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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines gratitude list

Since today is Valentine's Day, I'm counting the many blessings that give me a reason to LOVE my life:

I'm thankful for the beautiful weather and the opportunity to enjoy it rocking on my back porch overlooking a dreamscape with a pool, fountain, and lush landscape.
I'm thankful for the drive home from lunch w/ Clay---windows down, sunroof open, able to soak up the gorgeousness today! (Thank you Clay for the yummy burger and uplifting attitude)
I'm thankful that Clay not only purchased my "dream house", but he has given me carte Blanche to decorate, furnish, and complete my vision for all aspects.  
I'm thankful he supports my passion in launching my own design firm that he has been instrumental in creating / setting up my LLC giving hours of "free" legal advice and expertise.
I'm thankful for the team surrounding me completing this project and vision.
On that note, I'm thankful for Jesus as a trusted GC to efficiently carry through all specific demands in a timely manner.  Thank you Chino for being reliable and trustworthy in our home even when Clay and I were traveling.
I'm thankful for Roberts landscape company finishing our yard and providing my first holidays ever (35 years)  with beautiful Christmas exterior lights!  
I'm thankful for Tami, who has re-entered my life in so many ways: for my home, your organization has been an essential fire that needed lighted.  We are moving forward with gusto, and have an amazing organized pantry that gets me back in the kitchen.
I am thankful for having the resources to afford you 2 times / week (thanks to both Clay and your schedule commitment)
I am thankful for Rejana returning to my life to help out with our home.  Your prayers and devotion to God has given both Clay and I spiritual encouragement.
I'm thankful for my "baby girls", Dixie and Sally, who bring me joy every day in 2 very different, unique ways.
I am thankful for the special time i had in Seattle with just "us girls". Clare and Rose are growing up so fast into beautiful young ladies, and I value the precious time spent just "being" present with them.  Paige, your devotion as both a parent and friend to the girls helped me get to know you better as a sister and a mom.
I am thankful for my dad's amazing recovery from open heart surgery over the holidays.  I'm thankful he continues to make healthier choices to extend his life and time with everyone that loves him.
I am thankful for my few and precious girlfriends:
I'm thankful for Sarah and her undying loyalty to me.  I can truly be myself with you AND your family which enables me to test my wings at hopefully being a mommy some day. Looking forward to church on Sunday!
I'm thankful Sarah's new job has made Clay look even better with beautiful custom clothes (at reasonable prices). 
I'm thankful for the encouraging email Tami sent me this morning.  She has motivated me to be grateful and look at the silver lining during my personal "struggle". You also sent me Sarah, introducing us years back, and you continue to bring insurmountable joy in my life.
I'm thankful for our new neighborhood and sweet neighbors in which new friendships have already taken root.  Thank you, Chrisette for your honest approach and "no BS"'s a quality I admire and am choosing to live my life more honest and authentic.
I am thankful for Clay's friends that continue to keep him motivated at work and competitively after work playing shuffleboard.  ;)
I'm thankful for Clay's family and the opportunity to see his son and family this weekend.
I'm thankful for my sweet momma, her sweet words of encouragement, and plan on her visiting us next weekend for a fun weekend of shopping and Academy Awards watching.
I'm thankful for even my short, ugly hair and the humility and patience it has taught me while growing out.  I'm thankful that God is teaching me that my value doesn't hinge solely on the perfect blond hue and long locks.  I'm thankful Clay agrees and reminds me I would be just as beautiful with a shaved head.  
On that note, I'm so very thankful for my health.  I know so many loved ones that have both survived and suffered from cancer and other illnesses, so I'm thankful at 35 God has blessed me with perfect health.  Beyond that, I'm even more thankful He has equipped me with countless physical, financial, and mental abilities that allow me to live life to the fullest. 
Mostly, I'm thankful to share my life and love back to the people that share their inner light with me.  

I'll be posting this gratitude list and updating my blog more routinely at: entitled Human being Whitney

I'm currently "refocusing" the blog to be more about my personal gratitude and passions, like my growing interior design business that is hatching from infancy ;)

*Don't just live your life, Be your life...authentically you.


Sent from my iPad

Friday, October 12, 2012

Annie made me do it.......

I haven't posted a blog, well, before leaving LA upon graduating in June.  I left many memories, faces, relationships, yet felt the emptiness more than anticipated once getting back to TX and reminiscing on the "small moments" that almost passed me by.

Just tonight, I was told about Annie's passing--a fellow graduate of my Bikram 2012 Spring program.  She, like many familiar faces, was one of 400+ struggling yogis surviving one day at a time in a taxing 9 week program that demands total heart, soul, emotional, and physical dedication to complete the process we all so fully commit ourselves to.

Most vividly, I remember sitting next to her early in our training on the front row for Bikram's PM lecture.  Initially feeling intimidated by her cool confidence and effortless beauty, I asked her, "are you nervous to meet him?"  she replied, "should he be nervous to meet you?".  We didn't exchange many words that night, but I remember glancing at her elaborate sketches and doodles in her notebook she seem more entangled with than the world around her.

Her energy was calm.  wavelike.  not stormy or competitive like many yogis clammering for her front row seat.  In fact, the few times she was singled out (criticized or complimented) she was consistently unfazed.  Which brings me to my shocked state:  "how in the world could this happen to such a beautiful, strong, independent young woman?"

Reality is harsh:  it could be any of us.  Never take a day or moment for granted.  I wish I would've told Annie just how amazing I thought she was.  How steadfast and sturdy she anchored herself in the midst of a storm that just about tore me apart.

I will always remember the strong Annie that sported the bruise under her left eye the first week of YTT.  never covering it up with concealer or making excuses....she was proud of the surf board incident where her face lovingly (yet harshly) made contact with the board that kept her afloat of harsh waves.

She's surfing now.  In a beautiful, tranquil ocean with God by her side.

Rest in peace, beautiful Annie.

God Bless you.............whitney

Monday, April 30, 2012

WEEK 3 - I'm falling in love....

w/ the process!  It's so much like a new relationship: the anticipation of every class, the giddy feeling when it's over, the intensity, the breakthroughs, all the emotional up and downs.  My favorite part?  I truly want to better EVERY day for the person staring right back at me in the mirror.
Like love at first sight, I feel like I'm seeing myself for the very first time.  Instead of looking past the imperfections, I am accepting all the bad with the good.  After all, we are all perfect....just the way we are.  Now, here, present in this moment.
I'm also falling in love with every single one of ya'll!  So many unique, genuine human beings I meet daily that inspire me along this journey.  I've stopped resisting my automatic defense mechanism to be independent.  The more I open myself up, whether it's asking for help, or listening w/ sympathetic ears, I find immense personal growth and reward.  Of course, I'm balancing all actions with Jim's advice of "no expectations" a result, I'm thrilled with any positivity I receive as a bonus gift.
We are all very brave individuals, leaving a life behind to pursue self fulfillment and change.  Of course there will be tough days, and even physical/mental pain as growing pains are not the most comfortable to endure.  But I will gratefully suffer through 6 more weeks to receive the happiness and bliss I'm getting just a glimpse of.  I opened this encouraging post by Ralph Marston and seemed very apropos to share with everyone:

(if you have trouble opening the link with the words set to music, read blog below)

Beyond the challenge

Before you focus on the obstacles and difficulties, think
about the rewards you'll bring into your life by getting
past those difficulties. Before you consider all the effort
that's involved, consider what you have the opportunity to
achieve with that effort.

Certainly there are challenges facing you. To get yourself
successfully through them, make sure you have a strong,
meaningful, compelling reason.

Imagine, with all the richness you can give it, how good
life will be on the other side of the challenge. Let your
imagination give good, solid purpose to the strength that
will carry you beyond the challenge.

When your authentic purpose is aligned with your efforts,
you will absolutely find a way to be highly effective in
those efforts. You'll have the strength and ability to
innovate, adjust, improve and persist for as long as
necessary to get the job done.

Before the journey even begins, use your imagination to
immerse your mind and spirit in the rewards waiting at the
end of that journey. The more vibrantly you visualize and
relate to the goal, the more energy you'll have to get

Though it may be extremely challenging, there is a path from
here to there. Connect solidly with your purpose for getting
there, and you will soon have worked yourself successfully
beyond the challenge.

Ralph Marston

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Already into week 2 and they've convinced us we're the best....RIGHT?  Let's not count our chickens before they hatch.  However, I wanna give props to some fellow yogis that have helped keep the energy up for all of us:

1.) tall bald guy holding the door (for all of us) reminding everyone to sign in this morning.  After last night's late night movie, my fog brain definitely needed a push in the "right" direction.  Thanks to you, kind bloke!

2.) Bridget Jones / Renee Zelwegger doppelgänger from England:  You not only look half your age, but cute as a button and entertained immensely today on stage doing Half Moon.

3.) The guy from San Francisco wearing the red plaid pi's...he REALLY WAS in France--he had no idea the other's were in half moon.  Priceless.

4.) Myra: my seat mate ("neighbor") during dialogue today who continuously laughed at the same silly things I did; she also shared her yummy tangerine slices which automatically bumps up her coolness factor.  (and speaking of sharing....thank you to the cute brunette behind me for sharing her yummy Trader Joes dark chocolate raisins.)

5.) Bikram for his infinite nuggets of wisdom:

"We have to think different than the average human being:  it's not about ME...It's about OTHERS." he followed up with a JFK quote: "Don't ask what the country can do for me; but what I can do for the country."

"what's the number one sin?  KILLING TIME....worst than killing people."

"It's not WHAT you's HOW you do it."

Best image to take home:  Bikram swimming the length of his 80 foot pool in Beverly  Hills with yellow rubber ducky floaties.  PRICELESS!!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bikram gave me the finger...

I have a week before I leave for Bikram YTT, and today was possibly the WORST class I've ever attempted.  I didn't even finish; I picked my lazy, impossible body off my sweat drenched mat after Bow pose and never looked back.  Perhaps it was the dramatic exit from the front row (gasp), and the gawking eyes of fellow yogis as they watched a gung-ho "teacher in training" fall hard....on my face.  Actually, that would have been more acceptable in the strict Bikram world:  Sit down, lie in corpse pose, maybe even take a sip of water outside of the designated "party time".  But never, NEVER leave the room unless you want 7 years of bad luck. (ok, I'm embellishing a teeny bit, but you catch my drift)  If my ego didn't get checked out the door upon arrival, it sure as hell got left on my bright blue/red mat that I abandoned and never came back to retrieve.

 Let me make this abundantly clear:  I am NOT a quitter.  My daddy reinforced this numerous times from the time i was a little girl with big alligator tears b/c I didn't want to finish my lima beans; or I didn't want to practice the piano for a full hour; or I wasn't cut out for running a mile in the track meet. If I heard it once, I heard it a million times, "you better suck it up, or I'll give you something to cry about!"  There was something magically effective about that command, and lucky for me, I wiped the tears fast enough to not find out what he meant.  

But today, I didn't just quit.  I might as well have mumbled an obscenity along with a hand gesture involving my middle finger.  Not to my teacher (at least this time), or the smiling happy faces surrounding me, but to myself.  Hadn't I just done a back-to-back double yesterday feeling like Super Woman, empowered, strong, motivated to tackle the 2-a-day Bikram class schedule in LA for 9 weeks.  Enter the love-hate relationship so many of us have with Bikram practice.  Like every day life, just when you think your routine is on cruise control, just getting out of bed seems like an impossible task.  "Fake it til you make it?"  Sometimes that just pisses my body off more and it retaliates by taking away all of my super hero powers.  

Quitting would be not going back (today), retrieving my mat/towel, and slamming my ego down as I walk into the torture chamber.  I might fall out of Standing Head to Knee and maybe even sit out a posture or two.  But I will survive the heat, intensity, and discomfort that life tends to throw my way.  At least in Bikram class, if i die, I'm RE-BORN!!!  

Namaste, ya'll.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

3 reasons to fall in love with Bikram Yoga

1.) ROUTINE is a welcome departure from my spontaneous life.  I'm a spontaneous person that enjoys living life by the seat of my pants.  Ironically, this phrase was coined in the 30's about a pilot that ignored his instruments to fly a plane.  (click here to read the full article)  But we all need balance, and the 1.5 hour class brings meditative reflection as I struggle through the poses.  

2.)  Listening has become essential.  In fact, in a room full of mirrors and visual stimuli, the teachers' audible instruction is the safest thing to follow.  The days my mind is cluttered with chatter,  it's 10X more difficult to hold the asanas.  Some of the repetitive dialogue becomes annoying at times…my smiling, happy face can't be fused any tighter to my sweaty shins!  And what does a Japanese ham sandwich taste like?  salty sweat?

3.)  I suffer through class to experience the SHAVASANA high.  Pure ecstasy.  If you have ever wanted to try Bikram, I suggest you come early and watch the blissful yogis emerge from class literally glowing and floating.  It's a beautiful scene and even better feeling.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

you can't eat your cake and do Bikram too...

I've always hated that cliche, "you can't have your cake...."  I mean what does it mean?  I didn't know until recently, and this is my personal take on it: IT'S ALL ABOUT BALANCE.  You know, that other B word too...BOUNDARIES.  This has been especially hard for me to grasp b/c I'm an extremist.  And you know what?  I am learning to hone that trait into a positive one.  For instance, b/c I'm a risk taker and an "all in" kink of person, I have an entrepreneurial spirit which propels me to potentially have great success.  (good)  But that same quality can swing a negative way in all aspects of, relationship, love, etc.
Let's take a look at 3 very different, but famously successful people and their slant on the topic:

Seth Godin said..."The lesson of the cow is worth repeating: Safe is Risky."

Helen Keller said..."Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

T.S Eliot said.."Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go."

I have noticed, that the older (ahem...more mature) I get, the more careful I am.  For instance, the number of speeding tickets i get have decreased dramatically over the past few years.  And, my average time to bed is hours earlier-->perhaps directly correlating to the number of nights i spend barhopping have dramatically decreased.  Why?  I'm not a Rhodes Scholar, but I do understand that I'm not as invincible as I was, and actually, I never was....I was just running on stupidity.  (but it was fun!!)

The death of Whitney Houston has resonated with me for many reasons, but obviously we share the same name.  Actually seeing my name, as a tangible reminder, in the media attached to death too soon has brought me to this ultimate question:  What could she have done to live another day, year, or even decade?  Was she perhaps being careless and not balancing her substance abuse problem?  Since no toxicology reports have surfaced, let's just hypothetically assume there were NO legal/illegal drugs in her system.  (which is very unlikely, but I'll continue...) One should not rationally get into a bathtub if they are feeling dizzy or not well for any reason.  

I think TS Eliot nailed it perfectly, "Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go."  And this is exactly the line I don't want to cross.  In my yoga practice today, I learned first hand the physical difference my body reacted to "not eating cake" all week.  For me, that is not drinking and good sleep.  Last week, I had to leave early b/c (well, it's damn hot and the purest saint could pass out in Bikram); but, I had returned too soon before finishing my antibiotics which caused me to relapse and take another whole week off the mat.  For those of you that don't know, I'm in the middle of a 60 day Bikram challenge, and it wrecked my perfect attendance award.  So, eye roll.....not life changing, i know.  But still, I had to make healthier choices, not give up completely on the challenge, and get back on the mat.  (how many of you have tried to diet but due to a bad weekend, said screw it and gained back more?) 

I have to choose what i want to eat....cake or Bikram?  or unhealthy choices vs. healthy ones.  I don't think i will ever give up cake or alcohol completely (never say never, but.....), but I am checking in more and asking, "is this an adventure, or is this dangerous?"  I wish Whitney would've asked herself that.