The River

The weekend was definitely a little stressful with our finals.  I always feel happy for the drive in, and enjoy the time to gather myself before heading into the storm, so to speak.  My emotions ramp up somewhere between my driveway and the highway.  I’ve learned to expect that now on Friday nights and just let it be.
Friday night was spent practicing in our groups for our final which was scheduled for Sunday afternoon.  Nerves were running rampant.  By the end of Friday night, the teachers proclaimed that none of us were ready for the final.  (Yikes.  No, wait, blimey!)  We decided the decision could be made Saturday morning after another practice, and if we needed to move it to the final weekend, we could.
Saturday morning I drove slowly, not in any hurry to arrive at the Perfect Storm (another of my favorite movies.)  I missed my mom.  And I felt grateful for that sorrow.  There was a time I would not have believed I could feel this.  Through our later years together, the movie I felt more of a connection with was “Throw Mama from the Train.”  I used to joke about that all the time, and I have to say, my mom really did remind me at times of Anne Ramsey.  She once gave me a portrait of herself she had taken at Sears, she was probably around 70 at the time, and I’m not sure what prompted this gift (maybe she was upset with me that I didn’t have enough pictures of her in my home) but when I opened the box, it was scary.  It was a close-up head shot of my mom with a completely serious look on her face.  No smile, just completely serious.  I was a little speechless, but thanked her and put the picture away, far far away for safe keeping.  If you don’t know who Anne Ramsey is, google her.  I’m looking at her now, and by God, they could have been sisters.
My friend, Peter (at that time we were just getting to know each other) came to my mom’s place to notarize some papers for us.  My mom was pretty hard of hearing, and actually wasn’t really listening to others too much anyway (a lot going out, not much going in) and she was in a mood.  About half way through as she was bad-mouthing me to whoever in the room wanted to hear it, I leaned over to Peter and quietly asked him if he’d ever seen the movie Throw Mama from the Train?  His eyes grew wide in disbelief, and I think probably that moment was when our friendship was cemented.  A sense of humor is your best friend sometimes.
These days I reminisce about our antics, and because we did have it so rough for so many years, I feel such gratitude for the simple blessing of missing her company.  Like I quoted a few posts back “Unthinkably good things can happen even late in the game.  It’s such a surprise.”
Appreciating my feelings, I drove slowly sorting through my emotions, enjoying the beautiful moon greeting me, shining ever so brightly to light my way. The day would be eventful.  We collectively decided before lunch that our group was ready, and would lead the way.  We would perform our final Saturday afternoon and Group 2 would follow up on Sunday.
As I think I already mentioned, we each had sections to lead, a total of a 90-min class, so eight people in the group, we each were responsible for about eleven minutes.  I was the greeter, opening the practice and guiding everyone through a meditation, breathing, chanting, and relaxing.  If you had told me 40 years ago that I would one day be sitting in front of a group singing a chant, I would have told you, no way.
When I was in about tenth grade, I was in a drama class.  Much like this class, we were divided into groups and had to prepare a skit that we would perform for our final, on stage.  I had one of the opening lines, and also the closing line.  I was so nervous that I entered the stage, said my first line, followed by the last line, and the curtain went down without any of my classmates being able to say a word.  Hilarious in hindsight.  We got a courtesy D from the teacher and my classmates were, to say the least, not too happy with me.
Well, good news, I didn’t let my yoga mates down on Saturday.  I definitely was nervous, but I managed to for the most part, park that anxiety and get through my eleven minutes.  I joked, and taught, and sang and read something I wrote to the group.  I fought back tears while I read it, and let that be okay, because that is me.  I received nice feedback afterwards, as did the rest of our group.
The knowledge I came away with this weekend, and have continued to contemplate yesterday and today, is how important it is in life that we bring our authenticity, even when we might think we are showing our weakness.   It’s also what I have been learning throughout this blog.  When I am vulnerable and blog about something personal, that’s when I feel the warmth of others come flooding back.  I have learned this lesson before in life, but I think more from the perspective of loving others who showed me their underbelly.  If someone cries with me, they become a friend for life.
This time around I’m learning the lesson from the reverse side, me opening up and being completely blown away by how great it feels and how truly accepting and welcoming others are.   Our journey is much like going to school.  You have certain courses, maybe a foreign language for example, and you learn a word and move on to more words, but at some point you circle back and truly begin to learn the proper enunciation of that word and the exact way to roll your tongue through the new and uncomfortable sounds, and at some point, the lesson is over and will not appear again in your curriculum.
I am witnessing first-hand that it’s our weaknesses that collect us and draw us closer, as we can see ourselves in others if they are willing to show us that they are fallible.  If someone does not show me any vulnerability, I can’t see them, and when I can’t see them, I find it hard to trust them.  Much like if I were walking through a forest at night, if I can’t see my way, I am going to feel frightened and guarded.
Something I probably enjoy the most about blogging is when someone says, “hey, you made me think and I’m going to give that a try.”  If you decide to try this vulnerability idea out, I would say this, remember that what you are giving is a gift.  You are sharing a part of yourself, and you are a GIFT.  If someone doesn’t seem to care for it, then oh well, bye Felicia.  Just means maybe they are not open to feeling at that moment, and that’s okay.  They may have a mountain of their own to move, and your openness scares them for fear they might have to look at themselves.  Their reactions will always be more about themselves than you.  And trust me, the truth is you’ll be enjoying yourself so much with those who do gravitate toward you, that you really won’t have much time to be looking in that rear view mirror for Felicia.
I’m planning to move forward in life embracing this new-found vulnerability, one day bring it to my yoga class, and create my own little yoga community filled with those who enjoy what I bring, people who are looking to improve, heal, and move whatever is in their way.
Will close with sharing my opening in our final practice.
“Welcome all of you.  So happy you are here with us.  We wanted to set a theme to our class today, and we’ve decided on dedicating our practice to the beauty of the majestic rivers we are graced with in our world, and especially here in our little community with the American River.  Ally has a gorgeous reading she will share with you at the end of our class.
And I will begin with something I wrote.
Please get comfortable on your mats, cross legged. Eyes closed.
Tap into your body, pay attention to what you’re feeling.  Just take note, is your mind quiet this afternoon or lively?  Notice the flow of your breath.   How is your spirit feeling today?  No judgement, just acknowledge where you are this morning and greet that spirit.  If you are feeling happy, remember what a blessing that is and please share that with us.  If you for some reason are feeling sadness, try to nurture yourself during your routine.  And if you are angry for some reason, maybe your boss pissed you off at work or your mate, kids, whatever, remember that there’s much power in anger so use that to do something amazing on your mat today that typically you might not have the power to do.  Take this time and make it yours, as for some of you, this might be the only time you have to spend on yourself today.   And remember, above all, you are right where you are supposed to be in this moment.
As you breathe in, take that breath all the way down to your sits bones, and then let it out through your mouth.  Inhale,  hold at the top, exhale.  Breathe at your own pace.  As you do, adjust your posture if needed, sit nice and tall.  Soften your brow.  Relax your jaw, your neck.  Lift your rib cage.  Drop your jaw ever so slightly.  And settle in.
All rivers begin with a droplet … one droplet after another of melting snow cascading down from our majestic mountains.  It almost seems impossible when you think about the wonder of nature.  Yet it’s true, snowflakes come down one at a time from the heavens above, form together, freeze together and then at some point melt together, making their way down the mountain sides toward our rivers.  We see the streams every day moving down the canyon toward our beautiful American River.
There is no end to the number of tiny individual streams trickling down to the river where they will become strong and united.  They will learn at times to rage and destroy much in their path.  They will change the shape of our land.  They will move what gets in their way.  They will dance in the sunlight. They will be a vessel for creating and sustaining life.  And sadly they will die in time if they lose too many of their droplets.
Are we humans really any different?   We are a million and one snowflakes, each one bringing our own beauty, but traveling in unison, creating a universal flow.
Our tiny tribe has united for our short journey, and soon we will all be off to the oceans, but for this brief moment in time, we have come together to move what’s in our way.  And I think we’ve done an amazing job.
I hope when you each practice this morning, you keep in mind your power, what you’ve accomplished in this six weeks, what you’ve helped others to accomplish in this six weeks, and know your power going forward.  You are the river.  We all are.


I want to start by saying how nice it is to share what I’m learning with all of you.  Your responses remind me of something I already know, but sometimes forget, that we are all much more alike than we are different.  With that said, here’s another new idea I’m trying out.   I’ve started getting up about 30 minutes earlier than usual to meditate and read/study.  Thirty minutes earlier, for me, is about 4:45 or 5:00 a.m.  Let me just say, I’m a sleeper.  I love to sleep, and I really love to SLEEP IN.  I am not one of those people who rises bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with the sun.  No, the sun can be doing its thing and I am still sleeping like a baby.  Any of our friends who stay with us can attest to the fact that I am typically the last person to make it to the kitchen in the morning.  Everyone is usually sitting around on their second cup of coffee when I saunter out.  So, making the commitment to get up even earlier than I already do for work, is really saying something.

But, wait for it, I have to admit it’s pretty magical.  This practice was suggested by our teachers, and I thought I’d give it a try.  It’s important to pick a pleasant quiet spot, a place that feels good to you.  I chose a corner in my living room, close to the windows.  It’s still dark at that time, so I turn the light on over the chair on the lowest setting, grab something warm to drink, and nestle into the chair with my favorite blanket.  Our assignments include meditating, reading, chanting, journaling, so I have plenty to do.  There really is something special about the wee morning hours, it’s so quiet and peaceful.  I enjoyed it so much the first morning I tried it, that I’ve done it every morning since.  It’s quickly becoming a favorite part of my day.

Early morning (sorry, Cassie, I’ll understand if this isn’t your favorite post) is really such a wondrous time, peaceful and serene and full of promise.  I find a marked difference in what I retain when I read early, as opposed to during the day or at the end of the day when I’m tired.  And with that thinking in mind, if we need to problem solve, let’s say, a dilemma at our workplace, or trouble with our children or our mate, parents, friends, whatever, the same principles must apply.  Giving yourself a quiet time where you can concentrate fully on problem solving, the end result can’t help but be different.

I’m smiling to myself as I write this, thinking about how I’ve historically resolved issues I might be having.  If I’m stressed about a situation, I will undoubtedly worry about it during my packed day, with twenty different tasks or interactions going on, at least, (I’m sure you are no different) and my little voice will be interrupting me constantly saying, “Hey, Sue, how are you going to fix this?  Hey Sue, what are you thinking?  Hey Sue, why not try this?  Hey Sue, I don’t think you are listening to me. Hey, Sue, come on, we need to fix this.  Oh, and hey Sue, did I happen to mention you need to fix this?”

Really, is it any wonder that I am able to stay worried or upset about a problem for long periods of time, when I don’t set myself up for success?  Comparing it to the workplace, it’s unlikely a manager would schedule an important meeting with his employees to work on an upcoming project, and then invite a traveling circus to assemble in the conference room as well.  I don’t know about you, but on any given day, my mind can be a little bit like a circus!

Anyway, you get the point.  Just thirty minutes even once a week can’t help but bring about some positive thoughts/realizations/inspirations/solutions, on top of the fact that meditation is healthy for your heart/blood pressure/digestion just to name a few.

Last night I woke up about 3:00 and stayed awake for quite some time, so many thoughts going through my mind (hey, could you keep it down, I’m trying to sleep here) until just about the time the alarm was going to go off.  Of course, that’s when I was just starting to sink back into some nice sleep.  Surprisingly when my alarm did go off, even though I was tired, I decided I would still get up because I knew that the 30-45 minutes I spent with my morning meditation would probably bring me a greater reward than trying to get in that extra sleep.

And my new-found ritual did not disappoint.  I think this one’s a keeper.

Let me know if any of you try it.  I’ll be interested to see if you find it as enjoyable and beneficial as I do.  There are many different ways you might spend your time, whatever feels right for you.  I like to meditate for the first half of my time, and then read and plan the second half, but that’s just me.

Whatever you do, make it pleasant, whatever that means for you.

I am excited for my next post.  It might be a little lengthy, so if I’m able to complete it today I will post it tomorrow.  If not, it will be my first one next week.  Have a great day all.  And as always, thanks for tunin’ in.



One of the major themes throughout our two weeks in class has been self-acceptance.  Our instructors have done a fabulous job of teaching us to look at how we speak to others as well as ourselves.  It’s a bit surprising to realize just how much I apologize, for this, that and the other.  In the first few days, our teachers would stop us in our tracks when the words  “I’m sorry” came out of our mouths.  By the second weekend, the teachers didn’t even need to say a word.  If one of us was speaking in front of the group and began to say “I’m sorry” you’d see the speaker’s face flinch as if they’d been jolted with a small amount of electricity.  We looked like a bunch of Pavlov’s dogs.

It’s not as easy as you’d think to stop saying you’re sorry.  Tess, our female teacher, is such a little spitfire, I just love her.  And man, she just peers into your face and asks you, “WHAT ARE YOU SORRY FOR?  WHY ARE YOU SORRY?”  And she means it, she wants an explanation for why you are sorry.  In most cases, I find myself realizing I’m not really sorry at all.

There has been a major focus on the idea of being enough, and accepting that we are always enough at all times, regardless of what we can and can’t do, what we do and don’t have, that we are right where we need to be at that moment in time.  Interesting concept for some of us.  It’s so easy to always have my eye on something I think I want or need, or something I need to change about myself.  And not enough time is spent appreciating what is, right now, just this, just me, nothing more, nothing less, this moment being perfect.

The instructors have definitely gotten their point across in a short time, as  I am finding myself contemplating the concept of acceptance and enough throughout my days.  I think of myself as a pretty confident and happy person, but I have to be honest, I say I’m sorry a lot now that I pay attention.  The hike I talked about in my last post, I spent the whole way up saying I was sorry and thanking my angels.  They kept saying, no need to be sorry.  And they were right.  Why would I need to be sorry to someone else for my fear, and needing to take breaks to catch my breath when I’m not used to a hike like that.   WHY WOULD I BE SORRY FOR THAT?  Yet, there I was … sorry.

Check it out yourself, just pay attention to your thoughts, how many negative thoughts run through your brain in an hour, or a day?  We humans can be damn tough on ourselves.

With this philosophy in mind, I will share a really nice realization I had on Saturday evening when I left yoga.  Part of our homework has been to clean and clear our spaces, both internally and externally.  We were asked to purge our surroundings of unnecessary objects.  Since Rick and I moved in the last few years, I don’t have very many items left that need purging, but I did have a pile of old videos from my mom’s stuff sitting on my dresser.  It seemed the perfect place to start my assignment.

On Thursday night after dinner, I got comfortable and started to play each video.  Some were my kids from their preschool years, but there were two in particular that were films my mother had transferred onto video, and they dated back to when I was a toddler.  It was a collection of images, no sound, myself and my cousins going down a slide at the San Francisco zoo, our parents dressed in their Sunday best laughing among themselves, chasing after us, and others with just my parents and I.

I sat somewhat mesmerized studying the films, yearning to see more, searching their faces and actions for some clue as to how these seemingly happy people became what I would remember them as, two very unhappy and unfulfilled souls.  I finished looking at the tapes and went to sleep that night feeling so sad.

As I drove to yoga on Friday night, I was listening to the Beatles station on Sirius radio.  They were playing a collection all weekend of the Beatles’ top 50 love songs as voted on by the listeners, I’m sure in honor of Valentine’s Day.  For anyone who hasn’t listened to the station, they will put together a collection and then play it over and over all weekend, it just loops around and around.  I came in at the beginning of the songs working down from No. 50.  As I came through the canyon they played Julia, which is a song written for John’s mom, I believe, after her death.

I couldn’t help thinking about my mom, and still feeling melancholy from watching the tapes.  I found myself thinking how sad our life together had been, so much unhappiness and turmoil, and feeling like we had wasted our precious time on this earth together.  The mood hung in most of the night, and when I drove home around 9:30 coming through the canyon, Julia played again.  And then again the next morning, and then again the following evening. Coincidence?  I’m only in my car 20-40 minutes depending on where the class is, Auburn or Roseville.  I’m not sure what the odds are of coming into the rotation at the same place every time I get in the car, but I thought about heading to Reno to do a little gambling since my mom seemed to be in my back pocket.

Saturday morning my mood shifted and I welcomed the song, enjoyed my drive through the canyon and greeted the new day with an open heart.   What would day five of this adventure bring?  It was an eventful day in class, lots of yoga and instruction, but what would be the most important part of the day would come as Julia once again played on my way home (of course it did).

Instead of thinking my mom and I had wasted our time together, I asked myself “what if what we had together was enough? What if it was just what it was supposed to be?”  With that door open, my mind raced remembering what I’ve always believed, that we come here to learn and that sometimes our lessons are hard.  With that thinking in mind, then truly my mom and I kicked some ass in this lifetime.  We’d hiked our own trail straight up a rock hill and parachuted down to the river below.  Just maybe I had this all wrong.  Amazing.

And if all that is true, then it would explain my reaction when my mom did finally pass. Hospice had called early that morning to let me know she was close.  She’s been close for three months, but this day was different and I knew it the moment I walked into her room.  I settled into the big blue chair next to her bed with my book.  I’d pretty much said everything I needed to her in the previous three months, so there was no need for words at this point.  She was already somewhere far away.  I watched her breathing all morning, reading a page or two, and glancing up.  Although her breathing was labored, she was interestingly very quiet.  I could not rely on sound to monitor her.

At some point mid morning, I glanced up and found she had made her way ever so peacefully after such an arduous journey.  I sat watching her for a few moments and once I knew for sure her chest would not rise again, I said, “Mom, I didn’t even hear you leave.” I let the tears come, and after a few minutes, the next words out of my mouth were, “We made it, Mom.  We did it.”

They are interesting words for someone who has just lost her mother.  They were not words prepared or thought about beforehand.  They were the words of my heart, and what I was feeling.  And I don’t know about you readers, but to me, they sound like the words of a gal who made it with her mom to the top of the lookout.

I will close with the words of one of my favorite songs from You’ve Got Mail, hauntingly beautiful lyrics and melody.  For some reason, I do believe,  in this lifetime we choose to forget what we know in order to learn our lessons.  It’s nice when we remember …

“Long ago, far away

Life was clear, close your eyes

Remember is a place from long ago


Remember when you’re sad and feelin’ down


Remember life is just a memory

Remember close your eyes and you can see

Remember think of all that life can be


Dream, love is only in a dream, remember –

Remember life is never as it seems. Dream

Long ago, far away

Life was clear, close your eyes”


Remember lyrics – Harry Nilsson


If I walk away from this class with nothing more than this realization, it will be enough. But between you and me, I’m not thinking that I’m done.  Until we meet next week,


Picture taken on our sunrise hike to the outlook over the American River, Overlook Park, Auburn, Ca.

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.

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.