Happy New Year!

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Polly and Maida at New Year’s Day Yoga!

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Good Morning to the New Year!



Happy New Year

to one and all!

I greeted the day, fully rested, peaceful, and filled with hope. If I know anything to be true, one must simply “start” somewhere-be it emptying the dishwasher, or feeding the dogs, or simply stepping outside to say hello to the day…….it is taking those first steps and turning them into a day-that is what matters.

Today I chose to take a yoga class in Marblehead with my dear friend Polly. Larissa was teaching and that is always a treat, but felt like a great way to open the New Year. Polly and I sipped coffee and told stories of our respective Christmas times. It was lovely.

We entered the studio, and realized fairly quickly that others had decided this would be a good way to start the new year. Our mats were inches apart. There must have been 50 of us in the Yoga Loft. Somehow, it just fit. At one point, we stood in lines like Rockets, and extended our legs straight and to the right, then the left. We held and supported our neighbor’s legs, and wrapped our arms around each other. This may have felt too close for some, but it was so much fun….if only we had our Radio City outfits on? It all ended with applause and laughs, which is not a bad way to start 2013.

So, in my promise to write every day for the month of January-I start with this.

Just Start.

Have fun.

Laugh.

I think the rest will come.

Cheers!

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January Project

It is BEAUTIFUL! Everything, that is!

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It is white and sunny and pretty. It is noon

and I am still in my pajamas and just had buckwheat waffles and coffee and have caught up on seeing what everyone of my Facebook friends is up to and now I am going to write. Really write.

It is a new day for me. I stopped working as a Clinical Liaison at Massachusetts on December 7th, and spent the better part of month running in circles to finish the semester in good form. That took a lot of “form”, and significant amounts of time, and what with Christmas just passed, it was all a bit of a blur. No complaining, just explaining. I did have a highlight moment of playing beer pong in a finals club at Harvard to techno-disco music (best not to ask).

And now it is 30 December. By my calculations, I have exactly 30 days before classes begin for my final semester of my Master’s Degree in Journalism at the Harvard Extension School. It is the first time of my life that I remember having any sort of stretch of time where there was “white space”. My biggest fear is that I will fill it needlessly and foolishly and wonder what I did with “all of that time“.

In the spirit of my beloved November Project, http://november-project.com/

I will make a stab at another “sous-ensemble”-call it the January Project.  It will involve daily blogs, lots of yoga, November Project at least once per week, fun, and being a wife and mother and friend. I may even squeeze a trip to Philadelphia and New York. O.K., now I am getting carried away and the noonday calls for a run in the snow.

Please stay tuned!

Love to all!

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THANKSGIVING

Trust
Hopefulness
Affirmation
November Project
Kindness
Spirit
Gatherings

Inventing oneself
Vision
Interesting Ideas
New Beginnings
Growth

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Harvard Stadium

ImageThis past Wednesday, I headed to Harvard Stadium for the November Project. As part of my sous-ensemble (sub-set) of the project, I had given my “verbal”, which in November Project parlance means you had better show up. To make matters worse, I had even put it in writing-on, of all places, Facebook. And, to make matters even worse, I pledged to do the full tour, which, in November Project parlance means all 37 sections of the stadium, up and down in each.

This was my last official week of “sous-ensemble”, and I was pretty jacked that I could “do” the full tour. At the encouragement of a few tribe mates, I came early, at 6, to give me a half hour lead before the rest of the crew showed up. I don’t know why, but I expected there to be lights. That is silly. Are there even lights in Harvard stadium? It was pitch black. I could see shadows of white or green or some other color snaking through the sections. There might have been a few dozen already at this. So I started.

Only the sounds of pitter patter and breathing could be heard. It was painfully quiet. And then, from far across the stadium, as if in another land, I heard Brogan yell “Yeah!”. Within seconds, as if calling from our own individual tents at summer camp, we yelled “yeah!” back. More hoots, more hollering, and yes, it was officially morning.

The first section (section 37 for me) had been rusty, but by section 33, the cool new friend from Monday, whom I call “late-add Katie”, cheerfully joined me, passed me and encouraged me. I felt good. When I hit section 28, I touched the crimson numeral at the top of the stairs with some emotional knowing. That was as far as I got on my first day-actually even my second day.

Somewhere around the endzone area, I had second thoughts on making my “verbal” in writing. My legs were unhappy at the top of each section and I really thought I had been unrealistic in my attempt. I became discouraged. By now the fast, young ones were scooting like gazelles up and down, and straight back up again. Though they are always cheerful and kind, I felt like a slog compared to them, and became even more discouraged. I could easily slip out and nobody would really have been the wiser.

As I climbed up section 19, which was the farthest I had gone to date, I thought of quitting. It was still dark, but not so much, and I could hear the music from the finish, and that lured me just a bit. Then, at the top of the stairs I saw what looked like a puddle of electric blue paint (sorry about that Yale). I don’t know why, but the image of the paint, the Harvard-Yale game that had taken place just weeks before, inspired me. Moreover, I had rounded the bend of the end zone, and was now in sections on the same side of the finish.

When I hit the single numbered sections, things were livening up. Cheering came from all corners, and I could smell the spray paint section that Bogan holds court in as he blazens the November Project logo (which is a negative of the words November Project with black spray paint surrounding them) on shirts like a chuck wagon commercial.

Elin, my first friend at NP, Patrick, Emily, and others were cheering me on as I finally got to section 1. I glanced up from the bottom step, and saw the crimson “1” at the top and started to cry. Bojan yelled for me to sprint, but my legs were lucky to be putting one foot in front of the other at this point. The top steps required the hand assist on the knee to get the job done, but I did it, and hi-fived the numeral “1” and others at the top, with sheer joy!

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Thank you November Project Tribe!!!!! I love you!

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London Bridges

London Bridges falling down, my fair lady………

It is the last week of my sous-ensemble, mini November Project; at least in its original incarnation. What started as a cool writing project (note the Globe already caught this!), has ended up transforming me. Ironically, the fitness aspect of November Project is a mere side benefit to the playful, inspirational, dare I say spiritual community that I have found on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays this November. Yes, I think I might even drink Kool-Aid for you Brogan!

Yesterday we crawled under “bridges” and over “turtles” and did push-ups and sit-ups and ran around the track again and again, AKA known as The Bojan! Note that we are still smiling at the end of the workout (see above).

Two weeks ago, I finished 19 sections of Harvard Stadium, a PR for me. I was elated. It was a cold and blustery morning; a day that I suspect was behind the motivation of the founders to find a really compelling reason to get out of bed. As I walked down the steps of “Gate M” with my jello-legs, I glanced at my iphone and saw two very striking e-mails that made me laugh out loud. “Ten great Treadmill Workouts” followed by “Loose Belly Fat in 10 Days”. Without realizing it, I had become completely distanced from my preoccupation of calories and exercise. I was getting up at 5:00 A.M. and driving to Cambridge, Brookline, and Destination deck with joy. It was so much fun that I hadn’t bothered to think that maybe I was actually getting in better shape.

So, tomorrow I will go back to Harvard Stadium, and try for a full 37 sections. I will be with the Tribe I have come to love, and if I can’t do it with them, it can’t be done.

Thank you November Project for bringing me back to my childhood~London Bridges and leap Frog, and for bringing me far, far away from the old ways of thinking about food and weight and fitness- it is a new day. Fuck Yeah, it is a new day!

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Affirmation

As I drove at dawn to Harvard Stadium from my house in Beverly, I could not help but wonder if I was crazy. This “sous-ensemble”, mini-November Project idea….was it really worth it? Running up and down stadium stairs and hills with people young enough to be my children-was I setting my priorities straight? My life is so busy that I hardly needed a structured “verbal” to show up three days a week in Boston at 6:30 a.m. And, to that, add my fender bender on Monday in Everett. Should that have been a sign?

Something larger was pulling me to the stadium, and I have decided, after a dozen years of practicing yoga, to “listen” to what my mind, body and spirit are telling me. Even if it does not make sense. Even if it is crazy. Especially if it is crazy.

I was on time for a change, and stood on the periphery of the tribe at section 19 as Brogan gave enthusiastic and humorous instructions for Robotman3, the workout du jour. This entailed doing the sections backward from 19 to 1 (incidentally, I had not made it to section 1-ever). This tour, three times. Or, two if you can’t do three. Or, 1 if you can’t do 2. By my calculations, even to do the shortest version of Robotman3, would mean doubling my personal record of 10 sections. Well doubling – 1. I had driven through my question marks of why I was going to the stadium, and I was not about to leave without the answers, and I did not think I would find them in anything short of one-third of a Robotman3.

It was not long before Daniella came by to inspire me up the steps, with a smile and “can do” attitude. I actually felt stronger than I had before and was learning how to pace myself, and as Brogan and Bojan say, “Don’t stop, don’t think about it”. At the top of each section there is a mini staircase, that is a good excuse to stop for a moment, get out of the way, and to turn and look at the day. O.K., so I stopped….but only for a little bit.

I made it through the ensuing sections with a nice crowd of young twenty-somethings. Emily Crawford, and some very nice girl who works at Lululemon, thank you-I felt like I was in high school field hockey practice again, and it felt good! We went, en mass, up the section 1 (I repeat, section 1) steps together; and high fived the accomplishment-Fuck Yea!

While leaning back on the concrete wall in my splendorous, endorphin induced state, I closed my eyes to soak it in. Then I heard a sweet coice say, “Are you Maida?”. I opened my eyes and saw a lovely young woman with a dear face, that I did not quite recognize.  “I am Emily Bryson”, she said. “I was co-captain of the field hockey team in high school with Stirling Winder”.

Words can’t express the feeling that I had, at that moment, atop section 1, with the late autumn sun beaming sharply against our faces. I felt immediately, an affirmation of unparalleled clarity. Stirling Winder is a beautiful, athletic, gregarious 26-year-old woman who lost her 8-year battle with cancer this last July. She was the daughter of one of my best friends, and she was my friend too. I have missed her so much and know that every day, her family and friends miss her beautiful smile.

We cried for a minute and smiled and laughed and knew that Stirling was doing the full Robotman3, just in a different form.

Yes, I think I know why I go to the stadium.

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Words of Wisdom

I feel the need to share my Destination Deck story for today. I was very excited to play youth soccer in Central Square, and plugged the directions into my iphone to be sure I had it straight. I decided to cut through on route 16 (I live in Beverly) to route 99 though Everett, with the plan of cutting through to Central Square via Somerville. Traffic at 6:30am on a federal holiday should have been nil, but it was bumper to bumper; practically grid lock on 99. I was ahead of schedule so it really was not a problem.

And then, the traffic started moving. I excitedly stepped on the gas and was simultaneously looking at my iphone to check  the route. My bad. I plowed right into the truck ahead of me. Nobody was hurt, his car unscathed, mine-not so much.

The bottom line, is that I have a bad habit of picking up my iphone whenever I am sitting still, and if I can use this little lesson as a reminder of what a BAD idea that is, and prevent one of you from missing a beloved November Project Workout, then we are good.

Now it is back to Seriosity at the Stadium on Wednesday…..

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