This weekend was so adventure filled, fun and relaxing all at the same time. Probably different from any other weekend I've experienced in a long time.
It started with my Friday evening pole dancing class with my lovely friend Asia. This week was a huge breakthrough for me in class. For the first time since the class begun I didn't feel awkward, or out of place in class and I truly embraced the class and the routine and actually enjoyed the process and how it made me feel in the end. I've never felt more empowered and seductive in my whole life and it was the biggest confidence boost I've had in a long time.
Saturday morning started out with hot yoga at the new studio in Crowfoot. I hadn't had a chance to do a class here in the few short weeks they've been open and was encouraged to join by my gorgeously athletic friend Lynnette for a Saturday morning class. I was nervous at first as I haven't done hot yoga in over a year, and the class was challenging to say the least, but once again, it forced me out of my comfort zone and enabled me to dig down deep and mentally draw the strength to really engage and benefit from the class. For people who have never done hot yoga before I'd say this studio is a good place to begin. Students can do a one time drop in pass for $14 (make sure to bring your own towel cause rental is an extra $2, and you will need a towel) and classes are appropriate for beginners to advanced yogi's. I don't recommend the hour and a half Saturday morning class for beginners, for your first time try the hour class and move up to the hour and half once you've adjusted to the temperature and humidity of the room (42 degrees Celsius and 50% humidity). There are modifications for every pose and you are encouraged to leave your ego at the door and focus solely on your self, your breathing, your personal awareness and progress. My favorite part of the class though, at the end, during your savasana the instructor brings around a cold moist towel that's been soaked in lemon grass to cool you down before you leave. This studio and class is pampering on a whole different level. You can check out class times, descriptions, yoga etiquette and more info here! I know I'll definitely be back.
In my history of humanity course on Saturday afternoon we discussed Machiavelli as a misunderstood figure in the evolution of the society we live in today. Most believe Machiavelli to be an evil character of cunning, backstabbing and betraying nature, however, when you read his works and understand the background and culture he was coming from and writing within, you see things in an entirely different light. He was living in time when Christianity was a very prevalent part of society however, at the same time capitalism was emerging as a powerful source in the everyday life of Europeans, more specifically, the Italians as they were the center of much of the commerce in Europe. At this point, the Medici family was essentially ruling Florence and Machiavelli was a known enemy of the Medici's. The son of a lawyer he was well educated and worked in many royal courts and at one point even managed the army of Florence. He was, however, somewhat undiplomatic in his words and recounts of events. Known has being too blunt and hard-nosed he often offended others. However, what we don't realize about Machiavelli is that he is going against the courtly culture of the times and not putting up this constant facade and mask to make people think he's better or different the person he actually is - he's putting himself out there, and if you don't like it, well take it or leave it.
Another thing he address', which really makes him a modern revolutionary of his time, is the idea that Christianity and capitalism really don't mix all that well. Think about it - if you subscribe to the true teachings of Christianity, loving your neighbour, turning the other cheek, giving the one who asks for your sweater, your jacket as well, none of these principles work along with the unforgiving and ruthless nature of capitalism. Think about it, has one nation, one government, one corporation for that matter, ever been able to truly and unwaveringly adhere to Christian principles and morals and maintain sovereignty, profit or advancement, no. If companies or governments functioned on those premises, they'd be blown over in minutes. Machiavelli is merely pointing out the obvious, and really forecasting what our society has become today, and getting a bad rap for it.
Needless to say, this is only the tip of the iceberg that we discussed in the four hour class, and I left with my mind full of rants and questions about everything from the hypocritical function of religious institutions to the hypocritical people who parade their religious morals above society everyday to questioning if I was a hypocritical human for believing in the power of positivity and karma but allowing my negativity to become rather obvious at specific points in my life, or when certain people or circumstances are brought into question. I felt that I had much soul searching and contemplation to do.
Saturday night consisted of a wonderful dinner with Tom's good friend and training partner, followed by a couple episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" and a few rounds of uno in which I emerged victorious! A relaxing and fulfilling Saturday to say the least.
Sunday, Tom and I headed out to Banff in the early afternoon for a hike and some meandering about town. We decided to do the easy/moderate climb of Tunnel Mountain, which neither of us had done before, and although there were portions of the hike that were somewhat difficult with the path covered with two or three feet of snow, it was really enjoyable to spend that time with Tom, enjoying the fresh mountain air, the exercise, and the feeling of accomplishment when you reach the top of a good climb. We made in up and down in an hour and six minutes.
After this we went to the lulu lemon hoping they would have a different selection then the disappointing sweater colors at the Calgary store, but alas we were disappointed and headed up to the hot springs for a nice long soak.
This is where the interesting and thought provoking portion of the day was. It was so nice to enjoy a long warm soak in the mineral rich and hot water and as Tom and I floated around I looked about and thought to myself, I am the luckiest girl in the world. I am with the most amazing man, who makes me so happy, strengthens my ambitions, inspires me to be a better person, and is easily the best looking and best-built guy in this pool. I was so proud to call him my own.
Upon departing from the pool and going back to the locker room to dry off and change there was a mother and daughter at the locker just down from me. She has locked the locker and realized she had forgotten something inside prior to closing it. Lockers at the Banff hot springs are a loonie and she had used her last one. She turned and asked me if I had change for a twoonie and I handed her a loonie and told her not to worry about it. She seemed insistent to give me the twoonie in exchange for the loonie I had already provided her however I insisted she keep it and told her to pay it forward. The look that came across her face at this point was one of utter anxiety. She continued to insist she give me the twoonie and I continued to resist until she accepted. It was as if she wasn't willing or able to bear the responsibility of having to pay a favor forward - it was to much for her to handle or to heavy on her conscience. Is paying it forward, doing something altruistic or unbeneficial to us for the benefit of others really so rare that when we're challenged to do so it sends us to the point of anxiety?
To end off this post I'd like to challenge each and every one of you to do something completely out of kindness, not expecting anything in return, and not for your benefit in the least, for a complete stranger. See how they react, see how you feel when you do this, more importantly, notice how you feel next time someone completes a completely altruistic act for you - what emotions come up for you and how do you manage them?
An act of kindness goes a long way.