My Life, An Ongoing Diatribe

gratitude

Dec. 20, 2013

What I Think of Money

I want to understand myself. I have lifted lots of rocks, opened closets, unzipped what no longer fits and tossed aside the truths that no longer worked.

Money is a fact of life. And the fact is I have never understood how I relate to it.

So in reading Money: A Love Story I was asked to journal about what I think of money.

So this is what I think:

I think I love money. I think I need money. I think I hate money. I think I can never have enough money. I think money means success. I think money is love. I think money means people don’t know how to love you. I think I am not good enough to make money. I think hard work makes money. I think smart people make money. I think rich people work hard and get lucky. I think money creates problems. I think money solves problems.

To dig deeper I have to ask how money makes me feel:

Money makes me feel independent. Money makes me feel worthwhile. Money makes me feel loved when I have it and unworthy when I don’t. Money makes me feel confident. Money makes me feel like I have choices. Money makes feel trapped. Money makes me feel motivated.

What does this mean?

To me this means I have a lot of ambivalence and a lot of confusion.

Money is a loaded subject. I come, as I say, from the land of plenty. I grew up in an affluent Midwestern town. I had every opportunity under the sun. When I was 15 my dad lost the job he had but built things up well after that with his business acumen and contacts. When I was 15 in anger he told me if I wanted something not ask him for it.

He did not mean it and has given so much over the years. He stood by me this summer. He gave me the help I needed all the along the way as an adult and did his best in raising me.

But at 15 years old I was hurt enough to believe him though life proved otherwise.

I work hard and often have more than one job. But unlike many young  people I meet today I did not unravel my pain and confusion till much later in life and due to my mental health condition and alcoholism, I lost many years.

So today I say I am a young soul because so much has been packed in and I find my experiences are not the norm for most I meet, at least I hope not.

But we all have our challenges, traumas and heart breaks.

I am one of the most resilient individuals I know and most tenacious. I don’t give up. I am willing to try. I am willing to fail. I am willing to fail again and again. And every time I get up after and keep going.

I teach yoga full time. Poetry is my first love and in the summer of 2012 I started writing and editing elephant Journal. Now my poems get read by more than a few close friends. Now I edit. Now though not getting rich I do get paid to edit.

I do what I love. I am learning how to sell now for an amazing company with hopes of changing my financial fortune. It is not fast. It is not easy. It is not network marketing. It is a skill. And I am willing to learn and try and see how I do.

I don’t give up. I love money. I love to work. I just want more. And digging in to see what money is and is not helps me understand what I bring to the table when I spend, earn and buy.

Clarity is finding its way into the confusion of how I can work so hard and have so little.

Sept. 9, 2013

Sometimes finding a way in is the way out. There are doors and windows I can open and close. Yet I find I am right here now and being in the moment is the ultimate wisdom.

However for all my years and experience I don’t feel wise. I am edging my way to now with a keyboard and an almost blank page. The tv is on but I am not watching it really. My kitties amble around me. I have a diet Cherry Dr. Pepper in a tall blue plastic glass a friend gave me.

I am here. There is a family on tv. And it makes me think of mine, the one I was born into and the one I just lost.

My family was small. My family included my husband and five cats, of which I now have two and no husband, at least not in sight. We just separated.

I won’t bore you with the drama and details for there is much drama and many details.

But now I am living alone for the first time in 30 years. Now I am on my own. And I like it.

I can do whatever I want. What I want more than anything is to create balance in my heart and peace in my mind.

I have choice, the blessings of free will.

I chose to move out of my home. I chose to leave my husband. I chose the two kitties I wanted to bring with me. And yet with all that I feel like I had no choice.

My back was against the wall and had I stayed I would still be crying.

Loss and I are good friends. We must befriend loss because it comes with change. And change is the only promise at birth.

Sept. 4, 2013

In the haze of endings sometimes we forget the beauty of beginnings. There is loss and my good friend, grief. There are tears. And all the tears clear the way for the joy that rises even as I cry.

My life is starting over again.

I am living alone again for the first time in 30 years…I am 54.

I am moving north of all I know into a smaller town, further out from where I have been living. I am taking two of my five kitties and of course, boat load of books.

And a heart full of memories.

I don’t want to bury anything. I want to remember all the love and goodness and learn from what I did that brought this situation to pass.

I have been married over 16 years.

I love my husband yet much has happened this summer that make it best for me to leave for now. I know what was will never be again. I pray for friendship and understanding.

This was a tough summer. My heart broke again and again.

Yet sheer determination kept me going, teaching, writing and doing.

Tonight was the first class I taught since June that I felt like my old self again, but the self is not old, this self is new. This self is stronger, determined and open to all possibility.

Change is the only promise.

And this is change.

Today I met the owner of a studio in my new town. I think I will be offered two or three classes. I will be driving often and a lot again. I make it my meditation, cruising in the car.

I have hopes and dreams and they grow and change as I grow and change.

I have a book I agreed to edit. I had to put it on hold through all this but will jump in the day I move.

I have a workshop with one of my favorite teachers, Douglas Brooks, in October. Now there is something to be excited about.

My husband and I are getting along okay from day to day though I have not slept at home in a week.

It’s all good. I know many hate that saying. But honestly, it is. It’s all for the best, for growing and knowing I don’t know what will be or how. My goal is to make new friends, meet new neighbors, and settle in, in my new life, my new home.

July 23, 2013

So I remember the words of my teacher and have written them before:

It’s all a Journey.

Sometimes the journey is fun and care-free and others it is challenging. But I have to say on most days I may cry but on every day I smile and remember love gives more than anything can take.

I continue to learn what it means to be real and true and honest, with myself and others. And I continue to make mistakes. But with a bit of hope and insight I hopefully learn what I need to so I don’t do the same thing again.

And too often I do do the exact the same mistake again, and again. We all do.

I told someone I want to need less. I posted on FB I want to need less. I want to need to talk less. I want to need to eat less. I want to need less coffee, less tv and less sleep.

I want to read more and listen to more books. I want to write more. I want to do more yoga and aerobics. I want to meditate more.

Want and need are different. One can be set aside as desired and the other does not rest until fulfilled.

Too often our needs are bastardized. We think we need coffee when we need to rest. We think tv relaxes when it revs us up. We think we need to talk when we need to reflect. We think we need so much.

All we all really need is love, in a moon or a flower, a kitty or a child, a friend or an enemy.

So i embrace my smiles and my tears.

There are a few things I have going for me and one of those things is sheer determination to grow and not let this journey become one I do alone without hope and faith and friends and to not slip into thinking I don’t have choice and will.

I won’t be a victim of my own making. And if life makes me one, which it has, i choose to find my feet and the sunrise and know today and tomorrow can change on a dime or a whim or with a prayer.

July 10, 2013

I apologize for the long absence.

I have never felt more alone and I have never felt more held by friends.

I have also ranted about those friends who withdraw because that is how they process their life and in so doing, have no room for anyone else.

That hurts.

I return phone calls. I answer emails. I reach out. And many have reached back.

And a few have not.

I know though I have felt alone I am not. Many I know are going through their own challenges, some seem like more than I could handle but we are all doing our best, day by day.

There are always curve balls. Sometimes we swing and miss. Sometimes we hit a home run. Sometimes the ball hits us between the eyes.

And for a while we cannot stand or see.

But with luck, love, hope and prayer, we stand again, we see even clearer than before.

Today I drove to Berkeley Springs and spent money I don’t have. I got a facial and massage and sat in a whirlpool. I bought a bracelet with the words: Wonder, Imagine, Dream, Wish, Reflect, Believe.

My necklace says: Be Still and Know.

I wear this with love, for their energy. Words carry meaning.

Meaning infuses all I feel and hopefully, what I write.

Love makes us whole.

What I learned is I have a lot to learn about how to love.

Luckily I am a willing student.

June 11, 2013

Well life always goes on till it does not.

My heart is dry and brittle yet there’s been much rain. I am worn and tired.

Teaching lifts my heart every time. I remain grateful for what is and know the moment holds me with the same tenderness of the moon that offers a little grace each night.

I am older now…as in just had a birthday. I knew I had not hit something this hard in quite some time. I do feel like I have been hit but the more I allow the hurt to seep into me the more it can seep out. And then the healing begins…for we are always healing…it’s nature and somehow we find balance, and the net might feel like fire yet we land and learn to rise every time.

May 30, 2013

So I have felt the tug of illness but think it will be pass. Balance is such an unsteady thing and we all revolve around that point where we find ease. To find that point we do many things, some are better for us than others.

Today we did some financial wrangling so we can pay bills, mortgage and many who provide services for both my husband and I.

My balance left me many times over the past year because my debit and credit sheet were all red.

This edge brought me to ponder what really matters. It helped me learn I cannot give what I don’t have, whether financial or emotional or spiritual.

When feeling the drain of living in lack my spirit teetered on bankruptcy itself.

Consciousness is abundant, as a friend so wisely said. Love can be found in wonder, hope, friends and family and even our pets.

Yet I kept going, sometimes with tears and fear in my heart other times with hope and longing.

Somehow things always work out, with a bit of grace and a lot of support from good people.

And I keep writing and find comfort in what the process shows me.

Need is an odd creature: soft as a kitten, vulnerable as a newborn and mean as hurt hunted animal.

Yes we all crave balance…like tree pose, some days we can root and bend other days we cannot even find the earth beneath our feet.

Yet I know I can choose to always look up where the sun and moon live with the promise of time. I may not always find the earth under me yet I feel her in me taking in what the universe offers.

As a teacher said, the whole system wants us all to heal. We simply align, and let the magic happen.

The word is love. It only asks for willingness to give, to listen, to feel and be.

May 24, 2013

So watching Eat Pray Love. I am eating and Julia Roberts just landed at the Ashram and is learning about Seva, service, and meditation.

Does that mean I’ll meditate later?

Time will tell….but isn’t all life service? Tami Simon of Sounds True started that company to be of service. Waylon of elephant Journal is motivated by service.

I teach to serve but I teach to pay my bills too. Yet nothing is ever only about the money or only for the money, to me, for me, in me.

Julia Roberts wants peace. I just wrote up my Yoga Nidra Meditation and am sharing on elephant Journal. It’s titled: Meditation to Help Your Dreams Come True.

I have dreams. I want to serve. And I want money.

In fact I don’t know that I ever turn money down, though there are those moments when I must, rare though they be.

And I truly care about others in general, as a principle. I will go out of my way to help most, if I can.

Most of all I have learned I must help myself, for if I don’t I cannot serve anyone.

Play by Play: Julia is getting lecture on how to still the mind though I must say I think they’re all missing the boat accept when he says surrender. We cannot force stillness anymore than we can force joy or sadness.

The secret, what all the great teachers teach, is being present. And being present isn’t something we force. Giving cannot be forced. Helping from the heart cannot be forced.

Things can be faked.

People can tell lies that hold truths and truths that hold lies.

But the real always holds more light even in the darkest nights. So maybe we can Fake it Till we Make it as they say in AA….but that’s more about putting one foot in front of the other and trying on emotions because we never felt them before.

Ah well…we’re always arriving….as Zoe says, it’s all experience, it’s all a journey.

May 20, 2013

I just finished interviewing Tami Simon, publisher at Sounds True. It was quite the honor to meet her via Skype and get to know her a little better. To me she is the master interviewer: Insights at the Edge.

She speaks with the top spiritual teachers alive….Tara Brach, Seane Corn, Sally Kempton….David Whyte, Mark Nepo….teachers, healers, psychologists, writers….poets, yogi’s and yogini’s…

Her goal when she started was to share spiritual teaching and her impetus was to serve. Stay tune to elephant Journal for the details.

It is such a gift to me to be able to meet many I have met doing these interviews which also includes Sally Kempton and Cyndi Lee and Tara Brach….

Opportunity abounds. The gifts are everywhere if only we can find the time to look beyond the wrapping.

May 19, 2013

Well Tara Brach made the Washington Post. And the comments are amazing…many of course are positive but my goodness, a few who seem to have little experience of Tara seem to have a lot to say.

But God knows I am good at having opinions.

Tara Brach is good people. She offers so much.

She helps people help themselves. What greater gift is there?

May 17, 2013

 I get tired of struggling but we all do…I want to be present, be open, to move beyond what life demands and yet living is giving what is needed, taking what we must and laughing as often as we can.

When I remember to be grateful for my many friends and students and keep my family close to my heart, I remember all will be okay in one way or another. I think of Tara Brach’s teachings about being happy for no reason, being present and not pushing away the negative or grasping to keep the positive.

My teacher says be open to all. If I allow my heart to be touched by the roses out my window and the ton of mint in my front  yard, the kitties who stay by my side and the endless students who only wish to learn, then the worry melts like ice in summer and I give myself the gift of joy, our birthright.

I try to be kind to others. I remember we are all doing our best in any moment, whatever that is.

Choice is a gift we don’t all use enough. Let’s keep unwrapping choice in every moment.  Let’s be present, be kind and reach inside to find the nuggets that are always there. As one healer said even in the darkest room we have the light in our heart.

May 12, 2013

Mother’s day…a good day in general I’d say…to celebrate our mom’s in all the different ways they show up in our lives.

I called mine this morning but she does not like to talk on the phone much so dad asked me to call back. She probably doesn’t know what day it is.

I spun myself into a tizzy and my wise teacher told me to remember it’s all experience, this journey. “The key is letting it touch you openly.”

This is simple. Yet for me at times I make it a challenge….for I am not open. I am full of fear and excitement, worry and judgement. All the angst in the world nailed my thoughts so I did not know how to be present, or open, to the possibility of change or no change.

The fact is everything changed in my mind and nothing changed in my life.

Well, I wrote some and felt a despair that is yes experience but it was born in fear, not love.

So I keep trying, to be open, to find the flow in my heart and let go of the thoughts. As I tell my students, Think Less.

When I have perspective then I may get a little insight: I am okay. My husband is okay. The sun it out today. I got to do some yoga yesterday and am meeting a friend for dinner.

Where attention flows, energy goes. Today I want my attention to stay here, right here, in this moment where I am writing, bread is baking, water is to my right, kitties are near and love is always open to being open.

I’ll keep saying my prayers. I want to learn and grow. My knowing unfolds hope in one hand and love in the other, and with that I begin that most traditional of prayers: Our Father…for in the words I find comfort and seek peace.

May 8, 2013

I think the cold is on the way out but it is taking its time. I went to a clinic as I could not get in to see my doctor. It worked out okay for the most part. I ate for the first time today and my head hurts. I have been streaming a show called Tudors but think am done and numb from watching it, intriguing as it is. I have slept.

And I have once again applied for jobs, ten to be exact. I love teaching. I mean I do love it. But sometimes life demands we give up what we love for something more important and it seems life is asking me to do that.

Actually I feel like I am on a sinking ship so better to grab an oar and row away than sit and cry.

The curve balls we get are many and some times we have to compromise desire with need, passion with survival, and let go a little and allow the wind to do its thing.

I don’t know if I will get the day job. It may not come to that but it might.

So it goes….a new page, a new day, every moment an offering if I can just see past my fear to accept it.

May 1, 2013

I have allergies and a cold. It is not much fun. And, I ran out of tissues but at least I have paper towels.

Life demands that often, that we make do with what we have and improvise.

Sometimes we smile outside when inside we are sad. This does not mean we are being false per se, but I find grief and sadness are personal and it is not always appropriate to share those feelings.

So we improvise. I know I do. I find a reason to smile so the smile can hold meaning. It’s not all that hard to find a reason to smile: the sun comes out most days, I have the opportunity to share what I love every day, I have a loving husband and 4 cats I adore and of course, many friends.

Though we don’t all have many friends. If we have one we can consider ourselves blessed. I have many blessings because I have a few close friends and others who I don’t know well emough or long enough to be close. But am working on it.

And in a way many of my students are friends. Our life exists in the studio more often than not but we share before class and after, and often during.

I remember realizing in high school that first my parents were individuals, a man and a woman, and then they were husband and wife and then they were mom and dad….among other things.

Today I am okay saying I am what I do: I am a teacher. But for most of my life I did not identify with my vocation because it gave me nothing beyond a means to pay bills and survive.

And, I now write for various blogs, mainly elephant Journal. I have a forum to practice my craft, a community to share what I practice and a way to express what I don’t even know is in me until the process finds the words and then I realize the meaning behind what I say is a nugget in my heart….and if am lucky, I may touch yours…even if I don’t know it.

April 20, 2013

Well my oldest friend has her birthday today. We have known each since we were 6 years old. I have not seen her in maybe 30 years but we can still talk and share as if we had coffee yesterday.

Such is the gift of friendship and time.

Are we different? On the outside everything is but on the inside we hold the same values of love, respect, trust and integrity. Forgiveness we both know is paramount in living a life of love.

And tonight for no reason I turned on the news which I rarely watch.

I find it difficult to digest. The weather is on now. That I can tolerate, tornado watches included.

But the tragedy of Boston, the most bizarre turn of events that breaks hearts and brings fear into a reality we don’t like to know.

Tomorrow I go to a new studio. I will be with toddlers. Such fun. The innocence will feel fresh as spring in my heart.

I love teaching and find it is the practice that moves me.

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So life goes on….almost a year older and maybe a little wiser. Life is rich and full. Problems continue but that’s life, isn’t it? We all have problems.

If you have stayed up to date on my articles you know this year has been a little rough. But happy to say am happily married with our four furry children.

I continue to teach. Some say I teach too much but actually it is manageable and keeps me fulfilled. Teaching is a practice in itself. Some weeks I do a lot of yoga, some weeks I do a little. And my new fun is step aerobics.

I discovered Alanna Kaivalya’s webinars. They are informative and fun. Have missed being able to take workshops but all in good time.

I find with time hurts hurt in a more profound way but am better able to process them, be present, and let them go. It’s a practice, being present. All the teachings all boil down to that: Be here now.

I always say will try to check in here more often. So I won’t say it this time. Time is always the great sayer of truths.

Off I go…not sure what I will do next, in this moment. But I will say I am mildly thrilled to be writing more and be published.

Stay tuned. We are blessed to live this life in the playground of earth. We must remember to play….and play at work.

It’s all experience. What we do with it, is up to us.

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Well it is official. My birthday was June 1st. I am 53. I don’t feel older. I feel good.

Just had dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant with my girlfriends downtown. It was great to be out sharing and having fun.

At dinner my friend asked me my hopes for the year: to make a name as a writer.

In yoga we often talk about intention, how action follows it. In Yoga Nidra we talk about Sankulpa, intention toward manifesting what our heart wants. Keeping the desire in the present tense is important. And I learned in hypnotherapy training that the moment we take a statement and add the dimension of time, we step out of our subconscious.

My mantra now is: I am Free. My new teacher Zoe talks about this. So does Douglas Brooks. It is choice and responsibility at the most profound level.

As time moves forward I become more comfortable with self. I settle with more ease into each moment. Love becomes what it wants to be: an energy of joyful giving.

May 28, 2012

Memorial Day. Grilled burgers soon. Tarts with home-made lemon curd, from a student and raspberry in the oven. Husband watching sports. Kitty playing with plastic bag. Talks on phone with friends. Life is sweet.

Had a long talk with my dad today. It was fun. He will be 86 in June. And I will be 53. With time he has mellowed, and we can just chat about what my life is and has been, and what his life is and has been.

Dad missed the war. Well, he did not miss but he did not have to go for physical reasons. My brother missed Viet Nam because of his age and none of us ever signed up. I admire those who go out there and fight. I cannot imagine killing anyone, ever. I know people sign up for all sorts of reasons but the reality of combat is never pretty. And I know in an ideal world there would be no need for war or fighting. Human nature remains what it is and there is a need, even if I don’t like the need or the reality or ideas of war.

We must, I feel, bless and be grateful for those who serve. And as one FB friend said, we as a nation should do what we can to support them when they come home.

A friend who was a veteran in teacher training recommended AT HELL’S GATE, by Claude Thomas Anshin. It was eye-opening in many ways. The trauma and confusion the existed that this one man went through before becoming a monk. It was a fast read.

I don’t think I can appreciate the trauma of what soldiers experience. I had a friend in college who went to Nam and he told me stories of going to the jungle for days and weeks and fighting an invisible enemy.

I don’t read the news much but I would like to change that behavior, to be more up to date. I know not everyone thinks this way but I am glad I am a citizen of the United States. We do a lot of good. I don’t believe in all we do of course, but we are a compassionate people. Capitalism is not bad in itself. And we have many socialist policies. The world in essence is capitalist in that each country works for itself even it it is not based on the economics of capitalism.

There are so many people who try to help others in other countries and I honestly wish there was more of a focus on our own. I used to give time to community work. I worked at For Love of Children. I tutored students at UDC as a volunteer. I tutored a child in a program for a year in school, elementary aged child. Then I got busy. Oh,  I used to teach class periodically at N Street Village.

I feel blessed. In my previous post I say I come from an affluent family. My folks have helped me out many times…but what I meant is that when an individual grows up without resources some times they fear not having enough. My mom was like that, a depression baby who would not waste a thing. My husband and I make ends meet and we’re happy. I don’t fear being poor. I wonder about old age but hoping to be teaching a lot longer.

Well that’s it. Just wanted to keep the diatribe going. I bought myself Kettle Bells for my birthday.

Time to grill those burgers and check those tarts.

May 21, 2012

The ongoing diatribe came to a halt….but my life, of course, did not. Since I rearranged my schedule and live at home more than in my car and at coffee shops, things have been sweeter, gentler, easier. I teach mainly out here where I live, in Gaithersburg, Olney and now Rockville. The summer will be crazy busy because I’ll have a month of Mondays with toddlers, 2.5 to 3 hours in 30 minute back to back classes. And maybe a camp two days a week for one hour each in DC with elementary aged children.

The challenge will be to keep my balance, keep my yoga, and my daily regimen now of aerobics. I love my step and cardio work outs. And I am learning about Yin yoga, which got a bad rap in some circles I travel in but I think it was due to misunderstanding. I love it. It grounds me in a profound way. Even some of my poems are less dark.

I often still teach every day but that is in part because I see a client on the weekends. And I do workshops on the weekends.

All in all I am grateful for the pace and promise of my life and my livelihood and my first passion, writing. I have been writing poems since I was 9 years old. I may be past the rational peak of my life age-wise but in other ways I feel like mine is just approaching. I am not too old to dream….the book in print, the foundation for healing, programs to teach yoga…my thoughts come easily and more rapidly than most. I am too quick in ways. All to say, maybe they’ll all just be dreams but some dreams come true.

Ambition is the stuff dreams are made of, per Shakespeare. A neighbor thought I did not think money is important. I just don’t let it rule me. I think about it a lot, how to pay what bills and when. I was blessed to come from an affluent family so to me there’s always more; I just don’t always know where it will come from or when it will come.

I work hard. I want to be paid fairly. I love to work. I love what I do: Yoga. When younger I never identified myself via my profession. Now I can. When I was a child I always wanted to be a teacher. I found my way…And for me  yoga is all about how we engage, the self, the community, in asana the body, in meditation, the spirit, in teaching by sharing and keeping the conversation open…on my yoga mat I go inside. Feeling feels free. In poetry I plunk, I dip down. In life, I often stick to surfaces because it feels safe and easy and I have been doing it for so long this way. Now I get strong anxiety at times. It is uncomfortable but I know it is good. My body, all of our bodies, hold our whole life within it. And the stuff I never released is finding the window to nature.

I rarely get angry in the car anymore. I am kinder to my friends and the general public. I keep growing, and in that there is comfort. And I teach always from my heart. I don’t cry a lot anymore. For a long time I rarely cried at all. Then the dam broke….now it feels like more balance, more ease.

I am trying to learn how to move what’s inside….instead of clinging or pushing away.

It’s a process. I am glad to be in it.

October 29, 2011

So I did not know exactly where to write this…so here I am, my life, an ongoing diatribe….that, with grace, keeps on going.

Tonight I wrote, formatted and sent out my newsletter. In AA there is a saying about keeping one’s side of the street clean. Tonight, I was street cleaning.

I taught 4 classes today. I woke at 6 a.m. Dyed my hair with Henna and left at 7:30 for my 8 a.m. private client. Then I drove to Blue Heron. There is a Trader Joe’s so I shopped there and got coffee. I hung out and then taught two classes. Got lost on my way to the last, the fourth of the day, which was one I was doing as Seva, an offering, to my therapuetic students at Olney Yoga and Wellness.

I came home, feeling cooked. And rested with my newest kitten before cooking dinner and doing my newsletter. Now, it is out.

I feel better, worried about how the money will come in as I am giving up Saturdays at Blue Heron and Sundays at Rock Creek Sports Club. I love to teach. I love yoga…

I have been teaching for 7 days a week for  years…and cannot keep up the pace. And, being 52 with no savings I wonder what happens at 62 or 85…but I just keep on keeping on.

Life is a balancing act, how we work to keep it each moment as each moment we risk falling out of balance. Yoga helps. Meditation helps. Walking helps.

Teaching all the time does not. I realize I am a workaholic…whenever I am short and impatient I credit my dad, who also gave me a strong spirit and strong sense of right and wrong. The degree to which I am likeable I credit my mother, whose love is unwaivering. Dad too is always there for me…and I know they cannot live forever but still cannot imagine life without talking to both of them a few times a week. They give me love, strength, hope and ultimately, were my first and best teachers.

What I have learned this year is that I  have a lot fire. In Ayurveda that is the Pitta Dosha. I am also very quick, dexterous and my wit is sharp, though not cutting. I am my best punch line.

I learned at a young age to laugh at myself, being teased ruthlessly for being fat as a child, I survived by laughing at myself first.

I learned in time when working that though truth is honorable, lying can be necessary.

I learned that when my office workers were rude to me it worked better if I was rude back at them and then they’d be nice.

This summer my new mantra, bear with me, became: learn to be more selfish and less thoughtful; that may sound harsh and yet it seemed to be the lesson I needed.

I help others when and where I can. I reach out to people, often. I do my best to be sensitive to the needs of others.

Yet being a workaholic, maybe walking into recovery mode…I know what I tell others to  try: focus on self. No one will take care of me like me…and no one should or could.

When I worked as a secretary, admin assistant, office manager and leasing agent, I come home repeatedly, in tears. And during those years I often had a part time job and/or did community work, tutoring, working with Foster children…giving back since I have been give so much.

I also know having basically lost everything but my family that no one can take my faith, my yoga, or my poetry…and even circumstance did not rob me of my parents and brother and sister.

Time is the great healer. Love is  the required ingredient.

Another lesson: I did a cleanse this Spring. What I learned, is that, for all my sense of balance, those tapes that I played for 3o plus years, under pressure, are still there….just not as loud or strong under normal circumstances.

So my life: i teach, do yoga, share my life with my best friend, my husband Mike, adore all 4 kitties…read some, walk some, swim some…have tv on often though don’t watch it as much as I used to watch it….

This September I cut back on all but teaching…and doing yoga…

I am driven by circumstance to work but also I love to work. Now there will be a shift…much needed, and I will, in December, or by January, have a day of rest…as a rule.

So I will switch blogs and move to the yoga…and try to connect the dots where I can.

September 4, 2011

Well, Fall is on the way. Unlike many, I embrace the short days and cooler temperatures. Darkness holds me in a comfortable way. Though of late I’ve felt a tad blue. I do not often feel blue or depressed. There’s no good reason besides the circumstances I am consistently creating by my long held habits. So I have decided to change the focus, alternate the perspective.

I always say love is the strongest healer there is. This seems a great opportunity to love all the things I don’t. This seems like a good time to try new things and let go of the critical mind of mine that does not embrace how I am in all ways.

So my endeavor is to exercise more often, which I began this summer and simply fell of last week, for lack of time as well as just plain laziness and not wishing to be on the road any longer than necessary.

Today I went to a studio and took a refreshing vinyasa class. Last night I meditated. This afternoon I hope to go swim some laps….

I tend to feel blessed. I found a way to move beyond my feelings of unworthiness in relation to others…I do this by remembering all the people in my life who I love and who I know love me. Every friendship has its own colors. There are folk who I feel really get me, but they are few. And there are those I talk to on a blue moon. And then there are those I talk to almost daily, like my husband.

I also am fortunate to love my vocation, teaching and yoga. Not everyone can say this, including my husband.

So bad habits die an uneasy death. My remedy for today is to create more good habits…and allow what I do to not leave me with sensations of “badness” ~

Now I am going to meditate…and get to work on studying. I do lots of online training and am way behind. And, I have a workshop coming up…

Written July 17, 2011

Just checking in. Had the oddest yoga practice last night. I ate way too much with a lot of garlic and when I started my asana practice I just kept having to burp. And it was a class of twists….OMG. We all know twists wring out our inner organs.

Well, I did my best. Downward Facing Dog felt the best. The length of the pose in stretching both my front body and back body was a big release.

But I did what I could and felt better for it. Yoga always always always does that for me. I do not think I can say I did an asana practice and ever felt worse. Hence, I keep doing it.

I use Yogaglo at home for my home practice. [That is “glo” as in global not as in glow ~ always feel a need to say that.] The teachers are excellent and I really think there is something for everyone. The Anusara certified teachers are all excellent. I cycle through with who my favorites are in that realm at different times. Ironically, my all time favorite is Jo…she is a vinyasa teacher and is like comfort food to me. I know what I am going to receive in a general way and yet each time I learn something new. She is slow and methodical. She has good alignment instructions. She is sweet and nurturing and her pace works. I tend to move too fast, that Pitta fire in me and she slows me down.

Going slower is always good in this life of iPhones, email, cars, and overall busy-ness. Breathing into the belly, moving with awareness and developing an awareness of how I am keeps me going to the mat and doing my best to take my yoga off the mat and into my community by staying present.

My meditation practice has grown. So grateful for this and for Tara Brach. Check out her podcasts if you cannot get to the Unitarian church on River Road….I listen to her all the time and each time I feel enriched and like I just ate a plate of greens.

Written June 10, 2011

I decided just now for the purposes of blogging to make the most recent entry on top…I think that makes sense. In 12 Step Rooms there is a saying: First things First. Makes sense. Seems obvious. Yet how often do any of us lose perspective because of stress and because life does not always make sense? But I know I do my best to force meaning into situations, other people, or chance happenings.

Yet one of my students taught me, or at least changed my perspective on meaning and the idea that everything happens for a reason. I used to say we as humans may not be able “to divine” reason but there always is one, even if we don’t know it. I learned a long long time ago to not ask: Why Me? I knew that question serves no one, or at least, not me. The good and the bad happen. And I do not think any of us so special, different or privileged that something particular, blessing or curse, happens to one person and not the other for any special reason.

Sometimes there are reasons, and sometimes there just are not. Why one person gets hit in a random car accident or develops glaucoma and another does not cannot be explained. Yes, there is comfort in the belief that all happens for a reason. And if it works for you I’d say keep it. But for me, it no longer works. And  yet when set up against the unexplainable or irrational, I dig for meaning. I need it sometimes, though I know it does not always serve anyone, especially me.

We all make choices. The adult recognizes those choices and accepts responsibility for them. And, must accept responsibility for how she/he responds to what life tosses in the path, or, victim mentality grows.

Yoga for me has been a conscious choice to work with who I am and how I am. It is the practice of awareness and compassion. My enlightenment of late has been that I have a lot fire in my personality. And I do not always channel it well. I did not choose my personality in the same way I choose to do yoga. My soul and ego merged and there a personality developed. But it is mine. And yoga works like water on a summer day…it eases me back into the state of relaxation which is what kept bringing me back into in 1997, when I started taking yoga at Gold’s gym, with a most amazing teacher I must say.

My emotional response to life does not always make sense, but then, neither does life. Yet yoga helps me create meaning when I need it by keeping me present in my body and helps me acknowledge that it may not always be there.

First things first. Love first, Forgive next, then Accept whatever life happens to offer.

Written May 27, 2011

This year, 2011, I will be 52 years old. Life is sweet. My current challenge, like most of us, is finding balance. Yoga helps me with this by keeping me grounded and open. The consistent practice of asana puts me in my body, and helps me stay there.

When I was a college graduate, my brother recommended I become a letter carrier. I would be outside, walking, and out of my head. I find the irony today appealing. With my Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English as a new graduate my first job was that of a donut dealer. Yes, I worked in North Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a small coffee shop, pouring coffee and dealing donuts.

I wanted, I thought, to be a poet. I did not know I already was one and was embarressed and ashamed to share this aspiration. I had the famous wandering ego, that went from dreams of grandeur to feelings of self-loathing, to feeling less than those I saw around me, whatever their station in life. And I knew I was an alcoholic. No delusions there. Most of my friends outgrew their partying and drinking. I gave up on marijuana and stuck to booze. It worked quite well, for a long time. But like most who drink too much on a daily basis, i ended up drinking alone, caught in a fog of despair and lonliness.

Enough history…I joke I am one long short story but many of them are more for telling than writing. Today, almost thirty years later, I have twenty years of sobriety. I have a vocation that feeds my body, mind, heart and soul. And, I like being in my body more often than not. Balance remains a struggle. But  I don’t have to numb myself into oblivion. I can celebrate what I value most in life: Faith, Family and Friendship. All three have taught me that healing is a constant process, love is the required ingredient, and forgiveness asks us to see the self and others with  an open heart and clear eyes at every juncture.

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  1. where can I get ahold of one of your poetry collections?? you are amazing. I am an aspiring to be published poet. I write spiritual/religious poetry as well. I need more than a few minutes to relax and absorb your poetry…so…! maybe I will look you up on amazon.

  2. sending you hugs as well!! I really appreciate your quick reply. good luck and many blessings! keep writing poetry cuz you are amazing as I said.

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