Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The power of a YES

Yesterday was quite a day for me.  I was sitting in my kitchen, crying over my coffee (no joke) as I drafted a response email to a recent and raw rejection letter, feeling so totally defeated and debating about how bitchy I could be over email without getting fired completely.  It was not a shining moment.  I decided against the bitchiness, deleted the snarky comments, released my need to be right and clever, and hit send with a simple "thank you, I am grateful for your feedback."  Because under my bruised ego, I was.  Then I ate a piece of Godiva 80% dark chocolate, took a deep breath, and set about returning other emails.

My trusty pink Blackberry buzzed at me and I saw that it was my agent.  This was it.  I was expecting this call- THE call, after the initial audition, the callback, the "put those dates on hold" call.  The call that says YES, the gig is YOURS!  OR close, but no cigar.  I said a silent prayer and picked up the phone.  I really needed a win.  And for the first time in a long, long time, it was a yes.

My initial feeling (which still lingers as I type this post) was relief.  I believe my first words to my agent were "Oh thank GOD."  The Yes meant so much more to me in that moment than the actual gig, the money I will make, the star I get to meet and work closely with, the notoriety.  It was the sweet taste of validation.  That sip of champagne when you haven't had any for a year, how it warms your whole body as it goes down  The feeling of "oooohhhh man that is GOOD."  The little nod from the universe, patting me on the head and saying "it's okay honey, you're on the right track."  And all of a sudden, the past four months of NOs crack open and show me that they were simply clearing the way for this very big Yes.

So I celebrated.  I called my fiancee and my mom and my family.  I looked up at my vision board and saw a picture of the star I am going to spend two days working with this week, and said THANK YOU.  I went for a massage.

And then I went to teach intenSati.  As I stood at the front of the room, I reflected on my intro for my last class, just the day before, how I was doubting that I was "the one," how I really needed a win, how I use the words from class like a lifeline to stay strong and keep the faith.  And here I was, 24 hours later, with the Yes.  And that's when it hit me.  The lesson does not lie in the Yes.  Don't get me wrong, the Yes is AMAZING and exciting and makes everything better.  But we spend most of our time in that limbo between the initial wanting of The Thing and receiving it.  So what do we do in that time?  We practice faith.  We choose to believe it's on its way, and in perfect time.  We accept challenges as lessons.  We honor our desire, we remember what we want, we stay the course.  And, in the simple words of one of my besties, THINGS WORK OUT.

This Thursday and Friday I will be shooting a L'Oreal commercial with Beyonce.  I am so grateful for this Yes!  I am also grateful to be a teacher and to have a reason to search for the lessons- so I can share them with you.

Much, much love to you and have a fantastic day!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Can't make it to class? Pick up the book!

I mentioned in my first post that I teach a class called intenSati.  Don't worry, you aren't the first person who thought "say WHAT?" after reading that word.  "Inten" stands for "intention" and "sati" means "mindfulness."  Deliberate action plus deliberate thought, WHILE you're kicking and punching and lunging and squatting, and oh yes, speaking out loud.  IntenSati is about living a life you love, in a body you love.  It's a killer workout AND the reason I teach fitness in the first place.

In October of 2005, I joined Equinox as a member, and wandered into Patricia Moreno's intenSati class with no expectations.  55 minutes later I was a sweaty mess and my head was absolutely spinning with ideas, revelations, and one very big realization.  You see, I was VERY unhappily married at the time, and the first lesson in intenSati is that we are all 100% responsible for our lives.  We are in control of how we think, how we act and react, how we co-create our reality.  I realized that I had been keeping myself in misery, blaming it all on my husband, and denying that I could do something about it (and yes, all it took for me was one class).  Long story short, I left him eight months later*, and the freedom I felt on that day was nothing short of astounding.  Ever since walking into this class, I have made a daily choice to LOVE MY LIFE.  And sometimes, even now that I teach the class, I run into those old familiar friends, Denial and Fear.  So I punch the crap out of them (there's a lot of punching and other martial artsy influence), and feel better almost instantly.  :)

If you're curious about the class and you haven't taken it yet, click on the link above to buy it on Amazon.com.   Each exercise in the book has an affirmation to match that you can do at home, or anywhere you feel comfortable.  Plus, there are little pictures of me and the Sati team smiling out at you from the page for encouragement!  No brainer.  Get some!

If you're ready to check it out live, visit my website to see my schedule and come as my guest!  Just email me for a guest pass.  IntenSati is the best total body workout you can get, so if you start to feel overwhelmed, I will be there to remind you that "it's just the gym!"

*DISCLAIMER:  Taking this class will not necessarily cause you to end your marriage!  Unless, of course, your marriage is what's keeping you from being happy.  The beauty of the story is, through intenSati, I met my fiancee Brian.  So there you have it.  No love lost!  In fact, I cannot even measure how much I have gained.  But that's another post for another day...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hi. I'm Erika.

Hi. My name is Erika and this is my first blog entry. If you could see my face right now as I'm typing, it looks like I'm about to jump out of a plane for the first time (something I would never ever do). I've been thinking about it. I've been snooping on my friends' witty and amazing blogs. I've been thinking about WHY. WHAT I want to say. And why anyone would care.

I am a teacher at Equinox Fitness in NYC, and I share a lot of personal stories with my intenSati classes to tie into the theme of the month. And almost every time I ask the question "Does anyone else ever feel this way?," the sea of sheepishly raised hands never fails to knock me on my ass. So here I am. An attempt to bring together the confused people, the happy people, the inspired and inspiring, while keeping a sense of humor about it all.

I've decided to call my blog "It's Just The Gym" because this is one of my favorite things to say in class. It usually happens about 25 minutes in... everyone has that serious, furrowed, determined, borderline frustrated look about them... determined to remember what comes next, to complete that set of bent over rows, to grasp that bootylicious hip hop move... and it's palpable. There is a pressure to get it right. To look like a rock star. To do it with confidence. And the pressure is tangible. So I see this happening, and I feel the joy draining from the room. I say something along the lines of "Just try. If you fall, don't worry! It's just the gym!" Magically and instantly, something happens in the room. We laugh at ourselves. For being so unforgiving, so hard on ourselves, so Little-Miss-Perfect-Pants, in the midst of a sweaty (yet sleek, thank you Equinox) midtown studio on a Tuesday night. "It's JUST THE GYM" is a reminder-- you're not going to die. You're not going to lose your job, or get an "F," or fail your mother, if you do seven bicep curls instead of eight. But you ARE going to get stronger, because instead of worrying about the certain apocalypse sure to be brought about by your failure to jack it out for 30 seconds, you do your best, without judgement, and save yourself a headache.

And it always makes me think. Holy crap, we are really really hard on ourselves. It's the New York Way, "Go hard or go home" (Thank you Rihanna for the reminder). We forget that we can still go hard while having a laugh and preserving the lightness of it all. Voila: Self improvement with a smile!

As the eldest of five, perfectionist overachiever with an (albeit unhealthy) obsession with building my resume and impressing the pants out of everyone I meet, I need the "it's just the gym" reminder as much as anyone else, in every area of my life (I am also a dancer and choreographer, so "it's just an audition" or "it's just class" also apply to me on a regular basis). As I blog more, I will talk about other devices that really help me in my quest to stay sane: meditation, laughter, great friends, good books, and maybe even food! I don't know. I'm making it up as I go along.

So my intention is to keep perspective. To enjoy the day-to-day. In the immortal words of Al Jarreau, We're in this love together. Let's do it!