Sunday, October 23, 2011

Six Related Things

I am not sure what the connection is of my six related things.  But I trust that there is one, because I am thinking about them.

1. There may be no better combination in my world than a vinyasa yoga class followed by red wine.  I went to an event last night at a local donation-based yoga studio, and was bowled over by the re-incarnated studio's beauty.  The rich yellow hues and golden Sanscrit words painted high on the wall have me wanting to bring gold into my life in full force - golden paint, golden bangles, golden earrings, golden love.

2. My dog lies in a sun patch on the bedroom floor.  Ah, Sundays.  I am living the realization (that I have to re-learn all the time) that I get more done when I am relaxed.  I am paraphrasing a Yoga Journal article that once said: People (I) make the mistake of thinking they don't have time for a meditation practice.  But really, meditation saves you time, in the long run.

See also: My friend told me yesterday that she did yoga on the porch of a house in the country where she is caring for the animals this weekend.  The chickens plucked at her mat and toes while she practiced.  I love this image.  Chickens are great!  Love chickens.  Running around like a headless one is, however, not as cool.  What is cool?  Meditation!  Clarity.  Pausing to check in with greater wisdom before diving into projects and to-do lists.  Just a little pause.  It could "save" hours.  It does for me.

This is perhaps what Gay Hendricks means in his book, The Big Leap, when he says we create time.  (This book?  It's a good one.  A quick read.  A little life-saver.  Trust me.)

So, Person + Meditation = Much More Productive Person.  But this is just a bonus!  The more primary equation is: Person + Meditation = Person Aware of Personal Life Purpose.  Therefore, = Much More Productive (& Happy) Person.

3. When I confessed to my chicken-sitting friend, with whom I am working on a project that necessitates a lot of back-and-forth emails all week, that I am afraid of "bothering" people, she said she feels the same.  I wonder if a lot of people feel this way.  Sometimes when my mom calls, she says, "I hate to bother you sweetie.  I know you're very busy."

Sure.  I'm busy.  But we all are.  We all have lives.  (Just thinking of my mom saying this, by the way, makes me feel tenderly.  It's sweet that she is so considerate.  But I miss my mom.  I want her to call, especially when I'm busy.  Because what am I so busy about, if it doesn't have to do with love?)

What happens when we are afraid to bother each other is that we wait until it's a better time to take care of our needs.  What good is that?!  Guess what?  It's always a good time to call someone and tell them that you love them.  It's always a good time to answer the phone and hear that you are loved.  So, without getting too far into the answers, (um, on cue, my husband just came into the room to say he loved me), I have this question to pose to us all: Who are you afraid of bothering?  And this reply: whoever it is, do it!  They want to hear from you.  And you have something to say.  Go on.  Say it. Let's make a habit of bothering other people, and breaking through the fear that what we care about doesn't matter.

4. At the event last night, my friend led the vinyasa class, in the middle of which she said, "How are you living from your heart?  You are doing it every day.  You may not always feel it, but you are."  I like this reminder that we never really lose our intentions - we just sometimes tune them out.  I started thinking how I have let go of some really sweet practices in order to make time and room for some new events in my life (a full-time job - yay!, new projects, morning dog walks).  These new events are beautiful additions, but I realized last night that I need to re-integrate some of my favorite practices into my days again to stay strong for these new additions: to re-fuel, to have something to give.  Hence, more meditation, focused integrity about my food choices, and simple pauses for myself - the self that doesn't want to be uber productive all the time, but wants to stand under the stunning yellow trees looking up, caught in the profound wonder of life.

5. I may have had only 4 things to say.

6. I love you, whoever you are.  You are beautiful.

I am being lazy, and don't want to find a poem for this post.  Maybe you have one that fits perfectly?  If so, please email it!

In sunlight, in grace,


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sweet & Salty: A Mutt's Hand Guide

A Myth of Devotion 
by Louise Gl├╝ck

When Hades decided he loved this girl
he built for her a duplicate of earth,
everything the same, down to the meadow,
but with a bed added.

Everything the same, including sunlight,
because it would be hard on a young girl
to go so quickly from bright light to utter darkness

Gradually, he thought, he'd introduce the night,
first as the shadows of fluttering leaves.
Then moon, then stars. Then no moon, no stars.
Let Persephone get used to it slowly.
In the end, he thought, she'd find it comforting.

A replica of earth
except there was love here.
Doesn't everyone want love?

He waited many years,
building a world, watching
Persephone in the meadow.
Persephone, a smeller, a taster.
If you have one appetite, he thought,
you have them all.

Doesn't everyone want to feel in the night
the beloved body, compass, polestar,
to hear the quiet breathing that says
I am alive
, that means also
you are alive, because you hear me,
you are here with me. And when one turns,
the other turns—

That's what he felt, the lord of darkness,
looking at the world he had
constructed for Persephone. It never crossed his mind
that there'd be no more smelling here,
certainly no more eating.

Guilt? Terror? The fear of love?
These things he couldn't imagine;
no lover ever imagines them.

He dreams, he wonders what to call this place.
First he thinks: The New Hell. Then: The Garden.
In the end, he decides to name it
Persephone's Girlhood

A soft light rising above the level meadow,
behind the bed. He takes her in his arms.
He wants to say I love you, nothing can hurt you

but he thinks
this is a lie, so he says in the end
you're dead, nothing can hurt you

which seems to him
a more promising beginning, more true.

I have always felt sexiest naked, and most creative in pajamas.  Creativity is sexy (damnit).  Maybe even the sexiest.

Sex & life go together like thunder & lightning, but I won't be walking out of the house in the nude anytime soon.  At least, I hope I won't.  On late cold evenings, however, I will sometimes walk the dog in polka dotted flannels. 

In any case, what feels sexy is obviously different for every person.  Equally reassuring is the fact that what someone finds sexy is also different for everyone. And yet, I find myself trying to BE sexy sometimes - some version of it, anyway, that has been dreamt up by my fabulous mind...which sometimes loses track of beauty and openness.  These times of effort-full sexiness pull in no external attention.  What does pull in attention is a sly little smile on my face - a real one, unrehearsed, irresisted. From males and females (and animals and children) alike, the secrets I keep with myself end up being my greatest accessories.  Because emotions project, and joy is visible.  It is also magnetic.  All emotions are. 

Because of this, I like to be very aware of the state of my emotions because that is likely the state I will be magnetizing in my life - in the mirror of friends, strangers, animals, and projects.  But it is awareness that counts - not the emotion.  We can be in a weird place emotionally but still totally radiant as a whole. 

The key to this is acceptance, intention, and presence.  In other words, as Jennifer Loudon says in her book The Comfort Queen's Guide to Life, "Surrender to your inner process instead of trying to label it.  Jung said, 'What is not brought to consciousness comes to us as fate.'"

This is all another way of saying: what kind of sexy do you want to feel?  The effortless, the grounded, the resilient, the pure?  Or the affected, the harrying, the no-pain-no-gaining, the unsustaining?  In moments when I am owning and delighting in the flow of my radiance, I have everything I need: delight, self-assurance, playfulness, humor.  My soul is full and beaming.  That's the sexiest - proven, period.  Even when I'm wearing the most wacked-out mish-mash of clothing patterns, differing styles, and plain uninspired non-styles.  Which is maybe why I find nudity such a lovely state.  Because it takes away the illusion that I must wear something or drape myself in a certain way to be attractive.  It is bare-bones honesty: physical, emotional, spiritual.

When I was growing up, my mother coached: Beauty is as beauty does.  Which is true.  (She also urged: Stop walking in front of windows without clothes on!  So I did.) 

I would like to amend her first advice to: Beauty is as beauty IS.  Vapid?  Zennish?  You decide!

To me, the sexiest people are the assured ones.  The grounded.  The open.  And the sexiest moments are the tender ones.  The curious.  The mysterious. The playful.   

And while it is way fun to dress up and be wild, or playful, or short-skirted, skin-baring, and I loooooove it when people do this, I find that, for myself, writing letters to my friends or receiving cool night air on my face makes me feel just as sexy, if not more so, than working on my image of sexiness.  Because what we project all starts inside, in the feelings behind our choices.  In Sanskrit, this is called the bhav: our state of being.  In English, this is called...what?

I write a lot about dogs because...what can I say?  I love 'em.  I love 'em for their comical personalities and fickle decisions, for their elegant animation of the mutt in all of us.  They remind me how adorable a dusty, bad-smelling beast can be.  They remind me that our core essence is capable of commanding the heart of the world.  They remind me of what truly makes me happy: the shaggy, the comical, the spontaneous.  In other words, our million rough edges. 

So, I now dedicate this post to comfort queens and beauty queens, to purists and slow-spinning honey bees.  To crooked teeth, fractures, scars, to the bald spots my friend has had since his twenties, to my one grey hair, stiff and blanched, that I found to my delight when I was 24, to every "ugly" foot ever made in the womb, to the racoons in my neighbor's yard that march across her roof at dusk, to the leaves she rakes from her garbage cans trying to keep even the dirtiest place tidy, to children still living with their parents, to the courageous adults moving out of their parents' shadows, to memory's cracks, to crumpled bow-ties, to our bewildered, hopeful, rampaging loves.

Wildfires. Winds. Confessions we cannot hide. The way my husband's hair wakes, fluffy and thick. 

At.this.very.moment, count the ways to love: perfect perfect perfect perfect.  Tell everyone you meet: We are Home.

With love and sunlight on your path,