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Archive for the ‘Yoga’

Ode To A Woodstove

January 07, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Body, Faith, Fire, Food, Happiness, Health, House, iPhone, Living, Meditation, Unemployment, Valet Battleship Parking, Yoga

This coming March I will have been unemployed for one full year, the longest I’ve ever been unemployed. And so, I straighten the books on my coffee table.

There are “prospects” of jobs on the horizon, but there have been for almost all of the last nine months, and so I vacuum, and vow that when I come into my house from outside from now until Spring, I will change from sandy/snowy hiking boots to slippers so I don’t track mud everywhere.

Every day I troll the interwebs for a job suitable for someone who wants to stay in the town where she lives and not have a commute longer than two hours, and so I jump rope, do yoga, and meditate to keep from going insane. The thinking is that taking this time to “improve” myself in other ways will somehow show the universe that I’m worthy of employment. “See? I just lost three pounds, and I don’t as angry as I used to! Hire me!”

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The one thing I can actually pride myself on is that I haven’t actually gone crazy in this time, but yesterday nearly brought me to it… I went to the Apple Store to participate in a “hiring seminar.” The exercise was fun, for the most part, but the overall feeling from the group of applicants was buzzing desperation. We were all ages and all freaking out. This was, for most of us, it felt like, The Last Resort. Retail. Yes, I am applying for a job as a “Creative”–someone who teaches customers how to use Macs and their associated programs–but I think in order to ascend to that lofty position you have to “work the floor” for a few weeks, or maybe even months. I did retail. The Hard Rock Cafe. In my early 20s. The honeymoon wore off quick then and I don’t think I can resurrect the love for it today. That said, if they call, what choice do I have…?

This time of economic depression, like the famous one before it decades ago, will be marked by the bodies and souls it leaves behind. If it’s assumed that most of us will come through this one alive, it’s also possible that many will be letting go of pieces of ourselves that, whether sentimental or destructive, good or bad, given our new weaknesses will simply be too heavy to carry into the next phase of our lives, a phase that will begin with us nervously rebuilding our senses of self. I can already feel that creeping in to me. Yesterday, during the seminar, I was in my element–I understand Macs and their software, own an iPhone and iPod, a Cinema display–but despite this couldn’t help but feel that the woman who was co-running the seminar along with a male counterpart had a thing against me. Every time I spoke up or answered a question when they asked for responses from the group she glared at me disapprovingly or dismissively, I couldn’t decide which. Now, was all this in my head? The damage left by nearly twelve months of self-esteem-crushing unemployment? Or did this chick really just hate me without knowing me? These days every little reaction from a stranger in a position to alter the course of my life sends me into a stock car race of abusive self-analysis. And so I chop up wood in my workroom and reposition the hand-me-down leather sofas in the hope that soon I’ll feel relaxed enough to sit by the fire…

What A Strange, Strange Trip It Is…

November 29, 2009 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Aperture, Coal, Faith, Family, Happiness, Health, House, India, Living, Love, Lumix Pix, Molly, Uncategorized, Video, Yoga

So much has happened since I last blogged that it’s a struggle to settle on a place to start…

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Chicago

Did I tell you about Chicago? I traveled there for two reasons: to participate in the wedding of my dear friend Robin to her glorious, gorgeous, amazing wife Lindsey; and to film several interviews for The Dirty Truth About Coal.

The trip was a revelation. I have been out of work since March and “Soma Girls” was doing well. When I went to Chicago, therefore, I was 100% an independent filmmaker. I wasn’t making any money, but I was making great art and having the time of my life. For one week I had the great privilege of staying with my family–Lucy, Carlos & Xochi. Lucy’s sister is married to my brother, but all three families (Lucy’s, mine & Carlos’) all get along so well that I call them my inlaws. Conventions be damned! :)

Anyway, the filming was amazing. Lucy, an employee of the EPA, connected me with people, information and groups I would never have known about and so the interviews I got during my trip solidified that I have an amazing piece of work on my hands. Creatively, the trip was a thrill and layered with validation that, yes, indeed, I’m very good at this and should absolutely keep going.

Then there was the wedding… My friend Robin, even though she’s only one year older than I, has always acted as if she’s my mother or, at the very least, a very important older sister. Her grace with and care of me over the years has been one of the cornerstones in my life that has contributed to my success of self and profession. She has always been there for me and so to see her so in love and bringing to bear all her energies to this wonderful, beautiful match was a gift. Robin is a whole’lotta woman and she somehow found her perfect mate in kind, gentle, but also solid, loving and capable Lindsey.

“Soma Girls” World Premiere

On November 13, 2009 my latest documentary–a 27-minute short called “Soma Girls”–had it’s world premiere at the Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival in New York City. It was a full-circle feeling for me. I have toiled at this “video thing” for a while now and, although I’ve had (in my mind) many successes, to have one as big and public as this was all the way BITCHIN’. :)

Upon hearing of our selection into the festival, Nandini and I had scrambled to get the last of the technical sections of the film done. This meant color correction and sound mix. The drop-dead dates for both ended up being one day after I got back from Chicago, which meant that while I was in Chicago I had to export the film in the proper format for both vendors. The problem? I didn’t have the film with me. :) All thanks here, then, go to my friend Drew who lives up the street from me and has a key to my house. He’s also a techie so when I asked if he could go in, get the hard drive the film was on, pack it up VERY, VERY CAREFULLY, and then ship it to me overnight in Chicago, there was a profound feeling of confidence of my part. :) Once I got the drive I re-arranged one shoot for Coal so I could have a day to prepare Soma Girls. Juggling indy film projects and then having dinner with extended family–not a bad day’s existence.

Once I got back from Chicago I went straight into the sound mix in Boston on the same day Nandini was doing the color correction in New York. We’re so very “2.0,” aren’t we? 😉 Both processes went very well and I was able to send the sound files to the color-corrector/masterer with plenty of time.

Nandini then dropped the digibeta master off with the festival folks and that was that until festival time. The festival was great and is better described on the SomeGirls.org blog. Suffice it to say I had a great, great time. Having this experience for the first time with a film I made with one of my very favorite filmmakers, Nandini, was a thrill and a privilege. It was the perfect “first.” :)

Inspired Yoga

The week after the festival, in fact three days after I’d come home, I left again for another indy gig. I had been contacted several months ago by a yoga instructor in DC. She had her own studio and a large following of students, and was interested in making a DVD of her intermediate level practice. I was flabbergasted, flattered and very excited as I’ve wanted to make an instructional yoga DVD for a while. It’s really hard to do because, in addition to being instructional it needs to be interesting/beautiful. Thankfully, one of my favorite camera people in Boston, my new pal Nikki, was available to shoot. She has an eye I knew I’d need and so with her involvement I felt 100% confident that I could produce something of value for Kyra, the instructor.

Kyra’s style of teaching and, really BEING is about soooo much more than yoga. She embodies the need to make people feel better about themselves in every way, and so that’s what Nikki and I were able to find during the shoot. One of my strengths as a director, I think, is my ability to really understand a person’s vibe and make the work bring that out. However we did it, we did it, cuz at the end of the first day of shooting–three cameras!–a bunch of us reviewed the footage and were amazed by it’s beauty. Somehow Nikki and I had managed to not let the existence and job of the cameras get in the way of Kyra’s message, a message she delivered with a fluid and seamless one-hour sequence. Kyra was AMAZING.

And that was only Day 1. Day 2 of shooting involved filming “pickups,” anything we felt needed more attention/a different angle, and recording the Voice Over.

Now, recording a voice over might sound straight forward at first, but remember this needed to be a ONE HOUR voice over. Because she’s incredible and a trooper, and committed to her work, incredible Kyra did the whole goddamned thing in one take. Perfectly. :) Nikki and I were amazed. “Is this not how this usually goes?” Kyra asked us after we’d reviewed the first take (oh yes, she did another entire take). “Noooooooooo,” we replied in unison, gleefully. :)

The perfection and efficiency of the voice over–something I didn’t expect at all–made it easy for me cobble together a solid rough cut that same night. Therefore, when Kyra got back from her evening classes at the end of Day 2, we were able to have her give the whole thing a listen to see if there was anything she wanted to record again. There was, we did it, and then went to sleep.

Day 3 was equally awesome. Nikki was in charge of the day’s shoot which will become the introduction to the DVD. Kyra had written a 2 minute intro that welcomes the viewer, talks a bit about her philosophy/her story, and describes what’s to come on the DVD. Nikki made ART out of the shoot at the DC Arboretum at magic hour. Magic hour is Nikki’s wheelhouse. A word of advice if you hire her to shoot for you: describe what you want, bring her to the location, and get the fuck out of the way. Because Nikki and Kyra were so in tune with each other, this footage is gorgeous and totally in sync with the vibe Kyra and I want for the DVD. :)

Thanksgiving & Today

That brings me to today. I came home from DC in time to have one day in Hudson before going to the Vineyard for a restful Thanksgiving. I celebrated mellowly with Dad, Sarah, and Sarah’s beautiful mother, Emily. Being on the Vineyard is always restful and restorative, and so I’m home now after having slept a lot and recouped some of the energy spent on the last couple of months.

Voila. I hope this makes everyone feel caught up. It certainly makes me feel that way. :) As always, I welcome your comments and thoughts. This life is nothing unless it’s shared. :)

Much love & thanks to you all,

Alexia

Targets

September 09, 2009 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Faith, Happiness, Health, House, Living, Love, Meditation, Valet Battleship Parking, Yoga

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One of my favorite lines from popular culture comes from the movie “Dances With Wolves.” The main character, a Union solider living out on the prairie just after the Civil War waits in anxious anticipation for the neighboring Indians to, basically, come and kill him. He waits and waits, shores up what he can of his one-man defenses, sleeps fitfully, and waits some more. When nothing happens he finally stops waiting and gets angry at himself. What have I been waiting for? he seems to ask himself. And with that he dresses in his finest uniform, saddles his horse, and sets off toward the Indian village. The line he says then is “A target makes a poor impression.”

I get stuck in waiting and hoping. Maybe that’s one of my patterns. I’ve had so many forces in my life trying to get me to see my patterns that I should hang a shingle. I seem to attract pattern-teachers. Anyway, I know I should be taking this forced convalescence to scrutinize my faults so I can attempt to see the patterns so as to be better in the future, but my mind is justifiably preoccupied with wondering if I’m going to be able to keep the house or not. No jobs have yet responded to me about permanent work and I only have two months’ of mortgage left. I don’t write this so those of you who read it will leap into action, I write it as someone would write a journal–to bear witness to this time in my life. I find it easier to write for public consumption than for private because I worry that if I write only for myself I will lie and that won’t help the future me at all…

So, the quote… Meditation is my doorway to the patterns within me, and I know that staring and staring and staring at them is the same for me as getting up on his horse was for the character in the film. I have to give up everything that’s safe–which, sadly, is everything I know–if I want to move forward. I, by the way, barely even know what I’m saying here. I just have these instincts that this is my one, last BIG shot. This second horrendous Mercury retrograde this year is my chance to either put up or shut up, either face my patterns and deal or be forever ruled by them and never know love again. Oh yes, this is all about love. Anyone who says it isn’t is full of shit and you should back slowly away. EVERYTHING we do we do for some aspect of love. That includes things people do that are evil. They’re afraid of losing love so they perpetrate evil to hang on for dear life to what they consider safe. I’m doing that right now, although the evil that I’m perpetrating is on myself by not looking deep enough. I slacked off my meditation and yoga practices in the last few days and maybe all this is a result of that. I won’t know until I start it all up again, which I plan to do immediately because… a target makes a poor impression. :)

For those interested… below is a video I did while at Oxygen Sports. The woman was on the USA Olympic Archery team…

Kathy Loesch of the USA Archery Team from Alexia Prichard on Vimeo.

Day 1

September 06, 2009 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Body, Faith, Family, Food, Happiness, Health, House, Living, Love, Meditation, Mom, Photoshop, Running, Valet Battleship Parking, Yoga

I don’t know if this is Alanis Morrisette’s response to the breakup of her engagement to actor Ryan Reynolds, but she’s always been an artist I admire for her emotional candor, and with this new song she certainly speaks word-for-word for me. It’s been a struggle, but the clouds are starting to part. Discipline and faith, family and friends are getting me through what will likely be the toughest breakup of my life. I doubt even Mom’s death will have had as much impact as this last relationship and it’s subsequent demise.  There’s so much still to look at. I’m going over it all, step by step, from the beginning, and just “facing” it. There’s no value in hanging on to the desire for revenge even though I want to. The knee-jerk reaction is slipping away. Sometimes it tries to make an appearance… I’ll be reading and it’ll pop up, but I won’t notice it for a few moments. After a bit it’ll bounce up and down: “Look at me! Look at me!” it’ll yell. “What…?” I’ll ask, annoyed be pulled away from my book. “You’re upset. You want to do something,” it’ll continue. “I am upset, but all I want to do is read my book. Now go away.”

See, Depression & Revenge like it a lot better when you drink or perform other acts self-sabotage. They hate it when you evolve…

So, like Alanis, I’m putting my experience into my work and every day life. Making practical use of all the pain. Every day I meditate, do yoga, run, eat well, make something in Photoshop and/or edit something, read at least 2 chapters of my book, and spend some time conceptualizing a part of the house design. I don’t ignore what’s going on at all, I use it against itself. After all, it’s energy, right? :)

Valet Battleship Parking, Part 4: Wide Open Spaces

September 02, 2009 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Meditation, Valet Battleship Parking, Yoga

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If you’ve never been to New Mexico drop whatever you’re doing and high-tail it.

When I was just out of college I went to visit one of my mentors in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She had moved there from rural CT so it was a big change for her. Still, she took to it like a native. LOVED the open space and the feeling of the West. When I arrived and had the same reaction to my first trip to that state she told me she was relieved to hear it. Apparently, her first guest–another old friend from CT–FREAKED at the expanse of the desert all around. She said all that space made her feel lost and small. As much as I ponder that feeling of her friend’s I still can get my mind around it…

Wide open spaces to me are one of the gifts of this country. Free meditation centers. You can choose your landscape: desert, mountain ranges, wide fields of farmland, long, quiet valleys, grassy plains, or the beach. Each has something to offer, it’s own kind of peace, so I’m always befuddled when I think of my friend’s story…

Maybe the woman was afraid because she couldn’t hide in all that space, and hiding is something most people like to do a lot. We all do it at various times, but some folks live there and that’s just sad. Hiding = holding on, and while holding on in many cases can be the right decision, most of the time what we’re holding onto is something that we think will keep our fears away. Doesn’t work. Never will.

I’m actively trying to go into wide open spaces. It’s easy given where I live but none the less still an emotional challenge, even for someone who WANTS to face her fear. I guess what I’m most afraid of now is death. I’m afraid of being killed. I’m afraid that, in my still fairly vulnerable state, I will be taken advantage of and won’t be able to recognize the messenger because s/he comes wearing a smile and speaking in a tender voice. I am not at all good at identifying manipulators, so I’m ripe for the picking. And I’m afraid of that.

Tonight I’ll meditate for a long time and then will listen to a wise man speak. I have a question prepared for him: if meditation is about This Very Moment, and we are to release ourselves from judging the thoughts that come into This Very Moment, do we become emotionless? Emotions come from judging/evaluating something that comes into our experience–they are our reactions to this thing. If we succeed in being present, doesn’t it stand to reason that we will lose our ability to feel?

Manslaughter, Or On My Run-In With “Bikram”

February 17, 2009 By: admin Category: Yoga

The great thing about human is we have choices.

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I know. It sounds like I’m setting you up for something melodramatic, but I’m not. In this moment, think of me as The Buddah: calm, a serene look on my face, a smile, and a simple gaze looking respectfully right at you while I talk.

Tonight I went to my first, and absolutely last class of Bikram yoga. Yes, Bikram is the one where the teacher turns the heat in the room up so high you think your brain is going to explode. Anyway, I went cuz I’d heard it was cool (except, not at all), and, knowing all the poses already, figured I’d try something new in my renewed quest for in-shape-i-tude.

I walk into the room and, not surprisingly, it’s hot as hell. 120 degrees easy. I sit down and chill (although, not at all) until the class begins. It begins simply enough and the poses are all really easy. What isn’t easy is dealing with the pounding heart and pounding headache from the rising heat of my body combined with the 120 degree room. Now, I like to pass out from exercise as much as the next over-educated White girl, but tonight I just wasn’t in the mood, so, after an hour, I quietly and respectfully (remember, I’M THE BUDDAH!!!!) gather up my things and go out into the cool, cool, cool, cool lobby.

I’m drinking some water and wandering around looking at pictures of impossibly flexible octogenarian Indian men, when the teacher of the class comes out into the lobby.

“Are you okay?” she asks, seemingly politely, to which I, the Buddah, respond, “Oh yeah, thanks.” She presses on: “The poses are all on the floor now so you can come back inside if you want to.” “Oh no,” I say, all serene-and-shit, “It’s just too hot.” And the kicker… I smile like an angel. To which the now, officially, sadistic Bikram teacher says: “If you were dead, it’d be too hot.” To which I reply, “No, it’d be manslaughter.”

Somewhere in the middle of the class, as I waited for an opportune time to respectfully bolt, I’d realized I didn’t have anything to prove to anybody. There was another new student in the room that night. He was having a terrible time, and barely got through the first three poses before needing to sit down. As I sat waiting for my moment, I looked at him and the realization hit me like a ton of bricks: “This is stupid for me. I don’t need to be here. I know all these poses and can do them in the cold in my beautiful house. Some folks like the heat; I’m not one of them, and that’s just fine.”

I calmly chose when I left, how long I stayed to cool down in the lobby, and what I said to the asshole teacher who thought I was giving up. If each us had a dime for every person who’d misinterpreted our actions as cop-outs, we wouldn’t be in an economic crisis. The lesson for me tonight was the same lesson it always is: trust yourself. If something is done with sincerity, you’ll never be wrong.

One Hour In Defense of Discipline

October 14, 2008 By: admin Category: "Nice Boy", Food, General, Happiness, Health, Humane Food, Living, Meditation, Running, sustainability, Video, Yoga

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So many books, so little time… It’s a popular sentiment for the Western busyness-obsessed. I’ve never been one of those people who has to have every second of the day filled or I’ll go insane thinking about my life, but I do admit that reading pathologically slowly has hamstrung my success. The good news is I don’t have to let it do that any more… cuz girlfriend’s got a little thing called discipline…

For the next few projects I’ve got on my plate I need to read a lot. Thinking In Pictures and The Omnivore’s Dilemma are at the top of the list. The problem is how to choose which to begin with. As I read so slowly I won’t likely be done with one before the mojo on the project requiring ingestion of the other has come and gone! What to do!??? Well, read them both, silly. Isn’t that obvious…. ? 😉

As my reading comprehension is actually pretty good when I’m researching, I’m taking advantage of that skill by focusing on each subject for a couple of hours each day. I read for one hour then make notes for an hour. I do the same for each book. Sometimes the “notes” portion of the day is just me thinking, but that’s time well spent. Back in 9th grade Mr. Sandine (the most genius English teacher of all time) assigned Wednesday homework like this: “Think.” Cool, huh? Well, I did. And, if nothing else, such exercises taught me how to think. That coupled with my video research work has morphed over the years into an ability to quickly visualize solutions to problems. I can place myself into an imagined situation very easily and therefore be much better prepared for the real-world counterpart when it finally develops.

So, when do I do all this great reading & focusing? After breakfast, after meditation, and after my run…

I know what you’re thinking… not enough hours in the day… I know… But there are enough hours IF you get up early and STICK TO YOUR SCHEDULE. Once that alarm rings telling you it’s time to do something else, you can’t procrastinate. Period. Check out this cool video of the late Randy Parse telling you how to be more efficient in your day-to-day.

I’ll see how this schedule goes and will report back here.  What I imagine I’ll discover at the beginning is that I’ll have to tweak certain times within the day such as getting up at 6:30am rather than 7:30am and allowing myself some emailing/blogging/news-reading downtime after I stretch. I’ll time myself for this first week to see how much I actually do this for, and I’ll also have to be careful about not working too late. I love making a nice dinner and sitting down to watch a movie or a show.This should be challenging…

Yes, Coffee + Yoga Makes Sense

October 13, 2008 By: admin Category: Faith, Food, Health, India, Living, Meditation, Yoga

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 I’m slowly designing my new morning. It consists of waking up earlier than seems rational, twisting my body into painful contortions-that-I-secretly-know-are-good-for-me, meditating, and doing it all with a cup of strong, steaming java on the ground beside me.

No, there’s nothing wrong with my heart doing the caffeine-race a little, tiny bit while I’m trying to be peaceful. The thinking is that I actually need to be awake while in the process of putting my mind to sleep.

Did anyone follow that? Or am I just out of my mind….??? Thanks for reading, anyone who actually did…;)