Sunday, January 30, 2011

ninety days

until may day.  that's a long time.

i'm dreaming of backyard parties, fireflies, sundresses, blackberries, picnics and the softness of new grass under my bare feet.

i don't know what's got into me this year, but i'm really struggling with winter.  there doesn't seem to be a break in the cold, hard brown-ness of it all.  i must get myself in a better place in this space called now.  i must start loving winter every day she shows herself.

here is what i love about winter today:  indoor craftiness.  (true, craftiness can be had any day of the year, but it flows more naturally when the sunshine isn't calling my name.)

i'm stockpiling more good things about winter to get me through the next few months:
  • grilled cheese sandwiches
  • slippers
  • chai tea lattes
  • heated car seats
  • seeing my breath
  • crystal clear night skies
  • fingerless gloves
  • going to bed at 8:30pm
  • dreaming about summer
  • hot and sour soup
  • vacation planning
  • cashmere socks
  • january clearance sales
  • vicks vapo-rub
  • no lawn mowing
  • nesting
what do you love about winter?

Friday, January 28, 2011

five senses friday*

{the dreaming-of-spring&summer edition}

all week i focused:  sunshine, sunshine, sunshine.  warmth was experienced through the senses despite freezing temps.

  • me wearing and enjoying all of the above, floral shorts included (hey, i'm dreaming here)
  • my summer go-to meal:  fish tacos and a margarita
  • nothing feels more like summer than bikram yoga (still sticking with it...who knows, maybe those shorts can be a reality for me!)
  • malibu lemon blossom body butter
  • the scent of the sea captured in a jar of sand and shells that sits on my desk
happy weekend bunnies!  i hope you have sun and warmth and fun.

*fsf inspired by abby

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

manifesting warmth

it's freakin' cold.  i can't remember a year when i was so done with winter while still in january.  i'm going to try to stay present in january while secretly conjuring up the light and bright and hot feelings of mid-may. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

living in neutral

not exactly bright and bold and electric, but still powerful in its stillness.

i'm learning to experience comfort in this space called neutral.  this is the place where my soul sees the potential and my heart knows from experience.  i stop to rest and nourish before taking the next step.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

no lazy for me

i love my downtime.  i am a staunch supporter of vegging out and the frequent afternoon nap.  people, i simply excel at lazy. 

i've recently added two new activities on top of the day job that seriously cut into my relaxation zone.  i try to make it to bikram yoga at least four times per week (i'd go every day if my schedule could afford the substantial time committment--90-minute class plus 30-minute pre-class heat acclimation plus commute plus mandatory post-hotroom shower). 

and last night was the first meeting of the class i'm teaching this semester at randolph college

normally, i resent things (even things i've chosen!) that cut into my daily lounging practice.  but i've been pleasantly surprised that the yoga leaves me more rejuvenated than most naps i've indulged in.  and my class:  what can i say?  fourteen bright curious minds to stretch my heart and mind and help me remember what i love about life.

the sofa can wait.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

oh yeah, this too

mostly, i do not have to challenge myself to be kind to those lovely souls who walk with me and by me on this path.  but there are a few areas where kindness escapes me and my reaction to some people can be quite harsh.  this year, i really want to work on this.  and this resolution is totally selfish.  i am not yet so enlightened to genuinely believe that these folks deserve kindness (maybe sometime in my life...), i just do not like the way i feel about myself after i snap someone's head off with sarcasm or employ a devasting stink-eye.

here's where i'm especially challenged (and i fear by putting this out here, i'm inviting loads of new opportunities to practice!):
  • people who "kill with kindness".  wow, this segment has developed a whole new meaning since living in the south.  this special strain of passive-aggression is woven into the culture. 
  • people who can't just put it out there and talk around the issue.  say it already.
  • people who talk on their cell phones while driving.
  • also, people who drive huge vehicles and attempt to park in regular parking spaces.
  • people who play dumb.
  • people who should know better.
  • people who have no concept of personal space.
  • people who are chronically late.
  • people who are helpless and refuse to find the answers for themselves.
okay, as i type this list, i realize i have quite the challenge ahead.  it's entirely possible i've bitten off more than i can chew.  my hope is that i develop an actual ability to be compassionate toward those who push my buttons.

Friday, January 14, 2011

good friday

today is most awesome because:
  • i took the day off of work
  • i caught up on my dream lab assignments
  • i got to take the morning yoga class (so much better than the afternoon for me!)
  • in camel, i told myself, "it's okay to fall back and let your heart open."  and i did.
  • i mailed my squam registration and got to wish for my dream cabin mates
  • i resisted purchasing an embroidered floral dress that was incredibly marked down.  because really people, the last thing in the world i need is another embroidered floral/bohemian/exotic anything!
  • i had lemon cake with a scoop of lemon gelato for lunch
  • the winter sun just gently warmed my eyes open at the end of my nap
  • the day's only half over
why can't every day be like this?  i hope your fridays are the awesomest too.

Monday, January 10, 2011

mosaic monday

the new year resolutions edition:
  1. do yoga
  2. eat whole, organic, local
  3. learn something new
  4. nurture relationships
  5. embrace worthiness
  6. capture beauty
  7. practice silence and stillness
  8. go
  9. celebrate
please go here for photography credits.

happy monday friends.  it's a new day.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

finding my religion

i was raised as a christian; baptist to be specific.  as a child, i was required to attend church each sunday and wednesday.  the church was our primary social system.  in my adolescence, i had questions about and longing for other paths to truth.  sadly, i was judged and rejected for this curiosity. 

for the past twenty-five years, i have had a love-hate relationship with religion.  i crave the spiritual and run from the dogmatic.  i've discovered that too often these two things coexist in many churches, no matter their claim of acceptance and enlightenment.  long ago i gave up any hope of finding a church home that meets my needs.

here's what i do instead:
  • i pray.  every day.
  • i listen.  i look for answers in the beauty of this world, in the words of a trusted friend or a kind stranger, in the challenges and pushback of everyday life.
  • i'm working on practicing silence and holding space for more answers, deeper understanding, awareness, courage and love.
  • i read and listen to the words of jesus, the buddha, mythology, history, the great prophets and the ordinary people who cross my path, the poets and artists and writers and thinkers and yogis and peacemakers of our world.  the god i pray to is not the scary angry grandfather of my youth; more like a brilliant and enthusiastic orchestra conductor of these instruments and voices.
  • my home, my body, my work, my art, my relationships are my places of worship.  i want to fill them all with love and light and acceptance and wisdom and truth.
  • oddly, i still crave a sunday service; i listen to this each sunday morning to fill this ritualistic space.  there's a new show every sunday.  also, i read this every morning; i find the words serve as a touchpoint along the path i'm choosing to explore.
  • i try to remain open to the energy of grace.  i pray to recognize and accept the grace in the ordinary and in the sublime alike.
happy sunday friends.  i hope it is filled with light and truth and love.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

i am here

one month.  twenty classes.  eighteen hundred minutes of pure challenge.  tons of sweat and a few tears.  ten pounds lost (with full-on birthday and holiday feasting!).  anger, stress, frustration, anxiety, insomnia, insecurity and achiness can't play in this room.  why hello there strength, grace, focus, balance, energy.  i am here at the beginning of a lifelong practice of bikram yoga. 

bikram yoga is a 90-minute class in a studio heated to 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity.  each class is the same 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises done in the same sequence.  it's tough.  i'd heard you either love it or you hate it.  strange because i love it and i hate it.  i love my teachers.  i hate the wetness.  some days i love each and every posture (even my nemesis camel).  some days i want to hurl my sweaty body out the window just to get some air.  i am deliriously happy when class is done, yet i can't wait to get back in the hot room the next day.  i'm intrigued by my paradoxical relationship with the practice.  what i know for sure is that no one can argue with the results.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

a blessing for the new year

on the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

and when your eyes
freeze behind
the gray window
and the ghost of loss
gets into you,
may a flock of colors,
indigo, red, green
and azure blue,
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

and when the canvas frays
in the curragh of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

may the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

and so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

-john o'donohue
to bless the space between us

{to hear the poet discuss his unique and extraordinary concept of beauty, click here.  he reads this poem at the end of the program.}

Saturday, January 1, 2011

quietly slipping in the side door, possibly late, and i don't have the answer

so. i'm working on a piece of art inspired by my word for 2011.  i fully intended to have it plastered up here today in all its colorful glory.  that didn't work out the way i had planned.  and i'm okay with that.

my word is balance.  this self-portrait substitutes nicely for the intended art.  for me, the meaning of balance includes many of my very favorite words:  beauty, love, rest, play, courage and grace.  this post is dedicated to achieving balance at work.  there are many areas in my life that need movement toward equilibrium, but the scales are dangerously tipped for me on the job.

my yoga teacher said something in class the other day that was entirely revolutionary for me.  you see, bikram yoga classes all follow the same dialogue and routine.  you can go to any bikram class anywhere in the world and you'll get the same 90 minutes.  my teacher said that this consistency and reliability is one of the draws to bikram for some personality types.  she said that some people find it meditative to just follow directions for 90 minutes.  this really rang true for me.  ninety minutes a day when i do not have to have an answer or make any decision other than to be fully present in my practice.  friends, this is heaven to me. 

i try not to think about how at work have to have all the answers to every question known to mankind.  i hadn't realized until then how totally weary i am of being in a position of authority.   or how heavily this responsibility weighs on me, especially when i feel it's not being shared.  and how resentful i am that some are perfectly happy to remain in low-to-no-responsibility roles (or not do the work to learn how to make accurate decisions) and expect me to have the final say (sometimes with limited information) and to absorb the blame if things don't work out as expected.  keep in mind that in my work, a mistake can lead to a child being hurt or potentially killed.  we have to get it right.  no wonder i'm the dragon lady. 

enter balance.

i plan on shifting into a more supportive, less authoritative role in these work relationships. this may mean that i can no longer have or do the job i currently have.  we'll see.  in this moment, i choose to be hopeful that i can foster a team in which wisdom, decision-making and accountability are shared.  while i'm certain my fiery nature and quick-wit will never fully recede, i'm happy to evolve into less medieval monster, more puff (as in the magic dragon).  i'm open to the understanding that this could mean blissfully flying off into the sunset while someone else takes over the hot seat.

are you choosing a word for the new year?