My Experience: Meditate Your Weight

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Yesterday I completed the final day’s meditation and journaling for the three-week journey that Tiffany Cruikshank offers in Meditate Your Weight. She’s a doctor who has been using this course with her own patients for years, helping them lose weight, and so she decided to publish it.

Around January, I’d become frustrated with the 5-10 pounds I’d gained over the past couple of years and I didn’t know what to do about it. I eat super healthy (or at least 80/20) and usually worked out 5 times a week. I thought I’d give a go at examining the mental side of things and see if that was my issue, as I suspected it was (because I’m really hard on myself mentally, about most things).

I love reading books like this – and one of Gabby Bernstein’s books that’s a 40 day mental work-out – because it gives me something to look forward to doing every morning. I really enjoyed checking the box of, ‘Yup, done!’ I also, and I HATE to admit this, loved the freedom from my Vedic meditation practice for three weeks. I think I just needed a break. I don’t know why, but I did. Don’t judge me.

Anyways, it’s a 3 week process to go through and unpack your mental baggage that you have about yourself as a person and the image of yourself; to discover what makes you feel good and what gifts you have to offer the world. It sounds cheesy, but it was helpful. The best day is probably day 18, which is the visualization meditation. Where you visualize (duh) yourself at your healthiest. It’s powerful. I felt really good after. I also really enjoyed the daily mantra one day of “My inner glow makes me radiant.” I might get that printed on a bracelet.  Stop it, I know it’s cheesy.

Did I lose any weight, you might be wondering. I lost a couple of pounds, but her message overall is to find your healthiest SELF, not your healthiest weight. She actually recommends throwing your scale out.

So, two thumbs up for this book. It’s good to work on your health mentally just as it is to work on it physically. I celebrated finishing it with a 5k and an iced coffee at my favorite coffee shop. #winning

Review: 1984 (aka Timely AF)

Last Thursday Kristen and I went to see the London-transfer of 1984. I’ve never read the book but I heard it was incredibly timely and she had heard it a great production, so off we went. We had great seats in the center orchestra and we eagerly waited for the lights to dim.

I will admit that I was a little bit lost for the first twenty or so minutes. I didn’t fully comprehend that most of the play was a flashback. But when we went back in time and this frightening world of Big Brother and constant surveillance was revealed, it was intense. It did get a bit graphic in the latter part of the single-act piece and it was a full- blown sensory overload; with incredibly bright flashing lights and defeating sound design.

The line that resonated with me the most was the line that went “they didn’t see it coming; they didn’t look up from their screens.” BOOM. Yup, that’s what’s happening now. (I say as I type this on my iPhone.)

Reed Birney was excellent (as always) as O’Brien. Olivia Wilde did a good job, but she was nothing extraordinary. The rest of the (I’ll call it an ensemble) cast did an exceptional job of bringing this unfathomably weird story to life onstage as well.

I hope they tighten it up a bit while it’s in previews. It’s listed as an hour-45 online but it was almost two hours in reality and it was a little slow at times, to be honest. But I think given the current state of our country, a refresher of 1984 is appropriate. So hopefully we WILL look up from our screens should we need to.

Oh, and props must be given where they are due. The social media team for 1984 is killing it. Both of our Instagram postings were found, scoured, and creepy stalker comments were left under our photos. Good job, kids.

2016 in Numbers

I’m late in doing this but here goes. 

10 Movies: LaLa Land, Star Wars: Rogue One, Arrival, The Girl on the Train, The Purge: Election Year, Independence Day: Resurgence, Captain America: Civil War, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Macbeth, The Big Short

20 Books: The One and Only (Emily Giffin), Griftopia (Matt Taibbi), Revenge Wears Prada (Lauren Weisberger), On Writing Well (William Zinsser), American Psycho (Bret Easton Ellis), Your Brain At Work (David Rock), The Woman I Wanted to Be (Diane von Furstenberg), Wherever You Go, There You Are (Jon Kabat-Zinn), The Nest (Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney), The Girls (Emma Cline), The Universe Has Your Back (Gabrielle Bernstein), The Couple Next Door (Shari Lapena), First Comes Love (Emily Giffin), Good As Gone (Amy Gentry), Behold the Dreamers (Imbolo Mbue), The Confidence Effect (Grace Killelea), The Woman in Cabin 10 (Ruth Ware), The Joy of Less (Francine Jay), Night (Elie Wiesel), Born For This (Chris Guillebeau)

29 Shows: The Encounter (2x), The Illusionists, The Cherry Orchard, Heisenberg, Beautiful, An American in Paris, American Psycho (2x), Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Waitress, The Color Purple, Blackbird, School of Rock, Eclipsed, Our Mother’s Brief Affair, Noises Off, Snow White, Marie and Rosetta, Small Mouth Sounds, Oh Hello, She Loves Me, Avenue Q, Tuck Everlasting, The Woodsman, Vietgone, Seen By Everyone, Fiddler on the Roof, The Crucible (There are probably a couple that I’m forgetting.)

I need to see more theatre this year. 

New Year’s Things

I just did 5 yoga classes in 3 days. I am sore and took today, Friday, off. I’m going in for one more class before the final holiday of the year tomorrow morning, which should kill me. My knee is acting up but I think it’s strained from overdoing it in King Arthur pose on Wednesday night so I’ll have to go easier.

I was thinking about New Year’s resolutions and I didn’t know what they should be. J said that because I’m doing yoga teacher training, and that’s a big commitment, that I should basically be absolved from making other ones, but I still wanted to think of something. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Volunteer more – this will likely be in the realm of volunteering with cats, something I’m already doing, but let’s do it some more, shall we?
  2. Go on Facebook less – like 15 minutes a day or less. If I have a question about something, I’ll just have to Google it or reach out to actual human people I know. Facebook is a super fucking waste of time and it makes people depressed, so let’s cut it out. 
  3. Read – I read 14 or 15 books this year. Let’s do it again in 2017. Or make it 20. Why not.
  4. Be healthier – Cook more, eat out less. Get back to drinking once or twice a week and no more. Basically try to feel good. 
  5. Make a vision board – I keep meaning to and then I’m like, “Ooh, NVM, let’s watch My Cat From Hell…”
  6. Figure out what I want to do – I don’t think a 9-5 desk job is for me (unfortunately) so I need to figure out WTF I want to do instead. 
  7. Rock teacher training – Duh. Maybe I’ll be able to master a headstand, too, finally. But hey, just because someone can do a handstand doesn’t mean they’re a good teacher.
  8. Watch less Netflix – This goes for HBO Go and Amazon Prime too. I want to watch less TV so I can read more. 
  9. Be more patient – with my partner, my friends, family, and especially strangers. I currently have no patience, so cultivating any patience would be a miracle. 
  10. Be less judgmental – I would like to look at someone that I’ve never met and not make 10 assumptions about them based on what they look like or what they’re doing. 
  11. Travel Somewhere New: One new city in America (we’re planning on Denver, at the very least) and three new cities in Europe (ideas that have been thrown around: Reykjavik, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Budapest, Bucharest, or wherever they film the Bond movies in Croatia).

I think that’s good for now. What are your resolutions? 

Gabby B via Livestream

Last Tuesday, Gabrielle Bernstein kicked off the tour for her new book, The Universe Has Your Back, in New York at a church in the East Village. Since I’d just been to her last talk a few weeks prior, I decided to buy a streaming ticket so that J and I could watch it live together. I wanted him to experience but I figured an entire in-person night might be a bit overwhelming. 

The only thing I was curious of is whether or not Gabby’s presence would transcend my TV. She talks a lot about presence in her lectures and especially in her newest book. I knew it wouldn’t be the same, but I wondered just how different it would be. After eating some sweet potato noodles, we settled onto my couch with Playbill tuned in, literally. 

Luckily, it was still worth it. She brought her A-game and she delivered as she told stories, a lot of which I’ve heard before but J hadn’t, and the meditations rocked, too.

If you don’t live in a city where Gabby tours to, fear not, and buy a live stream ticket. It’s almost as good, which is better than not being there at all.

I’ve been trying to read more fiction recently. If you’re my friend on GoodReads, you’ll probably notice that my reading list is very non-fiction heavy. I love non-fiction but I’m finding a lot of books, even about things I find interesting, are harder to get through. So, I decided to rectify that with signing up for a 3-month subscription to Book of the Month Club and Kristen and I are trading books. (Spoiler alert: I quickly became overwhelmed with the frequency of the book’s arrivals so I canceled my account a couple of weeks ago.) I’m currently reading The Woman in Cabin 10, which is a fantastic and gripping thriller so far, but before that, I read Kristen’s copies of The Girls, by Emma Cline, and The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.

I was immediately captivated by The Nest and loved learning about the semi-atrocious characters and what they’d been up to until that point in their lives. It’s always great to see how a family acts when money is involved. Spoiled and entitled does not begin to describe these siblings. I finished this in, like, two weeks. (Which is fast for me. #slowreader)

Next was The Girls. I’d been a little skeptical when Kristen had informed me that this was about a cult and that it took a little while to get into. She was correct on both accounts, but once I was into it, I was hooked. It takes a look at the girls who probably would’ve been part of the Manson Family. The book takes place in present day (where the main character, Evie, is an adult and she is confronted with her past when two teenagers ask her about the aforementioned cult) and her teenage self in 1969. It’s easy to see why teenagers could get swept up in this. This one was a quick read, too. A+.

That’s my book update for now. Let me know what your current favorite fiction reads are! I have so many unread books right now but maybe I’ll get to them eventually! I’m currently restraining myself from buying Emily Giffin and Lauren Weisberger’s new books, too. I love ChickLit though! I’ll buy them in paperback. 

Gabby B and the Universe

When I heard Gabby Bernstein was doing a free two-hour workshop if you pre-ordered her new book, The Universe Has Your Back, I immediately clicked my way over to Amazon and purchased said-book. It’s not being released until the end of September but last week we got a crash course in manifesting the life we want on a sweltering evening in the East Village.

She talked for about an hour and a half and threw in a few meditations, too – including her usual meditation for protection in the beginning and her kundalini meditation for manifesting at the end. She talked about a recent conflict that she had been in with a friend and how in her meditation on the fight, she started to think about how much she loved this friend and the feeling she cultivated in her meditation completely dissolved any anger she felt towards her. I’ll try that next time I’m feeling angry with someone.

There were lots of tears and hugs given out during the Q&A. Gabby dispersed lots of great advice. When a woman asked what to do when she said “wouldn’t it be nice, if..” (as Gabby has suggested to get out a rut) made her cry because she wanted her boyfriend to want what she wanted, she said this woman needed to focus on herself and not trying to control someone else. Mic drop.

The talk went a little over so I was ready to get home after, so I left as soon as it was over. But it was a great experience. I went in feeling really exhausted and not all that psyched to sit through a talk, despite how awesome Gabby is, but by the end of the first meditation, I was glad I came.

Her book release party is in late September. You should totally buy tickets. She may sound new age-y, but she’s also awesome.

Giving It All Away

I’ve been reading my second book on de-cluttering, The Joy of Less and I was KonMari’ing again last weekend and gave a bunch of stuff away. It felt really good to give my stuff to people who would give it a new life. These are inanimate objects, but humor me. 

Although my couch was old and kind of crappy (I bought it from IKEA in 2008), it was still totally usable and I really wanted it to get a new home and not go to a landfill. After little success on Facebook and with my IRL friends, I asked the intern at my office if she could post an ad on the Columbia University Marketplace on Facebook. I live quite close to Columbia and I knew I had a pretty good chance of finding a new home for my couch if I got the ad in front of Columbia students. Minutes after she posted it, I received three emails and narrowed it down to one after revealing when I could move furniture in and out of my building (there are very strict rules – M-F only). Three roomies came for the couch the day after I got my new one and thanked me profusely via text message after. I never met them but I’m glad some students who are paying high tuition have a free couch. And I’m very happy my couch has a new home.

Next on the chopping block were two yoga bolsters. I had three in my apartment but let’s be real, how many can I use at once? Answer: One, but I actually don’t even use that one all that often. So, instead of hiding the extra two under a chair, like I had been for months, I advertised on my Facebook wall that I had these two extra hardly-used bolsters and won’t someone please come take them from me? They were gone in a day. Yay!

After that I decided to purge my shoe collection. The floor of my small walk-in closet was covered and I touched about 4 pairs of shoes regularly. I did a Marie Kondo and put all of my shoes on the floor of my living room and picked through them. At the end I kept about dozen pairs – enough to be hung in the shoe holder on the back of my bedroom door and tossed a big bag after. Well, not tossed, donated. I also donated a small bag of clothing that had been sitting on a chair in my bedroom for a while.

I tackled the contents of my coffee table and ottoman, too. I was keeping far too many magazines – Time Out New Yorks – that I would ever look at again. So I kept about 10 issues that I especially liked and recycled the rest.

My bookshelves also got swept. When I was boxing up books, I decided to get rid of a few dozen plays that I’ll never read again, and some books that I read, enjoyed, and will never read again. And let’s not forget about books that I never read and probably never will. I’m taking these over to Book Culture on Saturday.

Previously I’d cleaned out my kitchen island and my tupperware (because as long as there is takeaway, there will be plastic containers, sadly).

It’s a privilege to be able to give stuff away and I’m fully aware. 

I’m not done yet, but it’s nice to start the process of streamlining. And please don’t worry, I’m not killing myself. No, no. I just got a new couch and cleaned out some junk – more than ever, now is the time to enjoy my apartment. (That sounds ridiculous, but you get what I mean.)

I went to see the San Francisco Giants play the Yankees at Yankee Stadium last Friday with my dad as a belated Father’s Day gift. It was hot as hell out but luckily the sun was going down and there was water, so all was well. 

The Giants lost by 1 run (sad face) but as I watched the players of each time wind up to pitch or watching the pitcher so he could swing, I started thinking about meditation and how beneficial meditation would be to the MLB. 

I found myself thinking, “How do they block out the noise?” Seriously, between the chanting and boo’ing, I found it hard to concentrate on the action myself. How do they do it?? 

Well, a quick Google search told me that they do. A player named Shawn Green even wrote a book about it. Maybe I’ll read it. I’m glad meditation has permeated this game and it’s players because as you know, I think everyone everywhere should meditate. So, let’s take this shit mainstream and the MLB is a good place to start.

I am nobody’s mother, but I am somebody.

On Tuesday night, @endotique met me (at the last possible minute, goddamn you, traffic; she literally got to the seat as the lights were going down!) to see new revival of The Color Purple. I saw the original production some years ago and I literally remembered nothing about it. LaChanze was in it, sure, but I don’t even remember her performance. I remember that Oprah was a producer and it didn’t do well – that’s about it. 

I think it’s safe to say that I will definitely remember this production.

The stage is very bare and has a semi-Our Town feel to it – in the sense that part of the first act has the characters that aren’t in the scene sitting onstage and watching. 

The elevator pitch for the show is it’s about two sisters, Celie and Netty, who live in Georgia and are separated when Celie is “given” to man by her step-father (who had been raping her since she was 12) to marry and basically be his slave. The new husband is abusive and doesn’t allow her to have contact with her sister at all. The Color Purple is about Celie’s journey to find her sister and her independence. Or at least a life that doesn’t include and daily rapings and beatings. 

Spoiler alert: There’s a happy ending.

The score is beautiful and I really enjoyed the direction (finally, John Doyle, you did something right!). The choreography is really excellent, too. But the stars of this show are Cynthia Erivo, Danielle Brooks, and Heather Headley. 

Cynthia Erivo was Celie and she has a voice you wouldn’t believe. She earned a standing ovation after one of her big songs in the second act. I’d be surprised if she talks at all when she’s not onstage. Give this woman the Tony Award ASAP.

Danielle Brooks, aka Tasty from Orange is the New Black (who I totally didn’t know was in this and it was a fantastic surprise), was Sophia, a woman in their small town who doesn’t take shit from her husband or any one else. Brooks has a killer voice and she’s a great actress. She helps encourage Erivo to leave her abusive husband.

And then there’s Heather Headley (who recently replace Jennifer Hudson, who, honestly, I could not care less about no matter how talented she is) as a famous singer named Shug Avery. Avery used to be in a relationship with Celie’s abusive husband and later becomes another advocate, and love interest, for Celie. I haven’t seen Heather Headley onstage since AIDA and I was so excited to be witness to her greatness again. She didn’t disappoint. She sounded great, she looked great, and her acting was, as far as I could tell, spot on.  

I could go and name the rest of the cast as they were all wonderfully talented with gorgeous voices, but you can go to IBDB for that. We stood as soon as the curtain call began and didn’t sit again. I enjoyed this show so much more than I thought I would and I’m so glad I gave it a second chance. 

The original production was a joke in comparison. Don’t hold it against this production because it’s 100% better.