Three Things That Bring Me Happiness:
1.) Emptying out my Inboxes
Both electronic and snail mail. Such a great feeling!
2.) Head stands
A favorite yoga position of mine, Shirsha-asana (or, head stand) incorporates a balance of strength, equilibrium, focus and surrender. It is the ultimate challenge pose for me – not too far behind Adho Mukha Svanasana (or, downward dog). Going beyond the obvious challenges surrounding the attainment of this pose, I want to, here, focus on the pose once it has been achieved.
After practicing Adho Mukha Svanasana for a while, one may come to a point where the fear of falling that surrounds this pose begins melt away. And where once gravity was an antagonist, one gradually becomes its master. This is not to say I literally become weightless when I turn myself upside-down (although, that would be really awesome), but I have found myself at a point in my practice where (sometimes) I can sense my whole body being held firmly by the heels and lifted into the air. The pressure between my palms and the crown of my head is indistinguishable…I no longer care when my shirt falls into my face and my less-than-perfect belly is exposed…I feel no pain or dizziness from neck strain…I feel strong but flexible, like prairie grass on a Midwestern plain.
It is in this pose that I can let go of focus and allow my body to enjoy its place.
3.) Wearing a great pair of high heels
I’m a woman. I’ll admit to it. But it wasn’t until recently that I began to discover – no, appreciate – the joy of wearing a really great, sexy, stable pair of high-heeled shoes. Having been a tomboy for the majority of my life, footwear has traditionally consisted of flip-flops, flats, boots (both hiking and Frye) and Nike’s. Somehow, anything with a heel higher than one inch has escaped adorning my footsies – and not for my lack of trying to procure.
Let’s go back a bit: My father grew up an athletic-type. He played soccer and basketball in what was once considered the “tennis shoe of choice”: the Converse high top. Imagine trying to play a competitive, full-contact sport in a canvas shoe with a simple, rubber sole. Can I say, “ouch”?
After many many sports injuries growing up, my father became a sort of saint of well-shod feet. Where our family budget saw cuts in – say – the heating bill during cold, Missouri winters, there seemed to be no limit to our shoe expenditure: as long as the shoes were sturdy and had good arch support. We had boxes of shoes … hallways of shoes (keep in mind, this was a household of 7) … stairwells lined with shoes. Velcro tennis shoes for the kiddos. High tops for the teenage boys. The best of the best in comfort for our feet.
Then we have my mother: a school teacher who would spend hours every day on her feet in heels. I remember an occasion when she took off her shoes after work and I nearly fainted when I saw her toes, seemingly coming to a point from being shoved in pointy-toed heels for years. I vowed to never wear high heels. Ever. She was okay with that. In fact, she endorsed my intention.
However, when I moved to L.A. I deduced that I would probably benefit socially from wearing a good pair of heels from time to time…but no matter how many pairs I tried on I could never find a suitable set. Often, I would feel something akin to vertigo…sensing a definite, unwelcome impetus to fall flat on my face – or in any direction, actually – when wearing heels. I would fight mental images of slipping and breaking an ankle – a symptom of my twisted imagination – to no avail.
So I always caved and bought “yet another pair of sandals” – pretty sandals with intricate bead work or lots of straps arranged in interesting patterns – after each unsuccessful attempt to buy a pair of high heels.
I felt confident about my decision to embrace all 5’4″ of my short self and would not seek to alter my height through wobbly footwear.
….Until I discovered Dolce Vita wedges…and then Jeffrey Campbell platforms. Ingenious. I fell in love with their design…felt comfortable with their lift and weight…I could walk without stumbling…stand without tottering…and if I decided to wear a skirt, you could see my calf definition. Bonus.
I now reserve the right to wear my heels in the day, in the rain, to the beach, to a meeting, to pick up a pizza, to shop for groceries…not because they define me…or who I am…but because, gosh darnit, they make it feel GOOD to be a woman. 🙂