Family

My Spring Garden

As I prepare to plant my spring garden, I am reflecting on what worked in last years garden and what did not.  The eggplants were beautiful and prolific. The tomatoes were just ok. The cucumbers were a bust, and the jalapeño peppers were really pretty, but not a lot of kick. And honestly, what is the point of a jalapeño that doesn’t knock your socks off?  Last year was my first year attempting to grow vegetables in a small plot next to our home. With the encouragement of my step-mom and the joie de vivre of my youngest son, we planted our first garden on Father’s Day 2014. Three months after my sweet Dad had passed. It was part tribute to my Dad and part caving into my son Jack’s request for a garden. He likes to get his hands dirty and build stuff; Sally and I just needed something to do to make it through our first Father’s Day without my Dad.

pink socks help with planting!

pink socks help with planting!

Planting a garden in June meant we were about a month behind, or so I am told. But this seemed appropriate given the previous months and general way in which life was unfolding. Time and circumstances were not mine to arrange and dictate. Life was happening as it was supposed to happen and when it was supposed to happen. Perhaps even in a way that was divine.  All of this life and loss, coupled with joy and grief, was teaching me how to, once again, let go and allow.

Not a lot happened in the first several weeks, but Jack and I continued to water and watch, and watch and water. As we tended to our garden the stubby little plants began to bud flowers. Really amazingly beautiful flowers; especially the eggplants! Have you seen an eggplant flower? They change so quickly so it is easy to miss the wonder of it all. Ours were green buds, then yellow flowers, then miraculously they sprouted a purple burst of a baby eggplant. Perhaps this is just the course of eggplant growth, but it felt like it was just for us.; a beautiful marvel in our back yard. Just for us.

Eggplants!

Eggplants!

Those beautiful and delicious eggplants gave me the budding spark of confidence that I can do this again! I know that nothing lasts forever and it doesn’t always work out as planned, but that is ok because given time, patience and love, it seems to work out exactly as it should.  

So, onward!

It takes some work, patience and trust to cultivate a garden. Which, by the way, is EXACTLY like yoga. I have to clean out the winter that hardened the ground. I have to clear away the sticks and rebuild the soil with compost that I have been gathering all year. I need to plan, gather and plant. And then, I need to water the seeds and let them grow. Trusting that what is meant to root down, given the right amount of sunshine and love, will grow. Rooting down to expand, even if only for a moment. Trusting the process and in the experience of all of that, opening my heart to the beauty all around.

some harvest from last year, including very blah jalapeño's !

some harvest from last year, including very blah jalapeño's !

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing Gold can stay.
— robert frost



Charleston…….

Morning view of Charleston waterfront

Morning view of Charleston waterfront

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” -Woody Allen

God had a different plan for me this weekend.

I walk around thinking I am in charge, but really I have no clue. At best, I can show up for what life throws my way with an open and light heart and that is on a good day.

Here’s a Story:

A priest was walking down the road and saw a little boy jumping up trying to ring a doorbell. The priest crossed the street to help the little boy. He rang the bell for him then said, what do we do now? The little boy said, “Run like HELL!”

I first heard this story from Tara Brach and it always makes me laugh. For me, it highlights that we never really know what’s going to happen next. We think we know, we plan and analyze and stress, all the while we miss the precious and present moment that is right here and right now.

Instead of driving to Massachusetts to attend a silent meditation retreat, I am in Charleston with my Dad who is in the ICU . My Dad is dreamy! He is the nicest, calmest, sweetest, most awesome person I have ever met. And I get to call him Dad. I literally hit the JACK-pot with Dad’s (his name is Jack).

So this weekend I will practice staying present for each moment. Not stressing about what might be, or what should be, but just being with what IS. I will look for light in everything, even the rough spots. It is easy to sink into the fear and darkness but that takes me away from what is right here and right now which is full of light.

Gratitude

I recently had the amazing opportunity to spend almost 9 days in Baja Mexico right at the edge of the Sea of Cortez. The magical place where Whales go to give birth!  I flew across the country with my family and found myself transported both physically and spiritually by the journey. It was my first time in that part of the world. I had no idea what to expect, mostly because I was in a state of hustle and bustle with my teaching schedule, my kids schedules and all of that other stuff that seems to fill my days. So, I didn’t spend any time researching anything. In fact, as I was filling out the immigration forms I leaned over to my husband and said, where are we staying again?

When we finally arrived at our destination I was travel-worn but feeling light-hearted. I had NO SCHEDULE (yay!). NO PLACE TO BE (yippee!).  As we were checking in I was drawn to the loud cacophony of thundering water below.  We were high above the Sea of Cortez; about 5 or 6 flights of beautiful Mexican tiled stairs carried us down to our room with a beautiful view of the Water. But, before I saw the Sea of Cortez, I heard it. And before I heard it, I felt it in my chest and throughout my body. It felt something like being at a football game and feeling the beating vibration of the drums in your chest. It was powerful! The kind of powerful that shakes you AWAKE!

This feeling and state of being awake is something that I literally think about constantly. I practice yoga and meditation to touch into this feeling of freedom. I teach people how to breathe and be in the moment in their bodies. I guide people through meditations to feel what it is to be fully alive and in the moment. Sometimes I think of myself as a space maker of sorts, starting primarily with myself. Through the breath in our bodies we find space, first physical, then mentally, then eventually we find it in our hearts. Space for more love, joy, peace and freedom. We also find more space for presence and love through the shaky times. Being in the moment is key and I was feeling very in the moment. 

I thought of the quote by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

“My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.”

Any body of water, especially a powerful Sea that attracts Whales to birth their babies, can be a powerful metaphor for life. There is so much energy and vibration, yet still and peaceful. Looking at the Sea of Cortez and the flow of the waves is like seeing your entire life within one wave; it is all contained right there: peace, love, misery, angst, freedom. Every emotion and experience contained right there in both one wave and the entire magical Sea all at once.

It can be really nice to “get out of Dodge” and slow down a bit. Plus being in another part of the world offers another perspective. This trip gave me a chance to slow down and take in all of the love, joy, peace and freedom that exists in my life.  As I head into this last month of this incredible year, I am grateful for the reservoir of space and love that exists within me and all of us. I am grateful for the time in Mexico to slow down and notice all of the blessings that have touched me this year. Several of these blessings showed up in my life as “problems” and turned out, as they always do, to be amazing gifts. I am grateful to have touched my toes (I never went deeper!) into the most powerful body of water I have ever felt. I am grateful to feel awake and alive!

Rumi said:

“Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are thousands of ways to kneel and kiss the ground”

Being in this magical and powerful place, so far from my regular life, gave me a chance to reflect and feel deep gratitude for this life.

Adios Mexico. Te Amo!

(drum roll, please)…..It’s November 1st!

Yesterday I woke up in a funk. Truth be told, I really do not like Halloween. My youngest son woke up with more energy than I have ever had in my life. He is just the opposite of me…he LOVES Halloween. He loves decorating, dressing up, admiring himself in the mirror, buying candy, eating candy, the parties, the festivities, ALL OF IT!

As we were eating breakfast, he said, “What’s wrong, Mom”. In an effort not to crush his amazing spirit, I said I was just a little tired. With great clarity, he said, “I know…I woke up a little tired too, but then I thought about Halloween and it all went away and I feel GREAT!” He insisted I close my eyes and try it. I did. But instead of thinking of all of the reasons I dislike Halloween, I thought about all of the blessings I have in life. And guess what?? It worked!

This morning I woke up thrilled that it is November 1st! But, as the day progressed I bumped into a few obstacles. Instead of lamenting and worrying and all of that other habitual junk that happens when things don’t go exactly as we want them to go, I remembered my breakfast session with my (halloween) guru. I closed my eyes and thought happy thoughts. And guess what? It worked again!

A Season For Everything

My boys at Skunk Hollow

My boys at Skunk Hollow

Summer 2013 is officially over. I know, I know, it is not technically over as the solstice is later this month, but “summer” in the Page household is O-V-E-R. I say that with both nostalgia and joy. The nostalgia is that this season of my boys’ lives is speeding by. This summer they all started wearing deodorant; only one of them needs it. Have you ever seen a 7-year-old put on deodorant-it is very funny! This summer was magical; we spent A LOT of time together, we surfed, rainbow loomed, hiked, went on long trips, danced, made up rap songs, got annoyed at each other-then tried to worked it out. I am keenly aware that all of this time and togetherness is fleeting. My joy for this change of season comes from having a little more personal space and time while my boys are at school. I am ready for more structure with meals and bedtime and school work. And, as much as my boys think they would love to be foot-loose and fancy- free forever and ever, what they actually need is this change of season. We all do!

This song by the Byrds has been floating in my head this week:

To Everything There Is a Season, by The Byrds

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time of war, a time of peace
A time of love, a time of hate
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it’s not too late!

Training with Warriors

Yesterday I trained with these warriors. Don’t let their smiles fool you. They are fiercely focused, they like speed and they are determined to WIN.

This training session was not exactly planned. The day had gotten away from me and by the time they got home, I still had to train. So, we set out to do a loop or two around the neighborhood. They on their bikes and me on foot. My youngest is a consistent training partner and it is usually delightful to run as he rides. But, add another kid in the mix, specifically an older brother, and the little guy gets fire in his heart and a primal desire to pummel the competition. So, my leisurely run turned into a race with warriors. With only 3 days until my big race. WAIT! only 3 days! I need a moment to let that sink in….okay- with only 3 days until my big race, I guess The Powers That Be knew I needed a little fire in my heart as well.  I am not exactly known for my speed, so seeing these two race as if their lives depended on it, was exactly the spark I needed to enter this competition on sunday with some added zeal and focus.

As I slither into my wet suit on Sunday and prepare to do my first open water swim with a ton of other people, I will be thinking of Dan Schultz who should have celebrated his 39th birthday yesterday. I will be thinking about how he too was a warrior through his battle with cancer and how so many individuals and families face this same battle day in and day out. As I swim, bike and run (oh my!) I will be borrowing both Dan’s determination and the fierce focus of my warrior racing children.

Home.

Going away is wonderful and sometimes necessary. For me, getting away to sunny Jamaica affirmed many things. Simple things like I love sand and warm water (seriously, who doesn’t?), I love eating well and connecting with people, but mostly it affirmed that I have all the answers I am looking for, right here in my heart. A week of practicing and teaching yoga and meditation at Jake’s Hotel in the village of Treasure Beach in Jamaica was a really nice way to spend time and realign with myself.  But, coming home is the BEST! Home is where the heart is and my heart lives in 3 little boys, a husband and a handsome dog.  They stink up my house, wrestle with each other like puppies, resist eating vegetables (not the husband), laugh freely, love without boundaries, live in the moment fully and feel everything deeply. More than anything in my experience, and through repeated mis-steps on my end, they have taught me to trust my gut, to listen to that voice of wisdom in my heart and to live in each moment fully. It’s not always, or ever, perfect, but it is Home!