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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Worst. Audition. Ever!

I am re-posting this as I have received multiple questions from people on how to audition well. Clearly, I do not have all the answers and sometimes there is nothing you can do to please people. Do your best and practice, practice, practice.

I showed up at this talent agency, which shall remain nameless. I was 25 minutes early for my appointment, and was pleased that I'd have time to prepare. I was made to wait another 45 minutes past my appointment time, which was way too long for me to think about how I was going to screw things up. I think I was phyching myself out, and started to panic.
There was a guy also sitting in the waiting area almost as long as I was. He made small talk and complained about having to wait so long. I didn't complain, I just said, "I'm sure they're just busy or something." They called this guy into the room before me, which baffled me, as I was there long before he was.
Shortly thereafter, I was called into this same room. This was a tiny room, smaller than my childhood bedroom. There were 4 people sitting in there when I walked in. A single chair sat on one side of the room, facing the 4 people about 5 feet away from me. Turns out, the guy from the waiting area was one of the people watching my audition. I was glad I didn't say anything negative to him about anyone.

The owner of the agency barked, "GO!" I had never had anyone do this to me, and didn't know what I was supposed to do. I asked, "Shall I do my monologue, or...?" She let out a big sigh, and said, "NO, tell us about yourself." She was very abrupt, and seemed extremely angry that I was even sitting in front of her. Everything I said about myself seemed to annoy her. I couldn't say anything right for some reason. This flustered me even more than I was before.

In mid sentence, she cut me off, and told me, "That's enough. Monologue, now!" I wanted to just walk out with at least a little dignity, and should have just left immediately. I began my monologue; one that has been proven to work many times before. This woman seemed completely bored and annoyed once again, or still. When I finished, she was silent for what seemed like an eternity. She then said, "Sing!" I told her that I don't sing. I'm not sure where she got the idea that I did. Then she ordered, "Go to the waiting room!"
I did so like a dog with it's tail between it's legs. After about 15 minutes, I was about to walk out, and the door to that tiny room opened. She poked her head out and said, "You can go." She slammed the door. WTH!? I have never been in such a terrible situation, and never wanted to be again. Was I really that bad that I made her angry? Or is she just an angry word all the time?

I will probably never have the answer to that question. This audition was about 2 years ago, and I have had quite a few successes since then, so I'm not really sure what went wrong in that tiny room of terror. All I know is, I will be forever traumatized by the thoughts of that audition.

Perfect Match or Perfect Nightmare! #2

Re-post per request


Perfect Match or Perfect Nightmare! #2



...as I was saying in part #1 of this story, this guy seemed to want to be around me all the time. I was beginning to wonder if he cared that much about me, or if he just wanted to keep tabs on me. It was hard to believe the latter, as he seemed to be a confident and secure guy.

We went to a popular venue to see a band I used to love. While we were standing there, without saying anything to me, he took off and walked away. This was unusual, as his manners were typically appropriate. When he finally came back, he wasn't speaking to me. He seemed angry, but nothing had happened with us to have made him angry. This of course ruined the rest of the night for me, so I said we should just leave. We did just that.

He did not speak to me the entire car ride home, and no matter how many times I asked, he would not share his thoughts, so I left it alone. He pulled up in front of my house and I got out and went inside.

I did not hear from him for a few days, which was entirely unlike him. I decided to leave it alone, as I knew I did not have anything to do with his poor mood, and would not involve myself.

A few days later, he called and told me that when he went to the restroom at the concert, he had gotten a call telling him he had lost a ton of money on a business deal, and he reacted in the wrong way. He apologized for reacting that way. While I was irritated with him for making me feel as though it was my fault that he was angry that night, I felt bad for him, and decided to see him that evening.
We went to dinner at a beautiful restaurant downtown, and were having a wonderful time waiting for our table, we were then seated. After we ordered our food, he got this angry look on his face; I recognized this look. It was just like the previous time we were together at the concert. I asked him if everything was okay, and he wouldn't answer me. I had no idea what happened this time, as a moment earlier we were talking and laughing. No matter how many times I asked, he would not answer. I decided that I wanted to go home. He drove me to my house, silent the entire way. When he pulled up in front of the house, he said, "You were looking at the host". "What!?" I asked him. I was completely confused, as we had been having such a great time up until his weird mood swing. He repeated himself, and I just laughed. I said, "That's what you're angry about? I'm sorry if you thought I was looking at someone else, but I wasn't. Just relax!" He then told me that not only was I checking out the host at the restaurant, but he was mad at the concert because I was looking at the singer!WHAT!?! It was a concert! What did he expect me to look at, the wall? Besides, he is the one who bought the tickets and invited me! This was getting more weird by the second. After he calmed down, he apologized, again. He blamed his reactions on stress. He said that he thought I should be more supportive in his time of emotional need. He said he needed me to help him through this. With that, I thought perhaps I was being too hard on him. He basically laid a huge guilt trip on me, and made me think I was doing something wrong.

I had a really bad feeling about his strange reactions the past few times we were together, and decided to keep an eye out for more strange behavior. My normal-thinking brain was trying to get out.

The next time we were  together, he was at my house. When I walked out of the room in which he was sitting, I heard paper rustling. I walked back in the room and he was going through my mail and magazines I had on the table. When I asked him what he was doing, he said he accidentally knocked the mail off the coffee table, and was straightening it out. Although it appeared that he was snooping, I guess that was feasible; I guess that's what I wanted to believe.

The next morning he just showed with no notice up to drive me to work, even though I didn't want him to. This man just showed up and called to tell me he was waiting outside. I told him I was planning on driving myself to work that day so I could run some errands after work. He wouldn't take no for an answer, and said he'd take me wherever I had to go. I was annoyed, but didn't want to start my day off with a fight.
You have to know that his work was about 33 miles from my work, and that doesn't figure in the fact that he lived about 13 miles from my house. When you figure that into one day, you get over 100 miles of driving in one day. This was weird!

When he dropped me off at work, I forgot my planner in his car. You must understand that my life was in that planner; business contacts, schedule for the next 6 months, phone numbers, you name it, it was in there. I called to ask him to turn around and bring my planner back to me, and he said it wasn't in his car. I knew it was there, as I had just been holding it and looking at it on the car ride to work. Is it possible that it had slid under the seat where he couldn't see it? That's it! I convinced myself that this is what happened. When he picks me up from work later, I'll find it, I thought.

When he picked me up, the first thing I did was check his car for my planner. I looked everywhere for it. Where could it be? I asked him if he was sure it wasn't there after he dropped me off. He said he was sure. I knew it was there when he dropped me off. What was he trying to pull? Why didn't he want me to have the planner back?

Furious and frantic, I just wanted to go home. He wanted to take me to dinner. I refused, as I was upset about my great loss that day. He had the nerve to get angry with me for not wanting to spend any time with him. I just wanted him to go home and leave me alone so I could think about things. I couldn't figure out what his angle was, and why he was denying that he had my planner. He assured me that I would find my planner at home. He said he thought I was too stressed lately, and I justthought I had it with me. He tried to make me think I was mistaken and forgetful. Well, as you've probably guessed, my planner was NOT at home.

When he dropped me off, I went in the house, and had a strange feeling...I peeked out the window and saw his car sitting there a couple of doors down from my house.

Until next time...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Perfect Match or Perfect Nightmare #1 - (On demand re-post)

Did you ever meet someone who seemed like your perfect match, but turned out to be your perfect nightmare? I did, and I'm finally ready to share my story.

Allow me to share a little background on my usual skepticism, and typical M.O....
I have had many negative experiences with men. Most of my bad experiences occurred on first dates, as I usually didn't give them a second chance to be an a-hole. I am more impressed by thoughtful gestures than your annual salary. I am extremely independent, and if I want something, I'll buy it for myself, so don't try to impress me with the kind of car you drive, the swanky neighborhood in which you live, or how much money is in your bank account; it won't work!

That being said, you might be surprised that I wound up dating someone who used things to get me to date him, and totally swept me off my feet. I saw these things as extremely thoughtful gestures from an extremely thoughtful guy.

From the first day we met, he sent me flowers, gifts, and extravagent lunches at work. I received a singing telegram from a very cheesy, funny clown, and had a singer/songwriter show up at my door to sing me a song this guy had her write for me. I couldn't believe someone would go out of their way for me in such grand ways... this was only the beginning. Following, I'd get calls from this guy, on my day off, telling me that a "car" was waiting in front of my house to take me for a spa day. What a surprise! I was slightly annoyed by this, because I was not prepared to go anywhere, and had other things to do around the house.  We'd of course meet for dinner afterwards, and my whole day was shot. He wrapped this one up in the excuse that he thought I was working too hard, and that I needed to relax. This seemed to be happening every one of my days off. When I expressed disinterest in more spa days, or trips to the museum, or whatever other little adventure he had planned for me, he seemed upset, and tried to make me feel guilty, as if I didn't appreciate him or the thoughtful things he was doing for me. I tried to explain that after working many hours during the week, I had a lot to do around my house, but it just wasn't good enough. I chocked that up to a man who had a caring sensitive nature, who was just trying to be nice.

After about two months of intense dating, (seeing him almost daily), I was starting to see his true colors.

...to be continued

Sunday, November 24, 2013

City of Chicago Resident's

To the City of Chicago’s Residents
                               Written by: Anonymous                                
 November 24, 2013

            I am a 40 year old woman that was born and raised in the northwest side of Chicago. The first time I heard about Chicago Park District is when my oldest son, Julio was 4 years old. One of my oldest friends, Maria told about Preschool that the Park District offers. I remember when I first went and enrolled my son at Riis Park; I was very impressed with the field house. The exterior of the field house was well maintained. The grass was green and there was no litter around. The interior of the field house was clean; one could see the shine from the waxed hardwood floors. The employees took pride in their work by being well educated about the different programs and they were well groomed. As my children grew they attended summer camp each year until the age of 11; now they are over 17 and haven’t been in a field house in many years. We currently live in Elmwood Park, Illinois and rarely go into the city except to visit family or friends. Last month I decided to join my boyfriend to watch a basketball game in one of Chicago’s field houses (LeClaire Park).
LeClaire Park is located in the Chicago’s south side in the neighborhood of Garfield Ridge. LeClaire Park is one of the Chicago Park Districts field houses. According to ChicagoParkDistrict.com “LeClaire-Hearst Park has 12.33 acres and features a gymnasium, kitchen and meeting rooms. Outside, the park offers, basketball courts, baseball fields, an athletic field for football or soccer, a playground and tennis courts. LeClaire also has a community garden”. Chicago Park District field houses give children in every neighborhood a place to play sports and stay out of trouble.
As I drove down the street to go to LeClaire’s Park field house on a Saturday afternoon, I was in stock to see how bad this neighborhood looked. It was like they were living in poverty. All of the houses were filthy, dingy, and just plan dirty. I remember I kept thinking that I had to miss one house, they all cannot be dirty or can they? This neighborhood is apparently dirty and it doesn’t seem to bother the residents.  As I continued to drive I noticed 2 African Americans teenagers that were dressed similar they both had on t-shirts, jean shorts, and gym shoes walking in the opposite direction from the field house. I remember wondering why they are not going to the field house. I knew that the field house was just around the corner; my memory of the field house that my children attended were children having a great time playing different types of games. It was somewhere they could go to go to say out of trouble, so I was puzzled why the 2 boys weren’t headed to this field house?
I finally arrived to the field house to realize that it is located on a dead end street. The street was fenced up with a metal fence. I remember feeling unsafe because I do not normally feel safe at a dead end street. I parked my clean and not crashed car in between two cars that needed serious body work done and that looked like they hadn’t been washed for a while. One of the cars had 2 African American men in it; they were just talking until I parked my car. Then they just looked at me and my car. That moment I felt scared and decided to arm my car alarm, I then heard one of the two men laugh. I don’t know why he laughed, but I honestly thought he was laughing at me because I armed my car alarm. It was clear to me I definitely did not fit in this neighborhood.  I began walking toward the field house and noticed its appearance. The landscaping was horrible. There was not much grass on the yard; it was mostly patches of dirt. The little grass it had was brown. It looked like they do not water the grass. It is apparent that the employees at this location do not maintain the landscaping; at the very least the front yard should have beautiful green grass throughout the front of the field house. The Chicago Park district does have a job posting for landscaper for a different field house. The starting salary for this one job is $47199.82(Chicago Park District.com).
As I walked into the field house, I immediately smelled something foul. The smell was a combination of musk and urine. After smelling the musty, urine smell, I felt like I was going to vomit. I then grabbed my pink north face sweater and covered my noise hoping that it would prevent me from smelling the nasty odor. I continued to walk into the gym and was happy because the smelly odor was gone. It was just in the area by the front doors.  The floors had green, red, and black lines painted on the dull wooden floors. As I walked through the gym there were two sets of bleachers. In the middle of the bleachers there was a small wooden table where the score keeper sat. I walked quickly all the way down to the end of the bleachers. The bleachers reminded me of my high school gym except these bleachers were brown, dusty, and the wood looked warped.  My high school bleachers had a nice shinny coat of gloss on the wood. While looking at ChicagoParkDistrict.com under the jobs tab, I seen that a custodial workers salary starts at $37943.00.
I believe the main reason the City of Chicago has field houses throughout each neighborhood is to keep our children safe and out of trouble. According to ChicagoTribune.com “between the dates Aug. 8 and Sept. 7, 2013 there were 129 report crimes in the Garfield Ridge area”. These field houses should be filled with teenagers that live in the neighborhood playing ball on a Saturday afternoon, not grown men. There were about 25 adults total in the gym; mostly Hispanics, only 3 African Americans, and 2 Caucasian men. I found that odd because the Garfield Ridge neighborhood is mostly African Americans. I also noticed that the two teams that were playing basketball were all adults one team’s age ranged from thirties to forties and the other team age ranged was twenties to thirties. 
At the end of the day, I realized that a neighborhood is what the people that live there make out it. If they want to represent themselves and their neighborhood as clean individuals they will. Unfortunately, the residents of the Garfield Ridge neighborhood represent themselves as dirty, smelly, and careless about the appearance of the houses. The Chicago Park District does employ individuals to do landscaping and custodial work for their field houses. Whether or not LeClaire Park has employees doing landscaping and custodial work is yet too been seen.
The Chicago Park District should focus on first having the field houses cleaned and then who is using their field houses and strongly recommend that it should only be used by teenagers in their neighborhood. I do understand that there are financial restraints that contribute to the field houses not being well maintained or clean, but according to “Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael Kelly today released recommendations for the District's 2014 budget. The $425.6 million plan includes a balanced budget that increases programming at neighborhood parks while investing in the children and families of Chicago. The 2014 spending plan is approximately $14.6 million higher than the FY2013 budget. Some highlights of the 2014 budget include the expansion of Chicago Park District programs, including an expansion of the summer Night Out in the Parks series, growth in aquatics programming and increased staffing to meet the demands of expanding programs. The Park District works with residents to ensure that programming is affordable regardless of income level through discounts and scholarship opportunities. "Thousands of families count on park programs each day for sports, cultural and social enrichment,” said General Superintendent & CEO Michael Kelly. “This budget invests in those families by expanding existing and creating new programming that keep the young people of our communities safe, and engaged”(ChicagoParkDistrict.com). My question is why are they not mentioning any cleaning or maintaining the field houses? It is great that they are going to be able to provide the resources to keep the activities that the neighborhood could afford, but will the children want to go if it’s dirty? Is the Parks District Superintendent Michael Kelly aware of LeClaire Park current condition?  LeClaire Park is a part of Chicago Park District so why the landscaping not maintained, or the inside of the gym dirty and smelly, and not being utilized by teenagers during a Saturday afternoon? I am curious to know if all field houses are maintained in the same manner as this one. If so, why can’t some of the money used to renovate the field houses that desperately need it? Here is a thought maybe if the field house was in a clean well maintained building the residents of Garfield area will take pride of their neighborhood and keep their houses well maintained?




Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on the Chicago Park Districts Field Houses.

Friday, November 22, 2013


Private Spaces in Public Places
Kari Fu
November 22, 2013
            When walking down a busy street, I will often hear people discuss immensely personal things.  I, myself, am guilty of these discussions and have chatted about everything, from family to legal issues.  I found this to be particularly true on my neighborhood trip.  I had not expected as many personal conversations as I heard.  When I walked down Southport Corridor, I had expected it to be like every other weekend, busy with people window shopping and walking around.  My plan was to go directly to David’s Tea and observe from there.  What I actually discovered that Sunday was quite a bit more.  Southport Corridor was in full neighborhood festival mode.  I found out later, according to chicagoevents.com, it was a Sam Adams Lakeview Taco Festival featuring specialty tacos from seven local vendors.  As I bypassed the $5 suggested entry fee, I see that the festival stretches from Newport to Addison on Southport.  There were people in line for tacos that stretched across several tents.  The entertainment was a Mariachi band playing traditional and lively Mexican songs.  There were craft and other unique goods being sold in tents.  Thanks to this festival, I was able to observe more people in a sedentary setting than a normal weekend on Southport.
Through my field trip, I find that these personal discussions are like windows into each person’s lives.  It does not really matter if these discussions take place with someone on the phone for if that person is right in front of them.  It seems that as long as there is the constant of someone familiar, they will spill their deepest and darkest secrets no matter who else could be listening close by.  I found this to be particularly true with my neighborhood field trip, specifically with the mother singing to her baby, the couple on the seesaw, and two girlfriends discussing a recent breakup.  Though all three instances are different, they all share very personal moments in public places.
            Oftentimes singing in front of friends and family can already be intimidating, much less singing in public.  And even though the mother was only singing to her baby, it was still in a space for others to clearly hear.  Singing for her baby was so significant because it not only represented a personal tender moment between a mother and her child, but also that moment might not have happened elsewhere without them being in the environment they were in.  The Mariachi band just happened to be playing songs that the mother knew.  They were sitting on the curb to my left towards the front of the stage where I could see and hear them.  I was, at first, just fascinated by the Mariachi band and all the instruments on stage.  Then I started to hear a soft echo.  As I turned to look at where the echo was coming from, I saw the mother leaning tenderly over her baby and singing along.  The possibility of that moment occurred only because of who she was with to make her comfortable enough to sing in the first place and the Mariachi band playing the familiar songs that she knew.  Furthermore, her baby represented to her the familiarity of a personal space that she knew and was comfortable in.
            As I explored the other side of the festival, I decided to go to David’s Tea.  As I walked in, I smell the familiar smell of light herbal tea.  The store was empty and I was greeted by two employees who seemed happy to have finally gotten a customer.  As I chose my usual tea and sat down, I listened to some meaningless employee banter.  It was while seated by the window that I saw the second instance of a personal moment in a public space occurred.  I saw the couple on a mustached shaped seesaw.  The seesaw was located in the middle of the festival, just outside of David’s Tea.  It was almost the dividing line between the taco tents and the craft goods tents.  I felt that this moment was more personal than the other two because there were no words involved.  I found myself almost embarrassed to be looking at them.  It was as if I did not want to get caught peeping into someone else’s home.  The couple definitely created a barrier around them that was their own even though they were surrounded by people.  The phrase “actions speak louder than words” really applied to this couple.  I was able to understand all her emotions from her facial expressions alone.  I know her emotions went from vulnerable to scared to proud.  Those emotions, especially her vulnerability and fear, were private and meant only for her significant other, yet they were easily readable for all to see.  Wordless communication is often more private and this couple was definitely having a nonverbal personal moment.  The boyfriend was able to give her reassurance every step of the way.  I think he also knew when it was enough for his girlfriend as they did not stay on the seesaw for very long.  This personal moment was possible by how safe and trusting she felt towards her boyfriend.  He created a private space for her to express her emotions openly.  Her expressions and his responses made me feel like they were a couple that have been dating for a while and were already perfectly in tune with each other.
            David’s Tea is also where I overheard my final instance of personal space.  I had almost given up and decided to rejoin the festival outside when two girls walked in.  The two girls sat down at the only other booth available in the tea shop.  I decided to give them a chance and it turned out to be a conversation so personal that I even got to know the girl and her ex-boyfriend’s names.  Her name is Jess and her ex-boyfriend’s name is Mikey. Being able to put a name to a stranger’s face no longer makes them a stranger to me.  They will no longer be described as the girl with short hair or a lady with a baby.  They were much more tangible to me.  The girls got right into details of a recent breakup that Jess had.  As I listened in, I felt as if Jess could have been my friend and I could have been the one giving her advice on her breakup.  Perhaps it was because I had been through it also and could connect with her loss.  However, the closeness and empathy I felt towards Jess was not replicated for her friend because I never learned her name.  She could have been replaced by anyone for all I cared, but clearly not for Jess.  For Jess, that friend was her confidant that she decided to tell her troubles to.
            Along with Jess’ name, I learned about the depressing after effects of her breakup and even a bit about her relationship history.  These are details that are so intimate that I would never share outside of someone’s home.  To know that she not only suffered from lack of appetite and sleep, but that she does not even know how she felt was alarming to hear.  I felt both sorry for her and at the same time wanted her to snap out of it.  One of my first thoughts was she was clearly well into her twenties and should have been matured enough to not be this distraught over a guy.  But my feelings did not matter at all in this personal moment between two girlfriends.  No matter what I or anyone else who could have overheard the conversation thought, this was not our business or place to put our two cents in.  There were moments when I felt as if I was intruding on their conversation even though they did not know it, especially when I heard Jess’ voice crack a couple times.  It is interesting that in a public tea house, two girlfriends have made their private conversation public, yet the public cannot say anything. 

            My field trip was full of very exciting and memorable things, but being able to see and overhear people’s more intimate moments were the most interesting to me.  Just the fact that each of those examples was both so personal and public at the same time was a very unique experience.  I am glad at the unexpected turn of events on an otherwise normal Sunday.  I am grateful that I was able to see through the windows into each of their lives and be able to take a small lesson from each of them.  For all three, it was the constant of having someone to make them feel safe to share their feelings with.  More specifically, in each case, it was the love for the baby, the trust in the boyfriend, and the confidant in the friend over a cup of tea.  Even though people are in public, they all each have a very personal space that they feel completely safe in.  This field trip has made me more aware of what I will say or do next time in public and just who might be secretly listening.
When Sacred Isn’t Sacred
By Karla Mans Giroux
November 22, 2013
It’s 1:00 pm on Monday and I enter the exercise studio at the company sponsored fitness center where I work.  I have looked forward to this all day. It’s the bright spot in an otherwise tedious Monday that begins with a really hard to get out of bed kind of feeling. Monday’s are rough days because they always begin an endless stream of back to back meetings and an overflowing inbox of other peoples’ requests of me.  So the 1:00 yoga class is the one place I know I can find peace and contentment.  It’s the one hour of the week when I know I will get out of my head and experience the present moment so easily and so fully that it calms and clears my mind and sets the tone for the rest of the day and even the week. This is my sacred space.  This is where the sacred happens for me. But as it turns out on this Monday it’s not about the sacred. 
Today was a Monday like all others, a slow difficult start but a fast and furious on-rush of meetings and email.  As usual I’m really looking forward to my sacred space.  I quickly change into my workout clothes and head into the exercise studio.  The studio is inviting with its bright lights, clean and shiny mirrors and floor, and shelves stocked with all the things one needs for proper exercise classes.  There is only one other student already here and she is sitting on her mat calmly waiting.  I see another mat already laid out at the “front” of the room where instructors typically place themselves.  But my favorite yoga instructor would not do this.  First of all she almost always arrives right on time, never early.  Secondly, she does not even use a mat, she demonstrates from wherever she happens to be.
As I lay out my mat, the regular Pilates instructor enters the room along with some other students and explains that she was called on short notice to fill in for the regular yoga instructor. I hide my disappointment and resolve to make the best of this.  After all, I like this instructor and always enjoy her Pilates class on Wednesday.  She connects her music to the sound system as more students arrive.  I think I see looks of disappointment in their eyes when they hear the news but perhaps I’m imagining it.  The other students place their mats in line with the rows that have begun and we start the class.
The music plays, but music at a lower volume does not necessarily make it calm and peaceful music.  This is just a slower paced Pilates play list turned down to a lower volume.  The yoga music never distracts, it is a backdrop that enhances rather than distracts from the practice.  This is not the same soothing instrumental music that is nearly unnoticeable and sets the tone for a peaceful and focused yoga practice.  I can only hope that she doesn’t start to sing along like she does in Pilates!
She tells us to start at the end of our mats and gives the first instruction but quickly stops us and says “oops, I meant the front of your mat”.  We all adjust our positions and begin again.  She tells us she just loves the sun salutation, that it is her favorite yoga “move”.  I think she means “asana” or at least “pose”, oh well.  We move from mountain, to forward fold, to downward dog, and back up again three or four times.  What happened to the lunge, plank, and cobra?  Where is the fluid, flowing transition from one pose to the next? This is going to be a long hour I think to myself.
We do tree pose but remain facing front into the mirrors that line the wall.  Normally we face the windows when we do tree pose so that we have a view of the trees to inspire and ground us.  The studio windows enjoy a view of the large grassy area where there are a few small young trees planted along the far side lining the sidewalk that runs parallel to the parking lot.  Beyond the parking lot is another large natural area of grass, plants and a pond with a water fountain.  It’s always a lovely view for tree pose if you ignore the lot full of cars.  Today however it is a lot full of cars and I’m stuck looking at myself and my classmates in the mirror.
I struggle to get out of my head and just be here in this moment.  I’m distracted and I’m not feeling the same serenity I do with the flow of yoga poses.  It feels good to move my body and I’m able to do all the poses easily but it’s almost too easy.  There is no real challenge in following along with the poses and there is no sacred practice here for me today. 
After only 40 minutes our substitute instructor announces that she has reached the end of the manual she has been following and since she doesn’t really know yoga she will now move into Pilates exercises to fill the remaining 20 minutes.  Oh well, at least I got away from my desk and moved my body.
According to the “Wellness Workbook” by John W. Travis, Anusara yoga focuses on the alignment of the body but also encourages spiritual awareness.  “It is a discipline that seeks to unite the body, mind, heart and spirit”.  My favorite yoga instructor always encourages us to listen to our bodies, to do only what we are comfortable doing or what we feel like doing.  She reminds us to let go of our thoughts and to focus on our practice and the poses, to connect with something greater than ourselves.  She allows, perhaps even creates, a sacred space for each of us to experience a truly spiritual practice. 
Today however was about the body and about exercise.  Perhaps this is what some people came here for, to exercise and strengthen the body, but that is not what I came for.  I came seeking the spiritual connection, the heart centered connection that comes from being in the moment, being in the flow, being in the grace.  I came to connect with my sense of the sacred.
This disappointing sacred space/ yoga class was a good lesson for me today.  A lesson in understanding that sacred space is important to me and that I should not depend on someone else to create it.  Sacred space is definitely about the “space” that is allowed, or created, rather than the physical location.  The sacred can happen anywhere at any time as long as it is created. 
  I must learn to manifest the sacred regardless of the instructor or time or place of a yoga class.  After all, what would I do if my favorite yoga instructor moved to another state?  Would I never experience the sacred again?  I think not.  I create sacred space for myself in other places and other times so this awareness now provides me with the necessary insight to create my own sacred yoga practice at 1:00 on Monday or any time I need it!

I was disappointed that my sacred space was not sacred today but I’ll just make the best of it and call it exercise!