A New Site… How Exciting!

Well hello! I’ve gone and gotten an actual website!! If you are still interested in reading my blogs or seeing my creative writing, please visit http://www.marisamorby.com.

Stay swanky,

Marisa

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Yoga. Your Travel Hangover Cure.

Today I woke up with a pretty intense travel hangover. Most people call it jet lag, but I think travel hangover is more accurate. It’s that achy, dizzy, out of touch feeling you have when your body is confused about the time zone and your brain is confused about your general existence at 7 am on a Thursday morning.

Like any responsible working adult, I attempted to fix my fogginess with caffeine. I considered wine, but it was 9 am, and I was too groggy to justify such a bad choice. When the 12 oz. dose of caffeine didn’t work, I figured I should have more. When in doubt, always choose more. That’s not really my mantra, but today I couldn’t come up with a better solution. Of course the solution didn’t work. So I spent the majority of the day in a haze, stuck somewhere between contemplating life and getting through all of the work that piled up during vacation. The travel hangover is an odd headspace to be in.

Since all that legal stimulant didn’t work, and more than two cups of coffee makes me start to shake, I did what I always do when I feel off. I went to yoga.There’s still a small part of me that clings violently to my past and the Catholic ideology of punishing yourself, even when you already feel bad, so I went to hot yoga. My assumption was that it would be sort of like hell, only with better music and some aromatherapy. But doing core work and power yoga in a heated room is difficult even on the best days, and I knew how intense this class could be. Despite all of that, I also knew that I was guaranteed to feel better the second I was done.

The class was hot, but not unbearable, since it wasn’t packed full this time. I didn’t even slide or slowly slip out of downward facing dog because of the layer of sweat on my mat. (Yea, create that mental image. It’s not pretty and now it’s burned in your mind forever. You are welcome.) But, as predicted, I felt wonderful after class. I was human again. My mind was clear. My body knew what it was doing, and where it was going. When yoga is done right, it has this amazing ability to sync breathing, movement, and mindfulness all at once. It creates a mental and physical state that is focused only on the present second at hand. This is its secret. And when you feel it, you realize it is one of the few things you can count on to bring balance back into your life. But of course, if yoga doesn’t work, you could always try throwing back some wine.

Who’s Perfect?

I have created a challenge for myself. Or rather, copied the challenge of someone else. Which I’m ok with, because imitation is the highest form of flattery. The challenge is to write for 30 minutes, every day, and post what I write. It sounds so simple, so easy. The entire point of it is to force out the words, and make it hard to go back and painstakingly edit everything that was written. Great in theory. In practice, it’s maddeningly frustrating.

I am so easily derailed. My focus gets interrupted, I start to doubt everything that I am writing, or I wander off topic completely. And then I look at the clock. Oh, look at how much time I’ve managed to waste. What was I doing the last five minutes? How can I salvage this? THIS CAN’T BE SALVAGED!

Then, as always, it becomes a race to perfection. A race that I know I won’t win. And every time, I wonder, why am I doing this to myself? Why am I beating myself up over something that was originally intended to be a great exercise in writing, and turning it into a way to find and criticize my shortcomings?

It’s helpful to remind myself that this post won’t matter in a year. It won’t matter in six months. It probably won’t even matter tomorrow. Which is good. It takes the pressure off. Sometimes I worry so much about falling short that I fail to try at all. Or I set goals that are too easy because they are clearly attainable. But, like I mentioned in another post, done is better than perfect. So I am going to continue rambling on, and at some point, I bet I come up with at least one awesome piece. Or at least a better one. And even if I don’t, no one can say it was for lack of trying. And failing. Repeatedly.

Do you have a problem with perfectionism? What helped you kick the habit?

Courage

In the pauses of music streaming through my headphones, I can hear dice being thrown. The man behind me raises his voice to make a point and someone starts coughing. I’m on a train headed to Scotland, the second part of a vacation that I’ve had planned since April, which started in London late last week. As I sit, watching the countryside fly past me, and an unreliable internet connection repeatedly kicking me off of service, I wonder how I’ve gotten here.

It was all a conscious choice, but with some huge changes in my future I sometimes wonder how the universe has aligned. At the beginning of next year I’ve decided to take a well earned break. Three years of back to back stress and life changes has worn me out, and stifled my creativity. I know I have so much to give, so much I love giving, but am too tired to dig deep enough to find it. I want to do work that is fulfilling and enjoyable. But first I need to decide where I’m headed.

So in an attempt to figure that out, I’ve decided to throw myself head on into the chaos by taking off about a year to travel. And when I made the decision, I had a sense of calm and peace that I’ve gotten to know well over the last few years. I know it’s the right choice, because I can feel it in every part of me. When I told my friends and family, they were overwhelmingly supportive, and not that surprised that I would choose this as a next step. They’ve come to terms with my brand of crazy. What hasn’t been so supportive is one small voice in the back of my head.

She’s the fearfully guilty one, always insisting that I do things the “right” way, although I’ve never really been interested in that. I’ve always been more concerned with doing what makes me happy. But on days like this, where I have little distraction other than drawing, music, and writing, her voice becomes clearer.

“What if this doesn’t go like you planned?”

“What if, in a year, you somehow become completely unemployable? You don’t want to be destitute.”

“It’s very irregular to take breaks like this. You are a hard worker. You should be working towards something.”

A few years ago, I would have sat with her, listened to her, attempted to assuage her with rationality. Sometimes I would win. And sometimes she did. But now, after years of her worrying inside my head I’ve finally learned how to shut her up. I hear that she’s scared, worried for my safety and well being, but I also know that a person never regrets an adventure. Life is the most beautiful adventure, and not taking action out of guilt or fear is the surest way to live a life of regret.

So I hear her, and I tell her, “No.” She doesn’t get an opinion in this conversation. Not anymore. I’m glad that she’s there. I’m cognizant of her fear, and I want it. I want to know where my limits are so that I can challenge and break through them. Without her, I am fearless, which I’m not interested in. In the absence of fear there is also an absence of courage. I welcome the opportunity to be scared, and to overcome it. So she can sit and whimper, wondering what will become of me, but she can’t stop me. And when I do go, it will be with courage.

We all have inner voices. How have yours hurt or helped you to find courage in your own life?