Monday, March 20, 2017

108 leads to a 180

Sunday afternoon I choose a yoga class that fit in to my schedule. It didn't sound inviting to me at all, outside welcoming a new season. As homage to Spring Equinox, the practice would consist of doing 108 sun salutations. 

Pinto beans. The instructor asked me to grab 11 when I went in the studio. As the class began, she explained the beans would help us keep count in sets of ten, the last group only being 8. I realized I was one short.

The first ten we did together as a group. Moving through the sun salutation and clapping at the end of each one to count off. When we reached ten she left us to finish the rest at our own pace.

I don't remember the teens clearly. I started thinking about what age I was at certain numbers. I got lost in counting, of course.

At twenty, I moved my first bean off the mat vertical to the horizontal line on the mat. The solo bean made me picture a boat sail and I thought about making an image with the rest. At 25, I clapped my hands. There was a cover by a female singer of, "I melt with you". It loosened my need to be disciplined in my asana.

At thirty, I took a sip of water and moved another bean. At 39, I thought about how close to present I felt. At 41, there was no option other than to be present. I clapped again.

Then, I began the journey of the unknown. I was faced with 60 some years and keeping track with numbers rather than intuition.

At fifty, I stopped for more water and decided to pound a beans worth out to keep things moving along. I started jumping and rolling through transitions more. Towards 60 I realized I was "cheating" myself because I was muscling through the movements.

I stayed internal and followed my cupped hands a lot as I floated into each new salutation. I would dance my way back up from down dog to forward bend. The meditation was awesome.

At 70, the teacher started to talk about people finishing up. The woman next to me moved at the same pace I did. I sensed her movements and we were in sync many times. Except I noticed she had less beans. I then pounded through the 80s.

At 100 I finished my water. I had one bean left since I didn't move one after the original ten. There were 8 sun salutations to go. Jen recommended we do them slowly to cool down. I ditched the numbers and lead my focus with gratitude to:
  • my feet. 
  • my knees. 
  • my hips. 
  • my stomach. 
  • my heart. 
  • my shoulders. 
  • my throat. 
  • my head. 
I came down on the last bean sweaty. It stuck to the middle of my forehead as I moved through most of the last salutation. I thought it was suiting for the third eye point. Then legs up the wall to restore (my nightly favorite) and svasana.

She said we could return the beans to the bag or take them with us. I forgot them at first when I let the studio and went back to pick them up. I think I'll plant them and see what sprouts.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Original

I saw Saturn this past year through a telescope. It was one of the highlights of my year. It's funny to say since it looked like little more than a low res version of a photo of the planet that I might find on the web. But it was cool because for a brief moment, lenses and mirrors were reaching across our universe to project one beautiful planet into my world.

I took miss M to see it. I had promised her we would star gaze one night at Observatory Park. We skipped the talk and went straight to the telescope. I forgot what a beautifully 'ancient' tool it is in an old building. As I watched them adjust the wooden ladder so she could climb it, I thought about my Dad watching me do the same. Though I wasn't as young when I visited this place with him, I'm sure he navigated me through moments of apprehension knowing the payoff would be awesome.


We stopped at the Biosphere 2 during my college visit to check out the University of Arizona. During the tour he kept reminding me that the earth was the original biosphere. Typing this, I wish remembered more about the visit and about the things he tried to teach me that he knew and found interesting.

Still, looking at this photo, I see one of the most important things: one of my original friends in this biosphere and love... so much love.

“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” - Carl Sagan

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lovely Day

Alt-J covering Bill Withers

Maybe after 41 years it's normal for the the sheen of every day life to wear off. Daily interactions and friendships loose their luster. I almost feel like I know the truth behind the curtain and can't play the part anymore. Those magic things that happen during the day get glossed over too. Even if I do catch them, the conversation gets steamrolled by something and I rarely get to share them with loved ones. The upside is I've started to say "fuck it" a lot more and move on when things don't work the way I want them to, rather than taking them personally.

Someone recently reminded me of an energy I used to have that I lost. It fell to the wayside in the mix of having babies and becoming soft-urban. I realized that the energy I bring in to a situation really affects how life plays out. It started one early morning in December when I could have chosen to go down a road of dark imaginings but instead I chose to think, "I believe in you". It all went up from there. 

That one pebble of a thought has created ripples in me ever since. Yoga also came flooding back into my world. It's been a revolution of sorts. It's an enthusiasm for life and a sense of hopefulness about each day. I am feeling my old energy more and more, but with a tempered lens. 

Sure it's just a number but I've earned these 41 years. They deliver a wisdom the youth can never possess. I used to be to cool (and I've still got some shine  left in me) but that's not what I'm about anymore.  

I now understand the feeling of gracefully surrendering the things of youth. I'm the invisible 40-something in a field of millennials. I'm also the accessible soul in a coffee shop making friendly conversation with an even older, understanding soul. 

I can now look back on the slow subtle shift of everyday living and see some true transformation. These days I find my smile in the mirror and a grip of wrinkles surrounding it. I'm the old friend looking back to keep me company. I walk softer and welcome any semblance of grace I can muster.

"Our silent desires can fuel the most powerful experiences we live. It's about how our presence is what really brings people joy." 

I know now that although I might not like the song that is playing, I can find a new spin on it that makes me feel alive. It's my choice to make it a lovely day.