Random

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Look at that sky.


I spend a lot of time in my mind. 

I teach thinking.
Words.
Writing.
Reading.

I get tangled up in my worries. I spread them outward. To my students. When what I mean to do is only to spread love.

Energy is so contagious.

I need yoga.

When I close my eyes and focus on my breath….when I lay on my mat and relax…I let go. When I work hard, dripping sweat, completely exhausted….I let go. I set my intention. To let go. To lighten up.

Time is moving so quickly. It’s almost 2015.
I love the end of the year, the days off work, the time to relax, to be spacious, happy, light.

I love the clean slate of a new year. The chance to start fresh, to set goals.
At my age, though, so many years have come and gone. I’ve made resolutions, written on the clean slates of years starting in both nineteen and twenty. Bought new calendars, fresh with possibility.

Tick. Tock. Tick tock. Ticktockticktockticktockticktock….

Time keeps on slipping into the future.

I hope that this might be the year I finally grow up.

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Creating Space

I love yoga so much.

Yoga creates space. You do it on a little mat, not much longer or wider than your body but you stretch, reach, and pretzel your limbs into all kinds of shapes. In yoga you lengthen the breath and calm the mind. Spacious.

mat

Right now my house feels small to me. I do not live in a tiny house, and I am aware that in most of the world my house is gigantic.

So why does my 71 inch yoga mat feel like all the space I need, while my 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2450 square foot house feels too small?

This is my home office

This is my home office.

My “office” is in my bedroom, and all of my work materials have to fit into this desk. I try to keep the clutter to a minimum and be super-organized, but that doesn’t always work. I crave a big office with a big desk and plenty of space for bookshelves and filing cabinets.

So we looked at some houses with more rooms (and a bigger mortgage). Where we live a lot of the bigger, newer houses have no yards or outside space. The houses are right next to each other and fill almost the entire plot of land.

our backyard

Our Backyard

Also it’s summer. Summer=space. Moving would take up so much time and be such a pain. I sound lazy, and I suppose I am.

So I just need to create space where I am. Unclutter my life. Focus on what is most important.

My 13 year-old daughter was cleaning her room (alert the media!) and said, “I used to be afraid to get rid of things.” I found her use of the word afraid interesting. Isn’t it fear that causes us to hold onto things?

What can I let go of in order to create more space?

 

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Write

I write to peel away the layers and find the words within

I write and hope

someone else

out there

will connect.

I’m thinking of starting a new (another one!) blog without any “theme” except whatever.

It would be called Whatever.

Sometimes I just want to pour words onto the page. I don’t want them to have to make sense.

I love the aspect of blogging that allows someone to find and read my words. Randomly.

Like a message in a bottle.

 

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Low Day

Today I feel low. 

I try so hard. 

I judge myself. 

Never enough. 

What a waste of precious energy. 

My life is divine. Beautiful. A gift. 

I have so much. I am alive. 

I love the rain, the quacking duck that I hear but can not see. 

I love my family. My son, the 10-year old who loves to cuddle. My daughter, the 13-year old who made sure I had roses, tea, chocolate and pretty soaps for Mother’s Day. My husband, who reminds me to appreciate the moments. My father, my role-model, who has taught me, by his example, to let things go, to be generous, to be grounded. 

What challenges me is basically my own perspective. My own judging mind. My sometime inability to flow, breathe, smile, rest, appreciate, pray, and be. Happy. 

 

 

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Positive Speech Day

The power of positive energy is pretty much a proven thing. I remember reading, in one of Robert Anton Wilson‘s books (Cosmic Trigger maybe?), “Positive energy is as real as gravity” and thinking yes, of course.

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However much we know this, though, the forces of negativity often crop up pretty strongly and why that is, I do not know. There must be a reason. I know that I tend to be a negative thinker at times, whether out of worry, fear or a sense of realism …and sometimes I can even work myself into a funk. I know people who make it a point to always be positive, to always smile, and I must admit I sometimes judge this self-discipline as phoniness.

In my Torah learning sessions, I am learning about Shmiras Ha’Lashon or the laws of speech. Speech is incredibly powerful. In fact, in the Book of Genesis, in the very first story of the Torah, B’resheit, God used words to create the world.

Yet, we talk, talk, talk. We throw our words around, often disconnected from the creative potential of our speech. In order to harness the power of positive speech, to give myself some structured practice with my own energy, I have invented “Positive Speech Day.”

Here are the RULES for Positive Speech Day: (I made them up. Feel free to adapt them for yourself.)

  • Choose a day. It can be once a week to start or whatever works.
  • On that day, speak positively about everything and to everyone. Of course, in order to do this you have to work to see the positive side of every and any situation. It helps to keep a big smile on your face, too, even if it feels fake. It’s like practicing yoga. You hold the “pose,” breathe deeply and just be there.
  • The rules include the “talking” you do to and about yourself as well!
  • If you mess up, just start over quickly and remind yourself that it’s all good on PSD (positive speech day).

That is it.

So, I did this earlier this week, and it was a great day. Either my positive energy was reflected back to me by others or else I actually convinced myself that all was well in my world.

As I said, though, this doesn’t always come naturally to me, so I have to remind myself to do positive speech days. I’m going to try to increase the number of PSD days I have and look upon it as a fun experiment to see what happens.

 

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Be the Change. And Get Over It.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”- Mahatma Ghandi

In my last post, I wrote about the advice to “get over it” that has stuck with me and prompted me to put more of myself “out there” despite constant self-judgment. This morning I read the article “Shy of the Social Media Spotlight? Get Over It” written by an author and consultant who specializes in personal branding. Personal branding...I’ve mused in writing on that topic as well, again wrestling with fixedness and concerns about some perceived audience who holds power over me and judges my thoughts, ideas, words, titles…. marketability, intelligence and worth. 

As an educator I work to teach students to think carefully about what they share online. I want them to develop a bit of a filter on how they present themselves publicly. However, I recognize that many adults are hindered by the strength of the filters we have developed. 

When teaching yoga, I speak the words, “Let go of the ego…. have compassion for yourself. Never judge.” In yoga, yes. What about in life?

I “stalk” (how embarrassing to admit it) my daughter’s young friends and acquaintances on Instagram (never mind that they are all legally too young to have these accounts.) They are already over what I have to get over. It makes me uncomfortable and worried. They appear filter-less. But I don’t believe that they are without ego. Their egos are just being formed. Social media is inseparable from the growth and development of their senses of self. These are some of the questions I imagine them asking:

How many followers do I have?

How many likes did I get (and, maybe more importantly WHO is doing the liking)?

It is a very public popularity contest. And ultimately meaningless. 

Honestly, I am not sure where this line of thought is ultimately taking me except back to the original idea of letting go. I can’t change anything except (maybe) myself. Social media is what it is. Who we ARE should be no different from our “brand.”

It is not our business what others think of us. 

I am in the midst of reading an interesting book, “The Parents We Mean to Be” by Richard Weissbourd. In it he calls for adults- parents, teachers, coaches- to work always on their own moral development in order to be worthy mentors for the younger generation. All we really have to give is ourselves. We can have a shiny, happy website and tons of followers on this or that social media tool, but if the human behind the curtain fails to live up to the promise, than what is gained? 

Is social media a mirror where we get to control the image that shines back at us, tweaking away the ugly parts, burying them out of sight? Or is it by holding out the whole picture, without judgment, that we actually do grow as human beings?

Just thinking…

 

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Writing as a Practice

I am trying to force myself to write practice writing more regularly. I tend to be overly self-conscious about each word, knowing that once my post is published, it’s out there. But a close friend and cherished mentor has told me to get over it.  And so I am trying to do just that.

I keep lists of blogging ideas and usually have several posts in draft. But I find that if I don’t finish a post and publish it, I often lose the inspiration. I have even forgotten the original idea behind the words. There is something about the hitting “publish” that helps the ideas take on greater form, a life of their own so to speak.

We think in words. I write to understand what I think. I write to engage and develop and grow my thinking. I write to learn how to write. I write to learn how to teach. I write to share my thoughts. Sometimes I write to promote my work, because I want attention or feedback. Sometimes I write just to write.

When I was 12 years old my mother died. My family didn’t talk about it, not while she was sick nor after she died. I don’t know if they thought I was too young or just couldn’t bring themselves to face the pain, but I felt lost and alone. I had always been a reader and so I discovered that writing was a way to soothe my soul. I filled journal after journal with sadness and confusion, trying to force those feelings  out of my body and onto the page.

Practices only work when we practice them habitually. I want to be a better writer. I am trying to practice.

I blog here and also there.

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