Friday, October 25, 2013
Thursday, October 3, 2013
at the dc aquatic gardens, which are lush and uncrowded and remind me of the life that goes on no matter how we think we are shutting things down.
By Stephen Dunn
Just when it has seemed I couldn’t bear
one more friend
waking with a tumor, one more maniac
with a perfect reason, often a sweetness
and changed nothing in the world
except the way I stumbled through it,
for a while lost
in the ignorance of loving
someone or something, the world shrunk
hand-size, and never seeming small.
I acknowledge there is no sweetness
that doesn’t leave a stain,
no sweetness that’s ever sufficiently sweet ....
Tonight a friend called to say his lover
was killed in a car
he was driving. His voice was low
and guttural, he repeated what he needed
to repeat, and I repeated
the one or two words we have for such grief
until we were speaking only in tones.
Often a sweetness comes
as if on loan, stays just long enough
to make sense of what it means to be alive,
then returns to its dark
source. As for me, I don’t care
where it’s been, or what bitter road
to come so far, to taste so good.
Friday, September 27, 2013
hi everyone! i'm about to embark on my last weekend of four consecutive weekend trips in september. the first weekend i spent with a great spiritual teacher in charlottesville, va. the second weekend took me to the outer banks with my dearest friends from growing up. last weekend, adam and i went to the most magical mountaintop wedding in aspen, colorado. now today i head to charles town, wv to lead a yoga retreat with the amazing yael flusberg. we have a full retreat and beautiful weather forecasted and i am so excited! each of these trips has satisfied an important part of me and once again, all i can say is a deep thank you for the velocity of dreams coming true.
i'd love to write more about humility and lessons learned (and there has been a lot of that too of late) but i need to pack and take poncho for a long walk and do my own yoga practice before getting on the road. so instead i'll leave you with this wisdom about why we are obsessed with our phones from the very honest louis c.k. to help us remember that truth can be found in the funniest of places.
Friday, September 6, 2013
after having the nicest, most relaxed week--and realizing that next week will probably be the opposite of relaxing--i buckled down and edited the rest of the photographs from my trip! i'll post them in sections and today it's all about elephants. visiting the elephant nature park outside of chiang mai was a huge highlight of my trip. it seems like everyone who goes to thailand wants to see elephants, but what most people don't know is that a lot of these elephants are mistreated. elephants are strong and sensitive creatures and the training process their owners put them through to break their spirits is really awful. many elephants are brought to big cities like bangkok so their owners can earn money from tourists but they are not built for the busy life (they pick up sensations from miles away through their feet and are totally overwhelmed by traffic). also, they eat a lot--like over 1,000 lbs of food a day and people rarely feed them enough.
seeing these problems, a little but brave lady named lek decided to start rescuing elephants. it started with one and today it's almost 30. mostly these elephants have been bought out of bad situations after they've been trained but she has been able to train one completely wild elephant just through love and positive reinforcement. also, they have rescued over 200 dogs who all lounge around the center like they own the place. it's an expensive visit and definitely very touristy but so worth it. plus, i really like to see places like this find a strong income stream (although i think they could always use more if you want to donate). this bustling business keeps the elephants eating plenty of bananas and cucumbers and tourists happy to have seen such peaceful elephants.
also, i've been loving the five kundalini yoga sutras from yogi bhajan. the second and third ones have been particularly helpful to me in the past couple of weeks.
1. Recognize that the other person is you.
2. There is a way through every block.
3. When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.
4. Understand through compassion or you will misunderstand the times.
5. Vibrate the Cosmos. The Cosmos shall clear the path.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Friday, August 23, 2013
i feel so honored to have taken these first photographs of baby julian! he's only seven days old in the photograph and already lighting up everything around him.
***when i was in sixth grade, my extended family rented a lake house in maine for a week. when i needed a break from the group, i turned to the house's little beach-reading lending library. obviously, my first choice was a danielle steele novel about scandalous movie stars trying to make their way in the industry. after reading that in about a day, i returned to the shelf and picked up a book called A Year of Beauty and Health by Beverly and Vidal Sasson (1976). it contained the detailed daily, monthly and yearly routine of this 70's power couple. dated as it was, i was fascinated by how they planned their lives. each morning began with hot lemon water and yogic stretching in bed, they fasted for one weekend a month and changed their diets with the season. they were exuberant about the results and urged everyone to try these practices for better health. as an overweight, somewhat reclusive 12-year-old, this was definitely not the way i envisioned my life. i enjoyed frozen french fries during most afternoons of the year and specifically did not enjoy any form of exercise. still, the book spoke to something in me and i brought it back home. it was on my bookshelf for years and i would read through it from time to time just to get a little shiver of inspiration up my spine.
fast-forwarding 20 years, my interest in the book makes perfect sense. the sassons were essentially describing a yogic lifestyle. today, i drink lemon water as many mornings as i remember to buy lemons, do yogic stretching on the daily and love the ayurvedic practice of changing my food with each season. i am still not a huge fan of fasting but i do it from time to time. (i just decided today that i'll be doing a kitchari cleanse during the first week of september. it will be hard to eat the same thing for three days but i know i will be happy for it afterward.) these are ancient practices for good health and i do them because they make me feel grounded, clear-headed, and full of energy. of course, i forget to do them of the time and then start to feel like crap and drink extra coffee to compensate and suffer until i break the cycle and do something kind for myself. always, there is such power in remembering how to do right for myself.
i'm still fascinated by self-care as a practice. i've essentially made my career around it and bring it up often in conversation. i love reading books and articles where people will fess up to their specific practices. in that spirit, here are a few of the things that have been most wonderful for me of late.
1. i get eight hours of sleep. there is no substitute for what this does for my overall well-being. i've learned that i can't sleep in like i used to so this means going to bed before 11pm most nights.
2. first things out of bed: i pee, scrape my tongue (swear by this), splash my face six times with cold water and put some nice-smelling, soothing rose water on my face. of late, i've taking advatage of the time adam is walking poncho to light some incense on my alter and chat my mantra 108 times. the timing usually works out perfectly that i finish my mantra just as they come back.
3. five days or so a week, i spend 45 minutes in the later morning doing my morning pages, reading a course in miracles and meditating. this is a powerful combination for me that diffuses negativity and reminds me how i really want to live my life.
4. most days i do some amount of yoga (vinyasa flow, acroyoga, or kundalini) but i must do at least one session of restorative or yin yoga a week (i love the ones on yogaglo) for the health of my nervous system. i do this mostly on wednesday afternoons--right in a middle of a busy few days of teaching and after i feel so rebooted.
5. this is kind of new but it seems to be working well: unless it's a special occasion, i limit my intake to one cup of coffee and one alcoholic drink a day. i never enjoy the second one as much as i think i will and especially with alcohol, i am starting to feel the second one the next day.
6. caring for my dog poncho also feels like self-care. we go for a walks around the cathedral near my house almost every day and once a week we head somewhere beautiful like rock creek park to feel the tall trees around us and breath a big sigh of relief.
of course there are other little things but those seem like the most important ones. now i'm so curious about yours. what are they? write down your top five, follow them for a week and see how you feel. bonus, post one in the comments section to help us all keep the inspiration going.
(if you live in dc and are interested in learning more about self-care, come to my Self-care 101 workshop next weekend. it's on sunday, september 1st from 2:30-4:30pm at the bloomingdale yoga district. click here for more information. )