If we all do a tree pose does that make us a tree posse?
*Disclaimer: I want to be upfront with you by telling you this is a post about yoga. Ugh, yes, I’m one of thoooose people. I’m not going to end it with “namaste” and it’s not like I’m chanting while I write this, but just a warning that things are about to get crunchy in here.
Work has been stressing me out lately. Scratch that; life has been stressing me out lately. I’m working two jobs, struggling to make rent and maintain a semblance of the life I moved out here to lead, and I’m weighted down. But this isn’t about the xanax prescription I (and my generation) think I need, this is about yoga and me ditching out of work early to catch a much-needed class over at my new favorite studio, Strala.
I haven’t traditionally been a fan of yoga so when I found Strala in all of it’s sun-drenched, laid-back glory, I couldn’t help but fall in love. It’s not a place to go and be spiritual (though to each his own), it’s a place you go to connect with your body and mind without all of the fuss that New Yorkers tend to serve up in heaping spoonfuls. The studio is elegant, the space is serene, and it’s difficult not to feel at peace here.
Something funny happened to me today while I was ignoring all those emails (sorry boss). I was in tree pose (ok, you can’t get rid of all the yoga talk) and I was deep in concentration mode trying to maintain my balance, when the instructor told us to remember to breathe. In his soothing voice that seems to accompany all yoga teachers he said, “the purpose of this is not to be a statue; the purpose is to be full of life”. And it dawned on me that I was so focused on being a perfectly statuesque tree that I’d completely forgotten to breathe. It isn’t often that my activities become such an overt metaphor for my life, but this one seemed to be hitting me over the head. The perfectionist in me had all but taken over in the last few weeks and I’ve been a fighting to breathe ever since.
I won’t belabor the point because I know there’s a little piece of Patty perfection in all of us and this is about as straight forward as my fake yogi-self can comprehend; but the purpose of tree pose life isn’t to be a perfect still-life portrait of what you think you should be. It’s about not being afraid to lose your balance and being full of life in the most literal sense.
6:48 – Snooze my alarm for the 4th time and acknowledge that it’s do or die. If my obliques are going to get the talking to they so desperately need, I’m going to have to get up and go to pilates.
7:35 – Running late (as per usual) I throw together what is undoubtedly the frumpiest outfit I’ve worn to-date. I know NYFW was telling me to play with proportions but I’m still ironing out the kinks.
9:18 – The Starbucks line is long and unyielding but completely necessary after the aforementioned pilates class. Besides, this gives me some time to observe the girls who wobble into the coffee shop in their most professional looking 6in heels. It’s not even 10am yet ladies; pull yourself together.
11:57 – In an effort to break up the mid-day boredom, I channel my inner Zooey Deschanel/New Girl and bunny hop back to my seat from the kitchen. Why they don’t introduce me to more clients is beyond me.
2:10 – Launch into full on marketing campaign for the below orange gladiator sandals.
3:13 – Call my boss for the 4th time today to let him know that I’m bored. I know he enjoys these little chats of ours.
5:05 – Glance around to make sure no one is judging me as I put on my coat and walk to Chipotle… sheepishly avoiding eye contact with the teams I know are staying late.
5:20 – From Varick street, engage in an awkward conversation with my roommate as he leans out the window from his office on the 3rd floor. He’ll later tell me he contemplated dropping a water balloon on my head. We’re very close.
7:40 – Attempt to do an upside-down French manicure to little success. Instead of redoing it with just one color, I opt to add grey polka dots on top. Surely this will solve the problem.
9:34 – Begin my Day 4 sketch for my newest project where I draw one picture each day. This is proving to be more exciting – and infinitely more time consuming – than my previous venture.
10:53 – After 3 hours of tv watching I polish off the rest of the Haagen Dazs and crawl into bed, wondering what kind of achievements I’ll be able to recount for you tomorrow.
“I’m happy to use the word “brand,” but listen, I’m doing a lot of things: I’m doing a comic book, I’m writing for Treme, I’m making two television shows, publishing books. I do these things because they’re fun, and interesting, and because 12 years ago I had no opportunities to do anything. It bothers me when people say I’m “expanding the brand.” You expand the brand so you can land a Pepsi-Cola commercial. You haven’t seen me endorsing any products yet, though I am asked. I’m doing it ’cause it’s fun. What happens when things become not interesting? Then it’s a job. I had a job for years, I know what it’s like to show up every day and do the same thing the same way. I don’t know how Howie Mandel gets up in the morning. I don’t ever want to be that.”—
I sometimes forget that life is full of peaks and valleys of happiness; that it is not without its struggles. Part of what makes the highs so high is knowing what sadness feels like and knowing you’re not there. I do my best thinking in the valleys, my best writing; my best learning. I uncover characteristics of myself that I didn’t previously know were there, that make standing on the peaks of life even more fulfilling.
But that doesn’t mean the low points don’t hurt. I become solemn and melancholy; I withdraw into myself and feed the vicious cycle that is loneliness. Deciding there is no one to rely on but yourself does not make you a champion, it only increases the burden of everything around you, and it gets tiring. So much of my time in these low points is spent alone, wondering how I can ever let someone in when I feel so disappointed, wondering how anyone could ever let me in when they realize that I am a disappointment myself. Being prone to these bouts of sadness does not make me any more knowledgeable about getting through them though. It just seems to take time and patience, two things I’ve never really understood. I suppose all you can do is acknowledge your place in the journey and know that there must be a peak somewhere on the horizon.
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”—F. Scott Fitzgerald (via thatkindofwoman)
Seven Days: You’ve described the process of developing the dances Balanchine created for you as “whipping up this dust, and after hours and days, it becomes a ballet.” Were you aware, in those moments, that you were making history?
Suzanne Farrell: Choreography is not born as choreography; it grows out of a suggestion and then it gets shaped into choreography. Rarely would he say, “That’s not what I wanted.” Our collaboration was very special and filled with trust. He would put the ball in my court and allow me to run with it. Sometimes he would have a mistake become part of the choreography — not that every mistake can be put to music and become beautiful, but he made us see life differently.
On March 22nd you wrote to me asking for some notes on my work habits as a copywriter. They are appalling, as you are about to see:
1. I have never written an advertisement in the office. Too many interruptions. I do all my writing at home.
2. I spend a long time studying the precedents. I look at every advertisement which has appeared for competing products during the past 20 years.
3. I am helpless without research material—and the more “motivational” the better.
4. I write out a definition of the problem and a statement of the purpose which I wish the campaign to achieve. Then I go no further until the statement and its principles have been accepted by the client.
5. Before actually writing the copy, I write down every concievable fact and selling idea. Then I get them organized and relate them to research and the copy platform.
6. Then I write the headline. As a matter of fact I try to write 20 alternative headlines for every advertisement. And I never select the final headline without asking the opinion of other people in the agency. In some cases I seek the help of the research department and get them to do a split-run on a battery of headlines.
7. At this point I can no longer postpone the actual copy. So I go home and sit down at my desk. I find myself entirely without ideas. I get bad-tempered. If my wife comes into the room I growl at her. (This has gotten worse since I gave up smoking.)
8. I am terrified of producing a lousy advertisement. This causes me to throw away the first 20 attempts.
9. If all else fails, I drink half a bottle of rum and play a Handel oratorio on the gramophone. This generally produces an uncontrollable gush of copy.
10. The next morning I get up early and edit the gush.
11. Then I take the train to New York and my secretary types a draft. (I cannot type, which is very inconvenient.)
12. I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor. So I go to work editing my own draft. After four or five editings, it looks good enough to show to the client. If the client changes the copy, I get angry—because I took a lot of trouble writing it, and what I wrote I wrote on purpose.
Altogether it is a slow and laborious business. I understand that some copywriters have much greater facility.
“A wonderful little story about five-year-old Albert Einstein, who was very slow to speak and whose parents feared he was none too bright, shows us how neophilia works and what it’s for. One day, when he was sick in bed, the boy was given the compass to fiddle with to keep him occupied. The new plaything made him wonder about magnetic fields, which got him interested in physics, and, well, you know the rest. Few of us are Einsteins, but all of us have the same capacity to be curious about something new that sparks the learning and sustained interest that lead to achievements great and small.”—New – a cultural history and future of neophilia, our compulsive need for novelty and change. (via taylorlorenz)
“As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right. While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue—no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption. And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”—President Obama’s statement on the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade (via barackobama)
“The system is hidebound, expensive and elitist, they say. Peer review can take months, journal subscriptions can be prohibitively costly, and a handful of gatekeepers limit the flow of information. It is an ideal system for sharing knowledge, said the quantum physicist Michael Nielsen, only “if you’re stuck with 17th-century technology.”—