I don’t even know where to begin with this weekend.  I think I’ll work backwards and share in two posts.  So let’s start with Sunday, a day I will surely remember for a long time.  Our group began our five-mile hike (one mile down, four miles up … I know, it doesn’t add up, but that’s sure what it felt like) at 5:30 a.m. through the canyon to reach a beautiful outlook where we could watch the sunrise and meditate.

Typically hiking for Rick and I consists of a nice wide carved out path, some hills, but in most cases just a nice Sunday hike by the river.  Let me also say that as I’ve aged, I’ve come to fear some things I did not fear in my youth, such as jumping from rocks into the water below and … wait for it … climbing rocks, especially a rock hill that from my vantage point looks to be about a 90-degree climb.

I was in the group bringing up the rear, so most of the tribe was already half way up the hill, maybe more.  I literally stopped in my tracks when I realized I was being asked to go UP the hill.  I glanced around for the trail that most assuredly must be off to the left for the peeps who don’t mountain climb. No such luck, no trail, and time to climb.  Oh, and by the way, careful cuz there’s moss and water in quite a few areas.

It’s been quite some time since I can even remember reacting like I did yesterday, I just dug my heels in and started crying. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a crier, but not usually because I’m afraid.  I cry when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m grateful, when you cry, when the sky is pretty, you name it, I cry … but not usually because I’m scared.  In my head I was screaming, “No, not happening! I didn’t sign up for this.”  (Yoga … yoga is what I signed up for, not mountain climbing.)

But you see, yoga is about self-discipline, moving beyond what you believe you can do, into what you actually can do.  I feel certain our teachers thought long and hard about the group and its abilities before they chose this hike, and in the end, they were accurate in their assessments.

I had a handful of angels surrounding me, as always, but these were the kind that I could physically touch and lean on, which came in handy.  I told them in no uncertain terms that I was not going up the hill, and that I could sit on the rock right where I was and meditate and watch the sunrise and that I could rejoin them when they came back down the hill.   My classmates, Kyleigh and Molly, reluctantly informed me that the group was not coming back this way, it was up and out from the lookout.  (Seriously?)

I’ve never really liked being left out of something, so thank goodness for that yesterday.  And thank goodness for my angels.  They just went into action like a team, Kyleigh and Molly offering their hands to hold, climbing ahead of me to pull me up, Molly giving me her headlamp to light my way, Kyleigh supplying the Kleenex for my running nose thanks to my tears, Patrick taking my backpack to lighten my load and offering a shove up on the first rock, which was a large rock to climb for these short little legs.  He offered hesitantly, as the only way to shove me was putting his hands on my ass.  My answer, “Shove away, Patrick.  No room for modesty at this point.”  (I later joked with him that it was the highlight of the hike.)

I cried probably the first five minutes of the ascent.  I’m not sure what was worse, my fear, or my bruised ego.  I’ve always been a doer, and not let too much get in my way.  And having grown up an only child of two alcoholics, I learned at an early age to count on myself, so it’s not easy for me to ask for or to accept help.

My inner voice was screaming at me, but as I negotiated each new rock, she started to quiet down a bit (man, is she ever noisy when she’s upset.)  And by the time we reached the midpoint of the hill, I found myself welcoming the help that was being given.  It’s nice to receive without resistance, but not easy.  Many of you who are also independent might relate to that tendency to want to decline accepting help, in whatever form it might take.  It’s so much easier sometimes to say, ”no thanks, I got this,” than “yes, that would be nice, thanks for the help.”  Right?

Kyleigh’s mantra every few minutes was “Only five more minutes, Sue.  Only five more minutes.”   It had a nice rhythm to it, with a hint of humor, and she made me smile every time she said it.  We ascended and rested, began again until the next break, and slowly but surely, we made it up the hill.  I was greeted with applause and hugs by the tribe when I finally got to the outlook, and of course, Scott, our teacher, with the all-knowing “I told you so” look.    Amazing, my team of angels.

The vista was amazing, and as we sat facing a gorgeous sunrise, each of us in our own silent worlds, I couldn’t really meditate because my inner voice just had too much to talk about, but I was content to listen to her in that moment.  Meditation would be saved for another day.  She was proud of herself, and very happy she had taken the chance, defied her self-imposed limitations and conquered a fear.  That’s a lot of work to have accomplished by 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

As we began our jaunt back to the cars, we again were faced with the same type of rock climb , but this time I just found my girls, grabbed their hands and up we went with no hesitation, taking breaks when needed along the way.  The difference for the balance of the hike A) I wasn’t afraid any more, and B) I continued to hold their hands not so much because I needed it, but because it felt good to stay connected.  As adults we grow out of some lovely behaviors like friends holding hands.  We shouldn’t.

Close to the top, Kyleigh slipped and fell.  And guess who was holding on to keep her from sliding down?  Interesting?  They had listened to me all the way up thanking them for helping me.   In contrast, she said, “gee, if I hadn’t been holding your hand to help you, then you wouldn’t have been able to help me.”   Great food for thought.  I believe in life, we are all teachers and we are all students … it just depends on which lesson you are studying as to who is teaching who.

Our day was to continue with a 90-minute yoga class at 8:30 followed by observing a second 90-minute yoga class at 11:00.  As we gathered at the cars discussion was had within the group about all of us actually participating in both classes instead of just observing one.  Again, I thought … well, I think you guys can figure out what I thought.

But … once I got in my car and relaxed for the 20-minute drive back to the studio, I found that I wasn’t really feeling all that tired, and that if they could do, so could I.  By 12:30 p.m., much to my surprise and delight, I finished my second yoga class after a five-mile hike.  The second class was a restorative yin class, which if you’ve never taken a yin class, is an amazing experience.  Lots of deep stretches for longer periods, so relaxing.  Toward the end of class in what’s called a pigeon pose, I was lying on my stomach face down on my folded arms, soothing music filling the space.  The tears rolled down my face for the entire pose.  My heart was filled with so many emotions, pride, excitement, relief, wonder, but most of all … gratitude … for this day, for my angels, for the sunrise and for my body which has infinitely more strength than I give it credit for.

Saturday was an equally powerful day, but I will save that for my next post.

I will end with this thought … when you think you can’t … think again … and then do it even if you have to work through tears to get it done.  We have the power to create amazing possibilities in our lives.


P.S.  Getting closer to that skydive.

Jalopy girl

Good morning, or night or afternoon, wherever or whenever you join me.  Time to fill you in a bit more about my class.  While I knew I’d be learning a lot about yoga and stretching, I had no idea how much of the class would be spent looking beyond my postures and into my heart.  I think we all to some degree spend a fair amount of time considering ourselves, our actions, our thoughts and our feelings.  It’s human nature.  But life is busy for most of us, and distractions are ever present, so we can sail through days, months, and even years in a kind of status quo.

That’s been the case for me the last few years.  I had my plate full taking care of my mom, moving, working and commuting regularly to the bay area for work, and making time to enjoy my loved ones.  This class is clearly going to allow me the opportunity to reconsider old ideas or patterns, decide if they are still working for me, and change them if they aren’t.

Each student is required to spend a fair amount of time speaking in front of the group.  After all, public speaking is a prerequisite for teaching yoga, so it’s important to become comfortable with that. Unfortunately, it’s NOT comfortable for the average person, and especially if you find yourself in front of a room of strangers and you are being asked to tell the group why you are crying.  (Do you guys have some time on your hands?  This may take a while.)  I’m not certain if all yoga instructor classes are like this one, but our teachers encourage each of us to share what we are feeling as we go through this process.  There was no shortage of tears last weekend, and I’m confident that was only the tip of the iceberg for this group of amazing old souls.

You see, each student came to this class with different desires and needs.  And after listening to each of my classmates over the weekend, I would have to say that even though we package our needs in different wrapping, bottom line is that we are all there to heal in some way.  I was so touched by each story, and so happy to be connecting with these souls for the next five weeks in their individual journeys.

You might ask, what are some of the reasons my teammates have chosen this class.  And I thought it would be nice to share a few of the backgrounds throughout my posts (of course, with their permission) but to serve as an inspiration for anyone who might be reading this blog and have similar feelings or know someone who does. Yoga is just one approach to healing or change, but the bottom line is, there is always help if we put our need out to the universe.  It’s up to us to be brave enough to, at least internally, acknowledge our true feelings.  But once we take that step, it is amazing how quickly life answers us.  Kenny always rings true … endless second chances to take it one chance at a time.  It is never too late to reinvent yourself when makin’ it don’t make it any more.

I wrote in an earlier blog what my reasons for joining the group were …  generally a desire to return to taking care of my body.  This old girl (referring to my physical body) has been taking good care of me without proper maintenance or nurturing these past few years.  She’s overdue for some attention and a good old-fashioned overhaul (I’m sounding a bit like a jalopy, right?)

But one weekend into this experience, I’m a little suspicious that my needs go a little deeper than that, and that I’ve manifested this experience to also help me heal and mourn my mom’s passing.  And most likely, there’s more I’m still unaware of.  But at this juncture, this is the view I see on my horizon.

I was so moved by each person’s story, but the one I will start with is a woman in her forties who was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago.  Outwardly she is the picture of health … strong, fit, with an outgoing and friendly personality.  But when she began to speak, I doubt there was a dry eye in the house as she described the fear she lives with on a daily basis … afraid she is going to die of cancer.  She expressed how tired she is of living in fear and that she chose this path to find a peacefulness and heal not only her body, but maybe more importantly at this point, her soul.

I doubt there’s many readers that can’t relate to this in some form or another, whether it’s cancer or some other life-threatening disease, and whether it’s fear for yourself or a loved one … we’ve all been there.  It’s a lonely and frightening place.  I look forward to watching her crusade against the fear, and have no doubt I will learn much from her journey.

On a lighter note, there was no shortage of down dogs, up dogs, and my body was doggone tired by Sunday afternoon (by about 2:30 all I could think was enough with the dogs!!)  We practiced both instructing and being instructed.  And you’d be surprised how hard it is to guide a pose when just learning, “inhale plank pose exhale …  uhhh …. uhhh …. inhale again … no, exhale again …. long pause … people’s faces turning red … need to think … what’s next … mind is a blank …”  It really was hilarious.  We all were novices and everyone held poses for prolonged periods of time while the “practicing teacher” was working through the mixed up jumble of words clogging their brains. It was a pretty good workout.  Lots of laughter and camaraderie as we each struggled with what might seem to be such an easy task.

But isn’t that life?  All beginnings can be challenging as we slowly learn  to master the baby steps, until one day we sail through that which at first seemed so difficult.

Tonight we begin weekend 2.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again.  And this week when I pass Carmelita’s Restaurant next door, I may still eye the good-looking meals, but I will not be yearning to duck inside and call Rick to come rescue me.  I will be content to try their cuisine at some date in the future when this adventure is complete.  I have no doubt I will most likely be sitting there in tears as I wax nostalgic about my experience in this amazing class.

Moving forward … baby steps.  Life is good.


Opening Doors

It’s a bit hard to even know where to start on this blog.  One weekend in, three days, nineteen hours, I write from a humbled and grateful perspective.  I marveled all weekend at how intuitive our inner voice can be, and thankful that the universe is always, even though we might not recognize it, offering up what we need.  Sometimes I think we just need to slow a bit to receive the message, as even if the sign is huge with red arrows and large letters saying “SUE TURN HERE,” traveling at a hundred miles an hour, I have been known to miss it.
I can only thank a higher power that when I found myself drawn to the little old-fashioned store front window of Eastwind Yoga in Auburn, that I paid attention to that small flash of recognition that some might call coincidence, but I call a knowing.  At this point in my life, I no longer need an earthly explanation for some things, as there have been far too many coincidences to write off.  I simply don’t believe any longer in random coincidence.
The beginning of this training definitely lived up to its hype.  Amazing weekend … transforming already in three days … what will six weeks bring?  So many self-realizations in such a short time.  I think the best way to describe the class is that it was like having a huge mirror placed in front of you, a mirror not so much of your outward physical appearance (although that too) but one showing your soft sweet underbelly.  And my phrasing might sound pleasant here, today, Monday (as I write this), but that warm feeling came after two days of enormous upheaval in my soul.  And I think I can speak for the group when I say, I don’t think anyone was exempt from giving themselves a hard time this weekend.
Friday was surprising for me, as I had been anticipating this class for months, and the day had finally come.  But instead of being excited, I found such resistance in my heart while I gathered my belongings for class.  As I drove from home, I actually felt like crying.  I thought to myself, “I don’t want to go to this class.  I want to be home with Rick this weekend working in our yard.  What did I get myself into?”  I thought the feeling would pass as I drove through our beautiful canyon, but it did not pass.  As a matter of fact, it just kept building.  I fought back tears the whole way to Roseville.
It was my first time visiting the Eastwind Roseville location, so I found my way, and also found that there’s a really popular little Mexican restaurant right next door.  As I walked past seeing all the jovial-appearing people inside with their delicious looking meals and sparkling margaritas, I again thought, man, let’s scrap these plans and have Rick meet me here for dinner.  I did not enter my class with an open heart.  I arrived blocked and scared and very resistant.
As I walked through the doors, I realized perhaps my biggest resistance was that it’s been a long time since I’ve truly been vulnerable.  And the teachers made it clear in no time that this class would be nothing but being open and raw and vulnerable.  I’m quite sure I wasn’t the only one who left a bit shook up.
On my way out, I passed by the same quaint little Mexican restaurant as the crowd was thinning, still wishing to call Rick and have him meet me here and take me out of this fine mess I’d gotten myself into.
The drive home was filled with thoughts like, “how will I tell my bloggers that I quit one day in?”  (Holy cow … no, holy shit, not good. Check out my p.s. for a cute story about my mom and shit.  I think of my mom now whenever I say that word.”
Saturday began much the same, up at 4:30 to arrive by 6:00 to begin another day, a drive through the canyon seriously out of sorts, which is so not like me.  I usually love my drive through God’s country, how can you feel badly? (Oh, but I did.)
But when I arrived, I felt my kindred spirits around me all suffering from the same affliction of a serious case of self-doubt.  And within an hour, we were all sharing our feelings (sitting in our circle, all eyes on you, just sayin’).  It was in that moment that I let down my walls and explained truthfully how I was feeling (not the rosy picture I so like to share) and found I had plenty of expressive understanding eyes staring back at me (we speak so much more honestly with our eyes than we ever will with our mouths). 
The weekend unfolded from there and by Sunday, as I left, I drove through the canyon with gratitude in my heart, an excitement for the next five weeks, and an understanding that I’ve entered a chapter in my life that will stand out from the rest.  I believe in anyone’s Book of Life, there will be probably three to five chapters that will be pivotal in the story.  They will be filled with the moments that change your life, that point you in a new direction … and fill your gas tank for the journey.  My guess is I’ve just started one of those chapters.
I will digress just to say, on Friday, what I felt I was crying about as I drove to Roseville (which I think was only a small part of it) was my mom.  I just felt so sad thinking of her, and the realization that I would not be in this class had my mom not passed.  It all felt so connected and I felt so melancholy.
When I drove through the canyon just two days later, Sunday morning, on my way to the last class for the weekend, I passed through a thin wisp of fog before I began the descent into the canyon.  I love the pockets of fog on the road down to the river and all along the riverbank … they always transport me to such a peaceful place.  My thought as I drove through this mist was, wow, such a beautifully sheer fog pocket.
As the fog cleared, I felt that same flutter in my soul that I spoke about in the beginning of this post; it can only be described as recognition … a memory, past, present or future … a knowing.  And I could swear I heard my mother’s voice …  “Good luck, honey.  It’s your time.”  I actually found myself looking in my rear-view mirror, not really realizing what I was looking for until I got a mile or so down the road, and then understanding that my mom felt so close that I expected to see her with a smile on her face waving goodbye.
I entered class Sunday morning emotional, but a good emotional.  Happy to be there, and knowing I was right where I was supposed to be.
More to say next post about the class … so friggin’ amazing.  I just couldn’t bear to skip ahead, as the story is all in the moments, always.
As I close this post, I thank God that many months ago I was moving slow enough on my way down the little main street in our small town in the foothills to hear that tiny voice telling me … look at that storefront,  922 Lincoln Street, Suite 100, Auburn, California … it’s a place you will need to remember some time soon.
P.s.  My mom was certainly a character, probably always, but I understood that more in her last years.  She had an amazing group of caretakers … you all know who you are if you are reading this blog … but they came to me with the funniest of stories on a weekly basis.
One in particular, my mom needed to go to the bathroom, so she told her buddy/caretaker/Tyler that she needed to take a shit.  He laughed and suggested to her that maybe it would be more appropriate to say she needed to take a crap.
She answered him in no uncertain terms, NO, she needed to take a SHIT.  98 years old.  Clear.  True.  No uncertainty finally for my mom.  And since I wish she could have always owned that clarity in her life, I will always love the word SHIT from here on out.
My British peeps will have to understand if they don’t favor the word.  It’s here to stay.
A final P.S.S.  With class underway and an understanding of what’s on my plate workwise/blog wise/class wise, I am hoping to post twice a week going forward, with maybe a small side note for fun here and there.  This will be the only week that might be hard to get two in, but I’m still going to try.
Thanks, as always, for tuning in.  If I was Carole Burnett (look it up youngins’) I’d be pulling my ear sending love off to my family as well as all of you reading this blog.

That Devil in your Ear

A few preliminary comments before I delve into yoga topics.  First, this morning,  just wanted to wish my dearest Lorene a happy birthday.  Make it a good one, sissy.
Second topic on my list, my mate, Paul S ( stepped up to represent and welcomed me to the UK a few days ago, which was wonderful.  And I’m not complaining (just sayin’) it’s still just me and Paul.  Where are the rest of my peeps?  And, I mean, I love Paul S, don’t get me wrong, nothing against Paul, he’s a fabulous bloke, really.  But I’m feeling a bit gutted as I was just thinking it would be a larger turnout for my homecoming.
But you know the saying, when God closes one door, somewhere he opens a window (or in this case, when he only opens a door by a smidgen and you can’t seem to fit in because you weigh too much … okay, digressing again) well, my new yoga buddy and fellow blogger in Asia,, on the other hand has brought me a few new friends, so thank you, and Namaste.
It’s all good, and I am so enjoying writing this blog.  I probably will say this a lot throughout my posts, but your comments and likes mean more than I can say.  I can’t respond during my work hours, but do try to follow up later in my day.  I tuck your responses away until I can spend some time, and they feel like tiny presents waiting for me at the end of my work day.  It feels almost tangible.  Amazing.
My hope is that amidst the joking, that we can connect on some of the serious topics I touch on, weight, health, stress, etc.  Your responses bring us all closer to realizing that none of us are alone, and that at the end of the day, we are all human, with strengths and weaknesses.  When we begin to let go of our fear of discussing a problem, we find that there are so many people with exactly the same issues feeling exactly the same way as we do.  For me, at least, that helps me take that deep breath and really look at the problem and begin finally to address it.  So, please continue to share your thoughts.
On to yoga. I attended class Wednesday night, one final class before our training starts.  Feeling a little like when I’m going to the dentist and I get so much better about flossing the two weeks before my appointment.  (Yeah, the dentist doesn’t notice, right?)
During class my anxiety about the training was definitely starting to kick in (or maybe that was just the yogi’s foot next to me, was a pretty crowded class.)  That voice in my head can be so negative.  (hey lady, you in the last row, can you put a cork in it!  We heard you the first five times you said it.)
I mean, really, I’m sure I’m not alone on this … when I start to obsess or stress about something, my inner voice just keeps repeating the same thing like in minute intervals, and it’s such a negative dialogue.  In class Wednesday night I got really tired, and I needed to rest.  Instead of being nurturing and kind like I would be to anyone else, that devilish dialogue starts in, “I don’t think you’re ready for this training.  Oh, yeah, the teacher must be looking at you thinking, sweetheart, you are NOT ready for the training class.   What were you thinking when you signed up for this class?  And aside from that, you really should floss more.”
I got to laughing at myself the other day because I was thinking, man, if I talked to my loved ones or friends (hopefully they are one and the same) like I talk to myself, repeating the same negative things over and over again A) they’d be having thoughts about my short-term memory problem, and B) they probably wouldn’t be my loved ones for long.
Ever since I had that comical visual, I’ve been more cognizant of that inner dialogue, and turning it off a bit sooner.  Bottom line, it’s usually just fear getting the better of me.  And if I can consciously bring a positive thought in disrupting the negative flow, it’s pretty effective.
So, on that note, I’ve prepared myself with some positive thoughts that I will keep handy beginning tonight.
Bloody good job, Sue.  You are blinding (not too sure about that one, bringing up a bad image)  but supposedly blinding is a good thing. Brilliant job!  What an Ace.  Cheers, you should be chuffed managing to do that pose.  Hunky-dory, little mate.
It’s just important that I show my peeps that I’m serious about being British.  And in the not too distant future I will be a lot smaller and I’m planning to slide through that crack in the door.  I just hope Paul S is not the only Brit welcoming me.
As always, thanks for sharing.  Send a positive thought my way the next few days.  Will be back next week to share my experience.  You all have a wonderful weekend.  I know I will.

Weighing in with the Wayward Yogini

This post ought to have a lot of viewers (she isn’t really going to tell us her weight?  Bloody hell!)  Well, before I begin my class tomorrow, I do think it’s important to adjust … I mean document the numbers.  Throughout this class I will have numerous goals, and while losing weight is not my primary goal, it is an important one, if I want to lower my cholesterol levels and avoid taking medication.
As my stepson, Matt, puts it so well in his recent blog entitled Math at “You cannot bullshit math.  And you should not bullshit anything else.  Especially yourself.”  He’s right.
With that said, when I first went to the doctor a few months back, my weight was 148 (backspace backspace 3 8 backspace backspace L I A R backspace backspace backspace backspace breathe … deeper 4 8.)  148, there, I said it.  And truthfully, my tiny British frame should not be carrying around that many pounds.  It’s a reality.  And for some of you, 148 may not sound bad, but I’m exaggerating if I say I’m 5’1″, so this is not a healthy weight.
But here’s the good news, I began working to get ready for this class, going to yoga, hiking/walking and adjusted my diet somewhat.  Mainly just cut back on amounts, and tried to eat a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.  And as I begin this class, I have dropped down to 141, so that’s a nice start.
We worked hard in our yard this last weekend, moving limbs and brush from a recent tree pruning, and also spent time collecting rocks to build a rock wall.  We had help from our amazing friends/houseguests, Janet and Lalo (not sure how we got lucky enough to have friends who actually love to work in our yard with us… must have done something right in a past life).
But what I have to tell you is that I was shocked at how much easier it was for me hiking up our hills, bending and stooping, than the last time I did this a few weeks back.  And that’s just 7 pounds, so how much better will I feel if it’s 17 pounds?  I was amazed at the difference in my energy level.  It made me think about the analogy of walking around with a weight in your hands while you are working, and the extra strain that’s putting on your heart, lungs, everything really.
The doctor I have been kidding about was just filling in for my doctor when I went to get my test results.  I had a conversation with my actual doctor on the visit before that one, and he was discussing taking medicine for high blood pressure which at the time we thought I might be suffering from.  Turns out it’s just white coat syndrome.  But at that time, it wasn’t clear.
But nonetheless, it was an interesting discussion because I said to him, ”I don’t want to start the medicine, because this is something I can correct. I haven’t worked hard enough to see if I really need this or not.”
His answer to me was, “well, probably about 85% of the medicine I prescribe is unnecessary … or would be unnecessary if people did what they needed to do to correct their issues.”
My answer was, “exactly my point.  I want longer to work on this before I accept that I need medicine.”
Obviously, there are many hereditary conditions that require meds, and no amount of working out or diet can change those.  But short of that, don’t we owe it to ourselves to try our best to do our part, before we put chemicals in our bodies, many of which solve one problem but create a new one?
I think Matt’s right, we shouldn’t be bullshitting ourselves into thinking we have no control in the instances where we actually do have the power to change and heal ourselves.
The body is a temple … my body … your body … a gift we are given to travel through this lifetime.   And given that my mom lived until 99, there’s a good possibility I might need this body to take me the for the long haul.
I have a few last things I am going to try to post about tomorrow, before our first class.

The Past Repeating itself in a New Light

My meet and greet was awesome, and here we are, two days away from our first class.  I find myself in a mindful preparation for Friday … as well as, a readiness.
Yesterday I ordered my meditation pillow.  I actually love meditation, but have gotten so far from it in past years … let’s see, Lynn, how many years has it been?  (On second thought, let’s not talk numbers right now.)  Anyway, there was a day once upon a time I practiced my yoga and my meditation, and I loved every minute of it.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to make my way back.
But in that day, we didn’t have meditation pillows?  (just sayin’)   So I pulled it up today on Amazon, and there’s no shortage of meditation pillows.  (It’s a butt pillow, but I think they’ve come up with a much nicer name for them.)  They come in every shape, size  and color; but what I learned in my short Amazon drive-by is that you want it filled with buckwheat (not sure what that is, but it sounds like a character from Little Rascals.  Look it up, youngins’, great old show.)
And it’s preferable if it’s covered in organic cotton or hemp.  I browsed the hundreds of meditation pillows, but one caught my eye as it came with a bonus eye pillow.  I have no Idea what an eye pillow is, but if they’re throwing it in the deal and it’s made from buckwheat, then this I is on board.   (Will be an eye exam shortly following this post.)
Hopefully I’ve got this silliness out of my system for the rest of this blog.  (Sharon, you must have some responsibility for this personality trait, as you helped shape me from so young.)
Take a few long breaths before continuing, breathe in … hold for a count of ten … exhale (these are instructions I need to learn how to say in a rhythm that will not asphyxiate my students.)
The meet and greet was truly everything I expected it would be.  A gathering of peaceful souls looking to embark on a life-changing experience, one that will test each of us in ways we can’t even imagine at this point, but that we will remember and cherish for the rest of our days.  That, in a nutshell, is what I came away believing.
I didn’t take a head count, but I think there’s approximately 10-12 females and one male.   I’m definitely the Old Timer (thanks, Kenny, for that term) but I will embrace that role, and teach these youngins’ something in return for what they teach me.  I can’t wait.  I learned working for Virgin America, the position which I will soon be leaving, how rewarding it is to work with people much younger than I.  It makes you step up, not succumb to being lazy, and they have so much to teach us older folks.  They are, after all, what we were in our younger days, and we had a lot to share.  They do too, but exponentially speaking.  I love learning from them, but there will always be room for the wisdom of a generation or two before.  It’s what will help them build a foundation that will allow them to soar.  One generation builds upon the next.
Our two yoga teachers … Scott and Tess,, were everything I was expecting and more.
I’d been attending Scott’s classes for a few months, but really not had too many in-depth discussions in that time, sign up for this and that, not too much more than that.  Take that towel, put it in the dryer, that kind of stuff.  But my time in class offered more than enough time to know that he was a true teacher, and one that would push for more at any chance, but make it fun all the while.  Great combo.
Tess, I’d never met, but had visited her website and spoken with her on the phone.  I loved her website, but it failed in comparison with meeting her in person.  What an amazing tiny powerhouse, so full of love and goodness … (these are my teachers?)
Two amazing souls teaching my yoga teacher training class,  I think my mom is up there pulling some strings.
Tomorrow approaching at light speed …
One chance at a life to give it all and get it right …
Endless second chances to take it one chance at a time.  (I’m going to need that to get some of these poses down.)
Will share a few last minute thoughts tomorrow.

A Chatty British Yogini

Wait for it … you ready for this? I have been welcomed by my peeps!  At 10:10 a.m yesterday morning, I was viewed 10 times in (drum roll) Great Britain.  If I can do that in one day, what might I accomplish by the end of this blog?
I decided I better do a crash course to be ready for my British followers, so I did some research, read an article on the internet called “50 Awesome British Slang Terms You Should Start Using Immediately” (brilliant, right?)  I will be trying them out on my readers from time to time to get used to the jargon.
Feel free to correct me if I become a bit of a damp squib.  See, if I had to guess what that meant, I would have said something from the sea.  Turns out that’s it’s something that fails ignominiously to satisfy expectations; an anti-climax, a disappointment.
I was thinking on my short hike after work, this blogging is right up my alley.  I come from a long line of (apparently British) talkers.  I travel back to my earliest memories of school, kindergarten to be precise.  They used to lay out towels for us kids to take a “nap.” (Seriously that wasn’t happening, at least not on my towel.)  I remember finding my towel slowly sliding away from my little pal, Joannie, to some remote spot in the room as far away from her as possible.  Bye “Jod.”
And remember those report cards, you either got a  + or – in the box, and then there were the comments, mine usually was a minus and said “needs improvement” in the citizenship category.  As an adult, I take exception to that, as I was being social and friendly.  Isn’t that what citizenship means?  Apparently not in second grade.  It means you talk too much.  Giving me flash backs to my doctor telling me I weigh too much.  (not for long, Doc)
Let’s get back to my topic, long line of talkers … (that’s right.  I remember now)  I was going to tell you about my mom.  My mom could talk anyone under the table, maybe except her brother, Ken.
In her younger days … before we had to remove the phone from her room because she insisted on calling 911 every time she hiccupped (I wish I was exaggerating) seven hours later returning from the emergency room with a clean bill of health in hand, along with the ambulance bill, we decided the next time we changed her room, it just did not come with a phone.  We had a few discussions about that, but I assured her she could use the home’s phone any time, and that seemed to do the trick.  Problem solved.
Breathe, Sue, and finish your original thought (ADD makes for interesting conversations, it stretches the listener’s abilities.  Trust me, I’ve been stretching Rick’s abilities for years). Years before when my mother did not have dementia and lived on her own, she would call and talk “at me” as opposed to “to me.”   There is definitely a difference.  These one-way conversations would go on for anywhere from 30-60 minutes.  My mom obviously needed to talk, and as hard as I tried to interrupt her at 15-minute intervals to say there was something I needed to do, make dinner, drive the kids here or there, work, whatever, she simply wouldn’t hear it.
So I figured out a system that worked pretty well.  I would lay the phone down for 10-15 minutes intervals and get my work done.  I would pick up the phone, say “uh-huh” and put the phone right back down.  She never skipped a beat, and we both were the winners.  So when I say I’m a talker, I guess I truly do come by it naturally.
Life certainly challenges us in so many ways with our loved ones.  But as I tell this story, it makes me smile and miss my mom.
And see, here’s where I should have been starting to actually finally tell you about my yoga meet and greet, but instead my writing time is coming to an end tonight.  It’s a more serious topic anyway, so today just needed to be a celebration of my visit to the UK and a nod to my mom.  Thanks, Mom, and Namaste.

I've Got Mail

This may sound crazy, but I missed you these past two days.  Blogging is amazing.  I knew I would enjoy writing the blog, as writing is always something I love doing, but what I didn’t anticipate was how much the connection with others would affect me.
I’ve reconnected with old friends I haven’t talked with in years, so nice.   People I’ve never met have sent encouragement or confided something of their own, amazing.  And then there’s my friends I do keep in touch with regularly, but not on a daily basis, and it’s just so phenomenal enjoying your camaraderie and support. 
Truly, I’m like a kid. If I pass my phone or the computer, I just can’t help myself, I’ve got to take a peak.  Has anyone else read the blog since I last passed by my computer (five minutes ago)?  Do I have a new follower? 
Oh, and can I just tell you when there is something in my inbox, whatever form it takes, I feel like Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail (actually one of my favorite movies.)  Remember the AOL ring, air sound, and familiar male voice saying “You’ve got Mail.”  The updated version is much quicker, a little number in the corner of your computer screen or on your telephone.  A simple little number, but boy, it raises my heart rate, puts a smile on my face and leaves me walking on air. 
Unlike the doctor visit, this story isn’t so much about the numbers, but what that number represents, and that’s you, whoever you are, reading my blog at this moment.  The uniting of souls is powerful stuff.  If we ever find a way to harness it, we will surely light the world. 
So let me tell you, I’ve done some traveling this past week.  My blog has been to China, Peru, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, and France.  Amazing, right?  But I just have to ask, where are my peeps?  (England, no warm welcome for your new little Brit?  Is that an okay term or is that politically incorrect? I’d hate to start off on a bad foot.  So much to learn about being British.) 
Abi, if you’re out there, you need to share my blog on your FB page and then tell your sister and father to read it.  I need to make my way home to my peeps.
And speaking about sharing my blog, the blog site does break down my stats, referrals, etc., and I can see that it isn’t only Rick who shares my posts on his FB page (God bless him) but others have as well, which is probably how I’ve made it to such distant places so quickly, so thank you for that. 
One quick side note, today we went to Lodi to our favorite winery,  Klinkerbrick.  On the way down as we passed the Lodi airport, the sky was littered with brightly colored parachutes, probably 12-15 brave souls sailing down from the heavens.  It was an amazing sight and made me smile.  (Universe can be so persistent when you are trying to ignore its messages.)  I have to say seeing the number of people in the sky made me think, I can do that.  It’s what I’m talking about in this blog … connection with others.  Makes all things seem possible.
I did attend my meet and greet Friday night, and I am excited to tell you all about it. Tonight I’m tired from a wonderful weekend spent with some of the best friends one could ask for, and the idea of my followers tucked in my pocket … life was good.  Will write tomorrow when I’m rested and fill you in.  Lot to share.
“You’ve Got Mail”
“I hear nothing, not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beat of my own heart … I have mail”

Navigating the Learning Curv(Y) Trail

One day into blogging, I must confess when I pressed send for the first post, I felt sheer terror followed almost immediately by exhilaration.
While I’m still afraid of parachuting with my son ( his 21st birthday wish was for us to go parachuting, he’s 26 now, he’s still waiting) a few more exercises like pushing send agreeing to offer up my underbelly both literally as well as figuratively, I might just find myself one of these days sailing down from the heavens right behind my son.
Posting my first blog did present a few technical issues.  I’m not saying user error, but it seems I sent a few invites to friends with my username as the sender, a female name no one would connect with me, Rickiesue.  (It’s cute, right?  Good luck name Rick and my name combinedWell, anyway)  When you receive an email saying “check my stuff out,” from someone named Rickiesue, it can be misconstrued.   Depending who you send it to, there are some who might avoid opening the email.  (understood)
And then there might have been a few who did open it, and ended up quite disappointed with a sunset and blogging about yoga.  It’s all in the details.
Apparently I also titled it “Y”, and ended it with an “I” followed by nothing.  (Why Y? strange title, must be some deep meaning) 
The good news is I’ve found navigating the site that there’s an extremely convenient edit button that lets me change my blog even after it’s been published.  Brilliant … (Oh and I recently found out by DNA testing that I’m 66 percent British, so I’m liking the idea of using the word brilliant more as well as Namaste.)
I concede this will be a bit of a learning curve, but hey, we’re on an amazing path, hiking boots on, water bottle in hand.
It’s time to hike.
Blog photo is on a hike from our house down to the American River.