A Day Off

Since quitting my full-time job in July, my life is my own. Or is it? What am I taking a day off from? (warning: this post evolved into total stream of consciousness!)

Starting from last Saturday, let’s take a look at my schedule for the past week, and most weeks. My 3 year old granddaughter stayed overnight with me Saturday, and again on Monday, while her mama worked. Thursday I spend with the now 6 month old twins. Tuesday evening is my Ayurvedic Spiritual Counseling course. I worked, albeit from home, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, for a total of 18 hours.

Today, Friday, is the only day this week that I have nothing on my calendar. Not even a yoga class. So there you have it, a day off.

I always think I am going to “accomplish” big things when a day like this comes along. But what does that mean, anyway? I have in mind to get all my homework done, do some painting, do some writing, cook a delicious meal, go for a long walk, do laundry, clean the bathroom. I doubt if I’ll do all that, and I may do other things. It just feels good to have an entire blank slate of a day.

Right now it is the middle of the day and Robert is fixing lunch, some kind of garden veggie burgers, and vegetables and grains and it smells delicious! I guess if I’m going to cook it will be dinner!

wp-1484932347137.pngI got up at 6:45 and meditated.  Then I went back to bed for a bit. Got up and had tea, wrote in my journal, did some Yoga with Adriene, my favorite youtube yoga teacher. Ate my favorite breakfast of oatmeal with raisins, walnuts, and stewed apples. Took a shower and washed my hair. Threw some paint on a canvas, almost literally!

And I’ve been sitting here on the couch writing between doing laundry. I started a new blog this week, The Cat’s Advice – just for fun, check it out!

While we are on that subject, I also started Finding Ayurveda. It’s purpose is mostly for me to put together what I’ve learned into content that makes sense to people who don’t know anything about Ayurveda.

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Now it is after lunch, which is just as delicious as I expected. I sit here writing with my phone propped against the screen  skyping the aforesaid granddaughter. Lately, we’ve been doing this more frequently, just “hanging out” so her mama can have 30 minutes to do some organizing or whatever.  Precious time, precious child. I don’t post pictures of her at her mother’s request.

wp-1484942917585.jpgIn a little while, I will drive down to the nature trail and take a walk. Today it is a balmy 77 degrees, a beautiful summer like day in the middle of January.  Yeah I’m doing that instead of watching the inauguration. You’ll never find anything political here.

Whatever you do today, may you be happy and look for the good. Remember, whatever you put your attention on grows and strengthens.

Thanks for reading my blog!

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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Life after vacation

I had the best vacation ever. Three weeks of traveling through Massachusetts, Maine, and Nova Scotia with a great guy + seeing beautiful scenery + staying in interesting places + meeting interesting people = heaven on earth!

I kept thinking I would blog about it like I did earlier in the year, but since we were on the road alot, and out of the country, internet was sometimes iffy so I just wrote longhand in my journal and took a lot of pictures. If you want to see them, here is a link to the google album.

Robert bought me a book at the airport on the way home. I wasn’t sure I would like it, but turns out it is really speaking to me. The book is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I read more than half on the trip home. Mostly what I am taking away from it is that if a person decides to pursue a life of creativity, there will always be uncertainty. And that if I pursue perfectionism, I will never be happy. Just write, or paint, or knit, or… whatever you feel like doing. And don’t fret about the outcome. Do it if you love it, and if you don’t love it, don’t do it.

I think that’s great advice. I have written quite a bit just for myself since I came home. I put paint to canvas – actually I want to try to paint some version of the beauty that I saw on my trip. I painted over a painting that I had done in one of those paint with wine classes.  So far, this is what I have: wpid-wp-1446310034715.jpeg

This is what I’d like to paint:
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I imagine I’ll end up with some sort of abstract, which is what I’m usually most happy with. The great thing about paint is that you can paint over it!

The other thing I’m taking from the book is that you are never too old to learn something new. The author shared a story about a 90 year old woman she’d met who has spent the last 10 years learning about ancient Mesopotamia and is now considered an expert! Very encouraging for me as I continue to pursue my study of ayurveda. I was doing quite a bit of moaning about it, but no more! I am a youngster compared to her!

The first few days back at work I felt very zen. My mind was clear and full of memories of beauty, like the above picture from Maine. It’s been two weeks now, and the last few days were so busy that I lost some of that. But I am working on practicing mindfulness, which is really just being aware of what I am doing when I am doing it. I have found inspiration in this area through the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh.

While we were traveling, we ate, drank, and were merry, so when we got home we decided to get back in shape with the Hot Belly Diet. I had felt rather sluggish but within a few days regained my usual vigor. I am also walking more and am using a couple of those 30 day app challenges – one for the arms and the other for the butt! The ones I chose are by Teer, and are very doable. I tried  a different one but it had jumping jacks and side planks so I quickly deleted it. Gotta be realistic.

So life goes on, with its joys and sorrows. Today it is raining, tomorrow the sun will come out. I work to feed the body and create to feed the soul.

What will the next adventure be?  I’m already speculating.

Happy Father’s Day?

I’m seeing a lot of great tributes to fathers on social media. I am happy for everyone who has had that kind of relationship with their father. Every time I see one of those posts, I feel a twinge of sadness. My father, although a good man, was never that kind of father. We had a good life with money and great vacations, but no emotional closeness. Now, although he is 87 and failing in health, I rarely speak to him because of his choice of wife, the woman he married 5 months after my mother died 5 years ago. I’m not going to go into all the details, but if you are interested, you can read the letter I wrote to him (but didn’t send) here and here. His wife is a toxic person but my father has chosen to spend his life with her, rather than have close relationship with his offspring. C’est la vie.

Baby girl smelling giant roseIf you didn’t have a close relationship with your father, or had an abusive or not present father, today isn’t an easy day. I encourage you to write it out, if you haven’t already, and spend time with family or friends who are affirming and that you can share joy with. As for me, I will call my father and hope for the best. And I’m going to visit my sweet baby granddaughter, and smell flowers and play in puddles.

June Jots

June bug holdin on-1If April showers bring May flowers, what does June bring? JUNE BUGS! I haven’t seen any yet, but I know they are coming.

We’ve had an incredible amount of rain here this last month. If you saw on the news that there is record-breaking flooding in Houston, that is right down the street from me. I have not been personally affected. The worst day I just had to make a couple of detours to get to work. Very near me, however, there was water up to the roofs of the cars. Most people only suffered the loss of their car or damage to their home, but sadly there were a few who lost their lives. I have lived in this area all my life, and can’t recall flooding this bad outside of a hurricane or tropical storm.  In the aftermath of the rain, the mosquitos are plentiful! And June 1 marks the beginning of hurricane season. Aw, summer!

Starry night
Starry night

I finished this painting early this month:

Otherwise, it wasn’t a month for a lot of inspiration for me as far as writing or creativity.  I do think it was a turning point for me as far as this blog goes, as I wrote in Uninspired. I started this blog last year feeling very inspired, thinking that amazing wisdom would just roll out of me all the time. All you writers, stop laughing! On top of that, I was reading a lot about blogging, about how I should have a platform, or a focus, or… something besides random thoughts, anyway. The best thing I did was write about it, then not write, then write just for me, not for anyone else. And if sometimes I’m inspired about a topic, and other times I write about my travels or my daily life, I’m ok with that, and that is my platform, anyway after all – embracing uncertainty. If you enjoy reading about my life and what is in my head, that is icing on the cake.

I am continuing my Ayurvedic studies and yoga classes, and had some wonderful times with family and friends. Early in the month my son from Austin and my baby girl away at college drove in for the weekend and we had a wonderful family reunion. My oldest son is moving up near Dallas this month to be with his girl (wedding plans for August!) so that will leave only two of my kids left in the Houston area.

Then, as you faithful readers know, I took at trip to Iowa to visit my oldest daughter. I enjoyed writing about each day starting here, and if you enjoyed my ramblings you can look forward to more of that when I travel to Montana to visit my cousin in a few days.

Hope you have some fun plans for the summer!