I am so excited to be launching a brand new program on May 1, 2013! The graphics are in (thanks to fiverr.com), I have the domain redirect working (thanks to Go Daddy support – say what you will, but they helped me really fast!) I so want to spill but I now know better! Stay tuned!!
On April 15, 2013, my very first article for The Huffington Post was published. I hope you will stop by and read it. Share it. Comment on it even!
I looked around the family room for things to break — a crystal vase, a porcelain figurine, a framed picture of my husband. He told me had been having an affair and it had been going on for nearly two years. After nineteen years of marriage, I knew I had to ditch the cheat. I married him when I was nineteen. He was all I knew and I had carefully crafted a life that looked perfect on the outside — two incomes, two kids, two cars, a dog, a cat, a comfortable life — and in the blink of an eye it all fell apart. I felt crushed, broken, and kicked to the curb as if I was yesterday’s garbage.
Two weeks ago I had my first private lesson in the gentle art of Brazilian Jui-Jitsu. I wanted to learn 3 things:
1. How to get from cross eyed to mount
2. What’s my objective when I’m in guard
3. What’s my objective when I have someone in guard
Basically – how do I defend myself, how do I control my opponent, and how do I finish.
Sensei Laura told me it comes down to 3 basic principles:
Last Monday I practiced what I learned and boy did I surprise myself when I went from cross eyed to mount with ease. The technique worked without me expending tons of energy or muscling through it.
And I learned a few new things from Professor Kevin Landry. Thumbs up. Palms up. Elbows in. Don’t grab the Gi (which makes me giggle because my grand kids call me Gi – so don’t grab me…I might kick you or something!)
Back to what I learned…
If you control your opponent’s head, you have 40% control. Control the hips and you have 60% control. It’s not about strength. Be heavy. Effortless effort.
I’m loving this practice!
Another nor’easter barreled its way up the east coast yesterday. Enough of a storm to create frantic worry on my end. Would I get out of New Hampshire, make my connection at Newark, and arrive in Denver as planned?
My youngest daughter, Christina, lives in Denver. My oldest daughter, Jessica, lives in Dublin, Ireland. Anytime my girlies are in the same place at the same time, you can bet mama bear wants to be there, too. Last November, Jessica emailed me confirmation of her travel itinerary from Dublin to Denver. I made travel arrangements for my husband, Richard, and myself the same day.
I cashed in points from my American Express card and bought two tickets to Denver and a rental car. I made reservations at Denver’s top rated B&B, Castle Marne. And then I waited. And waited. I even started my own countdown clock. Nah. I didn’t look forward to this trip at all.
Two days ago the dire weather forecasts started pouring in. Heavy wet snow! High winds! Terrible travel conditions! Downed power lines! Acccck!
I tried not to pay attention. I asked everyone to send good mojo, positive vibes, and prayers to Mother Nature for no disruption to my travel plans. I desperately wanted complete and total control of the weather. Nothing was going to keep this mama from her bear cubs. Not even heavy wet snow.
Yesterday I ignored the weather forecast updates except for a brief chat with Kevin Skurupa, one of the meteorologists at WMUR, on Facebook. I asked him specifically about any delay to my travel. He told me I’d get out of Manchester just fine. Newark was a little iffy with predicted wind gusts of 35-40 mph. Oh goody.
Work kept me busy right up til noon. As soon as my clock chimed 12, I was officially on vacation. I got my nails done. I dropped Edgar off at The Barking Dog. I cleaned the kitchen and folded laundry. I got my hair done. In between I kept checking to see if my flights would be canceled. I called United twice. I thought about re-routing through Chicago but that would have cost a small fortune and the loss of most of the day in Denver once I arrived. No matter how much I worried and fretted about the nor’easter, nothing changed.
Worry, you see, has power and authority over absolutely nothing.
I finished packing. I watched ” The Bounty,” starring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins. The movie was made 29 years ago…when Mel Gibson was every girl’s Hollywood heart throb…long before he went off the deep end. Wow. The movie was made the same year Jessica was born. Now I feel old!
I didn’t get much sleep last night. Three hours maybe. My alarm went off at 3:55 AM. Richard was already up, showered, and ready to go. His early morning rise and shine-ness still eludes me. He made me coffee while I showered.
We got to the airport in plenty of time for a 6:09 departure. The slower than molasses speed at which the United counter was moving baffled me. I checked us in at the kiosk and we waited and waited and waited to get our bags checked…only to be told by one grumpy guss that our flight was now restricted and we couldn’t check our bags. Excuse me? I just paid you $50 to check my bags.
Thankfully, the other agent wasn’t so grumpy made a quick call to our departure gate. She told me to get in line for security while Richard waited for her to tag our bags.
We left Manchester 45 minutes late, but no worries. I’ll patiently wait to have the plane de-iced. While the snow fell in heavy wet flakes, the first leg of our journey was uneventful.
We landed in Newark with just enough time to take the bus from terminal A to terminal C. There was no time to grab coffee and barely enough time to pee.
We boarded our flight to Denver and then waited and waited and waited. Our 9AM departure turned into 10 AM. Once the plane was de-iced we waited in Newark’s all too familiar aircraft traffic jam. You don’t notice the traffic until your plane is on the runway and you look out the window and count. 20 more airplanes all stacked in a single file column.
But takeoff we did! And as I write this we’re just over Chicago, half way to Denver, flying at 38,000 feet. It’s a balmy -83F outside my window. And my husband is using my shoulder as a pillow. We’ll arrive in Denver around noon.
All that worry and fretting and wringing of hands was nothing more than wasted time and energy. It didn’t change a thing.
Last night I learned that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a lot like my yoga practice. It’s the quest to find the balance between effort (steera) and ease (sukha). I’m one of those classic over-achievers. I’m full on effort, muscling my way through class, giving 110% and collapsing as soon as I’m done. Finding my balance between effort and ease is like pushing all the way to my edge and then backing off just a bit. My challenge is to find the sweet spot where I’m not struggling and waking up the next morning feeling like I’ve been flattened like a pancake. Last night I may have found it. At the very least, a light bulb twinkled on.
So what was different about last night’s BJJ class? I trained with the guys instead of the ladies. Class moved at a much faster pace (honestly, I thought I was done after the warm-up!) and class was 15 minutes longer than Monday night’s class. I learned leverage – yes, I can toss a 200lb man to the ground. Not very gracefully yet, but I can do it. I also learned how to break free from a head-lock by rolling a 200lb man over me so that I’m in a better position to go for the choke.
I learned that training with the guys isn’t so scary. My head played that game with me. In fact, they were very nice and welcoming. Honestly, what was I expecting? My training partner was awesome and he talked me through a lot of what we learned. The guys I drilled with at the end of class, all higher ranks, told me that I have really good shoulder pressure. I was able to keep one guy from turning towards me. Me? I’m stronger than I think I am.
I also drilled with Professor. That was nerve wracking because I know so very little but he made me feel successful. I felt really good after class. I felt a little more capable than I thought I was. Like yoga, BJJ is one of those ever evolving, learning, growing, mastering, learning again arts. And sometimes I learn even more off the mats than on. My friend, Laurie, gave me a tip that she learned when going for the choke – “make sure your thumbs touch because it brings your elbows together.” When you can stack bone on bone, you don’t have to exert so much muscle and power to accomplish the objective. That’s the balance between effort and ease.
This morning when I woke up I didn’t ache. My muscles weren’t screaming at me. My hair didn’t hurt and I wasn’t exhausted. In fact, I felt like I could easily take on either a Muay Thai or a BJJ class. Now that’s progress!