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robert taleghany

Inspiration, Manifestation Retreats, Steve Bridges, Travels

The Unearthing of Things

November 27, 2012

photo by Madison Rosner

Sitting outside our private villa in Ulutwatu, the breeze just enough to be deemed perfect, and I wonder if I am really here. I must be. Awan, one of the staff here at Uluwatu Surf Villas, just brought us out our morning eggs (yes, he comes into the villa every morning and prepares us breakfast to our liking.) My eggs a little less runny, Robert gets the toast and the weird flourescent jam. We both drink the coffee, me always going for the second and third cup, my husband always the moderate one, taking one cup and sipping it slowly. I must be here. I can see the ants crawling all over the table. (They don’t bother me.) I see the ocean just past our private little pool (a private pool!). I hear the sound of the waves crashing, one of the rare occasions the ringing in my ears is lessened. I must be here. I must be.

So it’s established. Here I am.

Is it the being here or the memory of being here that I am after?

Is it the having had it happen or the ability to write about it in such a way that I can make you feel as if it happened for you too?

I am not sure.

From Wikipedia:

Memory is the processes by which information is encoded, stored, and retrieved. 

I am equally in love with floating in the pool naked, a light rain falling and an almost full moon above as I am with the drinking of a Bintang and the being able to tell you about it in words that will (I hope) last forever, longer than the sea, longer even than me. I know there are different types of people. I get that. The types of people that are so present, who wouldn’t dream of the moment meaning anything than what it was.

You’d think I would be that way, being a yoga teacher and everything. I am here. I am. I strive to be present but there is something in me that screams Hey! This is your dharma. You were meant to share this. Who are you to keep this locked in your mind? Go! Go now and write!

So I am here, indeed. I am here with every intention to send my experiences out in capsules for you to open and discover what it is you want to share. What it is you want to feel. Where it is you want to go.

People often ask me how I have such a steel trap memory. My sister and I both. (Although as I have aged my memory has become less steel-like and more sponge-like.) Here’s the thing: when you lose a parent so young, all you have are your memories of him bringing you home chocolate covered marshmallows and carving magic wands out of sticks and seesaws by the Cooper River Park in the rain. That is all you have so you preserve them and seal them so they can never disintigrate into I don’t remembers. You become an expert memory maker. You have no choice really, because how else could you survive?

Your imagination must have someplace to call home.

My imagination is calling this home: The rain clicking its heels on the swimming pool here in Bali. The nothing to do-ness that comes with being on vacation and just how inspiring that nothing to do-ness can be. Floating on a surfboard in the Indian Ocean, the red sun a character in your life like an ex-lover or a grandfather with its legendary personality. The twin girls dancing a traditional Balinese dance, moving their fingers precisely, elegantly, in a way my stubby hands could never coordinate themselves to do on their own. Their eyes darting left and right, each sharp movement a story with a beginning, middle and end. The sky opening up and letting in color that no camera can talk about. Not even on a good day. Secret colors and gestures that fall apart when an iPhone tries to lock them in. The happiness here. The happiness here is where I am calling home. It is getting placed next to: my father eating his nightly chocolate ice cream in between two waffles with powdered sugar on top and my summer at Bucknell University churning out poems before bed like they were sleeping pills. I will place it next to my retreat last February in Mexico, the last time I saw my dear friend Steve Bridges before he died and how close our eyes were there, for that long moment above the beach there in Puerta Vallarta as he told me he could never leave the earth before having a family and how we became that family because he did leave the earth. Too suddenly and too soon not a month later and that moment we shared was the best conversation and the most treasured I have ever had with anyone so as I sit here in the rain in Bali I am placing this pool and this palm tree and these offerings for the gods right there next to Steve.

My imagination is that large. It can hold it all.

That line above makes me feel Walk Whitman-esque: Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes. 

Who can explain why the value of something increases, decreases. Or what we choose to store as memories? Why we fall in love with someone, as quick as the pressing of your face into their shoulder blade as you ride on the back of their motorcycle, the wind slapping you with confirmation- Yes! This is love! Or a moment like the one when you watch them sleep and a surge of protectiveness knocks you awake. You want to make sure they take the next breath, and the next.

You want to watch them forever.

We never know where we will find our history, where we will discover what has formed us, what we will find in the rice paddies. Exhuming beauty from the soil, excavating remains.

The unearthing of things long forgotten.

Part of the way memory works is by being able to locate it and return it to our consciousness. How can we do that if we haven’t saved it? What are your ways of saving it? What are you saving?

This is an important question. Think hard before you respond. What are you storing up in there? I hope it isn’t traffic jams and being pissed off and upset and gossip although, hey, I am not perfect and I have some of that up there. I am making room though. I am pushing it aside and making room for this watermelon and these flowers and my husband at Padang Padang Beach in Bali and what it feels like to have achieved a dream like this.

And what does it feel like?

It feels like a sigh. It feels like a dropping the shoulders down away from the ears and returning as well as a departure. It feels like a bumpy car ride along Balinese country-side and it also feels like my sofa at home with a glass of wine in my hand. It feels like all of me and also a part I have yet to know. Or rather, yet to remember.

Because it has always been there, hasn’t it?

It has always been there next to my father and my grandmother and my little 3 year old nephew showing me how he “drops in” on the skateboard ramp and all the other memories I have sought out to bring back into consciousness, it has always been there but like the red sun I had just thought it was a myth.

I did not believe it until I saw it and felt it and reached up into the sky to call it mine before sending it back into the world.

 

 

by Madison Rosner

by Madison Rosner

Steve Bridges and I. www.stevebridges.com

MindBodyGreen

You Don’t Need a Big White Wedding To Get Married After All.

August 24, 2012

My latest on MindBodyGreen talks about how I did my wedding. It was NOT traditional, to say the least.

I also offer suggestions for you as to how to have your dream wedding.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Click here.

The above photo was taken at my wedding at The Yoga Collective in Santa Monica where I held it. I asked people to bring donations and we gave all the money to Haiti for the earthquake relief. Click photo to read article.

Inspiration

How Do You Define Success?

May 17, 2012

How Do You Define Success?

I was sitting on the couch with my husband a few nights ago and I looked over at him and asked him: Did you have any idea, when we started dating, that I’d be this successful?

My hand quickly shot over my mouth.

For so many reasons.

1) Dare I say out loud that I was successful? Let alone ‘this’ successful?

2) Was I even successful? I had never said that out loud. Or really, thought it, for that matter.

3) How can I be successful if I don’t have a lot of money?

I knew a blog post was being born.

He looked over at me and said: I knew you had potential.

He was being facetious. And yet, he wasn’t.

I was waitressing at The Newsroom Cafe, and had been for 13 years and suffering from depression and miserable when we started dating. Truly not the Jen I am today. She was in there, somewhere, buried under the layers of  black aprons, but it was deep under the dust of restaurant smells.

Here’s our story in a nutshell because, well, it isn’t the point. So I will abbreviate it.

We met 15 years ago.

My first love had just dumped me and I had a nervous breakdown, or close to it, while I was living in New York City. I relived my father dying like a big fat cliche and felt abandoned and scared and so I moved to California where my mom and sister had just moved a year prior. (By the way, we had moved there once before after my dad died when I was in the 4th grade and then moved back to NJ again when I was in 8th grade. In that time we lived in California, I made friends for life, starting acting and was even on Punky Brewster.) Moving back to NJ felt like a cruel joke to me at age 13 and 8th grade was borderline suicidal for me. Not a joke.

I got over it and fell in love.

Cutting back to the New York years: first love dumps me and I move back to California (mom and sister had moved back the year before for reasons I still do not know and I followed suit.) We were like the crazy Jewish traveling gypsy women who only traveled between LA and South Jersey.

My mom had this studio on Robertson Blvd in West Hollywood which she rented out to actors and acting teachers and movie makers and other Hollywood types. She called me and said she had a writer she’d wanted me to meet him and, that, oh yea, she was dating Neil Diamond.

Yes, Neil effing Diamond.

(I still have the Harley Davidson leather jacket he gave me for Hannukah that year.)

We met at Newsroom Cafe on Robertson near her studio. (Yes, the Newsroom I would go on to work at for 13 years.) We met and I looked older than I do now because I was so anorexic and pale, and Robert, the writer my mom wanted me to meet looked: nice.

He was nice. Which, for me, at 21, meant one thing: boring.

I started working at The Newsroom Cafe.  He sent me roses.

I didn’t know they were from him because I thought him far too shy and too nice to do such a bold thing so I was stumped as to who “the Robert” was who sent me roses to work.

He called and asked if I got said flowers.

Eeek! Yes I did get flowers and I just want to be friends, I said like the 21 year old I was.

(Did I really say that?)

For brevity sake I will cut to years later. About ten years.

I am still working at Newsroom. He comes in. I recognize him straight away. (I have a photographic memory. People would come in to the cafe to eat in 1999 and in 2005 I’d wait on them again and ask if they wanted the chicken pot pie again?)

He looks cute, I remember thinking, I’ll go over.

He says he remembers me but cannot remember my name.

Yea right.

I think he is lying about not remembering my name. ( I still think he was. He still denies. Although now, being married I see he has a horrible memory and he probably was NOT lying.)

Long story short, we went out for dinner, and after dinner, sitting in his car, I knew I was going to marry him.

True?

Yes. Very true.

I married him.

He tells me now that he waited for me all those years.

So yes, he saw potential.

But all those years I was stuck and depressed and we would have never made it. I had to go through what I went through and meet him again to fully blossom.

So here we are on our couch. In our apartment. Where we live. I have my hand over my mouth in shock because I actually said out loud that I am successful.

We are taught to not say that. Or that we are beautiful.

Aren’t we taught that? Even subconsciously?

What does success even mean?

I no longer wait tables. I am happy. I have fun. I am sitting on the sofa next to the man I love watching Modern Family. I get paid to do what I love.

I have only been teaching yoga and doing what I do for 3 years. Barely 3 years.

And here I am.

You are reading my blog.

Am I successful?

I am to me.

Is my nephew who has Prader Willi Syndrome and Autism successful even though his ‘milestones’ are different than other kids his age? (Answer: yes.)

Is my friend who does play after play successful even though she still has to have two waitressing jobs? (Answer: yes.)

Who or what measures success?

Does success mean money? (Answer: no.)

Are we supposed to acknowledge our own success? (Answer: Sure, why not.)

You see, my husband always believed in me. He did! From the moment he met me, when I was 21 and anorexic and lost and scared to now. He may not have remembered my name all those years later but he most certainly remembered who I was.

Even though I had forgotten.

He had an unwavering faith in me when I had no faith in myself. It took years to come back to him because I was not ready.

I am ready now.

I am ready for success.

And let me explain what I mean when I say success.

I mean love.

I am ready for love.

 

In the comment section below write down how you define success. Also feel free to add what you are ready for in your own life. Finish the sentence: To me success is ____________.

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