Two weekends in New York City. Two very different outcomes.
Contrary to what you see above, I’m actually terrified of clowns. Like “throw up on my shoes and can’t breathe” scared of clowns. Clinically it’s called coulrophobia and the trend has been on the rise since the 1980s following the release of Stephen King’s “It.”
I take comfort in knowing I’m not alone. My opposition to clowning started when I was five. While leaving the circus with my family, a man had a heart attack, fell down the stairs, and died next to us. My dad, a firefighter and paramedic, immediately began CPR.
Alright, this is not ideal. I’m five, I’ve just seen a group of clowns trying to pull themselves out of a Barbie car, I’m started to connect the two events.
Due to the enormity of the crowd trying to exit, the ambulance could not get through so we stood there, my dad doing CPR, for 35 minutes. Just 35 minutes next to a dead guy. At a circus. See where this is heading?
(I recently retold this story to my dad who said, “Stop complaining, you were five! At least you weren’t doing CPR! My arms almost broke off.” Point proven.)
And yet, there I was on a Saturday night in New York City eagerly waiting for Puddles the Clown to take the stage. Sweet, beautiful, talented Puddles whose sadness and love for soulful ballads won my cold, clown-hating heart two years ago when I came upon his cover of “Royales” on YouTube.
By day, Puddles is an Atlanta bar owner by the name of Mike Grier, and by night, clocking in at 7’0, Puddles is known for his pity parties and Tom Jones-like voice.
He was the first video I ever talked about at YouTube Nation and since then, I’ve championed him everywhere I’ve gone. He is just too sad and too talented to be afraid of. Along the way, Puddles became my unicorn interview — his tear-jerking “Hallelujah” cover and marriage to a fellow circus performer only adding to my fascination. Every writer has a unicorn interview, it’s that interview that, if completed, would be the highlight of their career. For me, against all odds, it turned out to be the world’s tallest clown.
I’ve emailed him countless times, pitched his profile anywhere that will listen, and continue to just wait and hope that someday I’ll be able to peek behind the curtain and capture the fascinating story of Puddles the Clown. Until then, I’ll enjoy the sweet memories of my best friend accompanying me to this glorious concert and listening to Puddles belt “My Heart Will Go One” to a slideshow of Kevin Costner.
The thing about New York City is that literally anything can happen. I met Puddles one weekend and the next I was making yoga dreams come true in SoHo.
I’ve wanted to go on a yoga retreat for the past year but have been too nervous to sign up. What if I’m not good enough? What if I’m away from home, I don’t connect with anyone, and then I’m trapped with these people?
But this one seemed different. It was based in the city, focused on the Forest Yoga Practice (which I love and included my favorite teacher), and throughout the two-days of classes, would focus on setting an intention for the rest of 2016. Goals, yoga, and being next to some of the best sandwiches in NYC, it seemed the stars had aligned. I dived in head first, which is a bit rare for me. But by putting myself out there, it felt like even more of a victory when two days and eight hours of yoga later, I was enamored with the experience.
It was so so much fun. So grounding and healing and ridiculously juicy. Albert my yoga mat and I are still pretty sore but vibing on our new appreciation for body energies as we stress pack and unpack our suitcase for Asia.
I had so many takeaways from this retreat (fill yourself up with breath like water filling a mason jar and then make a commitment to the new pose/life decision), but my biggest was allowing yoga to be exactly what I need in each moment. To be present enough to recognize when I needed to set an intention for the class and when I just needed to empower myself with a mantra.
In the past year, I’ve approached yoga as a form of therapy. In each pose, what can I change? How can I use this twisting lunge to correct a bad habit or let go of stress? This has been so great! It’s one of the biggest factors propelling my adult growth. But sometimes, I just need to jive on my yoga mat to the mantra “I am f***ing awesome. I. Am. Feeling. Myself.” This upcoming year, I want to become better aligned with my internal dialogues during yoga so that I can start to swift from “doing yoga” to actually living it. (via my latest Elite Daily article)
Will it happen today or tomorrow? I have some serious doubts but it’s a start, and a damn good start at that.
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