Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Commitment Amendment

Sunday I posted a blog about how I will get in 3 cardio, 1 pilates and 1 yoga session per week. Today I got up and planned to make my first yoga class. I had the bus schedule up and ready to go, but a turn of unplanned events made me miss my ride. Boo, right?

Well, not really. Here's what happened: Since I'm on the up and up about telling the truth to myself and treating me with the respect of keeping the commitments I make to me, I began looking for the next class. Now, I'm not all that familiar with yoga. Sure, I took classes in college, but I didn't know the difference between the types of classes offered. So I'm researching all these different studios and such, trying to find a place I can go before sunset. But I keep running into all these pictures of Hindu deities and language on these websites. Namaste, which means the god in me recognizes the god in you, was the greeting on a few of them. Probing around a little more under the "About" or "History" tabs led me to even more spiritual explanation. Now, most yoga studios don't outright say their poses (sun salutations, etc) are religious in nature. No, many prefer to describe it as an effective way to "unite the body, mind and spirit." Okay, sure. To each their own, right, but what about a girl whose heart belongs to Jesus? Should I take my mat in there and get with the program?

I was already a little skeptical about this seemingly New Age way of training and controlling the soul, spirit and mind. Of course my next area of research was whether yoga could be separated from its religious/spiritual roots. In other words, could there be a such thing as Christian yoga or a form of yoga Christians could practice that did not include the meditation, sun salutations, etc? How about NO.

One dictionary gives this definition of yoga:

a school of Hindu philosophy advocating and prescribing a course of physical and mental disciplines for attaining liberation from the material world and union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.

Or how about the cultural dictionary's definition: In Hinduism, a set of mental and physical exercises aimed at producing spiritual enlightenment.

No wonder Swami Param, of the Classical Yoga Hindu Academy, was so upset. He described the American practice of yoga as sacrilege. "To think of it as mere physical movements is tantamount to describing baptism as just an underwater exercise." Woah.

Further into the article "Is Yoga Debased by Secular Practice?" he posed this question: "Why be covert? Participants should be invited up-front to study Hinduism which is what they're doing when learning hatha yoga."

Newly enlightened, I look back at all the things that went wrong at the last minute that kept me off that bus. I got a brand new rep on the phone who took some extra time getting my info right. I apparently sat on my lotion as a giant gob of it was all over the couch and my pillow. Then, I knocked over a glass of juice on my way out the door. Were all of these just coincidences? Considering I was unknowingly on my way to practice another religion, I really don't think so.

New commitment: find a class that provides similar benefits (strength, flexibility, etc) and doesn't cost me my soul.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Girl in the Mirror

I originally planned for my next few blog posts to shed some light on how I got here (the thought process, the chain of events, etc.) But some major reckoning took place today, so I'm taking a mini-detour.
Well, I've officially lived in San Diego for one whole week and I love, love, love, love, love, LOVE it! More amazing than anything here physically is the fact that I am living an answer to my prayers. For the first time since I was 14 years old, I don't have a job to report to, but I have no financial worries. Thank Jesus for the grace of unemployment benefits!
Anyway, it has long been my petition to be able to have the time I should have had in my childhood and adolescence restored to me; the time to nurture and pursue ALL the things God gave me the ability to do without having to strive for survival. In some small measure, I can say it is finally here, but this blessing does not come without responsibility.
I moved to California, in part, to pursue the incredibly ambitious goal of attending the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in the spring. This school specializes in developing the "triple threat;" the perfect place for a girl who dreams of Broadway. At any rate, I am definitely not in the shape I need to be in right now. Before I moved, I met with Leah, a dance instructor and member of Ballet Afrique. Together we mapped out a plan of attack which included a diet and exercise regiment: cardio 3 times a week, pilates and yoga once each. My, my, my.... can I just say that I haven't been on top of my game since I got here. It's been tragic, actually. "I'll start tomorrow." That's what I keep telling myself. 5 tomorrows have snowballed into one week and I'm still not in my routine.
We've all heard that you shouldn't put off for tomorrow what you can do for today, right? What about being faithful with the little things so you can be trusted with the great ones? I have always wanted to work for myself, be my own CEO, make my own schedule. I've never liked being the person who counts thousands of dollars of other people's money, especially if they don't really work. That's for suckers as far as I'm concerned.
So here I am in a very favorable situation. God has cleared my plate; reduced it to a few key things for me to focus on. How many times in our adult life can we truly say our days consist ONLY of things directly related to our purpose/vision? Honestly, all I have to do right now (and the rest of this year) is prepare for school by training and conditioning, eat right, sleep right, write songs, send out demos- you get my drift. I am so INCREDIBLY BLESSED. Do I still have to fight? Is it still hard work and discipline? Yes, of course. But I asked for this; begged for it even.
And I finally get it- not just as head knowledge, but my heart gets it too. Everything I choose not to do for myself is ultimately MY loss. That seems so obvious and simple, but how many times do we cheat ourselves when we're the only person to be accountable to? Every time I cut corners and decide to eat the stuff I know I shouldn't or surf aimlessly on the internet when I should be writing or sleeping; every time I don't finish the tasks I create for myself and push them off for another day- this is ultimately MY loss.
I had a real honest talk with me today. Enough is enough. Why am I treating myself in a manner I would not allow someone else to treat me in? Why do I value the commitments imposed on me by the world or the ones I make to others above the ones I make to myself? Is it because they have more immediate and recognizable consequences? Whatever the case, I don't want to be the kind of person who makes a habit of lying to themselves all the time. I don't want to feel restless and unaccomplished each day because I chose not to focus and make moves with purpose, even when they're unpleasant. And I cannot bear being the person who falls short of the goal because I did not take all the little steps required to get there.
I am the hardest person I've ever had to discipline. But I'm ready to get on with it, regardless. I've accepted that this won't be easy or pleasant at first, but so what? I asked my Dad for the freedom to manage myself and my time. I asked not to have to slave away behind a desk or counter for someone else doing something I'm not fulfilled by. And I know this is a preview-a small taste, if you will- of that life. What I do with all I've been given in this season will directly relate to what I get to do in the future. And there is no such thing as "I'll start doing it differently when I get to where I wanna be." Why do people think that the remedy for being unmotivated to swim is to move from a pond to the ocean? Why did I buy into that for so long? O, how I laugh at myself!
I'm glad that it's 3 in the morning because my tomorrow is officially my today. So today, I do what I know I should be doing, regardless of whether I want to or not. Time for me to start being a no nonsense manager of me. I WILL get in 3 cardio, 1 yoga and 1 pilates session(s) starting this week. I will make a schedule for myself each day and stick to it as best as possible. I will write songs and other material regularly. I will read and store the knowledge I need on this journey starting with the Word. I once naively thought the glory of the freedom I enjoy was not having a schedule at all. Now I realize the glory of the freedom I have is this: my schedule is purpose filled and it's created by me :)
I finally realize that the abundant life is not an unbusy one. It's one where you have the privilege of deciding what to be busy with.
In conclusion folks, I've learned this valuable lesson: Foolishness is being the victim AND the thief. If I break the commitments I make to myself, I'm the Loser. What sense does it make for me to cheat and steal from me???
Turns out the person treating me with the most disregard was in the mirror all along.

"I'm looking at the girl in the Mirror. I'm asking her to change her ways. And NO message could have been any clearer. If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change."
-Michael Jackson (sans the change of gender in the lyrics)

Great song. TRUE message.
What's your mirror showing you? Moreover, if it's something unpleasant you have the power to change, will you love and respect you enough to do it?
Signing off for now,

Vienna Pearl

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I Can Feel It Coming in the Air Tonight

I'm struggling to keep my eyes open, casting furtive glances at the couch that has been made up quite nicely in my opinion. It makes perfect sense that I'm this tired. I've been awake since 9AM Austin time. Two plane rides and one time zone later, I fight sleep to make sure this day is properly documented. What better time to christen my blog than now; face washed, teeth brushed, retainer in place and all of San Diego, CA right outside the door?
I wonder if waking up tomorrow and realizing I'm not in TX will help things seem less surreal. It's not that I can't believe I'm here. It's getting used to the fact that I packed up my life in a suitcase, an army duffel bag and two pieces of carry-on luggage, to make California my new home. And less than 24 hours ago to boot. In case you wonder how that happened, don't fret. I'll be explaining myself more in the next few blogs. Just know these 3 things for now: I'm crazy. A good kind of "outside the box" crazy, I think, but still crazy. I'm spontaneous and I'm a bit of a nomad. Okay, maybe more than a bit. In my 26 years, I have lived in Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Waco & Austin Texas, Kansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Germany and now...... California. And I don't even have the excuse of being a military brat!
In any case, I am here now and I think I'm in love. Gorgeous scenery. Perfectly warm with a constant breeze. Real sidewalks, perfect for skateboarding, everywhere. Hawaiian BBQ. Add to that the fact that my first date with San Diego was magical. Upon landing, I got my baggage after an impressively short wait, headed outside to meet Gwen (my new temporary roomie) and was invited to a Ricardo Sanchez concert. I was already fading at that point, but how often do you have a first night in SDC? Right! You understand, of course. I had to go.
We arrived at Faith Chapel for an absolutely amazing night of worship. Ricardo Sanchez is awesome! Equally as good was the company I was fortunate enough to be in. I was warmly welcomed right away. How much better could it get? Then, during the interlude, the senior pastor got up and said this: "There is someone here... there's someone here that God has been asking to step out and just go for it; to use what He's given you. Listen, I'm not a prophet or anything like that. I just want to encourage you to trust God and take that step. Step out and give it all you've got. Give everything cause that's the ultimate form of worship. The highest form of worship is living the life you were called to live with all you have." I stood there brimming over with excitement, purpose, joy and hope. How does it feel? One word: Electrifying.
I don't know all the details of how things will turn out. In fact, I don't know most of them. But I do know that this is BIG. Honestly, the weather and sights are just icing on the cake of the real treat. I have always loved California and wanted to live here, but the picture is sooo much bigger than that. I can't help but feel like this is finally it; the realization of all my dreams and visions is underway. When I've blogged some more and given a fuller/ clearer picture of the how, what, who, why, when and where- the reasons this move is so monumental will fall into place.
I can be quirky and slightly obsessive when it comes to writing. Some things are just better written when you're actually in the moment. That's not always possible, I know, but tonight, my first night in SDC, I have the privilege of sharing while the magic of the first steps on this journey is still fresh.
... So much to say and I kind of have to sleep in order to function, I guess. More to come soon :)