Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Job Like None Other.

Take an imagination trip with me for a moment, if you will. Imagine a job you've dreamt about for quite some time but weren't sure if you were ready. Could you afford it? Is it really all you imagined?

You decide to go for it. You try, you pursue, you succeed! The first few weeks have a steep learning curve. No room for errors. You have doubts but you persist. There's no turning back now.

The job requires long hours - more than you could have known. You fall asleep dreaming about your tasks the next day, constantly put in overtime when unexpected needs arise, cradle your cell phone next to you even when you are away in the chance that you are needed. You don't get any positive feedback - sometimes it seems no one notices all of the work that you are doing. You have to be creative...the job is demanding and the training period was mysteriously absent. You have to think on your feet.

Some days, it's all you can do just to get by. Whether or not you are succeeding at this job simply doesn't matter. It's whether you can find your bed at night knowing you didn't kill anyone along the way. Other days, it is more blissful than words could describe. Things flow, you are noticed, you receive job-related benefits that no other job could offer. You sleep and wake with joy in your heart.

Each day a new challenge. Another opportunity to just coast by and pray things don't fall apart ....or another reason to recognize all you have, how fortunate you are to have gotten this job, how important each moment is to your and the company's success and - most importantly - happiness.

It is the job that, once taken, never ends. It is more than a job, more than a role, it is an integrative part of who you are. It is the perfect job during which we can examine life, ourselves, and to learn how to do more than just what is necessary to survive.

Welcome to parenthood.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Sutra 1.2: Yogas Citta Vrtti Nirodhah. Yoga is to quiet the chatter of the mind.

You'll probably see varying translations (but with similar meanings) of this sutra (i.e a terse phrase), one of 196 sutras composed by Patanjali sometime around the 2nd century BCE. These comprise the basic outline for what yoga is. Yes, yoga includes the asanas ("seat/posture", or the poses with which most of us associate yoga). Yes, they are an important part. But to give you an idea of their "place" in yoga, asanas are only mentioned twice in the entire 196 sutras.

So if yoga isn't "complete" just by doing those things we do on the mat in class, what in the world is it? What is the stuff in class for? Why practice the postures, or learn anything else beyond them?

A few Google searches will turn up a wealth of information. The Yamas and Niyamas are worth exploring. (These are basically "do's" and "don'ts", but don't let that turn you off. They are more of suggestions, saying if you do A, B will happen. If you choose not to, B probably won't happen. If you are truly satisfied with what you have, you won't long for more. And so on.) But there is so much to yoga that I couldn't begin to explain even what I know...this is a tradition thousands of years old.

As with everything else, I am interested in how yoga infuses with our lives. What good is having an awesome downward dog pose if you still find yourself wanting to punch the person in line in front of you for taking too long (or worse yet, doing it)? If the mind is going yappity yap yap throughout the day and you can't find that elusive sense of well-being, what good is knowing how to get in mountain?

The postures teach us how to find balance with our bodies. It is a starting point. If we can learn how the breath helps move into and out of poses, how we can be steady and alert (sthira) and comfortable and light (sukha) in exactly the same position - we can carry this throughout our day. Use the breath to take you to places of calm when you'd otherwise freak out. Practice being alert yet comfortable when dealing with other people.

Which brings me back to sutra 1.2. Yoga is to quiet the chatter of the mind. Ultimately, the poses, the meditation, the yamas and niyamas, the cyclical infusion of the yogic ideals into life creates a blissful hush in the mind. For most, it doesn't last. But with more and more practice, the periods of chatter-free time grow longer and closer together.

Whatever you may be facing in life, I PROMISE it is easier (and more enjoyable) when the mind is chatter-free (or at least the volume is turned down). The stuff you don't need seems to fade into the background (still there to be dealt with, but easily so) and the stuff you need? Front and center.

Take a breath, a deep, pure one, and exhale (from the abdomen) what you don't need. Allow your next inhale to bring with it a beautiful sense of lightness, full of whatever you need right here, right now. Keep breathing. Keep being. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Creativity Wellsprings

There is truly a downside to creative energy. It is a darn hard thing to shut off. I was up well past 1:30 a.m. last night thinking of and recording new mixed-media projects. I'd shut off the light with full intentions to fall asleep and *BAM* another idea would pop into my head that I simply couldn't ignore. Poor hubby probably got so sick of the *click*, (scribble, scribble), "Last time, I promise, I'm sorry", *click*.........*click*.

Regardless, I'm loving this tidal wave of creative flow. As you may or may not have noticed, I've created a few other blogs that are recording things that I feel deserved there own space. I'd love to give my "craft" projects their own blog, but they'll wind up here for now. ("Crafting" is beautiful, yes, but has such a country-, hobbyish-, sold-in-a-cluttered-store-with-a-very-strong-candle-scent- type feel. I'm all about that from time to time, but feel much more energized and free to explore projects when I say I'm "creating". Just to clear that up. In case you care.)

Today's project? (I did get a few loads of laundry done, the kids fed and entertained, dishes done, and all of my creative materials moved upstairs out of the utilities room so I could organize them...but beyond that...)

I finally got around to making that pillow with a button that I've been meaning to attempt. This is only my third pillow (and thus, my third attempt at cutting & using the sewing machine). But it was loads of fun.

I got inspired by some fabric I found during a trip with my mother-in-law. A few incorrect cuts meant I had to keep adjusting the size of the pillow. (That's the fun of creating, though - there are no mistakes.)

I had planned to go to the store to find a color of fabric for the last square on the pillow, but remembered a tip I'd just read: tea-staining! So I grabbed some leftover cotton swatch I had from years ago and attempted my first tea-stained fabric (and embroidery thread). The top is the "before", the bottom piece is the "after" (still drying). I love the results! (Thanks to my son for his help.) And I must say, the kitchen smelled yummy after we were done.

A little bit of embroidery (a simple running stitch to look intentionally handmade) and I was ready to sew. (The Raggedy Ann doll is a new favorite of my daughters - a gift from her grandma.)

I won't go into detail on the rest, save to say that I made several adjustments along the way. I'm still not happy that I haven't figured out the slipstitch to close the pillow, but am otherwise happy with the results. And now we have another throw pillow! Best of all, I have another source of inspiration...and accomplishment...that I can snuggle up to any day.

Now if only it could help me sleep....

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That.

I love being inspired.

I love that those "ah hah" moments where seemingly random ventures from my life just seem to tie together.

I love life.

I am accepting that there is no one path for me. Yoga is a blissful way to harmonize many of the concepts I love and I am teaching, and still plan to teach it in the future both on and off the mat. Yet teaching yoga alone does not incorporate all of "me", all of what I want to share with the world.

I love playing, dipping my toes in different pools, tossing in a heavy sprinkle of "what ifs" to whatever is on the stove. I am tickled that I am realizing (in bits and pieces) that life really can be an ongoing exploration...indeed, perhaps that is what we should strive for!

Another day, another venture: While researching Ayurveda for someone with whom I am working, cleaning up the painting splatters my son made while painting a model airplane, assisting my daughter with some more "yummies" (i.e. gummies), switching laundry, making an appointment with the doctor, and moving some more furniture back into the house on the newly-done floors (because of which my hands and back are hating me right now), I finished up this little piece of inspiration:

(Embroidery on purchased handmade paper. Someday I may make the paper, too. For now, the hours of emroidery is enough!) I may add more to it, I may hang it with some ribbon, I may just give it away to someone who needs reminded of this as well.

Regardless, I am inspired. I am running with this. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.
P.S. Amidst all of the newly found inspiration and energy (wish I could keep this going!), I started a new blog: . This blog will keep track of the goings-on of the kiddos and will hopefully keep track of all of those cute moments I would otherwise forget.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Back to the Basics

Ah, the cycles of life. On Facebook, off Facebook. Blog a lot, blog a little. So it goes. Instead of fighting against it, or apologizing for it (which I still tend to do), I'm trying to accept that sometimes my days will focus a great deal on parks with the kids, other days will involve long hours on projects around the house, and still others will find me in front of the computer screen. Life changes, as do my priorities. As my son gets ready to start Kindergarten, I'm trying to tie up my lifejacket and ready myself for the inevitable waves that are going to rock my boat.

As you'll notice, I've gone back to a more plain format for the blog. Inspired by a recent discovery of Somerset Studio books, I am on a very crafty kick. I've started sewing (can you believe it?) and am fascinated by mixed-media art. I'm still keeping my yoga on and off the mat going - I'm honoring the form it is taking. I'm playing with the incorporation of my body, yogic ideals, art, mothering, daily name it, I believe I can find ways to allow the river of passion to flow through it all.

Along with this, I plan to bring some photos to this blog to provide both a more artful blogging experience and to share some of the "offline" stuff with you.

For now, dinner calls.