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Friday, 8 January 2016

Who's Standing On Your Financial Hose?

In Auroville, I am about to move all my shit to the room around the corner from me. Instead of tiles on the floor, there is cement. I will switch from a double to a single bed. And the neutral odour in my current place will morph into the faint smell of mildew.  In all, I will save 150 rupees per night. After two nights, this means 300 rupees. So like just over 6 bucks Canadian. Do I feel smug? A little bit. And also maybe pathetically frugal. 

Internet in Auroville has demonstrated selective fatigue and is unfortunately unable to upload photos of my mildewed and un-mildewed room. And so instead, here is Matrimindir, Auroville's pride and Golden Ball. Rather a symbol of Wealth...
Amazingly quickly, I have adapted to thinking in Indian currency. The other day I was considering buying some guava fruit from a fruit lady.

“Oh no, too expensive,” I said, learning that two small pieces cost 30 rupees. At the time, it seemed scandalizing to pay more than 20 rupees for two larger ones. I walked away. In India, the Canadian dollar gets you about 48 rupees. For my daily budget, I aim for 1500 rupees or less. Accommodation and most often transportation included. This works out to around 1000 Canadian dollars per month. You’d be hard pressed to live so cheaply in Canada, even in Montreal. I hate doing this, but for the month of December, I kept track of all the money I spent. It was a total pain in the ass; however, I was able to observe that most days I spent less than 1000 rupees, and some days my total was as low as 297, 400 and 430. Yay me.

Oh money. What a relationship. I have always had a sort of superstitious view of money. Like you shouldn’t worry too much about it, or you’ll go broke. And I am afraid to look at how much I actually have, or how much I’m spending, for fear I’ll discover I’ve totally fucked up. And yet, the reality is, I am exceptionally responsible and resourceful when it comes to money. Having just inched across the poverty line, these days, I am set up so that I can live in India with minimal income until around April. And although I am not being super proactive about getting translation and writing contracts, most likely something will come my way. Despite all my doubts and fretting, I will almost certainly be okay.

“Always pay your credit card bill on time.” My father once told me this. It was the only financial advice he ever gave me. And except for during a year of poverty post-university, I have always paid my bills in full, usually weeks in advance. I’ve had the good fortune of being on the receiving end of generosity. To help me out while I was starving after graduation, a dear friend gave me a gift of 2000 dollars. Soon afterwards, I met the Boatman and he invited me to live in his home rent free for more than a year. Sometimes this is kind of embarrassing to admit. Like I am a charity case and can’t pull off shit on my own. And well, I really truly hope I can pay forward all this kindness someday soon.

Which brings me to the 300 rupees I am about to save. Back in Delhi, I found a financial book in my friend Fern’s fancy apartment. A small bright pink paperback, it was called, “The Naked Accountant Asks, Who’s Standing on Your Financial Hose?” The Naked Accountant’s name is Jean Backus. Like the title, the book is somewhat abominably written, although it begins with an interesting story about a car accident. The book costs about 13 dollars but once you are done with it, you are encouraged to pass it on, which I imagine decreases the overall profits.
Who's Standing On Your Financial Hose?
My self-help book only costs $2.99, including the excellent pictures. So far, Amazon hasn’t given me any money for it since I haven’t hit 100 bucks in royalties. I wonder how much money Amazon is banking from aspiring authors who earn nineteen dollars each. Oh well. Perhaps it is my act of generosity. To Amazon, and to the Universe.
Naked Accountant Jean Backus compares the journey towards financial freedom to a road trip from Austin, Texas to Boulder, Colorado. Creative analogy. She recommends replacing the Scared Small Fretting Child and Ego Bully into the respective Wonder Child and Co-Creator. The Small Fretting Child and the Ego Bully have deep and paralyzing doubts about their ability to thrive financially. They are afraid they will never have enough and constantly criticize your higher and/or deeper self for your seemingly poor financial choices. Unlike the Small Fretting Child and Ego Bully, the Wonder Child and Co-Creator view the universe as an abundant place of great wealth. (It seems they have never been to India…) They approach the world with awe, and are committed to figuring out exciting solutions to all your financial issues.  I’m afraid I may not have the concepts or terminology exactly right since I left my copy of Who’s Standing on Your Financial Hose in Rishakesh, in a dusty, mildewed room that cost 200 rupees per night.

One thing I do remember is the importance of envisioning your chequing account as a living, breathing organism. I have been giving this a try.

“Chequing account,” I say. “You Are Alive.” So far I have made 400 bucks.

In any case, it is time for me to switch over to my cheap and mildewed room. I wonder what exciting thing I will do with the extra 300 rupees.

If you would like to hire me for exceptional financial advice, do let me know. Naked or not, I would love to discover who’s  standing on your financial hose.

The End.
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

You No Look Back: Farewell to 2015.

On Sunday, January 4, 2015, infused with alcohol, my ex-ex boyfriend Simon Girard climbed from his eighth floor apartment all the way up to the 23rd. From there, he made his way to the rooftop, walked to the north-east corner of the building and without pausing, threw himself into the air. Since he was eight years old, he had imagined throwing himself from a great height. I think of him whenever I stand before a vast cliff, or waterfall, or building. His suicide has permeated my mind and my writing. But he got he wanted, and it’s time to move on.

Other things that died this year: my romantic relationship with the Boatman, which I thought was supposed to last forever. My life in Halifax, which had been a strain for some time. My Ashtanga Yoga Practice, something else that despite long-term arthritic like symptoms in my joints, I believed I’d be best to continue for my whole life. Likely losing my legs or breaking my spine, or pushing one to three small humans out of my vagina would have been more disruptive than 2015’s series of events. Still, I feel it has been a pretty thorough ride.

“You no look back, you look future.”

On a trip to Udaipur, India, I ended up at a cooking class, despite the fact that I have absolutely no desire to improve my pitifully minimalist culinary skills. To my surprise, it turned out to be a major highlight. The teacher was a gem of a woman named Shashi.
“My English, no perfect,” she told us as she passed out a 12-page hand-out of recipes that some Australians had helped her put together. Even so, she candidly told us her story. When she was 32 years old, her husband died. She didn’t tell us how, but it seemed like it was sudden. Because she belonged to the Brahman caste, Shashi was sentenced to being a widow for the rest of her life. In accordance with the traditional grieving process, for 45 days, she wasn’t allowed to leave the house. With her face covered, she had to sit in the corner of her living room.

“All day, people coming. People going. Crying, crying. Me no talking,” she said. At five o’clock, she was finally allowed to take off her veil and cook. But she was still all alone. For an entire year afterwards, whenever she left the house, she had to cover her face. 32 years old. No husband, no money, and it seemed, no future. Many years later, when her son was closer to college age, he would bring his friends home from school to study. Shashi decided to cook for them.

“Chapathi, paratha, dahl, gobi masala…” As it turned out, her food was quite delicious. One of her son’s friends suggested she start cooking classes for tourists. The only problem was she only spoke Rajasthani. “No English speaking.” This however, did not kill the idea, and Shashi took enough classes to learn the basics. Before long, it was time for her first cooking class.

“Big shaky, big, nervous,” she said as she described standing in front of the table of tourists for the first time. Now Shashi has been giving classes for over six years. Her classes are so outstanding that she made it into the Lonely Planet.  With no skipped beats, she instructed us on how to prepare an unthinkable number of tantalizing dishes. Chai, pakora, chapathi, nan, three kinds of paratha, how to make paneer, how to use it in two different curries, dahl, gobi masala, rice pulao… As she guided us from dish to dish, it seemed like she had her entire handout memorized.  What was also  impressive and very touching was her ability to translate many of the ingredients and recipe terms into other languages.

“Mélangez!” she told my Quebecois buddy Hugo, who stood before the magic masala sauce with a wooden spoon. She knew all the words for the vegetables in French. I found this to be both lovely and inspiring. So much can be gained when you open yourself up to learning something new, without the fear of not being perfect. 
Hugo stunningly stirs. Perhaps next I could use a photography course!
“You no look back, you look future,” Shashi said as she reflected on how her life had changed since her husband had died. Surely, as a young woman, Shashi would never have imagined that she’d become a widow and wind up teaching world famous cooking classes to foreigners. But that is how her life turned out. You no look back.

Although I will probably never become an excellent cook, Shashi was an excellent teacher. Her words and presence and spirit will remain with me a long time. A year ago, I would never have imagined that I’d have given up Ashtanga Yoga, that I’d have become single and nomadic and taken to prancing around India with no real itinerary. And yet, this is my life right now.

Having always struggled with making decisions and with changes in routine, I have been amazed at my ability to be adaptable and somewhat chill.  To bathe, I squat under faucets of cold water and to shit, over holes in the ground. I have also had to observe myself through periods during which I am rather embarrassingly shrill and obnoxious. As though my intense preferences might possess the capacity to change some of India’s most frustrating attributes. And perhaps the most amazing part is my body’s ability to shit liquid for such an extended period of time. Luckily, things have solidified since I arrived further south. Oh Varanasi, I will never ever forget you…

Varanasi, The Land of Limitless Boatmen and Liquid Shits.
I fluctuate between viewing myself and my life as a hopeless disaster and then realizing that I might be on the verge of becoming super strong.

After bailing on Day Two of a Ten-day vipassana meditation retreat, I found myself in Pondicherry for New Year’s Eve.  Though aimless, I was craving some sort of symbolic ritual that would help me move on from this crazy year. Pondicherry was noisier than I’d imagined, and my travelling companions were somewhat into beer and cigarettes. As midnight approached, I could feel myself becoming disappointed and angsty. Surrounded by smelly hungover boys, I would wake up in 2016 and everything would be messy and the same. Well, isn’t that always the case.  Every morning, still Erica.

But beer and cigarettes don’t always rule out depth. An Australian friend shared his family’s New Year’s custom. On one piece of paper, you were supposed to write down something from the year before that you wanted to let go of. On the other, you wrote something you wanted to chase after. Right around midnight, you were supposed to burn the paper with the thing you wanted to let go of, and let the other paper fly into the wind.

Without overthinking it, I picked WORRY for the thing to burn. The beach was windy and crowded. I had to get some Indian dudes to help light my worries with matches.

“It is taking too long to burn all your worry,” one dude said. Luckily, it all burned away. At midnight, everyone wanted a Happy New Year selfie. It seemed like Happy New Year in India was an occasion for handshakes and hugs. I started to decline after someone tried to grope my now devastatingly tiny eternal right tit. The scene reminded me of New Year’s 2011 in Montreal. Simon and I walked down Prince Arthur Street towards the building that Simon would one day jump off. Both of us drunk, but Simon, drunker than I, insisted on shaking everyone’s hand. “Happy New Year!” he’d wish to everyone, almost compulsively. I remember feeling super embarrassed as everyone looked at him weirdly. Too bad we hadn’t been in Pondicherry. Simon would have fit right in.
For the thing to chase after in 2016, I picked Self-Love. As I threw the paper out into the wind, I knew I would have to chase after it fast.
But you no look back.



One Morning in Rishakesh

The End.

Happy New Year to All. Much love.  
Whatever your struggle, you are not alone.

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook: I've been posting a bunch of photos and updates there! We'll see about more blogging... I may need some coaxing from my fan club!

Twitter: @mypelvicfloor ...

More On Shashi's Cooking Classes. Come one! Come all! Highly recommended.

Most viewed new post of 2015: The Where is Emma Fillipoff Series And we still don't know where she is.

Some of my favourite posts of the year:

The Benefits of an Ashtanga Yoga Practice, Part Two
Guillaume, Part Two (Asking People About Their Lives)
Why You Are a Hermaphrodite (Asking People About Their Lives)
What a Beautiful Face
Not Separate From All That Is
How I am violent, by Erica J. Schmidt

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Not That Kind of Girl

November is some kind of national novel writing month. Every November, I feel flooded with guilt that yet again, I will not write a novel. One year I tried. Made the word count of 1750 daily words for a week or so. The novel was about the time I lived and worked at a house for people with intellectual disabilities. I called it “Two Spines.” The material was rich. I pull it out regularly but I have never been able to put it together into anything coherent. By about eighty pages, it feels useless and impossible. Torture, regret, self-loathing. Can novel writing month be filled with anything else? I told my mother about novel writing month and its ensuing guilt. She told me that sometimes she wishes that someone would cut off her arms so that she wouldn’t have to feel guilty about not practicing the piano enough. Perhaps guilt is genetic. Or endemic. Perhaps I will write a novel while I’m in Delhi. Or someone will cut off my arms and forever rid me of the guilt.
Now I am in Delhi.

In the mornings I try and meditate. I used to be good at meditation, but in Delhi, it is excruciating. To stay focussed, I balance a copy of Lena Dunham’s “Not That Kind of Girl” on my head. Maybe Lena Dunham would like that. It’s possible that I am the only person in the world who balances “Not That Kind of Girl” on her head while meditating. We will have to see on Periscope. All through meditation, I am dying for the Internet.
Me and Lena
“Not That Kind of Girl” is somewhat up my alley. A great deal of nudity, sex, body parts, menstruation and masturbation. When she was very young, someone told Lena that touching your private parts led to something that felt like a sneeze. Soon afterwards, Lena started masturbating and discovered that in fact, the result was more like a seizure. I liked that part. During the summer, a friend of mine asked me when I felt the most alive in the past few years. Without missing a beat, I told him about the surprise sex that Robbie and I had one summer afternoon. It was heavens parting squirt everywhere kind of sex. Magic Mushrooms Sex. Beautiful Sex. A sneeze sort of orgasm. The time was August of 2014.
When I think about that summer, sometimes I consider that this was the last time Robbie and I were truly happy. A bit sad. You never know when the best times will be over.
My Magic Mushrooms Friend says that if you're a squirter and you don't squirt, it can build up and cause neurosis. I met my Magic Mushrooms Friend on the online dating site Plenty of Fish in 2009. We never made each other squirt; in fact, we never even kissed. But he has taught me a great deal about drugs and squirting. My Magic Mushrooms Friend is a big advocate of learning to squirt by yourself. I have never figured this out. I find the duvet is limited in its ability to generate a squirting sneezing sort of orgasm. If Lena Dunham were me, I imagine that by now, she would have done a better job at figuring it out. Probably she would have published all of it, the Magic Mushrooms Sex. The sneeze sorts of orgasms. So now I am like Lena Dunham. In her book, there are excerpts from online messenger chats. I can see myself publishing such things. And/or excerpts of words I wrote to pen pals. And why not do this right now.

In Delhi, I write to my pen pals constantly. Nobody is as good at writing back as I am. Not even my mother. That’s why I need at least five or six or seven pen pals. Maybe more. If you’d like to be my pen pal, here is what you can expect.

“When I was squatting on a public toilet today it occurred to me that my vagina looks different than it used to. Like the labia sticks out more and is crooked. I am not going to google prolapsed vagina but I am wondering if my vagina has changed since I stopped doing ashtanga. Or maybe I hump the bed too much. Or stretch too much. Do you remember my labia sticking out a whole bunch? Okay thanks.”
“Oh man. Not sure what I was thinking I was going to do here. I feel overwhelmed and isolated and useless and dirty and gross. Just tried to order food and it was a shit show. Whatever. It's the same old me. Everywhere I go. I don't know what was so bad about my life in Halifax or in Montreal with my stoner roommate. I miss Robbie so much. I feel like I won't pull off anything with my life. I am too old for this. Sad noise.”

“Tonight for dinner I ate some canned beans in tomato sauce and couscous. Quickly going through Fern’s cupboard of non-perishable items. She has some questionable do-it-yourself custard, skippy peanut butter and two kinds of oatmeal. I will need to find the restaurants soon.”

“The Canadian winter seems so wonderful if it means fresh air.”
“I really don't feel okay. I feel like my friend’s four-year-old, so desperate for his parents to come see him in bed but it wasn't part of the agreement so he was left to wail on his own.  Going to have a shower and try to sleep.”

“Am I actually going to become self-reliant, self-assured? Feels like such a stretch. I am baffled by how people figure out their lives.  Like how my friend Fern has figured out such a beautiful home in this crazy city. She just seems to have livelihood all figured out. It's so impressive. There there, Erica. You'll figure out your life too. Or will everything just dissolve like the colours of your tie dye hippie skirt?”
“I finally got the balls to go to a restaurant. It was kind of a dive but I had an okay feeling about it. Chana masala, jeera rice. A ten year old girl who I thought was a boy came and stood beside me and talked to me the whole time. She asked me about Canada and said she really wanted to see snow. It was adorable. She even gave me her mother's phone number. I hope she won't be too disappointed if I don't text. Felt immediately better after eating, which is not always the case in India. I find when I first come to a new place I suffer low grade starvation as I try to figure out where I can safely feed myself... Not the best for a serene state of mind, though easily fixed.”

“It seemed I was the only person in hippie clothes in the city but I did some touristy things today and I feel like maybe anything goes. Spiritual pants, jeans, tie dye, moomoos, whatever you want is no problem. I am happy that the yellow in my tie dye skirt matches the yellow in my splash n boots shoes. Highly trendy.”
The Hippie Skirt and the SplashnBoots shoes. SplashnBoots is an outrageously successful children's band whose members I am related to. Their theme colours are blue and yellow, just like my zero drop sneakers. 
“I rigged the tarot deck so that all the good cards faced upright and the bad ones were reversed. But since I moved to delhi the cards don't come true anymore. The cards say upright even when it all turns into massive chaos. I don't think they work anymore. I might need to give them up.” 

“It sounds bad but I got into a conversation with some guy who complimented me on how good I was at crossing the street. I am actually excellent. I just looked at the bus driver and he stopped. Imposing Nova Scotia ethics onto Delhi traffic. (Please don't worry)  Anyways, this guy ended up coming to a café with me and it wasn't sketchy at all. Not all Indian men want to get into your pants. Maybe a bit, but not excessively.” 
Spiritual Pants. Again.
"Kind of sick of wearing hippie clothes. The skirts drag in the puddles. It seems Delhi is a lot more cosmopolitan than Mysore. Women wear jeans and leggings or whatever they want. I suppose it's better to dress more conservatively in the more touristy areas. Or anywhere unknown. And some Indians seem to like pyjama pants. For badminton, and powerwalking. My friend Fern has quite a fancy wardrobe. Prada and the works. She is also about a foot shorter than me. And if I’m going to pull of the Prada dress, I will need to do something about my leg hair.”
“My ex-boyfriend sent me an article about the risk of loneliness and premature death, and how lonely people sometimes make choices that don’t help their loneliness. Haven’t heard from him much since he sent it.”

“Did your toenail fungus cleanse end up working? My toenails are a catastrophe right now. Half of both big ones broke off. I don’t know why all of the sudden. Too much papaya? White carbs? Everyone’s fungus mixing together? So gross.
Have you looked into colonics yet? Other cleanses?

Maybe I am having a people cleanse right now. Resetting my social skills. The idea, I think, is that if you don’t interact with people for a certain amount of time, your habits of interaction totally change. I’ll let you know how that goes.”
“The cleaning lady messed the Tarot cards up so that some of them were upside down. I did some readings with the flipped around deck, but it seemed too scary and devastating. If the cards predict a bad day in Delhi, it could be truly horrific. I decided to rig the deck again. I think it was a good plan.”

“Though I have the Internet, being here reminds me a bit of Vipassana. Barely a soul to talk to, and people barely see me. And when I think of people I know, I am filled with love and longing, as though nothing could be more beautiful. 
It isn't a terrible feeling, but I miss the humans.”

"I am trying to go to sleep but I keep checking the Internet for friends. I want someone to cherish me and tuck me in with a deep love. And well, there is only me."

“I got my vag and legs waxed on Wednesday. Also found a pair of jeans in Fern's closet that sort of fit. I think they might be Bobbi's. One size too big. But both the jeans and the waxed vag sort of helped my morale.”

Me with waxed vag in Bobbi's Jeans
“I forgive you for not writing back about my vagina.”
The End.

The Lotus Temple, Proof that I do more than sit around and take selfies.
Off to Udaipur tomorrow!

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvic floor

Soul Fucking
Cardboard Box 
Spiritual Beard, Secular Vagina 
Are you strong or are you skinny?

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Now I am in Delhi

Now I am in Delhi.

How and why did that happen?

For months I have been meaning to tell you about “fuck blinders.” According to the urban dictionary, fuck blinders is a phenomenon that occurs after fucking very profusely. When the profuse fucking is over, people afflicted with fuck blinders are unable to see, find or accomplish very much of anything. They walk around in a daze, as though they have blinders on. All this may be true; however, the Urban Dictionary doesn't know everything. I happen to have a very dear friend who was crowned Queen of the Butt Club in Mysore last year. She and I have our own special definition of Fuck Blinders. According to us, fuck blinders occur pre-fucking. So you meet someone and this person permeates you with the feeling that the two of you must absolutely have sex, despite obvious reasons why this is a horrendous idea. Popular reasons include a lack of emotional availability, incompatible values and lifestyles, and/or geographical distance. Fuck blinders render you blind to all these issues. So you have sex anyways. The act of sex tends to have a solidifying and adhesive effect on fuck blinders, though everyone is different.

Fuck Blinders are hard to attain, especially post break-up. Amazingly and pathetically jaded, these days, I often make speeches about how relationships are beautiful lies with inevitable expiration dates. Loose-fitting and slightly transparent fuck blinders may materialize when the option is nearly impossible and the expiration date imminent and evident. Such fuck blinders are rather short-lived.

And well, all this relates perfectly to buying a one-way ticket to Delhi.

Since August, I have found myself sadly low on the Mental Health Spectrum. (Or high? I’m not sure. The Mental Health Spectrum is another invented entity whose definition you can probably sort of guess.) On August 1st, I moved downstairs from the apartment I was in and immediately felt terrible. I felt like I was staying in a grey soulless hotel. As far as apartments go, it was somewhat decent besides being a little messy and infused with the smell of weed, both things ostensibly temporary. I even had my own yoga room. And yet, right away I craved an exit strategy.

I called a friend who had just had a baby. (Not the Queen of the Butt Club.) The baby slept peacefully in her arms as I wept in the most distressed and un-delicate fashion possible. I wailed that I should probably move to Nicaragua.

“I’ve been waiting for this phone call,” she said. The reality of breaking up with the Boatman, moving away from Halifax and a million other changes was sinking in. From her perspective, I was doing reasonably okay. From my perspective, I felt like a broken disaster. Somehow I made it through the month of August. Over the summer, I completed more freelance translation work than I’d done in the entire year. By the time that was over, I was totally strung out and distraught. I dreaded going home to my soulless grey hotel room of an apartment. In my desperate misery, I felt like I was too much of a burden on my friends. I became increasingly isolated and lonely. One night, I barged out of my apartment onto the streets of my Montreal neighbourhood, where I cried inconsolably and unapologetically. As I reached a corner, I saw my friend riding his bike.

“I’m super high,” he said. “How are you?”

I proceeded to melt down even further.

“You can’t just cry in the middle of the street!” he told me. I would argue that this is a matter of opinion. But my friend strongly urged me to seek out professional help. A rather obvious recommendation; however, I found it frustrating since I have been going to therapists and expensive friends since I was thirteen years old. Plus a decade of wholehearted yoga practice. And some daily meditation. Butt exercises, manic walking, spirit walking. I have tried ten million things. Prozaac didn’t work. Probably there was no more hope.

As it turns out, every neighbourhood in Montreal has a crisis help line. I called them in my distress. It was a good opportunity to practice French. They were helpful in a generic kind of way and I got an appointment within three days. I am glad that such things exist.

Although I was grateful for the outlet, alas, the days of crying in the streets were not yet over. A few weeks later, teary in an alleyway, I called my super trendy and hip friend Fern (STAHFF) who works in advertising in New York. I mourned over my sad aimlessness and incapacity to manage the details of life.

“Dude,” she said. “Why don’t you go use my flat in Delhi?” Fern used to work in Delhi and then she switched to New York. (See how trendy and hip Fern is? You should see her wardrobe. More on that later.) Her apartment would be empty and available until the end of December.

And there they were. Fuck Blinders for Delhi. Sometimes it’s good to try and look beyond your fuck blinders. Other times, just let them do their magic and mask your doubts. The hell with pros and con lists. Look straight ahead. Move to a dirty, crazy city, fuck an impossible match, and/or make a baby.

Oh yah, Fuck Blinders are entirely necessary for planning to have a baby. Baby Fuck Blinders, it’s called. Essential.

Anyways, I made it to Delhi last Friday.  What a crazy world.

Thank you to everyone for their support. And huge gratitude to Fern.  This apartment is extraordinary.

Much love. Oh, and Happy Divali and New Moon!

I will do my best  to blog as much as I can. As you might have noticed, I have tons of things to say and seem to be oversaturating my pen pals.

The End.

My Magnificent Bed

A street near my house. Not a good place for crying.
What have I done?

Day Before Departure. Delhi Fuck Blinders Firmly Secured
 Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
Day Trip
Brand New Mysore Clubs
Lessons of the Week
Business Ideas on a Tuesday
How I am violent

Where is Emma Fillipoff (One)

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Business Ideas. On a Tuesday.

Business Idea #1. On A Tuesday.

People Walker: Since moving to Montreal and quitting Ashtanga yoga, I have been walking all over the place, all the time. So far I have not regretted one step. Walking is delightful. In the process, you can listen to podcasts, talk on the phone, space out, or watch families wash their cars and play road hockey in alleyways. And I have found that I am gradually phasing out my clicky hip, crooked spine, eighty year old arthritis days. I have said this several times before and I still agree with myself: it is more important to me to be able to walk pain-free for long distances than it is to put my legs behind my head and/or bend backwards and stick my face in my crotch. While these things may not always mutually exclusive, for now my priority is drawing my femur bones back. I believe that walking can be just as spiritual as yoga. In fact, all my walking theories can be amalgamated into a philosophy called Spirit Walking which may hold the same marketing potential as Prancercize, an ecstatic and revolutionary success. And so my Excellent Business Idea is becoming a People Walker. This entails walking people up and down streets, hills, or wherever they’d like. As we walk, we can talk about femur bones, children, sex, food, or any topic that brings the client immense joy. Noble and spiritual silence is also an option. Everything is an option, even leashes. Business is open, as of this afternoon. Hit me up before I leave for India and/or I’ll walk you in Delhi!

Related Literature about Prancercize (Wikipedia)

Some Exciting Footwear Options:

Business Idea #2. On a Tuesday.

Letter Writer: When I was 20 years old, I came across a copy of the Artist’s Way. Written by Julia Cameron, the Artist’s Way outlines a 12-step spiritual guide to Higher Creativity. Besides her spiritual self-help books for blocked creatives, I had never heard of any of Julia Cameron’s excellent novels, haikus or theatrical productions. Even so, I embarked upon my spiritual journey with JC. One of the first things you learn on this Spiritual Path is a practice called Morning Pages. Morning Pages entails waking up thirty minutes earlier than usual, and then filling at least three pages with uninhibited writing. JC views Morning Pages as a sort of Active Meditation during which all the deepest desires and irritations of your unconscious emerge to the surface. According to JC, becoming aware of what is Deep Inside of You will bring you closer to overcoming the obstacles that prevent you from achieving your biggest dreams and becoming a real artist. For nearly a decade, I wholeheartedly devoted myself to Morning Pages. And then I decided to stop. I discovered that hammering my problems into the page for half an hour every day only exacerbated my angst and neurosis. It seems I already have a natural level of impeccable self-awareness. And as it turns out, self-awareness is somewhat overrated. These days, instead of whining in a journal of Morning Pages, I have begun to enjoy sending heartfelt letters and emails to my friends. Writing letters makes for a low-pressure and generous writing practice. Knowing you have an audience keeps the angst and self-absorption at bay, even if your audience is a forgiving and compassionate friend. Sometimes you end up writing decent sentences which you can use to inspire your other art. Almost always, the person is happy to hear from you. And so, Letter Writing is my Second Business Idea for this Tuesday. Between grade three and grade five, I used to send a letter to my grandparents in Manitoba, nearly every day. This might have been the peak of my life. Perhaps it is time for a New Peak. If you or someone you know would benefit from receiving letters or emails, as of today, I am an official Letter Writer. To insert a selling point, I have vast experience signing off letters in interesting ten-year-old ways. For example:

Yours ‘til the dew drops.
Yours ‘til the jelly rolls.
Yours ‘til the banana splits.

As business expands, I’m sure I will come up with something even better. I look forward to hearing from you.  Don’t be shy.
The Envelope I sent to my grandparents, circa 1995
The End.

Happy New Year Letter. Quite Irresistible
Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor

Yours Til Ekam Inhales
Pen Pal
Cardboard Box

The Benefits of an Ashtanga Yoga Practice, Part Two
Internet Diagnosis of the Week
Move Your DNA, by Katy Bowman

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Be your own best friend.

One day in grade eight, a handful of public health nurses came to visit our classroom. They warned us about the excessive hair that was probably already growing in all sorts of places, about the technical difficulties we might experience while inserting a tampon, and how most women don’t lose all their baby weight.
During one session, a nurse stood at the front of the classroom holding a piece of paper. ILAC, it said on the paper in big black letters.
“I’m Loveable And Capable.” That’s what ILAC stood for. “This is your self-esteem,” the nurse explained. She proceeded to rip up the paper. Apparently once your ILAC breaks into pieces, it could never ever be the same. The nurse illustrated this by taping together the ripped pieces of paper. You could still read the letters ILAC, but she was right, it wasn’t the same. It looked all ripped apart.

A couple of years later, I remember seeing this same nurse at the gym, where I engaged in a vigorous and extensive, self-loathing exercise regime. Like me, she had a solid two and a half hour workout. We started with at least an hour of cardio, preferably the stairmaster or rowing machine since they burned the most calories. Next was a fast-paced dynamic free weights routine, crunch-til-you-can-no-longer-menstruate, and a brief conclusion of minimal stretching.  
There is a story about taking a shit on the treadmill. Some other time.
I’m Loveable And Capable. I lack without a k.

When I was in second year university, my beloved roommate came home with a mission. It seemed she had a realistic opportunity to give a blow job in the near future. She was both excited and bewildered. How do you give a blow job? Neither of us had any idea. There was only one thing to do. Call my older sister. Earnest and focussed, my roommate faithfully wrote down my sister’s step-by-step instructions. My sister was full of helpful tips. Lovingly, my roommate stored the list in a drawer. As far as I know, the blow job was a success. 

Back then I thought that spooning involved spoons and vaginas. For this reason, my roommate and I had to call McGill nightline for clarification. So I learned that spooning is significantly more wonderful than I imagined.
On the fridge of second year university apartment, we’d stuck a hand-out my therapist had given me. The hand-out was about negative thinking patterns.

“Be Your Own Best Friend,” it said at the top. Underneath were the words, “Treat Yourself Well.” Every once in a while my roommate would repeat this, when I was frenzied and frazzled about some essay, dude or food hang-up.
Be your own best friend.
“You’re really hard on yourself,” a friend told me recently.

“But it’s the only thing I am good at,” I said. “I am so good at it!" I am amazingly good at it. And it’s hard to find something you are consistently talented at. Even if you have an expertly dictated how-to blowjob list tucked into a drawer, next to the condom jar.
When I was fifteen years old, a few months after I shit my pants on the treadmill, I was hospitalized in an adolescent psychiatric ward for eating too many laxatives. A terrifying psychiatrist named Dr. Roberts ran the ward. The bun on the back of her head was so tight it looked like it hurt her face. All the patients would seize up and shudder whenever they heard her high heels clicking from down the hallway. It seemed Dr. Roberts could not speak without snapping. I suppose she had a difficult childhood. They say this why people become psychologists and psychiatrists. Maybe I should have given that a try.
While I was in the psych ward, I vowed that I would never again puke or purge or obsess about my weight if it meant that I would avoid being re-incarcerated. It seemed so simple. The day I left, I was certain that my eating disorder was all over. Her voice void of compassion, Dr. Roberts announced otherwise.
“You are not out of the woods,” she said. “You have a severe eating disorder and because you are an externally motivated person, you are going to have a hard time.”
Damn. And with that vote of confidence, my parents drove me home. Although Dr. Roberts’ delivery left about a million things to be desired, that part about being externally motivated has proved to be somewhat true.
Fame, Money, Weight Loss, Prizes, Sex (FMWLPS), none of these things are a given. Stunning Blog Stats (SBS), Innumerable Facebook Likes (IFL), these too pass away. If such items are your main source of motivation, you are probably going to have a hard time.
In less than two weeks, I am going to be thirty. I no longer have a severe eating disorder, but that took a really long time. And I remain highly motivated by external things. Stunning Blog Stats. Sources of Sexual Gratification (SOGS). Prizes. Sometimes I have a hard time. I am not my own best friend.
Back when I was twenty years old, I lived and worked at house for people with intellectual disabilities. After one year, I had to decide whether or not to stay for another year. During my weekly 32 hours off, I used to write down lots of things in a little purple notebook. Like this list of my goals for my whole life. I have already published this list, but since I am going to be thirty, and because I used to be such a darling, I get to publish it again.

The Purple Notebook

Life Goals

never get fat, that is to say, always be physically fit
                master French

Learn a new language
                                Either Spanish
                                 Italian or

 Properly perform
headstands and

Develop flexibility

     Live in Third World Country
     Live in Europe

Finish University Degree

   Develop piano talent

       Fall in Love.

Be immersed in a language Other Than My Own

                Write Novels
                    And Short Stories.
                                ->Become Famous
                                        Doing This

Not to worry about money but to live simply

Not to worry.

   Be Close to Someone Who Dies
          Fall in love
              Not get cancer.
                Be Grateful for Life

Always be helping children and/or adults with disabilities.
The End of the List.
Life Goals, by Erica
I ended up staying a second year at the house for the people with disabilities. Over the next decade, more than half of the list came true. Many of the important things. Some of the embarrassing things. As it turns out, many of the items you put on lists end up happening. Whether or not you hang the lists on your fridge. It’s possible that you don’t even need a list. Just like you don’t really need blow job instructions.

Even so, here’s my list for the next seven years. Feel free to put in your purple notebook, or on your fridge, or in a drawer next to your condom jar:

You’re loveable and capable.                                                                                                                             
In fact, you are kind of a darling.                                                                                                                      Be your own best friend.                                                                                                                                 Treat yourself well.
The End.
Me and my friend the Corn Puppet

Not Separate From All That Is
The Benefits of an Ashtanga Yoga Practice, Part Two
The Closer I am to Fine
How I am Old
Lessons of the Week

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Is anyone on Twitter anymore? @mypelvicfloor
P.S. Parents from Eastern Ontario: If you have a teenager in distress, take them to CHEO in Ottawa. The staff there are so lovely.

Also, thank you to everyone for reading and sharing my blog series, Where is Emma Fillipoff. If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, here is Part One: The Grieving Mothers of Perth Ontario.