Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Year-end Review: I Toot My Own Horn

Since it is the end of the year, I feel compelled to write an entirely astronomical post as a Final, Magnanimous, Culmination of 2011's victories and catastrophes.
For about five minutes, I was paralyzed at the beginning of the second sentence, but thanks to the generous inspiration from the Big Black Dog, I am able to resume.
Big Black Dog, Magnanimous Source of Inspiration
I would like to point out the both 2011 and 2010 concluded with Relatively Astronomical Cold Sores (RACS).  It is comforting to observe such consistencies as the years go by.
The Boatman with his Oyster-Sized Cold Sore acquired in the Future, February 2012. Thank you, the Boatman for magnanimously sharing your cold sore with the interwebs.
In other consistencies:

A) I am still practicing Ashtanga Yoga.  I am still looking for all three bandhas.  At the end of 2010, I was just getting back into second series since I had to drastically modify my practice in the summer due to a broken arm.  I have continued with second pretty consistently throughout the year, although there have been intermittent periods during which I've experimented with going back to Primary, since I have been working through an injury around my left SI joint and hip.  This injury has not yet completely dissipated; however, I have returned to intermediate. This proves to be un-disastrous as long as I exert thorough caution during backbends.

B)  My hair is about the same.  Large and unruly.  And I twirl it all the time.
C)  I am about the same size.  Same height, same weight.  It was not supposed to be my intention to lose 30 pounds in 2011.  And if it was, well, that would have been stupid.  I don't think I hate my thighs as much as I did last year.  Some of the most amazing yogis have abundant thighs.  Plus my thighs are turning out to be more important than I expected.  I hope that they are absorbing some cosmic love.  Last spring, I spilled coffee on my left thigh and now it has a permanent purple mark.

D) I still have not finished my novel Two Spines.  I pulled it out on two occasions this year, each time for a couple of months.  Both times I stagnated around page 50.  I think that there is enough love inside of me to bring this project to fruition, but I guess something is still holding me back.
This probably marks the end of the year's consistencies.  A whole bunch of things changed this year.  Even my name changed twice.  VoilĂ  a summary of changes:

aa)  My Name.  For a brief period I had a blog in which I named myself Erica S. Natch.  My father pointed out that this probably wouldn't help my employability so I deleted it.  On Facebook, I became Exuberant J. Bodhisattva and so far Mark Zuckerman or Mark Zuckerberg or whatever his name is hasn't cracked down on me. 
bb)  I went from being pretty much unemployed to working approximately three jobs twice.  Money remains an elusive concept, but certainly not as elusive as this time last year.  This time last year, I had just quit a job that entailed stopping people on the cold streets of Montreal and trying to convince them to donate money that was supposed to eradicate child poverty and prevent female circumcision in developing countries.  The pay was ten dollars per hour.  Every day around lunch time when yet another person on the street didn't want to talk to me I would look at them with a Sad Pathetic Expression and they would ask me what was wrong and I would cry.  So I had to leave that job.  In January I was so broke that I couldn't afford to take the bus and I would walk from one unlikely employment opportunity to another, wearing unmatching mittens that Simon, my boyfriend at the time found for me on the street.  Fortunately, life picked up and became less destitute.  Looking back on times like these, everyone always says that they wouldn't have been able to get through it without the support of family and friends.  It sounds cheesy, but it's true.  Thus, a heartfelt thank you to my family and friends, especially my sister, the founding members of the Down-and-Out club, and Fern.

cc)  I quit puking in my mouth and in the toilet.  The puking-in-your-mouth phenomenon is slightly nauseating and confusing for most people.  I wrote a little post about it here:  Day 69 of Not Puking in Your Mouth. Feel free to read it, or not. What's really important is on March 18th, after years of trying so hard and then failing, I made a pact with another friend with an eating disorder, and together we renounced our puking endeavours.  This changed everything.  

dd)  I took a fair number of long breaks from drinking.  I don't consider myself an alcoholic, but I'm not sure my drinking choices have always been in my best interest.  So I've been taking many breaks, and overall, alcohol seems to be losing its appeal.

ee)  I fell in love twice.   And out of love once. See ff) and  hh).

ff)  I stopped sleeping with Simon.  We wrote a book together, and that was amazing and unregrettable, but No More Sex With Simon was essential to my evolution.

gg) I finished two books.  An epistolary novel I wrote with Simon called The Little Savage and the Hermit, and my very first self-help book I Let Go by Erica J. Schmidt.  We are still looking for a publisher for the Little Savage and the Hermit, since so far, Mark Zuckerberg hasn't expressed interest.  For the self-help book, a dear friend from the former Down-and-Out Club is going to illustrate it.  We're planning on self-publishing early in the New Year.  Thank you to James Altucher for suggesting that one can produce a self-help book in such a short period of time.  And for the great advice on self-publishing

hh)  I went to my friend Fern's wedding where I met the Boatman on a boat.  Now I live in Halifax with the Boatman and his Big Black Dog.  Maybe this was impulsive, but I am at the age when Impulsive Things are allowed.  I miss MontrĂ©al, especially my friends and the old yoga studio, but overall I feel like I am the happiest I have been in a Long Time.

ii)  I started teaching yoga more than I ever have in my life.  In one of his blog posts, Tim Miller shared a quote about how for the first couple of years of teaching, you should probably pay people to let them teach you.  So far nothing horrendous has taken place in my classes and I certainly accept and appreciate payment, but it's a useful quote to remember.  Thank you to everyone in the Halifax yoga scene for welcoming me and helping me learn.

 jj) I got some articles published on Recovering Yogi and Elephant Journal.  The one that got me the most famous was a response to a bunch of blogosphere criticism against Kino Macgregor, who I admire and adore from afar:

Unfortunately, in the process I made a bad-woman of a fellow Ashtangi blogger who is actually a wonderful and entertaining writer, if somewhat opinionated.  Perhaps this renders me unsattvic and/or hypocritical.  But I thought that Kino needed to be defended.  

kk)  I started this blog.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to the Ashtanga Blogosphere and I religiously read Nobel's (Nobel in the Dragon's Den) and Claudia's (Earth Yogi) posts.  My own blog lacks a bit of direction and drishti, but it was always meant to be a low pressure activity.  I don't usually force myself to write everyday, just when I am inspired to share something.  I find that whenever I turn something into a Project with a Clear Purpose and Intention and Anticipated Results, I become remarkably distressed.  See here for the day I almost died writing a self-help book:  Yesterday I Almost Died Writing a Self-Help Book.  Immensely and Devastated are two frequently used words when it comes to discussing writing projects.  Thus, it is with caution that I embark on Projects with Clear Purposes and Intentions and Anticipated Results.  But despite all of my creative angst, if I am objective,  this year has been one of the most creatively productive years of my life. Thus, as I advise all my readers in my self-help book, I should just let go...  My only Official and Specific Writing Goal for 2012 is to learn how to use the word magnanimous properly.
Poetic Pause.
And it's over.

This, my friends, sums up all of the year's Immense and Mammoth Victories and Immense and Devastating Catastrophes.  My Magnanimous Post is over.  I am finished Tooting My Own Horn.

I invite you to toot yours! 
Much love, EJB.  XOM.
The End.
Me and the Boatman, gazing at the Magnanimous Sky Friends

Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, by Erica J. Schmidt
2013: An Ecstatic Year for the Exuberant Bodhisattva
2014: Year of the Spiritual Pants
2015: You No Look Back


  1. Hello Erica,
    great 2011! As somebody wise once said, if you don't toot your own horn, who will? So too away :-)

    I really enjoyed your Kinogate article. Sometimes, what needs to be said needs to be said, even if it makes others look bad.

    And I am very honored that you read my blog religiously :-)

  2. Weird, my year was exactly the same as yours except I barely ate any cheese, (not by choice mind you).

  3. Hi Nobel! Thanks for your comment! I read your blog religiously because I find it refreshingly honest and I can relate to many of your experiences in the practice, both victories and defeats, both physical and emotional. Happy New Year and Keep Aspiring to No Bullshit =)

    Hi Kyle! I attribute the cheese to someone else paying for my groceries. It's a rather convenient arrangement. xoxo.