Never Live In A Glory Day

Hello Beautiful Mojo Readers,

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? So much to say, where do I start?

New York continues to be full of transition and adventure. Things move quickly here and yet at the same time slowly. The pace is fast but the line at Whole Foods in Union Square is long, color-coded and managed by an employee who makes sure you know where the end of the line is when it begins to wrap around the store. Fall seems to be fading already as the lush, colorful trees begin to drop their leaves. Volunteer days at the farm officially ended last weekend until the Spring season so I’ve been putting that extra time into cooking, but I already miss digging in the dirt. I spent some time upstate with old friends- riding horses, hiking and keeping warm by the biggest bonfire I’ve ever seen (they burned a bed frame, among other items). I even toured around SUNY Oneonta, my alma mater. It was a bit of a time warp walking by my old dorm and classrooms but I realized that I didn’t have any feelings of longing or wanting to go back in time.

One of my dear yogi friends said that he never wants to live in a glory day, and I think about that often. I was happy to not feel like I wanted to go back to college or relive those crazy, fun times. I like moving forward- looking back with sweet nostalgia, but not with longing or regret. Life is always sweeter in the present. So here’s a little bit of my sweet:

When I first moved here, I did a lot of yoga studio hopping. There’s only about a million yoga studios in the greater metro area. Ugh. Some of the classes (and teachers) were great. Others were so terrible that I felt like I needed a yoga class to recover from the yoga class. One day I found a little studio in Great Neck called Bonda Yoga. It was the first yoga studio I had been to in a while that really welcomed me and made me feel like part of a community. Since that first class I have been received with open arms both as a student and a teacher. For the past few weeks I have been teaching their new community class on Fridays that is free and open to everyone. Because of the warm feedback of my students, I’ll now be teaching a regular class on Sundays as well. I know that I have plenty of growing to do as a teacher but I leave every class feeling rejuvenated and ready to move forward the next week. It feels so good to know that I have a community who is with me along for the ride.

I promise to keep you posted and hope you’ll be along for the ride too…

Jojo

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Filed under Action, Challenge, change, Empowerment, Goals, NYC

Shakespeare In The Park

Every Summer the Public Theatre puts on an eight week showing of Shakespeare In The Park. They have a beautiful, intimate stage nestled in Central Park. The stage is open to the elements and only seats about 1,500 people. Tickets are free and every person in line is eligible for two tickets. But getting in that line, well…

Recently the Public Theatre has been putting together outstanding casts for their Shakespeare In The Park showings. This summer featured actors like Al Pacino, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jesse L. Martin. Between the cast and the amazing reviews, the interest in the theatre has seen a drastic spike. I decided to camp out the night before the closing performance to stake my place in line and get tickets.

I camped with two of my friends- we showed up around 11:00pm (Saturday night) at 81st and Central Park West loaded up with a tent, sleeping bags, a cooler of Belgian beer and a bag full of deli sandwiches. Oh, and the dog came too. We spoke to a haggardly looking woman who told us quite bluntly that she was first in line. We thought we would be camping inside the park, but she enlightened us on this as well. We would, in fact, be camping on the sidewalk along Central Park West until 6am, at which point we would then be transferred into the park where we would wait in line some more until tickets go on sale at 1pm.

And so we walked to the end of the line which at this point was between 86th and 87th. There we pitched our tent as the line continued to build behind us. It became quite clear that this was a dog-eat-dog line with strict rules- like no one was allowed to join the line, nor was anyone in line allowed to leave for long periods of time. The deal with tickets is this: the theatre gives out an unknown number of tickets each day, usually between 400 and 1,200 tickets depending on how many “donors” received their tickets first. At this point we were about 300th in line. Crazy lady #1 had been waiting since 4pm. We were camping on the streets of NYC to be in a line that didn’t guarantee us anything. Hmm…

We woke at 5:30am after a few shaky hours of sleep. The street lights didn’t go off until about 5am. So strange to be camping around concrete and lights. We were hurriedly shuffled into the park at 6am where threw our sleeping bags down in the grass and tried to sleep again. The line was the most eclectic group I have ever seen- crazy #1 up front, then groups of homeless, scalpers, and crack heads (I’m talkin crack viles laid out in the open) mixed between college students, people on macbooks, hippies, older people, you name it. And the gear people brought to lay on was just as eclectic- anything from cardboard boxes to blow-up mattresses to actual full-size mattresses to chairs and living room furniture.

When the line finally started moving around 1pm, tensions were high. A lot of people were pretty upset with the groups of scalpers who would be turning around and selling their *free* tickets for $300 a pop. A lucrative endeavor, sure, but a disgrace for “public” theatre to be supporting crack habits. When we got close to the box office, they actually ran out of tickets, but we got #40 and #41 out of 50 vouchers. What happens is at 6:30pm, we were supposed to come back, and vouchers get (in chronological order) any cancellation and/or open seats. If all the vouchers are sat, the people left in the standby line get seated.

So we came back at 6:30pm and waited. And waited. The show started at 8:00 and by 7:55 it looked pretty hopeless. The scalpers (some of which had front row center seats) were getting desperate, but many of us were irritated and did our best to interfere with business by shouting things like “don’t buy from scalpers.” They didn’t appreciate us so much, and I got a little concerned when someone said “scalp the scalpers,” followed by, “ya, kill the scalpers.” Rut roh!

But just as the show was starting, the guy from the box office came out again, this time with a big stack of tickets. After 21 hours of waiting, we finally had tickets in hand and were ushered into the theatre. We were pretty delirious at this point since we really hadn’t slept at all, but somehow it all seemed worth it. The theatre was beautiful, the cast was amazing, and there we were, on closing night of Merchant of Venice with FREE tickets. From here the play will go to Broadway, but nothing beats waiting in line with NYC’s finest…

Waking up in Central Park

Guy from a nearby deli selling egg sandwiches

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Filed under Humor, NYC, Story, Storytelling, Travel

YogaWorks

I’ve been thinking about a lot of things in ex-girlfriend analogies lately. This is one of them…

Since moving to New York I have been exploring new yoga studios because moving also meant breaking up with my girlfriend called Vital Yoga in Denver. I was spoiled by this girlfriend. She was fun, top-quality, reliable, just the right medicine for whatever my ailment was. Oh well. We’re over.

I decided to check out YogaWorks (for everybody). They have five studios in Manhattan and a sweet $1 for week of yoga deal. The first studio I went to was their Soho location (pictured above). The place is more like a spa than a yoga studio- three big yoga rooms, a huge locker room with slick mirrors, digital lockers, big showers and fresh towels. I have to say that showers are a big plus for me since it’s a long, sticky ride home that I don’t necessarily want to do covered in yoga sweat.

My first class in the Soho studio wasn’t that impressive. I got a few good instructions on pelvic adjustment but the teacher was a bit snooty. She even bossed her “assistant” around and told her who to adjust and how. Seemed strange that she wouldn’t just do it herself. I did, however, get a nice little tour of the place from a cute boy at the front desk who also walked me through the schedule to recommend good classes (which I obviously needed).

The next studio I visited was their Union Square location. This space was a lot more down-to-earth than the Soho location- two restrooms (and long lines waiting to get in) and a few curtain rod dressing rooms. Apparently there is a shower in the back of one of the restrooms but they don’t really want people using it unless there is no line. There were two studios- both with big windows and one with cool Union Square views. How I got the SAME teacher at this location, I have no idea. Maybe the universe was trying to teach me a lesson. I enjoyed this class better than the first, but was still determined to find someone better.

Since it was now the last day of my $1 week trial I decided to do some research on the teachers before just popping into a class. I found a woman named Elisabeth Neuse. Ok, anyone who does a nine-month, 1,100 hour training has my respect. I decided she was worth my last go at it.

Her class was full but she moved graciously around all of us, offering clear adjustments and excellent cues to keep us breathing as we moved. She played some music, which I love. I was in the back in the classroom so I could soak in the whole room and at one point this sweet, electronic-esque song came on a bit louder than the rest. Her soft voice faded a little from behind the music and I found my groove. I felt a little choked up, like maybe I had found a new girlfriend, or at least someone I’d be willing to date.

Later we returned from savasana and sat quietly with our palms touching in front of our hearts. The room was silent, peaceful. Then from outside came the sounds of loud, long New York style honks. I let out a little giggle just reveling in the irony of it all. Here we were all zen, sending good vibrations out to whoever and getting quite the response in return.

When I left class I made sure to say thank you to my teacher. She was talking with another student but I said a quick thank you. She turned her head so she could catch my eyes and gave a soft “you’re welcome.” After I walked out I realized that she had these bright, beautiful eyes that I had not noticed until then. Yogi eyes I call them. They are those sweet, inspiring eyes that come from someone who has a beautiful soul. When I came across her website later I saw them again.

She’s one I’ll go back to…

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Filed under Empowerment, Fitness, Goal Setting, Goals, Health, Motivation, Mystical, Mysticism, NYC, Personal Growth, Spirituality, Story, Storytelling, Travel, Yoga

Mojo Consultant Gets Over 1000 hits!

Dear Sweet Blog Readers,

Yesterday marked the day of 1000 hits to my blog! I started this blog while doing some deep soul searching. I wanted to figure out what I have to offer to the world, but more importantly, I wanted to figure out what the world needs of me. With the advice of a dear friend I began writing…

Since then I have shared many stories with you- and you with me. Some of those stories are wrapped around my three greatest passions: yoga, communication, and food. Others stories are random- little mystical bites of my life’s travels.

I have promised myself to continue writing and sharing my thoughts and stories with you. It is even more important now as my life begins to focus and what the world needs of me is slowly revealed. I hope you continue reading, enjoying and interacting with me. Tell me what you like, tell me what you hate. Tell me if there is ever something I can do for you.

Love and light,

Jojo

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Filed under Action, Challenge, change, Empowerment, Food, Goals, Health, Motivation, Mystical, Mysticism, Nutrition, Personal Growth, Spirituality, Story, Storytelling, Yoga

Bohemian Caterpillar

Ok, he’s a bit hard to see but I still think this little dude is one of the coolest caterpillars I’ve ever seen. I used to play with these things all the time but they were always black on the end with a copper middle. They hung out on the anise plants that grew along the fence of my grade school. Not sure if this one is a different species or just an odd ball. Maybe he’s just trying to be like the bohemian babes all around 5th Ave where I found him hanging out. I guess even NYC caterpillars have an image to keep up…

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Filed under Humor, Nature, NYC, Travel

You Know You’re in New York City When…

10. You see monks in Penn Station carrying iPhones

9. Bud Light is $8 a pint

8. Two women casually walk down the streets of Washington Square Park in nothing but their panties and bras

7. You fail to notice the bloody crime scene as you exit the subway from your morning commute

6. As a white person, you feel like the minority

5. A bag search from the NYPD is more of an irritation than a cause for concern

4. Swimming topless at Coney Island just feels like the right thing to do

3. You see the “I have no legs” guy from the movie KIDS on the subway. He really has no legs

2. Your yoga teacher verbally instructs a student to lower her heal “so it’s more like a pump than a stiletto”

1. A three-year-old girl can put any beat boy to shame

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Recollections of a Despondent Dream

We were at some kind of amusement park that offered elephant-drawn carriage rides. Each carriage was pulled by two elephants. The passengers were loaded into the carriages two or four at a time, after which the elephants would bolt off, causing their passengers to grip the rails of the carriage with white knuckles. We were in line, or maybe just watching. One of the carriages rushed off. Suddenly there was a loud crack as the chains that held the elephants to the carriage broke. The carriage stumbled off. One of the elephants fell forcefully to the ground, landing hard on her side. A pool of blood eventually surrounded her.

I got to her first and screamed at someone to call for help, but I knew she wouldn’t make it. One set of ribs had punctured through her insides with the impact of the fall. I knelt by her head and rubbed the soft fur between her eyes. Elephants don’t have soft fur between their eyes, but in my dream she did. I had never been so intimately close to an elephant before and when she moaned and shook her head in pain I wondered if she might hurt me. But I continued stroking her soft face and said sweet words to comfort her.

I didn’t remember my brother being in my dream before this moment but suddenly he appeared next to me. Knowing just as I had that these were her last moments he gently spread his body on top of hers and wrapped his arms around her enormous middle section. He did all of this with such gentleness and love- a stark contrast to his usually rough and brute ways. She thrust her head around once more and then laid it back on the dirt in surrender. Eventually her eyes closed.

I don’t remember much of anything else. The whole episode felt like a scene from The Fall. It was sad, sweet and depressingly magical. I rarely ever remember my dreams but this one was more vivid than most. My brothers gentleness is still with me. I wish that piece of it was not a dream…

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Filed under Mystical, Mysticism, Spirituality, Story, Storytelling