Yoga

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



Gratitude

GRATTITUDE

Eagle Arms

That’s right, being grateful is an attitude and a blessing. I say this as a reminder to myself as sometimes I get in a funk about all of the blessings that happen in life. You know, the blessings that show up as anxiety, grief, annoyances, relationship issues, time constraints, traffic, etc….

I am speaking from experience here when I say that an attitude of gratitude for all of it is the only answer. If we are only grateful for the good stuff that brings us joy, laughter, peace and love, we end up missing an entire realm of life, and ultimately, an entire aspect of ourselves. What if we were grateful for grief, loss, pain, and the annoyance of being stuck in traffic, not to mention all of the issues that come from having relationships with other humans? What if we said a wholehearted thank you very much for ALL of these experiences instead of just picking the sweet, joyous pretty ones for which to be grateful?

The good stuff is such a delight, but it’s the messy, dark, difficult, experiences that can not be easily fixed that are the pot of gold. It is always darkest before the dawn and I am always, usually in retrospect, deeply grateful for these lessons, I mean blessings. Sure, the shiny pretty stuff is nice, but the dark, messy, “sit in the muck of it’, “how the hell did I get here” kind of stuff breaks me open in a way that other stuff cannot. And, for those blessings, I am grateful!

“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.”

-Mary Oliver

Good morning Sunrise

Practicing yoga outside can be delightful, especially when this sun is rising and the weather is agreeable! Waking up early to breath deeply and move slowly admits friends, morning dew and birds chirping just adds to the delight. Thank you to all of the morning yogi’s!

A beautiful morning poem to start your day:

Why I Wake Early
by Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

Stargazing

One of the Yoga Deck at Jakes Hotel

One of the Yoga Deck at Jakes Hotel

Last week I was on the beautiful Caribbean Island of Jamaica. I don’t know if I have ever seen a star filled sky like I saw last week.  As I attempted to capture the Caribbean night sky with my phone, my friend Margot said to me, “A camera can’t capture God.” So I put down my camera and looked up. The longer I looked, the more I saw. The deeper the stars went and the brighter they became. It was magically and miraculously endless.  In a way, that night of stargazing was a perfect metaphor for my experience at Jakes Hotel.

I was on a yoga retreat with Verge at Jakes Hotel in the delightfully un-touristy Treasure Beach, Jamaica. I was there to teach yoga and meditation. My intention going into the week was simple:

Allow

Be of Service

Love

To some extent I have always known that what you put out, you get back. Call it Karma, Divinity or The Universal Law of How Things Just Are (I just made that one up). You see, I know this, but this week I REALLY learned it and felt it and now “know” it in a whole different capacity than before. It’s like knowing something intellectually or knowing it in your heart with your whole being. The latter being a deeper and more stable place to inhabit.

In setting my intention to just allow (and repeating this intention), I was able to be more open, less controlling and way more in the flow. It is so simple, really (I say this as a reminder to myself now that I am back in the fullness of my life). It just takes some letting go and allowing for whatever is to be exactly as it is.  Being in the flow is a cool place to be. It is where I wish to reside!

In setting my intention to Be Of Service, what actually happened was that I got to hear, see and be witness to so much wisdom from all of those around me. This was especially poignant when I visited a local Jamaican Elementary School.  The wisdom, love and joy that I felt from these children is still resonating with me now. Surely they served me more than I could ever imagine serving them.

In setting my intention to Love I was able to follow through with the other two intentions. And in return, I was the one that felt so much love. Isn’t that just so awesome how it all works? You get exactly what you put out and it all counts; each breath, each thought and each precious moment!

This week reminded me that intentions really do count, that what we put out into the world we get back. It also reminded me to slow down and look around. There is so much to see out there and within ourselves if we are willing to put down our phones and look.

Sunset from our front porch at Jakes Hotel

Sunset from our front porch at Jakes Hotel

Yoga in Jamaica

This is a beautiful sunset off of Treasure Beach at Jake’s Resort in Jamaica. Jamaica is a beautiful island, made even more beautiful by its people. As I settle into my third day of a yoga retreat, I am reminded of the importance of being gentle and kind. I believe we are all born knowing this, regardless of our circumstances. This seed is either watered and cultivated or left dry. I have come to find that it only takes a simple setting of a positive intention to have those feelings arise. Then with regular practice- watering the seeds, if you will- they grow. Often, they grow in ways we never expected.  Sure, it is much easier t do this as I sit and look at a sunset in delightful Jamaica, but those seeds are there regardless of where we are in this world.

Namaste

Light in life - Yoga with kids


February is Career month in my son’s kindergarten class. The teachers  have invited various parents to share their vocation with the kids. The visitors have ranged from a Veterinarian to a coach to a radio personality. Yesterday it was my turn to go in and share yoga with these divine little beings. I must admit I was a little intimidated. Give me a full house of adults and I will have no problem, but a classroom full of kindergartener’s, I was sweating (literally). There was lots of talk at my house prior to my visit. My little guy wanted to know what my plan was, would I bring a yoga mat, could he be my assistant, would we be doing tree pose, and on, and on. He even reviewed with me what I was supposed to say as I entered the room. They would all be sitting quietly in a circle and I was supposed to say, “wow, you are already doing easy pose.” Since I have lots of experience working with, um I mean coaching, my youngest son in sports, I knew he meant business, so I did as I was told.


The experience was so delightful for me and I hope for them too. There is something magical about this age. They are inquisitive and sweet (mostly), and they are still so full of life and love. One of my son’s kindergarten teachers said she loved teaching Kindergarten because the children are still so close to God. I definitely felt that as I sat and breathed with them. Children at this age know how to let go so easily, their hearts are still so open and full. They haven’t begun to build those walls we all build that close us off to life and love. Instead of me teaching them yoga, they taught me how to be more light in life.


Like anything we do that pushes us to our edge, whether it is physically, mentally or emotionally, we come out the other side changed. Even if only for a moment. I went into that classroom feeling nervous and intimidated and left feeling inspired and light.