Saturday, March 17, 2018


It seems like just a minute ago that it was the start of the new year and I posted "Begin Anew," followed by a few posts inspired by the wisdom of Thich Nhat Hahn. Now it is March 17th, St. Patrick's Day, and the year 2018 is almost one-quarter over.

It's been a strange March - my friends and family up in New England have been slammed with one big snowstorm after another. Some of them love it, but most of them are getting pretty tired of it. Down here in Florida, we had cold spells in January that I loved, then in February it got too warm, too fast and I worried that we'd go straight into warm, humid weather. But for most of March we've been back in a cold spell, and I've been loving it. Our weather and the weather up north is more like February weather, but we're getting it in March.

On cold days, I miss New Englandy-things like having a fire in the fireplace. So I got a DVD of a fire in a fireplace. It sounds silly maybe, but it's actually pretty nice and it does the trick of giving me a "fireplace fix." My husband laughed at first when I told him I'd gotten it, but then I put it on while we had our morning coffee and he was just as mesmerized by it as I was.

Here, you can watch it too.

This year is evolving strangely, though I wonder if any year is not in its own way strange? What I'm thinking of when I say that is that many people I know are dealing with sad or scary situations. A dear friend's son died from a drug overdose. My friend who visited me in February had to leave early to be with her brother, who was diagnosed with brain tumors. She is still there with him as he goes through surgery and his plan of care is developed. My teacher spent eleven days at his father's bedside, helping him through the process of dying. I have two friends who are being treated for cancer, and I just learned that the husband of one of my students passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.

I don't mean to be a downer. It just seems like a lot of heartache and sadness - many battles being fought; some being won and some being lost. It is life, with all its ups and downs. Yoga teaches us to be with it all, and my teacher was a great example of this. He posted essays describing the experience of his father's journey to let go of this life and his writing was sad, moving, exhausting, beautiful, heartbreaking and uplifting. Life is all those things. The work of being human is to allow for it all, to know that we will be okay through it all. Not that we will be blase and pretend everything is fine; not that our hearts won't break, not that we won't be sad, even devastated. But that we know that we will find our way through it; that we will also know happiness and joy again. For most of us, that's a pretty big challenge.

And, seventeen people - most of them high school students, died in a violent shooting in a school here in Florida this month. March is also a verb, and on the 24th of March, there will be marches all over the country and the world, protesting gun violence and asking for sensible changes to gun laws. It's called #MarchForOurLives and we plan to participate. Because, there are things we can change and things we can't. We have to accept the things we can't change, but this sure isn't one of them.

Sunday, February 25, 2018


"Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans." ~John Lennon

I've been thinking about plans lately, because I've got a lot of them this year. And, because so far, some of my plans haven't worked out quite as expected.

First there was my trip to Dallas for a weekend workshop with my teacher, during which I fell and sprained my ankle. Then, this past week, my friend, Irene, came for her annual visit, to which we both look forward all year. Even before she arrived, though, we knew that she might have to cut her visit short, because her brother had been diagnosed with a potentially life threatening illness. And indeed, that's what happened - she's on her way to see him now.

I've learned to try to find a balance between looking forward to planned events, but not getting too invested in them. That's not always easy, especially when you are really, really, REALLY looking forward to something.

But when things go awry, it also becomes easier to focus on what really matters. In Dallas, I had to totally shift my expectations away from how I had expected the workshop to go for me, and to embrace a whole different perspective on participation and learning - while also keeping my ankle safe!

And, as much as Irene and I had looked forward to a long stretch of hanging out together, as soon as the situation with her brother was clear, we shifted into letting go of the expectations we'd had and honed in on what was now important: making arrangements to get her where she needed to go in the timeframe she needed to get there. We had two lovely days together, and though we were sad to have it cut short, we both also felt good and peaceful that she was doing the right thing.

I don't know that there is any big message here other than not to hold too tightly too our plans. It's just what I'm thinking about, given these two situations coming within weeks of each other. And, of course, I'm hoping this isn't a trend that will hold for the whole year. But if it is, I'm sure I/we will adapt accordingly, because, well, that's Life!

For February, I've focused my classes on heart openers - or back bends - because we associate February with Valentine's Day and hearts and love and all that good stuff. In my more advanced class, we worked our way up to Urdhva Dhanurasana, or "Upward Facing Bow Pose," often called Wheel. We had fun exploring the dynamics of coming into this challenging pose: arm and shoulder strength, open shoulders, flexibility, long relaxed muscles and the front body's ability to stretch.

So, here I am, doing the pose out on our lanai.You can see that it's the shape of an archer's bow, facing upward - hence the name. And you can see how it opens and stretches the chest and the heart space. As I mentioned, it's a challenging pose, but one that makes you feel great! With openness in our hearts, we are more able to adapt to life's surprises - especially the curve balls.

Sunday, February 11, 2018


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I've been resting. My sprained ankle is healing nicely, but it's remarkable what even a small injury can take out of you. When it happened, I think a whole lot of adrenalin kicked in to keep me going, because I was away from home, alone, in an unfamiliar, big city. I had to keep it together through the workshop and the travel. Upon my return home, I had two workshops and my regular classes to prepare for, all the while having to move much more slowly and cautiously to keep the ankle safe. It's taken a lot of concentration, and that's tiring.

So, I've been resting as much as I can, whenever I can, and it's helped a lot.

At our studio, we teach two classes that focus on rest - one that combines meditation and restorative practice, and the other that is only restful yoga poses. People say they love these classes, but attendance is spotty and never what you'd call BIG, compared to our active classes. One student said to me, "I don't know why there aren't 30 people in this class!" We've speculated about that a lot, but where I've landed is this: we humans think "doing something" is important and "not doing anything" is ...lazy, wasteful, unproductive. We think resting is somehow a sign of weakness and we don't make it a priority.

I know, I know. We're busy. We're busy, busy, busy. Some of that is real. And some of it is us, putting ourselves last. Don't get mad at me - maybe you really are that busy! Good for you - or not good for you, as the case may be. But I have learned that we make the time for what is important to us. We do. Sometimes we are forced into resting by an accident - like a sprained ankle, or by a cold or flu.

It's just a question to ask ourselves - why are so willing to deny ourselves rest?

Writing this has made me tired. Time for a nap. :)

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