In 2014 I decided to return to graduate school to pursue a Master's degree and a certificate. By the end of the first semester I had developed a new pain in my back. This was different than the chronic neck pain I've been living with since 1995 after the 2 car accidents. This was mostly on the left side of my back, approximately 5 trigger points formed along all 3 sets of erector spinae muscles (these are postural muscles we all have on both sides of the spine).
The first change I made was to buy some furniture, up to that point I had never owned a couch and had a single folding chair in my apartment. The couch did help and so did my awesome bed, but this problem went beyond that.
I had to change my day to day activities which consisted of LONG periods of sitting down.
I decided to invest in the cheapest standing desk student loan money could buy and began using it. It was not instant cure, I still get tired after 2 hours and need to sit, but having the option to do both changed everything.
Research is very intense and demanding, by 2015 I taught my last Ashtanga workshop and as I got deeper into doing research and writing, my yoga practice slipped away from me. I reduced my yoga practice to what I refer to as "maintenance yoga", yoga to simply keep me going, not to excel and grow.
Another very painful thing my body experienced was heel spurs. I had an x-ray in 2013 when I saw a podiatrist and knew that this was an issue. I had one cortisone injection and the effects lasted 3 years! But by 2016 the heel pain returned, once again I received another injection, this one however only lasted about 6 months before the pain came back.
In the spring of 2017 I received 3 cortisone injections in the my heel and the pain still returned. By the summer of 2017 I just decided to deal with it because I reached the maximum (almost) number of injections one should receive. My return to Las Vegas was extremely rough and even though I should have I did not dive into my yoga practice like I wanted to.
Finally last month (April, 2018), after reconnecting with my Ashtanga teacher here in Las Vegas, I started going back to practicing Mysore style which has always been my favorite.
I went to my first class and told the teacher that I wanted to stop at Marichyasana D, for those of you unfamiliar with the practice, that pose is about 3/4 of the way through the whole 65 pose series. I knew I was too out of shape to attempt the whole thing, but I was hopeful I could get to Marichyasana D.
As soon as I started the practice I began noticing all of my new aches and pains that have accumulated since doing massage and teaching again. The most intense pain was in my feet and it was especially obvious in balance poses! The heel spurs were definitely there and hurting.
By the 3rd class the pain had lessened, I quickly realized that keeping my hamstrings open helps my feet tremendously.
I must keep up my practice, more to come later! Thanks for reading!
It's been about 5 months since my last blog post. So much has happened, I'm not even sure where to begin. But since my first thought was to include the Vegas Strong image, I'll start there. The mass shooting that just occurred here on October 1st has changed us forever. It's so awful and has caused so many ripples and affected so many lives, yet so many people have come together to help each other and support each other, it's unbelievable. It's been inspiring on many fronts, but I'll start with my relocation and some reflections on what I believe I need to do.
I moved back to my hometown Las Vegas, NV on August 5th, 2017. It was a bit of rough drive with 2 cars and a dog, but we got here just fine and settled in East Las Vegas, not far from where I went to high school. It's taken me these past 2 months to grow and make so many realizations. I share because I think overall growth is good and it's also important to reflect on the ways we have been conditioned and the attachments we create.
In my last post I described the process in which I have decided to study climate change and focus on renewable energy. These topics are still extremely important to me and I believe in educating people and taking action wholeheartedly, however, I've made some discoveries along the way in this journey that I'd like to share.
Ever since my move to Las Vegas life has been rather challenging, I've had a lot of difficulty finding work and connecting with old friends. Nothing has really seemed to click or flow in a strong way, this is something that I'm used to, I'm used to working and being busy and creating. Las Vegas has challenged everything I know and everything I think I know.
One of the most important realizations that I've had is around identity and how we define ourselves with our careers and education.
My decision to get an education came from a desire to grow and be able to contribute much more to society that I was already contributing. What I didn't realize at the time, that in addition to an education, I needed to do a lot of work around my sense of self-worth. Having spent the last 7 years completing a Bachelor's, Master's and a GIS certificate allowed me to create an attachment to some kind of new identity. I'm so excited when I talk about weather and climate and absolutely loved teaching the subject, for a minute there I assumed that this is what I'm meant to do and no matter what I'll have this as a part of my life somehow.
I've had a big reality check, now before you jump on me and lecture me about how living in Las Vegas is not conducive to jobs in environmental science please know that I moved here to be with my family at an important time and that is a priority in my life right now. Unfortunately, I've had to explain this to other family members already who are quick to criticize decisions.
I have other friends with the same level of education who have researched and found that it could easily take 9-12 months to find the right job. I'm still very much open to whatever may come my way, but I realized that it's important to stand by everything I have learned up to this point.
During the earlier stages of my job hunt this summer I decided to change my entire online persona. I had my resume professionally written and completely redid my LinkedIn profile. I removed anything related to yoga from my personal website and all social media outlets that I'm a part of. I thought that if I disassociated from being a yoga teacher for 12 years somehow that would help me get a job in a completely new field.
I think this was the wrong decision and I just haven't felt right ever since..well..until now.
There's got to be a way that I can be a yoga teacher, massage therapist, hoop dance teacher and bonafide environmentalist without having to give any of it up.
Yoga came into my life at the tender age of 20 and has shaped me ever since, literally and figuratively.
I've been working as a massage therapist for almost 20 years and have really blossomed in the work and skill set.
I started hoop dancing 11 years ago and really took a step back during grad school, this is the one thing I need to reconnect with the most right now.
I just submitted my thesis to the graduate school, this completes the last of my Master's requierments officially.
One last paper is due for my Capstone project and I will have completed my GIS certificate. I'll have both all done and degrees conferred in December.
I haven't given myself enough credit for what just happened, it's so much, but it's so good and there is much more to come.
Thanks for reading. Namaste.
I can't believe how long it has been since I have written.
Then again, I can because many times I logged on here and suddenly realized how badly I wanted to log my adventures and couldn't.
There is an overwhelming sense of guilt that takes over when you are a grad student and you desire to do anything outside of school.
So what the heck have I been doing?? I feel I need to clarify for friends and family who are curious.
From 2014-2016 I worked on a Master's Degree in Geography and Environmental Resources. My focus and passion is on Climate Change and that is what my thesis is about along with emphasis on the topic during my undergrad. I walked in the SIU graduation ceremony that year and needed to complete my thesis.
I made the decision to steer my career in the direction of renewable energy in early 2016. I went into climate change because I wanted to understand the science, I was determined to answer the questions for myself rather than read another opinion on the subject.
After 5 years of studying environmental science and climate change, I decided to focus my efforts on renewable energy.
The challenges that climate change brings about are so complex and layered that I hope to continue to learn and possibly summarize research as it comes out.
I'm not sure what my role will be, but I hope to work with either wind or solar energy as a solution. After doing research on the topic, it was no longer a question for me, but my personality desires finding solutions rather than only identifying problems.
I joined Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy, they awarded me a fellowship for the annual Windpower Conference which was in New Orleans 2016. The conference was wonderful and eye opening.
One of the big things that I walked away with was the need for people who know how to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
I went to the conference with wind data in mind, long term climate records and thoughts about what engineers may need. After a few days there I realized that GIS has many applications in renewable energy.
I applied for an internship that included GIS and I did not get it, I believe it was because I didn't have the necessary experience at that time. It had been years since I worked with the program and had focused my energy on coding instead, especially in MATLAB.
After long consideration I decided to pursue the GIS certificate at SIU. It consists of 18 graduate credit hours and a capstone project. Our school has only been offering it for several years and no one has received it yet.
At this time I am scheduled to be the first person to get that certificate from my department.
The course load is very intense and demanding, at times it's out right overwhelming.
In that kind of environment it's very easy to forget what it is that we have actually learned.
When large amounts of material is dumped on you it's easy to lose focus..you are only trying to survive.
Now classes have ended for the spring.
Many of my friends graduated and are moving on and life has taken on a new pace, I like it.
I'm taking my time finishing tasks, reading papers and finishing projects. It's been incredibly refreshing to take my time. So much of the pressure comes from a constant juggling of time. The last few weeks have been like hitting the reset button.
I've had a lot of time to reflect on my decisions and I have no regrets. It has been hard, no doubt.
Once I get caught up with coursework and begin working on my capstone project, I'll finally start feeling some relief. That shall be so very soon!
I want to share an video that gives great examples of how GIS can be used, especially if you've never heard of it or would like to know more.
Penn State did a series of 4 videos called the Geospatial Revolution. I'll link my favorite one and if you want more just go to their youtube page it's awesome! It's just over 14 minutes, you don't have to watch the whole thing, but you should!
Anyway, I have lots of exciting projects brewing. One project that I hope to start soon will combine GIS with breast cancer data, my goal is to locate minority populations that are in need of resources in Spanish. This project may involve some video materials and a book. I'm very excited. When I lived in Chicago I worked for Thousand Waves Spa for Women (Lakeview) for 8 years. We had a program that allowed women who were recovering from cancer to come in and receive free massage. The experience was powerful and now many years later I find myself with this opportunity to offer more.
This issue is very personal for me because I lost my cousin Lady Conde on 4/05/17 to breast cancer. She was only 35.
I feel that I am being called to do something, anything to help women that are going through the journey, especially if they do not speak English.
Some other projects include: making more hoops, teaching more yoga, doing massage at festivals and other events this summer.
I better get back to work! Now that things have changed, the flow is different and I hope I can connect with you all soon.
I can't believe my last entry was in July! Then again..I can. I find it hard to believe that 2014 is officially over. What a year!!
From Las Vegas back to Illinois, from being incredibly ill to feeling 10 years younger, and finally starting graduate school!! It's all very surreal at times, which is I why I feel so compelled to write right now. I'm on a short visit to Chicago and I'm staying in my old home, the Waxman family home in Rogers park. This house is very special to me for many reasons, one is that 3 amazing women live here and two is that this is where it all started.
I'll explain: In my late 20's I had a strong desire to go back to school and finish a Bachelor's degree, I didn't really get serious about the idea until 2009, the same year I moved into this house. When I moved in, the head of the household Elaine Waxman was finishing up her dissertation (for her PhD) and her daughters are some of the brightest kids I have ever met. I don't say that lightly, the intelligence that these girls possess on the academic, intellectual and cultural level is beyond anything I have ever seen. Being in this environment at that time was EXACTLY the kind of inspiration that I needed.
Walking into a university again at the age of 29 was incredibly difficult. I still remember having to look very hard in order to find the strength necessary to pull those doors open on the very first day. Who do I think I am? I thought. Look at all these 18 year olds fresh out of high school! You are too old for this, it's not going to work! I had so many negative voices in my head leading up to that very first day, I'm glad I decided to observe them, not let them define me or listen to them.
That first semester back was great, actually the first year back was simply amazing, I was so stimulated, I loved reading and studying. I did my first year back at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. I could truly see why I wasn't ready when I was 18 to finish college, I didn't have a clue what I wanted, and when I did, I realized I didn't belong in a university. And now this second time around, I was determined to make the most out of it. I fell in love with geography and environmental science, I came back to school with an interest in global warming and climate change, but I didn't really know 'what' exactly I wanted to do. And that's just fine, life takes us on many twists and turns in the journey, they coalesce, melt and yolk together into one beautiful serendipitous story.
I devoted my life to being a massage therapist from the age of 19 and became a yoga teacher at 25. I always found it interesting that these are careers in which people turn to AFTER they've had some other journey. Very seldom did I meet young people like me on the path, but that was not a bad thing. I have been very fortunate to be a part of the Yoga community in Chicago. I have had amazing teachers and role models in yoga and massage in Chicago. Looking back, going to get my Bachelor's was unfinished business that I needed to tend to, something I had started that I never finished. I don't think I could have moved past this, had I not returned to school.
People often ask me what I want to "do" with "that"? I find this particular question rather insulting at times because it implies that there isn't much to "do" with that degree. I think a better way to ask a student is to say: "What kind of job will you be applying to when you finish?" or "What are some of the different positions that you intend on applying to?". I think as a society we are very attached to one road, one way, one thing that you do for 30 years before retiring one single thing. I want to share that this is not my intention, it is not my intention to completely switch careers, denounce who I have been and start something completely brand new. But let's be honest here too, I know A LOT of people that got a degree in one field and ended up in a completely different area. An education can give us many things, direction, foundation, growth and experience. There are also many things that life experience teaches us too, these lessons can't be disregarded or minimized. Life experience gives us building blocks for whatever the next steps may be.
Through yoga and massage I have learned much about myself, and the most important gift from these careers is the gift of teaching. I truly enjoy teaching, yoga, English, Spanish, hooping, weather and so much more. My intent is to continue teaching what I already teach and more. With the Master's degree I'll be able to teach at the community or junior college level. I think this is a great place to start for me. I intend on pursuing a PhD. My advisor thinks that I should apply for a program right away. My family wants me to work in between. I have 18 more months of school before that time comes and anything can happen. I'm taking the necessary steps in order to prepare for a PhD program application by next fall, the biggest challenge will be to retake the GRE and get a better score, we'll see. I am open.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on what I should do, I always find that interesting. Many times when people say something to you it's not really about you, it's about them. As I was preparing to complete my graduate school application, someone that I respected told me that I was signing up for a life of poverty by wanting to be a university professor. Later in the conversation this person admitted that he once wanted to do that and opted not to, out of fear of being poor. It's important that we don't project our negative experiences onto other people. No job is every perfect, that is known by most, but we should encourage each other to pursue those things which we are passionate about.
If we can't do that for each other than what exactly are we doing in those relationships?
It brings me back to this house, Rogers Park, 2009..this is the launching pad.
The support and encouragement that I found this house six years ago is what set me on this new path and I couldn't be more grateful for it.
There have been many times in this journey, especially last semester where I questioned myself for being here, doing this, and time and time again I would think back on this house, with pillars that support social change, interfaith and strong educated women. They inspire me, they keep me going, even the little one (she's not so little, but she is to me :)
she's a skilled musician with impressive clarinet skills that she has been building on for years. I just know she'll be playing for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra some day, or maybe something better!! She's also a little math genius too, she'll put most of us to shame on some algebra!
I'm really excited for the rest of my time in grad school. Not only have I been granted to opportunity to work on a project related to climate, but I'm also going to be part of a bigger project that is being funded by the National Science Foundation!!! There is another professor working on this, she is at Cornell University in Ithaca. I have uploaded my Master's Thesis proposal for those of you who are interested in reading. If you want the short version, check out the power point presentation under the Geography tab on this website.
As of now I know I'll be working this summer at SIU for 2015 and I'm looking forward to being a research assistant for our Department Chairperson, Dr. Justin Schoof. I have many challenges to face and learning curves to face, but that's OK. I'm excited! I absolutely love talking about the climate and weather, I love the idea of making a contribution to the field, however small it may be and most of all I love the idea of being a leader for other women. As an immigrant I have faced numerous challenges in order to get to where I am, but those challenges are what make all of this worth it. I want to help encourage young people to pursue their dreams and find their strengths.
There were many things that I lacked in my early education years, outside of music, being in band and playing the saxophone. I really didn't have any encouragement toward academics at my Las Vegas high school. I don't know that anyone in my school, outside my family really truly believed in me. I was a mediocre student who had a lot of untapped potential that was only realized through life experience. It was difficult for my parents to be involved in my education here in the states, the language barrier was a big issue, particularly in the mid 90's before the Latino population swelled in Las Vegas, translators were not as ubiquitous as they are now. I wanted badly to assimilate and be a part of American society, I knew that if I didn't do good in school I could just work for a casino. I'd find a job one way or another, there really was no motivation to go to college in those days. For what? What would I do? It costs money, we didn't have money. My world was so small, my world was only Las Vegas and what the city had to offer. This is why the city is so attractive to poor immigrant families, the promise of work is strong and high education is seldom necessary.
I want very strongly to change this. I don't know what it looks like yet, but I'm going to do everything that I can. I want to pull my people up. My junior high and high school was riddled with gang violence and drugs. I had the opportunity to try crystal meth at the age of 15, those were the people talking to me. No one saying:" Hey Mercedes, if you do better in math, we could get you into biology or chemistry! You will have a better chance of getting into college!"
My experiences as a musician in band were the most rich and profound from 7th grade through 11th grade. Band taught me how to work in a group as a team, it allowed me to be a part of a family, we traveled together, struggled together and made beautiful music. Had it not been for that, who knows where I would be today. I feel so strongly that I need to give back to that community. How many kids out there in that town, see themselves as future service workers, not aware of their full potential? I want to find these kids and show them their own greatness!
I'm so grateful and so excited for 2015! I am grateful for my friends, family and cohort. I am grateful for you reading this.
So much love!
I'm tired but feel so inspired to write about my day today. I am writing from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, it's about 45 minutes from downtown Chicago. I got to spend some time in the city yesterday. I'm slowly getting together with friends and catching up on rest. The 3 days in the car were rough on my body, no doubt. I spend a decent amount of time looking for a yoga studio in the area. I decided to go to a Bikram studio because it would pose a physical challenge and the sweating seemed appealing after how I have been feeling these last few days.
Of course getting a massage is one answer, but not possible quite just yet.
Anyway, I have been wanting to do a Bikram class for a while and never got a chance to in Vegas.
I almost came fully prepared, I brought everything but my mat.
Immediately I began to struggle with the smell of the room, it was as though the heat magnified the smell. It was incredibly distracting. I did my best to get through it and in the end had a decent experience.
Much of the vocabulary is repetitive and solely based on the poses and their alignment. The little nuggets of wisdom that many teachers share to guide us through those tough poses, they were not there.
At times the script seemed a little too good, too well rehearsed and it didn't honor everyone in the room.
I found it odd that the new student sheet laid out liabilities that would affect the studio directly, but not the individual. For example: no where on that form was I asked about past injuries or surgeries, which I am recovering from both. So when the teacher kept saying: look up! look up! look UP! during cobra, I refuse to strain and compress my neck. I modify because I know how, but I felt there very few options for the beginners, injured, recovering etc. And apparently the studio doesn't care to know. Which is fine I guess, not every style has to cater to everyone, but at least I got to experience what that really is and see what all the fuss is about. It was challenging for sure.I could do without those little savasanas on the floor sequence, it felt comical, but it was good.I took breaks when I needed them and skipped a couple of poses because I felt dizzy. I realized that TruFusion in Las Vegas is really a state of the art facility with the purging ventilation systems they have in place for hot yoga and pilates. I plan on going back to the Bikram studio for the next couple of weeks. I plan on alternating my Ashtanga practice every other day. Ever since the surgery it's been slow and steady. I hope to continue that way.
The studio is close and I am grateful for the new experience, I see things that work and don't work for me. I also see and get exposed to things that work for others. As far as set sequences go, when I teach Ashtanga I do my best to make it fun and highlight different things every time. I am sure I may have sounded like a robot at times, but people still get the benefits of yoga. I can't knock on the style entirely, just because it isn't quite for me it doesn't mean it doesn't help lots of other people. I know people who came to yoga through Bikram and expanded from there. The experience also makes me happy and proud of the lineages of I have studied and practiced.
I hope I can keep learning from different styles and keep learning, growing and expanding, one breath at a time!
After months of anticipation things are finally starting to take form. I'm so excited!
I went to uhaul and purchased the first of my materials for packing. I have also reserved the ubox that is taking my small apartment over the Rockies and across the plains!
I can't wait for this trip! My friend Tamara is coming to town and driving back with me.
Unfortunately, we won't be able to stop for longer than a night anywhere, but it's OK. There is much to do in little time.
On that note, I'm very excited. I'm pretty sure I have found my next living quarters. I spent a good part of the day talking to a management company and some former tenants (friends) of the property.
There are some scary slum lord stories to be heard in Carbondale, luckily I got some good and flat out honest reviews.
It's not the fancy new apartments in town, but it's got everything I need and 2 blocks from campus. I cannot even convey the excitement I feel to think that I can walk to campus everyday!! My car can stay parked all week...I would only have to drive for groceries and household needs.
After these last months in Vegas, I could seriously use some time off the road...maybe I'll buy a bike again!
Anyways, I've been teaching a decent amount, I had to opportunity to cook food for my brother's church and I finally saw some rain last weekend.
I hadn't seen lightning or heard thunder in 9 months..I really missed it.
I'm feeling pretty good, excited about the future and putting all the pieces into place.
Tomorrow I'll be teaching at Blue Sky Yoga 12:15pm and then we'll all be at the Krishna Das concert! My first concert of the year!!!
If you are in Vegas let's get together! The Yogis from Blue Sky are putting a little get together for me on Sunday July 13th, location to be announced!
And if you're in Chicago, we should make plans too!!
Have a beautiful day!
Today was a great day! I had my final appointment with my doctor. I don't have to see her again for another year! I've healed well and have been cleared to resume my normal activities.
I haven't attempted to hoop again, but I might this weekend.
This entire experience has truly been life changing. I've gotten so much growth, perspective and insight in the last few weeks it's incredible.
The doctor showed me the pictures of my insides. The large tumor was really really large, and even the small ones were not as small as I envisioned them. They protruded in a way that no doctor really explained to me. In a sense I feel like the fibroid tumors were downplayed by my doctors for the last 5 years until now that one was out of control.
One of the lessons of this is that I really want to help educate women and girls about their bodies and reproductive systems. I feel that there is just so much I didn't know and I still don't know.
There are so many things to explore and discuss, for example my resistance to the surgery in general, it kept me in pain for much longer than needed.
But with that being said, I simply was not 100% comfortable with the other 2 doctors I had. My pain only improved in waves.
Just over a year ago it got worse again, I went to the clinic and requested an ultrasound. Once it was complete and my doctor went over it. I felt like I got scolded for having asked for this, yes I had the tumors, nothing had changed. Why did I come in? There's nothing she can do, but give me stronger hormones or surgery.
I was so sad and upset. I couldn't explain what made the pain worse and what didn't. I had such a hard time believing there were no other options.
Today I saw the endometrial tissue that was binding my organs together...it's amazing that we live in a world where this is all possible. I'm still blown away by that.
Luckily my endometriosis was not too out of control and Dr. Pedroso felt good about it. Good in the sense of: we caught early enough.
It was really the 5 fibroid tumors that were causing so much pain and trouble.
For so many years, I blamed my digestion, exhaustion ect. on my pain.
How challenging it was to find the right situation in which I could meet the right doctor and get this done.
I am so grateful.
I feel young again...I feel good.
I hope I can help other women find relief and strength in their bodies again. I realize now I felt defeated for a very very long time.
I'm getting a little stronger everyday, I shall embrace this feeling and never take it for granted again.
Thank you for reading this very personal story of mine, I hope that you use this to help other women and teach our daughters, sisters and mother's about our complex systems .
I was looking for an image to add to this post...I came across the BEST image ever!
Well it's week 5 and I feel pretty awesome. Not awesome enough to hoop though, I tried that yesterday and I think the stitches are too fresh still because they were uncomfortable. According to the doctor, it will take a total of 5-6 months for the stitches to fully dissolve.
It's been a very healing experience this surgery business, aside from the physical healing, I've become aware of many emotional scarring the situation produced.
And with that, my last follow up appointment is this Friday along with possibly my last 2 yoga classes to be taught here in Las Vegas. I'm a reverse transplant...so many people leave the Midwest to come here, but I'm the opposite. California I could do...but Nevada...our time is up.
I was planning on leaving the week of July 21, however, I am growing desperate and extremely anxious due to the heat.
Just today I went to run an errand. I thought I was going to die, it was only 97 degrees, in the grand scheme of things this is Las Vegas and triple digits are so very normal here. Today will top off at 102. I KNOW because I lived here for 10 years before, that the worst is yet to come. July can easily reach 115+ temps, so this is nothing. Here's some cement buckled in my neighborhood..just to give you taste :)
But you know what, I don't care. It's enough for me and I need to get out. This doesn't feel normal to me. My dog and I are basically quarantined for over 12 hours a day in one single air conditioned room. I barely sleep at night because I can't run the AC all night. I'm a light sleeper and it's just too loud.
Can you tell I'm frustrated??? LOL
Sorry friends, it's so hot I can't seem to vent enough! LOL
I spoke with one of my yoga students yesterday, we had an amazing class btw. And she was from the Bay Area. She moved here because it's cheaper, but still visits San Francisco every 4-6 weeks.
After 20 minutes, she told me I should move there, that the lifestyle would fit me.
That progressive thinkers and actions are so much more available, and I know that. And the end goal after getting this Master's degree is to end up in Northern California. It's OK if it's not the Bay, I met with a rep from UC Davis last year and they do in fact have a Geography Dept.
I'm going to apply for as many PhD programs as possible when the time comes.
I'd love to be several hours away from here...just not here.
We'll see. For now my focus is getting the trip back to Illinois ironed out, my driving buddy, packing the Upod, and lastly tying any loose ends here. Which honestly aside from saying good bye, there aren't any.
I hope I can work this summer at Stonehouse Farm again during the yoga retreats.
I long for the feeling of LOVING summer again, 14 years in a place where summer is celebrated, to this is a BIG change...a little too much for me.
Even if I only visit one street festival in Chicago, my summer will be made.
We had the Electric Daisy Carnival here this weekend, 10 years ago such an event might have interested me. Now I just find myself being irritated at all the people with EDC written in the back of their windows driving badly lol.
I do hope to do Coachella someday...hell, burning man for that matter....but then again...a week in the Nevada desert with NO AC??!!! Perhaps not.
And hey, this year I'll be back in school and that my friends is the silver lining.
There are extremely positive things all around me....I'm just too damn hot to see it LOL!
BE in Chicago soooooooooonnnn!!!! :)
Yoga this Friday June 27, 2014
7pm Ashtanga Primary Series
Blue Sky Yoga LV
Ahhh the beauty of life and how the universe speaks to you. So with all the awesomeness I was feeling last week, very excited to start work again etc., I was gently awakened back to reality yesterday morning and I've sort of had a rebirth.
So last week I mentioned having interviewed at a couple of massage places and having chosen one etc.
I had agreed to taking an extremely low pay because I'm so excited/desperate to work. I was genuinely excited.
On Saturday I gave a massage to a friend, he's about 6ft maybe a little taller, about 200lbs or so I'm totally guessing, but a big guy (what I'm trying to say!). And of course I had some trouble sleeping and woke up at 5am and felt some pain and discomfort in my arms. And it's perfectly logical, all last week I gave more massages than I have in weeks and I worked on someone who has a very physical job and a lot of muscle to work on. It reminded me how much massage really takes affects the body. No, I wasn't dying or anything.
It was normal soreness, similar to how you feel after a workout.
But I realized then and there that I cannot work for a fraction, almost a third of what I am used to making.
They tried really hard to get me to work there and offered me a little more, but I knew right then that it was a bad bad choice AND I'd like to have more say in WHO my clients are.
I've been doing this for 15 years and I guess that's the problem, I can only work for myself at this point.
I would consider working at Thousand Waves in Chicago again if that opportunity presented itself, I was there for 8 years and absolutely love the place. They treated us really great too!
So that's it, my eyes got peeled open and I'm going to keep subbing yoga and doing whatever I can for the next two months.
IN OTHER NEWS...
I guess it's time to make it a PSA:
My wonderful mother strongly supported me in making the following decision:
I'm moving back to Southern Illinois in early August sometime!! I'll be a graduate assistant in the Geography Department and I'll be working on my Master of Science in Geography and Environmental Resources!!!!!!
It looks like I'll be helping with Weather, Climate and Society...one of my favorite college courses ever!
I love me some weather! LOL...I would rather insert a cheesy selfie here but, it's too much work :)
Anyway, I'll be there for at least the next two years and I'm also considering moving right on to a PhD program after that hopefully in California somewhere. I really want to be closer to the family, but my mom is super excited and supportive and I really want to take this step too...I've been wanting this for the last 2 years.
It's funny how people have tried to talk me out of it or have negative things about this idea and frankly I don't think I need to defend it. But I probably will in another post just because...I'm an Aries damn it..we're confrontational! LOL
It's really simple, I'm passionate about the environment and Latin America. There are not enough American scientists looking into these issues and I think it's necessary. The Europeans are there looking at climate change in Central America, one of the worlds Biodiversity hotspots.
I've even picked out my thesis topic already!
I want to research the effects of a proposed canal that China wants to build through Nicaragua.
It's totally nuts, they want it bigger than the Panama canal and over 300km in length!
Not only will the project displace thousands of indigenous people, but it will cut through Lake Nicaragua..the largest body of freshwater in ALL of Central America!!!!!!
China and Nicaragua have already signed a contract to begin construction by late this year.
The U.S. has stated a lack of excitement, but no strong opposition..even the environmental groups haven't really picked it up yet. I don't know why.
Anyway..I'm really excited because I love the topic and I actually do enjoy research :)
And for those wondering:
NO..I'm not going to stop learning, practicing or teaching Yoga
NO..This doesn't mean I don't have ANY other dreams
NO..Going to further my education does not change who I am or my purpose in this world
Yes, I want to contribute more
Yes, I'd like to be a role model for other young Hispanic women to pursue careers in science or anything else they desire.
Yes, I'd like to be a college professor some day..why not?
So for now, I'm looking to only work in Las Vegas until August 1st before we pack up and head back to the Midwest. Doesn't mean I won't come back..I'm rooted to this place for a long time to come...but not forever :)
ll my services are discounted. If I get enough requests I'll stop in Chicago before heading to Carbondale. I need to be there no later than August 12-13, 2014.
Looking to stop in Denver, Omaha and hopefully Chicago and Champaign.
Thank you again for checking in with me on this amazing journey called LIFE!
I can't believe it's been 2 weeks since the surgery. It feels like much longer. I started going for walks with Penny again one week ago today and we've been going pretty much every day since. We took 1 day off. I'm definitely healing rather fast! I still have pain for sure, I feel it mostly at the end of the day..especially if I do a lot, but really it's very minimal compared to the pain I was in before. I think that is contributing to my anxiousness and desire to get moving again! So in the best way possible, I am doing just that.
I GOT A NEW JOB TODAY!
I'm so very excited! I interviewed at 2 massage places in 2 days and one was definitely a better fit for many reasons. For one, I'll be in Henderson which is much closer to my house and it's close to All About Yoga.
I'll start working regularly at Massage Heights starting June 16th. (Warm Springs and Stephanie Rd)
I'm really excited to put my massage page back on the website and get the massage train rolling again.
It's taken MONTH'S for my license to come through and I got my liability insurance too, I'm ready!
I'll be training on some new techniques too, stone massage, face massage and they do some special foot scrub.
What's also rockin' is that I'll have plenty of time in the schedule to teach yoga!!
I'm hoping to sub at Green Valley Ranch Spa, Blue Sky Yoga and All About Yoga.
Perhaps I'll add some workshops on there too. I won't be back at full steam till 4th of July weekend, so don't worry ( all you worriers : ) it's just massage for the next few weeks. Still no heaving lifting and not strenuous exercise until the full 6 week healing period is over. Good thing I already have a 4th of July party to go to ;)
Sure I have to keep the Ibuprofin near by and if I really over did it, I can take a stronger pain pill at night, but I really haven't needed those lately. I'm really beyond belief happy that I had this surgery.
The pain I feel now is so different, it IS a healing pain and it's ok, it's tolerable and I KNOW it's only going to get better!
In other matters...
My nephew Abraham graduates from high school next Friday. He has cerebral palsy and has had to work through many challenges at his age. We're so proud of him. My other nephew Fernando graduated from junior college last month too. This is the first time I've been able to be here for graduations and it's pretty awesome.
I love being here and being an aunt and daughter.
I won't lie either though..I struggle every day..the summers are extremely challenging for me.
Heat is not something I look forward to when June, July and August come round.
After 14 years in the Midwest it's funny, I grew to LOVE summertime.
Now that I'm back home it's the most dreaded time of the year for the whole family.
We're going to peak at 109 degrees on Monday. I can't stand it...our A/C can barely keep up and even the dog will not go outside in the afternoon. And it's just getting started.
I remember when I was in high school, I was in marching band(Tenor Sax for 2 years, Drum line for 1). We had a practice in early August and after we finished the teacher said: "Congratulations, you just marched in 115 degree weather!".
I was 16 back then....somehow more manageable. lol. It's much more challenging today.
I think of people that move here from elsewhere for the "weather"...and I think that I don't understand them.
I wish I had what they have to make me love this dry, no tree, no water having place.
But oh well. There it is, my silly challenge that must be over come because I'm spending precious time with my family...time that I will never get to repeat, relive or recreate in anyway.
The gifts they have given me are priceless and incredible...I'd be a fool to actually complain ;)
Seasoned Yogini, Massage Therapist, Dancer, Lover and Animals, the divine feminine and so much more!! This blog contains my musings, stories of challenges, inspiration and the other things that make me human in this realm. NAMASTE