Anorexia, Archetypes, Asana, Bible, Bulimia, character study, Christianity, Church, Death, depression, Dharma, Dichotomies, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Facebook, Faith, Family, Fear, Health Issues, Jail, Laramie, Mental Health, Micro Non-Fiction, Mindfulness, mountains, Non-Fiction, Nostalgia, object, poverty, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Suicide, Universiality

song of survival

Exploring spirituality is such an intimate act and I find myself frustrated lately as I reflect on my childhood spent in Christianity.  I feel defensive because folks see it as a complete left turn when I wish I had lived with faith long enough that they thought the behaviors of the last ten years were a left turn.  But I get both sides.

Jen, you are a nerd.  Jen, you are a hustler. What are you doing exploring religion?  That’s not a thing in your life, is it?  Perhaps I have worn my cards too close to my heart and don’t want to risk being judged.  If I talk of God I become one of those crazy people at those awful meetings.  This is a safety mechanism and I act tough to be tough to survive.  Folks don’t cry in cowboy country.  Nothing is wrong.  Avoidance coping has its benefits. 

It’s hard to try to be nice all the time, to try to live by morals and codes that might not resonate with the larger universe.  Do we always speak the truth even with the knowledge the truth will seriously hurt someone?  I choose to do no harm.  I enjoy being the interpreter of moral code but see the danger in this as my compass lost its true north in the past, sometimes in the present.  We all disconnect sometimes. 

I have stories upon stories of the stuff I’ve done in the past, things that surprise even me and some of these things I speak of with a flat affect, no emotion, too much to engage.  But that’s it.  They are just stories.  Stories that have been told for ages.  Parables of life.  Sermons of the heart.  Songs of sorrow.  We all share the same underlying passions and fears. 

Each human heart a music box of life that plays a special tune.  Listen to the notes, hear them altogether and don’t get stuck on the b flat and don’t think your c sharp is somehow wrong. Sing your song, sing your life, live in a way that you stop worrying about what other folks think.  This is your song. Maybe only God can judge you, and maybe there is nothing to judge.

 

Do you know who I am?

I say “namaste” because I like what it means, not because I am Hindu.

A lot of people here think I am Christian because they think I talk about Christian values, but the truth is I am really talking about human values. 

I’ve been asked if I am a Buddhist, just because I have discovered inner peace. 

A lot of my friends are Pagans, and they think I am one, too, because I say that being in Nature is my idea of going to church.

Do you want to know what I really am?

I am awake.

Asana, Body Image, character study, Death, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Mindfulness, mountains, poverty, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Sex, Suicide, Universiality

the uncut hair of graves

I keep the phone squished between my shoulder and ear driving to Corona Village to pick up fajitas I had ordered before my dear friend called.  She is dead now.  She hung herself.  I wish I could say I don’t picture her body there hanging, owl tattoo on her right shoulder.  Hair blonde, maybe more brown, jutty cut she had surely given herself to frame her beautiful thinned out almond crystal eyes.  We talk about so many things on the phone.  She hears my voice for who I really am. She sees me for me.

We talk about how she will move to South Carolina soon and I watch the brightly colored tiles that decorate the walls of the restaurant nd wish she were back in Wyoming.  Phone sill squished, I drive home to eat my meal.  To talk to my friend.  To heal my soul.  I dip a chip into guacamole and taste the tiny individual pieces of salt visible on the triangles and she tells me when she admired me for talking about performing oral sex in our English capstone class.  Tells me I used the phrase “sucking dick” and that had liberated her.  I remember that self that wouldn’t wear a belt or a bra and talk frankly of sex in class because I wanted so bad to accept my body and to accept sex and to be a part of something that carries so much power.

My mind flashes back to a care package she had left at my house and I watch as a drop of runny salsa hits the floor and puddles out while I remember what was in the box.  Corsets, bras, whips, and other kinky shit she felt safe enough to give me.  I look at the spot of salsa and smile about how she thought I was something more than I think I am.  In her eyes, to her short choppy hair, I was a sex vixen.  I crouch down and wipe up the blood like salsa with a napkin and shove it back in the takeout bag.

Pushing carrots, celery, and mushrooms around in the foam container soaked in grease and dark red sauce made of chilies and cumin she tells me about how she had to cancel her Facebook account for slugging too much wine in the evenings and writing provocative shit.  That wasn’t her or mine assessments but her graduate program that had broken her down like I had been broken down in my own program.  I drop a tiny spoonful of sour cream onto beans and put them into my mouth while tears start to fall down.  She gets me.  She sees my spark and I see hers and we want to drink wine and perform oral sex on whomever or wherever we feel like.

I’ve wrapped my tortillas in foil and slopped the food from foam into plastic containers.  Organize. Compartmentalize. Anything to give myself the illusion of control.  We get ready to end the phone call and I tell her to keep pushing forward, to give her writing to the world, and I tell her I’ve saved all of her writing.  Even her e-mails.  Nothing can happen more beautiful than death for the awareness of life it gives to all who suffer its consequences.

Hey jenn,
Im getting that piece to you sunday night hell or high water.  I found this article about throwing around words to look learned n after our talky talky bout the mfa boys club n tim like people i thought u might like it too:
http://rhetoric.byu.edu/figures/groupings/Vices.htm
Im usin my phone so pardon all the grammar bad ju ju
Jodi

J. P. Corley

Anorexia, Asana, Body Image, character study, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Mental Health, Mindfulness, poverty, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

yoga and the wounded healer

Coming back to the subject I’ve thought about over and over. My falling outs, meltdowns, burning of bridges, loss of friends, passing the point of no return, crossing the Rubicon, nailing my colors to the mast. I’ve dealt with some shit. I’ve caused some shit. Acute conflict felt from the edges of my heart into the corners of my soul.  I caught myself in a moment with another when I began to talk about this stuff. Eyes glazed over and the gaze becomes distant like trying to talk to my father right after work, staring at the coal dust in his eyes know he might not hear me through his own clouds and questions.

I’ve sometimes heard that being a leader comes with people you love hating you a little more each day. No matter what decision is made, there will be an angry soul who is convinced the devil is running the show. Then I wonder if it’s not just my silly little ego to call myself a leader to protect me from the thought that people really don’t like me. That I’ve been banned from spaces, from hearts.  Big, universal, hurt.

I also know it takes two to tango. Yoga attracts wounded people. Every person I talk to in yoga has come to the practice because of abuse, a crappy family life as a child, their own or others’ mental illness, social isolation, family life as an adult, bereavement, life-threatening physical illness and a whole wide gambit of crap. These wounded healers, these who take issue with me, have their own wounding experiences and two wounds don’t make a healer.

I wonder, too, at the lack of integration in yoga and search for the old souls, the professionals, the ones who have spent years letting it all sink in. Then I get caught up in teach more, achieve more, get more students, buy more leggings. What if we all took a class, sat on it for a few days. See what happens. Or what if we fight, let it runs its course, and tolerate the anxiety of growing together. What if we stop being ashamed at the way we treat each other, acknowledge our wounds and evolve toward greater cohesion and solidarity.

Instead of wondering when my soul became less human or less beautiful, I can wonder how another’s wound has affected vision and perception. And through the vulnerability of suffering and universiality maybe we can self-reflect, look outward, and meltdown in a way that leave puddles of our own gorgeous human essence.

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam’s curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

T.S. Eliot “East Coker,” from *The Four Quartets*

Anorexia, Asana, Body Image, Bulimia, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Mental Health, Mindfulness, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

there is good, there is evil

I’ve been going through some stuff lately.   I feel junior high spring dance insecure—hunched in the shoulders, standing in the corner of the gym in my socks with my pants too short and my pointy bra creating uncomfortable tic tacs in my silk shirt.  I look at others hoping they will notice me for me, and stick around for the anxiety of growing with me. But, as in junior high, I don’t know who I am.

I’ve had the same situation occur twice now—I have walked away or was asked to walk away from yoga studios for reasons that won’t matter in time and that I can’t understand because the discourse, the vulnerability, the connection is gone. There is no space for reconciling, and it’s not for me to convince anyone of my worth. If I’m not seen with compassion, I am not seen. But, I can’t separate that it’s somehow me being asked to step away from yoga.

Of course I have mommy and daddy issues. We all do. Families are hard. But there is space in the family to mess up, to do crummy things, to make a mistake in earnest because the love is there. The non-judgment is par for the course. The daddy issues run deep. I miss my deceased father more than words could ever express because he really accepted me. Anger, idiot moves, and all. I miss my mother too for who she was and for her letting me grow.

It comes down to the only thing I know—my experience. I know more and more I don’t know much but I came to yoga because I was accepted. I was allowed to sweat buckets, to cry, to suck at poses, to show up a few minutes late. I don’t think everything is love and light. There is dark space in the universe, there is dark space in my heart.

To teach what I know is all I can do. And the lessons I impart in yoga aren’t how to wrench your spine in a backbend, wrench your neck in a headstand, or tear your ligaments in eagle. It’s how to sit with yourself (the self you might hate, if you are anything like me) for a few minutes without running away from your body or your breath. I can teach how to sit with the shadows, how to let emotions circulate through the system.

I am driven by ego. I am driven by compassion. I am neither compassion nor ego, I just am.

 

 

“I do a lot of crummy things, and I do a lot of beautiful things, and I am neither good nor evil, I just am. There is good, there is evil, and here I am.”

Ram Dass

Anorexia, Asana, Body Image, Bulimia, character study, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Mindfulness, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

what i can and cannot do

Untitled

Truth is, I get intimated and down on myself every day. There is a good chance I will never do a respectable yogi push up or hold pigeon on my right side again. These are because of injuries trying to press bone onto bone for bending that my body was just not meant to do. Knee and elbow out of commission for a while. Even sitting cross legged is painful. That’s the thing about yoga—it’s not until years later that you realize asana is preparation for death—the ultimate life experience. No one dies in a handstand. But sometimes when we die we are lucky enough to know that our worth didn’t come from a handstand or peacock pose, and that holding the hand of the person next to us is the most challenging, rewarding, and soul satisfying pose of all. The king pose called #gratitude.

#yoga #selflove #love #loveyourself #mindfulness #beyourself #asana #Ustrasana #Gomukhasana #PinchaMayurasana #death #EkaPadaRajakapotasana #bodylove #practicenotperfect #iamenough #MeatlessMonday #pilates #contrology #infinitebalancelaramie

Anorexia, Asana, Body Image, Bulimia, character study, depression, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Mindfulness, mountains, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Trailrunning, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

why i gained 30 pounds

Why I gained 30 pounds and am starting to be happy for it…

1—no one should lose 30 pounds by telling herself that he wouldn’t have left if she weren’t so fat

2—ass moves mass and lifting weights is fun

3—soda (beer) and a burger after a hike are worth not being Muscle and Fitness cover-worthy

4—working out 6 hours a day is not okay

5—your hip bones shouldn’t have bruises from lying down

6—cleaning the vomit off your toilet after a binge really hits home

7—I AM ENOUGH no matter how you quantify me

8—fight, flight, or freeze modes are no way to live 24/7

9—doing yoga in a 100 degree room wearing booty shorts and hating yourself is ridiculous

10—everyone should eat a whole pizza in their lifetime

11—counting calories is BORRRRRRRING and sometimes obsessive

12—now I don’t have to post every workout

13—relationships are more important than the gym

14—cheese is just too damn good

15—measuring your worth through the concave shape of your tummy ain’t no way to live

16—I don’t ever want to see my backbone jutting out of my back again

17—I am not a greyhound, I am a big hipped Jen and seeing my ribs means I’m not eating

18—researching laxatives feels really dirty

19—feeling pain in my chest when I see the girl at the rec center with ankle weights on the bike for 2 hours

20—identifying with other random people with exercise and eating disorders because we have been at the gym for 3 hours…we see each other and know our shame

21—NOT EVERYONE WHO DOES YOGA IS SKINNY

22—I can’t run away, to, or around my problems, especially on a treadmill

23—I am not an Olympic athlete and don’t have the sponsorships or support to train like one

24—because I’m just so darn counter-culture

25—sugar cookies

26—I shouldn’t have to decline invitations to restaurants because I know I will throw up my dinner

27—guys don’t really notice who’s skinny and not—they notice when you love yourself

28—to spend a day being in every moment without worrying about poundage

29—to stop telling myself that I’m more happy when I’m not healthy

30—I AM DIVINE. So are you. Love yourself just how you are.

Asana, Body Image, Bulimia, character study, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Mindfulness, mountains, poverty, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

i just am

I struggle. I’m the least flexible yoga teacher I know. I’ve gained 30 pounds in the past few months and I can see my swollen belly poking out further than my hips or pubic bone creating a puff in high waisted jeans. I no longer have a concave area in my chest and cannot see the length of my backbone. You cannot see my ribs. To me, these are struggles–yet when I look at life and all its offerings–these are not struggles.  But ego sets in… I feel a sinking feeling in my stomach and want to squeeze something so hard, squeeze the stress and pounds out of my body like dough falling out of a tube. That’s the funny thing about body dysmorphia and self-revulsion—it’s never enough, I am never enough. I really have to work every day to stop this resounding vibration that I send to myself.  I am not a victim.  You are not a victim.  We are all so big.

But, I find the constant re-emergence of this theme—my education is not enough, i am not enough at my job, my yoga classes are not enough–like a lighthouse spinning round and round yet not protecting me from any rocky beach. I don’t pack a full house in my yoga classes but choose to teach slow times because of the fear of failure in a popular night class. I hold on to comments forever that worry me–like hints of selfishness or detachment or that I think I’m more evolved than others and I realize I do spend so much time thinking about myself in space.  Ego sets in.

What I find in others to bother to fret about is what I have not integrated about myself—I can be hard to get along with, I can be hard to supervise. I can be any crappy thing that any other person can be. We can all be self-involved. Sometimes, we need to be. And through the freedom of yoga, I learn that I am divine and self-involvement is universal involvement—let go of separation and know that what you do for you will in turn be given to the universe.

Yoga attracts those who have had to overcome huge personal mountains and I don’t expect us all to live in love and light. That’s not how it works. But I am hopeful for understanding, for integration. That person over there, that studio here, that yucky feeling inside, that crappy weather outside—that is you, that is me. I’ve had all these experiences and my weight will ebb and flow and my life will ebb and flow. This is mantra for myself and for everyone else—I just am.

 

I do a lot of crummy things, and I do a lot of beautiful things, and I’m neither good nor evil, I just am. There is good, and there is evil, and here I am.
-Ram Dass