Journaling = Yoga

With 3 days left in my #30daysofwriting challenge, I’ve officially finished my old journal and have begun writing in my new one. While it was a little sad to pack up the old one and put it into storage (I have a big Rubbermaid bin full of many, many old journals that this one will now reside in), I made sure to fill those last few pages with as much reflection and positivity as I could fit, and I’m excited to see what will fill the pages of my new one.

Fanne's been reading and writing a lot this month as well

Fanne’s been reading and writing a lot this month as well

In addition to writing this month, I’ve been doing a lot of reading as well. I’m a virtual member of a book club that my good friend Kim started (which btw is called, “That’s What She Read”, amazing, right?), and I’ve also been working on finishing up some required reading for my yoga teacher training.

In one of my yoga books I was reading about the Niyamas, a list of 5 personal actions and attitudes that yoga encourages us to cultivate. When I got to the 4th one, svadhyaya, self-study, I realized that it fits in perfectly with my challenge this month. For me, journaling has always been a way to reflect on myself and my life. It’s a way to clear my head when monkey mind kicks in, a safe place to express my thoughts and feelings, and one of the best methods I’ve found to figure s**t out.

So, basically what I’m saying is that journaling = yoga. Looks like I was a yogi long before I even knew what that meant…

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 Addendum: Yoga school schooled me this week and if we’re really getting technical about it, journaling isn’t actually considered svadhyaya because it’s focused on the ego and not the capital S Self. Aha! I stand corrected. 

Home Sweet Home

Just because I haven’t been writing on here as frequently this month doesn’t mean that I haven’t been following through with my #30daysofwriting challenge. I’ve missed a day here and there, but have still been writing a ton—it just isn’t necessarily the kind of writing that you share (read: journal entires and book reports). I’ve been home in Boston and on the Cape for the past few days though, and in my journal I started a list highlighting my favorite moments of the trip, which I realized would be perfectly sharable for a blog post. So here goes, a list of things I’ve loved about this trip.

  • Breakfast at Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown right when we got in on Friday morning.
  • Taking a long walk around Castle Island with my good friend Amanda and spending the day catching up over mate and fresh juice from Bee’s Knees Supply Company in Fort Point.
  • Getting pizza and wine with some of my favorite friends at one of my favorite spots, Pizzeria Regina.
  • Catching a class at Underground Studios with my teacher Ben on Saturday morning.
  • Having an epic 3.5 hour brunch with some wonderful old friends at Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant in Southie.
  • Checking out the incredible Nick Cave show at the ICA.
  • Stopping by Grammy’s in Brockton and eating my mom’s famous stuffed shells with my family.
  • Going out to breakfast with Dan and my brother at one of my favorite high school spots: Betsy’s Diner in Falmouth
  • Getting a homemade ice cream sandwich at Par-Tee Freeze, my Aunt and Uncle’s ice cream shop, and visiting with one of my best childhood friends Amy, who’s adorably pregnant.
  • Checking out a funny, 300 sq ft tiny house that’s for sale in my home town at the perfect time of day (see photo below).
  • Taking a nice, long beach walk with Dan and my parents this morning and discovering a cluster of abandoned beach chairs in the dunes that we proceeded to use for a little Spring sunbathing.

And we still have a whole day left. How sweet home really is ❤

Brunch with this fine looking bunch

Brunch with this fine looking bunch

My dream house

My dream house

My Dad's first selfie

My Dad’s first selfie, or “salty” as he called it

360 degrees of beauty

Ocean all around

My loot from the beach

My loot from the beach

The Great Journal Switchover of 2014

I think I mentioned a few posts ago that it was fitting to be doing a writing challenge this month because I’m about to finish the journal that I’ve been writing in for the past 2 years—and when I say 2 years, I mean exactly 2 years to the date. The first entry in my current journal is March 21, 2012. Kind of interesting, huh? Does anyone think it’s a sign or has some sort of higher significance? I’ll let you know if my journaling leads me to draw any conclusions about this.

But anyway…it always feels a little bittersweet when I do the big journal switchover. Part of me feels excited to have a clean slate and to not have to tote around old thoughts, and fears, and everything else with me, but the other part of me feels a little sad. Like by not carrying them around with me every day, that all those memories, quotes, lists, and goals that I so fervently put to paper will suddenly lose their urgency and significance. Any journalers know what I mean?

So, what I’ve taken to doing before starting the new journal is to go through the old one and find the parts that still resonate with me—the quotes that stand out 2 years later, the lingering goals that I still have every intention of achieving, the unfinished business that needs to be finished—and I transfer it to the first few pages of the new journal. That way I bring with me what will currently serve me and leave behind what will not.

And so with only 7 pages left in my 2012-2014 journal, this is what I’ve been doing over the past few weeks. Transferring the bits and pieces of the last 2 years that will be relevant to the next 2, in preparation for the blank pages that await.

Old v. New

Old v. New—and yes, I’m a Moleskine girl

 

 

 

On St. Patrick’s Day, A Toast to My Grandfather, “The Wild Irishman”

I wrote this post a few years ago but I like to re-post it on St. Patrick’s Day in tribute to my Irish grandfather, Francis Stevens Joseph O’Connell (can a name get more Irish than that?). Thinking of you today and every Paddy’s Day Grampy ❤

The title of my grandfather’s obituary states, “Francis O’Connell was a hero during World War II”—and that he was. The leader of an all Irish squad nicknamed, “The Shamrock Platoon”, my grandfather served in the 26th infantry division of General Patton’s 3rd army. He was stationed in Europe from August 1944 to November 1945 and fought in the infamous Battle of the Bulge, and liberated 2 concentrations camps: Buchenwald and Ohrdruf. He was awarded 2 Purple Hearts, one for when he was struck in the leg by a German sniper (which later caused him to have his leg amputated).

Dubbed “The Wild Irishman”, my grandfather amassed quite the reputation. The Boston Traveler (what is now the Boston Herald), sent famed war correspondent Andrew Tully to Europe just to track him down for an interview. My grandfather’s famous quote from the article was, “There are two kinds of people in the world: the Irish, and those who wish to hell they were Irish”.

He returned home from the war and raised 4 children with my Grammy Helen, but as my mom said last night to me on the phone, “He survived the war, but he lost his spirit on the battlefield”.

My grandfather passed away at the age of 62 from complications from emphysema. It’s always been sad to me that I was never able to have a relationship with him, but what I do have is his name: I’m Danne Frances Dzenawagis because of him, and that will always keep him close to my heart.

frank_honeymoon

30 Days of Writing: Week 1 Recap

I have a full week of #30daysofwriting under my belt and I have to say, it doesn’t feel like much of a “challenge” at all. What it actually feels like is that I’ve just given myself full permission to spend my time doing what I want to be doing in the first place. For the first time in many lents, I haven’t missed a day and have stayed 100% true to my original intention. Maybe I am a “writer” after all…gasp!

My required hour of daily writing often extends well over the designated time period, and in the past week here’s what I’ve been working on:

  • 7 full pages of journaling—and if you’ve seen my journal you know that it’s made of up of teensy, tiny gridded paper that I carefully fit my thoughts in between the lines of. In other words: 7 pages is longer than it sounds.
  • Drafting a new sankalpa, which I desperately needed.
  • Working on my book report for yoga school, which I’m about 75% of the way through at this point.
  • Finally, finally starting an idea for a guest blog post entitled, “Observations of a Fitting Room Girl”. I’m not sure where I’d like to pitch it to when it’s finished, but maybe I’ll share it on here first to see if anyone has any suggestions for me.
  • Making some pretty serious lists containing goals and plans and personal declarations. Bam.

And after all that, I’m only about 14.5 pages away from finishing the 192 page journal that I’ve been working on for the past 2 years. How fitting that I’ll be starting a new one this month.

My itty-bitty handwriting (and notes for my book report)

My itty-bitty handwriting (and notes for my book report)

 

Why I Practice “12 Months of Lent”

The 2014 lenten season is officially upon us and I thought I’d use it as an opportunity to give a little refresher on how I got started with this project and how “Lent” fits into the equation in the first place. So, for today’s #30daysofwriting challenge, I present to you:

Why I Practice “12 Months of Lent”

As the year 2008 was coming to a close, I found myself in a bit of a rut. Nothing catastrophic had happened over the previous year, but I was harboring overwhelming feelings of disappointment and discouragement. As I think a lot of 25 year-olds are, I was bright-eyed and brimming with enthusiasm over newfound dreams and goals, but there were so many to contend with that I felt more intimidated than inspired. Stagnation had taken hold of me and making progress on anything felt impossible. I needed a plan; a way to break things down so I could actually get something done.

Thinking it would help, I started brainstorming New Year’s Resolutions for 2009. When my list become unrealistically long, I remembered that Lent wasn’t too far away, and thought that maybe I could work one of my resolutions into what I was planning on giving up. That’s when the epiphany hit and I decided to combine the concept of Lent (personal sacrifice and dedication for a set period of time) with my New Year’s Resolutions. I’d complete one goal at a time, one month at a time, for an entire year—and I did.

Now, over 5 years later with dozens of monthly “lents” under my belt, I can say with confidence that it’s absolutely been an empowering way to take charge of my life and to help me make progress on the things that matter the most. I’ve learned (among countless other lessons) that you don’t need to wait for the new year or the start of Lent to make a change in your life: “We begin where we are and how we are, and whatever happens, happens.” -T.K.V. Desikachar

And for those of you who do partake in Lent in the traditional sense, I challenge you to not always focus on “giving something up”, but rather on “taking something on.” Make Lent yours.  

I ate approximately 2.75 of these

I ate approximately 2.75 of these on Fat Tuesday

For the record (and to prevent a case of Catholic guilt from setting in), I’ve decided to observe “real” Lent this year and forgo drinking (alcohol, that is) on weeknights. On another note, I also decided to observe Fat Tuesday this year and gorged on Pinot Grigio and Paczkis until I felt sufficiently sick enough to stop. Lenten success all around. 

 

March’s Challenge: 30 Days of Writing

For the few of you who have been following along with 12 Months of Lent since the beginning (I’m talkin’ post #1 in 2008), you’ll remember that the first challenge I ever embarked on was focused on writing. It was simple: complete half an hour of journal writing daily. It was partially inspired by The Artist’s Way, a book my friends and I were reading at the time that encouraged free-writing first thing in the morning, and partially inspired by my desire to get back into journaling, a practice I had lost touch with.

My personal journals from high-school-the present

My personal journals from high-school through the present—and yes, they’re all full.

I’ve never considered myself to be much of a writer, but when I started this blog a few years after college, I was instantly reminded how much I truly enjoy the art of writing—and also how much I missed it being part of my life. Since then, I’ve turned into some form of a writer (although I really only feel confident calling myself a ‘blogger’), and a number of my goals involve writing, including writing for some big-name sites in the health & wellness industry, and hopefully even writing my own book someday.

My bigger writing goals have taken the back burner to keeping up with posting regularly on this blog though, so when I saw a few friends link to Kale & Cigarettes 30 Days of Writing challenge, I decided to take their lead and dedicate March to writing as well.

My rules aren’t strict, but my intention this month is to write without distraction for at least an hour a day, more if I have the time. The writing I’m doing can be in any form: journaling (I’m hoping to do a ton of this), 12MOL blogging, guest blogging, copywriting, poetry, list-making, letter-writing—anything. I’m just looking to make some headway on personal writing goals and to get some thoughts and ideas out of my head and onto paper (virtual or physical).

On today’s writing agenda: This blog post, and then work on my book report for Swami Rama’s, The Art of Joyful Living, a requirement for my yoga teacher training. Side Note: I honestly cannot remember the last time I wrote a book report, I’m legitimately kind of excited…and maybe a little nervous…