Heart

Good evening Travellers,

It’s Sunday eve, but this week I’m going to deviate from my usual offering of something splendid to just say a few things, I hope you won’t mind…let’s assume for arguments sake, that you won’t…

I’d like to take a few moments of appreciation here… just a few…

For the miraculous machine that dwells within us all

The thing that started to beat long before your lungs knew what air was

Long before your tongue found words or tastes or teeth

Or your eyes and ears were filled with the innumerable sensations that we take for granted each day

Or your tiny fingers and toes touched this Earth.

Your heart.

It’s a great word, right? Heart…I mean just say it out loud, your heart, my heart…

It’s a word that sounds like it’s loved, it’s got a gentle smile on it and a deeply resonating warmth.

It sounds tender. Like it wants to be deeply held.

I’m talking about the literal thing right now. That sinewy, blood filled muscle of an organ.

At one time, it was so tiny, you might even say miniscule. Beating inside your mom’s belly.

Smaller than the tip of your thumb. And now it’s the size of your fist.

Your heart that beats without fail every single second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year, decade of your mortal life.

Have you ever taken a moment in absolute stillness and placed your hands on that pulsing and just felt it.

When you lie in bed tonight or perhaps when you awake in the morning, just take a moment and place your palms on your chest till you locate it and feel it.

The rhythm that is all yours, just yours.

That’s your life, right there, under your hands. Nestled in your chest.

It’s an odd looking organ, isn’t it? Hard to believe that thing, a thing that looks like it does is driving you forward.

Obviously in symphony with your brain and lungs and blood, but it’s the thing that is pumping life through your body

And when it ceases to do that, we are pronounced dead.

When I think about reasons to live well, I often think of my heart. And wanting to care for it.

Because I think about it’s location in the human body. It’s surrounded and protected by skin, muscle and bone.

Cradled in the center of our chest, in a place it can be defended and protected.

It’s as if it’s anatomical location shows us that it is precious.

It is worthy of your utmost care…

We often talk about heart break. We deeply hurt and say we are heart broken.

Of course this is figurative right?

A metaphor perhaps.

I have often said that Dave broke my heart and then his suicide smashed it into a million pieces, but that’s not entirely true, as my heart continues to beat ever so faithfully in my chest. Right now, as I type…there is no hesitation.

Someone hurt my heart recently from disappointment, but my organ itself feels fine, it’s somewhere else in my body…

Can you really die from heart break? Do our emotions break the muscles or the valves or the stymie the blood flow?

Why did we decide to call it heart break?

Who was the first person that used that phrase?

Doesn’t emotion come from the brain and nervous system? Or perhaps the soul if you are into that sort of thing.

Why don’t we call it brain break? Or say our nerves are deeply uncomfortable? Or say we are emotionally sick.

Just think if there was no such phrase as heart break.

There would be no Shakespeare, or songs, or movies or hell, just all kinds of things would require an entirely different vernacular.

Perhaps the heart is the great hall monitor of our human body. Slowing the blood down, or speeding it up. Trying to keep us in line where we belong.

It doesn’t seem to be breakable, but yet we believe it is…

And we all take it for granted too, don’t we? This life, our heart.

Because it is in fact your one ever present diligent companion.

Someone close to me has heart problems. He’s 85 and has both a defibrillator and a pace maker. He’s now taking medicine to help strengthen the muscles because they are beginning to get tired. As one expects to happen eventually.

I was thinking at their house the other night, or rather marveling how far that heart has travelled. How many beats it has drummed out in his lifetime, how many times his wife more than likely listened to it with her ear on his chest in their youth, and the fact that he made four other hearts in his children that will beat after he is gone.

It’s the kind of thing to marvel at and just think about for a few minutes…

This life is a marvel, just in case you have forgotten…it’s right there in your chest.

Resplendent is splendid’s cousin, right?

Welcome to another wind down Travellers,

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this week in between a lot of working, cleaning, talking, moving, writing, driving, cooking, walking dogs, listening to music, listening to strange stories from various people and (deep sigh) here we are.

At the last sunset of the week. Or the first sunset, however you wanna see it.

Since it’s Sunday, you know why I’m here, or let’s assume you do, just for arguments sake…before I show you the simple splendid moments of my life, I hope you have been noticing your own. I’m gonna keep hoping you do, don’t think I’m not!! Whether you write it down, or take a snap with your phone or just mentally memorize it.

Just be with it. Witness it. Witness, as in stand there and observe and feel with all your self.

Something that makes you think, “THIS is GOOD” when it’s happening.

Give yourself time with things…

I would also like to add a little commentary here. I often see people meme-ing on apps about happiness being a state of mind, or how much I love myself or just this general idea that feels like we are being sold something that says happiness and self-love are like butterflies you can catch and be able to keep somehow. Like a constancy we can attain. Like you should want those above all the other emotions or feelings.

Did these people forget that butterflies will die in captivity? Nothing is constant in this life. Nothing can be white knuckled into existence.

Holding on too tight is called strangulation.

I just want to make sure that we understand each other here, and let’s assume we do. I’m not here to tell you life is meant to be happy all the time or to chase happiness all the time or that you should make yourself happy in order to love yourself. (Everyone nod your head.)

I come here every Sunday to say, Look at this, there is something good and it’s not perfect or forever, but it’s enough.

It’s enough.

When was the last time you thought “This small thing is enough.”?

Good and happy and love are all not forever, but the point is to learn that they are enough in their transcendental nature. Our lives are not cages to lock away things, our lives are doorways that are meant to be inhabited and ultimately passed through.

Now lemme show you some magic…

I really liked this sunrise, don’t remember what day it was. It wasn’t the skies or some magnificent display of colors. What caught me was the way the sunlight was passing through the trees in my front yard. They were luminous. Translucent like stained glass. You could the veins in the leaves. It was like they were glowing from within. I feel like we all forget that around us, at all the times, are these giant living creatures called trees. And sometimes they really look alive…or ethereal.
Yep. Another tree. No, I’m not about to launch into some environmental lecture. Don’t worry…I’ve learned that people either have reverence for this planet or they don’t…but… THIS is my tree that my hammock is under. THIS is my view from lying on my back, swaying gently in the early evening. I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating, a hundred times. Every time I lay here, I marvel at it all. Hammock time could change the course of the human race. Less tv, less cell phones, less filler, more awe. If you get two people in a hammock, great conversation or silence can be found. Just looking at this photo feels like a massive decompression in my body and soul.
My crack garden produced it’s first crack strawberry. I know he’s a little rough looking, but don’t be fooled. For those that are new here, I’m not talking about narcotics, but rather these few rather determined little plants that are growing in the crack between two concrete slabs on my patio. They just spontaneously erupted from nothing, but seem to be thriving with serious vigor. Growing out of nothing, feels like an anthem for human life right now, doesn’t it? And that sad little worn out looking berry was not even a half inch around, BUT damn, he was packed with flavor! All the flavors of the summer to come.
Decided to try something other than a pineapple this week and got a cantaloupe. The smell this melon gives off is so distinct, isn’t it? It’s like summer sugar. And there is something really interesting about the way it feels when your teeth penetrate the flesh. Like a specific kind of resistance that melons have, don’t they?

I was balling this in the early evening, sunlight flooding in the kitchen window and I thought the carved rind seemed artful. Like a meloncomb? And I remember my Grandma Biv always had balled fruits in her refrigerator for me as a kid. And I loved that stupid melon baller so much I bought one as an adult. Don’t use it often, but when I do, I remember her kitchens. And melon balls. The Tupperware dishes they were stored in. And her.

This is a lot of good right here. The kind of good that wells up in your eyes when you remember, know what I mean? And what a beautiful color the flesh is…
I know, more food right? Wait, lemme explain…I was coming home from work Monday night, wondering what am I gonna eat, like what do I even have to eat at home? Which is silly, I just went to grocer two days before, do you know that silly notion? Yea, so I used some canned tomato soup, tiny mozzarella balls and grilled chicken I had on hand and voila!! But really the reason this was good was that bread in the background. Dave used to make that for me, but I’ve found I can make it own my now.

And in that moment I thought, “I can make it on my own now.” Not to dismiss him, but we are nearing 8 months since he ended his life and I think something has begun to shift. I think a part of me, maybe a small part will always be mad at him, but I feel like he is with me, rooting for me. I feel that all the way through me.

Someday I will fully forgive him. For smashing my heart. Twice.

I will.

See that, good isn’t all happiness. But it’s still good.

Other worth mentioning moments…

I’m going to two concerts. I LOVE concerts as much as traveling. It’s a whole story that I won’t go into. I don’t like to jinx things, so let’s just dog ear that page and we’ll come back to it. One of them is a band he loves and the other is the Foo Fighters. I have to say I’ve always had immense love for Dave Grohl as an artist, but having now survived the suicide of someone integral to my own life, I have a whole new level of respect for him. Getting back up from Curt Cobain’s death was a feat, wasn’t it?

I’ve noticed this scent wafting through my backyard in the mornings and the evenings. And it took me a moment to figure it out. It’s my honeysuckle that some random bee gifted me on my fence line years ago. Actually, it’s a small honeysuckle jungle now, AND in the warm air, lying in a hammock, it’s heaven. I catch Lou smelling them sometimes. There are few things in life more delightful than watching your dog smell flowers!

Speaking of flowers, when we were walking home this morning there is this tree. (I know, a tree, AGAIN, I didn’t mean to do this, it’s not a theme! I can’t choose the goodness, for goodness sakes! Maybe I’m channeling the Lorax?) I have no idea what this tree is, but it’s funny looking and HUGE. It looks like lily pads on a tree. In groups. And the flowers look like tiny iris relatives, maybe? But the thing that really caught me was the way the flowers were falling from it’s branches this morning. It was like a soft rain of fauna and I stood in the street and watched as they floated to the ground. There was a blanket of white frothy flowers all around. Actually the three of us stood in the middle of the street and just watched for minutes. It was like something in a movie. Only real. And then we came home.

As I said early on, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and writing this week, so you might want to prepare yourself for possibly multiple blog posts from me? We’ll see what happens….BUT meanwhile, keep your eyes, ears, noses, fingers and mouths open for good things.

Okay, maybe don’t walk around with your mouth hanging agape, or getting handsy, but you know what I meant, let’s assume you did, for arguments sake..

And now, I’d like to leave you with a quote, since I mentioned happiness earlier…this one always makes me giggle when I hear it…it goes a little something like this:

“Ever since happiness heard your name, it’s been running through the streets trying to find you.”

Now tell me, what does happiness look like when you read those words?

What do you see in your mind?

What is looking for you?

Think about it…

I’ll be seeing you!

Sumptuous aka Splendiferous

Good evening Travellers,

It’s a holiday weekend here in America. Memorial Day is for remembering those who died in service to our country. All of my family members survived their service, at least in body. I had a great uncle who was in Pearl Harbor and lost friends aboard the Arizona. He was forever changed from that event.

I always feel like no matter how well films are made about wars, we cannot imagine what it is like in reality. Humans, at least in America, are not often hunted by each other. And I’m pretty sure that’s what war is, us hunting each other down and doing our worst.

If you are reading this and you or a member of your family has or is in our military service, allow me to extend my deepest gratitude. Perhaps we should take a breath here for those who can no longer do the same.

I think we forget each day that life is built on life. Nothing is free here. There is a price. By here, I mean this entire world.

Oooooh, that was an unintentionally serious start for something sumptuous or splendid, wasn’t it?

It’s funny how that happens in conversations, sometimes they just sort of veer off the road. I pretend I saw a metaphorical deer and had to swerve and then I get right back on it..

Like this…

Are you ready for something good? Like the little things that quietly assure that life is indeed still filled with little pockets of goodness.

Let’s talk about it…Ready?

I painted my toe nails the color of the sun!! Because there is no sun here.

Actually I was looking at my feet thinking about how far they have carried me in this life. They are in pretty damn good shape considering the mileage I put on them in the gym and everywhere else.

I think about mobility everyday. And when I go into a studio to move, I think about how grateful I am to be able to do as such. Just gratitude for being able to work out. Just moving and sweating and persevering and doing the hard stuff. And I encourage anyone out there who is struggling to work out, try reframing it as the privilege you have, the privilege to move in a body, even if your body isn’t perfect!!

My grandfather, whom I have mentioned before, had MS and he was in a wheel chair in his 40s. I think of him almost everyday in my gym. And I think about how fortunate I am and I’m not gonna waste it. He wouldn’t want me to.
While I’m ranting about feet and mobility, let’s have some more, because why not? Am I right? Seriously both of my cats perch on the corners of tables like this ALL THE TIME…RIGHT ON THE EDGE. It fascinates me. What is this about? Just tables. Only tables. I have no idea why, does anyone know why? These are the things that happen and make me smile at how oddly weird life is in the littlest of ways…and look at her little paws, so delicate and agile. And dangerous, she has serious claws…
THE RAIN THE RAIN THE RAIN…will it ever stop? We do not know, we do not know… however one early evening last week, the sun came out while it was raining and I love that…the way the sunlight breaks through the rain drops, there is something about the combination of those elements that feel like warmth in my soul. This is the rain you want to remember in your next life. It’s the rain you wanna walk in, dance in and if you are lucky kiss some other fabulous human in…
Two good things happens when it’s unseasonably cooler and raining, bubble baths and unexpected cravings for soup. And when I have chicken noodle soup, I must have saltine crackers with butter. REAL BUTTER, not the plastic crap. It’s something I learned in childhood and have loved my whole life. So simple. I think the memory is a little anchor that reminds me of a time when I had far fewer worries in life. Like I said, simpler. Food can carry so much meaning for us without even trying, can’t it?

I watched a movie again last night that I hadn’t seen in years, Elizabethtown. It’s a Cameron Crow movie and I’m not sure if it’s a great movie, but there is something great about it. And there is something great about watching a movie like that when it’s been awhile. And the soundtrack is to die for, so let’s just all take a moment and listen to these two tracks: Ryan Adams and The Temptations. Because it’ll be good for you…trust me.

I had dinner with one of dearest friends which is always a wonderful thing. I believe we have been friends for over 15 years, maybe? Good grief we are old! She is one of my favorite accomplices that I have had in this life and sometimes she reads this, so thank you!! I’m so glad we still have each other and would never have guessed when we first met that either of us would be here in our lives, would you? And isn’t that kind of wonderful?

And after our dinner, a friend of mine, we are gonna call him a friend, it’s too much to explain right now…to discuss that would be one of those metaphorical deer that we veered off the road to avoid…anyways I stood in the parking lot talking to him in the rain for 45 minutes, so that was good too. He’s one of those rare people I always enjoy talking to for hours on end. He’s the guy in the hammock I mentioned before

Ramona and Faline were sitting together on the couch watching the aforementioned movie with me…by together, I mean touching each other in the most uncomfortable way. Like they were trying so hard to not acknowledge their discomfort, I could see them each thinking, “It’s fine. This is fine. I’m fine. She’s touching me, but I’m fine. It’s fine.” I laughed so hard because they continued doing it even though neither could looked remotely alright with it. For an entire hour! It felt like a very human behavior, know what I mean?

I hope that you have had some good sprinkled into your past week and if not, open yourself.

That’s one of my best pieces of advice in this world: Be open. Stay open.

I say it to myself with some frequency, which means all the time.

Because I am difficult and don’t always listen to myself.

You cannot receive or give if you are not open. Open is scary, but it’s where awareness lives. It’s where hope lives.

Know what I mean?

I said something similar the past two Sundays, so this makes it the third time, which they say is a charm. Why is that? I don’t know. Baseball has three strikes, is that a coincidence?? I do not know….

I’m assuming it’s that same committee that decides all the other things…right?

Seriously, I need to get on that committee…

See, DEER!!

But YOU, I know YOU need to keep yourself open. Front and center. Gaze and mind. Watch for the good. Think ant sized, not rhino.

I’ll be seeing you…

A Seed

Bonne Soiree Travellers,

Last weekend I had the oddest feeling inside my body and in the air outdoors…it felt like summer had already been here and gone, when in fact it really hasn’t even arrived yet. I had that feeling of disappointment one has when summer is on it’s way out…Isn’t that peculiar?

I’m going to blame the numerous days of cloudy hungover skies for that sensation. It feels like the weather has created a blank canvas of sorts, or maybe it’s a too much gray canvas.

I feel like many of the dynamic moments of Spring have be drowned out or muted in a way I can’t fully describe….

But on Tuesday night, as I was walking across the terrace, I spied this luscious little fellow…

The first strawberry.

Summer is indeed still coming…

Lemme tell you, in case you don’t know, strawberries that are grown on their own taste so much more wonderful than their store bought counter parts. I think it’s because when you grow them on your own, they get to take their time.

There’s something to be said for letting things grow in their own time.

Especially people.

Don’t you agree?

I think one of the most difficult aspects of being human is the way we struggle with our own pacing. It’s something that defies explanation really as to how we arrive, where we arrive, when we arrive there.

If you are someone who has battled any kind of mental health struggle or familial trauma or addiction or divorce or survived an extraordinary ordeal of any kind, there’s this moment when you think this thought. I arrived at it and I’ve heard many many others express the same sentiment:

Why couldn’t I have figured this out sooner?

I have an idea, would you like to hear it? Here we go…

Do you know who William Shakespeare is? Let’s go with yes for arguments sake… Will once said “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances…” ok, actually Jaques, a character in “As You Like It” recites this whole spiel, but for our purposes, we just need that one little bit to build on…

If you know anything about plays and theatre, let’s say yes again, for arguments sake…then you know that there is a rhyme and reason to scenes and staging and lighting and most importantly, TIMING. The actors don’t just run out on stage all hands in the air like they don’t care, squealing their lines at random intervals. And that is because…

No one gets to say their lines before it’s time.

Read that again.

I’m pretty sure you can’t arrive to your greatest moments of growth any sooner. No one can.

Isn’t that bittersweet?

There are so many moving parts inside us and those who surround us that have to fall into place, just like timing on a stage.

But the questions remain, how does that kind of time work? How does time become right for each of us? Why can’t we force that time forward, faster? Why can’t we arrive at being the person we want to be faster? Why can’t we learn and grow and heal faster?

I know when it’s a strawberry, those that are rushed into fruition are never as delicious…yea, I know, I just punned, sorry not sorry…

And I can’t help but think about how it all begins…A seed.

Ok, in our case, it’s an egg and a squiggly little sperm, but we are going to call it a seed, just for arguments sake.

Because we were a seed. In our parent’s minds, before we were a literal seed in a womb. We were an idea they thought was worth growing. Ideas are a most powerful kind of seed, are they not?

Consider the human existence we currently enjoy…architecture, transportation, medicine, science, fashion, agriculture, and even theatrical plays, these were all ideas that one or more humans felt needed to be planted and nourished.

We are all seeds that grow at different cadences, in different ways and into different humans. But we each need an unspecified amount of time to accomplish this. And we each deserve the opportunity to do that.

I’ve been trying to think about language for teaching this summer and on Instagram. In movement, if you are a consciousness human, and for arguments sake, let’s say you are, you want to use language that embraces everyone. That means every size, age, shape, color, stage of learning, flexibility and strength. The last thing I ever want to do is intimidate someone or make anyone ever feel less than.

Because I believe that the greatest strength of movement is that it has the power to make you feel more than. And it has the power to help you grow.

SO I’ve been thinking about using the analogy of a seed. And the way we all grow differently yet equally beautiful. I can break down any movement to it’s simplest pieces and then grow it from there. I like the idea of growing at your own pace in movement, because we all do. And I like that this idea feels harmonious with the yogic limbs as well.

In summary, strawberries, Shakespeare, theatrical timing, growth, ideas, you and me. All start from a seed.

So, What are you growing?

.

Monday Musings

Greetings Travellers,

How was your Monday?

I was off work today. Truth be told, unless I have travel plans, I’m not good at taking time off work.

I’m extraordinarily bad at it in fact. I have to have an itinerary of things to do or I feel bad… I get listless and sad.

And I end up always feeling like my life isn’t going to turn out well after all.

Seriously, it’s bananas.

I think I’ve always been this way and I’m not fully sure why…something I ponder…in case you may have missed it, I’m a fan of a good pondering.

This evening, I thought I would share a little list of thoughts that might be worth tumbling around in your brain, should you feel like pondering…these are things that have popped into my brain over the past few days.

BUT FIRST, I found Faline lounging like a boss on the front couch this afternoon…it’s the look on her face that always makes me laugh…

And EQUALLY awesome, since I was home today when the tornado test sirens went off, I got to witness Lou howling. There is something about the way she throws her head back, purses her lips and howls that makes my heart swell. I LOVE IT, so then I howled too and she howled with me. And the siren. This went on for let’s say just long enough for me to not appear crazy. I have no idea why I find that so wonderful, but I do…

Now here’s the list, in no particular order…

~Small Ordinary Moments…do you seek them? do you create them? how many of us are watching for them? They mean so much to our health. The ability to satiate your senses in the moment you are in is of utmost importance to our well being. Humans are not meant for all this mental time travel. Ordinary has a power of it’s own making.

~Which led me to this thing that I’ve been thinking about a lot as I’m inching my way into the Gram: Our strength and our stories lie in our imperfections and our scars, if you edit it all out, what’s left of you?

~I appear to have two plantar warts…one is on the ball of my foot, and I think it’s going to kill me from pain. And it’s little. First it was the divorce, then a pandemic, then two injuries, a feisty squirrel, Dave’s suicide, and now I’ve met an adversary that truly scares me…has anyone else made an internal list of all your pain since COVID arrived? Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like all of humanity is getting it’s ass kicked in very personalized ways, am I wrong? NOT a poor me list, but just a shit list of things you’ve had to deal with…am I right?

~Who first said, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger? And what were the circumstances in which that person came up with that phrase? Was it an act of heroism or a paper cut from hell? I’d like to know…and why do we repeat certain phrases and not others? Is there a committee? How do I get on that committee? Show of hands, who would like to be on that committee???

~How holding onto our emotions can breed resistance. As in, just changing your words from “I am” to “I feel” with consistency and daily practice helps us separate our identity from our emotions. And that’s sort of powerful, isn’t it?

~Working off of that, let’s ponder the peace we can create in of the practice of self-observation, don’t just feel your feels and think your thoughts, but give yourself some space inside to hold them away from you. It’s taken me over two years in therapy to really get ahold of this and I still have to work at it. I’ll work at it my whole life. I have visualization techniques. We are such busy easily distracted creatures and if you can insert several seconds to stop, step back, observe, it’s amazing what you can learn about yourself. And that in turn will help you learn about others. Funny how that works…

~GOING FIRST, someone is always first in line aren’t they? Are you that person, or are you the middle man or last man standing kind of human? What do we learn by going first in conversations, or into the coldness or into the unknown? What is the value in being first and by going first, doesn’t it put other people at ease? I should go first more often, shouldn’t we all?

~Knowledge is knowing lots of stuff and wisdom is understanding how your mind uses it. Mark Manson said this in his last newsletter that I read and am I the only one who wants to really understand how my body works versus believing it’s just like everyone else’s?

~Resilience, which is a word I just love to say and it’s really interesting how some souls seem to be more resilient than others. I would put it to the nature/nurture conversation, but what if it’s something more than that? I had brunch with a good friend yesterday who works with people who have had truly terrifying lives and we were talking about why are some people able to get back up and others can’t?

~Part 2 of that is something that has always intrigued me and that is our dysfunctional coping mechanisms that we pick up from trauma in youth. Where does alcoholism really begin for example, someone in the bloodline starts it, where does that come from, why is that their vice versus all the other choices? Why did I become an anorexic and not a drug addict? Why have I always been repelled by drugs and drinking for the most part? Why was I able to craft this life, why did I seek therapy, why has EMDR worked for me but not for others?

~What are we really? Fully serious, what are we made of beyond the obvious, because not to sound woo woo, but in my deepest movements or silent moments with my dog or gardening, there is some kind of something, isn’t there? Like THE FORCE. And in the above mentioned thoughts, there is more here, in us, I think…and I don’t feel like it’s a God thing, it’s something about our very nature.

~ The fifth limb of yoga is called Aparigraha, and for me, it’s about expectations and our attachment to the end goal versus embracing the journey AND not attaching to thoughts and emotions that constantly swell within our being. Let’s be honest, we can’t attach to anything in this life really, every single thing is temporary. Most of this world lives in a constant state of change, and attaching to things, wanting same same, just causes us to suffer.

~Lastly, I’ve been thinking about how art works and this includes writing. Isn’t all writing an art form? I fully believe each sets of eyes that find my words will understand them differently. Because we each take everything in through our filter. Our filter is our education, our experiences, our beliefs, our sex, our age, our race, our everything, so I can’t help but hope that all other writers and creators feel this way on some level. How could they not, and don’t all our interpretations make it richer and fuller?? Isn’t that how all art works? I know that’s always my hope, that my words speak to you, in your world, in some way as I write their meaning in mine. Art lets us know that we have never been alone.

~Last thought, We can remain extraordinary, even in our darkness. If I get onto that aforementioned committee, you’re gonna be saying those words again, trust me!!

Good night!!

Splendid Part Deux

Good late evening or Good morning Travellers,

It’s late Sunday evening here and I’ve been mentally curating this post all day…

Remember last Sunday I asked you to do me a favor this week and be aware of the ordinary splendiferous events of your mere mortal life…make a list, via photo or memory or notes…did you do it?

Be honest.

I can spot a fibber from 5 miles away1

I have to admit I needed to take a pause after my last post. But we’ll talk about that tomorrow…Right now, let’s discuss the things that made me smile or giggle this week, and if you didn’t make your own list, I’ll give you this one hall pass, but next week, don’t let us down. By us, I mean you, me and life.

As a person who loves the photographic image and as a film school grad, I take ALOT of pictures. I bet I have near 3,500 on my phone alone. And no matter how long you study composition or lighting or editing, there are these random shots that just could not be planned, and here is one…

This is Ramona and Lou simultaneously doing Down Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)! Facing each other. I’ve never been so excited to have been holding my phone trying to photograph something else entirely and capturing this instead. Probably because of my own movement practice, but also it’s the fact that they are facing each other! As if almost bowing to each other, which of course made me think of Namaste! Because in it’s simplest terms it means “I bow to you.”

THIS IS SO GETTING FRAMED!!!

After many years, and I do mean MANY YEARS, I finally repotted my indoor cactuses this weekend, which was a chore like no other. Because my largest one is over 15 years old. Bought it at Walmart for like $3…it weighs something around a baby whale at this point.

And I started thinking about what it means to be root bound as a plant or maybe as a human. Plants are survivors, but you cannot go too big when you change their pots. Sort of like if you give a human too much time or room, they tend to not know what to do and rarely flourish. Ever notice that? And relocating to a new container is somewhat stressful to plants, like moving a human to a new home or city or country. We all seem to have a threshold for how much change is tolerable and when it’s too much bad things happen. We like to be snug but not too snug and just a little room to grow. Because don’t we all grow a little at a time?

Here’s a yummy one..

These are THE BEST cream puffs in the world. Or at least in my experience of this world. The chocolate is delish, the pastry is delicate and the creamy custardy center is DIVINE. I think this is one of the most difficult confections to master because when one element is off, the whole thing becomes disproportionately disappointing. The fact that I find them so rarely at the Co-op I shop at makes them all the more delicious.

Have you ever noticed how the rare things in life are always sweeter? Not just to the tongue, but the ears, the eyes, the mind, the touch and the heart.

One more photo…

A pineapple. Allow me to explain. Whenever I see a pineapple I will always think of Dave. He watched this show called Psych and there was something about a pineapple and that show. Dave always said that it meant “Welcome”. He was also absurdly delighted whenever he bought one.

This is my third pineapple this year. I recently saw a cute door mat with pineapples and almost bought it. It’s hard to explain, but sometimes these little things call to me. We got divorced and it wasn’t good. Things changed and when we seemed to be becoming friends, I softened. Then he committed suicide. Now these random things feel like he’s with me in a way I can’t describe. It’s almost like he’s smiling at me.

What else?

Some good things that lack supporting photographic evidence…

I ate the last of my Apocalypse Soup. I call it that because I concocted this recipe at the start of the pandemic and I just made another pot two weeks ago. I had frozen part of it and finished it off over a few nights this week. It makes me so happy to make soup without noodles. It’s an act of culinary rebellion. Or at least it feels that way. Also, I put fresh cilantro in the soup. Someone call the police!

I had dinner with a good friend this week and we tried fried pickles. They were AWESOME!! Also, here’s an interesting fact, her family has a Gypsy bloodline in it and I always can’t help but wonder if there isn’t some kind of magic in her. Because the only day this week my arm has felt completely fine was after that night out with her. TRUE STORY.

I cut my hair shorter this week. I love growing out my hair so I can cut it off again. Dunno why, but I find it thrilling. And I love the fact that my hair that had been straight as an arrow my entire life started getting wavy about 10 years ago. It actually began during hot yoga. I think I sweated the straight hair out of me!

Lastly, have you watched the movie, “Arrival”? If not, stop reading, go watch it. It’s easily one of the best films made in the last 10 years. Probably in my Top 25.

I watched it again this weekend, and on second viewing it felt richer or maybe it just has a more profound feeling now. Without giving anything away, I think it’s important to embrace the choices we make in our lives. We all struggle to do so in youth, because youth tends to be abit foolish. And I use the term youth loosely here.

What I know is that if I had known at the beginning how this would end with Dave, if I could have had an emotional enema that gave me a hint of how painful the grief would be, how alone I would feel in it all, and how wide open it feels now, I would do it again. I would choose the pain in order to have all the other moments and revelations that I gained. And I think there is a sort of power in embracing what you chose. It’s taken me 7 months to arrive here, but here I am.

On this Mother’s Day I have been thinking most of his mom. I cannot imagine what this day was like for her, this is her first since he’s been gone. But I am certain she would have had him again, knowing it would all end this way.

This is why you have to pay attention to all the little lights of goodness that are shining just for you. Sometimes it will be all you have to light your way through the darkness. And I believe it’s enough.

O.K.

Hi Travellers,

Let’s start with the obvious, I’m not going to write everyday. Not because I would not like to, but because it’s not what I’m feeling pulled to do. It’s the not the direction I’m going, BUT I am going to show up multiple times a week. I want to be 100% authentic and use the words when they are necessary, true and can contribute to your life. I want this blog to contribute to your life in the best way.

I realized I was using the writing everyday promise as a sort of holding my feet to the fire experience. That never really works, you just end up burned.

I’m going to speak under the assumption here that we are all familiar with the story of the tortoise and the hare. Or at least the very important lesson of that fable, “Slow and steady wins the race.” There is also the lesson of don’t be an arrogant bunny as well, but do I need to tell you that?

Ok, just in case… “Don’t be an arrogant bunny. No one likes an arrogant bunny!”

I think if we are all honest though, humans wanna be the jack rabbit. Not the turtle. I think we still tend to believe that the rabbit is the better competitor. I think this is why we continue to get in our own way at every turn.

The thing is, we have more in common with that turtle. That little guy’s home is on his back in the same way that we are at home in our bodies. Turtles have hard shells to protect their very soft insides. And when they get flipped on their backs, someone has to assist them to get them turned back over.

Most of us are the exact same way. We wanna hide our vulnerability, protect our hearts, and be impenetrable to harm. Especially heart break and disappointments. We believe if we harden ourselves we can hide or call it protection when that’s not true. And god forbid, you should have to admit you need to ask for someone to help turn you back over.

I have been experiencing a most unpleasant situation for about 10 days. I have somehow injured my left arm, or rather pulled three muscles, which led to wrist pain. I have NEVER had this happen. And I think when injury or illness is the exception in your life, it becomes infinitely more difficult to handle.

The thing about our bodies is everything is connected, the kinetic chain is what it’s called. Our muscles, ligaments, tendons and even fascia to some extent, work in a linear symphony. And when one structure goes rogue, it all goes to shit. Somehow I either injured the shoulder or the wrist and the rest of the structures in that arm got called into the fire and now I’m working to re-establish their harmony. I’m going to a professional today to have corrective work done.

This whole experience has delayed my plans. I cannot currently do any form of planks. Unlike most humans, I LOVE PLANKS and have a bizarre aptitude for them. I also had to abandon heavy weight training and take off some time from working out.

Take some time off. As in slow down… I don’t know what words would accurately express to you how hard that is for me.

Because to the casual observer, this may not seem like a crisis, but to those of us who are indeed turtles in our shells, this is a four alarm raging blaze. The thing about being IN your body, being present in it, empowering it, learning to possess it in such a way that you bask in your own strength and mobility as I dare say we are all meant to, when you have this kind of thing happen it sucks. A LOT.

I have cried frequently and had small little mini breakdowns which I’ve decided is okay. I think I have finally arrived at it’s okay to cry and feel your feelings. They are yours, no one else’s and we really need to stop judging other people’s feelings. And it’s been in private, where if we are honest is where most of our feelings are felt.

And I think I’m learning something finally which is why I came here today. Because maybe you need to hear someone else tell you this is their struggle. Maybe it’s yours too?

Let’s just all agree right now that we are indeed here to help each other, okay?

I realized about 5-7 days ago that all my life I have required an exterior voice to assure me that everything is gonna be alright. I have heard friends, family, strangers even so assuredly state how things are gonna be okay. Everything works out in the end. You’ll be okay. And I would take comfort in that, all the while inside doubting abit if it would indeed be true.

First it was my Grandma Max who I depended on hearing it from. Her house was the shelter my mother would drag me back to between marriages. Into the basement. I often wish she was here to see me. I wish she could see that I escaped finally and was doing it on my own. No matter how hard it is. I try to remember the sound of her voice with some frequency to preserve it in my mind. Because it makes me feel okay.

Then it was Dave. He would always do his best to assure me that I was going to be oaky. I realized at some point in the last 4 years that I had in fact been scared inside my marriage. I had been fearful because what I learned from my youth was life was just a series of crisis. It was never actually okay. But that was about my mother and her inability to regulate her emotions and draw boundaries. Her choices were governing my life and her emotions were ruling over mine. And the thing is once you become an adult, you are going to have to learn to pick up that slack and teach yourself all the things they didn’t. Live your life better.

I’ve been telling myself these things everyday, “You are going to be okay. This is going to heal. You are educated in anatomy and you know how this works. You have to allow time to heal. You have to be kind to this body and trust what you have built. Trust what you have built. Trust yourself. You are going to be okay.

And I think it’s working which is HUGE for me. HUGE!!! And also, FINALLY. The universe is saying “FINALLY, you seem to be listening to that voice I put inside you!!”

And now we come back to that turtle. The reason I’ve had this little incident is because I was acting like that silly rabbit. I had not taken more than a handful of rest days in the past year. I was arrogantly denying my body rest. Yes, yes, I said year. I just felt so strong, but underneath there was a voice saying, “This isn’t smart, you know this isn’t going to end well..”

I’ve been working out for 20 years because I started young. I’ve built a strong body because I did it slow and steady. It’s not a 30, 60, 90 day job people. Life is moving in moments and movement exists in millimeters. It cannot be forced or rushed. For all we know at the end of the race, the rabbit has a sprained ankle or can’t walk the next day because they overdid it. On top of being an arrogant bunny.

If you are out there struggling to change your life, take it one thing at a time. Move with the intelligence you were given. It’s not a race, it consistent dedication to yourself.

You are going to be okay.

And just because…I have to show you something wonderful. It’s my crack garden again…and it just makes me smile so big, so here you go…

The learning curve

Good morning Travellers,

I awoke this morning to THIS outside:

I’m not sure how the rest of the world is going, but here in Kansas, we no longer have seasons apparently. We just have the day we are going to have, without rhyme or reason. Snow in April. You’re welcome.

This little glitch however goes very nicely with something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, learning.

When we are young, our lives are charted by learning milestones. First it’s about our movement. You learn to roll over on your belly, you learn to pull your knees under you to crawl, you learn to sit upright, you learn to reach out to something higher than you to leverage yourself into standing, you learn to fall down and get up. Fall down and get up. Over and over again. After you walk and fall down enough, you will learn to run. Ride a bike maybe. Swimming. Climbing on things. Hopscotch. Jump rope. Throwing a ball. Catching that ball. Running faster and jumping. Dancing. Chasing other kids.

Scholastically we learn about going to school, time, what day it is, words, how to spell, how to do math, how to read, meeting other kids and the realm of socialization opens to us. We learn what we like and what we don’t. What we are good at and what is difficult for us. We learn to keep going or quit.

We learn to brush our teeth, then we lose them and grow new ones. Most of us sort of enjoy that part.

We learn about naps, snacks, bedtime stories. And as we grow up we have birthdays that we excitedly celebrate with fun parties.

We are learning. And that continues with some expectation until college. Then in early adulthood we learn to be on our own, get a job, find a mate, have some kids, buy a house and then well, then what happens?

THEN WHAT HAPPENS.

I’ve felt very strongly for the last five years or so that the fulfillment you are seeking in adulthood has everything to do with mirroring your childhood. Hear me out…

Everyday you are learning, if you so choose. That snow in that photo is teaching one of the oldest lessons in the book: Adversity breeds survival. While I have moved my little garden containers into the garage to protect them and tarped the remaining larger containers, the rest of nature has to fend for itself. And it will. You can complain about the snow or revel in the fact that the natural world will carry on. Adaptation is learning. And it is a marvel to watch and learn.

I’ve spent the last 6 months revisiting my training methodology and what service I really want to offer clients. And learning is the center piece. Not how you look or will look. I’ll talk more about that more in depth another time, but what I want to say is this…

At the heart of our beings is our nervous system and this life is about learning to master it. Your nervous system is your hard wiring AND IT CAN BE CHANGED. It can be expanded and strengthened. Learning a new behavior creates a new neural pathway. Learning new movement creates new neural muscular pathways. It’s a challenge because our repetitive behaviors are like muddy ruts that we have traveled so much that we are stuck in them. Doing something new is like paving a road that has never existed.

You can learn. And learning tastes like a kind of satisfaction that I think most of us have forgotten in our youth.

Remember what it felt like to ride that bike for the first time? And then what it felt like to ride when the training wheels came off? Or what it felt like to read as a child? Maybe like me, you learned to play an instrument. I played piano and at 5, I thought those pedals on the floor were going to make something serious happen when I could finally reach them. That was exciting to learn.

And I remember learning the hard things too. Injuries from sports, broken hearts from boys, friends who weren’t your friends after all, and all the times I did things that I wasn’t proud of either.

We were learning, good and bad. And we expected it then, so why don’t we expect it now?

What would happen if you created benchmarks in your own life for learning?

What if everyday you look for learning especially in the craptastic stuff?

What if you used therapy as a way to learn to create a better life?

What if you learn to be more of something like compassionate or a better cook or a new hobby or working out or eating well or read a new book?

Just think about all the things you could learn today.

New skills, or just everyday lessons. Like with the snow outside my door. If you are dating, try hard to figure out what are you learning. If you are married, learn something new about your spouse. If you have kids, good grief, there’s a fountain of learning. Same with pets. Dog and cats are far more complex than they are given credit. And old dogs CAN learn new tricks. They are wired just like us.

But mostly learn about you. YOU. Do you know you? Do you know how wonderous your body is and this life?

Who are you?

I recently learned that not only is a tonsillectomy as an adult a horrifying surgery, because one of my closest friends had it done. FYI they BURN your tonsils out. But I learned that I actually am a person who gladly takes care of her friends even when it’s inconvenient. And I’m grateful for it. For her. And for learning this is a part of myself that I think I forgot or maybe I’m a better person than I’ve led myself to believe.

Necessity is the mother of all invention. And we invent through learning and learning creates invention.

Learning is what I feel life is about. If you can learn to take any situation that meets you and examine it for the lesson you’d be surprised how it changes. Learn to embrace hardship. That’s a big one. THAT IS A BIG ONE. Hardships have ALOT of lessons you may or may not like, but it’s still learning.

Learning will change your life. And it will change who you are with the people around you.

Consider my words. Look for learning today. Everyday.

All learning is important.

Rest

Buenas Noches Travellers,

AHHHHH, Sunday night….

I have to say I enjoy the Spanish words for “Good Evening” more than any other language. For some reason, those words feel so sublime and exude a sort of warmth.. A simmering or smoldering feeling… like the best summer nights we are all waiting for…doesn’t that very thought make you smile…

Let’s talk about rest.

Or resting.

Say it out loud a few times. Because reading a word and saying it feels differently.

It sounds like a reclining word, doesn’t it? Or like it’s eyes are gently closed with a soothing on it’s face.

Relaxing, restoring, rejuvenating. Resting.

I tend to think of rest requiring some kind of lesser noisiness as well. We don’t want to disturb it now, do we?

I think it needs a kind of internal stillness. Except for your ever beating heart. Have you considered recently how very relentless your heart is?

I could safely say that my modus operandi in this life is “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”.

All GO, Almost All the time. Though I have learned to sleep in the past 5 years.

The phrase “Pace yourself” has always failed my understanding. I can pace myself in the fast lane, but slowing down outside of my sleep hygiene ritual is hard for me to take. I can sit in the silence of my home for an hour or two. I can bask in a sunrise or sunset or the sun shining into my home. I can sit with my cats and dogs and give them their due appreciation. I can savor my food, music, good books, an hour of tv, for a short duration. I can enjoy my garden. I feel I have a solid daily appreciation of the sensual beauty of this life. But I wouldn’t call it rest.

And it has recently come to my attention that I should take a rest sometimes.

I hadn’t taken a day off from working out in so long I can’t remember. Last summer I started working out hard everyday and never stopped…if I was my client, I would have a lecture for that…your body needs to recuperate and recover. It needs rest outside of sleep.

I am honestly terrible at resting. I feel guilty for it and I’m not sure where that is coming from.

Do you allow yourself to rest? OR is this just my problem?

Since I’m all about embracing uncomfortable things, I decided to not work out on this past Friday and yesterday…of course I went back to it today. I also slept in late this weekend and didn’t do as much as I usually do. I’m not sure if that’s actually what “rest” is, but I’m working on it.

I’m working on resting.

OLD

Ciao Travellers,

We have finally arrived at the weekend.

Personally, I feel like I have conquered a serious week of too much. Too much at work and too much to take care of in my personal space. Too much for my body. I don’t feel that very often.

But what’s most important is that I have arrived here.

One week older…YOU are in fact one week older now.

Do you ever think about it? Getting older that is?

How do you feel about it? And where did you learn how to feel about it?

Are you allowing others to determine how you fell about that?

When I was teaching hot power yoga, I had a couple of women in class tell me that when I reached my 40s I was going to spontaneously begin to love wine AND gain weight. I was in my mid-30s at the time and I thought what a horrible thing to say to a younger woman. What kind of sisterhood is this? And maybe their experience wasn’t going to be mine, so WTF??

Safe to say, 40 came and went and yea, not only did I never acquire a taste for wildly consuming wine, I have not had any change in body composition. In fact, I’m on the flip side of my mid-40s, and yea, still going strong. I actually got fitter last year, because I started doing more weight training.

And that’s not meant as a brag, but rather a message to all the women out there who are younger than me, age isn’t something to give up to, but rather a realization that it’s same same. We all have been aging since our first breath in this world. It’s just that we have all these mile markers in youth that make it a celebration of accomplishments and then in your late 20s, that tends to die down.

The question is WHY?

Why do we want to spend the rest of our lives, which by the way is equal at least to the length of time that you have already been here, being miserable about something we cannot control?

Since I have been in my current professional occupation, I have had the privilege of learning where the boundary of “OLD” really lies and let me tell you, it’s a helluva long ways a way from 30, 40, 50, 60, 70s even.

There is something that happens to us around 85 where it appears our bodies make some kind of invisible choice to either continue to thrive or start shutting it down. I could speculate as to why, but there appear to be way too many variables to point the finger at a particular guilty party. I feel 85 is a good age where you may refer to yourself as old. If you feel the need…

What I can say with some certainty is this: AGE IS THE ACCUMAULTION OF YOUR LIFE CHOICES. NOT A NUMBER.

Read that 5 times.

The choices you make have repercussions both positive and negative.

Aging is essentially the product of your math.

Yea, it’s a theory. Yes, another one. They’re just gonna keep coming, so you should get used to it….

Life is really all about bad or good math. Choices we make involving bad bets on the percentages, not adding up things correctly or forgetting to subtract debts in all the aspects of our life. And we will all do a lot of bad math before we die.

Fun example: Squirrels, not dumb animals, but seriously the ones hit by cars, that’s bad math. They didn’t do the proper calculations on the speed of the vehicle, the distance they had to cross on that particular road and how fast they could run. Bad math.

Humans, SO MANY EXAMPLES of bad math. Just think about it.

The quality of your age has everything to do with your math skills.

Excessive drinking, social drug use, smoking, eating a lot of sugar, not moving, not sleeping well, not getting serious about your mental health, how you handle stress, your illnesses, overutilizing pharmaceuticals versus learning to be an advocate for yourself, not drinking enough water, all big subtraction. A deficit that you create in your body.

The reverse or opposite of ALL THOSE THINGS, are positives in your body.

Aging is your equation of those things and your ability to navigate them. Seek answers, be curious and learn about your body/your vehicle, be honest with yourself, and remember nothing is set in stone or predestined, you have the power to ALWAYS change course. You are in fact Dorothy who was always wearing those ridiculous shoes.

Aging is no more of an issue than you make it. I’m completely serious…

I have to also add a few words here that the reason I thought about this topic this morning was because I found myself tearing up at the kitchen sink thinking about Dave. I find that randomly happens…

THIS SONG came up on my Bose. (Yes, go listen to it. I’ll wait. It’s very important to hear this one.) A few days before his suicide, I had heard it again and found myself drawn to it. I kept listening to it and wondering if he had ever heard it. I thought about the fact that is seemed we were becoming friends finally after the divorce. After everything. I thought how grateful I was that I wouldn’t be in my singledom alone. I thought I should tell him both these things. I didn’t. And then he was gone.

Dave’s suicide made me feel old for the first time in my entire life. I think because I realized that for the rest of my life he wouldn’t be simultaneously alive with me on this Earth. And I realized how long I may have left here to live without him. He would never become an old man. He wouldn’t see how his story really ended. Or the ending I hoped he would have.

And for me this is a part of my equation now. I have to figure out how I can add enough positive into my life to take on that kind of subtraction. Because these emotions have a seriously huge number, but I’ve determined I can find an offset in the years to come. I believe he would want me to.