Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Business Ideas. On a Tuesday.

Business Idea #1. On A Tuesday.

People Walker: Since moving to Montreal and quitting Ashtanga yoga, I have been walking all over the place, all the time. So far I have not regretted one step. Walking is delightful. In the process, you can listen to podcasts, talk on the phone, space out, or watch families wash their cars and play road hockey in alleyways. And I have found that I am gradually phasing out my clicky hip, crooked spine, eighty year old arthritis days. I have said this several times before and I still agree with myself: it is more important to me to be able to walk pain-free for long distances than it is to put my legs behind my head and/or bend backwards and stick my face in my crotch. While these things may not always mutually exclusive, for now my priority is drawing my femur bones back. I believe that walking can be just as spiritual as yoga. In fact, all my walking theories can be amalgamated into a philosophy called Spirit Walking which may hold the same marketing potential as Prancercize, an ecstatic and revolutionary success. And so my Excellent Business Idea is becoming a People Walker. This entails walking people up and down streets, hills, or wherever they’d like. As we walk, we can talk about femur bones, children, sex, food, or any topic that brings the client immense joy. Noble and spiritual silence is also an option. Everything is an option, even leashes. Business is open, as of this afternoon. Hit me up before I leave for India and/or I’ll walk you in Delhi!

Related Literature about Prancercize (Wikipedia)

Some Exciting Footwear Options:


Business Idea #2. On a Tuesday.

Letter Writer: When I was 20 years old, I came across a copy of the Artist’s Way. Written by Julia Cameron, the Artist’s Way outlines a 12-step spiritual guide to Higher Creativity. Besides her spiritual self-help books for blocked creatives, I had never heard of any of Julia Cameron’s excellent novels, haikus or theatrical productions. Even so, I embarked upon my spiritual journey with JC. One of the first things you learn on this Spiritual Path is a practice called Morning Pages. Morning Pages entails waking up thirty minutes earlier than usual, and then filling at least three pages with uninhibited writing. JC views Morning Pages as a sort of Active Meditation during which all the deepest desires and irritations of your unconscious emerge to the surface. According to JC, becoming aware of what is Deep Inside of You will bring you closer to overcoming the obstacles that prevent you from achieving your biggest dreams and becoming a real artist. For nearly a decade, I wholeheartedly devoted myself to Morning Pages. And then I decided to stop. I discovered that hammering my problems into the page for half an hour every day only exacerbated my angst and neurosis. It seems I already have a natural level of impeccable self-awareness. And as it turns out, self-awareness is somewhat overrated. These days, instead of whining in a journal of Morning Pages, I have begun to enjoy sending heartfelt letters and emails to my friends. Writing letters makes for a low-pressure and generous writing practice. Knowing you have an audience keeps the angst and self-absorption at bay, even if your audience is a forgiving and compassionate friend. Sometimes you end up writing decent sentences which you can use to inspire your other art. Almost always, the person is happy to hear from you. And so, Letter Writing is my Second Business Idea for this Tuesday. Between grade three and grade five, I used to send a letter to my grandparents in Manitoba, nearly every day. This might have been the peak of my life. Perhaps it is time for a New Peak. If you or someone you know would benefit from receiving letters or emails, as of today, I am an official Letter Writer. To insert a selling point, I have vast experience signing off letters in interesting ten-year-old ways. For example:

Yours ‘til the dew drops.
Yours ‘til the jelly rolls.
Yours ‘til the banana splits.

As business expands, I’m sure I will come up with something even better. I look forward to hearing from you.  Don’t be shy.
The Envelope I sent to my grandparents, circa 1995
The End.

Happy New Year Letter. Quite Irresistible

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, by Erica J. Schmidt

Yours Til Ekam Inhales
Pen Pal
Cardboard Box

The Benefits of an Ashtanga Yoga Practice, Part Two
Internet Diagnosis of the Week
Move Your DNA, by Katy Bowman

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Be your own best friend.

One day in grade eight, a handful of public health nurses came to visit our classroom. They warned us about the excessive hair that was probably already growing in all sorts of places, about the technical difficulties we might experience while inserting a tampon, and how most women don’t lose all their baby weight.
During one session, a nurse stood at the front of the classroom holding a piece of paper. ILAC, it said on the paper in big black letters.
“I’m Loveable And Capable.” That’s what ILAC stood for. “This is your self-esteem,” the nurse explained. She proceeded to rip up the paper. Apparently once your ILAC breaks into pieces, it could never ever be the same. The nurse illustrated this by taping together the ripped pieces of paper. You could still read the letters ILAC, but she was right, it wasn’t the same. It looked all ripped apart.

A couple of years later, I remember seeing this same nurse at the gym, where I engaged in a vigorous and extensive, self-loathing exercise regime. Like me, she had a solid two and a half hour workout. We started with at least an hour of cardio, preferably the stairmaster or rowing machine since they burned the most calories. Next was a fast-paced dynamic free weights routine, crunch-til-you-can-no-longer-menstruate, and a brief conclusion of minimal stretching.  
There is a story about taking a shit on the treadmill. Some other time.
I’m Loveable And Capable. I lack without a k.

When I was in second year university, my beloved roommate came home with a mission. It seemed she had a realistic opportunity to give a blow job in the near future. She was both excited and bewildered. How do you give a blow job? Neither of us had any idea. There was only one thing to do. Call my older sister. Earnest and focussed, my roommate faithfully wrote down my sister’s step-by-step instructions. My sister was full of helpful tips. Lovingly, my roommate stored the list in a drawer. As far as I know, the blow job was a success. 

Back then I thought that spooning involved spoons and vaginas. For this reason, my roommate and I had to call McGill nightline for clarification. So I learned that spooning is significantly more wonderful than I imagined.
On the fridge of second year university apartment, we’d stuck a hand-out my therapist had given me. The hand-out was about negative thinking patterns.

“Be Your Own Best Friend,” it said at the top. Underneath were the words, “Treat Yourself Well.” Every once in a while my roommate would repeat this, when I was frenzied and frazzled about some essay, dude or food hang-up.
Be your own best friend.
“You’re really hard on yourself,” a friend told me recently.

“But it’s the only thing I am good at,” I said. “I am so good at it!" I am amazingly good at it. And it’s hard to find something you are consistently talented at. Even if you have an expertly dictated how-to blowjob list tucked into a drawer, next to the condom jar.
When I was fifteen years old, a few months after I shit my pants on the treadmill, I was hospitalized in an adolescent psychiatric ward for eating too many laxatives. A terrifying psychiatrist named Dr. Roberts ran the ward. The bun on the back of her head was so tight it looked like it hurt her face. All the patients would seize up and shudder whenever they heard her high heels clicking from down the hallway. It seemed Dr. Roberts could not speak without snapping. I suppose she had a difficult childhood. They say this why people become psychologists and psychiatrists. Maybe I should have given that a try.
While I was in the psych ward, I vowed that I would never again puke or purge or obsess about my weight if it meant that I would avoid being re-incarcerated. It seemed so simple. The day I left, I was certain that my eating disorder was all over. Her voice void of compassion, Dr. Roberts announced otherwise.
“You are not out of the woods,” she said. “You have a severe eating disorder and because you are an externally motivated person, you are going to have a hard time.”
Damn. And with that vote of confidence, my parents drove me home. Although Dr. Roberts’ delivery left about a million things to be desired, that part about being externally motivated has proved to be somewhat true.
Fame, Money, Weight Loss, Prizes, Sex (FMWLPS), none of these things are a given. Stunning Blog Stats (SBS), Innumerable Facebook Likes (IFL), these too pass away. If such items are your main source of motivation, you are probably going to have a hard time.
In less than two weeks, I am going to be thirty. I no longer have a severe eating disorder, but that took a really long time. And I remain highly motivated by external things. Stunning Blog Stats. Sources of Sexual Gratification (SOGS). Prizes. Sometimes I have a hard time. I am not my own best friend.
Back when I was twenty years old, I lived and worked at house for people with intellectual disabilities. After one year, I had to decide whether or not to stay for another year. During my weekly 32 hours off, I used to write down lots of things in a little purple notebook. Like this list of my goals for my whole life. I have already published this list, but since I am going to be thirty, and because I used to be such a darling, I get to publish it again.

The Purple Notebook

Life Goals

never get fat, that is to say, always be physically fit
                master French

Learn a new language
                                Either Spanish
                                 Italian or

 Properly perform
headstands and

Develop flexibility

     Live in Third World Country
     Live in Europe

Finish University Degree

   Develop piano talent

       Fall in Love.

Be immersed in a language Other Than My Own

                Write Novels
                    And Short Stories.
                                ->Become Famous
                                        Doing This

Not to worry about money but to live simply

Not to worry.

   Be Close to Someone Who Dies
          Fall in love
              Not get cancer.
                Be Grateful for Life

Always be helping children and/or adults with disabilities.
The End of the List.
Life Goals, by Erica
I ended up staying a second year at the house for the people with disabilities. Over the next decade, more than half of the list came true. Many of the important things. Some of the embarrassing things. As it turns out, many of the items you put on lists end up happening. Whether or not you hang the lists on your fridge. It’s possible that you don’t even need a list. Just like you don’t really need blow job instructions.

Even so, here’s my list for the next seven years. Feel free to put in your purple notebook, or on your fridge, or in a drawer next to your condom jar:

You’re loveable and capable.                                                                                                                         
In fact, you are kind of a darling.
Be your own best friend.
Treat yourself well.

The End. 
Me and my friend the Corn Puppet

Not Separate From All That Is
The Benefits of an Ashtanga Yoga Practice, Part Two
The Closer I am to Fine

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Is anyone on Twitter anymore? @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go by Erica J. Schmidt

P.S. Parents from Eastern Ontario: If you have a teenager in distress, take them to CHEO in Ottawa. The staff there are so lovely.

Also, thank you to everyone for reading and sharing my blog series, Where is Emma Fillipoff. If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, here is Part One: The Grieving Mothers of Perth Ontario.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Where is Emma Fillipoff (Nine)

Previous Segments of Where is Emma Fillipoff
ONE: The Grieving Mothers of Perth, Ontario
TWO: She's Missing
THREE: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
FOUR: Mental illness runs in the family
FIVE: A Mother's Instinct
SIX: Okay. So I'm dead.
SEVEN: She ran away because she fucking hates her parents.
EIGHT: Safe Until She Returns

A Perfect, Beautiful Family
After I did the interview with Shelley, my mom told me a story about when we first moved to Perth.

“I don’t know if I ever told you this, but one of the first times we ever went to the Perth Pool, the Fillipoffs were there. Shelley and James were playing with the two girls and one of the boys. The kids were around four, six and eight. All five of them were taking turns throwing one of those rubber balls. All together. I remember thinking, what a perfect, beautiful family. I guess that’s what everyone wants. A perfect, beautiful family."

For Shelley, family was everything. When she had her first child, her whole life changed. If she hadn’t become a mother, Shelley claims, “I’d be dead now. I would have been an alcoholic, a drug addict. I’d be dead.”

Shelley loved teaching, but at the end of her long days, she couldn’t wait to come home and spend time with her kids. “I could have had ten,” she says. “It was like a drug to me.”

Now, without Emma, her family is not complete. “There are days I could shoot myself… My mind is not what it used to be… I struggle to stay afloat.” Even the most minor tasks seem monumental. The trauma of Emma’s disappearance has left Shelley with PTSD and a mild form of dyslexia. Since James left, she has battled a major depressive disorder and anorexia. She takes medication to manage the depression, and help her sleep. But because her depression is situational, pills can only do so much.

I asked her to what extent she thought that knowing where Emma was would change her state of mind. Certainly, finding emma is the one thing she has been hoping for. The initial relief, the joy would be immense. That said, her psychiatrist told her that she would never go back to being the same person again.

“I didn’t go back to being the same person after James," she says. "I'm different... I'm not sure how different. Less confident. Less comfortable with myself. Way less happy.  Way more doomsday. Like something bad is going to happen.”

Sometimes you hear of people losing their legs or getting a terrible illness and they stop worrying that other bad things will happen to them. Because the bad thing has already happened.

Shelley assures me that this is not her case. She worries constantly about her other kids.

“You hear of families where one thing goes wrong and everything else falls apart.”

Though losing Emma, surely this is far worse than just one thing going wrong.                 

Shelley: “What happened to Emma is something I never could have imagined would happen… I used to imagine it when they were little… Like what if they pull away from my hand and disappear?"

Erica: “And that’s kind of what you feel is what happened.”

Shelley: “Exactly, it’s kind of like I let go of her hand.”

Erica: “Or she let go of yours.”

Shelley: “I’m not sure I could have protected her. I’m not sure she would have listened or sought help… But I’m sure I’ll always regret not going. I should have just gone that Saturday. I was all packed. I had my suitcase. I should have just gone, Erica. I should have just gone.”

The End.
-Written by Erica J. Schmidt.

An immense thank you to Shelley Fillipoff for her candour and generosity .

Thank you to my mom, dad and all my family. Thank you to my sister and friends who helped with the interview before it was published.

To learn more, please follow the links below. The Fillipoff family is still offering a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to Emma's whereabouts. If you know something or someone you think could help, please contact Shelley, Erica or the Fifth Estate. OR CALL THE POLICE.

Thank you to the Fifth Estate. Their documentary Finding Emma and its related site contain an enormous amount of crucial information.

Thank you to everyone who has written about Emma's case, in addition to everyone who has shared photos and articles. Raising awareness is probably the best way of keeping hope alive. As the Fifth Estate points out, there are far too many Emmas out there. If you have a loved one who has gone missing, you are welcome to share your story in the comments below, or with the Fifth Estate.

Much love to Shelley and the Fillipoff family, to Emma's friends and loved ones, to all who have gone missing, and to all who keep looking. And to Emma.

Where is Emma Fillipoff
ONE: The Grieving Mothers of Perth, Ontario
TWO: She's Missing
THREE: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
FOUR: Mental illness runs in the family
FIVE: A Mother's Instinct
SIX: Okay. So I'm dead.
SEVEN: She ran away because she fucking hates her parents.
EIGHT: Safe Until She Returns

Please Share Your Stories and Tips
Help Find Emma Fillipoff Facebook Group
Email Erica: ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com
(contact form below)
Email Shelley: fillipoff(at)hotmail(dot)com
Call the police.

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Erica on Twitter: @mypelvicfloor