Most acupuncturists/life coaches/yoga teachers/gurus/doctors/inspirationalists/secreters will tell you how to live a happy life, and how to manifest what you want. These folks are often excellent resources, and they mean well. Believe me, I’ve learned so much from so many of them. But I think it’s important to acknowledge that failing to be positive 100% of every day does not make you a bad person. One bad day (or month, or year, or decade) does not mean that you won’t meet your goals in life. A bad day is not indicative of your worth or lack of worth as a person. And maybe, just maybe, what you want in life isn’t the best thing for you.
Maybe the joy gleaned from directed, focused hard work is the best kind of joy outside of love. I’m not sure. I look to other people who are way smarter than me for guidance. But these topics are the ground beef (or tofu) in the life burrito. If we are lucky enough to have the time and space and resources to ponder these topics, they are worth considering.
Here’s an excerpt from New York Magazine advice column Ask Polly:
Very few people tell you anymore that those doubts in your head are part of the noise you hear when you’re alive, full stop. Very few people explain that success rarely happens quickly, and that even if it does, there are still lingering worries and bad days and hours and hours of tedious work involved. There aren’t many inspirational quotes about how discouragement will plague you as you work and that’s just how it feels to work at something difficult. There aren’t many memes reminding you that you won’t get everything you dream of — and that getting everything you dream of might not make you happy anyway, no matter what that constantly scrolling feed of highly curated “best lives” seems to imply.
Life is not a Mission. It’s a Journey.
It’s the end of August. It’s hot, people are exhausted and irritated. It’s the “Back to School” spirit of September. I am thirty-hmmmmmm years old, and my internal clock is still set to the rhythms of the school year. If only I could buy a scented candle that smells like Trapper Keepers and pencil shavings… I would probably…not buy it. Whatever they made it with couldn’t possibly be good for you. Then again, “Pumpkin Spice” is probably not much better for you. But I digress.
September is similar to New Year’s Eve and Ash Wednesday. The air is full of possibilities. I view it as an opportunity to re-evaluate life. What am I doing right? What am I doing wrong? What am I avoiding? Guilt over my shortcomings inevitably creeps in, reminding me of all that I’m not doing to improve my life, my relationships, my bank account. I can really let this take me into a neurotic death spiral.
This year, and maybe every year going forward, I’m going to read this when I get bummed:
I keep reading about the stress levels rising in the college-bound in our society. There is a new article or study out every day now about how the counseling centers at Universities nationwide are overwhelmed with students with high levels of anxiety and severe and sometimes crippling symptoms of depression. About how our young adults are not prepared to cope with the stressors of the life they have to face.
I keep shouting into the hurricane force winds of College SAT Prep workshop flyers zipping past me , but most days I can’t even hear myself.
Why am I not ensuring that my own teenage daughter has every possible advantage in being successful in life, knowing what I know? Reading what I’m reading?
Because life is not a mission.
See, you can f*ck up a mission. But you can’t f*ck up an adventure.
Life is an adventure.
Anyone who tries to tell you different is a liar or is trying to sell you something.
Don’t believe me?
If you have to get from Point A to Point B in X amount of time with Y amount of usable resources to start with and Z amount of valuable resources left, otherwise you lose or everybody dies, that’s a mission.
That’s not life.
If you are going to get from Point A (which we know) to Point B (which is yet to be determined) in an unknown amount of time with an unknown amount of usable resources to start with and an unknown amount of valuable resources left, then you die (and so does everybody else): now that’s an adventure!
I’m not saying you go into an adventure without a good head on your shoulders. A few resources go a long way towards having an interesting and comfortable journey. A few qualities like honesty, curiosity, some humility, and a good work ethic come in handy. Asking for and being willing to receive help are also good.
And no one goes out on an adventure without at least some planning. You don’t go backpacking into the mountains without some preparations. But if you try to put something in your pack for every possible opportunity or disaster, pretty soon your pack will be so heavy you can’t carry it.
My main point is that there’s no one right way to have an adventure. You can’t fail to have an adventure…unless you just don’t go have one.
Go have one. Go have an adventure. Go have a great life.
So I’m technically a trained yoga teacher, but I am human, and I fell out of practice over the last few years. After moving to New Orleans, I was feeling a little overwhelmed with all the changes and I needed to find something to ground me. Enter Wild Lotus. I paid a thin $33 to have a month of unlimited yoga practice and I challenged myself to practice every day. I’m almost in my last week and so far, so good. My interest and appreciation for this practice has been reinvigorated. So on that note, check out a few ways that yoga can change your life for the better:
“Golden Milk? Is this a thing? WTF?”
My best friend in San Francisco asked me that recently, and I had to admit that I’d never heard of it. But a quick google search led me to my favorite natural health blogs – Wellness Mama and Dr. Mercola and Betchy Crocker (whose photo I stole for this) – and they are all on the Golden Milk train for health, wellness, and hangovers. Read on!
If you are too lazy/busy to make this, you can always ask your doctor about taking this fabulous supplement instead.
From Wellness Mama:
Turmeric is a root that has been used for thousands of years by many cultures for its potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
I love it for cooking in foods like curries and as an herbal remedy. Especially this time of year, turmeric is a staple at our home for avoiding illness and keeping our immune systems strong.
Turmeric is especially known for its benefits to digestion, immune function, liver health and even possible protection from cancer.
Curcumin (turmeric) may stop the action of a liver enzyme that activates environmental toxins into carcinogenic forms, and may be especially useful in deactivating the carcinogens in cigarette smoke and chewing tobacco. Turmeric in the diet increases the production of enzymes that digest fats and sugars, and stop cholesterol from forming gallstones. Turmeric prevents the release of histamine in the stomach, quelling nervous stomach and counteracting food allergies and it fights gum inflammation by halting the action of a gene that creates irritant chemicals. Without the irritation, bacteria cannot find a place to grow, and the absence of bacteria reduces both bad breath and gingivitis.
Turmeric Tea or Golden Milk is a great way to get the benefits of Turmeric daily. I love drinking this before bed as it aids relaxation and helps boost the immune system while sleeping.
The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that it is safe to cook with Turmeric while pregnant and nursing but that turmeric supplements should not be taken without a doctor’s advice. Since this tea contains Turmeric, consult with a doctor or midwife before consuming this if you are pregnant, nursing or have a medical condition.
Turmeric Tea Golden Milk Recipe
2 cups of milk or homemade coconut milk (or conventional coconut or almond or hazelnut milk)
1 teaspoon Turmeric
½ teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon raw honey or maple syrup or Stevia to taste
Pinch of black pepper (increases absorption)
Tiny piece of fresh, peeled ginger root or ¼ tsp ginger powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.
Pour into a small sauce pan and heat for 3-5 minutes over medium heat until hot but not boiling.
My friend Miriam (of WaterWorksLA – check it out!) recently took me to one of her favorite spots in New Orleans in her brick-red pickup named Idgie Threadgoode. Wow. It’s a fantastic, quiet spot to rest and regroup. We lit (or tried to light – we forgot matches!) some candles for a few friends and basked in the warm March air.
St. Roch, or St. Rocco, is a Catholic saint and confessor specially invoked against plagues and pestilence. He is also the patron saint of dogs and falsely accused people.
The Greater New Orleans website describes the origin of the cemetery and chapel:
At the height of the yellow fever epidemic of 1867, a German priest named Rev. Peter Leonard Thevis arrived in New Orleans. Faced with the severity of the yellow fever epidemic, he turned to God invoking the intercession of St. Roch, the patron of good health. He promised that if no one in his parish should die from the fever, he would erect a chapel in honor of the Saint. Amazingly, not one member of Holy Trinity died from yellow fever, either in the epidemic of 1867 or 1878.
In thanks, Rev. Thevis’s conviction was to build not only a chapel as a shrine to St. Roch, but also a mortuary chapel in a last resting place for members of his flock. The cemetery was called the Campo Santo (resting place of the dead). Rev. Thevis traveled to Europe to study the architecture and construction of many beautiful shrines and chapels before building the chapel. The chapel, completed in 1876, was considered a beautiful example of Gothic architecture.
People came to the shrine in large numbers to ask St. Roch for help in cases of affliction, disease and deformities. At one time, the celebration of All Saints Day attracted thousands of people to the Shrine seeking guidance and help for themselves and others in distress. A small room on the side of the chapel holds a number of offerings left by visitors to the chapel. The tradition was to leave accouterments of the illness or disability (including, in the past, eyeballs, crutches, and false limbs!) in gratitude for recovery.
Another New Orleans tradition related to St Roch that took place for many years is that on Good Friday young girls made a pilgrimage to St. Roch’s chapel because of a local legend, which promised a husband before the year was out to the maiden who said a prayer and left a small sum at each of nine churches. It was considered doubly lucky if St. Roch’s chapel was the end of the pilgrimage.
The neighborhood got its current name in 1867 with the dedication of the St. Roch shrine and cemetery. St. Roch Chapel and Cemetery are a very important part of the history of the St. Roch neighborhood. At the height of the yellow fever epidemic of 1867, a German priest named Rev. Peter Leonard Thevis arrived in New Orleans. Faced with the severity of the yellow fever epidemic, he turned to God invoking the intercession of St. Roch, the patron of good health.