The becoming of a book author

Some believe that our loved ones who have left this earth communicate with us through our dreams.  I’ve had a few dreams about my mom since her passing, most of them somewhat disturbing.  But last night, I had an amazing dream about her.  There was such a lovely connection between us… an honoring of what we had created together, a knowing that whatever we might have left undone, would wait for another time and place.  In the dream I was attending a gathering of women, and I had been asked to give a talk, and although the reason had to do with my upcoming book, the topic I was going to discuss was my mother.  I had prepared such nice things to say about my mom.

But she disappeared toward the end of the dream before I could give my speech, and as hard as I searched, she was nowhere to be found.  I felt no despair though, instead an understanding that out of sight was only pertinent to this lifetime.  From what I can recall, we spoke more through our eyes than our words.  And our union was clear and strong and there was no room for blame or sorrow.  Instead all that I felt was a strength and a calmness. 

And although I’ve been a bit emotional all day, I’ll take it because my dream left me feeling optimistic and safe. 

I’m heading into what I anticipate will be a somewhat difficult period finishing my book and getting it published.  I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating.  To reach a long sought-after goal is exciting, but at the same time a little daunting.  In my dreams, the book is a friggin’ bestseller, it’s all good.  There is something very safe about living in your dreams. 

But the reality is that publishing a book is without doubt baring your soft underbelly for all the world to see, especially when you’ve written about yourself and not some murder mystery or summer romance (although I’m sure the same feelings apply, it’s your creation on the line.)  And there will be people who don’t like the book, and a few friends who aren’t really all that interested in the book, and that all needs to be okay.  But who am I kidding if I try to tell myself that I will be completely fine with that.  I won’t … at first.  I will need to learn to leave any negativity in my wake, which I’m pretty sure will be a lesson I learn in baby steps.

With our goal of releasing the book this spring, February has arrived to wreak havoc with my sleep.  I wake up most nights now at about 3:30 a.m. with all of the what if’s and what still needs to be done racing through my mind. (No amount of melatonin is going to quiet this storm.)  Last night was no exception.  I tossed and turned and made mental lists until about 5:00 a.m.   And it was when I finally fell back to sleep that my mom arrived, I have no doubt, to remind me of her confidence in me.

I may have already told you this story, but when I was in fourth grade, I peed my pants in class.  Oh, my, way too old to do that.  But in my defense, my teacher was very strict and I was afraid of her. I waited much too long to get up to ask her to go to the bathroom.  Standing at her desk, asking permission (which of course she so easily granted… really?)  it was too late.  I stood frozen peeing right next to her desk (served her right for being so unapproachable.)

Perception is an interesting thing, many times what we believe about someone is not accurate.  Turns out The Bitch was actually very nice to me in my time of need.  She told me to go straight to the bathroom.  She cleaned up the floor as quickly as possible (at least in my mind, because of course I was already out the door.)  And she met me in the bathroom and told me to go on home as it was almost lunchtime.  I so clearly remember running home crying all the way.  And my mom surely gave me the nurturance and pep talk I so desperately needed, but at the end of lunch, I was going back to the playground, no ifs, ands or buts about it.  She armed me with her words, and sent me off crying all the way back to school.  But by God, everything she suggested I do, worked.  There was no real aftermath after the Great Pee of 4th Grade, thanks to my mom and the teacher who turned out not to be a bitch after all.

I am beyond grateful for my mom teaching me to walk into the storm, hold my head up high, know my strength, honor my truth and leave any negativity on the path behind me as I dance toward the light. 

And I am beyond grateful for her reminder last night, which I will tuck in my back pocket to take along on this journey of a lifetime, the publishing of my very first book. 

Yesterday I saw the first blossom on my magnolia tree out front.  Even though the storms are lining up on the horizon for the next few weeks, spring is following right behind them.  Here’s to the sweet smell of spring combined God willing with the sweet smell of success.

Namaste

"Thank you, God … Thank you, God"

I mentioned in my last post that I would elaborate on the story about my mom and her infamous prayer, “Thank you, God … Thank you, God.”  Since I have no breadcrumbs handy to throw along the path I am constantly weaving through my blog, and being ADD, I will never be able to find my way back here any time soon, I figure I probably should tell it now.  It’s a cute story, and one of my memories of her that makes me smile (some of them can still cause a disturbance … think something in between I Love Lucy and Throw Mama from the Train, and you’re getting close.)
Gratitude has been on my mind this week anyway, so it will all tie in.
Yesterday I had another of my train rides down to San Francisco.  I realized as I began the journey, that I hadn’t actually done this yet in the winter.  It was a chilly 34 degrees as I walked toward the train in Auburn bundled in my winter duds (I know for some people reading this, you might consider this warm, but for us lightweight Californians from San Francisco, this is pretty cold.)
I was excited for the ride, but as I secured a seat that I thought would offer me solitude for at least an hour of the journey (not many people get on in Auburn, only gets busy around Sacramento) instead another commuter sits right across from me in an empty car.  (Really?  Isn’t there such a thing as train etiquette?)
Since I didn’t think he’d really understand if I asked him to move up a few rows, I gave up on visiting with Solitude on this trip.  But to my delight, my fellow commuter fell fast asleep immediately (we board the train at 6:30 a.m.)  Awww, Solitude found his way to me … Thank you, God … Thank you, God.
As we pulled out of the station, it was dark, and I could only navigate the journey with lights here and there, the courthouse as we rounded the first bend, and the city lights of Roseville far off in the distance.  I searched the darkness in an effort to recognize where we were, and for most of the initial 30 minutes it was a guess.  I began to contemplate how much this experience was mimicking life.  We find ourselves on the train heading for parts unknown in the dark for the most part, with only markers along the way helping us to feel secure.
What a journey we humans face … reason enough to always grant ourselves some slack when we aren’t doing as well as we’d like.
I was mesmerized peering out the window on my old adventure in a new light.  About fifteen minutes into the ride, the sun began to rise ever so slowly, painting an incredibly beautiful skyline for Solitude and I to enjoy ( luckily no train etiquette man slept through it all.)  The colors alone merited my gratitude, the numerous shades of pink and blue and yellow I found myself enjoying for the next hour.
The experience made me think about gratitude, that it was once again time to remind myself of how important gratitude is in keeping my heart both happy and healthy.  We humans have so much to be upset about, but we have an equal amount to celebrate.  Simple pleasures are highly underrated.
As the skyline was taking her third bow for the exquisite performance (something I really don’t care for is being a part of the audience of a play, all the curtain calls for extra bows, once is enough, I can clap louder if you want) I heard my mom’s voice, Thank you, God … Thank you, God, which reminded me to share the story.
My mom was not what one would call a religious woman (UNDERSTATEMENT!)
I will suffice it to say, she had a tough life.  And entering a church was possibly not something my mom did many times in her life.  Her childhood precluded much for her, but nonetheless she found her own belief, and it surely included God.  It just didn’t involve religion.
During the last year of my mom’s life, she was on hospice.  I can’t say enough about the care provided by those angels.  Over the year, Hospice sent out many loving nurses, but also a spiritual worker who would come to visit both my mom and I on a regular basis.  The first time she came, I sat back letting her interact with my mom …  holding my breath.  I half expected my mom to throw her out.  And while my mom allowed her to stay and visit, it was clear to me (maybe not the hospice worker) that she was on shaky ground.  But in time, they found a common ground, and my mom came to enjoy her visits.
Near the end of my mom’s life, this lovely woman arrived one day to pray with us.  Having come to understand my mom’s reluctance, she asked ever so politely if we could pray together, the three of us. My mom answered so sweetly, “oh sure.”  What my mom didn’t understand was that the hospice worker wanted to say the prayer (uh-oh).
As the hospice worked began to recite her prayer, I think maybe she got a line in before my mom interrupted her (my mom who is weak beyond weak finds her strength to interrupt and stop this woman’s prayer … that’s my mom.)
My mom rallies and says, “No, I will say my own prayer,” with a little bit of attitude, if I am honest.  Of course, the sweet hospice worker glances my way, welcoming my mom’s prayer.
The three of us holding hands, raise our hearts to the heavens, moments passing and finally my mom utters these words …
“Thank you, God  …   Thank you, God.”
I wish I had a recording of the prayer, because it’s all in the sound of her voice, the intonations.  The best I can do to describe her words is that you could hear her faith, her reluctance, her pain and her frustration all combined, the words thank you in a normal pitch, but such an emphasis on GOD, an almost guttural pronunciation of the G in God.
When my mom had chanted her prayer twice, the room fell silent.  Was this sweet hospice woman waiting for the rest of the prayer which would not be forthcoming?  I’m thinking she probably was.  But when enough time had lapsed that she knew my mom’s prayer was complete, she so graciously closed our time together.  She will never know how much those closing prayers meant to me and I’m guessing my mom as well … one of the reasons I love the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, because you just never know what you give to others.  And in the end, while we can dress up gratitude with many fancy words, thank you says it all.
As I began this post, I will finish this post … we are blind to our paths and equally blind to what we offer others.
I close by offering Namaste accompanied with my mom’s sweet prayer, Thank You, God … Thank you, God.
 
 
 
 

A good thing going

When I think about the saying “you’ve got a good thing going,” it brings to mind so many fond memories of people and experiences that were such a true pleasure.
Not trying to be negative, but as we all know, when you’ve got a good thing going, it’s only a matter of time until something comes along that changes the game, but for the duration, it sure is nice.
As a young girl, not to mention a young woman, I fought so hard against change, especially if I was truly enjoying whatever the experience was. As hard as I dug my heels in and waged war against my enemy change, in the end I had no control, sadly.
I smile as I think back to that young gal, so doggone emotional. I so easily fell in love with people, and places, and teachers, and coworkers, and you name it. If I’m honest, I would guess that my sad family experience as a child probably played a part. To be graced with experiences and people I truly loved being around, most likely meant more to me than the average person. And depending on how you look at life, that either made me lucky or not. I choose the notion that I was lucky.
I often say, getting older isn’t as bad as it’s cracked up to be, as there are some nice perks.  And one for me is, that I’ve come to a place where when I see the end of a good thing coming, I can embrace it without the melancholy of my youth.
The end of a good thing starts for me on the horizon, far off in the distance, but I recognize it for what it is these days, and I make my peace long before that cloud ever darkens my skies.  I try to remain mindful that the good thing ending was a gift and I remind myself to look forward to the next good thing which I probably will not see coming on the horizon.  It will just one day be a part of my life that I will at first blush not give much thought to, but that over time will become something quite special to me.
I once lived in a sweet 2-bedroom apartment with an office loft on the marina in Redwood City, California.  (And before I tell this story, it’s important to note that during the last recession we all faced where the market fell so drastically about ten years back, I found myself in a position that I needed to sell my home if I wanted to salvage what savings I did have. I felt so sad to sell my house, and I think that’s what makes this story worth the telling. We just never know what a sad ending can bring us if we just trust in a goodness that is ever waiting to greet us just down the track a ways.)
When we found ourselves needing to make the change, Rick and I decided that if we had to move from our home to an apartment, then by God, we were going to find something we loved.  We ended up moving to a Redwood City apartment, high ceilings with wall to floor windows overlooking the marina.  The masts would glide past our window on any given day, taking me away if only in my imagination.   The swimming pool was a junior size Olympic pool that also overlooked the marina, along with the beautiful architecture of the apartment buildings lined with palm trees.  When I swam there, I felt as though I was on vacation in the Riviera.  Most days I swam by myself.  I came to resent any other tenants swimming when I was there … funny.  I’d hold my breath waiting for their departure, and then I’d welcome my friend, solitude, and together we would swim like playful otters in the water, exercising to a point, but for the most part just playing and floating and stretching and dreaming.  Being a swimmer, I was in heaven.
When we had decided it was time to move on, I knew I’d never experience swimming quite like this again.  And to date, I have been right.  But it was okay to let go, because I knew I could stash away my beautiful swimming memories with the rest of my “good things going” memories, which I’m starting to believe help one become a happy senior citizen (I’ve been told I now can call myself this … I like wayward yogini better.) 
My latest “good thing going” which is literally going, is my dentist of the last ten years or so.  Let’s face it, visiting the dentist has to be on the top ten unfavorite activities for most humans.
Some years ago I met my dentist, Dr. Gary Thodas, in Karen Toro, my hair stylist’s salon.  He was a good friend to her, and was finishing up his haircut scheduled right before mine.  As I listened to their banter I got to thinking, I’d like a dentist like him.  And by the time he left, I had asked for his card, and the rest is history.  Ever since, I’ve actually enjoyed my dental visits.
I could try to put words to his personality, but I think what better describes him is that his Girl Friday has worked with him for 23 years.  And the rest of his staff has also been there for more years than they can count.  That says it all.
He retired this December.  When I was in for my cleaning in early December, Girl Friday could not hold back the tears as she told me that the “Doc” would be retiring at the end of the month.  And as I drove away, I too felt her loss.  Where would I find another dentist that likes to joke when my mouth is full of cotton balls and tubes and multiple fingers from numerous people and God knows what else, and who I love to shoot the shit with when all the drama in my mouth is over, and who also stashes a $20 bill in Girl Friday’s pocket as she leaves to join me for Martini Tuesday, telling her that the drinks are on him (not that he shouldn’t be sorry for that torture earlier, but how many dentists would be?)
This “Doc” has been doing some very nice things for I’m pretty sure a great many people over more years than he’d probably like to count … my definition of “a good thing going.”
Much like the loss of my beloved swimming pool, I close this chapter, cognizant of the blessing I’ve had, and the knowledge that most likely I will need to look elsewhere for the next “good thing going” and that it probably will not be my new dentist, but I’m confident that something or someone will be heading my way sometime soon.
And in my mother’s unforgettable words close to the end of her journey here on earth (well, probably it was the situation, her voice and intonation more than the words that made the words both funny and unforgettable, more later on that)  I say “Thank you, God, thank you, God” for the good thing I’ve had, and the good thing comin’ round the corner.
Namaste friends, and best to you, “Doc” in your new endeavors, wherever they may take you.  You will be missed.

I'm Back …

A few people of late have been asking where I’ve been. The answer is  I’ve been busy, quite busy finishing my … (wait for it) manuscript for the book that I will be publishing hopefully next spring!
I have learned such a great deal in a relatively short time about publishing a book.  And I just have to tell you that after dreaming about being a published author for more years than I can remember, the idea that I am actually going to do just that kind of blows my mind to tell you the truth.
I recently visited Barnes and Noble shopping for the holidays, and as I walked out, the idea struck me like a lightning bolt, that maybe next year at this time my book would be selling (dare I say) on one of their shelves?  Dream big or go home, right?  The idea caught me off guard though, and nearly bowled me over.  I left the store with probably a very strange look on my face which quickly faded replaced with a very wide smile.  I always say the journey is as much fun as the destination.  For now, I can dream big and see my book on the bestseller table as opposed to the marked down closing out section, and whether or not it ever even makes it into a Barnes and Noble store, for this moment in my mind’s eye, my book is sitting on the bestseller rack and it looks simply marvelous there.  And my thinking is this, happy is happy, whether it’s a dream or a reality.  Time spent happy is good for your soul, not to mention the actual heart muscle.
What I wanted to address in this post, is really not about publishing the book, I just had to tell you about it.  I’m sure I will have much more to say about that in coming posts.
No, this post is about blogging, and how much I’ve missed it.  This post is dedicated to my fellow writers/bloggers.
The other night I realized that I would finally have some time to post and I felt so doggone happy about it.  I felt like I was going to be visiting a dear old friend, and I couldn’t wait.  I actually stayed awake for hours that night thinking about what I wanted to say.  I couldn’t wait to share my realizations in the hopes that some of them might help my fellow bloggers.
When I first started blogging and someone would like something I wrote, I would do as the site encourages, go “see what they are doing.”  I started following one after another for about a week or two, but I realized quickly that if I followed everyone that liked my post, I’d soon have no time left for writing.   I stopped “seeing what they were up to,” and began to write in earnest.  I am so happy though that I did begin to follow a handful of bloggers as I’ve learned so much from them.  They’ve come to feel like co-harts and I can see the ebb and flow that we each go through, the difficulty coming up with new material to write about.
Spending time working on the book has made me realize what an amazing and truly rewarding experience blogging is.  Writing a chapter to a book can be a lonely experience, as there’s no immediate audience.  You can write for days and days or months and months and not one person will respond, nor will your chapter travel to different countries.  The connection with your readers, if it comes, will most likely be years down the road.  And I’m sure that’s wonderful in its own right, but I’ve come to understand that blogging is something pretty unique and wonderful.
The gifts that have been bestowed on me as a modern day writer are beyond what I ever could have imagined.  I can sit at my computer with the world’s music at my fingertips, my earphones sounding me as if I’m in a symphonic music hall, the internet a click away if I have a question or want to find the right word, or more importantly spell the word right.  I’m dating myself, but when I first started working, I typed on an IBM Selectric (those must be in some computer museum these days.)  It was something pretty amazing with the little ball that twirled around letting you type faster than ever before, and it even had a backup feature that let you correct your typos.  Whooaaaa!
As a blogger, when I have expressed my thoughts on the page to my satisfaction, I have the ability to send them out into the world … I have to repeat that … I can send my thoughts into the world never leaving my desk chair.  We take so much for granted these days.  But I just want to do my part to remind all of you bloggers about what an amazing gift we’ve been given.
And whether we post every day or every week or once a month or less, it truly isn’t a race, and there are no rules.  We are writers.  We thrive when we can express ourselves on the page.  We won’t always have something to say.  But when we do, we have a forum to deliver our thoughts, our prayers, our dreams and our stories.  I have learned following the few blogs that I do, that I don’t really care if someone lays low for a while.  I’m just happy when I see that there is a new post.  I love following Stuart M. Perkins’ Storyshucker.   I haven’t seen many posts as of late, but I can tell you this, when he does, I’ll be reading it because his posts always make me feel good.  And I will always smile when I see Paul S’s Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies posting yet another interesting take on Michelle and Meg.
This break I’ve taken has been eye opening for me in many ways.
My husband has been telling me for years, “honey, you are a writer.”  And I’d respond trying to convince myself that he was right, “yeah, I know.”  And then the little voice in my head followed, “well, not really.”  In my mind, unless I had a published book, I didn’t really deserve the title.
I’ve come to embrace and claim the right to call myself a writer these past few months, and I thought at first blush it was because I was working to publish my book.  But the other night while I tossed and turned drafting this post in my mind in the wee hours of the morning when I should have been sleeping, I came to understand that I will never again hesitate to think of myself as a writer.  And that is, in large part, because of this experience of blogging.
I hope to blog for years to come, regardless of how many books I may write.  Because blogging is nothing short of magical.  And I think often of something that my writing coach taught me a few years back … there will always be people out there waiting to hear from me, my voice … and from you, your voice.
Back soon with news of my book, and whatever else creeps into my dreams.
Namaste
 

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.