At the movies

Cheering each other on


Take it From a Yoga Guru!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

I wanted to watch a little cable On Demand last night, and this being January—the time of year when we’re all thinking more than ever about achieving body and mind health—I chose to watch the documentary Enlighten Up! In it, filmmaker Kate Churchill takes on a guinea pig in Nick Rosen, a journalist who is skeptical about yoga and curious to learn more. Their quest takes them to India, where they meet one elder Indian guru in particular who I think was called “the guru of the blissful refuge.”


He looks wise, doesn’t he? Well, he was. The guru sat on a little velvet couch and answered Nick’s questions about why we do yoga. My favorite answer from him was this:

It’s not important what you are doing. It’s important why you are doing.

When Nick asked “What do you mean?” the guru used an example I loved. Well, go figure, it is about food, after all:

“You can prepare food for your, just consuming,” he said. “You can prepare food for somebody you love. And you can prepare food for your Ishta, Bhagwan. The Lord. So the action will be the same. Physically. But inside it will be different. And if you are forced to do some cooking for somebody you don’t like, you will do it! You will cook. But you won’t enjoy it.” This, he said, wasn’t just true of cooking or yoga. It is true of “anything my dear, any anything absolutely under the sun. Everything depends on you, hangs on you.”

That message is so important to your dating optimism and something I write about in Meeting Your Half-Orange: What’s important is not that you want to date, but why you want to date. And why do you?

Here, I’ll help you. Why are you dating? To meet someone. And why do you want to meet someone? To be happy. Well, if your goal is to be happy, then stop making yourself miserable and nuts thinking that dating is the only way to get there! Stop forcing yourself to go on a certain number of dates per day or week or making yourself write to people online you don’t feel like meeting, and stop beating yourself up for still being single. If you’re seeking a relationship so you can be happy, well then what the heck are you waiting for? Give yourself the gift of being happy now.

“Happiness not outside,” the guru also said. “It is within us.” The guru’s right. So find the happiness within you—which is why you’re dating in the first place—and start enjoying your life for what it is today. That is where your happiness lies and how your half-orange will come.

You might also like:
Take a Pottery Position on Dating

Big love and namaste,

Amy Signature 4

3 Love Lessons from “It’s Complicated”

Monday, December 28th, 2009

I laughed. I cried. I laughed. I cried again. And then laughed. And maybe cried one last time, I forget, really. Picture 1But the fact was, I absolutely loved It’s Complicated. Nancy Meyers, you are my idol. The characters (Meryl Streep’s “Jane,” Alec Baldwin’s “Jake,” Steve Martin’s “Adam” and all the rest) were real and damaged and hopeful and funny. And the story (which I won’t blow, don’t worry), reminded me why we go through all the damn trouble to fall in love in the first place.

Here are the three lessons about love and life I picked up from the new film and want to pass on to you:

1. Yes, it’s complicated, but we do it anyway! Why? Because love can be as rewarding as it can be trouble. Yes, it can hurt us and divorce especially can wreck us, but we get back on the saddle because the feelings and fun and benefits outweigh those tough times. So the next time you’re wondering why you’re even bothering with all this silly, complicated dating stuff, the answer is that a good love—one that nourishes and changes you in wonderful ways—is always worth the effort.

2. Sometimes doing something “un-you” or “bad” can be good for you. Over time, we all get pretty good at being us—we follow the same moral code, keep to the same parameters, date the same types of people. But every once in a while, when something different comes knocking on our door, maybe—just maybe—it’s worth answering. Jane delved into the deep questions of “should I or shoudn’t I” and constantly measured her “rights and wrongs” like we all do; and what I saw her learn and what we all can, too, is that sometimes it’s worth doing some shouldn’t-I‘s so you can figure out what’s right in the end.

3. There is always—always—laughing and crying in love. A good, hearty love isn’t just about being happy for forty straight years. As Jane and Jake talked about their 19-year marriage in the film, it’s about learning what you want from one another, navigating what bugs you both, dealing with who you wish your partner would or could be instead, and balancing your expectations with who you hug at night before bed. And in the end, you don’t get to the long-term laughing happy ending without the tough cries all along the road there. So think about this as you seek your other half. You don’t want someone who will give you an average, boring, okay existence—you want a half-orange who will challenge you and inspire you and help you grow together as a couple along the road of life. Ask for a partner who will weather it all with you, who wants to be nicked and scuffed and wet by a few tears through the years to get to the soft part together.

You might also like:
Julie & Julia: Your Optimism Gurus!
Big love,

Amy Signature 4

A Miyagi “Love” Moment

Monday, December 21st, 2009

So clearly we love Ralph Macchio for being the wax on, wax off Karate Kid who learned the art of karate and life from Mr. Miyagi: “First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature rule, Daniel-san, not mine.” Now, Ralph Macchio (who is 48, by the way—forty-freaking-eight, even though he looks and makes me feel twenty-four) is the one teaching us the lessons.

Who's sharing the wise words now, Daniel-san?

Who's sharing the wise words now, Daniel-san?

This time, it’s coming from Ralph’s latest stint as city councilman Archie Rodriguez on Ugly Betty, who has been dating Betty’s sister Hilda (played so touchingly by Ana Ortiz).

Last week, Hilda finally came to terms with the fact that she’ll never see Archie as more than a really great guy. In fact, at one point in the episode, a salesperson at a department store mistakes Hilda for Archie’s wife, and she leaps to correct the woman with a big, “No! I’m not his wife.”

Soon after that, Archie bowed out of the relationship on his own because he knew he deserved more. This is what he said:

“I love you, Hilda. And, I know you care for me. But there’s someone out there who’s going to be thrilled to be mistaken for my wife. And I deserve to find that person and you deserve to find that person, too. I hoped it could be me, but since it isn’t, it’s time for me to say goodbye.”

How beautifully said. And how worth remembering. If a relationship isn’t working—or a crush isn’t turning into a relationship—remind yourself that it’s not getting you anywhere trying to force love to work. You deserve someone who is going to be thrilled to be at your side! Someone who will brag about you to his or her friends, ramble on about you to their co-workers, and love you like they can’t believe they’re lucky enough to get you. Don’t let yourself settle for anything less.

You might also like:
Babe Ruth: A Dating Strategy?

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

If You Do What You’ve Always Done…

Friday, December 18th, 2009

My family and I went to wine country this week in the Santa Barbara area, including the Danish outpost Solvang and Buellton where much of Sideways was filmed. We had a gander at the Ostrich Farm, steaks at The Hitching Post—and, yes, some Pinot Noir.

The Lincourt vineyard: How fine are you letting *your* wine be? (Image: AS)

How fine are you letting *your* wine be? (Image: The Lincourt Vineyard by AS)

We also got to talking about how different wines have come to be so good—how it’s taken decades of new vineyards, new grapes, and new fermentation processes, from oak barrels to stainless steel ones, to create new and better wines each year. My new favorite? The “cold climate” syrah, which is more peppery and spicy than its sweet “warm climate” syrah sister. Who knew?

In discussing all that change and discovery, my sister Liz  mentioned a quote she loves, which comes from a master of positive living, Anthony Robbins:

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

I can’t help but see the tie to dating and love and want to pass that on to you. I mean, think about how many times you’ve found yourself dating the same “type” of person over and over again. Maybe it’s someone who keeps you at arm’s length but never lets you feel safe and appreciated. Or maybe it’s someone you’re trying to make yourself like, but you can’t seem to create a spark. Either way, the fact is this: If you keep dating who you’ve always dated, you’ll keep feeling what you’ve always felt. In Sideways, the main character Miles was used to feeling like a failure at relationships and a failure at his novel, but he found out that if you can change how you see yourself, you can change what you get.

Which is why the same goes for who you allow yourself to be as well: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be who you’ve always been.

Love who you are, of course. And be proud of what you’ve done and tried and felt to get you where you are. But if you feel stuck—and that’s the imporant part—your stuckness may not be about what the world is giving you. It may be about what you’re putting out or asking for. It’s true of wine and it’s true of hearts: If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Here’s to doing and getting something wonderfully new.

You might also like:
Gorge Yourself on Good Things!
Julianna Marguiles: All Moments Pass Quickly

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

And no, I’m not quoting the diner scene in When Harry Met Sally (the “I”ll have what she’s having” part) or anything else untoward. What I am quoting is the title of the Jim Carrey movie I recently flipped past on cable: Yes Man.

Yes indeed-y.

Yes indeed-y.

Did you see it? The one where Jim goes to the motivational meeting and they tell him that from now on, he has to say “yes” to everything that comes his way? He has to say yes when a homeless person asks for money. Yes when they ask for a ride. And yes when he’s offered a penis enhancement on the internet. It’s a goofy concept, sure, but it’s something we could all do to remember now and then. Today, let yes be your guide—especially when it comes to love.

Here’s why: We’re so used to looking at men or women we meet and finding the no. He’s nice, but he’s a bartender. She’s great, but she lives with five guys. He’s funny, but he’s a little dorky. She’s smart, but she’s meek. The next time you’re dating, find the yes!

Don’t count all the reasons a date could be out, count the reasons he or she could be in. Rip off the con column and circle the pros! That isn’t to say you have to start going out with people you don’t like, or dragging yourself through dates with someone you know you’ll never want to marry. This is just to say that if you practice looking at the world through positive glasses, you’ll see a lot more out there. Today, look at the yes.

You might also like:
Julie & Julia: Your Optimism Gurus

Big love,

Amy Signature 4