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This one is going on it.
Taking suggestions for others!
We show up,
burn brightly in the moment,
hold nothing back,
and when the moment is over,
when our work is done,
we step back,
and we let go.
-Rolfe Gates, Meditations from the Mat
Beneath those flames
the charred remains
of four years of work.
Therein the ash and smoke
lie thousands of hours of
The fire ate them all
with no regard
for the size or shape of the ideas.
I stood and fed the greedy tongues
as they hissed and sputtered,
devouring it all indiscriminately–
the fire and I whispering
all of your names
on the wind.
Out of nowhere El-D announced today that he is done being El-D. This is perfectly fine by me. Henceforth he will be called BeauJeau. Just thought you should know why there’s a new man in my life.
So anyway, I somehow convinced BeauJeau to do an acroyoga class with me last night. Full disclosure: beer and wine were involved before hand – not a lot, but some, which probably had something to do his agreeability.
As a yoga teacher I feel it’s my duty to advise against drinking alcohol before practice. In other words, don’t try this at home kiddies!
Before we started with the acrobatics, we did passive partner work on the illiotibial band, which was quite enjoyable. Relaxing on the mat and having my IT bands fondled was the best part of the class as far as I’m concerned. Alas, the aggressively cheerful and energetic couple leading the class insisted we get off the mat and get to doing some balance work.
BeauJeau was the base, I was the flyer. I tried being his base at one point, but that didn’t work at all. I’m too little and he’s too big. He made a good foundation though. At one point he lifted me up with his feet while I struck a flying superman pose. Then I did the same pose balanced in his hands. I was Jennifer Grey to his Patrick Swayze…
We saw the writing on the wall
And we felt this magical fantasy
Now with passion in our eyes
There’s no way we could disguise it secretly
So we take each others hand
‘Cause we seem to understand the urgency…
Yes I swear it’s the truth.
…or that could just be the alcohol talking.
At one point in class I partnered with the instructor who somehow sent me doing somersaults in the air before I fully understood what was happening.
In BeauJeau’s words, the experience was summed up as “learning to do cirque du soleil.”
In my words, “I think I may be too old for this.”
In the final analysis, it was ridiculous and fun and nobody got hurt…unless you count the aftermath of today’s sore muscles – his abs, my biceps. Overall, it was a physical study in body mechanics, and in power/surrender, cooperation, trust, balance, and boundaries.
Yoga is yummy in so many different ways.
*Yogi Goaty Goodness*
I’m not making this up.
It’s something that exists in the world now.
Nosowitz, D. (August 29, 2016). Goat Yoga: It’s Yoga with Goats. Modern Farmer. Online
Naturally I’m all in favor of group exercise classes. The benefits are numerous. First off, they are a great way to meet new people who share your values (health, fitness, and fun!!) and who are likely to keep you motivated and inspired to meet your goals. Practice time seems to go by a lot faster when you’re with a group. Another advantage of group classes is consistency. Having a regularly scheduled class can help you develop a regular routine. A third benefit is that instructors are generally trained to offer safe and effective exercise programming. We take into consideration the need for warm-ups, cool-downs, focus on particular muscle groups, etc. When we practice on our own, it’s human nature to skip poses that seem “boring” or to focus on our favorites.
All that said, sometimes we just have to practice on our own due to scheduling or logistics. For that reason, I’ve compiled a few of…
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Love called me here.
–Dante, The Inferno
Our lives improve only when we take chances — and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves… [The] greatest risk of all: to be vulnerable, to allow others to see us as we really are.
My palms got a little sweaty just typing the title of this post – that’s how nervous putting this resolution “out there” makes me.
Someone near and dear explained this same feeling during a conversation earlier this week. Regarding an idea for a project he had been keeping top secret, he said, “I didn’t want to speak it into being because once I tell everybody, then I’m basically bound to make it so. People will start asking me about it.” The idea of being held accountable for pursuing your dreams is a scary prospect indeed.
Writing has been a recurring theme in my resolutions over the years. “Write everyday” and “get my work published” are just a couple of the variations. My work has seen publication several times now – once in dissertation form and several times in the form of co-authored articles in academic journals. I will not minimize these accomplishments. It was rigorous work and I have a lot of respect for science and the people who toil and revel in it. If I had been honest with myself though, I would have abandoned that work long ago instead of getting caught up in other people’s notions of who I am and what I should be doing with my time. Being invited into collaboration was thrilling to the ego and working within an institution provided a fair degree of comfort and security. I learned a tremendous amount through the process, but I never felt particularly free or autonomous enough to write the things I wanted to write in that context.
Writing is something I do on an almost daily basis whether I’ve resolved to do it or not. It’s how I process things. I think the format of a book will help keep me organized and focused. Because it is an independent project, it will require more self-discipline. This is why I decided to put this one “out there” instead of keeping it personal – I don’t want to back out of it or make the usual excuses to myself.
The topic of the book evolved from a presentation proposal I submitted on a whim to a yoga conference. I never thought it would actually be accepted, but to my horror and delight it was. After I spent several months researching and preparing for the talk, the conference was cancelled. I was both devastated and relieved – devastated because I had been looking forward to the conference and the trip and I had invested a lot of time and work into the topic and I wanted to share it. I was relieved from having to deal with a somewhat stressful situation. I was way out of my comfort zone. Public speaking does not come naturally to me. Also, this conference was business-oriented instead of the academic/research-oriented type I’d experienced in the past. The good thing about the stress was that it kept my effort sustained and moving in one direction. That direction felt right. Now it’s a matter of changing the format and continuing the effort in book form.
by Peter Mayer
There are a hundred billion snowflakes swirling in the cosmic storm
And each one is a galaxy, a billion stars or more
And each star is a million earths, a giant fiery sun
High up in some sky, maybe shining on someone
And deep inside a snowflake, I am floating quietly
I am infinitesimal, impossible to see
Sitting in my tiny kitchen in my tiny home
Staring out my window at a universe of snow
But my soul is so much bigger than the very tiny me
It reaches out into the snowstorm like a net into the sea
Out to all the lovely places where my body cannot go
I touch that beauty and embrace it in the bosom of my soul
And so brief and fleeting is this tiny life of mine
Like a single quarter note in the march of time
But my soul is like the music, it goes back to ancient days
Back before it wore a human face, long before it bore my name
Because my soul is so much older than the evanescent me
It can describe the dawn of time like a childhood memory
It is a spark that was begotten of the darkness long ago
What my body has forgotten, I remember in my soul
So we live this life together, my giant soul and tiny me
One resembling forever, one like smoke upon the breeze
One the deep abiding ocean, one a sudden flashing wave
And counting galaxies like snowflakes, I would swear we were the same
Oh my soul belongs to beauty, takes me up to lofty heights
Teaches sacred stories to me, sanctifies my tiny life
Lays a bridge across the ages, melts the boundaries of my bones
Paints a bold eternal face on this passing moment, oh my soul
Wishing you beauty and a happy forever.
Nope, we won’t be meeting for core awareness class tonight, I decided with a twinge of disappointment as I flailed and skated down the driveway on a solid sheet of ice. I’ve been stuck in the house for two days straight and I was really looking forward to getting some exercise and seeing the faces of friends. The disappointment faded as I stood taking in the scenery around me: the icicles adorning the magnolia tree and a pansy’s petals unfurled against the ice. I remembered two things in that moment. First, I had not intended the core awareness class to be merely physical exercise, but an exploration of the core in body, mind, and spirit. Second, I recalled excerpts from Parker Palmer’s words on winter:
The rigors of winter…are accompanied by amazing gifts…One gift is beauty…I am not sure that any sight or sound on earth is as exquisite as the hushed descent of a sky…
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This mind has a life of its own.
It invents infinite lists…
of tasks to do,
of whos to be,
of conversations to replay,
of facts to analyze,
of images to dissect,
of memories to revisit,
of futures to find,
of art to create,
of words to compose,
of dances to choreograph,
of stories to live…
and so it goes…
on and on.
I’m immersed in the mind as I sit with it all,
the time ticking by and I’m…
No, too cold.
I’m entirely too dog-covered!
I need a cookie.
smelling flowers that are wilting.
waiting for this 15 minute self-imposed morning meditation to be over,
so I can go on with my *very important* day.
I have forgotten what the point is.
I try yoga-teachering myself, in an attempt to remember,
but the undone stuff calls, waits, looms, threatens, even.
Then, a subtle shifting.
Faint on the periphery
a thousand cicada tymbals vibrate
their persistent little stream of sex and magic.
The chorus swells
into a tidal wave of sound
scattering the thought-sandcastles
the mind awash disintegrates like salt
and in the undertow…