A lot can happen in a year.

I love Timehop. It would be so cool to have my whole life on it. Year by year, the journey unfolds. On Jan 3, I got the notification of what I wrote about 2015, and I thought wow, where has the time gone? So much has changed in the last few months that writing has been on the bottom of my list. But, here I am now!

New Year’s Eve, 2015: I was in a cottage in the country, drinking champagne and making intentions with my partner, Robert. I said I was going to leave behind “I can’t” and make having more compassion be my main intention. I believe I have been successful with the former and hope that I am making progress on the latter.

New Year’s Eve 2016: I was home, babysitting my three-year-old granddaughter while her now single mother worked. And Robert was also at work. Making intentions was the farthest thing from my mind. After the little one finally went to sleep, I was glad to just sit and watch a movie!

Caring for a young child twice weekly so her mother can make ends meet was not something I anticipated a year ago, or ever, for that matter. But, when circumstances change, what are you gonna do? Although at times it exhausts me, I am glad that I can be there for my daughter and have a special relationship with my granddaughter.

Speaking of grandchildren, 2016 brought me two more! The announcement came in early spring – my second oldest son and his wife were expecting twins! And they arrived, two healthy boys, in mid-July, right after I quit my job. And, with that freedom, I make a weekly 120 mile round trip across Houston to spend the day with them and give their parents a bit of a break. wp-1483928846636.jpg

In other very major news, Robert and I are now engaged! After three amazing years together, “in spite of it all and because of it all” (as he and I often say), we have taken this step of commitment. He asked me on November 29, on bent knees, and I said yes. I never thought I would want to marry again, but when I thought that, I hadn’t met Robert!wp-1484019838009.png

Then in early December, I got my birthday wish! I turned 60 and my deepest desire was to have all my children together. Robert threw me a wonderful party, and all seven of them were there,along with some of their spouses and all the grandchildren. It was quite a feat! My dear sister Ellen and her husband drove down to celebrate with us, and my closest friends were there as well. It was wonderful, marvelous, unforgettable!wp-1484019648440.pngwp-1484019669518.png

Biggest plan for 2017: we are going to move house. Going to go north of Houston, away from the city and the refineries I’ve lived by all my life. Going to where the air is cleaner, but close enough to the grandkids to continue the current relationships. It’s a leap of faith in many ways, but I’m ready for this next adventure!

I am continuing to study with New World Ayurveda, and applying what I know to my life and sharing with family and friends as much as they are interested and want to know. I  will finish this course in April and take another trip up to Maine for the final intensive. Robert is in this class too, so will travel with me. With the completion of the course, I will be qualified not only as an Ayurvedic Practitioner, but I will also be a Spiritual Counselor and meditation teacher. Since I am also certified and registered as a yoga teacher, I feel a sense of pride in accumulating these credentials over the last two years.

But since the priorities of my life have shifted unexpectedly, I haven’t started a practice as I had expected. And I feel ok about it, and whatever else may change. I am blessed to be able to work part-time from home doing medical reviews right now, because there’s just too much going on right now for me to start a business!

As I was readying the little one for bed tonight, and taking some time to hold and cuddle her, I was reminded that this is what is important. Just being, and loving, not always doing.

The message I have received in my spirit – my intention, my vision for this year and beyond:

 Whatever choices I make on the path of life, as long as love reigns over all, nothing else really matters.

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Grace

As I sat at the beginning of yoga class, the teacher read something inspirational from a book, and I  don’t remember anything about it except that it was about grace. When she finished, she asked us to close our eyes and ask  “What is grace to me, today?”

So I asked, and immediately heard, “Everything is all right.”

I wasn’t sure I heard right, so I asked, “Grace is – that everything is all right?”

Grace is KNOWING that everything is all right.”

Not that everything is going to be all right, everything is all right.

EVERYTHING is all right.

Everything IS all right.

Everything is ALL right.

Everything is all RIGHT.

And, in the midst of peace, or in the midst of trouble and turmoil, I KNOW that everything is all right, and THIS is grace.

I have a Bible verse tattooed on my left upper arm, the culmination of 25+ years of being a conservative Christian, the last 12 of those years as an active member of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, where tattoos are common and grace abounds.

“I am saved by GRACE through Faith. It is God’s GIFT.” -Ephesians 2:8

I’ve heard a lot of definitions for the word grace and what it takes to be “saved”, but the only thing I really understood is that it is a gift. I got this tattoo only 4 years ago, when I was on my way out of a bad marriage and out of the CMA. I stopped going to church regularly a few months later.  As I freed myself from the dogmatism of the churches I had been in, I began to find more love, peace and compassion within myself, as well as great gratitude for grace.

I still pondered the meaning of grace. And many times I have wished I didn’t have this tattoo. But now, I know that everything is all right, and that THIS is my saving grace.

Let us be like little children, with simple faith, knowing that everything is all right.

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Pelicans and playdough

I love looking at the world through the eyes of a child.

wp-1478539610438.jpgMy granddaughter is not quite 3. Everything is new and interesting and amazing. We sat outside for a long time watching the pelicans who have come to roost for a while. It is still balmy here on the Gulf Coast, and I think they will leave when the weather turns cool. It is amazing watching them skim the surface of the water, or dive for a fish, or propel themselves to land. (wish I had a better camera!)

“Why?” is the question from her lips today. Why do the birds fly, why are the birds here, why do they want to eat the fish? Then when we’ve exhausted those answers, she asks “why not?” I don’t think she really knows what she is asking, but it certainly makes me think. I’ve always been one to try to answer those questions for my children without being cliche. I don’t like to say just because, or God made them that way. Why  do the birds fly? How do you answer?

wp-1478540617187.pngAfter a while we got hot and came inside for a cool drink and the next thing. I had made some homemade playdough so we had fun with that for a while. She likes to cut and squish and “make pizza” and I made snails, which she thought was pretty cool. This, too, was accompanied by the delightful conversation of someone just discovering the world and learning to use words.

Delightful day.

 

Yoga, I love you

I may have mentioned this before, but I am in love.

Since leaving my day job, I have spent more time with yoga, and this love I have for it – it is the real thing.

I was briefly introduced to yoga five years ago at a gym I belonged to. I thought it was pretty great, but didn’t have much time for it. Two years ago, we were reacquainted during my trip to the Chopra Center. The best thing I learned there is that I can have a relationship with yoga even if I can’t sit in lotus or do certain asanas (postures).

Shortly after that I discovered the yoga studio less than two miles from where I live, and began to go weekly, for a while. Then I began studying ayurveda, and since I still worked full time, it was a challenge to get to class, so I stopped going regularly. In the meantime, I began to learn more about what yoga actually is.

The word yoga means union, and is a means to bring your entire being into balance and union with the greater consciousness many people call God. A common perception of yoga is that it is about moving your body into different positions to increase physical fitness, but there is so much more to it than that.

There are eight limbs of yoga:

  • Yama – this is about our behavior, principles, and how we conduct ourselves in life
  • Niyama – has to do with self- discipline and spiritual practices and routines
  • Asana – the postures practiced in yoga, through which we develop habits of discipline
  • Pranayama – this is about the breath
  • Pratyahara – withdrawing from sensory stimulation and looking inside
  • Dharana – concentration, dealing with the distractions of the mind
  • Dhyana – meditation or contemplation
  • Samadhi – transcendence, connection with the Divine, interconnectedness with all living beings

There are quite a few flavors of yoga, and this Mind Body Green piece explains the most common. I personally prefer a very slow flow, with stretching and holding poses for longer periods, a combination of hatha, sivananda, and yin. A have a friend who is dedicated to kundalini. Others love the more workout like flow of vinyasa or the heat of Bikram. There is something for everyone.

I am so happy to have found yoga. Or, as the owner of The Yoga Institute in Clear Lake, Rae Lynn Rath says “You don’t find yoga. Yoga finds you.”

I am elated that I have the time to pursue this practice. Yoga and ayurveda are sister sciences, so it makes sense to me to be able to teach this to those who are following this path of seeking better health through greater awareness.

And so, I have enrolled in a yoga teacher training course! Namaste. 🙂

 

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