The Yoga of Experience: Love Letter to The Resentments

I am a student of the Law of Attraction. I definitely don’t believe in coincidences anymore; everything that happens (or doesn’t happen) has a reason and a purpose, and is revealed to me (or not) because of my own doing (or not doing). And thanks to my studies this year, I’ve learned more about myself and the world I live in during the past 5 months than I had the last 5 years combined.

There are lots of paths that ultimately lead to the same place; it’s just a matter of finding one whose scenery you like, and whose winding, often less than straightforward course makes the most sense to you. For me, this path is via the Law of Attraction, and the teachings of Abraham Hicks.

On Saturday November 12, I was fortunate enough to attend an Abraham Hicks workshop in Dallas. It was… indescribable. I don’t quite have words for it yet – not sure I ever will. No, I haven’t manifested a million dollars in the last week, and no I’m not two inches taller or living in Hawaii (yet). More importantly though, I’m much, much happier. I’ve taken more responsibility for my own life, and I’ve begun to manifest small bits of awesomeness, and interesting synchronicities. Life is fun, full of magic, and oh so deliciously sweet.

So it was only fitting that after that workshop in Dallas, I went to Austin for a few days. I went so that I could have some down-time to assimilate the workshop, but I also went down to see some music. I was heading to Sunday Night Services at the Saxon Pub, to see The Resentments.

I’ve written about The Resentments before. Probably more than once (try here, here, and  here, for starters). Because they aren’t just my favorite band ever, they’re also one of the best experiences of my life.

I discovered them a little over 5 years ago and watched a whole lot of YouTube videos until I finally went down to see them in person. In fact, the very first time I went down was exactly 5 years ago this weekend – I drove down to Austin from Tulsa on the day after Thanksgiving.

Since then, I’ve managed to get down to the Saxon Pub a few times every now and again, to get my fix. It’s so worth the trip.

The Resentments are a group of singer-songwriters, who get together every Sunday night at the Saxon, to play some music and throw around some witty conversation. There are currently 5 core members – Jeff Plankenhorn, Miles Zuniga, Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Bruce Hughes, and John Chipman. Not all of them are present at every show, but whoever is there, it’s always a great time. They are all incredibly talented musicians and some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. They’re funny, intelligent, kind, and when they play together, the result is magical.

When I’m listening to The Resentments, either in my car or while I’m working – or whenever, really – the music fills me with a sense of peace, and happiness.

When I’m watching The Resentments, when I’m sitting at the Saxon and the vibration of the music and the love fills the air, it’s like… well, it feels like home. It fills me up, it feeds my heart and it lifts me up and makes me feel human… but also it makes me feel more than human.

I’ve had this feeling from two other experiences in my life. One was when I did yoga for the first time, the other was when I saw a video of Abraham Hicks for the first time. Each was accompanied by a feeling of simultaneously knowing I had discovered something BIG but also that I was home, I was back, and I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

The Law of Attraction teaches us to feel, then think, then manifest. It encourages us to reach for good feeling thoughts, and reminds us that we don’t have to wait for something good to happen before we can feel good about it (in fact, it’s quite the opposite). This approach made this last trip to Austin a little different for me, as I had thought it might.

This time, when I went to the Saxon, it still felt like home. It still felt so right and so good and deliciously sweet. I sat alone, at a table with a perfect view, but this time I could feel myself soaking up all the goodness, taking it in on a more complete level than I ever had before. I could fully feel and appreciate what was going on better than I ever had before. And for that reason, I knew that I would probably not be back for a long time.

I realized that at this point, I no longer need the experience of going to the Saxon Pub to truly feel the sweetness of the experience.

I’m sure I’ll be back – I can’t stay away. The music is too good, the feeling is too sweet to stay away for too long.  But it will be different. There’s a sense of closure that wasn’t there before. It seems like I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t need to be there to truly enjoy the experience of it. I can carry it with me wherever I go. Like with yoga, or the teachings of Abraham Hicks… I will always have that love, peace, and pure joy with me.

And how cool is that.


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2015 SCT, Day Seven – ATX / DFW

This was my last day in Austin – the day I leave to head back north. I have one more espresso to drink this morning, before getting back on the road.
Today I went to Radio Coffee & Beer, on Manchaca. And there was an extra special bonus at this location – I got to meet my Instagram / FaceBook friend Julie! She suggested we try Radio, and I’m glad she did.
I got there before she did, so I went ahead and ordered. A Synesso espresso machine! Same as what they used at Coffee Slingers in OKC. They seem to work pretty well… (haha)… I decided to try a cappuccino today, instead of a latte. As I was waiting for the barista to hook me up, I looked around the interior. Radio is located in a house, and it does have a nice, homey feeling. There seemed to be 2 basic kinds of coffee places – the more austere, stark, industrial-type shop, and the more eclectic, homey type. This place seemed to combine both of those elements. Homey and comfy, but tidy and a little sparse. They had a lot of outdoor seating too, so I opted for that while I waited for Julie to arrive.
IMG_3510She came along right after I took pictures of my cappuccino, and sat down with her Americano. We know each other from IG, and so we know little pieces of each other’s lives – the short stories that photographs tell. It was so nice meeting her and filling out the rest of the story, and to put a real person in context with all the photos. I think if I lived in Austin, Julie would be someone I’d want to meet regularly for a cuppa joe. So, thanks for coming out, Julie, and I hope to see you again soon!
As for the cappuccino – tasty! It fell into the category of “slap your face” good – the espresso was strong and kind of “in yo face” if you know what I mean. Which isn’t a bad thing! Even though this was served with less milk than I’m used to, it was still great. Nice flavor. Good job, Radio Coffee! I can definitely recommend that place.
But the champ is still Houndstooth. After coffee, I went back to my hosts’ place, packed my car, walked their dogs, and hightailed it outta town, up I35. So long, ATX, you crazysexy parody of yourself, you. Till next time.

Next stop: Ikea.
Someone had requested a lamp from Ikea, and we needed some bowls. It’s a very unsexy shopping list I know, but really, there aren’t many sexy shopping lists. Or maybe there are but I’m just doing my shopping wrong.
Anyway, someone had tagged Ikea! I had to take pictures.
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I put one of the photos on Instagram with a few #hashtags and I think the graffiti artist found my post and liked it. Nice job @400mlbakery!!

Ikea took WAY too long – it always does. Then I got back on the highway and the next stop was Fort Worth. I’m in FW for a few  days, hanging with my bff. Who knows what crazy shenanigans we’ll get into. Like sewing. Or making scrambled eggs. We’re crazy like that. I’ll keep you posted.

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2015 SCT, Day Six – Downtown Austin

It’s coming down to the wire in getting my daily post in, but I think I’m going to make it! I have a good excuse though – Austin seems to have given my laptop some malware. So while I scan it for junk, I’ll type this the best I can on my iPad. Yes, I’m multi-platformational, or something like that… 
Anyway, Day 6 was a good day. Although it started off a little questionable. I knew I was probably going to get some decent coffee in the afternoon, but in order to function properly I needed caffeine like, stat. I took a chance on a place not too far from where I was staying. Big mistake. The latte had too much milk, the espresso wasn’t good and the atmosphere kind of sucked. I won’t even mention name of the place because, well, I feel kinda bad about it. So if you want to read these posts as recommendations for where to go – leaving out the name won’t make any difference. And, well, you can’t win ‘em all. On the way home, I saw a guy on a scooter wearing pink leggings with kittens on them. It was not a good look for him.
A little shaken, I went back home and got ready to go into the city. Meaning, I signed up for Über. I got a ride downtown, and had lunch with Michael and one of his coworkers Corissa, who was my boss for my very first writing project. I met a few other people in their office – it was nice to put faces with the names, and to see how a supercool Austin Company looks on the inside. I also met a few fellow coffee aficionados which is always good! I hope I get to work with them more (if you’re reading this, hi guys!)
I couldn’t leave downtown without trying a coffee place. I chose Houndstooth and I’m so glad I did. As soon as I walked in, I realized there was a tasting going on. Darn It! I got there a little too late. I was disappointed I couldn’t join in, but was impressed they were having one.
The people at the counter were really nice and helpful. I ordered and got my latte and scone. The latte looked great. I could tell even before I found a seat I was going to really like it. I found a seat and sat with the coffee and food for a few minutes. I watched all the tasters slurp their coffee samples and I was envious. Oh well. I still couldn’t bring myself to taste the coffee. It’s like I wanted to savor the anticipation of something really good. So I savored. Finally I tasted it. Oh, YES. Houndstooth knows their coffee s**t.

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This was by far the best espresso I’d had so far in Austin. And the people were friendly (Yay! I knew it could be done!). And the atmosphere was nice. And the music was decent. Win win win win.
As I sat and drank my latte I listened to the guy talking about coffee to the tasters. I couldn’t hear it all but I caught bits – the coffee vocabulary words like “acidity,” “brightness,” “mouthfeel,” and “flavor.” Sigh. I listened to more slurping.

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When the class was over, the guy who taught it sat and talked to the guy who had helped me at the counter. I went over to say hi. And I hit Coffee Rockstar Paydirt.
Turns out the guy from the counter was the owner of Houndstooth, Sean Henry. Although I didn’t realize till later that he was the owner. The other guy was from Counter Culture, a well-known national roaster, and he had come in to do the tasting with Houndstooth. I told them both how impressed I was with the place. I explained how I was from Tulsa, and had been tasting espresso all the way down to Austin and blogging about it. They asked the name of my blog. I’m not sure why I blew that off but I managed to avoid the question. We talked a little about roasting, and how there are so many different elements that go into the experience of espresso. They were both really nice guys. Sean said they were having a free tasting at their Dallas shop on Monday and I should come. (You know I’m thinking about it, and you know I’m thinking there’s really no way I can miss that…) I went back to my table. I thought for a second, and then went back again to give Sean my business card. You know, just in case. In case he needed a freelance writer for something. Or wanted to read my blog. Ha.
Later after recounting the events to The Neighbor, he did some research & that’s when I realized Sean was not just the barista, but the owner of both Houndstooth locations in Austin and one in Dallas. And that their espresso machine is a custom-made Kees van der Westen Spirit. I didn’t get a photo of it and don’t want to use someone else’s, so if you want to see it, Google Houndstooth Frost Bank Building, or something like that. Pretty cool. I’ll get a photo next time.
I hung out for a while longer, waiting for my ride. It was a really nice place.
The rest of the evening was spent hanging out with my host Carissa, we had a little girl time, doing some yoga and having a tasty dinner. It was nice – a nice day.
And Sean, if you read this (cool!) – please bring Houndstooth to South Tulsa…
Thanks in advance,
Andrea

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2015 SCT, Day Five – East ATX

Wednesday, March 31. This was probably the most relaxed day of my Coffee Tour so far. I made my way over to Cenote, on East Cesar Chavez. On my way there, I noticed that right across the street is Flat Track – they roast their own beans and have a coffee shop. I had their beans when I went to Brew & Brew the other day… Hmm. Should I head over there, since they roast their own, or should I go to Cenote, which I hadn’t tried yet, and had heard good things about?
Cenote.
This place was probably the “funkiest” of all the places I’ve been so far. More eclectic, and homey (it’s actually in an old house) as opposed to the more sterile, stark interiors of the places I’d been up till now. They had a lot of outside seating, so I decided to drink my latte outside at a long picnic bench. When I went in to order, I was met with a slightly put-out person behind the counter. It reminded me of lunch the day before – Bruce had said that the waitstaff at Counter Café was giving off a “sense of disdain.” I got that here, too. Someone later seemed to imply to me that that is the norm for waitstaff in Austin. Really? What is this, New York? I don’t think so. It can’t be.
The weather was great for sitting outside. Overcast but not too cold. A slight breeze. I sat and watched the people and the cars while drinking my latte, which was – nice. Mellow, inoffensive, pleasant. Kind of like the weather…

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Two observations have come up lately as I’m writing about this stuff every day. So I will share:
First, the definition of a “latte” varies greatly from shop to shop. The ratio of milk to espresso is kind of a moving target, apparently. I’ve been offered everything from an 8-ounce latte to a 16-ounce latte. I’m about to switch to cappuccinos for good and avoid a lot of potential problems. At least with cappuccinos, they seem to always be between 5-6 ounces… The preferred ratio of espresso to milk is a personal thing, I get that. It can really change the flavor of the drink however, and has been an area of debate in my household. I argue that no matter how much milk is in your espresso, you can still get the general idea of what the espresso tastes like and how good it is. But my theory has no “scientific” backing that I’m aware of and it’s entirely possible that I have no idea what I’m talking about. (I hope to remedy this someday.)
Second: My thoughts / observations have begun to somehow turn more towards atmosphere. An espresso drink tastes good to you or it doesn’t taste good to you – it’s all subjective. Obviously there are a lot of technical variables in making espresso – the roast of the beans (omg don’t even get me started on the technicals of ROASTING, we will never get through this whole blog post, either of us). The type of machine used. The temperature of the water. The number of grams of coffee. The fineness of the grind. And on and on and on. So you could be sitting in an isolation tank or you could be in line at the bank or you could be watching Earnest Hipsters in Austin and decide you like your espresso or not. But don’t you think you could have the best latte ever but you happened to be at the dentist waiting for a root canal, you wouldn’t enjoy it quite as much as you would if you were, say, on the beach in Belize… Of course. And we all know this. But it’s really hit home for me on this trip, because I’ve been to so many places in such a short time. The atmospheres of these places vary greatly and can’t be discounted when deciding how I feel about what I’m drinking.
One of the best lattes I ever had was at the Coppola Winery, outside in their courtyard, on a warm sunny spring day, with good company and good chocolate. After that I was all, “that was the best latte ever!” but I cannot remember anything about the latte itself. I just knew that it was great.

And in the end, does it really matter WHY you thought you just had a great latte? You can just enjoy the fact that you had a great latte, and call it good.

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2015 SCT, Day Four – Double Header, Lunch & Bob

Subtitle: Earnest  Hipster Laptop Hobo Overload and some damn fine music

Oh well let’s see now. What did I do yesterday? Honestly, the days are kind of starting to melt together and it feels like I’ve been here a month. Not that that’s necessarily a BAD thing…
So Day Four started with a trip to Cuvee Coffee. I’d heard good things about it, and really wanted to like it. When I walked in I got the Standard Hipster Coffee Joint vibe – wood counter, stark interior. I couldn’t tell what kind of espresso machine they use, because it’s one of those under-the-counter deals. It was all women behind the counter, they were super nice. They were fast. They had Kalita pour over drippers on the counter. I really wanted to like it even more.
I sat down, looked at my coffee, and took pictures of it. Yes, I feel like a TOTAL DORK when I do this, but I figure hey, I AM a total dork so it’s ok. And it’s research. So too bad if I look like a dork. At least I don’t put ALL of the photos on Instagram.
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As I took my first sips I realized I had made a big mistake. I had brushed my teeth 30 minutes beforehand with the Super Strong toothpaste. You could have served me orange juice with dirt in it and I’m not sure I would’ve noticed. Even so, the coffee tasted just a tiny bit sour. Not bitter / burned like it was overextracted, but sour like it had been underextracted. I tried to drink it really slowly. I admired the cool artwork all over the huge back wall. I looked longingly at the cool t-shirts and other merch. I even bought some house blend beans to take home to make drip coffee with. But still, my overall impression was: meh. I also spent the hour writing notes in my little coffee journal about the meh coffee and it must have caused some sort of mini existentialist crisis because I wrote “Why am I here? Why is there any need to see anything different?” See what mediocre coffee can do to you, people?

Coincidentally, my friend Bruce suggested we meet for lunch one building over. So after an hour staring wistfully at my coffee cup, I went over to have some lunch. Bruce asked me what I was doing at Cuvee. I said, naturally, “having coffee.” He then asked me what I thought of the coffee and I told him that I wanted to like it but truthfully I was pretty undecided. He then admitted he didn’t really care for it either. I would trust Bruce in most areas. So there you go.
Bruce plays bass with The Resentments (who I posted about yesterday) and also for Bob Schneider, an iconic Austin musician who plays and tours regularly. I’ve known Bruce for a few years, and we manage to say hi to each other every so often between Tulsa and Austin. My opinion is, he’s a good person to know. So we had a nice lunch (even though the restaurant was way too loud – if you want to visit with someone, don’t go to the Counter Café on 6th around noon).  I told him I was planning to come out that night to see Bob Schneider and Lonelyland at the Saxon and he said he’d get me in. Score!
The very best part of that lunch was the end. (Wha?) As we were leaving, Bruce ran into someone he knew and introduced me. His exact words were, “This is my friend Andrea, she’s a writer.” This made me extremely happy. I have arrived.
So after lunch, what to do? I decided to be daring and go for latte number two. At the suggestion of my host Michael and the interwebs, I headed to Wright Bros Brew & Brew on San Marcos (all of these places, by the way, are 7-10 minutes from where I am staying, according to the Google Maps Lady). I ordered a latte from a very Earnest Hipster wearing a straw hat and high-waisted wool tweed pants. I couldn’t get into this latte, either. Perhaps it was the Fugazi that was playing. When I didn’t recognize the music, I Shazamed it, discovered who it was, and thought, that is crap. I’ve never listened to Fugazi before, and have no intention of ever doing so again. The latte wasn’t crap, but it was just OK. They serve coffee roasted by Flat Track here in Austin which, as it turns out, is right across the street from where I’m blogging from right now. But I’ve already got my latte here, which you’ll read about tomorrow, and I learned the hard way yesterday that TWO LATTES IN ONE DAY IS ONE TOO MANY.
At Brew & Brew I worked on my writing and Michael stopped by for a few minutes on his way home from work. By then the music had changed to Santigold – much better – but it was time to go. I spent the evening hanging out with my hosts, and then headed back to the Saxon for the Bob show.
I had to park across the street from the Saxon, and jaywalk across Lamar which seemed kind of risky to me, so when I saw someone else doing the same thing I thought, “safety in numbers!” and tagged along. We walked in together and his friend who met him at the door thought we were together. Uh, no. He was a nice guy though – pretty young, tall and lanky, and friendly. I guess I could do worse. Anyway, I thought Bruce was putting me on the list but he hadn’t, but they let me in anyway and later he explained he was planning to meet me outside and walk me in. I never caught that set of instructions. Whatevs. I got in.  The place was packed! I’d never seen Bob at the Saxon before, and didn’t know it was reserved seating and that tonight had sold out. But I met 2 nice “regulars” – apparently these women go see Bob every Monday. Their 3rd friend was not in attendance and they offered me her chair. Awesome! “I’ve had a lot to drink,” one of them explained to me several times. But she was super cool and every time Bob would play a new song she would inform me that “this is new.” So I felt very in-the-know.
It was a great show! Bob is awesome. And he’s really funny. And his band is awesome. And of course Bruce is super-awesome. (Before the show I got to say hi to Conrad, Bob’s drummer, I told him he was super-awesome, and he told me I was super-awesome. How awesome is that.)

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After the show I stood around for a minute until I could go say goodbye to Bruce. As I was waiting, the guy I walked across the street with before the show came over and started talking to me. He’d never been to the Saxon before, he said. He’d just moved to Austin in September. He asked if I had seen Bob a lot and I said yes and rattled off some of my Bob knowledge. After a few minutes I kind of sort of almost got the feeling that maybe he was trying to pick me up? I don’t know. I’m bad at these things. Maybe he actually thought I seemed nice and matronly. He wasn’t creepy or anything, in fact he was super nice, but it still made me a little uncomfortable so finally I just said, “well I’m gonna go say goodbye to the bass player now, see ya.” And that was that. Of course part of me hopes he WAS trying to pick me up and that part of me is a little more than slightly satisfied by this.
I said bye to Bruce, I guess I won’t see him again before I leave. He’s an amazing musician, an interesting person and creatively inspiring because he makes his living using his creative talents. I like that.

I jaywalked back across Lamar and went home to bed.

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