The Zen Test (or: Karma's a Beyotch) By Lisa

If you've been following along lately, you know I'm doing the whole "zen" thing. I've become a yogi (OMMMM and all), ditched gluten (after a ferocious two-week battle, I've accepted my fate) and write my daily affirmations requests to the Universe. In a nutshell, I'm trying to be freakin' positive!

So why am I attracting so many "angries" a.k.a. angry people? You'd think in my new rose-colored, glass is half-full state of mind, the the only folks who'd approach me would be presenting flowers or offerings of peace and good fortune. Not spewing profanities and giving me the universal sign for f**k  you!

I believe in karma. And when they say it's a bitch, I believe 'em. (Whoever they are.) So I can only think that back in my angrier days (and there were MANY of them) I went a little too far. And now maybe I'm getting my payback... But even though I've been there (believe me- giving up gluten can make you want to go on a rampage taking out every wheat eater in your path) I still have to ask, what the hell are people so damn angry about? You angries are really testin' my zen!

Incident #1 happened at Whole Foods. Whole. Foods. You know, the organic, healthy store full of everything from yoga mats to things I'd never heard of until two months ago, like kale? I mean you can hardly push your cart two feet without running into a book on meditation or  some beautiful fresh flowers.  Call me crazy, but shouldn't the shoppers fit the store? Here's the 411:

The angry perp: She was blonde and beautiful. Upon first glance, you'd think she was a former JCrew model. But when she opened her mouth, she became the ugliest person on the planet.

Let's call her Angry Annie.

I started to back out of my parking space, but upon further consideration, pulled back in and shoved it into park. I needed to program my beloved Gabby GPS. I heard a honk. I glanced over my shoulder to see Angry Annie behind the wheel of her SUV. I went back to my GPS figuring she'd move along to one of the FIFTEEN SPACES just next to me. When I finally started to back out, there she was, walking toward me. "Just back the f**k up, lady!" she screamed. Well, I did what any self-respecting person in a parking lot war would do. I rolled my window down and in my sweetest voice asked her, "May I ask what's wrong?"

"I waited for you to back out and you never did!!!!"

Staring at her in disbelief, I was half-amazed at how wildly unattractive she became in the span of five seconds and the other part amazed that someone could be so mad about a parking space. But as I stared into her black eyes, we both knew it wasn't about the space. It never is.

I told her I was programming my GPS and she scoffed, "Yeah right!" (What did she think I was doing, Facebooking? Um, it's been known to happen, but not that day!) And then she stormed off.

I rolled down my other window and called after her, "I sincerely hope you find peace in your life." And I actually really meant it. Either that, or I hoped she'd get an enema and then have someone pull the broom stick out of her ass.

Incident #2 happened while I was pulling out of the gym. And I'm embarrassed to admit, again involved poor Gabby GPS.

Here's the 411: I was leaving a yoga class and turning right onto a busy street. There was a long stream of cars coming my way so I took the opportunity to program Gabby. A few seconds later, I heard honking so I promptly pulled out onto the road. Suddenly, a car swerves around me and cuts me off, blaring the horn all the way. When I saw the car pulling into the gas station, I couldn't help it, I broke into an evil smile. Looked like we had the same destination.

The angry perp: He was in his mid-thirties and actually pretty cute. But just like Annie, as soon as he opened his mouth, looked like The Mask.

Let's call him Mad Max (or Mask)

"You need to get off your f*****g cell phone!" He screamed at me as I stepped out of the car.

I was suddenly frozen in place. To his right, appeared his four-year-old son. And when Mad Max opened the back door of the car, I heard wailing screams from his two-year-old strapped in the car seat.

"You should be ashamed of yourself" I heard myself say. "Driving like that with kids in the car."

"Whatever!" he scoffed.

Later, I ran into him and his two sons after they got their car washed and were shopping for snacks. (So, um, Mad Max, you were in such a fervent rush to get some TWIZZLERS?) So, I dug deep and pulled out something nice to say to the man who had clearly taken his bad day out on me. "I sincerely hope your day gets better." And I meant it. No one, not even Mad Max, should be that mad.

I was on my way to an acupuncture appointment when the Mad Max incident happened. As she stuck needles in my body, I asked my acupuncturist why, with everything I've been doing, I'm attracting this type of negativity. She simply said, "It's not about you."

And I know she's right. But it's hard not to let stranger anger get to me. It's so much easier said than done to, like it says in THE POWER OF NOW, not let the negativity go through me. But I'm working on it. And in the spirit of good will and staying present and not letting my ego take over and all that jazz, I say to angry people like Max and Annie who feel the need to attack perfect strangers to feel better, I hope you find happiness. Or at the very least, a better way to release your frustration. Might I suggest getting laid?

(Sorry, but the zen will always be tempered with sarcasm and humor.)

xoxo, Lisa

Oh Wheat, How I Miss Thee By Lisa

Acupuncture, yoga even Feng Shui. No, I'm not talking about the hobbies of some spiritual yogi , I'm talking about me. I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but I've recently turned into a sage burning, crystal buying, lavender spraying, wheat free eating, universe asking optimist!

I've even *gasp* meditated!

Me. Lisa Steinke, er, Dannenfeldt. She who used to be, well, a lot more intense and would have never thought she could lie still for five seconds, let alone five minutes. But there is one problem I have as I lie on my blue mat, arms outstretched, breathing in and out.  I can't seem to keep my mind from wandering. And no matter how hard I try, one thought keeps creeping in. No, not Josh Duhamel without a shirt on. Or my baffling girl crush on Kara DioGuardi.

I keep thinking about...


And even with my new "zen-itude", it's hard to remain peaceful and calm and focused on your freakin' breath when you're slowly but surely STARVING TO DEATH on your new gluten and wheat-free diet.

And I can be one angry bee-yotch when I'm hungry.  And there ain't a crystal or a lavender tea on this planet that can save anyone in my path when I haven't eaten. (Sorry, honey!)

Because, P.S., EVERYTHING has wheat in it. Everything.

Which you don't realize until You. Cannot. Have. It.

Want a hamburger? Sor-ry. The bun isn't in compliance.

Craving a sandwich? Oh well. That would require bread.

Want pasta? Too bad. Unless you want RICE spaghetti. YUM-ME!

And don't even get me started on going out to eat. Um, waiter, I'd like the tuna fish sandwich, hold the bread and mayonnaise please. (Yup, it's in mayo too).  Woo, hoo!

So why am I putting myself through this wheat-free hell if it's so, well, hellish? Because I do feel better. And I am starting to find things that I can consume other than fruits and vegetables (if I even look at another banana I might hurt someone). I've discovered wheat-free a.k.a. "rice" tortillas that I make with rice cheese (um, yeah, I don't do dairy either) and black beans (no wheat in those!). Ooh, how exciting! A tortilla-free, cheese free quesadilla!

But did I mention my skin looks great?


xoxo, Lisa