I Drank The Self-Improvement Kool-Aid

Over the past two years, I read both of the Marie Kondo books, I listened to hours of The Dave Ramsey Show, and I followed every spoken/written word of The Minimalists. I even went to a Tiny House show at my local convention center.

The Minimalists

I found myself overwhelmed with “stuff” in 2014 when one of my grandmothers died and the other one left her house permanently to move into a nursing home.

After one garage sale and dozens of trips to the thrift store/Salvation Army to donate my “stuff”, I felt like I had more control over my household. My husband had already been a minimalist and his way had rubbed off on me. But I came from a hoarder mother, a lovely woman who is a packrat to the umpth degree.

I have been dissatisified with my career and place of work since 2014, and no amount of Dave Ramsey books read along with my husband or purging of my closet Kondo-style could spark the joy within me. Hell, even weekly weekend trips to the lake to camp in my parents’ RV was just a Band-Aid to the hurt within. While bawling at an Applebee’s one night into my merlot, my husband suggested I go back to school. I nearly cussed him out until he clarified what kind of school, law school.

I enrolled and was accepted in August of 2016 into my 1L year of law school. Three classes a week at night after work has become quite the balancing act. Lest we forget I have a kindergartener, two stepkids, and a household to run (I take care of all the pets, all the time).

But somehow, I’m surviving! It’s all about time management; carving out time for study, compartmentalizing time with friends & family too. I made the Dean’s List my first semester and was inducted into the law school’s Honor Society. All of my professors have told me they believe I have what it takes to pass the bar exam on the first try.

What law school has really taught me, so far, isn’t just torts, civil procedure, and legal writing. I’ve also learned how to improve my mind and my outlook on life. I’ve been a yogi since 1999, and I gave up teaching nighttime yoga classes at the local gym to start law school.

While I’ve been sitting on my ass studying, it makes me long for the rubbery smell of the yoga mat and the heart-pounding, adrenaline rush of a run on the track. I have not neglected these close friends because time management allows me to schedule it in using the appropriate discipline.

Exercise aside, the self-improvement aspect that law school has manifested within me is the ability to talk to people, to listen better, to have more confidence, and to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I will not always be doomed to walk down the halls of an asbestos-filled (I’m assuming) rickety government building to a career that has betrayed me while I’ve outgrown it.

Aside from studying daily for law school courses, I’ve also taken up reading again for pleasure, which was something I did not have time to do my first semester. I’ve gone through a bunch of John Grisham paperbacks and other books that have been collecting dust in my house. Since I’m a reformed hoarder myself (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree), I have looked at the myriad of books I’ve amassed from the thrift store and asked myself the qualifying question: “Does this book add value to my life?”-The Minimalists. Sometimes I ask it the Marie Kondo question: “Does this spark joy?”

I have purged so many books by leaving them at the RV Park’s revolving library and by trying to resell them at 2nd & Charles. There are some books I just ain’t gonna read. Mostly, I have a lot of reference books and nonfiction too, especially yoga-related ones. I have purged a third of my yoga books, kept my favorites on my nightstand, and the other 3rd are upstairs on the bookshelf still.

I did the unthinkable by befriending a law professor. We got to know each other so well in fact, that he gifted me all of his bar-prep books (a HUGE stack of them) and a bar-prep board game as well. I also inherited all of my husband’s old law books (he’s an attorney too), some of which are very outdated but how much does the law really change? I have just accepted the fact that my house will be overflowing with legal books and bar-prep manuals for the next 4 years. Le sigh!

Despite purging books, I have also accepted the fact that I am a DVD junkie. Heck, ya gotta collect something! We have a closet of DVDs, and we actually still watch 95% of them on rotation. They are not collecting dust or wasting space; my family loves movies. If I ever get a tiny house, I will have a storage shed just for movies (and some of my CDs too). And no, I don’t want to put them in the cloud. My son and I like to read the boxes and prioritize them in the order we are going to watch them. Plus I loan out movies to my family and friends.

Marie Kondo

Next, I have pared down my closet so much in the past two years, it’s like I am finally starting to get a capsule wardrobe. I stick with classic pieces in black, gray, navy, white, and occasionally red. I am loyal to brands that fit well and last for decades like LL Bean, Lululemon (more on them later), and Lilly Pullitzer. My law school classmates and I once discussed how we have culled a “uniform” to one day wear once we practice law. I’m trying to evolve my uniform now to wear to the job that I’m hanging onto as sort of a paid internship (it sounds better in my head). If something is ugly, I purge it. If it’s too boob-tight, it gets tossed too. My household has a rotating purge box designated for charity donation.

My mom has gotten better lately and is no longer a hoarder; I’d like to think some of my minimalism has rubbed off on her. My dad has never struck me as a pack-rat, which raises the question, Are men just natural-born minimalists? My son deviates from that mold because his room is a constant wreck, overflowing with plastic toys, books, mismatched socks, and costumes. But I learned from The Minimalists that you cannot convert someone to the lifestyle, nor can you purge his/her possessions because that is just plain immoral.

I am praying my dream comes true soon, which is that my husband gets a better paying attorney job that would enable me to quit my day job. Then I can focus on running my household into minimalist shape while being the mom I want to be, and picking up an extra law class. I realize that I cannot will this dream to happen, but the hope of it is keeping my motivation running. I no longer want to be another faceless cog in the wheel of a machine that has destroyed the very kefi (Greek word for joy) of my soul. I long for a simpler life, a life focused on family, academia, and friends.

LULU-Logo-1

Along my intellectual journey,I heard about one of my favorite brands, Lululemon, and what they do to their employees. My first experience with Lululemon was being in Yoga Teacher Training in 2012 wondering why all the rich students were wearing nice clothes and using pretty yoga mats with the Omega Ω symbol on them. By the time I could actually afford to shop there, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the staff was and that I got a Yoga-Teacher discount! Even on clearance! Years later, I’m still using their invincible mats and wearing the same pieces of clothing I bought on day 1. My husband last week read me a Facebook article about Lululemon, which explained how the staff is encouraged to “clear” out negative emotions (much like Scientologists are audited). Lululemoners are required to read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” for the pseudo-libertarian philosophies therein on self-improvement. They have sweat-dates where they get to attend workout classes with their coworkers, and their ambitions are fostered, not shut down (like when you work for the government—me).

Last week alone, two of my good friends moved away; one got a job at a prestigious law firm two hours south, and the other was a coworker who was promoted across the state. This left a hole which I soon healed with detachment. I have moved on using the Lululemon method: I talked about my feelings, I worked out, and I started reading “Atlas Shrugged.” Seriously, I bought it yesterday.

So in tying this article together, the point is that I am constantly in a state of self-improvement. I drank the Kool-Aid and am invested in myself. My dreams aren’t met yet, but I’m working on them as a work in progress. My social life is pretty great, hanging out with like-minded law students/people in the legal profession. I still get to see my sorority sisters from college, and I have a cool role in my church. I’m the greeter at the door, but it feels like I’m a bouncer so it’s fun.

If you need anything from me, I will be memorizing laws, reading Randian philosophies and working on my Warrior 2 out in the woods of the RV park. Who is John Galt?

Ayn Rand lululemon bag

__________________________________________________________________The Minimalists

“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time…A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will. Solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows.”—Henry David Thoreau, “Walden”

 

Catch me on Instagram @yogalawgothygram and Tweet me @marissamacabre

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Detachment Can Hurt, But Hanging On Smarts Worse

imageI love my baby toe’s toenail. But I believe we are going to have to depart from each other soon. Parting is such sweet sorrow. AND IT HURTS LIKE A MOTHERCLUCKER.

Last night while teaching yoga, my toenail got caught on the edge of my yoga mat during an intense pose. The snagging pulled off most of my toenail except for where it’s still attached at the quick. I slapped a bandage on there and prayed I won’t get an infection. The gel nail polish craze has really toughed up the nail bed by drying it out, which also makes it easier to detach from the tiny toe.

For the past few months, I have been going through some spiritual turmoil in a few areas of my life. Not with my marriage or health, but another aspect. After trying hard and throwing everything at the wall, hoping it sticks like al dente spaghetti, my efforts were failing me. I have had to GIVE. UP. ON. MY. GOAL. I did so kicking and screaming, especially coming to a head around my 33rd birthday last week.

I’ve detached, knowing that the change I sought after wasn’t meant to be. (My body accepted the resignation of what I failed to achieve, and I caught strep throat.)

This notion isn’t defeatist or depressing, just realistic. If you make a good effort to change something in your life and you could not achieve, hang up your hat. Tuck your boots under the bed. You gave it your best effort. Detach from the pain and suffering of change, even if it was all in your head. Just let it go. Make the best of the current situation. Be consciously mindful living in the moment without worry.

One of my clients has tried very hard to keep her marriage afloat, after months of counseling and negotiating with her agrieved husband. She has finally decided to throw in the towel and file for divorce. Honey, I’ve been there. Sometimes that’s all you can do. We have to detach from the romantic idealist hope to being in a marriage that is not working. It’s best to just end it, get closure, and form a new dream.

I find solace in prayer, talking to friends, throwing myself into work, yoga and exercise. I am finally okay to move on now. Because when God closes a door, He opens a window. I’m sick of keeping that window latch locked! It’s time to cut my losses and to move on. Let’s do this. PEACE.

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“Pursue some path, however narrow or crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”-Henry David Thoreau

Achieve Inner Peace By Simplifying Your [Yoga] Routine

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I am no stranger to yoga. I teach yoga every Monday night after my day job ends once I commute across town to my local gym. Lately, I’ve really been complicating things, feeling as though I’ve been serving two masters. Those ambivalent forces are both ego and inner peace.

In Yoga Teacher Training back in 2012, I basically learned how to teach the Primary Series of staunch Ashtanga Yoga inside and out. As militant as it can be, it’s an easy fall back pattern in which to teach a class, especially if you begin with a Sun Salutations warm-up.

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However, with my aging body, Ashtanga just pisses me off. I want to complete the majority of the poses (and teach them) when my ego is in control of my mind, body, and spirit. People, this is not a good way to be! One of the main goals of the eight-limbed yoga path is to escape one’s detrimental ego.

Instead, I have found solace in Kundalini yoga. I achieve my workouts through bicycling, hiking, running, power walking with my family, and jumping on our mini trampoline. Hell, some days at the office I run around so much I know I achieve my cardio workout. So, do I still need to come home after clocking in a 10 hour day at the office only to beat myself up on the yoga mat with Ashtanga? No!

Kundalini is more spiritual and definitely more relaxing. Some of the kriyas (mini-workout sets) can involve hard breathing and strenuous working out causing cardio to occur. But overall, Kundalini feels like a date with a spa, albeit on my yoga mat. I even have a white fur rug I put onto of my lululemon mat to stimulate that pure white energy from the great beyond. I practice my Kundalini workout in my Zen room, which is painted white and sparsely decorated.

Tonight, I was pretty tired after a long day of work training and I did not want a hard workout. I turned on my smart phone’s YouTube app and loaded my usual Tibetan Singing Bowls 9 hour “song” video. But then I realized that there was a fresh storm outside, complete with night thunder and rain pelting my window. Talk about an electrical charge from Mother Nature!

The minimalist in me turned off the electronic device and cracked the window. I soaked in the natural sound of the storm while doing my Kundalini yoga “workout” tonight. Thunder and lightning can really give the conscious yogi a natural high!

If something is not bringing you joy, simplify until you find your inner peace. For me, that comes in the form of Kundalini yoga instead of Ashtanga, Bikram, or other forms of Hatha yoga. And why play artificial sounds when I can just tune into the natural music of nature?!

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“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.” -Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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Drop It Like It’s Toxic: A Journey About Ditching Membership in a Time-Consuming, Horrible Organization

Bye, Felicia!SaM“Others—as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders—serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the Devil, without intending it, as God.”- Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

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-When one has been wronged by an organization, where are the gatekeepers?

-At what point is it the final straw to make a club member quit for good?

-Don’t confuse staying busy with being a socialite.

-Minimalism is walking away from a toxic organization that brings you pain, freeing up your time.

-Being frugal is quitting a bad club and counting the money you’ve saved.

 

Once upon a time while the economy was crumbling in 2008, I started a new job. I cannot tell you what I do or where I work specifically, but the occupation can be unionized. That same year I began my work, I joined an organization, a union with collective bargaining abilities. But more than anything, it was a social club. Henceforth, I shall refer to it as “the club” so I won’t blow the cover on the true organization for legal purposes.

The only truly active member from my office on the local level was our since-retired geriatric transgender coworker I’ll call for all intents and purposes Odin. I had been warned to turn down Odin’s advances on joining the club, yet I eventually succumbed to peer pressure with a group of others my age.

By 2009, Odin had talked me into attending the national convention of the club in Long Beach, California. The trip was planned for August, and I brought my new fiancé along with me to make it a working vacation. I would attend meetings and seminars by day; by evening, we could explore LBC and even L.A., a train ride away. That trip probably cost me a whopping $1,500.00; my fiancé, who is now my husband, was a fresh-out-the-gate lawyer without much income. We scraped together funds to have an amazing trip anyway! We even met a few celebrities, and SoCal proved to be exactly how we had imagined it.

Back to the grind, the club realized they had done right by making me a delegate for the convention, and in October, they voted me in as the 2nd Vice President for 2010. This meant I would attend the first Monday of the month meetings, pay attention, recruit new club members, attend community events by manning the club table, attend state conventions each spring, and attend national conventions on odd years.

Dave and I made it the first year of marriage with the club sneaking its way into our schedule and pocketbooks. Those hotel rooms for conventions didn’t come cheap, and the airplane tickets were out of pocket only, never reimbursed.

The drive to the club meetings wasn’t so bad at first, yet I still had to buy supper out first for both of us. The meetings started at 7 and rarely fed the clan. Also, club membership was about $50 a year, a price I paid, not Dave.

Fall of 2010 rolled around, and I became pregnant with our son Sam. This didn’t stop me! I attended every meeting except for the one in May of 2011 in which I gave birth. We even went to the state convention with me pregnant and uncomfortable. Dave played cards and drank while I did prenatal yoga in the hotel gym and dipped in the pool. By this time, I was our local club’s Vice President.

Once Sam was born, we still went to meetings, infant in tow! Dave became involved in the auxiliary faction of the club and had his own meetings next door on first Mondays. We became heavily entrenched in the team spirit and doctrine of the club. Sam came with us to the summer 2011 convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Everyone in the club statewide expected to see me with my two hunky sidekicks, husband and son.

In 2012, my family bought a newer, larger house and our budget became tighter; we still hadn’t sold the previous one. (Stupid, rookie mistake!!!!! I would downsize in a heartbeat if I could back into the smaller, cheaper house, but it has renters in it now. This topic is for a future article.) Yet, we still went to the spring state convention and almost never missed a monthly meeting. I had a panic attack when I went with my parents to the beach during the October election meeting. Someone dared run against me! She ended up losing by one vote. I stayed Vice President by the skin of my teeth.

None of my coworkers attended meetings anymore except for Odin. They all thought I was so weird to be travelling with such a social outcast across the country during my free time!

Not only did we upgrade our home in 2012, but I also became a yoga teacher. This new skill I had invested in gave me confidence and multi-dimensionality that I wasn’t getting from my day job or the club. And all the old heads of the club expressed that I was strange for taking such a liking to yoga!

To break it down, the club on a national level is not very diverse. It’s all old white men who are pretty much retired; there’s only one black man in an office in the national club level. Females are forbidden as a written rule. So are other minorities and gays.

In our local club level, I was the only true female with an office. All were white, as they had gotten rid of the only African American guy, much to my chagrin. They were all retired or over 50. I was in my 20’s, working, and female.

On a state level, to this day there exists no females on the board as officers and no minorities. All are retirement age or older. All are Republicans and Christians. I am not going into a religious or political diatribe, just showing the statistics.

During the state conventions, I found myself talking to the same people statewide, and mostly members’ wives. Dave had to be by my side or the male members would think I was flirting. We drank quite a bit and usually Sam would spend the night with one of his grandmothers, or he would be with us at the hotel, being watched by some of the older ladies. All of the parties were at the hotel’s conference rooms, which made it awfully convenient to party on the club’s dime.

But that’ s not why I joined. I wanted to belong. My sorority days ended in 2005 when I graduated from college. I felt the need for a club of like-minded individuals to accept me into their tribe.

Having a small child, a day job, a husband with a day job, and a yoga hobby, I found it suddenly unbearable to motivate myself to attend meetings. We still trucked on though, the three of us, eating out dinner and drinking beer before each first Monday meeting. The drive from my new house to the civic center where the club rented a monthly room was a 45 minute drive. And it was getting very late at night when we returned home! Poor Sam! Small children shouldn’t be just coming home at nine o’clock at night from the hustle and bustle of club meetings.

When 2013 rolled around the corner, the national convention was in Cincinnati, OH. The three of us had a grand time, especially at the zoo event where the club rented the whole zoo and had live music! But that trip was especially expensive. My purse strings were starting to feel the burn by then.

After the trip, I came back home and realized how dissatisfied I had become with the club on a local, state, and national level. Something just ate away at me, and it wasn’t purely the financial aspect.

Meetings were getting worse; one of the main officers in our local club was interrupting a lot. He was over 70 and getting senile; he could not control his outbursts during the meetings. Every. Single. Meeting. I began to completely loathe his existence. He had a cane and tried to hit Sam with it once. I told him if he ever touched my child, I would take his cane and shove it down his throat. You don’t mess with my baby.

My position as VP made me sit at the head table before the club members at each meeting, to the left of the President. He would never ask my opinion, never call me, never take me seriously. He and the other 3 members at the head table were all war vets over 60. He didn’t believe I belonged in my chosen profession in the first place, let alone in the club as VP!

He was absent a lot, touring junk shows with his wife in an RV, so I was left to run the meetings frequently. Having to initiate new members into the club after drinking a pitcher of beer at the pizza parlor before the meeting was SOOOO MUCH FUN! Beer was the only thing to numb my hatred towards the senile cane member, the president, and several others. I was not in their old boys’ club!!

Something had to be done. Over Christmas break, I penned a letter to my state’s ACLU chapter about the gross discrimination and conspicuous disparity in gender/age/color in the club. However, I NEVER mailed the letter. It was just to vent and to share with a few unaffiliated friends. I saved a copy though for fun and to serve as a reminder of how sick things had gotten on a local and state level.

To quote myself, “Throughout the week [at national conventions], one can stand at the front of the large auditoriums and count just a handful of blacks and females present at the meetings. And if any members are LGBT, they have to keep it on the hush….A transgender, Wiccan veteran member was nominated for member of the year at the state convention, but was blatantly voted against by the majority. She lost to a white male officer who had only been in the club for a year. The local lodge of which I am a member/executive officer is very obviously xenophobic…The President makes snide comments aloud during the meetings to target me, the only female on the executive board. He refuses to let me sign any formal document and never asks my opinions or updates during officers’ reports….”

I also referred to the senile cane-carrying member in my letter, outlining how he recounts awful pre-Civil Rights era stories without sensitivity to those different from him.

I ended the letter talking about how the club doesn’t take to change very well, locally, statewide, or nationally. I said I was afraid to report the sexist, racist, ageist, homophobic allegations of abuse because of the repercussions I would face. And that it felt like a bastardized branch of a Masonic Lodge, especially with Big Brother watching out for favorites and damning the diverse member of the body.

Then 2014 happened. I told my local club I either wanted out or to run for office on the state level. They put me up to it. I raised campaign funds, had t-shirts made with my name, pens made with my name, and other gimmicks to pass out before state convention meetings. I made signs, took publicity photos of myself, and even had Sam and Dave campaigning for me.

I lost by like, 10 votes out of 200. The incumbent who won cried. I made a grown man cry! He knew he could’ve lost to me. This campaign was a wakeup call to the officials in the club!

Instead of wanting to be more inclusive of different people, the good old boys club grew stronger and more powerful to beat. They banded together and we got excluded.

Simultaneously, in mid-2014, I started teaching yoga on Monday nights and could not break away much from first Monday local club meetings. I was making money instead of spending money on gas and expensive dinners before meetings.

I started dis-branding myself as a member, and held myself out more as a yoga teacher. Surprisingly, I was voted on as Member of the Year 2014 in the local club.

When I was presented as a candidate in 2015 at the state convention in March against 5 other people for the same spot statewide, I lost to a man. To several men, actually. I didn’t even get runner up or honorable mention!! No female did. No one of a diverse nature did. Just older white men.

I got pissed off too at the 2015 convention by the friction between those actually running against each other for offices. They played nasty and ran dirty campaigns. I also started noticing cliques emerging statewide and wondered, WHAT DO I HAVE IN COMMON WITH THIS PEOPLE?! Then one of the auxiliary cows (wife of a club member) asked if I was pregnant because I was wearing a sundress over leggings. She asked it very loudly while I was holding an obvious beer can. I was like, NO!! NEVER HAVING ANYMORE CHILDREN. MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN FIXED. DIDN’T YOUR MOTHER EVER TEACH YOU THAT’S RUDE TO ASK ANOTHER WOMAN?

I was livid. I was tired. I was quitting. Our local club treasurer was also trying to charge me extra for registration that he did not charge the male members from our club who had attended the state convention. Why me?

The final straw came by mail in October of 2015. I received a letter in the mail from the state president telling me I was kicked off my two state committees because I had not been attending local club meetings. Never mind the yoga. Never mind the small child. Never mind how hard work had gotten by day. Never mind my budget, or that my hubby had taken a corporate job over running his own law firm.

I was sick with anger. I remember lying in my front yard on a yoga mat while my husband was inside watching college football. I was on the phone with my mom. She told me it wasn’t that important. What was I trying to prove? Why was I trying to be so involved? I did enough. I had enough. Let it go. Move on. Minimalize my time.

Dave agreed. My best friend Beth agreed and told me straight up the club was toxic. “Cut out the toxic!” she said over and over like a mantra.

I did. And I never looked back. I unfriended hundreds of club members on Facebook, which was freeing!

I added up all the money I saved from membership dues, monthly meetings in gas/food, hotel rooms, plane tickets, and other expenses. Dave and I saved $5,000.00 by quitting when we did!

Being frugal is being a steward of your finances and cutting out unnecessary organizations.

Being a minimalist is letting go extra clutter that takes up space and time.

Being a yogi, I focused on teaching yoga every Monday night, LOVING my trade, and NEVER missing the first Monday meetings.

Being wise, I learned to let go of the toxic.

But I still wish there had been a watchdog to report the club to for justice…..Nah. I’m just going to forgive them and continue moving on.

I’m ‘Enlightened’ by a Fictitious Yoga Teacher

In case you were wondering, I’ve been practicing yoga since around age 15 in the late ’90’s. I went through the Yoga Teacher Training 200 hour program in 2012 ,and I’ve been teaching ashtanga/kundalini in the evenings at my local gym one night a week to supplement my day job.

Yoga is a big part of who I am, but it doesn’t define me or my religious beliefs. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Henry David Thoreau talks quite a bit about yoga in Walden; he alludes to The Bhagavad Gita, The Vedas, and a handful of Hindu pantheon of gods. Even the Walden Pond water was outsourced to parts of India in the winter time via ice blocks to resupply the holy Ganges River. Yep, that puritan would’ve been great at doing some Hot Yoga in his Tiny House when the Concord, Massachusetts, summer heated things up a bit. Thoreau could have admired his svelte, yoga-toned body in the looking glass if he were a modern-day yogi. It seems we “modern-day yogis” are encapsulated with the external rewards of yoga alone and not the spiritual or existential benefits from which it originally stemmed.

Having said that, I too am guilty of pimping out my yoga practice as just exercise, and being over 30, I’m starting to develop body-image issues as I age. All it takes is a glance at Yoga Journal‘s cover or a stop in lululemon’s store to make me feel like a fat failure. And I’m a teacher. Yes, kids, this is what you get. Yoga teachers have issues with their bodies too.

Last night, I stumbled upon an episode of HBO’s Enlightened on Amazon Prime called “Sandy,” guest-starring Robin Wright. If you haven’t been living under a rock, you would know RW from The Princess Bride, Forrest Gump, and most recently Netflix’s House of Cards. enlightened sandy waving

On “Sandy,” RW was visiting the main character, Amy Jellicoe, who is played by the wonkily-lithe Laura Dern. Sandy flew into California for a yoga intensive seminar and she was staying at Amy’s house. The two ladies met in a Hawaiian rehab for people who had nervous breakdowns from stress. They reconnected on the episode and first off took to eat some organic vegan gelato while they shopped at a New Age holistic health food store, like all of us yogis do regularly. 🙂 Jk sorta…

2 friends walking.PNG thank you for the vegan gelato.PNG

2 friends shopping.PNG

Sandy’s character had been a government employee for over twenty years, but she suffered a mental breakdown from overpowering stress that comes with the job. She became a yoga teacher and masseuse as an alternative career change. I don’t blame her, but I would sure miss the government benefits!

Like all good yoga teachers do, Sandy gave a free class to Amy in her home. (Technically, it was Amy’s mother’s house because Amy’s character is broke from a divorce. Plus rehab put her $24,000 in debt. It sounds like our buddy Amy wasn’t too good at the whole frugaling and minimalism thing.)

In the episode, Sandy seems to be a minimalist, in dress, food, and deed. She lives her yoga teacher credo in all aspects of her life, living mindfully and consciously choosing to do right for her body. I wish I had that kind of discipline. She even makes delicious looking plant smoothies after lecturing Amy’s mom about eating too much processed food. Consequently, Sandy gets kicked out of Amy’s mom’s house for annoying her and being too hippy dippy.

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The whole episode struck a chord with me. I know that the episode is fiction but RW really carried off the character of Sandy as a yoga teacher. She embodied the “natural” yoga teacher look with little or no makeup and very simple clothes. She has very little accessories on, maybe a spiritual necklace and a rudraksha-beaded bracelet.

When she travelled via plane, Sandy only had one hippy-looking duffel bag in which she kept her purse and a yoga mat. How sparsely packed she was! A true minimalist can only hope to achieve this layer of ease when flying. Sandy’s only means of entertainment was a thick, leather journal, prescribed by rehab to keep up with her therapy. Dipstick Amy admitted she had not been journaling much since her re-entry into the normal, stressful world. She even attempts to sneak a peek at Sandy’s journal later on when she’s mad at her.

journaling

Spoiler: At the end of the episode, we find out that Sandy’s journal was filled with floral drawings and no heavy Dear-Diary entries.

Nevertheless, should we all strive to be more like Sandy when we travel? This fictitious yoga teacher didn’t get so jetlagged that she sprung for the airport hotdog or binged on local craft beers to help her sleep. Hell! she even tried to help Amy’s mom detox her own diet. Sandy wore the same jeans the whole episode with some airy, tunic tops or light yoga togs. I’ll bet Sandy didn’t even have a hefty makeup bag in her duffel bag, but rather some coconut oil and organic chapstick. A hairdryer? Forget about it. This yogi air-dried her tresses. Sandy truly embodied the “yoga teacher” look.

As for detachment? She nailed it. Departing from Amy didn’t make Sandy cry at all when she was dropped off at the airport, even though Amy wanted to text her and run after her like they were lovers or something. I guess it was a case of unrequited friendship.

Namaste, minimalist Sandy!

dropping off at the airport

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“It is desirable that a man be clad so simply that he can lay his hands on himself in the dark, and that he live in all respects so compactly and preparedly, that, if an enemy take the town, he can, like the old philosopher, walk out the gate empty-handed without anxiety.” -Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.” -Yogi Bhajan