Tuesday, March 31, 2009


It's weird to think of yourself in terms of ability, but we do it everyday, whether or not we realize we're doing it, it happens. How much work can I get done today? How much weight can I lose in a month? How much money can I save before moving out? We ask these things of ourselves constantly, okay maybe not these questions, but questions are asked. Physically I know what my body is capable of, I know what I can accomplish only because in the last year I've been challenging myself incessantly. With the Shamrock Shuffle 8k over with, I kind of feel like I'm capable than more than I ever dreamed, certainly more than I could ever give myself credit for. 

I'm not going to lie to you, by mile 3 I was struggling, ironically enough I was struggling to breathe. When the air is that cold your lungs are doing double, triple the work. All the pranayama in the world couldn't help me out of that situation, I just had to deal. I've also come to realize that running is all mental for me. There were no physical setbacks or ailments, mentally I was focused too much on my breath. Unfortunately I forgot to remember to breathe the right way. When the breath is controlled the mind is at ease and vice versa, or so the Dalai Lama says. Overall it was an amazing experience, I cannot compare anything to it. The snow, ice, slush and ice water filled puddles only added to the gnarly running experience. I have to take a moment to thank my sister and her husband who ran by my side the entire time, never leaving me. And thanks to all the awesome bystanders who cheered on and high-fived complete strangers, talk about encouragement.  

I will say this, I had only one goal for this run and that was to finish in the time allotted. And I'm so glad to say that I reached my goal! Unfortunately after sprinting my ass to the finish line all of my pictures doing so are goofy. But it's okay because I'm high on life and no one can take that away from me. In yoga today one of my friends, Dawn, (who also ran the Shuffle) told me to write my finish time on the back of my bib, just to have for myself. When I got home I did just that and hung it up on one of my cork-boards. Dawn reminded me to be proud of myself because as my first run, I accomplished exactly what I intended. And I stopped to think about this, I shouldn't need someone else to remind me to be proud of myself. Which brings me back to this whole idea that we don't give ourselves enough credit for the things in life that we accomplish. Why is it easier to believe in the negative, to see and acknowledge all the things we cannot do or cannot have as opposed to recognize the positive? It's all in how you see things I guess, for which I am now making adjustments. Anyhow, it's difficult to do so trust me, I know...but from now on I'm going to try harder to stop and realize just how awesome I am because I don't half-ass anything, at least not anything I believe in. And I fully believe in myself.

Friday, March 27, 2009


First, just some rambling. I suck at life and am coming back to Facebook. Let's just leave it at I lost a bet. I am going to hear it from so many people, my phone has been flooded with texts about deleting my account the second time.

Second, the past week has been so crazy in preparation for this Sunday's Shamrock Shuffle. I'm a mess of emotions right now, this is my first official run, something I signed up for based solely on impulse...and perhaps the slight coaxing of my sister in law. I can't believe two months have passed since I signed up for the Shuffle. No amount of running or personal training could have prepared me any more than right now, if I'm not ready now I'll never be. I'll tell you one thing though, I can yoga (yes, I'm using it as a verb) anyone into the ground, but running on Sunday is messing with my mind. I can do 75 minutes of non-stop yoga but 75 minutes of steady running...I don't know. Obviously the challenge is in trying new things and I'm all about challenging myself. Our theatre director here just scolded me today about not telling her I was running the Shuffle sooner because her cardiologist-husband would have given me a running mask. You know, the ones that make you look like you're about to rob the place. Anyways, she was really concerned about how cold it's going to be and stressed the importance of "moist air" for my inhale, which I definitely understand. One of the parents overheard the conversation and jumped in, doling out helpful advice. I'm so psyched for the Shuffle and it feels amazing to have so much support. Ugh, let me just rant though, I spent FOUR HOURS shopping for a running outfit and still don't understand why Nike only has "L" and "XL" sizes available in almost all of their cute running tanks. Absolutely frustrated, I have a full Nike outfit with a Victoria's Secret running top, take that Nike. Moving on...

The one thing I absolutely LOVE about my job is that I'm surrounded by children every single day. They have so many questions and no amount of answers ever seem to be enough for them. "Miss Tasha, why are you running on Sunday? What's it for? Does it raise money for something good?" I have a group of girls who religiously arrive to the studio early just to talk to me before class. They crowd around my desk, ask to play with my iPhone and for some reason are fascinated with my calendar. "Miss Tasha, why do you have so much yoga scheduled? Miss Tasha, who is Justin and why are you having dinner with him at 8pm?" One of the instructors and I were talking about this and she suggested I implement a new rule. Everyday the girls get three questions, if they ask three questions that's all they get and they have to save their questions for the following day. I haven't had to use it yet, but I imagine it's because they're just excited about spring break.

On the upside, the girls are so supportive and insightful, especially at such a young age. I share aspects of my life with them (all appropriate) and they just can't get enough, sometimes I feel like they can give me the most honest opinions because their minds are so uncontaminated.

I've been reading The Path to Enlightenment and the first thing I learned is that an uncontaminated or ignorant mind is the most powerful apparatus for retaining knowledge. It'd be like starting your life from scratch, without memory or sin, able and willing to fully absorb the abundance of life. Children are so free, in their thoughts, words, and actions. It's hard to distinguish the point in our lives where all that changes, when we stop asking questions because our pride gets in the way or because we're afraid of putting our hearts on the line. Children have it so easy, no worries, commitments or responsibilities. And it's funny because they think we have it all. We have our nice cars, expensive phones, and no curfews. It's easy to want something when you know you can't have it, that's half the desire right?

Hmm, maybe I won't enforce the three-question rule. I love that they ask questions, they really should keep asking questions, and who am I to stop them?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Noise. It's a funny thing, when we wish for silence all we hear is the clutter around us. And if not the clutter around us, we hear something even more bothersome, our own thoughts. When we want to drown out the noise the silence that comes is almost deafening, at times unbearable. Is there any happy medium that exists in which the noise in our lives just becomes less than the loudness of our thoughts and more than the dull hum of the mundane?

When I woke up at 4am to the birds chirping in the trees, I got to thinking about the noise in my life. The racket drowned out what was most important, me. Somewhere in between the summer of weddings, finishing school in the fall, and the birds singing this morning, it was Spring again. And I almost failed to notice.

Had the noise in my life been that loud? Or was I too distracted to tune it out?

Spring is a time for rebirth and new beginnings but lately I've been feeling like I'm just back where I started, no growth, no progress, just the same old Tash. As much as I loved the clamor in my life this past year, things have got to change because I don't want to be here, in this exact same place, next year. Slowly, one by one as any fine tuning job would, I've been eliminating the superfluous minutiae from all around me.

If you haven't already noticed, one of those aspects is Facebook. I'm not going to explain why I deleted it because well, it just doesn't concern you. But although Facebook is an excellent tool for social networking and "staying in touch," I really cannot rationalize with talking to people through comments on a regular basis and not physically spending time with them altogether. I'm not that kind of friend.

I can't promise that I'll never come back to Facebook, but in the foreseeable future it's just not for me.

The noise that is the hardest to drown out, mute, or even lower altogether is the constancy and loudness of my heart, of what it wants, needs and can't have. When I write I let go and it's the only instance in my life where my head is overruled by my stupid heart and I write what I feel, without thinking, without second guessing myself, without worry. It's the weirdest thing because I have difficulty reading my words. When I've written a poem, a journal entry, or even blog entry, I can't go back and read it for a week or a month. For some reason I feel like what I'm trying to say gets lost in translation, and although the beauty is in the attempt...I'm still usually unsatisfied. And I know that is a huge problem that I need to face and come to terms with because I need to be able to recognize myself in words, not just in thoughts. And that's where finding my voice comes into play. If I want others to be able to hear me, I have to first hear myself. And I just can't do that with all the noise that used to drown me out.

For where I'm at in my life right now I just want to...need to find my voice again, in life and especially in writing. Those of you who don't really know me will probably assume that I'm suffering from some dark and dramatic inner turmoil, but it's actually just the opposite. I feel like I can breathe again. And it's not that I can't balance the noise in my life, I don't think there's any reasonable balance for that. It's just that I want to clearly hear the music that's important to me as well as the static in between.

In the meantime, I will admit that Facebook withdrawal is keeping me highly entertained because parts of the day go by and I still find myself thinking in status-updates. For example, today went a little something like this...

Natasha just decided what mixtape to run to for the Shamrock Shuffle.
Natasha (in the past three days) has watched seasons 4, 5 and 6 of Sex and the City.
Natasha is trying to be less connected and isn't sure why she has an iPhone, FML.
Natasha still needs to renew her U.S. Passport or she can say adios to the ticket to Mexico.
Natasha cannot wait for the season premiere of My Boys...c'mon, c'mon.
Natasha has a stack of foreign (mostly Korean and Italian) films waiting for her when she gets home.
Natasha should really get back to work!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


"No experience is causeless; rather, everything that occurs has its seed in a previous action; and every action sows its seed on the mind that will eventually ripen in accordance with its nature."

-The Dalai Lama, The Path to Enlightenment

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Equinox

Since yesterday was the first official day of Spring, we celebrated in yoga this morning at 6:00am by doing 108 sun salutations. The spring equinox is welcomed in many yoga studios around the world today. Sun salutations are basically just hatha poses that are held and repeated, keeping an energetic while graceful flow the entire time. The salutations ring in the new season allowing you to really cleanse yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally.

When I walked into my studio right at 6:00am, the sky was dark, the room was warm but almost heavy. It was just my instructor and four other women who participated and we aligned ourselves in front of the floor to ceiling windows, ready to welcome the sun. As we transitioned through numerous poses, my instructor kept repeating one question, "Ask yourself what you want to let go from the Winter and what you want to hold on to and see blossom in the Spring?" I smiled inside, knowing the answer to both questions.

One of the reasons for performing the 108 poses is in due part to represent all 108 feelings. "Some say there are 108 feelings: 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future." And I loved the idea of that, I'm really inspired with growth and transcendence, nothing can come of nothing. Throughout the two-hour practice I experienced many emotions, most of which were honestly unexpected. I mentioned that the room was heavy in the very beginning, it was a dark and closed-off space emotionally. As we progressed through the poses, spring cleaning if you will, the room opened up to us, the sun rose and you just were incapable of not feeling this overwhelming change. While holding an extended pigeon I specifically remember feeling the heaviness of this past winter and all the changes it brought, all of lessons I learned and also the hurt I endured. I felt sad, bitter, regretful...and realized how much of that I had inflicted on others.
And suddenly it just didn't matter anymore. I put my head down and reached my arms forward and silently shed a single tear, letting go.

I realized that I've lost track of myself again, and with that a lot of adjustments will be made in all aspects of my life. I don't believe that my life is on any one path but I do know that I've given so much of myself in the last year and have almost next to nothing to show for it. And that saddens me but at the same time, you just have to accept everything as it is because nothing that has been done can be undone. It's seems like a simple idea in theory but to actually let it sink in and to let it into your open heart takes more strength and wisdom than I've ever known before now. Relationships, all relationships, even the one we have with ourself is a delicate balance of give and take. You have to take care of yourself because sometimes you'll find yourself alone, even with a loving a family, a significant other, and a handful of friends, you'll still feel lonely and you're the only person that will look after you when that happens.

Needless to say, celebrating the Spring Equinox is an experience I'll never forget. I learn new things everyday, especially from my practice of yoga and because of it I learn more and more about who I am as an individual apart from the entire world. The entire session was restorative and emotionally awakening for me, I only wish there's something in your lives that can make you feel this way as well because everyone deserves to bask in it, even for just a moment.

And with that, I'll leave you with the intention I set for today's practice. It was the mantra that I kept repeating and promising silently to myself: "Open your heart."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Every Little Thing

You always hear that it's "the little things" that matter most. The situations in which this tidbit of insightful information comes into most use is when something has ended, when something has changed, or when someone new comes into your life and you know from the beginning that they're going to change it forever.

We're so quick to re-evaluate our lives once something, someone or some place, at one point a staple in our daily lives, is no longer a part of that dependable routine. Almost everything comes to an end and it's only in hindsight that we can look back and dissect, taking every little thing into account. And it's not that we're overly analytical, no, I believe that it's purely human nature at work, inquisitive and thoughtful. Selfishly, we always want answers. For example, we always ask the age-old, "What could I have done differently?" And then a plethora of would-be instances surface, a collection of alternate solutions leading to different outcomes that might always seem like the result we would have wanted. But what is it that we really want anymore? Can any one person truly answer that knowing 100% that they want just the one thing and nothing else? I begin to wonder if maybe the paths we take in life are for the betterment of ourselves driven mainly by decisions that ultimately are the lesser of evils. I don't believe that everything happens for a reason, I don't believe in fate or any other false method of reassurance. I honestly believe that we get what we want in this life because we make it happen for ourselves. I look at my life right now and albeit not the life I'd imagine myself having at 23, I can take full responsibility for my slight disappointment. That's not to say I'm not happy, grateful, loved, or surprised everyday but I do know that a lot of things could be different right now and I acknowledge that.

My best friend and I were talking a few days ago about our exes and she told me that from the very beginning you already know why it will end. And there we were, evaluating years of failed relationships between us and sure enough, we did know. And it's not because we're negative people, if anything she's a hopeless romantic--but it's also because in relationships (like most people) we lose ourselves. And it really is only after the fact, once it's ended that we see all the problems. Although I'm a self-proclaimed extrovert, I can also be thoroughly introspective, blame it on the writer in me. It's important to evaluate oneself, to put all your flaws on the table and realize that you need to change things if the result is continually failure. And because I tend to dive head first into my innermost thoughts, I can usually pinpoint the exact moment when I know it's over. And it's a peculiar thing, I'll get the same uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach, recognize it is conveniently wrapped in deja vu and in that moment all I can do is ignore it all the while knowing full well that this is it. And I can't really explain it any more than that. I guess all I can say is try it, try to imagine what that's like and just put yourself there. It's the kind of moment that stays with you forever, silently playing on repeat in the background.

I was recently reminded that we meet new people every single day, most of them strangers but some of them do serve a larger purpose. Every single person in your life has a reason to be there and I think that's something that is all too easily overlooked or forgotten. It's just important to keep in mind that everything changes, whether we want it to or not, I do believe that change is out of our control and that unfortunately, it works both for us and against us. The trick is not to deal with the transition of the daily grind, not to "adjust" to your new routine or the new you, but to enjoy and appreciate every moment of it. And although sometimes this transition hurts more than we'd initially like to admit, the pain is there to remind you that you're still alive and all you can do is the best you can.

Monday, March 16, 2009

All The Wrong Places

i. in the chill that blanketed me on that Spring night, fingers
unbuttoning thoughts,
look further.

ii. on my arms, in the un-space where my skin pressed up against your skin,
just skin, justskin. was it there?

iii. melting into pillows underneath you with an
echoing agreement
with b | r | o | k | e | n sighs.
(check beneath the covers.)

iv. was it in the arch of my back?

v. was it in the drop of sweat that gathered, heavy
on your brow?

vi. did it rest on top of you as I
positioned myself in place?

vii. then / now, is / was, a separation:
separating you from I without so much the courtesy of a
hyphen or comma. just empty white space.

maybe that's where it was all this time.
or maybe it was never there.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


There's something disturbingly peaceful and melodic about the sweet sound of an electric tattoo machine. The first time I walked in to a tattoo shop, Metamorph in the city, I felt eerily safe. Now that may have been just because I was with my brothers and sister but the idea of getting my first tattoo wasn't as nerve-wracking as I'd always imagined it would be. My first tattoo, the infinity symbol on my inner right wrist, is one of my most favorite things. I'm not sure I've worded that as eloquently as I'd liked but when I look at it, even just in passing or with just a wayward glance, I'm inspired all over again. I love that everytime I look at it the symbol takes new meaning. I was sifting through my Moleskine late last night and found this.I'm assuming I wrote that in there to remind myself that everything is cyclical and that no one feeling, emotion, or moment will last forever. It sounds a little morbid on the surface but when I think about it I feel like it's almost reassuring. I know it's a little blurry but it reads:

"Infinity as a place, ever going, happiness won't last and sadness will end. Unboundedness."

The past few days have been so overwhelming for me and I almost feel like I can't reach the surface. The surface of what you ask? I don't even know myself. I wouldn't say I'm drowning but life has a tendency to pile things stackloads high when you can barely see anything at all. The problem is that I have to finish everything at once, every menial task as well as the life-changing decisions that I crave so badly to ignore. I feel like every other blog post is another rant on "change," but little changes can certainly accomplish drastic results.

A month or so ago I was needing to get inked again but this time wasn't sure what I wanted. Unlike my infinity tattoo which I knew I wanted for the longest time, I couldn't seem to pinpoint where I was now, in this point in my life. And then it actually just came to me, yoga has been a mainstay in my daily routine and I wanted to get something that represented how yoga makes me feel, how it's changed my way of thinking, my way of living and especially loving.

Last week my yoga instructor was explaining the concept of desire. She said that in every desire of ours is a little piece of ourselves. Ideally, she was explaining that the things/people/life we desire are all outward reflections of what we want for ourselves. When she said this I realized that the things we desire aren't necessarily the best means in which to attain our ideal life, that those desires can in fact work against you, taking a little part yourself with it. So what happens if there's nothing left?

Perhaps overly contemplative, I got to thinking. This morning in yoga my instructor asked us each to imagine our lives as a movie, our movie. She asked us what we've accomplished, how we've grown and whether or not we could keep watching the movie the way it was now. My immediate response was no. Sure I've accomplished some things, I graduated college, I'll be published in a few months, I've greatly improved my health...but as happy and humble as all of that makes me, there's still so much missing.

When I walked into the tattoo shop by myself this morning I was determined. Be it a visual and physical reminder of myself wanting more in my life, I find that it inspires me to change the things that I do have control over and that everything happens for a reason. When the needle was on my skin I felt calm, relaxed and even smiling. Getting tattooed is like the perfect amount of pain, not painful per se but absolutely a little pleasurable. I think breathing (as with yoga) had a lot to do with the sense of serenity and concentration that floated over me. It's the only function that our bodies can accomplish both involuntarily and voluntarily, our breath is an amazing tool for calming the heart, simple and incredibly effective.

First let me say that the Lotus pose in yoga takes a remarkable amount of practice, concentration, meditation and patience. What looks like a simple cross-legged position is actually one of the most difficult poses to get into and hold. But once you stretch, bend and breathe into it, you truly feel centered and at ease. The symbol of the lotus flower varies but mainly revolves around one main idea, that being that the flower (deeply rooted in the mud) arises and blooms untouched and stands tall, unwavering. Obviously you can imagine what I'm trying to get at here, in life no matter how complicated things get, no matter how many mistakes you make, no matter how badly you've been hurt, you will rise above and reach another level of purity if you just believe that you can and promise to dedicate yourself to...well, yourself.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Graduate School

Lately I've been entertaining the idea of going back to school. I know I've only been out of school for 2 months but often I find myself missing it. And that "it" involves writing something meaningful, learning new things and just growing as an individual from the experience. In the last few months I've immersed myself in my work and give or take a moleskine entry or two, I have not been writing. I even struggle to continue blogging simply because sometimes I'm honestly at a loss for words. What to write, what to write about, do people even read this? Should that matter? Every now and then I try to check in with myself, asking if I'm happy and if not, what can I do to change that. So while everything else in my life is falling into place, I feel like my writing has just fallen by the wayside. In school it was a priority to write, it was involuntary, I just had to write. But now that I've graduated the true test is now and I'm failing miserably.

I wanted to start a new blog but even found that impossible, what would I name it, would it be for just poetry? Needless to say, I've scrapped that idea. For now.

Anyhow, I'm itching to get out of Illinois and away from everything that I know. But at the same time so many factors are working against me in terms of moving out of state. Graduate school as a resident is already a handful so to come from out of state is even more expensive, plus the cost of living and all that. I was talking to my mom this morning about her thoughts on getting my MFA in Writing and she was shocked I wanted to go back so soon but was pleased I wanted to further my education. When I transitioned the conversation to moving away for school she was visibly against the blasphemous idea. I'm honestly so torn but I feel like NOW is the time for me to do this, when else in my life am I going to have this chance? I'm heavily dependent on my family, emotionally, intellectually and financially (which, slowly I'm trying to grow apart from) so picking up and moving away to go to school would have to be a well thought out plan.

I must absolutely take into account that I'm someone who acts mostly on impulse. If it feels right, and feels good I'm always game (which I will argue is not always the best decision). Graduate school is another commitment and I don't know for sure yet if I'm ready to take on that responsibility, just because I want to doesn't make it the right choice for me. So for now I've requested information from colleges/universities in Illinois to see my options and to take this one step at a time. I'm not going to lie, the MFA writing program at Columbia College did make my heart skip a beat.