A book?

Time to catch up with my readers, with some exciting news.  My fellow bloggers will for sure appreciate this, I’m publishing my blog story.  I’ve hired an editor/publisher and my book will be hitting the stands in the spring of next year.  My book will consist of the story many of you have followed, plus new content.  Which sadly, is why I will be taking a break from posting until I have my manuscript completed.

This journey has been nothing short of amazing, and has changed my life in no small way.  I love blogging, and look forward to returning.  Sending my thoughts out to the universe and hearing back from all of you who respond, reminds me every day that we souls far and near are so connected, all drifting down the stream together, regardless of how different we may seem.

I will be back as soon as my manuscript is complete and I am free to continue my dialogue, plus of course, you will have to hear me ad nauseum plugging my upcoming book … come on, you gotta give me that.  Oh my, there will so much to chat about.

In the meantime, I will still be reading my fellow blogger’s posts, and sending positive thoughts to my readers who are not bloggers.

Continue pushing … remember life is short … pursue anything and everything until you hear your heartsong.

Namaste

Postscript:   (sounds pretty official right?)  I waited so long to finally upload this post that I wrote about a month ago that I’m now done with my manuscript and will be posting again on my blog next week.  Can’t wait to catch up with all of you.

 

 

 

To Old Friends

I always write to music … I may have mentioned that in the past.  Is there anything better than music to deliver a mood, carry us to greater heights, help us feel the blessings we’ve been bestowed, and yes, sadly feel the depth of our sorrow?  Not in my book, probably why there are few movies without music.

I’ve often fantasized about my readers being able to hear the music I write to.  And I’m sure it’s probably already in the works, future blogs will come with their own soundtracks, but at the same time, music is personal, so what I feel when I listen to a song may not be what my reader feels.

Tonight I wanted to select something that would help me write about the wonder I find on this earth … the Alice in Wonderland kind of wonder because that’s been on my mind lately.  I’ve spent some time sifting through my Itunes not really finding the right song, and have finally settled on the soundtrack from Chocolat by Rachel Portman, maybe because I adore most soundtracks as they reach right down into your heartstrings and invite you to offer back your own song, or maybe because the movie Chocolat offers up a supernatural breeze, inviting the viewer ever so slowly to follow along.  If you care to join my personal soundtrack, have a listen to Chocolat while you read.

These last two weeks I have been ever so cognizant of life’s mysteries, and the fact that the longer I live, the more interesting and magically complicated I find my life.  I feel a bit like Alice, that which should beisn’t … that which shouldn’t be is.  I marvel at my blessings, I mourn my losses, and I quietly dance with the universe to the music of my soul (Caravan on the soundtrack … oh my, great scene in the movie).

These last few weeks I have experienced the joy of old connections that might never have been possible had I not stumbled down that rabbit hole, and I’ve fought with the sorrow of losing someone far too early that I felt was a tree that would stand in my wonderland forest for many years.  I have danced at the celebration of our children, and cried for the loss of our children.  I’ve been turned upside down and inside out for about two weeks, and find myself ready to just lie in the grass for a while and watch the clouds drift by.

I reach out to Paul, Taylor and Marisa to join me cloud watching any time waiting for a glimpse of Carrie.  She’ll be there, of that I’m sure.

And Mike and Carol, so glad we all came together down that rabbit hole or wherever we managed to all connect again … a long and magical story of a number of characters, all of which have added their unique and amazing children and in some cases their children’s children, we have all created a story as lasting as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll.  May we add chapters for quite some time …

Celebrating John and Claire’s wedding, bringing so many of us old friends together along with their children and their children’s children … was truly a blessing.

Last week in Tahoe at the cabin, making Minnie’s risotto … I found myself climbing up out of the hole, a bit disoriented as to where I was … wasn’t it just yesterday I sat at her table as a young woman?

Aww, but life passes so quickly.  Cheers to those who have passed … cheers to us that still inhabit this earth … cheers to making the most of the time we have left, no matter how long that may be … cheers to connections that stand the test of time … and cheers to Minnie’s risotto.

Namaste my dear friends.

A special ps to my sweet man, Rick, I think we should dance in Alice’s Wonderland to Caravan.

CHOICES … with a little help from my friends

Well, here we are … everyone ready to hear about my new job?  (Geez, it only took her two months to tell us about this new development!)

Which, by the way, has had me wondering why … why was I blocked about telling my readers.  In hindsight, I see the roadblock clearly.  The block was all mine, my internal dialogue was mixed and at odds, so not easy to share.  A few months down this winding road, I am feeling great about my choices, but while I was making them, I was working hard to place my feet moving in the right direction (important for a yogini, right?)

So, let’s digress … a few months back I was enjoying my unemployment, traveling, resting, practicing yoga, catching up with family and friends, swimming, hiking, writing … life was good.  Of course, my future was looming large, what was I going to do to make enough to cover my insurance for the next few years?  Anyone over 55 knows what I’m talking about.  The cost is crazy these days.

And as much as I thought teaching yoga would be ideal, and as many times as I repeated in my mind what my teacher Scott said about yoga providing a good income, I just felt in my heart that to put that much pressure on making money in the first year or so of becoming a yoga teacher, would be a mistake and in short time, turn my passion into a possible nightmare.  After all, I would want people to attend my class because they found something special there, not so that I could line my pockets and pay for my astronomical insurance costs.  I just kept thinking how quickly the number of people attending my class would mean more to me than what we were doing there.  That didn’t sound good.

My directional arrows were all askew.   I stood at the crossroads completely confused.  And as most times in my life when I truly feel I need guidance, I offered it up to the universe (God, Clay) to leave me a few breadcrumbs to follow.

Although I felt realistically that my best bet was to find employment that would cover my insurance, as I found myself drawn in that direction, I felt a certain melancholia as though I was letting myself down.  What about my dreams, my yoga teaching and my writing?  It’s darn hard at times to balance life.  I kept picturing myself driving down a country road glancing in my rearview mirror to see my dreams becoming smaller and smaller. It made me, oh so sad.  And then (of course, thanks so much little voice) my mind had a field day picturing what I would write in my blog telling everyone how I’d sold out and would not be practicing as a yoga teacher (ouch).

Knowing myself, I knew I’d succumb to the practical choice.  Not that I haven’t thrown caution to the wind and flailed myself off a cliff or two in my life, I have.  But in those instances, I could see but one way.  This choice had several paths I could go down.

So at the time I was struggling with all of this, I did what any practical minded person would do, I shoved my head as far under the ground as possible and did my Scarlett O’Hara impression, while at the same time reminding myself to keep my eye peeled for those breadcrumbs.

And here’s where my story turns to something I love to write about, the universe offering up what you need.  My dear friend, Peter, called one day telling me to send along my resume.  We had been fantasizing for a few years about me perhaps being hired by his company.  Years ago Peter and I had worked together at Virgin and had such a great time, becoming true friends in the process.  He had in the meantime found a wonderful position with a great boss and great co-workers, and had been enjoying working with them for about four years.

Interesting that after probably two years of joking about me getting hired by his boss, that she would be hiring right when I needed a job?  Coincidence?  You all know how I feel about that.  My interview a week or so later was in a quaint coffee shop up in Auburn (she came to me) chatting about life.  Really?  There were a few hiccups, but after another month, I began my new employment, actually happy about it.  Whaddya know!

Training took a few months, so I devoted my time to that, never losing sight of my rearview mirror, because much to my delight, my passions were still there waiting for me, waiving every time I glanced back.  They weren’t going anywhere!

And here’s the part of my post I just couldn’t wait to share with you.  I love my new job.  I really like my co-workers, just as Peter told me I would.  We basically help people transitioning to a new job moving from another state or country, to find housing and help them get settled in.  I work remote from home part of the time, take the train once every few weeks to San Francisco, and a few times a week I go to Sacramento to work with Peter in our new office space, The Hive.  And wait for it … they offer yoga two days a week, a shower upstairs for afterwards, meditation and massage.  My post picture sits at the front desk every morning.

It’s a small group that meets for yoga, the teacher is from a yoga studio one block away.  I’m starting to fantasize about teaching that class one morning a week.  Or at the NEW YOGA studio that opened three weeks ago in my little town of Cool????????  They also, from what I understand, offer a Karma class on weekends taught by different teachers, another possibility for me starting out.  And as for my own yoga practice,  the new studio in Cool is close enough that I can fit a class in my day when I am home working.  Amazing … makes me cry to think about the energy that is about us every day, lifting us, making almost everything possible if we reach and believe, and most importantly, leave room for a different view than we might have.

I see choices everywhere I look these days.  And I’ve been able to make time to finally get back to my blog at least once a week.  As always, the Universe listened to my prayers, mixed my dreams with my needs, and offered up something better than I could have even imagined.  God is truly the master artisan.

I offer up my gratitude today and every day for this blessing we call life … and a special thanks to my friend, Peter, for helping the universe bring this all together.

Namaste

Solitude

Solitude means many things to different people.  For me, Solitude feels like an old pal that pays me a surprise visit when I least expect it.  Solitude feels masculine to me, he’s aged and wise and comforting, and I do so enjoy his visits. He only comes to me in public places that I would not expect to be alone.  He never comes to me when I’m home or in my car.  He surprises me, tickles me and leaves me feeling so incredible and most importantly … calm.

I’m not sure I appreciated my solitude as much when I was younger, but the last ten years I’ve changed.  Being an only child, it probably is no great surprise that I would learn to love being alone.  But with that said, I love being with others as well, and what I am very cognizant of, is that Solitude feels that much better when you know you have loved ones to return to.

Some of my favorite places to find my buddy?  I’ve had a few…

A pool, I love swimming, so me alone in a pool is heaven. All the waves moving throughout the pool, whether they be waves I have created physically with my arms or through my chakras system, are mine.  It feels amazing to resonate alone with my energy splashing against the edges of the pool and back to me.  Solitude lets me float and play and dream, and many times figure out what’s ailing me, or what my next move needs to be.  Like a chess board, in life we’ve always got moves to figure out.

Another favorite, the BEACH … definitely one of my true loves.  I used to live on the coast, and when I first moved there, it was not unusual for me to be the only one on the beach.  Can you imagine?  In the four short years I lived there, that already began to change.  But while I was blessed with that treasure, I can’t tell you how many times I walked the shoreline, taking a break to lay down, using my coat as a pillow, and awakening some 30 minutes later to the sound of the waves and a peaceful soul, regardless of what my mood might have been when I stepped foot on the beach.  Solitude sidled up next to my side as I slept peacefully in the sand.

I miss the beach, and have yet to make the river that winds through the hills I live in, my friend, but I will in time.  It’s been a lack of time more than anything that has kept me from that.  (Well, that and maybe the fact that I’ve seen the bears scavenging for food on the other side of the river while I’ve been hiking, not really thinking a nap is the right thing?????)

I recently met Solitude in a brand new place, the train.  My new job (yeah, I know, I still haven’t told you guys about that) necessitates me traveling on the train to San Francisco once every few weeks.  I actually love the train, watching out the windows as the beautiful landscape passes by my window.  Sitting in the first car, I can hear the train’s horn as it sounds going through the populated areas.  It’s constant and muffled inside the cabin, and reminds me of the distant fog horns I heard living at the beach, which I also loved.  I find the sounds soothing, a marker of life moving forward, reminding others to stay safe and be well.

My grandfather spent his life working for the railroad.  My mom told me such sweet stories about him, and her memories being the daughter of a railroad man.  I never knew him, he passed long before I was born, but the way I feel on trains makes me know his blood definitely courses through my veins.

My train ride begins in Auburn at 6:30 a.m.  We are the first stop.  The train sits empty, quietly awaiting us first arrivals that will board in Auburn.  We are also the last stop of the day when we return at 6:30 p.m.  A full day, 12 hours later we pull sleepily back into the station.  The last 30 minutes of the ride are the most beautiful as we snake through the foothills.

Last week during the last 30 minutes, I looked up to realize I was the only one left in the train car.  My pal, Solitude, had surprised and delighted me once again.  The feeling is a bit hard to describe, even for one who loves words … but the best I can describe what I feel is that I breathe deep without even trying, I relax, I feel a little mischievous, I begin to fill the space even if that’s just in my mind, and I enjoy it for as long as it lasts. And when I must part with my pal, I feel like I’m walking on air.

Solitude and I rode through the hills together in my empty compartment until I bid him farewell as we pulled into Auburn.  I tipped my hat, told him not to be a stranger, and that I hoped to see him again soon.

I got my wish today, as I swam my last laps in our HOA pool before it closes this weekend for the winter.  There was only one other swimmer that left me alone for the last 20 minutes of my swim.  Once again, I was blessed to swim alone, and quietly say my goodbyes to the waves for another season, but hopefully not Solitude.

This weekend we join our beloved lifelong friends to celebrate the marriage of their son.  Contrasts in life, the importance of mixin’ it  up …. life is full of treasures.

Namaste

Fire

(I wrote this post a few weeks back, just now getting to posting it.)

When I started this blog, I was writing on average three posts a week.   Down to one these days leaves so much out of the adventure, so I’m hoping in due course I can find my way to write at least two.  I’m so behind in sharing my journey, and it never ceases to amaze and delight me, and at times frighten the shit out of me, so I do so want to share it.  I’ve said this before, and I’m sure I’ll say it many more times, but we humans are much more alike than different, which is why I love to share my story, in the hopes that my readers can find some semblance of connection and hope in my words.

Again, if I was writing the story as I should (although still not sure by whose standards) I would be telling you about my new job.  But NOT happening, even though it’s great and I am pretty excited about it.  Instead …. this week, as I was driving home from our tiny market twenty minutes away (glorious drive through the hills in the pines toward Georgetown) I saw a pretty large plume of smoke over the hills way too close to our home for comfort.

In those first few moments when we humans sense danger, our thoughts splinter in so many different directions.  Wasn’t it my last post I spoke of fire victims? As I wrote that, I was thinking I was safe, different, and lucky.  (What the hell?)   How quickly our worlds can turn upside down, allowing for a much clearer vision that we humans all sail in one ship together.   Vulnerability is a very real part of this human existence, as is loss, sorrow, and grief.

But with that said, part of our journey also includes … hope, healing, love, faith, happiness, and my favorite, the ability to dream.  So, I think in the end, it might just be a choice about what anchor we choose to grab hold of.

As I drove toward our home, heart racing, an interesting reality took hold of my senses.  And this being the closest fire to our home that I’ve experienced, I finally made my list … what to take if you need to evacuate (a reminder I have received over and over again from more sources than I can count, because … wait for it, I live in a fire zone.)  

I will tell you now, we ended up lucky, the fire went another direction and was partially contained by the next day, enough for us to know we would be fine.

What I wanted to share were my thoughts as I stood on my deck looking at my neighbor’s house with the fire behind it looking so friggin’ close.  I love my home and would be devastated if I lost it, but I did force myself to look at the reality that most all we love and enjoy in this life is on loan.  And again, one can look at that as a sad thing or a happy thing.  I’m choosing to enjoy the gifts I’ve been given for as long as I can and feel grateful and happy.  And as for the fact that life can change in an instant, I will continue to plant my head as far under the ground or up my a–, however you want to describe it, as I can and enjoy the grace of each moment that feels good.

My list turned out to be pretty small, which again, is interesting.    Since our children do not live with us, the list starts with our cat, our little box that contains passports and social security cards, etc., our computers, family pics, and my collection of artwork.  I don’t have expensive artwork, but it means a great deal to me.  It isn’t something I could probably ever replace, it’s just from artists that I came to know and love.

What matters most boils down in the end to a very few things, your loved ones first and foremost, and secondly, any precious memories you might be graced to hold on to.  And while we might have some objects we’d like to keep, in the end, they don’t mean anything compared to those we love.  We can always recreate a home if we still have our loved ones.

In closing, I want to thank the tireless firefighters that last week worked hard to save the homes in my area.  I didn’t hear of any losses which is such a blessing.  I have spoken of my dear friend, Colleen, who’s husband, Ron, retired recently from a lifelong career as a firefighter.  She early on reassured me, that in Ron’s opinion, our STATS were good, and that we would be fine.   She also sent me a video of the firefighters working on our fire, the planes repeatedly releasing their fire retardant.

I watched the video over and over again, mesmerized as I watched the planes with each release … a break as the retardant fell, a slowing of the flames, but in the end a fire that I would liken to life, continually reaching for the skies.  It was slowed down by each release, but in no way extinguished.   It was unending, and continued to reach toward the heavens, just as all of nature does.  No wonder …  this earth is a never-ending miracle, and even when we don’t understand or want to accept our losses, they nevertheless (in my humble opinion) are the journey toward a great unknown … just a ways yonder down the road … nothing to fear.

Imagine if we lived each day in complete awareness of what really matters …

Nature … Namaste

Opening Windows

I know I have much to catch my readers up on, and while I feel a bit remiss in not doing so, I just find myself wanting to write about open windows.  I mean, can you blame me?  Is there anything better than an open window after months of hot summer days or cold winter nights, not to mention air so thick with smoke from the California fires?

This past week I have been finally able to turn off the air conditioning and open my windows wide …. WIDE … WIDE.  The fresh air feels just short of intoxicating, filling my lungs not only with such a sweet scent, but I am convinced it also clears my mind of summer cobwebs. I always say we humans can look to nature to see our reality, and I don’t know about you, but I am finding cobwebs everywhere in my home the last few weeks.  Could it be that we humans also gather the same within our souls?

Having been able to finally open my windows, I have felt such a high this past week at times, and I am convinced it has to do with the H20 entering my bloodstream, air that hasn’t been pumped through underground pipes that I don’t even want to think about truly.  Not complaining about air-conditioning, mind you … never … but fresh air is a highly underrated commodity.

My quiet reflective time this week, also known typically as driving, has been filled with such pleasant reminiscences of loved ones both far and near, along with a thankfulness for all that I’ve been blessed with.  What that life could always be filled with a fresh-air bliss …

Aww, but were that so, we would lose sight of the highs and the lows, and I for one, would never opt for that.  The last few months were to be sure filled with some sadness and stress, much of which I’ve already shared in my posts, so I welcome all that is Fall … the cool fresh air, and the change of colors in my garden that I love so much.  I can only hope that any looming sadness or pressure I’ve been harboring over the summer falls to the ground in a few months’ time along with the colorful leaves from my beloved trees.  In the meantime, I will enjoy the beauty of fall, as the colors in the nature that surrounds me change ever so slightly with each passing day.

Here’s to the start of Fall, the passing of another summer, the crops we tended to both in the soil and in our hearts, winter just around the corner bringing a time of rest and rejuvenation, the smell of pine and fires burning (that aren’t bringing chaos and loss to others in the fire season).  I can’t wait actually, but for now, I don’t want to rush this time of fresh cool breezes and the color of fire that will dot the leaves in a few short weeks.  Crazy how much we have to be thankful for.

Sending Namaste to all of my readers, but especially those who have lost so much this fire season.

 

 

Julie, a lesson in human grace

It’s interesting to me that the last post I wrote addressed a fear that life might not provide enough to blog about.  The last few weeks have been filled with more than I can fit in one blog, maybe not even five.  Last night I woke up as is my way, at about 2:00 in the morning, my mind ready to formulate my blog post(s).  I’ve come to welcome the interrupted sleep, as it means I’m ready to continue on this journey with you, my readers.

I tossed and turned for at least two hours, my tears falling softly upon my pillow as I recounted the blessings and sorrows of my life.  I always feel a little bad for Rick on these nights, as I wrap my arm around him for comfort, and then turn away as my mind wanders into writing mode. We shift back and forth together, sleeping dancers, for however long it takes me to finish formulating my thoughts, piecing together the story as I would a quilt, layering the colors and feelings until the vision is as beautiful as my mind’s eye.  (Might not have mentioned I’m a quilter.)

In the wee morning hours, my mind usually finds comfort in my ideas for the upcoming post, and I am finally able to drift off.  It’s such fun to make my way to the computer to hopefully return to the ideas that kept me from sleep.  And in more cases than not, it’s with gratitude and enjoyment that I return.

The past few weeks have been filled with much movement and change moving forward, but at the same time looking back, which is what I want to address in this post,  a return to the past.  I don’t know about you guys, but I see patterns in my life.  I seem to pass through periods that delve into one subject over and over again.  Lessons come to me from all avenues about a particular subject.  And when that happens, I think  to myself that I have something to learn or to reconcile, and in some wonderful instances, just a cherished memory to embrace.

I have found myself revisiting many of my private historical landscapes. An unusual number of memories for such a short period of time have sidled up next to me hitching a ride which I’ve been more than happy to offer up, memories of loved ones who have left this earth, and also loved ones who I’ve chosen to take a different path from.  Either way, the disconnect of yesteryear was in most cases painful and difficult, so the reconnect has been nothing short of blissful, but also extremely emotional.

These memories deserve their own post, in honor of my past, so I will focus only on one in this post, my memories of Julie.

Julie is and was a lesson in human grace.

Julie … if  you know me, you know that Julie was my gal … my Clarence (angel) … my mentor, my life teacher, and in the end, one of my dearest friends.  I am sure my readers can relate and replace the character on this page with the names of their loved ones.

I lost a larger than life angel from nothing more than a human condition.  It took me aback, and it also took me years to reconcile my loss.  But I never lost site of what I’d learned from Julie

A Love Of … not in any particular order … laughter, helping others, cooking, children, her children, cleaning, rising to the occasion, doing your best, being the best of a friend/neighbor/loved one … and what I know she would want me to add is, doing something kind for another without looking for any reward.

When I met Julie, she was in the prime of her life, and I was beyond lucky to tag along on her journey with Chris, her youngest son… Paul, her oldest … and Chuck, her husband.  I was 26 when I moved in across the street from Julie.  Because of Julie, I do believe in love at first sight, because I fell head over heels in love the first time I met her, and that love never wavered.  I was a very unaccomplished young cook, putting it mildly.  And Julie was probably the best cook I’ve ever known.  I used to joke that she could put dog food on the table, and you’d walk away remarking how great the meal was.

We began what would become a cherished experience, cooking together, shortly after we met.  She took pity on me, or probably more likely my husband, and took it upon herself to teach me to cook.  For years once every few weeks about 4:00 I’d get a call asking if I was free to come learn another of her amazing dishes.  I’d drop whatever I was doing and make my way quickly across the street.  She would teach … I would learn … but mostly we just enjoyed those hours together laughing and sharing whatever was new in our lives at that time.  Julie ranks up there with Ron, who I’ve spoken of in previous posts, in terms of people that not only influenced my life, but changed it significantly.

Julie left about eight years ago, and a few months back, her husband Chuck finally made his way to meet her once again.  I have no doubt that they are dancin’ in heaven … she did so love to dance.

A few weeks ago I visited her youngest, Chris, and his lovely wife, Jenn, at their home in Florida for the first time.  It was so special to finally have and make the time to spend with them.  I felt such pride seeing the amazing man Chris has become, and enjoyed getting to know the lovely woman he has the blessing to be married to.  Both of Julie’s sons are amazing people… of course, they were raised by Julie.

As we entered their home, I stopped in my tracks … Julie was everywhere.  I had not anticipated this.  Our room had her bedroom set.  Pieces of her furniture adorned most rooms, artwork on the walls, a basket I recognized on a table, a teapot in the kitchen.  Chris and Jenn, of course, have added a great deal of their own decorating choices to their home, but even their taste, gorgeous but simple. reminded me of Julie.  She could create a space on a shoestring budget that you just couldn’t get enough of, a combination of good taste and good will went into her home … and visiting Chris and Jenn’s home surprisingly took me back.  I fought the tears for probably the first hour or so, but as I gave in and let the feelings wash over me, I quickly found that I LOVED being in and amongst her things.

For a few precious days, I basked in my memories and felt her close.  I laughed with her son like I used to laugh with her … and once again I was reminded that life has such gifts to receive if we reach back for them … so often, we find reasons not to.  (Reminder to self:  take time, make time, remember tomorrow is never a guarantee.)

There’s so much more to this blessed story that I will undoubtedly post about in time.  But for now, I just wanted to share this experience with you all in the hopes that you might find yourselves in my story.  If I’ve learned anything in my 62 years, it’s that we humans are far more alike than different.  We choose to show up dressed in unique garb of different colors, but that’s what makes it so much fun.  So many flowers to enjoy in the garden.  (I think I’ve said that before, and probably will many more times.)

Before I close, I just wanted to welcome my three new readers this week, even when I wasn’t posting!  Awesome … and blogging news,  wait for it … I now have 200 followers.  Compared to many bloggers, that may not sound like much, but for me, that number sounds like heaven.  Two hundred souls joining me on my journey … I breathe it in, then breathe it out in such gratitude.  Can’t wait to connect with you guys soon, lots to catch up on.

Namaste