A book?

Time to catch up with my readers, with some exciting news.  My fellow bloggers will for sure appreciate this, I’m publishing my blog story.  I’ve hired an editor/publisher and my book will be hitting the stands in the spring of next year.  My book will consist of the story many of you have followed, plus new content.  Which sadly, is why I will be taking a break from posting until I have my manuscript completed.
This journey has been nothing short of amazing, and has changed my life in no small way.  I love blogging, and look forward to returning.  Sending my thoughts out to the universe and hearing back from all of you who respond, reminds me every day that we souls far and near are so connected, all drifting down the stream together, regardless of how different we may seem.
I will be back as soon as my manuscript is complete and I am free to continue my dialogue, plus of course, you will have to hear me ad nauseum plugging my upcoming book … come on, you gotta give me that.  Oh my, there will so much to chat about.
In the meantime, I will still be reading my fellow blogger’s posts, and sending positive thoughts to my readers who are not bloggers.
Continue pushing … remember life is short … pursue anything and everything until you hear your heartsong.
Namaste
Postscript:   (sounds pretty official right?)  I waited so long to finally upload this post that I wrote about a month ago that I’m now done with my manuscript and will be posting again on my blog next week.  Can’t wait to catch up with all of you.
 
 
 

CHOICES … with a little help from my friends

Well, here we are … everyone ready to hear about my new job?  (Geez, it only took her two months to tell us about this new development!)
Which, by the way, has had me wondering why … why was I blocked about telling my readers.  In hindsight, I see the roadblock clearly.  The block was all mine, my internal dialogue was mixed and at odds, so not easy to share.  A few months down this winding road, I am feeling great about my choices, but while I was making them, I was working hard to place my feet moving in the right direction (important for a yogini, right?)
So, let’s digress … a few months back I was enjoying my unemployment, traveling, resting, practicing yoga, catching up with family and friends, swimming, hiking, writing … life was good.  Of course, my future was looming large, what was I going to do to make enough to cover my insurance for the next few years?  Anyone over 55 knows what I’m talking about.  The cost is crazy these days.
And as much as I thought teaching yoga would be ideal, and as many times as I repeated in my mind what my teacher Scott said about yoga providing a good income, I just felt in my heart that to put that much pressure on making money in the first year or so of becoming a yoga teacher, would be a mistake and in short time, turn my passion into a possible nightmare.  After all, I would want people to attend my class because they found something special there, not so that I could line my pockets and pay for my astronomical insurance costs.  I just kept thinking how quickly the number of people attending my class would mean more to me than what we were doing there.  That didn’t sound good.
My directional arrows were all askew.   I stood at the crossroads completely confused.  And as most times in my life when I truly feel I need guidance, I offered it up to the universe (God, Clay) to leave me a few breadcrumbs to follow.
Although I felt realistically that my best bet was to find employment that would cover my insurance, as I found myself drawn in that direction, I felt a certain melancholia as though I was letting myself down.  What about my dreams, my yoga teaching and my writing?  It’s darn hard at times to balance life.  I kept picturing myself driving down a country road glancing in my rearview mirror to see my dreams becoming smaller and smaller. It made me, oh so sad.  And then (of course, thanks so much little voice) my mind had a field day picturing what I would write in my blog telling everyone how I’d sold out and would not be practicing as a yoga teacher (ouch).
Knowing myself, I knew I’d succumb to the practical choice.  Not that I haven’t thrown caution to the wind and flailed myself off a cliff or two in my life, I have.  But in those instances, I could see but one way.  This choice had several paths I could go down.
So at the time I was struggling with all of this, I did what any practical minded person would do, I shoved my head as far under the ground as possible and did my Scarlett O’Hara impression, while at the same time reminding myself to keep my eye peeled for those breadcrumbs.
And here’s where my story turns to something I love to write about, the universe offering up what you need.  My dear friend, Peter, called one day telling me to send along my resume.  We had been fantasizing for a few years about me perhaps being hired by his company.  Years ago Peter and I had worked together at Virgin and had such a great time, becoming true friends in the process.  He had in the meantime found a wonderful position with a great boss and great co-workers, and had been enjoying working with them for about four years.
Interesting that after probably two years of joking about me getting hired by his boss, that she would be hiring right when I needed a job?  Coincidence?  You all know how I feel about that.  My interview a week or so later was in a quaint coffee shop up in Auburn (she came to me) chatting about life.  Really?  There were a few hiccups, but after another month, I began my new employment, actually happy about it.  Whaddya know!
Training took a few months, so I devoted my time to that, never losing sight of my rearview mirror, because much to my delight, my passions were still there waiting for me, waiving every time I glanced back.  They weren’t going anywhere!
And here’s the part of my post I just couldn’t wait to share with you.  I love my new job.  I really like my co-workers, just as Peter told me I would.  We basically help people transitioning to a new job moving from another state or country, to find housing and help them get settled in.  I work remote from home part of the time, take the train once every few weeks to San Francisco, and a few times a week I go to Sacramento to work with Peter in our new office space, The Hive.  And wait for it … they offer yoga two days a week, a shower upstairs for afterwards, meditation and massage.  My post picture sits at the front desk every morning.
It’s a small group that meets for yoga, the teacher is from a yoga studio one block away.  I’m starting to fantasize about teaching that class one morning a week.  Or at the NEW YOGA studio that opened three weeks ago in my little town of Cool????????  They also, from what I understand, offer a Karma class on weekends taught by different teachers, another possibility for me starting out.  And as for my own yoga practice,  the new studio in Cool is close enough that I can fit a class in my day when I am home working.  Amazing … makes me cry to think about the energy that is about us every day, lifting us, making almost everything possible if we reach and believe, and most importantly, leave room for a different view than we might have.
I see choices everywhere I look these days.  And I’ve been able to make time to finally get back to my blog at least once a week.  As always, the Universe listened to my prayers, mixed my dreams with my needs, and offered up something better than I could have even imagined.  God is truly the master artisan.
I offer up my gratitude today and every day for this blessing we call life … and a special thanks to my friend, Peter, for helping the universe bring this all together.
Namaste

Fire

(I wrote this post a few weeks back, just now getting to posting it.)
When I started this blog, I was writing on average three posts a week.   Down to one these days leaves so much out of the adventure, so I’m hoping in due course I can find my way to write at least two.  I’m so behind in sharing my journey, and it never ceases to amaze and delight me, and at times frighten the shit out of me, so I do so want to share it.  I’ve said this before, and I’m sure I’ll say it many more times, but we humans are much more alike than different, which is why I love to share my story, in the hopes that my readers can find some semblance of connection and hope in my words.
Again, if I was writing the story as I should (although still not sure by whose standards) I would be telling you about my new job.  But NOT happening, even though it’s great and I am pretty excited about it.  Instead …. this week, as I was driving home from our tiny market twenty minutes away (glorious drive through the hills in the pines toward Georgetown) I saw a pretty large plume of smoke over the hills way too close to our home for comfort.
In those first few moments when we humans sense danger, our thoughts splinter in so many different directions.  Wasn’t it my last post I spoke of fire victims? As I wrote that, I was thinking I was safe, different, and lucky.  (What the hell?)   How quickly our worlds can turn upside down, allowing for a much clearer vision that we humans all sail in one ship together.   Vulnerability is a very real part of this human existence, as is loss, sorrow, and grief.
But with that said, part of our journey also includes … hope, healing, love, faith, happiness, and my favorite, the ability to dream.  So, I think in the end, it might just be a choice about what anchor we choose to grab hold of.
As I drove toward our home, heart racing, an interesting reality took hold of my senses.  And this being the closest fire to our home that I’ve experienced, I finally made my list … what to take if you need to evacuate (a reminder I have received over and over again from more sources than I can count, because … wait for it, I live in a fire zone.)  
I will tell you now, we ended up lucky, the fire went another direction and was partially contained by the next day, enough for us to know we would be fine.
What I wanted to share were my thoughts as I stood on my deck looking at my neighbor’s house with the fire behind it looking so friggin’ close.  I love my home and would be devastated if I lost it, but I did force myself to look at the reality that most all we love and enjoy in this life is on loan.  And again, one can look at that as a sad thing or a happy thing.  I’m choosing to enjoy the gifts I’ve been given for as long as I can and feel grateful and happy.  And as for the fact that life can change in an instant, I will continue to plant my head as far under the ground or up my a–, however you want to describe it, as I can and enjoy the grace of each moment that feels good.
My list turned out to be pretty small, which again, is interesting.    Since our children do not live with us, the list starts with our cat, our little box that contains passports and social security cards, etc., our computers, family pics, and my collection of artwork.  I don’t have expensive artwork, but it means a great deal to me.  It isn’t something I could probably ever replace, it’s just from artists that I came to know and love.
What matters most boils down in the end to a very few things, your loved ones first and foremost, and secondly, any precious memories you might be graced to hold on to.  And while we might have some objects we’d like to keep, in the end, they don’t mean anything compared to those we love.  We can always recreate a home if we still have our loved ones.
In closing, I want to thank the tireless firefighters that last week worked hard to save the homes in my area.  I didn’t hear of any losses which is such a blessing.  I have spoken of my dear friend, Colleen, who’s husband, Ron, retired recently from a lifelong career as a firefighter.  She early on reassured me, that in Ron’s opinion, our STATS were good, and that we would be fine.   She also sent me a video of the firefighters working on our fire, the planes repeatedly releasing their fire retardant.
I watched the video over and over again, mesmerized as I watched the planes with each release … a break as the retardant fell, a slowing of the flames, but in the end a fire that I would liken to life, continually reaching for the skies.  It was slowed down by each release, but in no way extinguished.   It was unending, and continued to reach toward the heavens, just as all of nature does.  No wonder …  this earth is a never-ending miracle, and even when we don’t understand or want to accept our losses, they nevertheless (in my humble opinion) are the journey toward a great unknown … just a ways yonder down the road … nothing to fear.
Imagine if we lived each day in complete awareness of what really matters …
Nature … Namaste

Questions, Questions and Answers?

I’m sure there have been times to rival this period of my life, but it’s been a while since I’ve had so many questions for myself.  Should I?  Maybe not?  Can I?  Maybe not.  What will happen if I do?  What will happen if I don’t?
Oh, and then there’s the little voice I so dearly love who can truly scare the shit out of me on any question I might be contemplating.  (thanks, but pipe down.  I got this.) 
My cat sits quietly beside me as I write, reminding me that she wants a new bowl of food instead of the cat food I put out a few minutes ago.  I glance over every few minutes to see her patiently waiting for me to get a clue that the food on her bowl is not what she was hoping for.  I try to tell her that I’m writing now, and that the food I already put out is good food.  She’s deaf as a doornail (where did that phrase come from?  Any clue?  Another question that needs answering.)
63 days of freedom so far, future in complete question.  Phrases like “do what you love and the money will come” fill my head.  I want so badly to believe and stay the course.  But my master debater little voice has other options to consider every day, almost hourly.
When I was in college I was nominated by my counselor (such a dear woman) for a scholarship offered by the Bank of America.  It required that I participate in a debating contest of sorts with students from all of Northern California.  I was shy by nature, and had never taken a debating class.  I had experienced one speech class which I hated.  Being center stage was not my thing.  I was much more comfortable as a stage hand, so to speak.  (You can have a lot of fun as a stage hand.)
Digressing …  there were levels to this competition as well, if you made it through one competition, then you went on to semi-finals and then the finals.  I guess somewhere somehow I became quite the little debater as I placed third in Northern California.  Both at the time and in hindsight, I find that incredible.  But I tell the story not to pat myself on the back, although that would be okay too, but really to support a theory I have that I can argue and debate with the best of them (much to Rick’s chagrin.)  And these days, that darn gal is having her way with me.
I come to a decision one day that I will go a particular thought-out route, and she never hesitates to make her voice heard.  (No wonder I won that competition.  And sorry, Rick.)
This morning I had coffee with one of my dear yoga classmates, and bless her heart, she reminded me of what I already know, but can lose sight of.
I think I will be declining my second job offer to allow room for the path that I can see ahead … it’s only a glimpse on the horizon, but it’s there.  As I said in my last post … if only we could dive off that cliff but once, that would be so great.  But this effort takes a constant vigilance and continued dives, not to mention a few belly flops to achieve that brilliant swan dive.
I’ve come this far … I’m callin’ all angels and sending back a message to the universe that settling for a job I don’t want as opposed to pursuing writing and yoga, is not for me.  Holding my breath for the plunge and prayers that I don’t belly flop.
And kitty is happy since Rick got home a few minutes ago to rescue her from her plight of food she didn’t want.  Like I say, there’s always an angel somewhere waiting to help.
Stay tuned, and please send a positive thought my way.
Namaste, and thanks Ally for the lift.

The Wayward Trail

So many thoughts going through my mind this week on such a wide variety of subjects.  Last night was the first time in a while I awoke with my brain racing, and as sweetly as I tried to coax my inner voice, she would not settle down and go back to sleep.  She had a map to work on (these days she’s got 24-7 to figure these things out, you think she’d get a clue that the middle of the night is not optimal.)
It seems that the universe has decided this is the window to make plans to move forward on my dreams.  While I’ve tried to argue that I wasn’t quite ready for a number of reasons … still so emotional and a bit raw after the last few weeks, it seems Lady Destiny isn’t willing to wait … a blessing and a curse.  I have moved through this last week putting one foot in front of the other, so completely unsure of the terrain and whether my walking shoes would be up for the trek, but just listening to my gut, and taking a chance … remembering my yoga hike and the lesson that I could put one foot in front of the other uphill … even when I didn’t think I could, struggling for each breath.
Interesting how the breath works its way through every yoga move, and nowadays all the movements of my life, my choices, my triumphs, and sadly my sorrows.
My wayward journey continues and the further I travel down the path, the more enchanted I become.  Yet I still struggle every step of the way with the “shoulds.”  My dear friend, Ron, that I’ve spoken of in prior posts, used to teach that when you hear yourself say “I should,” it often times means it is something you might want to reconsider, as it’s usually not a choice of your heart.  It’s a condition you have decided you need to act on, many times out of guilt.  Not a great reason to do much.
I can become so confused pulled toward an old belief.  I think of the early settlers risking everything for their dreams, and I mean everything, including their loved ones.
I have it easy, I’m leveraging nothing more than money and a bit of comfort and stress, small prices for realizing a dream.
As hard as I try to gravitate to new music, I return to my Kenny, One Chance at a Life, as I write and think and process and decide … will it be a return to comfort or will I take the chance.
I think of Kenny’s lyrics, endless second chances and I question the heavens above, reminding God that I made the swan dive, I chose the new life, I held my breath and jumped, and I still have to make the choice again and again. (Really?)  I find that so interesting, and as much as I hate it, I love it.  I am being tested and questioned again and again the last month or so … Sue, are you really ready to make this choice?  In so many words, that’s what the universe has sent to me.  And believe me I have waivered, which is why I believe the question keeps recycling.    ”For love and money I’ve made a lot of dumb mistakes in  my time,” another Kenny line.
I have been so tempted to take the easy road.
But today, this day, I feel a pull, a renewed ever so strong pull, or maybe a breeze to help me leave it all behind, another Kenny line, and opt for the choice of yoga and writing and all that I love.
My journey continues … and it seems I chose my title wisely … it is a wayward trail.  Wish me luck to remain true to course, following that light in the sky beckoning me forward.
Namaste

Let it Be

Last week definitely continued in the vein it began, learning of my friend’s passing.  Sadness and unpleasant news arrived numerous times during the week to tug at my heartstrings (actually it was more than a tug.)  It seems to me life needs to remind us from time to time that we are not invincible, nor is anyone around us.  And if I give that some thought, I guess that’s fair.  I don’t much like the reminder, but it does in the end circle around to me feeling so grateful for my life, my health, my loved ones, and all my other blessings.
Ever notice how bad news comes in three’s?  I enjoyed a great day with my sister-in-law in Truckee on Thursday, a very old tradition that we have recently resurrected.  We used to hit every store on the strip.  These days we are lucky if we get one or two in before we’ve found a quaint restaurant to settle into some corner and yack till the cows come home.  (it takes the cows a while)  On her way home she was involved in a collision with a semi -truck coming the opposite direction.  With only a foot or two to spare, she avoided what would have been a head-on collision.  Deep breath needed for that yoga move.
The following day I received the third of my negative stories, the health of another friend in question.  By Friday evening, I just wanted to throw myself down on the floor and cry, too many reminders of how fragile life is.
But … I had another yoga seminar to attend this weekend, a short one to learn about assisting students.  The class was scheduled for Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.  As I left the house, I reminisced to myself about the beginning of my teacher training class in February.  On some level I felt as if I was returning to that huge endeavor, but reminded myself on my way out of the driveway that this was a very short class, and a great chance to meet up with many of my classmates from the first class plus a few new ones, and that I had indeed finished that original hurdle.  As I drove through the countryside toward the center of our tiny town, the universe punctuated my sad week with two tiny dead fawns on the side of the road, clearly having been hit by a car.  (Okay, I get the message.)
I gave into my tears … they were overdue.  It wouldn’t be the first time I drove through the canyon with tears streaming down my face.  My yoga peeps would think I looked normal.  The class went quickly Friday night, and we met again Saturday at 1:00.  We began with a yoga session, followed by the course work.  The short yoga practice was actually perfect, not too difficult, but enough to get your blood flowing and break a sweat.  We concentrated on the mechanics of the poses as opposed to a flow.  As we neared the end, my dear teacher Tess, who makes any class such an adventure, said “we must experience the darkness to recognize the light.” 
I can’t even now recollect what that statement followed, why she even said those words.  (Of course, maybe in the big picture it was just for me.)  But I almost gasped out loud, in fact, I think I did.  Tears filled my eyes, and the remainder of our yoga practice I thanked the heavens for the reminder of why last week had been necessary.
I finished the class on a high, and came home so happy to spend the following day celebrating Father’s Day with Rick, a man I think is a hands-down great dad, to his own kids as well as a step-dad to mine.  We spent a lovely day doin’ what we love most, spending time in our home and our yard.  As the day was coming to a close, Rick said, “honey, come here, quick.”  He was standing at the end of our garage.  Up the driveway was a deer with her tiny tiny fawn …. so damn darling.  They trotted up the hill, a true joy to watch, and a reminder that as brutal as life can seem at times, there will be a light to catch hold of if we keep our eyes and hearts open.
Yoga, ever an inspiration and a reminder of how wondrous this life we lead is, even amidst the sorrow.
Namaste
P.S.  Lorene, words cannot express how grateful I am that you are okay.  And Tyler, new father with much to accomplish in this life, love your attitude.  Never change that.
P.S.S.  Monday morning I caught an early morning yoga class.  The teacher, Franchesca, who has truly a beautiful voice, closed our savasanah singing Let it Be … no music behind her, just her pure sweet voice.  Being such a Beatle’s fan, I love this song any day, but this day it was just what I needed.  I could not believe my ears.  Just in case I had missed it when Tess delivered my message, the angels saw fit to send it once more.  I’ve started this week with a peacefulness and gratitude for my blessings, the gift of this day and both the light and the dark.
“Let it Be”  (one verse)
And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow
Let it be
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it Be
..

Free

Slowing down is an interesting process.  My history, as probably most of my readers, has always been a fairly fast-paced hectic lifestyle, but I would have to say the last ten years were some of the busiest most demanding years of my entire life, for a number of different reasons.  Suffice it to say, my train has been barreling along at top speed for most of that time, so this experience of being unemployed, kids grown, grandkids still but a dream, parents off to higher pastures… leaves my days up to what I plan, which isn’t too much right now.
For the first week or so after my job ended, I was busy with a celebration trip to Hawaii, but once I returned home and Rick went back to work, the reality of this new chapter of my life definitely set in.  And as excited as I was, I also felt terrified to be without my income as well as the other perks of being employed.  I didn’t even get one day into unemployment without beginning to worry, whether or not it was warranted.  Man, that inner voice sure doesn’t hesitate to offer up negative imagery.  Yikes.
For about a week or so, I felt as if I’d done a truly beautiful swan dive from, of course, an extremely high cliff in some amazing tropical land, but seriously, I was screaming and flailing all the way down, not exactly a pretty picture.
It took about a week for me to settle down enough to realize that this was not a worst-case scenario story.  As my defenses let down, I was able to look at the whole picture and realize that I would be fine in the end, and more than that, that I would actually most likely find I that I loved this new chapter.
The conclusion of my employment, as it turns out, has been almost as time consuming as beginning a new job, so many things to figure out, insurance, where to move your 401K, trying to get all your ducks in a row.  I’ve spent hours on the phone, and on the computer, at doctor’s visits before the insurance ends, and even finally after 12 years of procrastinating had a colonoscopy … I’ll save the lessons about that for a whole post, without too much detail about the process … blimey.
As this week begins, I only have a few loose ends left, and I find my thoughts quieting down and moving toward my passions.  I am marveling every day at the ability to take my time with whatever I am doing.  It’s a lovely experience for me, and makes me realize how much I probably missed moving so quickly.  And it’s not that I’m regretting anything, just studying life, and enjoying this gift of time I have been given.  I hope to use it wisely.
We all are unique beings with different tastes and desires.  What I’m being drawn to is spending more time in nature and with my loved ones, also writing and  yoga.  This morning I took my usual walk over to the lake (really it’s a pond trying to run with the big dogs) and sat at my usual picnic table next to the pond watching the wildlife.  The fish were surely jumping, and the sky was as blue as blue can be. I typically stop for only about five minutes as there’s a list of to do’s a mile long waiting back at home, but today, there was no list a mile long.  I had a list, but it was manageable, not to mention nothing that needed to be done today, so I took extra time on my bench.  The breeze came up, and as it moved through the trees so full with their spring growth, I basked in the sunshine listening to the music of nature, the sounds of our earth.  Mother nature’s melody is as beautiful as any notes we humans can create.
And today, coincidentally, I received a sweet gift from my yoga teacher.  When we began our class, we were asked to fill out a questionnaire.  One of the questions was, if I remember right, to select a word that described how you wanted to feel at the end of the class, or maybe just in general, not really sure exactly how the question was worded.  But what I remember writing was “free.”  I wanted to feel a freedom that I knew had been missing from my life for quite some time.  I remember feeling a little funny about selecting that word, because I felt it could be misconstrued.  But nonetheless, it is what resonated with me, so I wrote it down.  I felt that the answer could be misunderstood as my wanting a freedom from my husband or my kids, or perhaps interpreted in regard to my mom passing, none of which was what I was yearning for.  No, the word simply meant a chance to spend my days exactly like I have been doing the last few weeks, choosing how my day will play out, gravitating toward my passions, opening new doors for new adventures, connecting with people, enjoying nature.
I opened the package from Tess with a note and a bracelet with the word I had selected.  “Free.”  I smiled to the heavens above, and sent a silent nod to Tess for being so thoughtful, and intuitive as to when that gift should arrive.  Life rarely disappoints me.
I know that this freedom will ebb and flow in my future, because that’s just life.  But for this moment in time, I will embrace this blessing with great enthusiasm and gratitude.
Endless second chances to take it once chance at a time … Kenny Loggins … the breeze has come to take me and it’s a sweet ride.  Thank you also, Kenny, for writing a song that never tires for me.  It lifts me, inspires me, and reminds me about what is important.
Namaste

A New Chapter

This life I lead never ceases to amaze me, the twists and turns along the road that in hindsight make up the story of my life.  At this stage more so than ever before, I realize the importance behind the words “the life I LEAD.”
I think it’s easy to forget that WE LEAD ourselves down the paths we travel.  The past month has taught me a great deal about my choices, my experiences, and the consequences for the choices I’ve made.  And while an argument can be made for the fact that life presents circumstances at times that we don’t choose, nor do we have any control over, what we DO choose is how we respond to these situations.
I used to joke to myself about my mom in her later years, that if there was a hard path or an easy one she could be going down, by God, she was going down the hard path, and you know what that meant … I was going right down that path by her side.  God bless my mom, there was a great deal of truth to my private joke, we usually took the E ticket ride (aging myself with the Disneyland rides in my day.)
And perhaps I’m more like my mom than I believe, as I have many times taken the path less traveled, and there have been major bumps along the road, but where we do part ways is that I’ve rarely been sorry for the choices I’ve made, mistakes or not.  And even though my mom suffered greatly with a lack of confidence in herself, somehow she managed to pass the seeds of confidence along to me, and with the help of the many angels I’ve already mentioned numerous times in my blog, I’ve come to this juncture in the road where I can see so plainly all the crossroads that lie in front of me.  I feel as though I stand on a mountain, the view behind me also clear as to how I arrived here, the choices I made that drove me here, and the fact that I have no one to blame for my life except me, and no one to thank for my life except me, my parents, God, and his many angels (not particularly in that order).  Pretty profound, right? (I don’t know about you guys, but I think I’m really starting to sound like a yogini .)
I find it interesting  when I take away anyone to blame but myself, that actually it’s very healing, and for me, that idea opens my heart to all things new.  And I hope it does the same for my mom and dad, wherever they may be.  The healing of souls, that divine connection that occurs when a child is born of two beings, that Godlike thread that weaves its way through our human hearts must exist beyond this dimension we know as Earth.  And I’m no scientist nor philosopher, but my good old Nebraska common sense passed down from my mom tells me that the sky, the oceans, the forests, streams and lakes, the flowers and trees, the faces and hearts and especially the eyes of those I love, and those of the people I’ve yet to love, could not possibly be random, so I’m left with the belief that our story does not end on this plane… not even close.
This new chapter of mine feels as if it has wings … and I may crash and burn with the best of the original aviators, Alberto Santos-Dumont or the Wright brothers … but in the meantime, it sure is exhilarating.
It’s only been a little over two weeks, and I’ve got more things to talk about than Carter has pills.  I’ve made plenty of notes, and I will be catching you up.  But to begin this new chapter, these are the thoughts that I find myself breathing in … and I invite you to share these breaths with me to see if you can’t catch a bit of what I’m feeling.  It only takes a little courage in your own ideas and wishes, that  long uneasy inhale, and then a slow exhale breathe into your dreams.
Namaste, my friends.  Missed you all, and happy to be writing again.

Belonging

Happy Friday!  I’ve got a bit of catching up to do with you guys to bring you up to speed.  I have two posts that go back to right after I finished class, and right before I got sick.  To digress …
The notion of belonging is interesting to me.  I don’t come by it naturally and I’m not sure how many people do.  I think growing up an only child of alcoholic parents might have contributed to that feeling, but maybe not.  Maybe it’s just the human condition.
Regardless, I remember so many times in my life when I felt I was an outsider or an imposter, so to speak.  I have memories as a child of going to church with my friends (neither of my parents were religious, so pretty much the only church I attended was with a friend.)  I can still see myself as a young girl kneeling in the church pew trying to join in the prayers and songs, which I  clearly did not know the words to, moving my lips pretending to know the words.  Fake it till you know it, right?  Of course, no one in that church was watching me, but I felt as though a Hollywood spotlight was directed right at me.  There’s the girl that doesn’t really belong here.
I can’t even count the number of times I have felt that way in my life, but luckily experience has taught me that belonging comes in time if you choose to make something a part of your life.  You have to work at it, and it takes effort, but if you do, there always comes the day that you realize you feel like you do belong.  I find it’s still necessary sometimes to fake it in the beginning though.
What I love is the day when the lightbulb finally goes on and you feel the connection, you’ve made it, you are right where you wanted to be, and you are no longer an imposter.  You have become a part of the work group of friends, or are finally accepted on your soccer team by a group of players who have been together for years, or you begin to feel at home after moving to a new area.
You don’t realize it as you move through the stages, for it’s a slow process.  It’s kind of like body pain, it nags at you pretty consistently until one day you realize that it’s gone, as the ailment has healed.  And it usually takes a while to even realize your pain is gone, but suddenly you take notice and embrace the blessing.
I have to say, and again, maybe it’s because I grew up an only child, but damn, I LOVE it when I finally do belong.  It’s a passage … it’s a triumph … and I cherish those moments.  And for whatever it’s worth, it means all the more to me when it has been harder than most efforts.  The harder, the better, because it means in the end I broke down the walls, I created a path, a connection with others, even when it didn’t come easy.
This yoga path was not one of my truly difficult ones, but nonetheless, when I decided to take the yoga training, I had those old familiar feelings  for sure.  I kept judging myself thinking, “you haven’t done enough yoga in your life to take a teacher training class.”  (By who’s standards, I wonder? That silly woman in my head.)
There it was again, the club I didn’t really belong to.  It’s interesting to me how many self-imposed limitations I can invent.  Thank goodness, at this stage of my life I know to disregard that negativity and take the plunge, even if it feels somewhat like an ice-cold dunk.  The amazing thing is the feeling when you get out of the ice-cold plunge, complete exhilaration.
I recently purchased yoga clothing at Lululemon.  For those of you who don’t know the brand, it’s awesome yoga clothing.  Not cheap, but worth the extra dollars as their clothing is  both comfortable and durable.  And what yoga person doesn’t covet their bags?  I’m never sure what I’m more excited about, what I bought or the bag it comes in.  The bags are covered in inspiring uplifting messages about life and yoga.  I took my lunch in one of their bags for years and would spend many a break just reading over the encouraging messages.  That was the older version of the bag.  The new bag is very sheek, black with white lettering or reversed, I luckily have one of each.
A few days ago I was waiting for someone and I started reading the bag’s wording, and about half way through I starting smiling, and of course my eyes filled with tears, because I realized that I now own this (no, not the clothing … yoga).  I will take yoga with me wherever I go for as long as I am able.  No club dues, no fakin’ it, just a love for an amazing practice.  I have made it mine.
We have no limit to our power when we learn to direct it.
Wording on the current bags …
Acceptance
Humility
Stillness
Attention
Devotion
Letting Go
Meditation
Self-Discipline
Intention
Concentration
Generosity
Self-Discovery
Purity
Nonviolence
THIS IS YOGA.  Lululemon
Breath
Trust
Compassion
Patience
Just reading the words make me breath deeper.  Yoga … this class … my life … all connected …  yoga was just waiting in the wings for me to slow enough to return.  I didn’t need this class to define myself, or believe in these principles.   As I slip into my yoga clothing these days,  it feels like an old prayer that I finally did manage so many years ago to make my own.  It’s good to belong.
Namaste

Final day … the beginning

As I sit to write about our final day, the sun is thinking about setting, there’s a cool breeze coming through my window,  I’m sippin’ on a glass of wine at my desk, and I feel so blessed to have had this experience, to have met so many amazing people, to have had a family that supports and encourages my choices, and lastly to have started this blog.  Of course, this all makes me cry as I write.  But I just have to say thank you … thank each and every one of you for tuning in.  It’s meant more than I can say, my regulars, God bless you guys, and my newbies that join me each and every day … wow, every single time I get an email saying someone new has begun following, my spirit soars.  From my heart to yours, please accept my sincerest thank you.
The last day of class, now that I’ve made you wait so long to hear it, not of my choice, was not what I would have expected.  I arrived Sunday morning emotional, at first.  As we gathered in our initial circle, I didn’t have much to say, unusual for me.  The tears were very close, and my mood was quiet.  I wondered to myself, hmmm, what’s up with you?  I never let tears get in the way of talking.  And as you might have noticed, I always have a lot to say.  But not this day.  I decided not to push it.  It was what it was, I didn’t feel like talking.  By the close of the circle, I felt I needed to at least contribute something, so I told them I felt emotional, and that was pretty much all I said, and that I would miss them.  I had written a farewell that I had already shared on our group Facebook page, so nothing I was going to say fighting back tears would equal what I had already posted.
As the day progressed, my tears subsided.  Again, I questioned myself, what the heck is up with you?  Not much to say, and now you aren’t even emotional?  We were busy, so I didn’t have much time to contemplate, but even my classmate Ally kept questioning me with her eyes … “what’s up, Sue?  Where are those tears?”  I could only shrug my shoulders.
It was a lovely last class, and as we drew to a close, we each shared our thoughts.  We gathered together arm in arm in a closing circle, so blessed, each and every one of us, for having experienced this time together.  We have to have lifted the earth’s vibration at least minutely, which for 15 people, is saying a lot.
We all decided to meet at a local brewery to celebrate the close of our class.  I was happy to get into my car by myself so that I could try to make sense of my lack of emotion.  So strange for me.  Emotional always, but GOODBYES, oh my God, that’s a tough one for me.  As I drove the ten-minute drive, I cherished the time to myself to think … where was my sadness at the ending of my class?  Even Ally noticed it?  The ten-minute drive was not enough for me to figure it out, but I still enjoyed the time to myself.
The class was over.  The hard work was coming to an end.  I had accomplished my goal, and that was incredible.   But now I could return to my life, Rick, my kids, our home, our garden, our friends,  and yes, I could now go to Carmelita’s in Roseville on Friday night with Rick for an amazing mexican dinner, and reminisce about how much I wanted to scrap the whole thing and meet Rick for dinner that first night.  What fun that will be, maybe this Friday.
As I arrived at the brewery, I really didn’t have any answers, but I felt happy and grateful.  I enjoyed our gathering, and it was nice to wind down with each other.  As I made my exit, saying goodbye to everyone, I found my answer as I said goodbye to Scott, our teacher.  As he hugged me goodbye, all he said was, “the journey continues.”
I nodded in agreement, and realized in that moment that why I hadn’t felt too  much sorrow in this day, was because I didn’t really see this as  an ending … quite the opposite, it was only the beginning.  I had only just made it off the diving board ( high dive, of course) but I was just in the pool.  This was a beginning …  and in place of sadness I felt excitement for the journey.  The horizon leveled itself, and the view was intoxicating.  There simply was no room for sorrow.
Yoga is here to stay.  And these fine souls will only be as far away as a text or a post on our Facebook page.
Will share with you my goodbye to the group ….
“My final thoughts … 💞I am writing this for you guys, not the blog. I may at some point share it with my readers, if it seems to fit, and maybe not. I never quite know till I’m writing. But as I write this, it’s for you, regardless of whether I share it going forward.
To put into words this experience is a task, so much emotion to put on the page. But if I try to tell you all how I feel on Sunday before we leave, it will only be left to my tears to convey what’s in my heart. And I do not want to rely on that.
Something no one but Scott knows (a story I shared on the boat at lunch) many years ago when I was 23 to be exact, I found myself in muddy waters. Growing up was no picnic, and I was in some pretty rough currents, if we keep to our river theme. I was having non-stop anxiety attacks and truly was a mess. I began therapy with an amazing psychologist, a young man, probably in his mid thirties at the time, a funny, charismatic man, a thinker outside of the box (very much like Scott and Tess) pushing boundaries in every direction and getting amazing results with people. A side note, because that’s all he ever let it be, he was a quadriplegic. (Really, I’m sitting here telling this quadriplegic about MY problems?) He certainly had an edge, and he knew it, and he used it brilliantly. He had a confidence about him, the devil in his eye, and most importantly, he knew how to teach people. He never let anyone dwell too much on why. For him, it was more about how … how are we going to change this? I fell in love with this man, as did most who met him, and he became a dear friend over the years. He had three therapy groups he ran each week and I joined one of them.
From day one, I absolutely loved the group. The dynamic of people coming together to move what was in their way, just as we have, was intoxicating to me. While others wanted to run, I rooted in. I was there for the long haul.
I spent the better part of three years working on my issues. Ron believed in emoting, so we all cried, raged, loved, healed in no particular order. We loved each other and in time, every person I ever saw in his group healed in some way, even those who fought it.
When I came to the point I no longer needed the group, I had no desire to leave. Seriously, where was I ever going to find this kind of connection again? I was 26 at the time. Ron had a female peer counselor in each of his groups, so I set my sights on manifesting. (Been doin’ it for years) I approached him and asked him if he ever had an opening for a peer counselor if he would consider me. Angels????? It just so happened that one of his counselors leaving. Coincidence? Not likely.
I was 26, and his only concern was I looked so young, and would be counseling people sometimes in their sixties and seventies. It reminds me of us yogi beginners, we will seem a bit naïve and I’m sure a little green to our students at first. But I was confident. I told him I would handle it, I would earn it.
It took about a year (so be patient with yourselves at first if you do decide to teach) but after that time I was in my stride and I spent the next ten years in this amazing role, helping others to heal, healing myself still because you will never give to another and not receive something back. It was one of the most enjoyable roles I’ve ever had in my life, short of being a mom and a mate/best friend.
And yes, guys, I cried all the way through it. At first, I tried not to, but that was an impossible task. It was like asking me not to breathe. I eventually gave into it, and just cried all the way through the sad stories. But when it came time to work on the remedies, my tears dried. I always found my strength, my core. And in the end, what my groupies loved was that I did cry. Imagine if I had managed to change that for fear of what others might think? Authenticity? Sound familiar to what we are learning?
I spent over ten years in this amazing experience, but sadly my beloved friend and mentor passed from cancer. His death felt somewhat like a hurricane in our group community. This incredible spirit was gone. His body was tired, and he’d given it his all. It wasn’t only a loss because my dear friend had passed, but the void left behind from the end of our group hit me hard. I can so clearly remember having to take deep breaths at the thought that I would no longer have this phenomenal community around me, this ability to connect with souls, truly connect with souls. I told myself I would find a replacement.
But, where do you go to find a group of people willing to bare their souls to you, to share their HEART with you? I saw no path, and luckily for me, my children were young, and I could pour myself into their sweet young hearts.
I continued to tell myself that I would one day find something that would replace this experience. I didn’t. My heart took years to heal, truly. But little by little I began to forget, and the ache lifted. My kids filled the void, as only children can.
And here we are, all these years later, at yoga teacher training. I pursued this training with different ideas, but once I read the website about last year’s TTI, I knew in my heart, I had found my way back. I knew exactly where we would be going, and I couldn’t’ wait.
And this class has not disappointed in any way, shape or form. It feels good to be back with that grit, for lack of a better word, true, raw, wonderful emotion. It’s in these waters that we learn how to really trust human nature. And I know my friend, Ron, is cheering me on.
It’s been a long hiatus, but this time, Ron has sent a few replacements … I can’t outlive all of you, although my mom did live to 99.
This experience with you has for the first time in twenty some odd years measured up. It has filled a very old void and I thank each and every one of you for that. A lesson to never give up …
What I want to say to each of you about OUR experience is … thank you. Thank you for sharing yourselves with me, such a blessing, every single one of you … amazing souls. I love you all. Never ever forget how precious you are. ”
 
Lynn, dear friend, I know you are reading.  We were … beyond blessed.  It’s nice to be able to send a nod off in Ron’s direction.
Continuing down the path, next post.
Namaste