Albert Einstein

What Is Normal?

We Are All Weird, by Seth Godin

Seth Godin published a little book in 2011 called We Are All Weird. Click on the title to read an excerpt.

You’ve really got to think hard about this:

Being normal is based on what the average person does, through conformity.

Following this logic, I am, therefore, far from normal. Not in every way but in many ways. But I’ve known this since I was a kid. Most of us so called “weird” ones have been OK with our standing. We know we’re different. But there are many who are still learning to accept their differences and with every ounce of their being resist their nature and struggle to fit in or to be “normal-like-everyone-else”.  I would like to encourage everyone to be true to who you are, not who you think you should be; there is a difference.

Let’s talk about food for an example.

On occasion people say this phrase to me: “Well, you’ve got to live!” Often in reference to doing things that they know that they shouldn’t be doing; for instance consuming certain foods or drinks.

Eating Contest

Eating Contest

Since when, why and how did engaging in risky behavior equate living? And why is it so often about consuming substances? Is it that charge of adrenaline that is so titillating – oh, how it wakes us up like we have never been awake before and bang! we feel alive. Again, let’s do it again, but let’s push the envelope a little further this time. It is a heavy question with reasoning that could fill the infinite scroll down potential of any blog. I think the adrenaline rush associated with extreme sport is a little different from the rush derived from consuming substances, but they straddle the same hemisphere. So if you will, allow me to ramble for a minute.

At a restaurant, about sixteen years ago, when I was just dating my husband, he said to me, “If I’m going to risk my life why would I choose to do so by doing something as unadventurous as eating mussels?” I fear, most people are ignorant of the toxins present in the foods or drinks they choose to consume. Some restaurants actually have a disclaimer on the menu where items such as mussels, clams and raw oysters are served.

Cooked Mussels

Cooked Mussels

I am very aware that how I conduct myself is not the norm. The fact that I feel like I am “living” everyday without sacrificing anything, would categorize me once again as weird.

Definition of Sacrifice:

“an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. We must all be prepared to make sacrifices.”

Must we?

Ah…sacrifice. It is such an interesting word, such an interesting feeling. It has been a long road of learning, but I can honestly say that I am at such a place where sacrifice does not exist. There is nothing that I would have to give up to be where I am. I make time to focus and take care of myself everyday because that is where I want to be. I eat well all the time because I want to – because it makes me feel great; and because really, for me there is no alternative.

It seems to be more difficult for others to accept that I have accepted that celebration and reward does NOT come in the form of food or alcohol or excess. I am right where I should be and continue to learn more about my body, mind and health each day. I have chosen to represent this sentiment with a photograph of a bee in flight, just approaching a flowering chive. Why? Because bees have focus and it seems to me like they enjoy what they do. It comes down to perspective.

I choose not to eat or drink anything that disagrees with my system. I choose not to eat or drink anything just to please a host or because it was a gift. The story of The Hungry Coat: A Tale from Turkey comes to mind when I think about this, because one thought always leads to another.

I won’t finish off something just to prevent it from going to waste. Forcing food to go through my body before it becomes garbage is no different than just throwing it away in the first place. Both are equally wasteful, but the former causes bodily harm. Better to learn not to prepare so much or order so much food. It is OK to have leftovers…I rely on them.

We can choose to make a thoughtful, informed choice or we can choose to sacrifice. In the end we have still made a choice. If we are going to bother to choose, shouldn’t we choose wisely?

“You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that’s clear-
I will choose Free Will.”

~Rush the Band, Freewill

But clearly, weird is subjective. I think it is pretty weird to consume things that are known toxins, which contribute to lowering life expectancy, have potential side effects, which may contribute to birth defects, known diseases and cancer. And yet in the normal universe, which is parallel to my weird universe, this is considered living, by letting loose and not being so serious.

“I want to be normal!” – not me, thanks.

Just about everyone wants to be normal. Kids want to be normal; they want to fit in. They learn it at a young age. If they don’t conform they will be excluded.

“Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone…

In the high school halls

In the shopping malls

Conform or be cast out…

In the basement bars

In the backs of cars

Be cool or be cast out…”– Rush the Band, Subdivisions

They want to be able to eat or drink what everyone else does without thinking about the after effects or repercussions; they want to live in the moment. They want to live.

A few years ago when my husband and I were hosting our annual Canadian Thanksgiving feast, one of my guests, knowing that I was deep into the experimental phase of eliminating certain foods from my diet (to heal myself), said that she just couldn’t do what I was doing. So I asked, “I didn’t realize there were any foods that disagreed with your system.” Her: “Oh, yeah there are, but I eat them anyway and pay the price the next day.”


To me that’s CRAZY, insane even. I told her that I thought so. 🙂 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~Albert Einstein

Except in this case I don’t think people are expecting different results. And we call THAT normal?! Only because the masses are doing it. If everyone is doing it, then it must be OK.

After that conversation, I started asking other people if there were foods or drinks that they knowingly consumed which caused a delayed negative reaction. One person told me that they would eat certain foods knowing that they would have to be practically connected to the toilet for the following three days. “OH! But it’s so worth it going down.”


This is the original more familiar version of the famous song Crazy – by Gnarles Barkley. I’ve transcribed the lyrics below so you can read or sing along. While looking for the song I came across this slower version, which is outstanding. I have posted the link here in case you want to have a listen.

“I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind

There was something so pleasant about that place.

Even your emotions had an echo 
In so much space

And when you’re out there Without care,

Yeah, I was out of touch, But it wasn’t because I didn’t know enough

I just knew too much

Does that make me crazy? Does that make me crazy? Does that make me crazy?

Possibly [radio version] Probably [album version]

And I hope that you are having the time of your life

But think twice, that’s my only advice

Come on now,

Who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are,

Ha ha ha bless your soul

You really think you’re in control

Well, I think you’re crazy, I think you’re crazy, I think you’re crazy

Just like me

My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on a limb

And all I remember is thinking, I want to be like them

Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it looked like fun

And it’s no coincidence I’ve come, And I can die when I’m done

Maybe I’m crazy, Maybe you’re crazy, Maybe we’re crazy


Uh, uh”

We need to practice thinking about what we practice.

We can choose.

Flexibility Is Relative

The Work

The Progressions

The Achievements

The Cycle Repeats

It all comes down to perspective.

Many years ago, when I was fairly new to Ashtanga Yoga (having about six years of an inconsistent practice under my belt), my Yoga teacher casually mentioned how stiff she was feeling that particular day.  Meanwhile, a very seasoned Yogi in her own rite; in 2000, she was authorized to teach by Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois, and in July 2009, she was in the first group of 40 students to receive Level 2 Authorization – to teach the Primary and Intermediate Series of Ashtanga Yoga.

How could she be stiff? Or even know what being inflexible meant anymore – just look at the positions she can put herself into…

It was a wonderful moment of realization for me – that elusive perspective.

All things are relative. Flexibility, strength, power, agility, fitness…it’s all relative to where you are presently. Even if you are a competitive athlete; first you have to relate to your present level of fitness/ability before you can compete against your opponent.

Therefore, when inactive or active people compare themselves to me or to others, I understand – their perspective dial is cloudy; they have forgotten.

Where YOU are right now is all that matters. Where YOU will be tomorrow is insignificant.


I think a lot about how I speak to children. I teach my children that if they fail they should try again…anybody need to hear the bicycle analogy? It’s the same for us. Just because we are adult doesn’t mean that we have to excel at our first, second or third attempts. Go back in time for a minute. Stop and explore an internal dialogue, which supports your efforts, with honesty and honest effort, without expectation.  What does that dialogue sound like?


I was going to say: If you try, it will happen. But “IT” is an expectation in itself. Yoga is about being – being in the moment. Forget about “IT” and just be in the now.

Without being esoteric, what I’m trying to convey is that “IT” is simply in your daily practice. The daily self-guided practice can be applied to everything we do (your 4 minute morning, your HIIT workout etc.), because when we engage in a self-guided practice, we are teaching ourselves, we are learning about ourself.

“IT” is an endless process.

I think everyone would benefit from learning a self-guided yoga routine, be it short or long. There are variations for everyone at any level, be it modifications to suit lack of flexibility or for physical rehabilitation or for those with time restrictions. Here is a link for David Swenson’s Ashtanga Yoga Short Forms book, which has 15 minute, 30 minute and 45 minute routines which are well rounded.

Where I am today may seem very far in the future for those who are just beginning to exercise.  It is just as important to not compare with me or others as it is of equal importance to NOT compare with what you were once able to do; remember that everything is relative. In the eyes of the novice, what I do might look advanced, but I can feel equally stiff and inflexible, much like my Yoga teacher from many years ago. An advanced position or posture still has room to grow. It’s only called advanced relative to the beginner.

Yoga is the physical therapy that we can apply to ourselves. Really, no one can help us better than we can help ourselves. Our bodyworkers (Yoga teachers, RMT’s etc.) are our guides. With their guidance and with our daily self-guided practice we become more in tune with how our body is functioning.

Each time I step on my Yoga mat or slip in the pool, I too feel like a beginner (in my own way). For each day is a new beginning, a new configuration of everything. My body alignment, movement patterning and understanding has changed from yesterday’s practice and so standing on my mat today I have to adapt to what feels unlike my old self. Essentially, each new day is a fresh start but with the gift of accumulated knowledge from previous days.

“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.”

-Albert Einstein


Below is an excerpt from an article written by Kino MacGregor, which I think explains very clearly the importance of the self-guided practice also known as Mysore Style. To view the complete article click here.

“Memorizing the postures allows students to focus internally, which is the real goal of yoga. When you do not know what you will be doing next your attention will always be on your teacher rather than within yourself.

Once you memorize the sequence of postures that your teacher determines is right for you the entire practice transfers deeper into the subconscious level. Practicing in the Mysore Style method allows you to have days where you go deeply into your practice and also days where you go gently into your practice while performing all the same postures. This natural variation prevents injury, trains you to listen to the body and increases internal body awareness.”

Kino MacGregor

Mysore Style does not only have to apply to Ashtanga Yoga. I think it is paramount to view our daily body maintenance in this same way: Self-Guided Practice. A lot of people I know rely on a workout buddy to get their workouts done – but that is another conversation altogether.

“Things I love about Yoga… is that the deeper you scratch, the deeper it goes…”

~ Meghan Currie

Below is an inspiring time lapse video of Meghan Currie showing her daily practice.