Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lay back, lay low...

As some of you may know I hurt my back, almost 4 months ago now. I have tried acupuncture, chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons, massage therapist, a rolfer, pain killers, an epidural, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories and an ergonomic chair at work. After pulling a ligament while stretching in dance class, I had an MRI to find out I have a bulging disk. On the negative side, my nervous system has been on high alert- I have had my first panic attack, frequent headaches, intermittent sleep patterns. I grieved and said goodbye to a full time hobby of dancing and found out I am anxiety prone when it comes to MRIs and needles. So what have I learned from this experience? How do I stay hopeful and optimistic throughout this new challenge in my life? Here are my top 10 things that I have learned and still to this day delicately feel my way through.

1. Posture and rock ass abs.
I wake up a good 30-45 mins early every day to do core and back exercises as part of my physical therapy. For someone who is a dancer, I was not connected to my body. I asked the universe for connection and this is what I get. :) I now understand more about kinesiology more than I ever asked for. I now understand how hard my back works to keep me up straight and how the littlest change in posture and the way my muscles work to support my back makes all the difference. I am a little taller. A little thinner. And I get nice abs, not bad!

2. Food and weight.
So there is pressure on my bulging disk, so if I lost weight I ask myself, wouldn't that help relieve some pressure on my back? When I am determined I become obsessive. When I can't dance or workout, I watch what I eat like a hawk. Just one of the little things I can control. So I have lost 7 pounds through this ordeal. Honestly, its probably more stress related but its a nice perk I can't complain about.

3. Morning sunrise.
Walking is one of the few cardio exercises I am allowed to do all the time. I have been waking up early (the only time of the day where the Dallas heat isn't hard to handle when outside) to walk for about an hour. Its required a new level of discipline (I am not a morning person) but I get to experience the beautiful Dallas sunrise, the birds chirp and feel at peace before I start my day at work.

4. Settle for a slow down.
I have had to slow down. A lot. Stress aggravates my back. Too much dancing hurts my back. If I work out, my back hurts. If I sit or lie down, my back hurts. Honestly there is not much I can do but learn about moderation. I moved here to slow down and I got my wish. Literally :)

5. No more labels of being a Dancer.
I was recently asked to teach a Dallas flash mob. 8 hours of dance rehearsal. My back was screaming at me. I got a Charlie Horse in my left calf so bad that it left a bruise. It was a reminder to me that pushing myself over the limit lost its luster. I still love dance but when you become engrossed in it, addicted to the endorphins, you forget why you love it. Needless to say I did horrible during my flash mob because of exhaustion. I have to remind myself I love the art of dance. I will always have dance in my life but for now, my calling in life is not as a dance performer. In the meantime, it's actually a nice break. I try not to live for my accomplishments anymore. I don't go by labels- that does define who I am. I go by what I feel and how I contribute to society and what counts with my limited time and energy now.

6. Not just a bucket list.
I have done so much in my life. It was always about pushing myself harder. Reaching Higher. Bigger. Smarter. Faster. More. I have danced with the best dancers in the world. I have had so many auditions, I should be over my stage fright. I taught over 4o people in a flash mob. I feel accomplished. Now what? I realize life is not about an endless to do list or a bucket list. I am learning to be complacent and happy with the little wonders in life. I love it.

7. It's just life.
I get a lot of "sorries". I get a lot of "I feel bad for you because of your back". I won't deny it's been a challenging experience but its taught me so much and has made me who I am now. I am stronger, more patient, more disciplined and more laid back then ever.

8. Connections are juicier.
Because of all my free time, I can look into someones eyes and really feel connected. I am not in a rush to go anywhere. I am not in a rush to go dancing. Its nice to touch humans and humanity again.

9. Standing is fun. Especially in heels.
It hurts to sit because it puts a lot of pressure on my lower back. I actually stand 50-75% at work now. I actually have more energy standing. If you have never tried it, I highly suggest it. What's even more fun I get to do in heels. Because wearing heels puts less pressure on my back injury, its actually been heavenly wearing heels. This is coming from the girl that collects nice heels but never wears them because in fact I am a tomboy. Finally I get to be a girl and put all these nice heels to good use!

10. It could be worst.

When I started talking to people about my back, I realize how many people have back issues at a young age. Honestly, I have been spoiled my whole life. I never broke a bone. I never attended a funeral until recently. This was my first brush with the meaning of mortality. While this is happening I realize people around me are being diagnosed with tumors, cancers and more. It really could be worst. Life is unpredictable. I am happy for what I have and yes it could be a lot worst.

Doctors says this is something I might have to manage for the rest of my life. It might take months or years to get better. I have good days and bad days like everyone else...In the meantime, I am still getting to know the quircks of Dallas.

Stay tuned for my next blog when I got back to talking about Texas. Why I still love Texas, my love hate relationship with guns, prisons, rednecks, and the slurred but endearing Texas slang...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Almost a year!


How time flies. It's almost been a year since I have moved to Dallas. # 1 question I get...Do I eat BBQ all the time? Honestly I have only eaten it once since I moved here. Is it just for tourists? Or down hard country folks? My life is the same in California, but fuller...

I still eat at Whole Foods (based in Texas might I add). Eat organic when I can. Meditate, do yoga, dance, run. The California in me will always be there.

Lately I have been living a life of extremes. Such as no fried foods. No boys. No forcing love. No superficial friends. How I try living in black and white and for once, I am loving living in the gray. All in moderation. As long as you don't try to hurt people along the way.

Anyhow my new mantra flavor is "Feel" before you "Think". Follow charm, what feels good, what makes your heart beat, what is your gut feeling saying and then say, what does it mean? How should I proceed to act? But don't judge too early, the answer might be evident later, or never.

Life is good my friends. And if you move to Texas, the allergies are horrible here. And Dallas is only a step away from Austin. Spread the love- from California to NYC, there is us Texans in the middle. Come visit. Come evolve. Make the world a better place.

In a year...I fell in love with a church. Made a new best friend. Will be a youth adviser for 13-18 year olds and continue to weekly bruise my body and quench my soul on the dance floor.