

It is not about the physical (though that can be rough too) so much as what comes w/ the physical. Lucky me that this was a hips class, which was like a big giant billboard reading "Running - yoga = dumb." For starters, I can't believe the decline in my flexibility and my practice in a mere few months. More than that though, is that I felt so stuck in my hips. By the end of the class I was writhing in a tight mess of muscles. I had to start twirling my hair in half pigeon to relieve some of the pressure. And it was the act of reaching for my great comforter, hair twirling, when it hit me: the slippery slope of running *instead* of asana wasn't working. I've kept up my meditation practice and so I thought I could get away with it. When I first started running again I was diligent about practicing after every run. And then I started just practicing for 20 minutes afterwards because surely I didn't need a whole hour and a half. And then I started practicing on different days than I ran. And then eventually, and most recently, I've reasoned that if asana is to prepare the mind through purification, then running could do that trick just as easily. That there was nothing unique to asana that another form of exercise couldn't provide. Meanwhile my psoas and hamstrings keep getting the short end of the stick, and all of the life bullshit that gets stored in muscle memory is piling on. So I get it. And it's the most obvious thing in the world: I may have come to yoga because it was great exercise but I stuck with it because it's the practice of undoing. It is the sculptor's chisel.