Sunday, September 29, 2013

Thanks to the Butterflies...and Eloise

A very sweet young lady I know created this drawing for me when I was looking for ideas for the book cover of my memoir, Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman’s Quest for Balance, Strength and Inner Peace (now available for pre-order!) The final book cover, designed by the publishing company, is a bit different, but the artists did incorporate the butterflies. Hands are very difficult to draw (I am told!) but Eloise did an excellent job. In fact, I’m sure that if she so desires, she will one day have a lovely career as an artist.
            The point of this blog is to say thank you to Eloise (and to her mother, my dear friend Amy) and also to say thank you to all those who helped to make my dream of creating and publishing my memoir about my yoga and breast cancer journey come true. For the fact of the matter is, even though I was the one to sit down at my computer and write the book, it never would have happened without the input of many, many people. Nothing happens in this world, I believe, without a chain of angels (human or otherwise) that help us on our path.
            I remember the very first time I entered the yoga studio at the foot of my hill. Somehow, the universe had planted a yoga center there just at the time in my life when I deeply needed to change my path for emotional as well as physical reasons. From the moment I entered Nesheemah (which means breath), my life forever changed for the better. I entered a parallel universe of which I had hitherto been completely unaware, a universe of kind and gentle souls, of teachers, friends, and others too many to name here. That day set into motion a series of events and serendipitous meetings, opening my heart to compassion, forgiveness and trust. So many have been part of my journey…I would like to personally thank each and every one…but some I don’t even know by name. Sometimes I think of the waiter who refilled my coffee cup when I was feeling down, or a woman I crossed paths with in a grocery store who let me go first in line; the people who brighten our days are sometimes unknown to us, even though we may feel and benefit from the light they share.
            Today, I’ll simply start with Eloise, who spent some hours after school creating the beautiful drawing above for me. And I’d also like to thank the butterflies…who reveal to us every day that we are capable of change, that we capable of overcoming struggle, that we are born to be free and beautiful.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Power of Wow

One of my favorite yoga teachers (prominently featured in my upcoming memoir; details soon!) used to have a favorite mantra she’d repeat every time something amazing happened in her life (which was quite often). Here it is: “Wow.” She’d say this numerous times a day—whenever she ran into someone she knew in an unlikely place, whenever she looked up at the sky, whenever she woke up in the morning to a beautiful sunrise. Her enthusiasm for life was (and still is) contagious. For her, every moment seemed to hold a potential “Wow.”
At first, I thought this exuberance was a little over the top. But then, I too, began to notice that I was saying Wow a lot. It began to seem amazing to me that cats purr or that somehow the universe managed to hook me up in college with a best friend I would have for life. It seemed extraordinary that an opossum liked to hang out in my pear tree at night, and that I lived within walking distance from a fantastic Thai restaurant. It seemed unbelievable that goats are so adorable, or that butterflies and birds have such vibrant colors.
 I started to no longer take much of anything for granted, and to look at all the ordinary things in life in terms of their potential “wow-ness.” Of course, it’s easy to feel “The Wow” when you’re gazing at a sunset or looking into the eyes of a newborn baby. But in time, if you get into the Wow of things, you’ll find yourself totally wowed by a head of organic cauliflower or by a good car mechanic.
As a yogi (and as an admirer of author Eckhart Tolle) I often extol the “Power of Now,” and the beauty of living in the now. But I think my yoga teacher takes it an important step further.
If you can live in the now and in the Wow at the same time, I believe you may find true happiness. And all I can say to that, of course, is Hallelujah! I mean... Wow.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

On the Porch

That’s porch. Not Porsche.
            I like porches (well, I like Porsches, too). These days everything is about the deck (and I do have one, out back. I don’t have a front porch any more). But when I was a kid, everything happened on the porch, in the front of the house, where all could see.
Porches make memories (well, maybe decks do, too, but they seem to be more along the lines of “Wow, we grilled some awesome portabellas last night” or “Did you see the size of those zinnias?”)
             Porch memories (at least for me) are more personal. The front porch is where I colored in my coloring books and played with my wooden blocks and paper dolls for hours. The front porch is where my best friend got into an argument with my cousin (he threw her crayons overboard into the forsythia bush). It’s where my high school boyfriend and I broke up. And it’s where my father took me when I was small and especially naughty. He often also carried me there in the evening—on his shoulders—to say goodnight to the moon.
            The front porch was where my mom and dad sat after dinner to watch the cars go by, and where my mom sat for years after my dad died, watching the cars go by alone. The front porch was where we hung out when it was just too hot inside the house, and it was where the glider was (upon which, as I recall, my lovely sister and her boyfriend often cuddled).
           We waved to neighbors passing by from the porch and often got into conversations about the weather or the state of old Miss so-and-so’s health. Today, we may not know our neighbors, and if we do, we’re all out on our back decks so we don’t have as many chances to chat. The porch was a great place to spy from and it was also an excellent elevation from which to have a lemonade-spitting contest (when mom wasn’t looking, of course).
            I guess I could go on and on about porches but you get my drift. Decks are nice, but I love porches, and always will.