Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Community: OB is a like a hug

When I moved to Ocean Beach last July, I had no idea what was in store for me. Over the last year, so many things have happened, so many wonderful experiences as well as some unexpected setbacks. In all I am discovering something truly amazing in the communities around me. There is a strange dynamic here in OB, that also co-exists with the close proximity of our friends (Whom we consider family). Our experience as a collective within the community of Ocean Beach has allowed us to find new customs and traditions as well as integrating our own cultural differences from our hometowns. What a beautiful variety we have! Having your friends close is one thing, when the neighbor/friend/family mix comes into play its quite amazing.

Being able to walk to your friends house is like when we were kids and we went to each others doors to knock and ask "Can you come out and Play?" The child in me is truly grateful for this fact. Growing up I somehow knew I would find a place like "Never Land" where you never grow up. Ocean Beach gives me that, yet somehow still allows for responsibility to take place. We now discuss our future with an intellect we obviously lacked as kids and yet maintain the bright possibilities and optimism. I feel more adult than ever, but I am still so young at heart. Being blessed with wonderful, creative, intellectual, caring friends helps facilitate those ideas and can even encourage them into action. When we choose to surround our selves with people who nourish us in so many ways, they become life long partners to lean on, to care for, to inspire, to learn from, and to love. Family is important, so when family is many miles away I believe it is necessary to build one for yourself. 

As time goes by,we are trying to expand our reach into our community in our beautiful little beach town. Newport Ave has seen the soles of our shoes many times over the last year; fourth of July on the beach, walking the streets in disguise for Halloween, enjoying the OB Christmas Parade, celebrating birthdays, promotions, welcoming new neighbors- It's never boring! Each time we adventure out we make new memories and meet new friends, I don't know what could be better for developing adults on a social/psychological/mental level. We are learning how to be amazing people by being compassionate neighbors and caring friends to one another. Of course there are good people and bad ones, but each of them have a lesson to teach us whether it be patience or gratitude or how to hula hoop; there are variety of things that we truly need to be well rounded and to find that equilibrium within our selves to feel whole. 

One blessed day, my friend and I went to 24 hour fitness a 10 min drive or so away. She wanted me to try out her yoga class to see if I might want to join. We had been in once before and were denied because I didn't have my "San Diego ID card" ha ha - what she meant to say was California ID (silly girl). This time we had called ahead and got the go a head to come in and talk with someone for 5 mins or so and then we were told we could take the class. Long story short, this guy was trying to push a membership on me, to which I was already reluctant not being the "gym type."After much debate, along with him saying we couldn't do the class unless I signed up and paid for a trial I started to get unnerved and I replied "There is no way I am getting a membership here, lets go". We were pretty bummed to say the least, but I decided to look up some local yoga studios that offered some new student deals in the area. We found Happy-U Namaste in OB only blocks away from both our houses. We walking in to a beautiful lobby that was warm and welcoming, a class had just ended and a small tribe of smiling and happy sweaty people were pouring out of the practice space. Everyone was in great spirits to see one another and to practice together, the energy in the room was brimming with positivity. It felt good just to be in that room. The owners of the studio both welcomed us and explained how it all worked at their studio, giving us a tour and chatting for a bit before class. Needless to say we took our Mellow Hath class and were immediately hooked. I remember saying a week later, "thank goodness that guy didn't let me into to 24 hour fitness!" What looked like a huge inconvenience was just a blessing in the long run. 

This studio has become another community for me, a place of safety and positivity and a space for me to feel completely free. The 5 years or so prior, my yoga practice was so sparse and I was continually committing and recommitting and quitting.  But something kept me here. Its not a gym, it is not where I go to "get a work out" although some of the classes i've been to certainly make you sweat every now and again. But that is only a great side effect or benefit  of yoga. Yoga is a true triangle that is good for your mind, body, and spirit. At Happy-U, it started in my heart. This place is another home,  I get to see those owners I met in the beginning almost every day. I am gaining confidence every day; learning patience, compassion, and a sense of grace I never knew I had.  And as far as my mind & spirit are concerned I've never felt better. I feel like I can finally see a little clearer, to see the big picture. All the while its just another facet to my life here in OB, all the places I love are so close. Some days its hard to "leave the Island" as we say, when we have to venture outside of OB. The random neighbors I pass everyday are looking more and more familiar and we share a smile, the smokers outside each little bar provide a little entertainment as you walk by, the guys who work the kitchen at Litikers fill our bellys with awesome mexican food at our favorite little convenience store.

When we found our that our dog Boston had a Mast Cell Tumor we were so lost and scared of the situation. After finding out how much Boston's surgery would cost we immediately felt helpless. I had heard of fundraising websites before and in desperation I did some research and set up a fundraiser on youcaring.com  which is a site that will host your fundraiser for free. We got word out to the neighborhood and on Facebook with the help of our friends and family all over the country. In overwhelming numbers all of my communities were hard at work helping us raise the money for his surgery in only one month. Without the support of my wonderful friends and neighbors, my yoga community, and my family and friends in Colorado this never would have happened. And I can say that having consistent yoga practice in my life during this time has been absolutely amazing and has helped me handle situations with grace and to remain calm and positive and to BREATHE! Taking care of a 100lb dog with a cone on his head and a huge incision down his leg is very challenging and it requires an immense amount of patience and compassion. It also drains you emotionally and mentally. It just plain tough. But as Einstein said, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." And he was a genius right? We are so blessed, we went through something awful and scary but I was not scared because we have this amazing support all around us. Its like a constant hug.  OB is a hug. And who doesn't just love hugs, they are universal and have no motive other than to give love. What a beautiful thing. I am truly blessed to be in this great community. I am truly happy in this moment, and I know that I am right where I am supposed to be right now. 

I believe the best in me is yet to come, but its really starting to shine through. 

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