monastic experience: day 4

day 4
today didn’t feel very monastic. it just felt—very routine. maybe I’m getting used to it. I didn’t follow 100% today. 2 things happened: my friend McKay was concerned I wasn’t getting enough protein, so he went and got me some trail mix from the vending machines. second thing, I went on a date. and had to get a salad. and got the dressing on the side. thinking, I don’t know what. it’s not like I could have some of the dressing. I could either have all of it or none of it. but I just had some of it. I think the words I used were “I don’t think I am supposed to have this, but I just want to.” also, of course the date plans to get milkshakes were changed. how inconvenient, to be a monk.

truth telling: I did not tell the whole truth. should someone get rid of the rules of the dating game, I might have told the whole truth, all the time. but, my dating experience exists after the monastic experience. therefore, I did not tell the whole truth. but what I did say, I told the truth.
spending: $0
phone: not bad at all. talked to my mom.
tv: none
internet: definitely reached my hour limit.


monastic experience: day 3

day 3
my day unsilenced was good. I was more mindful of what I was saying (even though I talked a lot today0). though not purposely (I hate when I do this on purpose), I was talking quieter. I didn’t have very much time today. I woke up too late to do an hour of meditation, or 5 minutes of meditation. no time to eat breakfast or grab an apple. so after work I grabbed an apple out of the vending machines. it was rotten. later, I got another apple and it was delicious.

my day was so so busy. and I just wished I had time to meditate, time to stretch, time to think and breathe. this is a wish I have on days when I am not being a monk, when I am just me. but now, my wish is heightened. since I have to meditate, it’s almost more stressful. meditation should not be stressful. but in a college setting, as opposed to a monastery on top of a mountain, it is.

after my long day of teaching, grading, article-writing, test-taking day, I changed from my pencil skirt into some yoga pants. yoga pants—in preparation for yoga. just like on Monday, I told myself it is silly to do such activities indoors on such lovely days. (especially since I’ve been inside all day, and I got out of my exams before the sun went down). but I was insecure about doing it outside. I did it anyway. taking my shoes off on my little plot of ground, more people walked by this time. I just closed my eyes (if I can’t see them they can’t see me).

I enjoy defying my own inhibitions—doing what I myself consider to be socially unacceptable. why do I feel cool for going for a jog in public, but not doing yoga? I don’t know, but I did it anyway. walking home from my meditation, I saw a jovial young man sliding down all the railings on a grand staircase. he wasn’t trying to impress anyone—he wasn’t with any friends. the people around him weren’t joining in, and they weren’t ridiculing, but it wasn’t totally acceptable. it wasn’t like he was walking down the stairs. he was sliding down the railing. there’s nothing wrong with doing yoga in public, or sliding down the banister.

after yoga, I felt like a million bucks. does anyone know any new-age slash relaxation artists or music I might like? not like…a million bucks, bursting. but a million bucks, beaming. silent. I found, and am still finding that my meditation in combination with my previous day of silence, I am more quiet. I am more grounded, and yet more open. and in the cold sunset-y evening, I am warm inside.

truth telling: I am having a hard time remembering this one. it’s not something I usually think—“oh I should probably be telling for the truth. for my monk experience of course.”
spending: $.50 cents on a vending machine apple, $1.50 on vending machine smartwater, $1.29 on banana, apple, and string cheese from the t-zone. grand total = $2.29
phone: again, not too much texting, but a few phone calls.
tv: last few minutes of American Idol, 30 Rock = 45 minutes.
internet: not really keeping track. a few minutes here, a few minutes there. probably more than 1 hour.

belle & boo.

I am in love with belle & boo.
belle & boo etsy. shop.
link from theodesign.

make face time.

the ads have been out in Canada since last October, but I am just now loving this campaign by Dentyne. go watch the ads, but hurry, you only have 3 minutes.


I am in love with pecannoot. she features her own inspirational drawings as well as others'.

I am currently asking myself, why don't you just go for it?
via neon polish.


monastic experience: day 2

day 2
modified silence today.

observe modified silence, i.e. speak only when necessary. when necessary, be aware that you are speaking.

hour 1: good. just at home, getting ready. not too hard.
hour 2: in my dance class, totally blew it! I kept forgetting. dang it.
hour 4: better. I went to my office hour, and no students came in until the last 10 minutes.
later: I told my friends in the newsroom about it beforehand, and they were cooperative. I did have 2 meetings with some professors, so…when it was necessary, of course I spoke. working on some news articles, I had to speak. at TA meeting, I had to speak.
then: I’m at home and have more to say now, but no obligation to say it. that’s really hard for me.
now: had a bishopric interview—can’t really stay silent for that. plus, roommates and I are looking for houses, and I did all the talking.
vow: it’s 10:45 p.m. now. I don’t need to talk for the rest of the evening.
tomorrow: freedom.

things I noticed while silent:
- a smile meant something different to me today.
- I initiate most of my conversations. most of the people I talk to regularly, didn’t talk to me today.
- there were times when I had something really really good to say. other times, I would have said something (had I not taken a vow of silence) but once I thought about it, it was better that I didn’t say it.
- everything I do involves talking. being a reporter is all about talking. being a TA, you can’t do without talking.
- when I did talk, I was very conscious of what I was saying. that’s a good feeling.

oatmeal and silk for breakfast. cousous for dinner. mmm. as far as diet goes, I didn’t feel as strong as I did yesterday. I didn’t falter, but I craved starburst, sugar cookies, pizza, etc. maybe I needed something to make up for my lack of words. yesterday, I denied myself food. but today, I denied myself food and words. I needed some indulgence. even though this is nowhere near what Hindu or Jain monks do, I feel like it’s taking a lot of concentration for me. a lot of self-denial. in my regular, non-monk life, I don’t deny myself anything. for the most part, I say what I want to say (more often than not, that gets me in trouble), I do what I want to do, I eat what I want to eat. I don’t live a wild, uninhibited life, but the restrictions I do live with (i.e. my church standards), I have lived with my entire life, and they don’t feel like restrictions. probably because I believe in them, but probably more because I’ve grown up with them. but denying myself communication, time, and food. is kind of hard. also, I didn't start out my day with the meditation I did yesterday. perhaps that gives a sense of strength, grounded openness, and focus for the day.

truth telling: didn’t talk much, so I told the truth when I did talk. but what about what I didn’t say today?
spending: $18 on U of U Performing Dance Company tickets.
phone: agh. not too much texting, but a few phone calls.
tv: American Idol – 1 hour.
internet: probably a little over my 1-hour limit.
silence: you be the judge.

my obsessions.

what I am constantly and consistently thinking about. what I obsess over.

1. marriage
2. my future wedding
3. relationships
4. my bangs
5. cell phone
6. my blog
7. school
8. my failures
9. my acne
10. my future
11. India
12. other people’s clothes
13. the growth on my finger
14. my problems
15. my Helen
16. my nose
17. my obsessions

what I wished I obsessed over:
1. my successes
2. people around me.


monastic experience: day 1

I have taken it upon myself to become a Hindu monk for the next 14 days. not really. as part of my Survey of World Religions course, I am becoming a Hindu monk for the next 14 days. what this entails:

length: 14 days
coaching: check in daily with partners and professor. reminder of your commitment to the program.
food plan: eat only fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains—all without preservatives or other chemical additions. eggs and dairy products are acceptable in moderation. drink only water, fruit juices, and vegetable juices. no meat. eat your food slowly by being aware of each chew.
acts of kindness: each day, do one act of compassion, without anyone knowing you did it.
daily practice: 65 minutes of conscious physical movement (yoga), conscious breathing, devotional meditation, formal meditation, spiritual readings, journal writing.
modified silence: on Wednesdays during the 2-week exploration, observe modified silence, i.e. speak only when necessary. when necessary, be aware that you are speaking.
truth telling: tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, all the time.
spending record: record every penny you spend.
tv: record time you spent watching tv.
phones: only use your phone when necessary. texting to socialize is not necessary.
internet: use of internet for non-academic related purposes is limited to one hour per day.
progressive relaxation: when you retire to bed, spend 5 minutes doing progressive relaxation. focus on breathing and relaxing the muscles of your body starting at your toes and working up to your head.
karma yoga: do your work consciously. that is, with as much awareness of your body, thoughts, feelings, and environment as you can achieve. offer the work as a gift to your deepest self.
dream work: reflect on your dreams. write down dream content, feelings you had during the dreams, feelings you have as you remember the dream.

day 1
I let myself sleep in this morning—dreaming of job opportunities. people were there—in my dreams I mean—but I can’t remember what else. I planned to wake at 6 a.m. but woke at 7:50 instead. since I don’t have class on Tuesday, I leisurely downloaded a yoga podcast—the 20 minute sunrise salutation. I wanted to go somewhere outside where I could meditate uninterrupted. I live so close to campus that it is really the only place I know to go. so I found a place where only a few people would walk by (and only a few people did!). planted my heels to the ground and sent my sits-bones to the sky. downward facing dog. felt so good. the weather is so beautiful, as was 10-minutes of conscious breathing while the sun peaked over the mountains. finishing up with a little Hindu scripture and prayer, I got in the shower.

oatmeal for breakfast. honey and sliced bananas—no brown sugar. glass of silk. the weather was still beautiful as I walked to school. even though it was national pancake day, which I celebrated in style last year, and which the newsroom was celebrating, I refrained. and the frosting-smothered sugar cookies on my dining table have not tempted me. it’s my first day, and I’m strong.

checked in with my partners. I really tried to do a good deed, but probably didn’t. maybe there’s still time. after school (with limited texting I might add), I made a delicious snack. crisp bread with avocado, cheese, tomatoes, and spinach leaves. it was one of the most satisfying meals I’ve ever eaten. woah. did I really just say that? it was really good. after about 3 hours, I had 2 pieces of my mom’s love-filled, hand-ground-wheat, whole-wheat bread. thanks mom.

truth telling: definitely could do better.
spending: $0
phone: limited—but could do better.
tv: obama’s speech – 20 minutes
internet: yikes.

tomorrow: modified silence.

book covers archive.

via Unruly Things

I try not to judge a book by it's cover, but these are all so pretty.

daily routine: sun up to sun down.

darkness. radio. “working 9-5.” dolly parton. underwear. towel. flush! shower. conditioner: 3 minutes. scriptures. oatmeal squares. silk. Lene. hair. face. backpack. prayer. doorknob. jingle. ear phones. silence. winter. smile. sun. locker room. bare feet. bartinieff patterning: the x. locker room. deodorant. mirror. ipod. Daily Universe. sun. smile. stairs. stairs. stairs. macbook. class. notes. Ed. notebooks. pens. backpack. class. notes. notebooks. Prof. Sederholm. jokes. notes. class. work. newsroom. phone calls. e-mails. keyboard. screen. inches. editors. friends. vending machine. text message. homework. class. notes. sleep. notes. notebook. planner. quiz. pens. highlighter. pens. coat. scarf. ipod. dark. smile. eyes. key. doorknob. lights. roommates. pot. water. pasta. stove. water. macbook. visitors. phone calls. journal. snacks. text message. treats. books. roommates. tv. roommates’ boyfriends. snacks. book. the Atlantic. pillow. eyes. headband. clip. water. eyes. Proactiv. toothbrush. toothpaste. saliva. faucet. floss. cracks. retainer. Proactiv. Proactiv. Proactiv. flush! sweats. t-shirt. knees. alarm clock. covers. darkness. sleep.

this is the first of Marta's write club. please join!


weekend: sunny st. george

8 a.m. in St. George is sunny. I thought I'd slept in 'til noon.
I bought the most gorgeous tulips with my pops and mommers (they were buying fruit trees for our new yard). I forgot them. they are where they belong--though they would be cheering me up on this rainy day.

also, Jamie, a great mentor and wise friend commented on this post. he is one of the most 'smart-about-life' people I know. I thought I would share:

"it's inherent in human nature that we want to be right, because at some fundamental level, having unconsciously equated our argument and our self-identity, we want to be right about who we are. need to be. imagine if our self-concept is threatened or, worse, dissolved? frightening prospect. so debates are sometimes more about self-survival, and feeling that threat we are able to justify stormier responses.

in private, i think it more quickly becomes associated with the self, and the need to defend that is as primal as it gets.

of course, i think we're wrong about our self-identity. how could our true identity be something so easily threatened? so it's a mis-identity (which means we're the ones who are self-degrading before anyone else gets around to it) that we then mistakenly defend, and when this mis-identity is seen for what it is -- nothing! wrong! -- and can be released, we can debate without acrimony, because our identity is not as stake.

ultimately, i think we are wrong about who we are, and a part of us knows this and feels very insecure about it, thus the reason everyone has such a strong need to be right. it just happens to come out in debates, but it's about, and coming from, something much deeper."

cool photos, meredith.

meredith posted some really cool photos. take a look.


february day.

I have low self-esteem today. but the weather was more beautiful than it has been in months. and I felt surprisingly cheerful.

on my dreams.

in 10 years, or maybe 20, I want to write the story that starts out....I still remember the night I sat on my disease-infested couch with boiling blood keeping me completely still. I sat where my college roommates and their boyfriends had just stormed out of, after a heated debate about race. of all things--it was about race. and of course, I was on the black-sheep, crazy left, liberal, mind-way-too-open side of such issues--studying at one of the most conservative campuses in the country and all. I always felt like the villain.

that's how I want my cover feature of the Atlantic to start out. here's why:

I think, when it comes down to it, we were talking about BET, the black music and entertainment channel, and the "image" of black people it portrays. well, honestly, I have no idea whether I was right or not. I wish I had the answer to race--as sheltered and stupid as that sounds. my point is, as much as I just knew I was right tonight, I know my humble opinion is not the end-all be-all answer to the "problem" as I know it now.

the conversation consisted of me, my 2 roommates, and their 2 boyfriends. 1 roommate and 2 boyfriends were on one "side," (which weren't even clear sides to begin with--but it felt that way), while the other roommate and myself were on the other "side." I felt like I was chiming in when I felt absolutely necessary, as were other people, as opposed to a point-counterpoint dialogue. toward the close of the conversation, the roommate on my side walked out of the room, wisely avoiding the escalating confrontation. the discussion ended with cold character attacks and criticisms. one couple walked outside (curfew), while the couple (one member of which was the roommie on my side) barely argued and then reconciled. they received couples counseling from the other, more relationship-informed roommate, and I sat on the disease-infested couch, blood boiling, sitting completely still. in that moment I felt slightly betrayed. even though I am absolutely amazed and ecstatic at the selfless reconciliation of opposing lovers, it made me realize that at the end of the conversation, no one was loyal to me but me. being single at BYU is hard: among other reasons, part of the pressure to get married is included in that you are totally isolated when you're not dating anyone--because no matter who is on whose side, they will always end up on each other's side.

but back to relevance: I gathered up my plans for the American Heritage lecture I am to teach tomorrow--talking about liberty: the Declaration, John Locke, Thomas Paine. oldies but goodies. as I splashed water on my face, I thought of how I wanted to be an expert. the conversation had plunged into an "expert" war. whoever had more experience, or the most un-sheltered childhood, or the most well-versed friend, had the ultimate say. I refuse to believe that just because I haven't lived in California, I can't possibly have an informed opinion on "race." even though this is true, if anything came out of this conversation it was my desire to study out the issue. I want to study this stuff. take some sociology classes. find out--why are people so afraid to talk about race? how much of racism can we attribute to being white? how much of it can we attribute to the BET image? what's right? and what's wrong?

so I asked myself--is this what I want to do with my life? study sociology? yeah. maybe.

then my mind went straight to my bookcase and my feet followed shortly after. The Jan/Feb issue of the Atlantic is dedicated to some of those questions. the cover reads "The End of White America?" I want both. I want to study sociology and race in America--but I want to do something about it. I want to write.

the heated argument that intitally left me feeling betrayed, villainized, and alone granted me a moment of clarity. yes, it's always been my dream to write for the Atlantic on important topics. but since my life pursuing that dream has begun, I've been afarid. I'm afraid of what it will take to get there, and what I will look back on once I do. but tonight I realized I'm more afraid of what will happen if I don't.

in 6th grade, my teacher told me I needed to be a lawyer, because I liked to argue about everything. that has been a reoccuring theme throughout my whole life. but I feel like I've been better (still have leagues to go) in the past few years than I was in high school--better meaning less argumentative. whether that's true or not is debatable (no pun intended). but in the past few weeks I have gotten in personal debate after personal debate. and I'm sick of it. I hate being the villain.

I wish there was a debate-studying professor I could talk to about this. I keep thinking about my American Heritage students. in class, my number 1 goal is to get a debate going. TAs even go so far as to assign people opinions so that both sides of an issue are being presented. these debates are SO fun, and so educational, respectful, and intellectual. and I've said before, as a journalist, critical letters to the editor in response to your article is gratifying. we hope for even the smallest sliver of public debate around the topic we became an expert on for a few days. I leave my American Heritage debates and readers' forum letters feeling uplifted, enlightened. so why do I feel degraded and degrading when I engage in debate in my own living room? why are public forums better for debating than private ones?


baby valentine.

look what marta sent me. oh how delightful to open a package on friday afternoon as I wallowed in my pre-valentines, self-inflicted confusion. the package was full of sweet words and witty female stationery that said things like: "I'm not picky, I just want to be attracted to the guy."

oh I love that marta.


the best thing ever.

happened to me today.

and Courtney and Spencer.

Courtney and Spencer are both really laugh-y people. and I'm so glad they let me in on their jokes even though I try and squeeze myself in half-way through almost every time. Courtney has the most contagious laugh--so I can't help it. they are just fun to talk to. and in Ed's news reporting class, there's not really much else to do. Now Ed is a really great guy, but the class he teaches doesn't allow for much--note taking. or brain activity. it's just not the most intellectually engaging subject. everything we do, really, we learn by doing. so we tend to be quite chatty in the lecture portion of the class.

today was no exception. Courtney and Spencer were texting (each other), laughing, and talking simultaneously--with me butting in at all the inappropriate moments. we didn't really think anything of it. and when Ed let class out 5 minutes early we were relieved. until he started stacking his papers and said, "except for a few students who I would like to see in my office after class: Courtney, Spencer, and Amy."

no. way. of course we laughed even harder. but seriously. I was scared. do you think we're in trouble? we're totally in trouble. we deserve it. we'll just apologize.

we were way embarrassed and followed him to his office. where waiting, on his desk, was a paper plate of Argentine cookies. for us! at the party, Courtney and Spencer made a big valentine for Ed and put my name on it. I can't take much of the credit--but I suppose it was my party. :)

Professor C (we do not call him "Ed" to his face) said his wife saw the glittered valentine and loved it--so she insisted he bring us cookies. can you believe it? easily the best thing that has happened to me in my entire college career. who doesn't appreciate a valentine?

going green.

we're pretty good at putting things in the recycling area.


happy president's day.

Lincoln: my favorite founder. the above photo comparison is one of my favorite moments in my academic career. on the left: Lincoln just before he took office. on the right: just 4 years later--he looks like he's aged 30 years. the last known photo before he was assassinated.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
- Lincoln's 2nd inaugural

“[Lincoln was] a Christ in miniature, bigger than his country—bigger than all the Presidents together. Why? Because he loved his enemies as himself.”
--Leo Tolstoy, 1909


flower headband.

I promised myself I would do a "project" this weekend. and I did it in 10 minutes. Still Dottie's tutorial on a flower headband (minus the feather).

my valentine.

was my party.

you tickle my nose.
be mine, elmers and glitter.

valentines self-portrait.

my journalism friend Courtney

lene. ariel. rylee.

kelsey and meredith.

I finally got to throw the valentines party of my dreams. thanks to great roommates and good friends.


i love valentines day.

in the winter, I really miss light coming through my window. but I also like lying in bed at noon in a dark room. I used to hate that. friends' houses were often dark in the middle of the day and I didn't like that. but now, I like the dark.

I love valentines day. I've been wanting to have a party for over a year now. remember last year? fun, but no one came. I am throwing one tonight...I was worried my roommies were going to turn it into all the single ladies party. but I think it's going to be fun. promise myself to take pictures.

Marta is such a v-day queen. I'm really loving her giveaways. of course I am especially looking forward to her new club. love.


feliz cumpleanos.

emily turned 30. and we all had a delightful weekend.


happy 20th mere.

Meredith turned 20 yesterday.


my first, above-the-fold front-pager. yay!
the article which, a few days later, there were a few letters to the editor regarding my articles. this is great on so many levels: (1) someone read my article. (2) this is why I want to be a journalist--to write about things people care about. stirring up the pot.

hello february.

no pictures, but we found a dress. it is beautiful. oh how happy I am that Megan is happy.

I am just happy for people that have found each other.

2009 is 1/12 over. what in the world. the older I get, the less remarkable it is how fast time flies. it's like...my mind and heart are growing up so much that I am just used to the speed of time. constantly accelerating.

oh how I love February. isn't it the greatest? I am so grateful the January blues were mild this year.