Yesterday I got a call from a sweet man who does some work at our place every year.  He’s about 70, nice guy.  The first thing he said to me is “boy, you sure do sound good.”  I’ve only met this man about three times in three years.  His response surprised me.  I answered him honestly, saying, that yes, I was feeling good.  It made me step back and become the observer, of me, and he was right, I sound different.  And it’s not that I wasn’t happy one year ago or two, I was.  But there is another aspect of me that has pulled into my parking space and she is having quite a time of it, in a good way.
So that comment tied into something I read this morning after my meditation, in one of our books, The Yamas & Niyamas, by Deborah Adele.  In her chapter Reviewing the Niyamas, she writes something that resonated with me. I will quote, “Several years ago I made a major change in my life.  Events came together in such a way that I asked myself the question, ‘Just how good can I feel?’  I began to wonder if every year I could feel better and have more vitality and clarity.  At the time, this question felt radical to me as I looked around at the American expectations of aging.  But I decided it was worth the experiment and that I would make choices in diet, activity, and thinking that would support this exploration.”
I think this is, as my British peeps would say, brilliant.  Challenging yourself to see just how happy you can be?  When do we hear that?  We hear people talking about being as successful and rich as they can be, but how many times do we hear them talk about working to become as happy as they can be?  I don’t know about you, but I really love that concept.
And then a page later in her chapter Moving On, she makes an analogy about what I would define as manifesting, making a choice to be different, to go where you might be a little uncomfortable to go, in the pursuit of what will truly fulfill you.  Again, I will quote, her words are so perfect.
“As a child, I loved pretending I was a horse.  Not just any horse, but a beautiful, black, fast horse, freely galloping over open countryside and taking giant leaps over anything in my way.
“Although my relationship with horses has remained in my imagination, I still love them.  They are beautiful animals and I brim with the thrill of watching them race with strength and grace on an open field or take those beautiful leaps in equestrian competition.  The theologian Peter Marty, in speaking about equestrian competition, had some interesting observations.  He stated, ‘Those of us whose only contact with the world of equestrian competition is via the television set find the elegance and ease of those leaping beasts to be almost surreal.  We marvel at the calmness of the riders.  We admire the cool focus as they vault their way over the hurdles (and wonder if those riders have) some extra instinct that the rest of us lack.’
“Marty further went on to talk about equestrian training.  He noted that one of the most common obstacles all riders face is their own perception.  Much time in training is devoted to the skill of the rider’s own perception.  It is known in the equestrian world, that unless a rider can approach these upcoming barriers with a kind of ‘anticipatory confidence,’ they will never be able to make these great leaps with their horses.  Peter noted that one trainer put it this way:  You have to ‘take your heart and throw it over the fence.  Then jump after it.’”
I absolutely love this, and isn’t this what we all should be doing every day?  Throw our hearts over the fence, just a different way to say follow your heart, but these words give me such a visual for the act.
My dear friends at work and I have been sharing with each other the stress of our upcoming changes, one in particular that is fearful of what lies ahead, and knows where she wants to be, but also not at a place where she can quite yet make that happen.  Another friend who knows exactly where his heart would take him if he threw it over the fence, but the risk feels enormous.  We are lucky, we have become like family, so we share our fears and sorrows with each other.
For my coworker who needs to wait a few years, she just needs to keep her eye on her dream, know that it’s waiting for her. Know that keeping that dream alive is an important step toward making it happen.  When we went sailing a few weeks back, Scott, our skipper, gave us important safety instructions as we were leaving dock.  He told us, among other things, that if anyone went overboard, that it was each and every person’s job to keep our eye on the person in the water.  His words exactly were, “DO NOT, under any circumstances, take your eyes off the person in the water.”  At one point during the day, someone’s hat flew off, and we used it as a drill, so to speak.  Scott tried to maneuver the boat all the while shouting, “Keep your eye on the hat.  Under no circumstances lose sight of that hat.” It was done in fun, but it was a sobering and educational exercise, because in the currents and movement of the boat, it is so easy to lose sight.  I think only one person was able to keep the hat in view.
This morning as I’m writing this, I keep thinking of that hat bobbing in the water and what a great analogy it is with respect to keeping your dreams in sight.  Life is like that boat with the currents and wind and sails and waves, and it’s no wonder we can lose sight of our dreams.  It takes a vigilant effort.  Keeping sight of a person in the water can save their life.  The same might be said of keeping your dreams in sight.
Stay vigilant.  Make happiness your priority.  Take a deep yogi breath, and throw your heart over the fence.  Life is short.  Make it count.
Back one more time tomorrow.  So much to share this week.


Who would think when you sign up for a yoga teacher training class in Auburn California that you would end up sailing around the San Francisco Bay on a beautiful Sunday afternoon for one of your class days?  That’s what I love about life, is that if you are open, you just never know where the day will take you.  I thank any of you who sent a positive thought for a fair-weather day, because it could not have been a prettier day on the bay.  After so much hard work on everyone’s part, it was nice to relax and spend an amazing day enjoying the surrounding beauty and getting to know each other aside from on the mat.
This experience continues to amaze me … stretch me … challenge me … and delight me.  I think every once in a while, what if I hadn’t signed up?  I wouldn’t know what I was missing.  And I guess that in a nutshell is life.  We make our choices, and life is always a compromise.  When we choose one direction, there is alternatively another choice down a different path with entirely different possibilities.  And I don’t believe so much in right or wrong, as every experience in life has its lessons.  I think more that it’s just important to try our best to make sound choices, and continually engage with that wise soul deep inside … Am I happy?  Am I feeling fulfilled?  Is there more I want to do or need to do?  What’s next?
And again, I can’t emphasize enough, no right or wrong answers.  For me, though, I want to feel I’ve used my time wisely and made a difference.  I can’t help but have some regrets when this life is over, as I’m human, and I’ve made my share of mistakes. I’ll be okay with that.  What I don’t think I will be okay with is regretting what I didn’t do.  Those are the moments we do have the control over.  We can make the choice to put one foot in front of the other even when it’s hard, even when we are afraid, if there’s something worthwhile at the other end.  And even if whatever we try doesn’t turn out, there’s much less regret in that than in letting yourself down without trying.
As I’ve said before in this blog, sometimes I feel like there’s a higher power aiding and abetting this journey I am on, my blog, the yoga training.  As I’m sitting here writing this, my cell phone rings and the caller id is MY NUMBER, and it says “maybe Sue Ferrera”  on my screen.  What?  How does that work?  I didn’t answer it.  I was a little afraid.  After all, there’s so many strange things going on these days with technology, can’t be too careful.  I did check, however, to see if I left myself a message.  So far, I have not.  My friend, Peter, said I should have answered as it might be a call from Green Acres.
In the scheme of this post, though, this call makes me think wouldn’t it be great if some future version of myself had the power to give me a ring to tell me hey, you might want to avoid this or that or hey, you’re really on to something there!
Unless today is the start of some new phenomenon, for now I will just have to be satisfied to listen to that inner voice and try to make as many possible choices as I can that leave me feeling like I did yesterday, just happy to be right where I was and knowing I was doing something very positive for myself, and hopefully others down the line.
Closing, check out this post from a fellow blogger, Yogafivefifty, https://wp.me/p9r9Y6-15W.  I read it yesterday morning and loved it as it’s just what I was feeling Sunday.  Whatever brings me moments like what he describes, that’s what I want to remember when I look back one day, A LOT of very contented moments.
P.S. By the way, I just called back again.  I was on the phone, so I could not answer myself.  If I call a third time, I’m going to answer to see what I have to say.  I’ll keep you posted.

Loose ends in Green Acres

I think this title is appropriate for how my brain feels when I’m studying my anatomy, Second Edition of Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews.  My partner, Julie (we have yoga partners assigned in class) loves anatomy and suggested this week we all do more reading in this book.  (Definitely not my strong suit.)  External intercostals, internal intercostals, innermost intercostals, external and internal obliques, my brain felt just like the picture in the book, like a bunch of red bands stretching in all sorts of different directions (if this was a map, I’d be lost in some hay field in Green Acres.)
I must have stared at the picture for 15 minutes, and all I could hear was the soundtrack from Green Acres.  Remember that television show?  I know some of you do!  My wonderful teammates in the guest relations department at Virgin America chat on our trillion throughout the day.  And the other day our beloved Paulie who simply loves the old stars, brought up Green Acres, good old Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, and he quoted the first line in the theme song, and in no time we were all chiming in and every one of us remembered those silly words.  And remember Arnold, the pig?  I have always had a thing for pigs.  (No, I’m not making a derogatory comment about Rick.)
So there I was a few days later trying to make sense of intercostals while singing the Green Acres theme song …
“Green Acres is the place to be, farm living is the life for me, land spreading out so far and wide, keep Manhattan just give me that countryside.”
I think those red bands in my brain are tied a little too tight.
The post I’m looking forward to writing is going to take a day or so, so that will be next week.  Thought I would end this week with loose ends.
I’m continuing to practice speaking the instructions.  Like I said a few weeks ago, not as easy as you would think.  “Inhale arms up exhale forward fold, inhale half lift, exhale forward fold.” It’s not just the words, it’s important that your intonations match what you are saying.   I practiced on Rick the other night while I was cutting his hair.
Cutting his hair is an event that happens about once every six weeks.  We set up shop in the bathroom, and I get three pairs of scissors out and razors and the electric hair clippers.    (Seriously, all of this paraphernalia is a total overkill, but we have fun.  I can’t believe this dear man trusts me to do this, but my mother was a beautician so I must have some talent for this, you would think.  My mom is probably getting a good chuckle out of us these days.)
I was chanting my instructions “inhale, exhale” and he calmly replies, “as long as you don’t cup my balls and ask me to cough, we’re fine.”  I assured him I had no intention of studying to be a doctor, especially after reading that anatomy book.
This weekend we were supposed to go on another all-day hike on Sunday.   Scott, our teacher, loves to take people hiking and/or sailing.  Someone last weekend suggested to him that we go sailing on Sunday instead of hiking.  It’s been reported that it was my idea, but that can’t be confirmed at this time.
The great news is, we are going sailing on Sunday on the San Francisco Bay.  I am beyond excited because sailing is definitely on my bucket list.  I have only been sailing once, and hope to do much more of it at some point in my life. And as far as the hiking is concerned, there is one final hike on the last weekend, so I’m sure we’ll more than make up for the missed hike at that time, and we can also hike at Angel Island this Sunday as well.  Fun stuff.
Lastly, I ordered some of the cutest business cards for my blog.  I absolutely love them.  Since I’ve got more than I will ever know what to do with, if you want some to put on your refrigerator, hand out to strangers on the street corner, line your drawers … just let me know and I’ll send you a few.  If you are a friend I see regularly, no worries, I’m sure I’ll have a handful for you when I see you next!
All right, I think that’s it for the silly stuff.  I bid you all a wonderful weekend.
And please dear readers, send your positive thoughts on Sunday for a beautiful day on the bay.
I’m hopeful no one will chunder (another handy British term) on the boat.  Tally Ho and all that good stuff.