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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
You reach out with any little part of yourself and rise from the dirt to be what you are. How you make my heart ache with your sense of belonging.
Vanity of vanities! We all have the same breath.
(Solomon was right.)
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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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.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,and remember what peace there may be in silence.Be on good terms with all persons,Speak your truth quietly and clearly,and listen to others.Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.Be gentle with yourself;no less than the trees and stars you have a right to be here.Whether or not it is clear to you,no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.Whatever your labors and aspirationsin the noisy confusion of life,keep peace in your soul.With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,it is still a beautiful world.Strive to be happy.
–Max Ehrmann c.1920
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…
I think I do more reading in the colder months than the warmer ones, how about you?
My leisure time in the summer seems consumed by flowers, bull frogs, and butterflies. In the dark of winter I will spend hours reading in the bathtub or bed, but in the summer I’m usually too exhausted by daytime existence and heat to read in my usual haunts. Reading for fun happens mostly in little snippets of time, mostly while I’m in transit – like in the car being shuttled to a family function, or while waiting for someone’s luggage at an airport, or in a too-long line at the bank.
Title: Fowl Weather
Author: Bob Tarte
Why I Read It: It has a duck on the cover! (I’m a bit bird-brained in case you haven’t noticed). I spotted it on the shelf at the Goodwill.
Synopsis: It’s the memoir of a kindred spirit who chronicals life with his menagerie. In his own words, it’s the story of, “how thirty-nine animals and one sock monkey took over my life.”
Highlights: Bob Tarte makes me seem normal by comparison. He’s funny and taught me a lot about my ducks.
Most Relate-to-able Quotes: What can you ever say to a dead duck?
It bothered me that I’d exhibited more patience with a duck than I seemed capable of extending to my mother…
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Why I Read It: It was a good book day at the Goodwill. I hadn’t read anything by Gladwell, but I’d heard good reviews about his work. The idea of thinking without thinking was compelling.
Synopsis: Through a wide range of case studies and behavioral research Malcolm explores the cognition behind “gut feelings.”
Highlights: I am in awe of Gladwell’s ability to synthesize information from many different lenses into such a coherent picture of unconscious cognition. He weaves together research and examples from such far flung fields as marital communication to military strategy (actually those two domains may not be as disparate as they seem on the surface) to museum curation. It was as fascinating as it was well-written.
Recommended to: Folks interested in psychology will love this book. Also, firefighters and police officers, and others who must make quick, high-stakes decisions would benefit from this information as well as educators and policy makers.
We live in a world saturated with information. We have vitually unlimited amounts of data at our fingertips at all times, and we’re well versed in the arguments about the dangers of not knowing enough and not doing our homework. But what I have sensed is an enormous frustration wtih the unexpected costs of knowing too much, of being inundated with information. We have come to confuse information with understanding….we are desperately lacking in the latter (Gladwell, 2005, p. 264-265).
Author: Claire Dederer
Why I Read It: Yoga and Memoir – these are a few of my favorite things!
Synopsis: Dederer shares her experience of coming to terms with motherhood and balancing a career with family life through a (sometimes reluctant) yoga practice.
Highlights: I love stories about the transformative power of a yoga practice. Dederer tells her story with a wickedly funny kick.
What surprised me: I wasn’t expecting from such a funny flippant lady the depth of knowledge and insight with which she wrote about the women’s movement of her mother’s generation and the cultural trends in our own generation. She challenged me to think more deeply about my own relationship with my mom and the social and political factors that defined mom’s generation and how that might have led to some of her baffling behaviors.
Without our mothers and their mass 1970s exodus to who knows where, we might not have gotten those crucial years of learning who we were. I am not sure any of the mothers meant to give us this gift, this terrible gift of freedom…they bought our freedom with their courage (Dederer, 2011, p. 297).
Disclosure: I signed up to be an Amazon Affiliate, which means 1.) I can use their book cover images in my posts without having to worry about them suing me, and 2.) if you use one of the links I provide in the blog to purchase the book on amazon.com I’ll get like a nickel or something. I’m disclosing this so you will be aware that if you click on a book link, our electronic “footprints” will be walking together toward amazon.