Snow Blower Woman

Today I ran the snow blower for the first time.  It was the first time we needed the snow blower (thank goodness) AND it was the first time I ever experienced the thrill of plowing through deep snow and launching it into outer space.  Well, not outer space, but out of the space that it was in, into another space where its existence was more convenient.

I loved it!  It was fun, as the pic below will illustrate.  I especially loved that I was operating heavy machinery and it was totally do-able and I felt competent at it.

Little backstory about me and heavy machinery.

For years, decades even, we rented houses.  Houses with lawns. Some of these lawns were vast.  We’re talking acres.  Some of these “lawns” were slopey. Steeply slopey.  And all of these lawn/slopes needed to be mowed thousands of times every summer.

Every rental house had a beast of a mower.  Mowers that took hundreds of yanks on the cord to start. Mowers that would stall and sputter and die.  And in all of these rentals I was the designated mower.  I yanked. I changed spark plugs. I filled and re-filled gas tanks. I almost lost limbs going up and down slopes that would rival what we’ve been seeing this week in Vancouver.

I was in charge of the mowing. Because mowing was hard and I am good at hard.

Then we bought a house, and the man bought a fancy John Deere riding mower for himself and declared himself “King of the Lawn.”

I was told I was not allowed to touch the mower.  He hid the keys even.  So after all those years of mowing by hand all those bitch lawns, I wasn’t “allowed” to ride the John Deere.  That was the “man’s machine.”

Needless to say, no man tells me what I am “allowed” to do anymore.  I do what I please.  And today it pleased me to start up a snow blower and clear the driveway.

Fun!

Bring It!

Cat and Taxes

I’ve been putting it off.  I always put it off.  Is it hard?  Not really.  Is it interesting? Not at all.

I don’t even DO them, per se.  I have an accountant who is a whiz and finds me all kinds of deductions, plus he’s a character and I like him.  But what I do have to do is get ready for him.  I have to get all my receipts and other little pieces of paper that I throw into a box that says “Begin Anywhere” on the front of it and organize them.

There was a time not long ago when I really got into GTD.  For a day.  (GTD stands for “Getting Things Done” and it’s a great system, but I can’t do it.  I did buy a labeler though, just to show you how serious I was.  I do like the labeler, but I don’t use it. Or I did use it in one mad flurry of labeling and then got bored.

So it snowed today. Everything was closed, even the University.  I canceled my Yoga for Moods class and just hung out, reading, doinking around online, doing dishes, and then I finally decided to Get Things Done!

I hauled out my Begin Anywhere box, put This American Life on the speakers in the bedroom (which annoyed the hell out of the cat) and began s-p-r-e-a-d-i-n-g  0-u-t.  The cat (who cannot get by on less than 23 hours sleep a day) began to get alarmed.

Here’s how it rolled:

It begins
You're starting to get on my nerves
WTF
I hate taxes!

“Yoga Could Save Me, If I’d Let It.”

I’ve been writing for a long time: diaries when I was a girl, journals when I was in college and beyond, and now still the journals and this blog.  Today I went back to my first blog, one I made for a college class assignment.  I wrote all the code, inserted graphics and pictures and got a “A.”

One of my first entries on this virgin blog was entitled “Yoga Could Save Me, If I’d Let It.”

It was all about how I had just gone through 3 weeks of hell teaching HS English and had to bail on my weekly yoga class due to after-school commitments.  I was tooling along really well, though, getting my lessons planned and taught, dealing with parents, going to IEP meetings, dodging air-born shrimp poppers during cafeteria duty, waving at school buses from the curb outside the school during “bus duty.” Everything was fine ‘n dandy, but I wasn’t making it to yoga.  Just. Too. Busy.

And then a little window of time opened up and I was able to make it back to my weekly class in Elmira.  It was the week before Christmas too, and I marveled at the fact that somehow, in that most frantic week of the year, I was able to  find my way back.

It was a crazy-scary backbend class.  Wheel and Camel were the featured postures.  I felt slightly dizzy and nauseous the whole time.  I couldn’t find my body, which sounds bizarre, I know, but if you’ve ever practiced for any time at all, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Yoga makes you so aware. You become aware not just of bones and muscles and tendons, but of cells!  Really. I kid you not.  It’s the most amazing thing.  There’s this intimacy that starts to build, this knowing.  It’s like a deep friendship, or like a love-relationship you start to have with your body.  Over time, it gets really intense.

So when all this stops suddenly because you get busy, it feels so abrupt, so uncalled for.  It’s as if the body cries out, “What did I do wrong??”

And you just choose to ignore it.

I drove to Elmira that night and did that crazy backbend practice then fell into a sweaty heap for savasana.  The teacher played an instrumental version of  “Silent Night,” and for the full ten minutes of savasana I wept.  Hot, hot tears streamed from the corners of my eyes down into my ears into my hair.

In those teary moments I flashed on fragments of difficult parent/teacher conversations from the recent weeks. I saw pinched little faces peering out from behind grimey school bus windows. I saw myself, head in hand, red-penning my way through mountainous stacks of  incomprehensible student essays, wailing in frustration.

And then I backed up and saw myself, lying on the floor, in that dark yoga room, listening to Silent Night.

I felt my body “come to” like an unconscious person does from a coma.  For the first time in weeks. I knew myself again.  I was back, rejoined. My body unclenched, let out a sigh, and returned to me.

And I cried, as I always do whenever I read, or watch a movie about a reconciliation after a long estrangement.

“Yoga could save you, if you’d let it, Kath.”  That’s what I heard in my head  that night.  “All you have to do is let it.”

Tonight one of my students came back to class after having been away for a few weeks.  Afterward, she said something to the effect of, “How did I ever manage to stay away for so long??”

All I could say was, “I know.”

Because I did.

The 1st Anniversary of This Blog

This is my 167th post on this blog.

I mention this only because I just passed my 1st  anniversary here.

I had a slow start, for sure.  I knew I wanted to do something with this blog that would express my particular take on the world, as well as track my daily search for inspiration. (And believe me, it’s quite the challenge finding things to get stoked about around here some days.)

I didn’t want this to be a “diary.”  I also didn’t want it to be “What I did today, or what I had for lunch.” I had done that already on Live Journal and in a little website I had years ago, and was tired of it.

I totally underestimated how hard it would be to come up with any kind of content daily, never mind interesting content.  All the big bloggers emphasize how important it is to come up with useful and interesting content consistently. And I bow at their feet for being able to do it.  I appreciate them.  I understand now what amazing feats they pull off each day. I am inspired by all the blogs I read.  I only wish more people  I actually know in real life blogged.  (I would absolutely love that.)

Blogging, I think, is little like practicing yoga. When you first start practicing yoga, you don’t quite “get it,” you feel awkward, disconnected from your body, stiff.  All your teachers say, “You’ve got to practice! You’ve got to stay with it!  If you want to “get it” you have to do it every day. For years.

My favorite Yoga Sutra is this one:

“That practice is firmly grounded which is practiced incessantly, with reverence, for a long time.”

I started this blog last February, but it wasn’t until mid-August that I decided that the only way to get better at it was to do it “incessantly, with reverence, for a long time.”

My focus became more on posting no matter what, and less about fretting over posting wowza content.  I decided that until blog post #300 I was an apprentice. Until I had blogged consistently for a year, I could only call myself, “A person who writes a blog.”  After the 300th post though, I would earn the moniker: “Blogger.”

So I take my computer on vacation, and even to yoga teacher trainings so I can post. I write when I really don’t have a single thing in my brain. I write at the end of the day when I am bone weary and completely spent from my day, and teaching my classes.

My philosophy is: It doesn’t really matter WHAT I write. It matters only THAT I write.

At least that’s where I’m at now.  As I learn more about this, and myself, I’ll be able to find my identity here, and recognize my little piece of turf, and hopefully turn out amazing content.

So thanks for reading my experiment in persistence.  Someday, hopefully, you’ll be able to say, “I used to read her back when she really stunk!”

Today’s Power Questions

What am I happy about? All my new  yoga classes and my yoga tribe!  I love my yoga peeps!

Excited about? A hiking vacation in Yosemite planned for this June!

Proud of? I completed 21 days of the Clean program.  Woot!

Grateful for? Oh, so many things!  I am grateful to be able to afford good, clean food. I am grateful for my warm home and for its total lack of conflict and its consistent good cheer–always. I am grateful for the turn of the seasons and the noticeable return of the light.  I am grateful for my sweet friends and my lovely family.  Amen.

What am I enjoying most right now? The way my new way of eating is making me look and feel. I am still drinking green juice in the morning, eating a very light dinner and having my main meal at mid-day.  I have brought back a glass of wine on Friday and Saturday, and 1 cup of coffee in the morning. Oh, and a square of exquisite chocolate sometimes. :>

What am I committed to now? I am still committed to Holosync everyday (today is day 427 without a miss).  I am also committed to posting here 5 days a week (this is week 27).  And there will be a book by the end of this year!

Tiger Woods

I made it a point to turn on the TV this morning and watch Tiger Woods’ first statement since his, (ahem) indiscretions.

I expected him to admit he had made mistakes.

I expected him to say he was sorry for hurting his wife, disappointing all the kids who looked up to him, and making a mess for his sponsors.

I also expected him to say things about his being “just a human being who makes mistakes.”

But he didn’t say that last thing. He didn’t let himself off the hook in any way.  He didn’t exhibit one iota of  arrogance and I was waiting for it, I was.  He did get fired up about false accusations that his wife, Elin, had tried to hit him with a nine iron.  He got really hot about the paparazzi who have been stalking his children.  He said, in effect, “They don’t deserve to suffer.  I deserve to suffer. It was my fault, so please don’t make them suffer anymore.  Leave them alone.”

He just laid it all out there.  He echoed back to everyone their disappointment in him and said they were right to feel the way they did.  He screwed up.  Royally.  He knows it. He understands how outraged and disappointed and disgusted everyone is with him because he feels those same emotions towards himself.

But you know what?  Tiger is going to turn it around.  If I could buy Tiger Woods stock now, I would.  His stock is cheap now, so I can afford it.  If I were an investor, I would “buy low” now, and then retire in 10 years, rich, because this man is going to be magnificent.

That’s what I predict.  This could be the best thing that ever happened to him because he has has now seen the belly of the beast.  He is the Homeric hero; he has experienced  the the results of hubris, and he is going to come back stronger and deeper than ever.

He is going back to his Buddhism, he says.  He is going back to integrity, spirituality, and core values.  When he next steps up to the tee, he will be a completely different Tigers Woods.  He will be focused, centered, humble, and at peace.

Tiger Woods is going to be magic.  No one is going to be able to touch him.  He is going to be magnificent, whereas before this he was just incredible.

He didn’t ask that we find it in our hearts to forgive him.  He asked if we could find it in our hearts to believe in him again.

I, for one, already do.

The Girl In The Picture

A friend of mine who has known me for a LONG time sent me some pictures he found in an old box.  Pictures of me.  Pictures of me taken over 30 years ago, when I was 25.  I am still reeling from the shock of them.

I hardly recognized myself.  I kept staring at these pictures wondering, “Who IS that??”  I recognized her, but I didn’t recognize her as ME. I couldn’t remember being her.  I couldn’t remember what that girl sounded like when she spoke, or what she thought about, or what she did with her days.

She had long brown hair and a slim figure and a line-less face and there were no bags under her eyes and she could see without glasses or contacts.

It made me realize how close to the end of my life I am.

32 years ago I had no idea how my life was going to play out. I could never have fathomed a future in which I could be standing at a desk, in my yoga studio, looking at pictures of myself unable to recognize myself.

I keep looking at these pictures and asking, dumbfounded, “Who IS that girl?”

One thing for sure: It both is, and isn’t “me.”

So the question becomes: Who am I? Am I that girl in the picture? Or am I this woman sitting here writing on this gray February morning?  And how did that girl in the picture turn into this person I am now?  And how come I want to cry when I look at that picture?

That girl is not who I am now. Time has radically changed me. Not only my looks, but everything. I want to say, caterpillar into butterfly, but in terms of beauty, it’s more like butterfly into caterpillar.

But my biggest reaction was: Holy shit! Time is running out! I’m getting old!  What have I done with my life??!!  It’s almost over.  In 32 years from now, if I last that long, I’ll be 89.  Will I be ready to die? Is anyone ever ready to die?

Will I, in 32 years, at the end of my life, be thinking: Good job, Kath. You got a bit of a late start, but you certainly made up for it! Bravo! Life well lived!

That is what I hope to be able to say: Life Well-Lived.

So if that’s the goal, how do I get there? How do I live my life from here on out so that I can be able to say that at the end? How do I live a “well-lived life?”

Some possibilities:

1. Help. Be of service. Ease the path for others.

2.  Create beauty and joy in my wake, everywhere I go.

3.  Give freely of my gifts (and know what they are!)

4.  Leave a legacy of happiness.

5.  Make every day count. Make a daily contribution.

6.  Express gratitude.

7.  Be kind and unfailingly friendly.

If I did those 7 things every day, for the rest of my life, would that constitute a life well-lived? Would that earn me a small “Bravo!”?

I know I am a small rock, but even small rocks can create strong ripples in a pond if thrown with enthusiasm and a certain amount of force.

This thought gives me hope.

And it takes away some of the fear.