Archives for posts with tag: joy

Image

i had a really beautiful moment last saturday as i was walking down the street to go teach a yoga class. i was on 8th street, a corridor of shops and restaurants, and as i approached the corner, i saw a husband and wife and their very young daughter. she was maybe 2. dressed in her fuzzy petal pink leggings, a cropped soft wool coat, and the most impossibly tiny and stylish shoes. but the beauty of this image was that this tiny girl was stopped on the sidewalk, dancing. music was being piped out onto the street from the restaurant and she was peering into the air wondering where this music was coming from, and moving, bouncing, stomping, rocking and waving her arms. she was entranced and utterly engaged and unselfconscious.

Image

Image

so as wonderful as this scene was, the thing i loved the most was that her parents were letting her dance. they were not pulling on her arms and trying to hurry her to the destination, which is all too often the case. “no, we don’t have time for you to look at cars, or smell flowers, or pet dogs, or touch the rough wood, or the smooth wrought iron, or the warm stones or the cold water, or dance. we need to get to point B. NOW!” the only time in our lives when we are constantly delighted with the world around us and we are forever being pulled away from it’s magic. her parents did not do this. but smiled and laughed and danced with her. no hurry to move on. i stopped as i approached them and told them how they had made my day, and i told her to never stop dancing and being delighted by the world around her.

Image

i am a pretty magically engaged person in the world around me, but lately have felt that i have been forgetting that. missing that. this was such a sweet reminder of the magic that is always there. to listen for the music and dance like no one was watching you.

Image

as i went to teach class, i shared this story and asked that we find our playfulness and curiosity in our yoga. we do yoga because it feels good. because we want to delight in our bodies and in our senses, not because it is a punishment that has been foisted upon us. we need to remember that. each and every day. find the joy in your life and reacquaint yourself with your inner tiny dancer.

Image

Image

when you are a teacher and no one comes to your class, it is exceedingly difficult to not take it personally. “what have I done to piss someone off? do I smell? am I not as funny as I think I am? have they finally discovered that I am completely unqualified to teach and the “emperor’s new clothes” gig is up?”

this is usually what passes through my mind under such circumstances, but recently I have had an opportunity to shift that, and to enjoy an empty studio all to myself.

Image

at the beginning of September I started teaching 2 classes at a dance studio as part of their seasonal class offering. Balance Dance Co. is a pre professional modern dance company that caters to girls age 12-18. they are a marvelous company and some of the best dancing I have seen, period, has come from them. I was present at the first ever performance, when my daughter lily was 6 months old. Lily went on to dance with the company for 3 years. Leah, who is the director is a friend of mine and I have taken many classes in the studio myself over the years.  when Leah asked me to be the yoga offering, I was very excited.

Image

Image

any space that you can dance or do yoga in, excites me greatly, and so to be able to teach yoga in a dance studio, was extra special. I had a Thursday and Saturday morning offering and was ready to go. my first Thursday I had a dancer and her mother, and we had a great time. they loved the class, but weren’t sure that the time would work on a regular basis. they ended up being my first and last students…

Image

Image

so for 6 mornings, I got myself up, rode my bike to the studio, was the first one in the building and got to have a ballet studio to myself. after the first 2 times of the disappointment of no one showing, I began to savor my private dance time. I would warm up, do yoga, lead myself through a ballet barre series and then…I cranked the music and danced. on two separate occasions I had a friend join me and we ended up doing a specialized private session.

Image

Image

the light was beautiful in there. high windows with vast open sky in every direction.  it was always warm and quiet. the sound system respectable. what a gift.

during this time frame, the entire city block in every direction was torn up, access almost impossible and convenient parking a vague notion. I am certain that this did not help my situation at all.

eventually I got the email, “we are really sorry but we need to cancel these classes due to lack of attendance.” understandable and unfortunately a ballet barre class that I was taking in the studio (me being the only student) was also cancelled. so it wasn’t just me…

so apparently, I need to have Thursday  mornings off to take class else where from one of my favorite teachers and I get Saturday mornings off so that I can sleep in, snuggle, drink coffee, and make my way to a dance class at the Y at the very civilized weekend hour of

11:30. as these 2 classes have fallen away, other subbing opportunities, as well as workshops I will be teaching have presented themselves. more time for me to take classes for my enjoyment and continued learning and inspiration. in the losing of something there creates space for something else to come in. something new and exciting.

so I am ever grateful for those 3 weeks. not only did I get to have a beautiful studio all to myself….i got paid to be there.

now, that is a bonus to my gift. thanks leah…

Image

(above artwork and poetry by heather bauer)

“this look of sorrow as she walked among the fires – it was familiar to him – he had felt that way when he was younger. how to talk about it, how to talk about such things. when he was a boy he was happy when the men arrived (the men who drove the horses to the land and would work in the orchards) and in a way wanted them to stay forever – but he was also anxious that they had arrived and he was no longer alone. the sorrow came from those two feelings – the happiness of company and the anxiety of interrupted solitude.”

-from the novel “the orchardist” by Amanda coplin

Image

I love being by myself. eating meals at home or in restaurants. solo. taking myself out for a glass of wine, go to a movie, a play, a party. alone and with no wish to meet someone or run into any one. just taking in the event with no distractions. a bike ride, a hike. I love to travel by myself, take long drives and even road trips alone. or just sit silently on my couch gazing out the window listening to myself breathe. I can do all of those things blissfully alone and never, ever feel awkward. at all. I love that. a lot.

it is the one down side of having someone in your life, you are no longer alone as much and trying to maintain that delicate balance between happiness for the company and the anxiety of interrupted solitude, is rather tricky at times.

being in a room with the door closed with someone else in the house is not the same as being alone in your house. not even close. sometimes there is a precious sweetness to that proximity and sometimes not… i was married once and lived with 2 men at other times in my life. I cannot ever imagine myself living with someone again.

I realize that I want it all, and that is just how I roll. I love my solitude, my freedom, my space, my home, my schedule, me being in control of everything…yes, I said it. “me being in control of everything.” you can quote me on that.

Image

I am also an incredibly social, friendly, loving creature who has a lot of friends. real friends, not Facebook friends. friends who I give my time and attention to and look them in the eyes and hold their hands when we talk. i have coffee, and lunch, and make meals and share wine and trade body work and watch their children, and return phone calls in the middle of the night. my daughter is the center of my world, and when she is with me, I orchestrate my life to put her first. my mother lives 6 blocks away, we have a standing date night every Tuesday and talk everyday and see each other almost as often. my father and brother have been more in my communication loop than ever before.

I am also a yoga teacher and massage therapist. I take those interactions with students and clients very much to heart. more tending of others. I do an incredible amount of tending of others…

I also desire deep connection with someone significant. not because I am afraid to be alone, but because I love BIG and that is a waste to not share it with someone deserving of that. love loves to love love. we want to be desired and petted and loved and adored and seen and heard and witnessed in a way that actually means something, with someone who really means it.

Image

and then….i want to be alone. and miss them all. and think about them. and feel that tug of longing. and while I am feeling so delighted to have so much love in my life, from so many different sources, i am sweeping my floors, changing the sheets on my bed, burning sage, arranging flowers in vases, plumping pillows, reading books, listening to music, writing blogs, petting cats, cooking meals, and folding laundry, taking dance and yoga classes, laughing with my daughter, watching movies, tending to myself, nurturing my soul. and yes, probably on some level, feeling safer and more in control because it is just my space. and I like it that way very much thank you.

it is my beautiful selfish gift to myself, and i am all the more for it. everyone wins.

Image

“when he was gone the place took on a delicious strangeness, she often felt she was looking at things for the first time.

there was a  certain uncanniness angeline felt in opening her closet in the morning. her oatmeal dress hanging in the space on it’s hanger, her workboots leaning against each other on the porch. the narrow bed with it’s purple red and green quilt, the bedside table with it’s jar of rocks, piled books. the porcelain basin where she washed her face. the apricot orchard, the buzzing bees like a haze in the spring. the barn, the smell of hay and manure and grease and old leather. the sun streaming through the slats. the mules nose in her palm.

being alone, she was able to see each thing more clearly. although there was fear in solitude, somehow, this only made things sharper. it could not be sustained, this solitude, this level of sensitivity, but for the short time that he was away it was glorious.

it was a great gift to herself.”

-from “the orchardist”-

Image

(micheline berry on the orange mat….as if there would be any confusion…)

I just came back from an amazing weekend yoga workshop in mccall, with one of my very favorite teachers, micheline berry. she is a gorgeous, voluptuous, sultry, radiant earth goddess and her classes are beautiful and joyous with sweat soaked intensity. “fire in the belly, honey in the heart” is the name of her offering, and that it is.

Image

9 years ago, micheline came to mccall and taught her first workshop ever at the shanti yoga studio. deb Murphy, the owner of shanti, had taken a class from her in l.a. and invited her to teach a workshop. it was micheline’s first workshop to teach, it was the first yoga workshop that I would take. we were all together in this freshness. the workshop was incredibly powerful and she uses great music and dance that is incorporated as well, so of course I was hooked. this weekend was my 5th workshop with her.

I came to that first workshop with one of my dearest friends, j. we had started a yoga journey at the same time, in separate places, under very different circumstances for each of us. but parallel paths. a couple of years ago she and I and another friend, h., came up for a workshop with micheline. on the second day of the workshop we got a phone call that j’s mother was in the hospital and failing fast. the three of us jumped into the car and raced down the mountain. an intense sharing of stories about her mother, this incredible bonding of the three of us. her mother rallied, although she passed a couple of years later. j and I are no longer involved in each others lives, a sad fork in the road it seems. but I will never forget the intensity of that drive down the mountain. the three of us and where we all were at that point in time.

Image

so here it was four years later, h. and I going up to this workshop with micheline. “ so here we are again, back at the start again…” she and I poised in very interesting places in our lives and to share the fire of transformation that can only happen on the yoga mat, was fantastic.

Image

(joey and i (the blissed out yogini)

micheline got married a year ago, to a marvelous man, joey lugasy. a yogi, and musician and they travel together. he plays guitar, harmonium, drums and has this amazing soul stirring voice. he plays music and sings during her classes. they sing together, weave together, travel together, lead workshops together (italy, brazil, Jamaica) share this spiritual life together. they are beautiful and funny and so much in love and it is wonderful and painful to watch at the same time. I have had a taste of this and I want a full course of it. I know that it is possible. nothing less.

Image

the weekend was so powerful. sweet and hot. full of poetry, laughter, tears, snot and sweat. no differentiation. just the flowing of the river of the body, releasing and healing. such a beautiful community of people, open and honest and present in themselves and their experience. takes me to my knees every time. so grateful that this is my life. going to workshops, teaching workshops. my life is my spiritual practice. I am so freakin’ blessed.

Image

deb and her husband mike, share their gorgeous home with a handful of students and it becomes a big yogi sleep over. coffee in the big open kitchen, preparing meals together. two funny dogs and two giant cats. many pivotal and memorable points in time I have arrived at and crossed over in this house. when I knew my marriage was dissolving, friendships deepened and then in transition, being strong and solid and sure and then broken, lost and unknowing. falling so deeply in love on one trip and then on another seeing him begin to slide away from me. tearing myself apart and putting me back together so many times. it is a second home to me.

Image

it rained most of the time we were there. more memories…soft and gentle, but cold too. the drive through the mountains looked more like the columbia river gorge in oregon, than idaho. everything impossibly green. fresh tender shoots. new growth. a new season. let the fire in the belly clear the debris and allow the honey in the heart to flow like a river…

Image

Image

the morning of the race was sunny and beautiful and i felt better about doing it. sort of like i was an investigative reporter behind the lines…i rode my bike through town and along the greenbelt to the event area. amazing. 12,000 people were there. a sea of pink and white. how, i have to say that i am not a “group” kind of person. i don’t like clubs or team sports or sororities or anything that involves matching t-shirts and ball caps. i got there 3 minutes before the race was starting. got to registration, declined the t-shirt, but actually did need a hat…damn, had to break my “no group hats” rule…sigh… i declined a number as well, i just wanted to be a rogue free agent walker, do the 5k course and be part of the experience. i went by myself. walking by myself seemed fitting somehow.

although, not for long. i immediately ran into a friend i had not seen in a couple of years and we walked the course and caught up. as we walked i was struck by the festive nature of the event. music blaring, people in costume, musicians singing, a team of hot guys in running tights, no shirts and pink tutus, babies in strollers, people in wheel chairs. everyone smiling, laughing, dancing, talking, celebrating. living. virtually everyone sported a sign, t-shirt or poster bearing the names of those in their lives who had been touched or taken by cancer. it was staggering. one degree of separation these days. stories that made me feel so incredibly lucky. 

after about 4k, i bid my friend farewell, crossed the median and made my way back alone in the crowd. got on my bike and pedaled down to the farmer’s market. breathing deeply of the cool air along the shady river path, a sweet contrast to the 90 degree day it was shaping up to be. in the end i was very glad that i went. i will continue to seek my wellness, my health, my balance and choose this life. it is a really good one. 

 

Image

(the sun rising out of my morning cup of matcha)

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was building an outdoor fire in the morning and watching the sun come up. I did it 3 times and then the rains came, and then the morning brought other priorities and now, today on this full moon morning, I built a fire again. it feels magical to build a fire outside in the morning. as if the flames you start light the fire of the sun as it rises. like you helped start the day, somehow.

I am an aries, a fire sign, anyone who knows me would roll their eyes and say “of course she is a fire sign. duh.” although my mother is a water sign, she has always in my world been the fire keeper. we have never lived in a house that did not have a fireplace. ever. my constant morning memory is coming into the living room and seeing my mother perched in front of the fire with a coffee cup in one hand and toast in the other.

I find it difficult if not down right impossible to live in a house that does not have a fireplace. it feels wrong.

fire is alive. it needs oxygen. it is beautiful, mesmerizing, comforting, passionate, exciting, warming and cleansing. I have burned and released many things into the fire over the years. the other night I released the heaviness of the initial cancer diagnosis and the hospital system , by burning all of my medical bills…

Image

I know right?! I grew up when you were told to keep 5 years of all of your bank statements and bills, receipts in a shoe box, carefully labeled and to not, repeat NOT, dispose of them for any reason until this magical 5 year milestone had been met. I remember panicking over whether or not to keep them, had I kept them long enough? would the same guy who shows up to take you to jail if  you remove your mattress tags come to arrest me if I did? now i figure that we are all modern and computerized and stuff, if they really need to find these records, they certainly can and probably find them more efficiently than I could in trying to dig them up in  my house.

Image

these are all of the bills from the first go round 18 months ago. the lumpectomy, the untold amounts of medical bills and paperwork and financial assistance applications and …..all of these accounts are settled. they are finished and they were taking up an extraordinary amount of room, physically and emotionally. this was not something I wished to carry forward into my life. I have been cleaning closets, going thru files, creating a massive yard sale/donation pile. stream lining my life. taking up less space with my stuff that I might fill more space with me. so 4 days ago I burned all the paperwork.

Image

I sat in front of my glorious wood stove and fed the papers in small amounts to the flames, allowing the burn cycle to complete before adding the next. the heat that was generated was impressive. each layer stacking on the next until it now looked like this book of ash. some plump ledger from hell. as it burned I relived and released this time frame in my life. not to erase it, but to give it space to turn into something else. to take all of the gifts that have come from this experience and to move forward with my life. cancer is a part of my story, but it is not all of my story.

Image

my story is just getting started… this girl is on fire…

Image

Image

so, I went to a hot springs last week with a friend of mine that is an hour away from where I live. although I am a girl that enjoys her hot springs naked in the woods, I was willing to don a bathing suit and was appreciative of the spa like renovation that this place had undergone. it is a huge pool, natural hot spring water, with attentive staff that keep the iced lemon water flowing in your glass, poolside. 

suddenly as we were soaking, this insanely adorable puppy came bursting out of the lobby, ran towards us and in between slurpy kisses, tried to drink the pool water. (like dogs do.) it looked like the tiniest mastiff imaginable. the girl who was the puppy wrangler ( the puppy belonged to the owner of the hot springs) told me that they called it a chugaweenie: chihuahua, pug and weiner dog. 

Image

first of all, I can’t stand small dogs, in general. dogs should be larger than cats and if they are not, they are rodents masquerading as dogs. also, these three breeds in particular are probably my least favorite of the micro dog varieties. yet somehow, frankensteined together, they made one of the cutest dogs I have ever seen. 

her name was zoe and it turned out that she had a sister named ginger that belonged to the book keeper, so they got to play together at the spa. as my friend and I ate our lunch in front of the fire place in the lobby, zoe slept between us.

Image

I  can’t wait to go back and soak and have my puppy fix. 

so, now you know the true story of the chugaweenie and can dazzle people with this obscure bit of canine triva, and have pictures to back it up. 

Image

i thought you might enjoy a light puppy morsel of blogging today. happy monday!

two years ago in february my grandmother stepped off of a curb wrong and fell. she did not break anything but it rattled her. a few months before this, she got word that the cancer in her lung was growing. slowly, but growing. after her fall, she just started an incredibly fast slide out of this life. valentine’s day she was having dinner with my mom, daughter, my boyfriend and i. 5 weeks later she was gone.

Image

she and my grandfather lived with my mother in her tiny little cottage for 5 months after the time when they were both in the hospital with pneumonia.  after he passed she was there with my mother for 2 more years. as she declined, a hospital bed was brought into the living room in front of the fireplace with a fire that never went out. candles were always lit. music playing. people came and went. bringing and sharing food. curling up in the bed with her. holding her, doing reiki on her, singing and laughing. it was a powerful healing time for everyone who stepped into that house.

people who said they could not deal with being with their own parents when they passed, came often and sat and held her hand. they were as healed through this process as she was. what a gift to see a place of rejoicing and celebration of a life amidst the grief of a passing. it was all of those things.

my dauther’s birthday was the 20th and she was in a performance of her dance company on that day. my mother and grandmother were supposed to come, but grandma was too frail to leave the house. in one of the pieces that was about dreams the choreographer had interviewed several people and played the audio of them sharing their dreams. she had interviewed my grandmother and mother. and as we sat in that theater, 5 days before she passed, we heard her voice over the sound system saying, “my wish is that lily has a happy life.” they were almost the last words we would hear from her.

my grandfather’s birthday is march 25. he had passed 2 years before in july, in the hospital with all of his family gathered around him. my daughter and i held his feet sending him reiki energy as he went.

two years later, early in the morning of the 27th, nanny went to join him. we had been expecting the call and my mother called at 3:00 a.m. to say that she was gone. we cried and held each other and at 5:00,  i got up to walk to my mom’s house a short 6 blocks away. the morning was fresh and it rained in the night. it was perfectly still. the sky was clear except for a few gauzy clouds over the moon. and as i looked up i saw an enormous smiley face made from the tattered clouds back lit by the moon. a perfect smiley face beaming down on me in the pre-dawn morning.

i feel so blessed that not only had i had my grandparents in my life until i was almost 50, but my daughter had her great grandparents well into her teens and still has her grandparents. i love you nanny and grandpa. we miss you both

two years ago, i was stepping into a beautiful new life full of untold promise. that life was blown apart at the seams and no longer exists, and here i find myself, again, poised at the edge of a new life. may this new life be sustaining, inspiring, exciting, ever evolving, but have deep strong roots, some stability to hold all of the change that will undoubtedly come. a balance. the strong rooted tree that stands by the flowing river.

Image

this is the only life we have, may it be glorious and full of love. my wish, is that all of us “have a happy life.”

Image

Image

I just watched a fantastic film a couple of weeks ago called “Pina”. it is gorgeous, an homage to the German choreographer Pina Bausch who died of cancer in 2007.  her dear friend, director Wim Wenders and she had talked of doing a film showcasing her work, but kept putting it off for over a decade. they were about to begin shooting when she died 5 days after discovering she had cancer. Wim Wenders and her dance company felt committed to follow through as an act of love for Pina., the result is remarkable. her movement like nothing I have ever seen before. dancers of every conceivable age, body type, men and women. some people had been in the company with her for close to 20 years. that is unheard of.

“I am not so interested in how they move as in what moves them. “ –Pina-

I facilitate an ecstatic dance group once a month in my fair city. there are 5 of us who work together, taking turns “facilitating”. by facilitate, I mean, set up an altar, line the space with Christmas lights, set up the exquisite inter galactic star machine, do the play list, and then create an intention for the dance, a focus and hold this safe space and see what moves people. no drugs, no alcohol, no dry humping on anyone else. this is your clear dance with yourself and the divine that you share in a room full of open hearted tribe. it is powerful and joyous and incredibly cathartic. it is perfect for people who claim that they can’t dance.

Image

dance has always been a part of my life and it has carried me through some very  difficult times. it is my most primal self. a key part of who I am as a woman, my power, my sexuality. my heart.  it helps keep me sane and has contributed to my insanity at times as well, but that was when I drank way more than I do now…

“dance, dance, or otherwise we are lost.” –Pina-

people come there to dig deep, to grieve, to laugh, to love, to celebrate, to sweat their prayers. it is an honor to be there and share that kind of space with others. we have been doing this for a few years, and the family keeps growing.

as I watched this film I was saddened to know that this brilliant woman was gone, but so inspired to so see how passionate she was about her work and the mark that she left. I have thought of this movie over and over since I saw it and am planning on watching it again this weekend.

“sometimes she would say things like “go on searching.”

That was all that she would say and it meant you must keep searching not knowing where to look nor whether you were on the right track.” – from the film “pina”

I was so taken by this notion. “’go on searching”. not knowing if we are on the right track, but keeping all senses open, paying attention and trusting and saying “yes” every day to what moves us. living.

dancing or otherwise we are lost. Image