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



The Yin and Yang of Life…..

Tomorrow morning I will wake up with a heart full and empty all at once; a pulling here and there. Tomorrow morning I take off for Jakes Hotel in the dreamiest of places; Treasure Beach, Jamaica. I will be  “getting out of Dodge.” This has been a long hard winter (saying this makes me feel like Laura Ingles from Little House on the Prairie). This winter has been cold and snowy, there have been health dramas and a dozen snow days, plus all of that other stuff that happens in life regardless of weather patterns. To be honest, at times I have felt totally overwhelmed. But it has also been a great winter with many unexpected and heartwarming gifts. For starters, I loosened the house rules and my three boys are now expert indoor rip-stickers. Have you ever tried rip-sticking? It is NOT easy. Another gift: My middle son taught his younger (and much louder)  brother how to play chess. I also watched my one son fall in love with our dog. He has always “loved” him, but not like he does now- all in with his whole heart kind of love. I got to have more snuggly sofa time and more family games. The family games were not all “fun and games”. I learned that my kids are ruthless when it comes to monopoly. They cheat, steal and have no qualms about going after each other physically. We now have a non-negotiable rule that monopoly MAY not be played without an adult present.  So while this cold and snowy winter has lasted longer than I would have liked, and has caused some snafu’s, it has mostly been pretty great.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do” –Rumi

Loving what you do can cause a tug at your heart. I have come to learn that this is just how it is. So, rather than push it away and squash it, I will feel the love of what I do along with the missing in my heart. Tomorrow I leave for a warmer and more bohemian place than I normally inhabit. I will be teaching yoga and meditation, I will be visiting a school to teach adorable children yoga, I might even zip line through the tree tops at YS Falls. This is a dream come true. My heart is filled with gratitude for this opportunity to go deep into a place of stillness and strength with yoga and meditation practice, along with lots of wonderful people in a beautiful setting. When I was at Jakes last year I was so moved by the people of Jamaica. Their tender soft hearts and mindful way of moving through life touched me deeply. So while I am going to miss my family a LOT, with my whole-being kind of missing, I am also filled with gratitude. I guess this is life……the yin and yang of existence.

Namaste. Xo

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!

Namaste

“I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace. I honor the place within you, where when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.”

-Namaste, as defined by Mahatma Gandhi
Yoga with lululemon athletica Wayne!

Yoga with lululemon athletica Wayne!

Tonight I practiced yoga outside under a wide open sky with birds chirping and my three boys all around me. lululemon athletica in Wayne organizes an awesome community yoga Wednesday nights throughout the summer.  I was hesitant to bring my boys with me as I thought maybe they wouldn’t be able to “hang”. I ignored that nagging anxiety and brought them.  I am SO glad I listened to my heart and brought them!  They didn’t follow all of the directions, they giggled, jumped around in balance poses and went to refill their  water a few times.  BUT….they held my hand in savasana and that made my heart feel so full of love, of light, of truth and peace.

Namaste :)

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.

My rocking road crew!

I completed my first triathlon yesterday with the most awesome road crew around.

My Dad drove me to the race and with his cool demeanor, stuck by me the whole time till I got in the water. It felt like old-times- when I was a kid swimming in an event. I was so excited to start swimming, that I took off fast. I wanted to show my Dad I was still a superstar!

I decided to do this tri as a practice for a tri I am doing May 19th to honor my friend Dan Schultz. I have made the May 19th tri so public, that I thought it might be a good idea to get one under my belt before I do it for “real”. I am so glad I did this as a practice as I learned so much. For starters, maybe I shouldn’t try to be such a hot- shot (this is relative) in the water. There is probably no need to impress my Dad at this point. I am pretty sure he thinks I am great and the winner of the entire triathlon despite any official race results. Second thing I learned was to pick up the speed in transitions. I think I can do better than 4:38 minutes. I also learned that I am VERY thirsty when I swim and bike and run. I need to hydrate more efficiently before, during and after the race. I also learned that speeding down hills freaks me out and the wind is very loud. Going uphill is extremely quiet and difficult- especially when I haven’t figured out the gears and I am on the toughest one. OUCH- my quads were cooked and I was only 3 miles into the ride. I learned a lot yesterday and all of it will be helpful May 19th when I race at Black Bear to honor Dan.

So, on Sunday, May 19th, I will race in honor of Dan with a little more experience under my biking shorts. My awesome road crew will be dis-baned as they all have stuff to do that doesn’t include following me around. We will continue to raise money up until race day in honor of Dan for the awesome organization For Pete’s Sake. If you are interested in contributing, please click here

Tri it With a Smile In Honor of Dan Schultz….For Pete’s Sake!

It has been a couple of months since I posted about the May 19th Triathlon I am doing to honor Dan Schultz . A lot can happen in a couple of months! All of the physical training has pushed me to my edge physically and mentally.  I have learned so much about how I tell myself “stories” about what I can and can not do. I have learned that  most of the “can not do” is based in fear. I set out to do this tri to honor Dan and to show my kids anything is possible. Every single time I am pushed to my edge (which is pretty much every training session) I think about Dan and all of the other brave beings who have fought cancer or are fighting cancer. This has been such an inspiration to me to move forward with my training and to live my life to the fullest.

When I set out to do this Triathlon, I thought about raising money through a donation based yoga class. After chatting with many friends about this, I have come to the conclusion that we are all so darn busy and while people want to be a part of this, they may not be able to make it to a yoga class. So, I have decided to set up a page for donations. All of the money will go to For Petes Sake. For Petes Sake is an awesome organization that gives cancer patients and their family’s a respite from cancer. This organization is near and dear to the Schultz family as many happy memories were created on a trip to Florida in the midst of Dan’s battle. For Pete’s Sake took care of everything so Dan, Sue, Maddie, Avery, Quinn and Sadie could just be together and create cherished memories. Check out this video the Schultz kids made (all on their own!) about the annual For Pete’s Sake walk. Aren’t they so cool and creative!

Write here.Last summer, my son and his friend set up a Lemonade stand and raised some money For Pete’s sake.

I am hoping we can raise some money too! If you are interested, please click here to make your donation.

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!