Overheard at the Yoga Studio – Second Installment

That’s right kiddos, over a year later, I am happy to bring you another installment of the ever popular Overheard at the Yoga Studio.  And yes, this does in fact mean that I am back in the yoga studio. It’s a great place to be, let me tell you. Tonight I tried Bikram Yoga for the very first time. Bikram yoga is the kind of yoga a lot of people know as Hot Yoga.  You perform the same 26 poses during a class in a room that’s heated to about 105 F. Aka really really hot.  Pretty much I walked into the room and instantly started sweating, so I knew it was going to be an interesting experience.  I don’t think I’ve ever sweat that much in my entire life.  I mean, I had beads of sweat coming off my shins. So much sweat. I guess in a way it’s cleansing, right?  I am rehydrating in a major way right now.

The class was led by an excellent teacher named Kazim, who had a small build, fwoopy hair, killer beard, and thick rimmed glasses. Very hipster.  At the beginning of the class and throughout the poses, he would often repeat a little mantra that I would like to share for this installment of Overheard at the Yoga Studio.

It is not lost on me how fortunate I am to be here in this moment.

It really struck me as such a great sentiment, and something that I really want to channel.  Because it really is not lost on me how fortunate I am to be here.  Last semester was probably the best semester I’ve had yet.  Now, if you talked to me at all last semester, you may be sitting here now looking at me like I’m insane. You may be saying, “Hilary, you spent a good chunk of our phone conversations last semester in tears.”

did you smack your head

source

And to you my friends I say, yes this is true.  My personal life for the past six to eight months has been a little bit of a… challenge shall we say?  Complete with break ups, break ins, break downs, huge gains, and significant losses.  So from that angle, no perhaps I wasn’t on Cloud 9 last semester.  But when it comes to school, last semester was the bomb diggity.  Quite simply, I love my program.  I am learning from some of the greatest experts in my field.  My professors are not only incredibly smart and talented clinicians, researchers, and educators, but they are also hilarious, and incredibly compassionate, and every day I am blown away by them.  It is not lost on me the incredible opportunity I have to study and pursue a degree for the second time in my life at one of the great academic institutions of our country and the world. But this time it’s different. I’ve finally found my place.  This time it’s not as much a struggle.  Sure, it’s still hard, and studying can be super lonely and isolating and frustrating, but I don’t know. I don’t know when it was, but at some point last semester, I feel like a switch got flipped.  It’s like magic.  And I love it.  And I get to have the lifestyle of a student for a little while longer, which, to be quite honest, despite the drawbacks, like having no income and not a ton of time or energy, is kind of awesome.

Two more semesters before clinicals.  I seriously can’t believe it. I guess time flies when you’re having fun?  Last semester flew by like I don’t even know. Part of me never wants it to end.  I don’t want to leave my professors and my friends and my school and my apartment and the safety of the classroom.  And the other part of me can’t wait to be out there working with patients every single day, learning from other talented clinical instructors. So for now, I’ll just keep trying to channel today’s mantra – “It is not lost on me how fortunate I am to be here in this moment.”

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Just checking in…

Well here I am.

10 pm and finally home.  A very long 14+ hour day.  This job I have (oh, btw way I got a job) working as a Pediatric PT Aide at the hospital has been an incredible blessing in so many ways, not only is it a job and a wonderful learning opportunity, but I’ve also been having some really amazing experiences that challenge me and force me to grow.  Though, downside, it makes for some very very long days now and then.

And we have an upcoming neuro exam later this week, so that means I’m gonna try to crank out a few more hours tonight before it’s time to crash and do it all over again tomorrow!

“Are we on a coffee break?”
“We’re elves, we don’t drink coffee.”
“Then I guess the break is over!”
(name that movie…)

And with that, break’s over.  Time to hit the notes!

Ooo wait, I’ll leave one more thing.  Today I heard about this new musical artist who has an album that comes out tomorrow.  Anyway, I’m slightly obsessed.  So, here’s a particular song I’ve been enjoying this evening.  Okay, now I’m really going.  If anyone needs me I’ll be studying while listening to this on repeat.

 

Velcro

There are so many songs that take me back to a very specific time and place. It’s like time travel.  You hear those first couple bars and *BOOM* you’re running around your elementary school gym for PE class, *BOOM* you’re driving to a football game in high school *BOOM* you’re in a dark church in the middle of Lent, *BOOM* you’re helping Dad clean the garage on Saturday.  And it’s not just an image, it’s a three dimensional memory.  It’s palpable.  You can feel it on your skin.  You can smell it.  You can taste it.

This song is one of them.  It takes me back to such a specific time in the fall two year ago.  I went to see this band, Bell X1, perform live on a whim with my cousin, Stasia who knew the group well and came to my city just to hear them play.  She stayed with me at my apartment and invited me to come to the concert with her,  so I figure, “What the heck, it can’t hurt.” I YouTubed one or two of their songs and they sounded pretty cool, and it was something fun to do, and an awesome chance to hang out with Stasia who is a total music guru and seasoned concert goer. If she recommends them, they gotta be good! The concert was absolutely amazing.  It was one of those experiences that had me completely enthralled from the first song of the opening act.  It reminded me just how spellbinding it can be to see live music performed.  This song was the first in the set played by Bell X1.  Before she left the next day, Stasia gave me a ton of their music and I proceeded to pull a few of my favorite songs onto a new mix cd.  This song was one of them, and whenever I listen to it, it catapults me back to that fall.

This song is the crisp air of a Michigan autumn.  This song is driving home from yoga in the dark.  This song is waiting to hear back about my PT school applications.  This song is being a nomad at work, sitting at coffee houses and cafeteria tables scrambling to close deliverables out.  This song is the feeling of tired muscles the morning after a long run.  This song is incredible frustration and hating my job with my whole being.  This song is my morning tea, hot cider, and weekend coffee after yoga.  This song is my holding pattern.

(PS – Take a listen to the song below and feel free to check out some of their other stuff.  If you like what you hear, I’ve included a link to their website above, which lists the cities on their upcoming US tour.  If you have the opportunity to hear them play, I urge you to GO.  They put on a great concert!)

This blog drives me nuts sometimes

I have about a million posts I want to make.  I think about them all the time.  If I actually wrote posts as much as I think about writing posts while I’m driving, this blog would be much more functional.  But then I come and look at my blog and realize I haven’t written in almost two months.  What the WHAT? Oops.

I’m still here.

More to come.  Eventually.

It’s something in the air

So today is the second day in a row where I walked out of the front door of my apartment and was immediately hit in the face by the fact that I live in North Carolina.  I don’t know if it’s the heat, or the humidity, or the sound of cicadas or katydids or whatever that sound is that I associate with the sand by the beach, or some weird law of nature that requires the entire state of North Carolina to smell like ocean after July 1.  Regardless of the reason, the second I opened my door, I just felt, “I’M IN NORTH CAROLINA.” Sadly, that meant I felt like I should be heading down steps to go on a morning walk on the beach rather than walking down steps to drive to a 9 am lecture on neuropathic foot ulcers.  (PS – wound care is not my fav)  Needless to say, I’m craving the beach.  How have I been living in NC for almost 10 months and still haven’t gotten to the beach since last August??  It needs to happen.  That’s all I’m saying.  

I can’t wait for the Fourth and a long weekend get away with my family in Virginia!

The blog lives!

Remember that time I started a blog and then neglected it for three months?

Eeep!  Well I won’t attempt to address everything that happened between March and now, but I’ll just summarize and say, I finished out spring semester (thank GOD), had an incredible week at home in Michigan, and then jumped into summer semester which has been much more relaxed as far as school is concerned, but has been chock-full of exciting personal events and some really not-so-exciting challenges.  But here we are.

Last month, I ended up driving through part of eastern Tennessee and through Ashville, NC for the first time, and it inspired me to pick up and re-read one of my favorite books, Christy. For years growing up, it was one of those thick paperback books that sat on the bookshelves of the living room, and I had no idea what it was about, only that my mom touted it as one of her favorites.  Finally, during the summer when I was 16 years old and came down with a fairly horrible case of mono, I read it myself, and it left a massive impression on me. It quickly became one of my favorite books, I asked for my own copy for Christmas and have some of my favorite passages dog-eared and marked in pencil.  The story, set around the turn of the century, centers on the main character Christy (surprise surprise) who, at 19 years old, picks up and leaves her family in Asheville, NC to teach school to the impoverished families of the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee. It has been years since the last time I read Christy, and driving through those exact regions made me want to pick up the book again.

I love re-reading books, especially when a good deal of time has passed since the last time I read it.  It is incredible to me how you can read the same words, the same story, and you can find new meaning.  The quotes that hit you hard the first time you read them, pop up again and smack you right in the face with such meaning as you wouldn’t expect.  Maybe it’s because the story is about leaving home and facing all sorts of new challenges, but I find I can relate to this story in so many ways.  It’s a really great book, and I highly recommend it.  I would like to share a few quotes that have hit me hard this time as I read the story, despite the fact that they are out of context without the whole story surrounded them.

You’re important, terribly important.  Each of us is.  You’re unique. […] If you don’t do the work that’s been given to you to do, that work may never be done.

[…] if we let God, He can use even our disappointments, even our annoyances to bring us a blessing.  There’s a practical way to start the process too: by thanking Him for whatever happens, no matter how disagreeable it may seem.

Human life is short. Each of us has a limited number of years.  So are we going to go through those so-few years with little time for our family and friends, and unseeing eyes for the beauties around us, concentrating on accumulating money and things when we have to leave them all behind anyway? I began to wonder if the mountain values were not more civilized than civilization’s.

My cousin is starting an incredible journey today walking the the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile ancient pilgrimage route which runs across the north of Spain.  I’m so excited for her and happy to follow her adventures on her blog.  If you want to follow along too, be sure to check out her story!

 

The Little Things

I tell ya, it’s the little things in life.

A drink of water that tastes just. so. good. It’s the perfect temperature, and it’s got this little flavor that I can’t quite put my finger on, and it is heavenly. Maybe it’s because of my Britta filter, maybe it’s because I’m drinking it out of a clean cup rather than my normal water bottled that I have used and refilled approximately 287 times since I last washed it. (I should really wash it…) I don’t know why it’s so good, but whatever the reason, it is so good. And you know what, that’s good enough for me.

This is a weird post to end a weird week, but there you have it. We made it to another weekend y’all! Yay! And to kick it off, I’m about to go do 4-6 loads of laundry. Maybe one of these days I’ll realize that laundry would be less daunting if I did it gradually here and there rather than leaving it until my laundry bag is overflowing and have literally run out of socks. Maybe someday…

Anyone doing anything fun this weekend?

I’m feeling super restless

I have this overwhelming sense of “I’ve gotta get out of here.”  Maybe it’s just that time of year, maybe it’s just that point in the semester.  Maybe that’s just what sitting in the library for eight hours on a beautiful Saturday does to you.  But it’s pervasive and kind of constant.

The thing is, I’m pretty sure this feeling has nothing to do with my physical location.  I kind of love where I am actually.  I really love North Carolina.  Even though it’s a gray, cloudy, overcast day that’s threatening rain at any moment, a cardinal just flew past my window, and a few of the trees are starting to bloom.  Spring is coming and I’m loving the warm weather and I really like it here.  I’m learning more about the area and finding all these fun, cute places.

But I’m just incredibly frustrated with where I am.  I’m so sick of studying.  I am so sick of video lectures.  SO SICK.  I’m sick of my eye twitching on and off for the past week.  Honestly I am sick of being a student.  I miss having an income.  I miss having a weekend.  As I was working my way into hour 10 of studying yesterday, iTunes shuffled to one of my running songs and it literally brought tears to my eyes.  I miss running, I miss after-work yoga.

I’m confronted with a lot of upcoming events in the spring and summer, and it’s looking like there’s a lot of things I might have to miss. Things that are important and significant.  I just feel like I’m missing everything.  Because I’m sitting in the library, I’m sitting at my desk.  Again.

I know why I’m doing this.  I know it’s going to be worth it.  But I just want to be done.  Uhg.

(Consequently, this song feels appropriate.  Sorry I’m not sorry.)

Your Wonderful Works

Has this been the longest month ever?  I vote yes.  Technically we have been back in classes for less than a month, but New Years feels like a lifetime ago.  January has been quite a whirlwind. And now, the start of February brings with it a whole slew of exams.  I’ll be honest, I’ve been struggling.  My motivation has been pretty low of late and that on top of some other personal struggles have made some days really challenging.

The life of a student can get pretty lonely. No matter how many people you talk to or how many study groups you join, there is a vast majority of time that you spend alone with your own mind, with notes and powerpoint slides and text books and flashcards trying to learn and memorize and understand.  So often it just feels incredibly futile.  When I look at my life, I know that my goal is to use my life and my talents to glorify God, but then so often I look at my days spent studying and think, “How on earth does this help me achieve my goal? Sure it’s preparing me for a career and my ‘someday,’ but what am I doing today? How does this allow me to glorify God today?”

So tonight as I hit the books again for our upcoming Head and Neck Anatomy exam this week, I found myself in another low.  Mercifully, something led me to Psalm 119 in my Orthodox Study Bible, and I was struck by one verse in particular,

Make me understand the way of Your precepts;
So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.
– Psalm119:27

Reading that, I was gifted with the idea, Don’t think of it as studying.  Spend your night meditating on the incredible miracle that is the human body.  It reminded me of one of my most favorite Bible verses from Psalm 104, “O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all.”  I get so frustrated by the fact that school has the consistent ability to take topics that I genuinely enjoy or find fascinating and twist them in a way where I begin to loathe them.  So I’m trying to use tonight’s little insight to change my mindset, to turn it around and remember that I really do enjoy learning all these incredible things.  And hopefully if we can turn it around in the academic arena, that will carry over into some other areas of life as well.  Time to pep up.

18 days til Spring Break!

When Worlds Collide

Remember that time I was an engineer?

With a background in engineering and a sudden interest in neurological physical therapy and rehabilitation based on my recent clinical experience, it’s quite interesting when I see something that links the two.

Some of my wanderings on the internet led me to this website.  Check out this video, and check out the website.  It’s really interesting stuff!  There’s a few more really amazing videos on the website as well. It’s incredible to see the impact something so seemingly simple can have on a person’s life.  (Here’s a big reminder not to take simple things, like the ability to easily feed myself, for granted.  Hello perspective.)