It's often been featured in movies. This year it was the whole premise for a movie. And every year many of us spend time thinking about what we'll do to celebrate. I'm talking about New Year's Eve. For much of my life I've spent New Year's Eve with good friends celebrating at house parties. Food. Drink. Laughs. Good times. I was often sans date but I was never curled in the fetal position crying because I had no lover to kiss at midnight. In fact, there's really only two NYE I can recall when I did have someone special to kiss at midnight. And on one of those NYE's I ended up screaming and yelling at my guy because he just had to call his ex-girlfriend only minutes after midnight to wish her Happy New Year. I believe he told me she had broken her leg and was in the hospital so that was all the more reason she needed to hear his voice. Now, don't think I'm heartless but this woman was the topic of 90% of our arguments and let's face it, it wasn't really about her at all. Rather it was about my ex-boyfriend's behavior and my ridiculous notion that he might change and my willingness to put up with the behavior and punish us both with my tantrums of yelling and throwing things (I'm not proud but I would throw my shoes, keys - nothing too big - I would have thrown him but I lacked the strength, in many ways). Okay, this story is taking a turn that I didn't intend so let's get back to New Year's Eve as my topic. 

Every year I secretly hope that I'll be doing something fabulous on New Year's Eve, even though I know it's just another night and I would have to seek out or create those fabulous things. Let's face it, I'm not living in a Romance Novel. (Umberto isn't going to descend from the sky with his hot Latin body and whisk me away on his yacht to an island of riches and happily ever after where we make our own fireworks for the New Year and I wake up to the booming success of my business, etc.)  I guess part of me does believe NYE deserves its special status because it is the night when we say good-bye to the previous year, whether characterized as good or bad, and we have the chance to shift our focus and actions to all the plans and dreams we want to fulfill in the year ahead. I'm in that phase of my life now in which most of my friends are married and most have children, which has meant a lot of changes to my life as well, that I didn't ask for. For the most part, it's fine. But it does affect or impact the plans I make. So this year when I received a facebook invite to a NYE yoga class at Mission Yoga, a new studio opening in downtown Scranton, I thought I might attend. I wasn't convinced it was going to be the best way to spend my NYE. I did think about it for a long time and kind of waited to see what else came up. But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a great idea for me to choose to spend my NYE doing something really healthy for my mind, body and spirit. Truly, is there any better way to welcome in a new year than to be very peaceful, centered and healthy?! Yet there was still that part of me that wanted to dress up, put on more make-up than usual and sip champagne. I was invited to a house party that I'm sure would have been the usual food, drinks, conversations with nice people but I was thinking that yoga was sounding like a really good idea. There was just this twinge I was feeling that somehow I was a loser for making plans with myself for NYE. And now all I can say is "Shame on me for not thinking I am worthy of plans to do something healthy for myself."

The yoga class started at 10:30 PM and I knew that if I didn't leave my house until 10 PM that I wouldn't leave my house, period. You see, I am in a relationship. I'm engaged in a pretty serious relationship this winter with my couch. (The longer I sit on it, the more attached we get to one another.) I thought that I would visit some First Night Venues before the yoga class. Again, there was this twinge or little voice in my head that was whispering that I would look like a loser to other people if I were to attend these venues alone. But then I told myself, "If I lived in NYC or another larger city I wouldn't even think twice about going out alone. I just happen to live in a smaller city where coupling is more the norm."

I left my house around 8 PM Saturday night to head to the Steamtown Mall where I bought my First Night Button. I then headed to Afa Gallery to hear the talented little Ms. Mollie Edsell play guitar and sing. As always she was adorable and quite good. Then I went to the Federal Building to watch my friends in the group "Here We Are In Spain" perform improv. Even though there were pillars in my way for pretty much the entire show, I still enjoyed the show from an aural perspective. I perform improv and have performed with these guys before so it was kind of fun to just imagine what the visual antics were taking place. After the show I had the chance to speak with a friend I haven't seen in years and then I headed to Mission Yoga on Spruce Street. As I suspected and somewhat feared, because I still house my 5-year-old self filled with social anxiety walking into kindergarten class filled with people I don't know, most people there knew other people or at least had come with friends. I was the only "loner" so-to-speak but that was no big deal.

The almost 90-minute yoga class was amazing. Kelly and Alex, the owners of Mission Yoga, were very welcoming. Kelly led the class and I really enjoyed it. It was a challenge at times and it was beyond peaceful and replenishing at other times. As party horns blew outside, I didn't for one second wish I had a drink in my hand or that I was tuned in to Ryan and Dick counting down to midnight. As the class ended we were able to enjoy the fireworks going off outside above the courthouse. It was the perfect end and beginning for me. I left the yoga studio and watched the fireworks outside. The beautiful bright purples and greens were so pretty. I was in a state of zen and felt truly healthy and glad about the choice I had made  for myself to spend NYE in downtown Scranton and more specifically that I had ushered in 2012 doing something healthy for me. I hope that I continue the practice of making many more decisions that have me and my health and prosperity at the center. When I am happy, healthy and prosper, I can help others through my gifts! 

Happy New Year - I hope you'll enjoy 2012 by visiting many beautiful people and places in Scranton!

I never knew how good it could feel to lay on the grass at Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton until last night. I really had not thought about it to be honest, but I had the chance last night and it was peaceful and beautiful. I didn't decide to just go lay on the lawn and I'm not suggesting you do that.  Last night, Jaya Yoga of Clarks Summit held an event called "Yoga After Dark" on the lawn.  Yoga was led by Kelly O’Brien and Hilary Steinberg from Jaya and Abby Scaramuzzo from Symmetry Studio in Scranton. DJ Brian Langan was spinning the fun tunes that included "Party All the Time" by Eddie Murphy and "Off the Wall" by Michael Jackson! My toes were tapping on their yoga mat before we got started. Once we started I was concentrating on my poses of course - so I wouldn't fall over - so I would get the most of the practice.  And probably the most fun was that everyone who attended received glow sticks to wear as a necklace, bracelet or anklet or whatever accessory depending on what they wanted to glow.

 The event was free with donations being collected for  the SGT Jan Argonish Ride Fund to help area families with people serving in the military and to help the soldiers themselves. SGT Argonish was a Peckville resident who died serving his country in Afghanistan. His memory lives on through the fundraisers held by his loved ones. 

On a day that hit 90 (I'm guessing) I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the yoga because I was feeling pretty sluggish all afternoon but it felt really comfortable on the grass and I even felt a slight breeze or two. I was happy to see the 30 or more people who made the same choice that I did to get out of the house or away from the pool and get outside to share in the practice of yoga. 

As I lay on my mat waiting for the festivities to start I saw the reflection of the Scranton Electric City sign in one of the Courthouse windows. My iPhone camera could not capture the coolness of this image I saw best with my own eyes but that was just one small reason of the many reasons that I was glad I decided to attend. The yoga itself was great. I hadn't taken a class in many months so I was afraid I wouldn't do too well. (As anyone who has ever taken yoga knows, it's a practice that is all about what is right for you and your body. It's not meant to be a competition by any means or about right and wrong - that's just where my mind and ego tend to take me.) I enjoyed the exercises and my legs are feeling them today, which is a nice way for my body to say thank you for choosing to attend Yoga After Dark and thank you to those who organized the event!

Yoga After Dark was one more cool event held in Scranton that I like. So pick up a newspaper or look at your events on Facebook. There are many things for you to like here in the Electric City.