I Don’t Believe in Resolutions

Photo by flickr user "Angle Torres."

Photo by flickr user “Angle Torres.”

Because I think starting a new year trying to “resolve” something is negative in connotation. Now, I do believe in setting goals. And if you do it right, your goals should build on successes or progress you made the previous year. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up to fail because you’re starting from square one (never a fun place). New goals for a new year should be all about momentum, continuing the GOOD things you’ve already done, taking them to the next level maybe–from a place where you’re already ahead of the pack. Doesn’t that sound so much better than making resolutions?

That all being said, here are my goals for 2015:

1. Get four short stories published–with pay. In 2013, my goal was to publish one story during the year, because it was the first year I started submitting my work publicly. Invidia was published that year. In 2014, I set a goal to publish two pieces, and I’m proud to report that I did publish two–Blood Melody and Give It Back. In 2015, my goal is four, because I already have two pieces accepted and lined up to be published. Two more pieces on top of that seems very realistic but also a bit of a stretch goal. Let’s do this.

2. Be more active. Notice how that goal doesn’t mention anything about a diet or losing weight? This is because I’ve identified that I need the happy endorphins released during exercise more than I need to be a size 2. I had a revelation the other day. I get depressed when I don’t have consistent physical activity in my life. That part I already knew, but the ephiphany was that I’m a little addicted to endorphins, because growing up, I was a competitive dancer. I was naturally doping myself up on an almost daily basis through pirouettes and pas de chats. When I don’t get a hit of endorphins at least two or three times a week, I lose energy, get moody, and past body image insecurities come back to haunt me. For my mental and emotional health in 2015, I need to be very conscious and intentional about exercise. Lucky for me, I found a kickass yoga studio in 2014 and I just purchased a Groupon for bellydance classes a couple weeks ago. I’m ready to stretch and shimmy myself to good health!

3. Read 40 books. I’m a better writer when I’m reading. I get inspired by those who’ve come before me. Sometimes, the writing style of the author I’m reading seeps into my writing, and that’s always an interesting experience that I tend to grow from. Most importantly, I’m exercising my brain. Reading isn’t a passive act. It keeps me sharp and engaged with the storytelling part of my brain. On top of all that, I genuinely enjoy it. When I carve out time for reading, I feel like I’m spoiling myself. In 2015, I deserve to be spoiled. And I’m already planning out my reading list. First up, Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman, Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, and The Carnal Prayer Mat by Li Yu.

4. Self publish a collection of short stories…or at least make a lot of headway toward this goal. This is the big one, kids! I’ve had an idea for a collection for over a year now. Recently, I talked to a good friend about it and she gave me some amazing ideas for art and the confidence boost I needed to decide it was about damn time to do this. My collection will need 12 short stories, two of which I have already crafted. So, 10 more stories to go. For this goal, I’m giving myself a little leniency. If I can’t crank out 10 stories that are totally worthy of this project by the end of 2015, I’ll publish in 2016. But I want to be intentional about my work and truly start to focus my creativity into this project. It’s time for a book. And the thought of it makes me happy and excited and ready to work.

Okay, those are my major goals for 2015, a continuation of everything I accomplished in 2014. And I’m not the least bit intimidated. Rather, I’m excited. I’m ready. May this be the Year of the Writer.

What are your goals for 2015?

Photo licensingAngle Torres

Ever Been to a Yoga Rave?

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I experienced my first “yoga rave” this past weekend, and now I’m a little nervous to go back to my normal yoga classes. I’m going to miss the light installations, the dub step music, the sheer magnitude of what we sweaty yogis all experienced together. I’m just not sure if my regular practice can live up to these exceptional standards now! Maybe that’s kind of un-yogi of me to say, but…let me explain.

It all started when a good friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook of this wicked Kalliope light/sound installation/mammoth cool thing/I-don’t-really-know-exactly-what-it-is―and said that it complemented a yoga class. I immediately needed to research this awesomeness.

What I discovered was Walter Yoga, born from Walter Productions, a company which provides mobile light and sound installations for events. Walter Yoga seeks to create an experience in downtown Phoenix blending the amazing light and sound systems of Walter Productions with the beauty and power of yoga.

Once a month (I’m hoping more frequently in the future, pretty please!), Walter Yoga invites a local instructor to teach a weekend class. And they can use the light and sound system within the Walter Yoga studio however they choose. This means ultimate control of disco balls, projected lights, Kalliope, and a state-of-the-art sound system.

I had to experience this firsthand.

Saturday morning, I ate a hearty breakfast and then stood in line with my mat outside of the most unassuming warehouse in downtown Phoenix. Inside, I was greeted with cool air conditioning and an even cooler practice space. Check this out…

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I situated myself up front and smiled stupidly until the room was full. And when I say full, I mean my mat was about two inches away from my neighbor’s, there had to be over 100 people in that room, and the event sold out, meaning they had to turn people away.

The instructor for the day, Anton Mackey, introduced himself and then introduced A Life Story Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting amyotrophic  lateral sclerosis (ALS) research and potential treatments for patients with the disease. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS attacks certain cells in the brain which compromise an individual’s ability to move. Eventually, the disease progresses and ultimately causes respiratory failure. There is no cure, and after symptoms begin to surface, those with the disease live on average for a mere two to five years.

One of Anton’s friends was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 30, and so he’s become an avid supporter of A Life Story. About three-quarters of the funds collected at this month’s Walter Yoga were donated to A Life Story, because–as Anton so eloquently put it–what better way to fight this disease than by practicing something that is such a celebration of movement and breath. And so we practiced gratitude. We were abundantly thankful for our individual abilities and together we dedicated our practice to those who can’t move, can’t breathe.

And it made me push a little harder. It make me stretch a little further. It made me realize that despite all of the issues I’ve had with my back the past few years I’m lucky that my body still has agency.

The dub step music may have helped, too. So did Anton’s proclamation that we could dance our asses off if we wanted to. Pretty sure he said we could twerk at one point. While twerking didn’t ensue, laughing and swaying sure did.

At the end of class, we formed concentric circles throughout the space, knees touching knees, and thanked each other for the experience together. I hugged the strangers who’d practiced next to me. And as with any rave, I left feeling high–on gratitude, on life, on breath.

Check out more photos (professional ones!) on the Walter Yoga Facebook page. “Like” them to get notifications for the next Walter Yoga session. Check out Anton’s yoga page to see where he teaches and why he’s a spiritual gangster. And, of course, check out A Life Story Foundation to donate to a truly worthy cause.

Namaste, y’all!