Yes! I may be happy, and Cyndi Lee, founder OM Yoga founder and former dancer/best friend to Cyndi Launder, wants you to be.
Her new book, May I Be Happy,is like a conversation with your closest friend. Conversations about dancing on tables, clothes shopping, going grey, boyfriends, marriages, and how we feel about our beautiful bodies, even if we don't think they are. Cyndi has included a wonderful narrative about her relationship with mother, Millie, from her childhood to her mothers advanced years. Also intertwined are her teachings from her yoga teacher trainings and classes that I'd call honesty on a mat.
Early in the book, Cyndi writes about her younger self: "Maybe we knew we were hot, but we didn't know were magic." Right there in one simple sentence holds the essence of stories, interviews with strong women, and teachings held in these pages. She wants us to unlock our magic by being kinder to ourselves and stop the critical talk to our bodies.
I was fortunate to have the lovely Cyndi Lee answers some questions that will round out this review nicely, which I will share with you here:
Your book May I Be Happy is great. I think every woman, including myself, can relate to it.
The parts about your mother really hit home for me; it reminded if my relationship with my
grandmother, whom I helped take of in her later years. Before I even finished the book, I found
myself being gentler with myself - reworking my internal conversation. Thank you for that.
Thanks for being in touch. I'm so glad you like the book and that is has had a positive effect on you. Wow -- that is wonderful feedback.
If you would be so kind, I have a few questions for you:
1. Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity (yet) to take one of your classes, but I have
watched one of your DVDs. You had us in warrior and you cue to point your nipples forward and
I have to admit the 15 year old boy in me had to chuckle at that. However, it was an excellent
alignment cue. I really liked that you do yoga to your own DVD; do you “forget” that you’re
listening to yourself and just think, “what a great teacher”? Or do you ever critique yourself?
Ha Ha -- You make me laugh! Yes, I totally do yoga to my own DVD. Sometimes I want to practice at home but I don't want to think about what to do and so I pop that DVD in and go. And yeah, as I mentioned in the book, I made that DVD about 8 years ago so I do criticize myself. I sometimes think I could do a better job now and sometimes I think "good job, Cyndi," and sometimes I think, "OK, Cyndi, let go of all that thinking and come back to your practice." Sometimes I do not do what the teacher (me) is saying either and that feels nicely subversive.
2. I practically cried tears of joy when I read in May I Be Happy that you too struggled with to
dye or not to dye your hair question. I went through this struggle the past few years myself
and finally gave up the bottle last summer. It feels great! Have other's reactions to your greys
made you doubt your decision?
Congratulations! It does feel great, doesn't it?
For me, there has been no doubt. Not a shadow of a doubt. One of the things that really tipped me over into actually stopping dying me hair is when my hair dresser said, "you can always dye it again." Remembering that was like an out that liberated me to go for it.
But now that it is long and luscious and silvery, honestly, I get at least one compliment every single day from a stranger. Often, from men. So if we think that men only like younger women, that is not the case. I cannot believe how many men have said, "don't even consider dying your hair." And so many women say. "I want to stop dying my hair but I am afraid." Of course, I don't care if women do or don't dye their hair. It's totally personal. But it makes me a little sad that we are all so afraid of being ourselves. We are afraid of aging and getting soft and kinds of natural things.
3. Now, that you've finished the book and we're out here in world reading it, how are you
feeling? How are you feeling in your body?
I feel great that I am not writing a book right now. I feel super great about all of the wonderful reviews and feedback I've gotten from readers. It does seem this book struck a chord and is inspiring self-compassion and a lightening of the personal judgement load for a lot of women. That is just what I hoped would happen.
Me, my body -- how am I feeling? Well, life is a work in progress. I recently moved to Ohio and my life is more sedentary so I've gotten squishier. I try not to care. But I do. So I breathe and watch that mind habit and remember that my boyfriend love love loves my body as it is. I have started jogging a little bit and that feels good. I love being outside and using my body in a new way that helps me feel my physical power. SO it is an ongoing journey. My body keeps changing, as it should, so the canvas for cultivating lovingkindness toward myself is fluid. I do know that I am no longer stuck in my old bad habit of self-hatred.
4. In your book you talk with Jamie Lee Curtis, of my all time favorite women, and Louise Hay.
The scenarios couldn't have been more different. I appreciated that you offered a range of
conversations. How did you choose the women?
Christiane Northrup is one of my idols and since she is famous women's doctor, and I know she does yoga, I really wanted to talk with her. And she is awesome. The interview with her is one of my favorite parts.
Of course, I had to talk to Louise Hay since she is all about letting go of the negative thoughts and making affirmations.
I had a friend who was able to connect me with both of those women and so it happened.
Jamie Lee Curtis is a friend and I thought she would be good because she is a very open person. She likes to share and is not embarrassed about herself which is helpful to others. She uses her public persona in a way that benefits others. And she is also a regular woman with all the same dramas as we all have, only perhaps magnified. So I knew she would be very willing to talk to me about this topic.
I had thought about talking to some other women and some girls, too, and I did talk to some college women and a Buddhist nun but in the end, these three were the right mix for the book and the message.
Thank you sharing your experiences with us to help us all treat ourselves with more kindness.
My pleasure! Thanks for asking. I love your book club!