How to Teach Online 24/7/365

How to Teach Online 24/7/365
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Marriage Isn’t For Everyone – A Thomas Point of View

I have a confession. Ugh! I don’t know how to really say it. Saying it out loud scares me. But, we’re friends right? I can trust you with this confession. Okay, here goes… I don’t know if I want to get married again. Whew! I said it. I’m scared though. What does that mean for…
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I really enjoyed reading this. It nice to know I’m not the only one who wants something a little different.

Finding the Right Yoga Teacher Training Program for you | Find Your Middle Ground

The first level of Yoga Teacher Training recognized by Yoga Alliance, is 200 hours. Not all schools are the same, so its important to find the one that it is right for you. There are three key aspects to take time to consider, before making this substantial investment of your time and money in becoming…
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Just 6 months ago I was so tired from work that I would seriously take (as in fall asleep snoring) 20 minute naps during my lunch break. Now I’m still busy, but doing what??

In the past few years friends and co workers have found new way to communicate with each other in vocal silence while conveying our inner rage in complete soundless volume (all while listen and smiling to our bosses, cyber cheating on our partners, and backstabbing our friends and co workers. My personal favorite, the cyber cold shoulder….

There is nothing worse than being passively-aggressively ignored by someone on Facebook who has blocked you from their Instagram and took you off their snap chat and stopped following your tweets. They don’t block your number from calling theirs. There always has to be that one avenue left open. Without that one, last thread how would you know you are being actively ignored?

All this technology has added ways in which we communicate, yet our communication as individuals, friends, couples and cultures are connecting to each other less accurately than ever, harming us in various ways, lessened the healthfulness of our lives. We have become a nation and world of video and computer game junkies, illiterate and uncultured. Americans have no idea what is going on the world and care for no one but ourselves and our instant gratification. Maybe that’s true, maybe not. Maybe we have just created a new culture of communication.

Everyone still knows they are supposed to think profound thoughts while viewing Mona Lisa’s smile (I don’t think she’s that pretty OR her smile that nice) and scowl at Machiavelli’s ruthless leadership philosophies and decode secret truths that may or may not be hidden in biblical literature. Everything in life has become over interpreted. If we don’t receive a text return moments after sending one, we fly into a panic attack. Mona Lisa is smiling that’s what you do when someone takes your picture or paints a portrait. Machiavelli was just trying to stay out of the unemployment line. I PERSONALLY know 3 guys named Jesus, I went to high school with one of them. And yeah, he was nice as I recall. So yeah, I believe a girl named Mary gave birth to a son in a barn way back in the day. In fact, I bet more than 100 Marys gave birth in barns. Maybe they still do.

So, I have been home from my travels now for a few months. Everything and nothing has changed. I’m still in front of a monitor, I occasionally get distracted by a social, global or familial update on my mobile phone. I’m not being productive in anyway inwhich I might be taxed by a government. But I’m still multitasking. Making breakfast. Checking the headlines on PBS News. Sorting through the junk mail delivered last night to my various e-mail address. One for regular e-mails, one for serious e-mails, one for VERY serious (the taxable kind) and one for my personal everything else I won’t mention. I twtter a bit. Check in with my friends on facebook. Update my on-line resume. Do some freelance editing (online) have a sandwich. Watching the Simpons on Have an employment interview over Skype. Compare contracts in my VERY serious e-mail box. Then I push through the afternoon while interviewing on my phone with a wireless head set while clearing out my regular e-mail box of ads for penile enlargements, forwarding forwards, annoying people by naming them in facebook notes and IMing old friends in China.

As the day closes, things are pretty much the same as they were in the morning. I make dinner. Update my status on various electronic communication networks and get mad that I missed tonight’s episode of ‘House, M.D.’ back in the real world because I was just TOO Caught up in the cyber one. Then I think to myself, ‘That’s okay. Because I have learned how to find old tv episode’s online or someone can just send me a file. I can stream it, download the torrent or have it sent to me’.

So, I will end this journal-sized update here, and get busy searching for my episode of TV before it gets piled under other flavorless avi files in the libraries of the new literature, novels and novellas…. and besides…. I’m just busying myself so the person who is actively ignoring me right this second thinks I have better things to do…

A while ago a psychologist said that we all require three feet of personal space. So what would the equivalent of three actual feet be in cyber space? Many of us maintain our most trusted and personal of friendships online. But with random strangers following you on Twitter and adding themselves to your MSN and Facebook Friendships, we have to guard our uploaded set of cyber social networks, cultivate and maintain the friendships we value and weed out the rest with reverent spring cleaning.  However, this might not be enough to protect ourselves from emotional predators that exist in the virtual world as much as they do in the real one.

There are steps to building and rebuilding lost and found friendships via the internet. Let’s go through the steps of forging new friendships. One of my old friends warns that people need to remember that we don’t know exactly who is on the other side of our computer screens. We don’t know their motivations, intentions or what tone to take when we read what their communications. This can cause problems later on when we realize that we’ve been reading their thoughts and words wrong the entire length of the new found relationship and thus have built a relationship around a personality not even skin deep? We are laugh out loud to our new friends jokes without hearing their overly serious voices regarding a comment you found so offensive, you’re SURE it must have been a sample of their sarcastic humor. This is why steps are important. You can end up actively ignoring someone or being actively ignored yourself, and that is never fun.

If you start communicating with a random person with possible friend potential, it is important to know what kind of friendship potential there is. There is nothing worse than getting to know someone in a public way, such a posts on your Facebook wall, that cause you to smile and laugh all the time because your senses of humor are just oh so simpatico, taking the friendship to the another level, a phone call, and realizing that the way the person breathes through the nose when you laugh makes you want to slap the *&^% out of them. Once that happens, you can never go back to the way it was, never read the daily humor on the walls without hearing that damn voice in your head. If only you had gone through the PROPER friendship development steps, after all, even cyber friendships require chemistry: after public chat comes private chat.

Using Facebook chat, Google Hangouts, Threema, Kik or other various sorts of direct one on one chatting, you can get to know the person as a individual, without the pressures of having to entertain a following of personalities who read the public walls of cyberspace communication regularly, aka your new friends already-been friends list. After a few spontaneous conversations, you will get a better idea of if, and if so, where, your new friend fits into your life. What do you have in common, how often (if ever) to they drunk-im you, can they spell (no, they weren’t just typing too fast, they really are that stupid), do they use punctuation properly, what kinds of entertaining links do they provide you with, etc. I have found that by having people in different parts of the world on my IM lists, I can get things translated, get different opinions and have people to meet me at the airport wherever I go. These friendships also cut back on the cultural faux pas made when I visit a new country for the first time. I am also never at a loss for an online spades partner. I have people to talk to when I can’t sleep, and, in turn, have maintained some sort of trusted relationships with people I have never met in real time. I have been saved more than once by people I have never met, or have met for the first time after years of just IMing. **More on this later…. Popular dating apps like Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, Grindr, Hinge and eHarmony.

If you and your new found friend feel like enjoying some fun together, you can binge watch a much-loved TV show, play a variety of games, view pictures of the world, adopt a pet or move in together in a sim-world or whatever you find fills the need of the human condition to be social in whatever way you feel comfortable. And the best part about that three feet of personal cyber space is: you can delete the person from your life in less than 10 minutes whenever the need should arise….  BUT BUYER BEWARE!! Just like in life, online you can be just as vulnerable to toxic tactics of someone’s behavior.  Online environments can foster a feeling of intimacy that isn’t real, nor experienced the same by both participants.  Suddenly the person you have come to trust to be there for you isn’t. This is known by the term ghosting, which people not only do online, but in real life as well.  The online Urban Dictionary defines ghosting as The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee willjust “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested. Ghosting is not specific to a certain gender and is closely related to the subject’s maturity and communication skills. Many attempt to justify ghosting as a way to cease dating the ghostee without hurting their feelings, but it in fact proves the subject is thinking more of themselves, as ghosting often creates more confusion for the ghostee than if the subject kindly stated how he/she feels.  Do to the inability of our real communities and selves to hold people accountable for their actions, or even just to staisfy your own piece of mind and seeking closure can be dangerous.  This can often spiral into an abusive situation involving what is known as gaslighting, an attempt to manipulate someone by psychological means into questioning their own sanity. Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight(1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.

According to one article in Psychology Today, people who gaslight typically use the following techniques:

1. They tell blatant lies.

You know it’s an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they’re setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you’re not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.

2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof. 

You know they said they would do something; you know you heard it. But they out and out deny it. It makes you start questioning your reality—maybe they never said that thing. And the more they do this, the more you question your reality and start accepting theirs.

3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition. 

They know how important your kids are to you, and they know how important your identity is to you. So those may be one of the first things they attack. If you have kids, they tell you that you should not have had those children. They will tell you’d be a worthy person if only you didn’t have a long list of negative traits. They attack the foundation of your being.

4. They wear you down over time.

This is one of the insidious things about gaslighting—it is done gradually, over time. A lie here, a lie there, a snide comment every so often…and then it starts ramping up. Even the brightest, most self-aware people can be sucked into gaslighting—it is that effective. It’s the “frog in the frying pan” analogy: The heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what’s happening to it.

5. Their actions do not match their words.

When dealing with a person or entity that gaslights, look at what they are doing rather than what they are saying. What they are saying means nothing; it is just talk. What they are doing is the issue.

6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you. 

This person or entity that is cutting you down, telling you that you don’t have value, is now praising you for something you did. This adds an additional sense of uneasiness. You think, “Well maybe they aren’t so bad.” Yes, they are. This is a calculated attempt to keep you off-kilter—and again, to question your reality. Also look at what you were praised for; it is probably something that served the gaslighter.

7. They know confusion weakens people. 

Gaslighters know that people like having a sense of stability and normalcy. Their goal is to uproot this and make you constantly question everything. And humans’ natural tendency is to look to the person or entity that will help you feel more stable—and that happens to be the gaslighter.

8. They project.

They are a drug user or a cheater, yet they are constantly accusing you of that. This is done so often that you start trying to defend yourself, and are distracted from the gaslighter’s own behavior.

9. They try to align people against you.

Gaslighters are masters at manipulating and finding the people they know will stand by them no matter what—and they use these people against you. They will make comments such as, “This person knows that you’re not right,” or “This person knows you’re useless too.” Keep in mind it does not mean that these people actually said these things. A gaslighter is a constant liar. When the gaslighter uses this tactic it makes you feel like you don’t know who to trust or turn to—and that leads you right back to the gaslighter. And that’s exactly what they want: Isolation gives them more control.

10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.

This is one of the most effective tools of the gaslighter, because it’s dismissive. The gaslighter knows if they question your sanity, people will not believe you when you tell them the gaslighter is abusive or out-of-control. It’s a master technique.

11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

By telling you that everyone else (your family, the media) is a liar, it again makes you question your reality. You’ve never known someone with the audacity to do this, so they must be telling the truth, right? No. It’s a manipulation technique. It makes people turn to the gaslighter for the “correct” information—which isn’t correct information at all.

The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them and avoid falling into the gaslighter’s trap.

I mess up, make mistakes and I’m never completely sure of what I am doing. But I’m dangerously loyal, and that is all that has ever mattered.


What about your motherhood are you most proud of? I’m serious. We are moms, we are moms who know the ultimate suffering for our kids…. I know I’m an atheist (which has nothing to do with the no prayer request rule), but I have had access to my child, and I know what it is to go without. Yeah, our kids are hurting, but you want to know something, I think we hurt more. We hurt more because we are aware of what has been done, what is being done and what will be done in the future. So fuck all the things I am missing out on. Drew just turned 5. His babyhood was stolen. I can’t get that back and the bastard responsible has no ability to give it to me, nothing else, no amount of money would be good enough. What I am most proud of about my motherhood, is that even though this was/is my first and only child, I tolerated the lose of my career, the loss of family support, the loss of a great love only to endure loneliness, a crushed heart and worn out self esteem. I mothered him by court order, demanding speech therapy, taking him to the ER against court orders, doing anything I had to to be able to pay for supervised visits. I played the cards I was dealt. My struggle isn’t over yet. But I made a B line for law school two years ago, and if I have to fucking go to law school to get custody of my kid, then just show me the way. Yesterday my son and I were at the park. He told me when he is with his dad, he thinks about being here with me. This mother’s day I’ll be happy to get my motion to modify and hearing updated. I looked into his eyes and that bond only a mother knows looking at her own son was staring back at me….. I wish I had been dealt a hand of motherhood where 3D cupcakes on Pinterest were my thing. It’s not. I wish I were a lot of things. But I’m me. This is what my motherhood looks like. I’m going to say this, and I may be back lashed for it, but thank fucking god a mother isn’t all I am. Celebrate you. Celebrate everything about you. Mother’s Day isn’t about ugly noodle necklaces and breakfast in bed that you’d rather not. Mother’s Day for us is every single day we get to spend with our kid(s). So just like Valentine’s Day and Christmas, go alone to the mall and pick up that outfit or pair of shoes you have nowhere to wear….. and if you are alone for Mother’s Day, don’t be. Of all the custodial moms with happy marriages (well, marriages) that I know, um…. would trade the day to be in our shoes. So let’s decide to like the shoes we are in. Just for one day. This Sunday, celebrate all the things about you that make you special. I can count the years I have missed with Drew because of his asshole father. But Drew is clever, he’s like me more and more each day. You owe this to yourself.

Making through this holiday doesn’t have to hurt.   First, make plans for the day, nothing to involved, a movie, drinks with friends who would love to have you listen to their issues for a while.  Nothing gets me out of my own head like getting into someone else’s.  Have a plan for the day, and if all you can manage is binge watching Netflix, girl, you are going to be in great company.  Don’t forget to grab yourself some wine and chocolates for your day in.  Motherhood is different for all of us.  One thing I do know is that no one reading this ever set out to be deprived of her rights as a human being.  This is a product of our culture.  Until people really start to change, I don’t believe in reform, I don’t believe in changing the system.  It won’t happen.  Be like water… adapt…. try looking at things differently.  Some of us even find ways to take pleasure out out of this pain.  Let’s hope stepmom really feels guilty about that macaroni necklace YOUR son or daughter gave her and goes and picks you up something nice from Macy’s.  Don’t lie, you did not want another macaroni necklace….

You’re a mom.  THAT is amazing.  All motherhood is different for different people, but have you ever noticed that throughout all time, the most powerful of women, queens and such, were always distanced from their children.  There is nothing wrong with you.  You probably have no clue how you ended up here.  Remember, you are a mother…. but you’re also so much more than that. You’re a whole goddamn person.  This Sunday try to focus on the more.  Celebrate.  Let me tell you, if I knew then that my life would end by having a child, I may have rethought it.  I don’t feel bad for saying this.  I had my first and only at 38.  I love him to death.  I love me, too.  And that’s okay.

All the mommies are doing it.  It’s the new thing.  It seems stay at home moms are sick and tired of feeling or appearing inferior to career woman.  Now we have an entire new breed of those women in the shampoo commercials who appear to have it all… or do they?  Does anyone for that matter?

My life has been random series of strange events and miseries for the past 4 years.  Somehow I found my way into direct selling, this new way to work at home that suggests you will be able to generate a generous commissions base by having a good time.  Not so. And also not so.

So I looked at which DA companies rated highest both globally and within the US.  I chose a variety of companies with varying price ranges, various personalities, covering a huge range of interests and lifestyles.  I now have the rights to redistribute all inventory from: Discovery Toys, Scentsy, Initials INC, It Works, Paperly, Pink Papaya, Manduka, and Chloe + Isabel.  Yup.  Here’s the deal.  As long as you only buy into companies you purchase and use from regularly, this is going to be a pain in the ass.  It is.  Sorry.

So who is buying this shit?  And who is selling it for that matter?  I found my way in via groups like ‘Mommies Hiring Mommies’ and such.

What so these companies sell?  If you tried to imagine the answer you would come up short.  Jewelry, Clothing, Yoga Clothing, Weight Loss, Cosmetics, Bathbombs, Body Produts, Hair Products, Food Products, Cooking Products, Educational Toys, Sex Toys, Thing to make the home and office smell nice, Cleaning Products, Personalized Bags, Personalized Stationery, Personalized Everything, Chocolate, Pepper Spray and Tazer Guns, Legal Advice and it goes on….  In fact, today I had a marijuana delivery and they way they operated was to bring and array of products of various prices for me to examine and choose from.  That the popular and common feature of all these companies, they flourish best in social environments.

I’m going to write about the experience in several parts.  The product line, commissions, incentives, who are these ladies? Why are they motivated to do this?  Are they actually making money?

I’m cruising facebook, wasting time.  The usual.  I see this jewelry set, the same one, a few times.  I click on it.  I buy it.  It arrives.  I feel special and happy.  A gift I chose for myself.  I like a couple more things I see….  at this point I have ordered from said company 5 times.  Wow, yeah, that 25-40% would really be nice.  And (this is most alluring) what is in the kit????

For those who don’t know, companies that sell products usually require an individual to purchase the rights to distribute along with a sample of their products, advertising materials, catalogues and order forms.  Temptation usually arrives in the thoughts of wanting $700 in jewelry for $125.  The necklace, bracelet and earrings that were my first purchase from Chloe + Isabel cost about $100 give or take.  $25 more and I could have bought the kit I told myself.  I told myself that very thing 4 more times.  Then I ordered the kit.  I justified it.   Of course I would sell it! I loved it, how could other people say no?

You need a stable place to work to do this king of thing.  Quiet, yet signs of life in the environment.  You have to like something about the mechanics of it.  You need to use the products. If you actually enjoy these products, let’s say….  Scentsy’s cleaning supplies…. I like them.  They are pricey.  It’s worth it to me to become a distributor because of the money I will save via commission alone.  If it is to you, you should give it a try.

I have not had the best of luck with Chloe + Isabel, but that is due to a personal issue.  I won’t sell something I wouldn’t buy due to quality.  I have a large sample of Chloe + Isabel (I’m one collection behind.  Hint Hint.) I have decided to stock 4 collections only on my own external website.  I will be modeling these myself in addition to my friends etc.  Real people.  Of course the link to the entire catalog will always be there. People can come by and know exactly what they want and order it regardless if we promote that item or not.

I had a male friend host my first and only Chloe + Isabel launch party.  It was a total failure. I learned that with online parties, it’s important to network and buy and sell to other DS ladies so that they ‘show up’ at your online parties randomly and make comments which boost posts which then get noticed and turned into sales.  I would like to have 2 heavy promotions for each company between now and the end of April.  I want to see how far I can get.  If I can pay back the original investments then it has been a good learning experience.  If I can return the investments and go on a holiday with my boyfriend, awesome and totally worth it.

My first Chloe + Isabel party of 2017 is going to be a Valentine’s Day 3 week long party for men only.  As soon as I get the website up it’s going to be awesome.  Unfortunately my boyfriend does come home in the mood to advertise me and my hobbies which to this point have not shown the return we’d imagined.  I hope he is reading this and I hope we get it up this week!!!  There are 4 collections from Chloe + Isabel I have chosen to promote externally.  They are all collar necklace collections.  Just my personal taste.  The Hero Metal & Leather Collar Necklace and accessories,

La Lune Sculped Collar Necklace and accessories

Mirabelle Petite Collar Necklace and accessories

Souviens Insignia Collection

Retro Glam Pink Square Cut Necklace with the earrings, bracelet and oversized ring

These are my favorites for no other reason that style and quality.  It just so happens that these pieces are 1/2 the price of the expensive statement pieces.

I earn 25% commission on every sale.  I have a 30% discount everyday on anything and every time a new collection comes out I get to buy it at 50% off. I have to sell $100 of regular priced items every 6 months to keep my affiliation with the company.  They provide a lot of advertising materials and instruction.

If you happen to be curious about this particular company and it’s products, email me and tell me you want to host a party.  It doesn’t matter how far we are from each other, parties can be done online these days and the goal is always to get the hostess her wish list without spending a dime.

Last year, January 2017, I enrolled in a yoga teacher training course at a private studio.  I crashed and burned less than half way in.  What would possess me to sign up for such a course?  Stress.  My anxiety and stress were at an all-time high.  In my head is sounded like I was buying full time inner peace.  As a professional school teacher of 13 years, I don’t know how I could have over looked it would be more than just yoga, a lot more.  In 2017 my plate was too over-burdened to learn and absorb the teaching points of the course, however, in January of 2018 it was exactly what I needed to revive the feeling of moving forward and helped to begin building up my physical stamina.  It would also begin to reactivate my dormant brain cells, helping me prepare for the next three years of academic study ahead of me.

I failed at quite a few things last year.  Determined to try again I was. It was something my teacher Lori, at Fusion Yoga said.  She described being a yoga teacher similar to being a swan, everyone sees the beauty and grace, but the fail to see the intense paddling underneath the water’s surface. And underneath that swan is paddling like crazy.  This didn’t just describe teaching yoga for me, this pretty much summed up my entire life.  I have never been the poster child for any type of Zen or balanced lifestyle.  I can sell summer vacation in hell, but I don’t think I am the person one thinks of when they crave calm or quiet.  But the thing is, I am never going to be, so, enter anxiety yogi.  I also had a secret weapon to get me though those 5 hour classes this time around.  (I’ll talk about that in the next entry.) One of which is my Plexus protein shake.  I am anemic and will take good energy from anywhere I can get it.

The first time I took that course my personal, profession and child custody situation were a disaster.  I was over extended beyond belief.  I had a strong need for inner peace.  I was hoping yoga would bring that to me, but I was too exhausted at that point to bring what I needed to yoga, I couldn’t summon the required effort to effectively navigate the course.  I dropped about 6 weeks in. Of course I had already order the best equipment available from Manduka and cute yoga clothes to match.

This year, I decided to look at it differently, in a way that didn’t make me feel stress or burdened, but excited.  So what if I got to the end of the course and failed.  I don’t see myself having a successful career in the business of selling inner peace to anyone.  I have been an on again off again yoga student for over 20 years.  I wanted to learn more about why it relaxes me so much.  Why is it one of my preferred methods of exercise?  Why is it so relaxing at the end?  What happens during a practice and gives relief to both the body and mind?  I was genuinely interested and I decided to let that genuine interest guide me to the finish line this time around. I enrolled in the certified training course to help myself grow into a better student. I studied my hobbies and trusted my interest alone would carry me through anatomy, philosophy and history which were studied in equal amounts of time and attention given to the postures, poses, themselves. I am happy to report mission accomplished.  So let me tell you about a few interesting things I picked up….Yoga is spiritual, as an atheist, I love this aspect. There are gods and goddesses related by way of Hinduism, but be reminded, yoga is a buffet.  Take what you like and leave the rest for someone else.

Class started January 1, 2018.  For the next 4 months, for 25-20 hours per week I studied and practiced yoga.  More than that starting 2 weeks up to the final exam.  I ate drank and slept yoga.  The reading list was heavy and because this the TEACHER training, there are so many presentations involved. The first month started the foundation of our course work.  We read Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  We contemplated philosophies about the Great Mistake, Pain V Perception and the coming together of the body and mind. Our second month brought with it our first presentation assignments. Pranayama – breathing exercises meant to calm the body and slow the mind were up first, along with our own guided meditations.  We all felt odd to be doing these parts of a class without the whole.  It’s like learning a new language when you’re an adult.  You’re not sure if you appear open minded, or just silly.  Our class did remarkably well.  We were so nervous then!  We had our guided meditation scripts in our hands with the lights down low, as if somehow we would forget the words and be able to read in the dark.  I bet any of us could lead a meditation without thinking about it.  Maybe not the best ever, but we acquired the skills.  Our branch of yoga is Karma – which is the path of service.  This was reflected in assignments called Pay It Forward.  We studied anatomy in detail; understanding bone compression is vital to make sure your students are not injuring themselves and how to adjust someone out of unnecessary discomforts while holding a pose. Knowing how the body works is vital since yoga is considered a therapy and one of the healing arts.

We had assignments of attending classes with other teachers and doing a write up on the class afterwards.  I decided to go to a couple other studios in the area to complete this assignment.  I attended classes at both The Yoga Seed Collective and Yoga Shala in midtown Sacramento. Practicing in different studios was kind of like having different ballet teachers from year to year as a kid, the environment voice and teacher may be different, but then all you are left with is the yoga and I found I was able to focus so much more on my practice being outside of my comfort zone.  The environment is illusionary and all that is left is you and your practice.  It reminds me in a way of my days as an international school teacher.  Different country, different language same lessons.  You have to travel far to arrive someplace within yourself sometimes.  I know I have a long way yet to go.

So the 10 of us students had become very comfortable in our understanding of philosophy.  We swore of anatomy till cram time.  Then Lori asked us one evening if we had been keeping up with our homework.  Of course we wouldn’t have told her if we hadn’t. At the point it was like yoga – the Socratic version.  Class began, and one by one we were up at the teacher’s mat trying to perform one of the various poses we’d learned up to that point with new ones every week.   I always wanted to go first.  This was not to show off, this was because I was overloaded and could only remember the teaching instructions for 3 poses, meaning if 3 other people got up there before me, and it was conceivable I would have just ended up locking myself in the bathroom. She started assigning us one by one parts of her regularly scheduled, most popular classes.  Yup.  Beginning, Middle and End.  We had to do this 3 times. We had to write the class, memorize every word of instruction and execute it.   And I just have to get the most out of an opportunity, so I went ahead and signed up for each part twice.

Somehow it was decided that the last 3 weeks of class, on Fridays we were going to hold a Beginner Yoga Workshop starring us, the teacher trainers.  I do not know who decided this or thought this would be a good idea, however, it was full all three nights.  Lori picked our names out of a hat.  I would be the last person to present at the workshop on the very last day of class.  Two days prior I found out on accident that there was a court date regard my 4 year old son, Drew, on the same day I was to present in my last class.  After 4 months, I felt like the 7 year old missing out on the recital.  All of our friends and family had signed up to come, and actually CAME.  AND DID YOGA.  Someone close to me came with me to court at the last minute where the judge gave me a 2 month continuance and got after baby daddy for not properly serving me, as in, using a process server.  I dashed over to the studio and changed clothes.  I think my mind was still moving in court time where your life as you know it can end in the blink of an eye.  When I started the winding down of the last class and began savasana, I was looking at the clock, I knew the time.  We had been in there for 1:15 minutes…..  So why was everyone (I mean the teacher trainers and Lori) telling me NO! NO…… What no? No, what? Huh?  I was dark.  Students were lying on their backs in their final resting pose, savasana. What were they trying to tell me? I did what was on the list.  Class should be over….. But this wasn’t class. The workshop was 1.5 hours long, not 1 hour and 15 minutes.  What the hell was I going to do with these people in Corpse pose for 15 minutes?  I would be crawling through my skin if I was lying there that long.  I couldn’t take it.  I rang the bell and ended the class. Told you to think twice before coming to me for your inner peace.  As Lori would say, you get what you pay for.  Two mornings later we met for what was meant to be a very long written exam.  I was the last to arrive and first to leave.  I knew what I knew and I knew what I didn’t.  I handed in all my course assignments a week later.  I have found myself needing yoga in my life after completing this course, not just desiring it.  I hope I decide to create a volunteer class for the residents in my building next year.  I hope to keep practicing.  I hope to keep learning.

 I want to thank every one of my fellow students, Lori, our guru and her amazing staff at Fusion Yoga.  Remember, the light in us is a direct reflection of the light in all of you.  Namaste.

Greetings and salutations! The holidays have arrived.  If you’re like me, you have already spent at least a few miserable holidays alone, or at least, without your child(ren) at a time when ‘family’ is being bought and sold at sale prices from Black Friday till January of next year.  Maybe your mind is centered on holidays you once had and now have to survive without.  More often than not, the holidays have come to remind us of what is missing in your lives and causes us to focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do. To make matters worse, anniversaries of these once happy events can compound the trauma it triggers until the holidays remind you more of The Nightmare Before Christmas more than It’s A Wonderful Life.

Let’s see, so that’s Christmas + New Year’s + Mother’s Day + The 4th of July x 3 = Get the idea?

For example, if you have significant family holiday memories of gatherings that are now gone, all thoughts associated with those experiences will release negative chemicals because you now re-experience these memories in a negative way.  Promises are now remembered as lies.  What was once fact is now fiction.  Reality just isn’t.  These chemicals travel through your body and can change the shape of the receptors on cells lignin your heart, thereby increasing your susceptibility to heart problems.  The same part of the brain registers both mental and physical pain. This relationship also gives way to physical pain caused emotional terror.  Guess what all of those compounded traumatic emotions get you?  Depression, anger, frustration, wrinkles and loneliness.  And that’s before any physical manifestations.  Have you ever become ill in the wake of a difficult or traumatic time in your life?  You may not have made the connection, just chalking it up to coincidence.  It’s way more likely to be the result of toxic thoughts creating toxic emotions.  It’s normal to have stress in your life; however, your body is just not designed to cope with an avalanche of it.  Naturally your body is adverse to the constant stream of stress that flows from these toxic thoughts and emotions.

In preparation for Thanksgiving I distracted myself preparing for a trip to Southern California.  I stressed out about my trip.  All my displaced anxiety about Thanksgiving went into worrying about a 2 day trip.  I worried about what to wear and how to spend my time effectively.  I ate a cake or two – nervous eating the week leading up to departure.  I was a mess.  I missed my flight home, spent time I should have been spending with my son in an overcrowded airport eating overpriced popcorn.  I finally made it home in time to slap together a wannabe Thanksgiving dinner for my four year old the weekend before Thanksgiving because his father, who had no desire in cooking him a Turkey or taking him to spend time with family couldn’t be bothered.  I was exhausted.  I had planned to take photos of the occasion for myself, just in case I got teary eyed on Thanksgiving Day.  I was too tired to think of taking a single photo.  My son complained that the gravy was touching his turkey.  I wiped the gravy off with a napkin and called it a night.  Drew was not at all interested in the pumpkin or apple pies, but he loved a mouth full of whipped cream!

The brain builds a double memory of the content of every thought, one on the left side of the brain and one on the right.  The left brain’s perspective on information processes it in detail to big picture, while the right side processes it big picture to detail.  This means both side of the brain take part in creating memories, just from different perspectives.  Happy feelings create happy thoughts.  Happy thoughts create a well-functioning brain.  Clarity of thought is required to sort out your thinking rationally.  A rational mind is required to deal and tolerate the long lasting, complicated custody cases we have to endure.  When thoughts in the brain are not flowing properly, the toxic waste builds up, diminishing the quality of stored memory.  While toxic thoughts do not keep you from building new memory over the old, the memory you build is distorted and harmful.  Think about how this relates to PTSD and C-PTSD.

I made plans to spend Thanksgiving with a few girlfriends I have made this year through a support group I belong to.  With all my preparation in distracting myself this holiday, I didn’t stop to think how watching my girlfriend’s experience their holiday hurts would trigger my own, which I had gone to great lengths to avoid.  So no, I did not manage to escape the holiday emotional hangover.  I asked my friend what their most painful moment was, one replied that the moment she stopped cooking and dinner was over, the loss of her daughter a couple of days prior came flooding back and she could not smile for her son whom she has with her, whole her whole heart ached for her daughter who was missing from the evening.  Another friend who children were kidnapped with the help of CPS told me she thought of the sheer numbers of holidays missed and that she was not going to be able to get over it.  I did anything I could to keep the focus off myself.  Laughter over turkey became tears over pie.  I have a court date coming up to determine Christmas this year.  I can’t afford to be emotional about things I couldn’t control.  Thanksgiving was one of those things.  To be successful in my endeavors means I must forego any emotions associated with custody and court.  It can’t show that is wears on you.  I simply don’t have an emotional outburst left to spare.  Toxic emotions simply couldn’t start.  I can’t allow that.  Learning to balance the part of my life that is killing me with anything and everything positive I can find.  Just like when depression hits, I try to distract myself long enough for the tides to change.  You only have to make it that far.  Motivation alone isn’t enough.  You have to add velocity to speed.  You need a plan and enough power to make that plan a reality.  Merely existing isn’t living.  I had a ton of guilt when my custody nightmare began.  I took me over a year to realize baby daddy has a severe mental illness.  The problem wasn’t me, it never was.  If I felt happy for a second without my son present I felt enormous pain and feelings of guilt.  I became a study machine after a short while.  I went to work, came home and studied without much human interaction on a personal level at all.  Some of the misery went away, but emptiness took its place.  Finally, I experienced true happiness again in life without my son.  I never, ever had any idea of just how lonely I was until I wasn’t anymore.  When I finally let myself be happy, I had the energy to make all out efforts and pull all-nighters in the fight for my son.  When I was happy; I made more progress than ever before.  It took me a long time to realize that my court progress was mirroring my life happiness levels.  Being happy helped, not hindered. I had keep up my fight running on pure hurt and hate for so long that I literally forgot what happy felt like.  And let me say, it felt amazing; like being able to breathe deeply for the first time since I can remember.  I had forgotten it was possible to be motivated by anything other than the negative.

Christmas is coming.  The stupid songs that won’t quit, family you can’t stand and gifts you’d rather not buy.  I’ll open gifts, go out for Chinese food and then to the movies as is my family custom. I’ll do this with Drew or without.  The most importantly I’ll survive another day, another Christmas, another year – and continue to raise my son under these insane circumstances, and you will too. You’re going to survive.  We both will.  In the New Year I’ll ask what you did New Year’s Eve….  Plan for the best and prepare for the worst.  Prepare. Send yourself a special gift.  Pour a glass of your favorite wine.  Listen to the rain.  Watch Netflix.  FaceTime with friends. I’m hoping and wishing for Christmas memories with my son, and if that can’t be, at least make a few memories worth having.  Don’t let the peer pressure to be perfect pile up.  Okay memories are okay enough.  Sometimes winning means just simply making it through the storm.

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