Waxing physically and philosically...

After literally years of deliberation, and as a result of some delicate and some less delicate prodding, this blog is my effort to organize - to bring together - my thoughts about my work as a conductor and as a personal trainer, to rant and rave as necessary, to celebrate the little things and the larger moments of brilliance, and to share some conductive magic and life lessons gained through 'waxing physically and philosophically'.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Free to be me

This morning I sat in the sunshine after my yoga class, and thoroughly enjoyed my still warm cinnamon and raspberry muffin and even warmer hot chocolate.  This in itself is an achievement.  More often than not, for me the enjoyment of such a moment is negated by feeling guilty about eating something I probably shouldn't be eating, or by biting in and realizing that indulging in a fleeting craving is so completely out of line with what I want for myself that I'm put off of eating it, or by analyzing the macronutrient contents and calculating what that indulgence will do to my bottom line which for me literally is my bottom.  For the most part this is actually a good thing for me -- the guilt and the mental and psychological drama are seldom worth the muffin, and knowing this helps me make better minute by minute and meal by meal choices.  Don't get me wrong -- I love food.  I really really love food.  I have a great relationship with food -- a much better relationship than when I ate whatever whenever, and I am much happier and healthier as a result of learning to make better choices.  As a personal trainer I always tell weight loss clients to look for balanced eating that is sustainable forever, with occasional guilt free 'cheat meals' and indulgences.  As a real person who always has and always will struggle with my weight and with the headspace that comes with struggling with your weight over years, I appreciate that even when the eating is right, until the headspace is right the struggle with weight is one waged mentally and heavily worn psychologically, regardless of what is happening physically and aesthetically.  For me, eating well comes fairly easily now; the headspace, however, takes a lot more effort.  That is why it was an achievement to simply sit in the sunshine and enjoy my still warm cinnamon and raspberry muffin and even warmer hot chocolate.

The muffin and the hot chocolate weren't actually part of my plan for this morning -- the plan was to powerwalk to yoga, have a quick and suitable protein snack after yoga and then head up to the gym for a  huge workout to make up for one that I had missed earlier this week.  But the sun was shining, and on the walk in I'd stopped to look out over the horizon where a bunch of surfers were gathered -- I expected to see ocean and I got to see a whale, which is clearly a good excuse for being a few minutes late for yoga.

And the yoga teacher, FF, is wonderful.  He is Italian; his voice is calming, gentle, and reassuring even though he speaks quickly and passionately.  He uses phrases like 'big time, big time' when leading the yoga which makes me laugh and relax.  I love hearing him call the yoga poses by their Sanskrit names through his Italian accent -- it helps me bring my mind back to what I'm doing.  He knows me well enough to be laugh at me (just a little) when my ego clashes with my body and my breathing and I fall over in a tangled heap.  He encourages the class to listen to their body and mind and makes the yoga work for us as individuals.

When FF is teaching I don't feel like a yoga failure because I haven't worked out the whole meditation thing.  Instead of feeling stressed out about not being able to meditate and getting impatient and twitchy and wishing that the class could be over or sneaking out -- I spend a few minutes with a gratitude practice.  I have been trying to make a habit of thinking through what I'm grateful for for a long while -- it is crazy that this is something that I have to try to do when there is so much to be grateful for.  I have to admit that often it is almost a chore; brush your teeth, crawl into bed, try to concentrate on gratitudes before nodding off.  After a yoga class, they just seem to flow.  I am always amazed at how many grateful thoughts pop into my mind in such a short time -- getting to talk to my dad on his 66th birthday when we feared he wouldn't see is 60th, a phone call yesterday from my oldest and dearest friend, waking up early for breakfast and coffee with AR, falling asleep talking about our upcoming holiday, getting paid to do work that I love in my business which is flourishing, a whale seen while walking this morning, a sunny day -- all in a matter of a few breaths.

I love the feeling of being all sweaty, stretched out, and bathed in gratitude.  I leave the studio -- the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and I feel happy -- and as I'm walking towards the gym I smell these muffins, fresh out of the oven.  The moment was right and I was in the moment.  The headspace was right -- and I knew that I could indulge and enjoy guilt and drama free.  So, this morning after my yoga class, I sat in the sunshine and thoroughly enjoyed my still warm cinnamon and raspberry muffin and even warmer hot chocolate.

"The truth is, I do indulge myself a little the more in pleasure, knowing that this is the proper age of my life to do it; and, out of my observation that most men do thrive in the world do forget to take pleasure during the time that they are getting their estate, but reserve that til they have got one, and then it is too late for them to enjoy it"
-- Samuel Pepys        



Gombinsky, L. (2009).  "The Physical Me" in  Just Do It! Young Conductors in their new world.  Ed. A. Sutton and G Maguire. Birmingham, UK: Conductive Education Press. pp.11-17.

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