cait +tiff


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C / two things I learned yesterday

I have been taking meditation classes for the past few months. It’s been helpful to have a class every week that helps me be less of a spaz while I am going through a bunch of transitions in life. (Note: transitions take a damn long time.) I am taking a mindfulness series at The Den, which is a little haven of beautiful things and nice people, right near Mood fabrics on LaBrea. The class is taught by Heather Prete, who is the kind of wonderful that people pretend to be. If she started a cult, I would be first in line to drink the Koolaid.

Anyway, the classes are wonderful, and though I rarely feel like I am “doing it right” I am loving it, and the practice has brought a lot of good stuff into my bouncy brain. We just started a new series last night, and the class focus was on equanimity.

I am going to be honest here, I didn’t really know what equanimity was until last night. It’s basically the ability to keep a balanced state of mind, despite the conditions around you. You are able to accept what is, but not in a way that you ignore it, or avoid it. You can still have a discerning mind, and have opinions on the issue at hand, but you keep it together. It’s the ability to accept the situation without adding more layers of stress to it. This definition is clearly from my class notes.

This is kind of a hard one for me, because I love to judge my judgements, and I pile all kinds of stuff on top of seemingly simple issues. It’s my favorite. During the class, Heather said something that really works for me.

“Everything is perfect, just as it is, and it could use a lot of improvement.”

This was said by someone, whose name I forgot to write down.
I constantly feel like I am behind on my life. Switching careers in your 30’s is not a great way to feel “caught up.” When I think about it, and I am feeling rational, I know that there is nothing to catch up on, and there is no place that I am “supposed” to be. When I am NOT feeling logical, I compare myself to others, feel like I have wasted my life making other people happy and now I am looking for work at 33 and everyone else is like 5 and went to art school and is better than me and they have a thigh gap and I maybe this haircut wasn’t the best idea and how the hell do you write a cover letter and this is what a spiral looks like. Ta-da!
I like this quote because its a linear way of resetting my brain, that I am where I am supposed to be, that I am not running late on my life, that I’m not doing it wrong.
The other thing that was said that really stuck with me was this:

“When we lose our equanimity and become deregulated, it means something needs attention.”
Heather said this, and it’s basically a way of saying “THANK YOU,  FOR THE POWER TO LOSE MY SHIT.” That’s how I took it, at least. When we become deregulated and feel overwhelmed, it’s our brain poking us in the face and saying “Hey, dummy. Stop it, I don’t like that.” Then your balanced, chill brain can be like “Oh hi, spaz brain, I see you there. I smell what you are stepping in, and I am going to take care of it.” So while I can try to stay equanimous (new word, 5 points!), listening to how you feel is also super important and your emotions are sort of a warning system for physical or emotional danger.
I am not totally sure if that all made sense or not, but it was super helpful to me.
Love, California Cait, who has totally buried herself in every cliché and is going to do pilates and drink green juice now. Maybe yoga later, who knows?
caitsig


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C / LA top 5 for February

la-old

Photo by Barry Feinstein 

When I moved to LA, I promised myself I would take advantage of all the cool stuff it has to offer. I was going to go see art, go to live music, and really get involved in the neighborhood. Instead, I know a lot about Netflix and have really enjoyed the view of the park from my window.

In an effort to get out of this ridiculous, wasteful rut, I have signed up for yoga, become a member at a museum, and I am making friends with the nice ladies at the juice shop. I am starting to carve out my little life here, and it’s important to me that this little life is filled with the things that I was (constantly) complaining about missing in Cambodia.

My favorite things in February are:

  1. The basics class at Urth Yoga, with Ivette. I love yoga, and have been doing it pretty regularly since college. This class has me making my schedule around it, because of the amazing teacher. For each class, there is a specific message/intention/vibe that she focuses on, and weaves in throughout the practice. It ends up feeling a little bit like stretchy therapy.
  2. Cool Haus ice cream sandwiches. You know when people find out about something delicious but unhealthy, and then they say they wish they didn’t know about it? That does not apply here. These are so delicious, and make me so happy, that the endorphins released into my body while I am eating them, actually sword fight the sugar, fat, and whatever else makes these little bitches so amazing. It also happens to be a woman-owned company and they started their empire out of a truck.
  3. Echo Park lake. Every third photo on my phone is of the lake. I spend most of my mornings walking around it, and trying to figure out which dogs I want to steal legally adopt in the future. It’s full of every kind of person, and at night the taco trucks a vendors line the park and the whole neighborhood shows up.
  4. LACMA. I have a membership here (super cool holiday gift) and I have been trying to go as often as possible. It’s a massive space, with a number of different building and all kinds of art. They rotate the exhibitions pretty regularly, and recently took down the “spaghetti” which is actually the Jesús Rafael Soto piece,”Penetrable.” When they were taking it down last week, they gave pieces of the spaghetti away, and I got one! Now I have a dirty yellow tube in my kitchen, and it counts as art.
  5. The Den MeditationSo, I have never been able to meditate, and I don’t think I have ever really been in the place to try. When I arrived in LA, my brain was the equivalent of emotional scrambled eggs. There has been a lot going on in my brain and heart, and when these classes were suggested to me, I was like, “okay, hippie.” But then I started going, and it turns out, carving out time to be kind to yourself and fully address things that stress you out, is healthy. I am doing classes on mindfulness and self compassion and it feels pretty good to be slightly less of an asshole to myself. Who knew?

So that’s my top five for the month. Because I am such a newb in town, I wouldn’t dream of doing a city guide or anything like that. But I will be doing this little top 5 every month to share what is going on in my world.

Big hugs!

caitsig