Posted in Photo-A-Day

Space Chair

I am playing catch-up with Photo-A-Day. I have missed: Chair,  Garden, and today’s prompt, Lunch.

Chair is an easy one for me because I have a Space Chair. I call it that after Eckart Tolle’s idea of “space consciousness” which, if I understand it, means the act of becoming aware of what you are doing while you are doing it, or in other words, “becoming the witness.”

So, for example it would not be: “I am aware that I am typing on a keyboard.” No. That would be object consciousness.”

Space consciousness is more like: “I am aware that I am aware that I am typing on a keyboard.”

So what does all this have to do with “Chair?”

I don’t know, all I know is that when I sit in this chair, I start ruminating, or reading about things like that.

Space Chair

This is my Space Chair. It’s in my bedroom, which means that it’s not in a public room in the house, so when I sit in it and read, and think, and write, and meditate, nobody else is in the room with me.

I don’t have any electronics in my bedroom (except for my Zen alarm clock) so any electronic-y thing I bring in there is a deliberate choice. And I do bring electronics in there, namely my laptop.

I write my 750 words there on most days. I read there. A few years ago I sat and did Holosync there every day for over 450 days.

I scribble in countless journals while sitting in that chair.

Journals

The chair itself is one of those Poang chairs from Ikea. My first Space Chair was a Papasan chair, but I upgraded. This Poang is very comfy and conducive to relaxation, especially with the ottoman.

The picture above is what it looks like now, in July, but in the winter I drape a Woolrich blanket over it which makes it much more cozy to snuggle in. (The dog sleeps there in the winter. Dogs know the coziest places to sleep.)

Winterized Space Chair

Virginia Woolf said that every woman needed a room of her own. I totally agree. But I think that every woman also needs a Space Chair in that Room of Her Own. Every person (not just women) need a place to go where they can shut the door and be alone. Everyone needs a room with a door that closes where it is possible to sit and be transported out of object consciousness  and into that special kind of awareness where awareness itself becomes the main event.

Posted in Photo-A-Day

On The Floor

When I first learned how to meditate, I was told to do it with my eyes open. The danger of falling  asleep or daydreaming was too great if you closed your eyes, they said.

And they were right. But an “eyes open” practice has its own pitfalls– namely, the stuff on the floor.

When you spend a week doing nothing but staring at the floor for 9 hours every day, the mind goes a teensy bit nutty. You start seeing things. In the wood, I mean. Real stuff. Drama. With people and animals. There were sharks, and witches with long noses, and a Schnauzer on the floor in front of my favorite cushion.

If that one was taken and I had to move to another one, there was one with an ocean liner with Captain Cook brandishing a sword. I spent days inventing lives and stories about the figures in the knots in the wood to just to keep myself from keeling over.

I even prayed for flies to land just to bring a little bit of real-life action into the scene in the maple floor. And holy shit, if an ant came? WIN!!  But then I would feel totally abandoned if my ant moved to the meditator next to me. “Hey! Come back here you little sonofabitch!! You’re MY ant!”

Yeeeaaahhh…  Retreats are soooo spiritual.

In my current situation as “yoga teacher” I never sit anywhere else in the room but in the front of the class. When my students are in savasana, I meditate, with my meditation otter.

Do you see him?

my meditation otter

I get on his back and he takes me deep under.

Cute, isn’t he?

Posted in Photo-A-Day, Things I Like

The Difference between Fun and Pleasure

Today’s Photo-A-Day theme is: FUN. And so far this has been the hardest theme, philosophically, for me to wrap my brain around.  I have been trying to figure out the difference between things that are “fun” and things that are just “enjoyable” or “pleasurable.”

Laying around all afternoon reading and making notes in the margins of books is one of my most delicious of pleasures, but I wouldn’t call it “fun.”

When I think of all the things I like to do, (writing and yoga come to mind), I don’t think of these things as “fun” particularly.

They are richly satisfying, enjoyable and engrossing, but there is often a lot of resistance going in. They require discipline. I find the process of trying to articulate an idea really pleasurable, even though it is hard. (And I love having written most of all.) And when I go into my yoga room, I get totally and completely absorbed. But it’s often physically painful and mentally frustrating. (I have been known to cry and howl like an animal on my mat.)  But I never fail to exit my yoga room in total bliss. Practicing yoga daily is  pleasurable, but I would never call it “Fun.”  But last summer I tried Aerial yoga for the first time,–now that was fun! 

Doing unusual yoga is fun

So I think the way I would distinguish fun from pleasure is that fun is novel. Fun takes you out of your routine.

Today I went for a bike ride. It was really fun. But if I was training for a Triathalon and had to get in shape and ride a certain amount of miles per day on my bike to do so, my training might be pleasureable, but it probably wouldn’t be “fun.”

Last summer we went to Colorado and climbed some high mountains. The hikes were rigorous at times, but it was really, really fun.

Climbing high mountains is fun

But If I had to climb high mountains every day in order to get water, for example, mountain climbing would lose its allure.

This summer we did some wine tasting in the Wilamette Valley. I left the winery thinking: “I love wine tasting! Why don’t I do this more often? This is fun!”

Wine tasting is fun

But if I were a vintner and my business involved tasting wine all the time, not so much fun, methinks.

So it’s novelty and the breaking of routine that makes an activity “fun” for me. That’s why it’s so important for me to remind myself to, “Shake it up, Kath! Get out of your rut. Lose the routine. Be spontaneous!”

It’s hard to have fun sometimes.

Posted in Happiness, Photo-A-Day, yoga

The Best Part of My Day

I actually put my Ipad in my bag this morning on my way to yoga thinking that I needed to keep it with me today to capture “the best part of my day” which is the Photo-A-Day theme for this glorious Tuesday.

Am I high?

Seriously? Sometimes I crack myself up. Really?? I really didn’t already know what the best part of my day would be?

I’m stoned.

The best part of every day is morning yoga. Period. There’s no wondering. And even if morning yoga sucked (which it doesn’t, and never has, and never will) but just say it did, for argument’s sake, it would be that rare and luminous kind of suck that would just make you smile and  go, “God, it feels good to be alive!”

It would be the kind of suck that you wish would occur every morning, just so that everything else in your path that day would glow all pink and soft focus-y in comparison to the sucky morning yoga.

But enough of that. Here’s what really happened. A lot of my favorite people came. Then some new people came. Then some people who I only see in the summer when they come to town to visit relatives, came. So there was much happy reunioning time.

And my favorite people are so welcoming to my new people, and to the reunion people, that it totally makes my heart warm and mushy and I want to sing like a rose-breasted grosbeak from the tippy top of a locust tree.

And when they all left and I was alone with the sun and the plant I thought, “Shit! I should have had someone take a picture of that class, because THAT was the best part of my day. Dammit.”

So I brought out the Ipad and trained it on myself and smiled like the goon that I am and this is what the best part of my day looks like when it’s over and I’m in the afterglow.

After Morning Yoga
A little blurry, but good

 

Posted in inspiring ideas, Photo-A-Day

Busy

There’s been this article circulating around on Twitter and Facebook the last few days called “The “Busy” Trap.”

Terrific piece. The author says that everyone is busy, even kids. But “busy” isn’t something that happens to us, “busy” is a choice.

And what is even more pernicious, this “busy-ness” business is a dodge. “Busy” is something you call your life to pretend that it is “meaningful.”

The author says that he is ambitious, but not busy. He is ambitious and lazy. He works (he’s a writer) in the morning and then goes for a bike ride or runs errands in the afternoon. He likes this pace. But recently something changed at work and suddenly he was sucked into the “busy” maelstrom.

But he hated it! So he fled. To an “undisclosed location” where he could carry on being “defiantly indolent.” (Love that! What a rebel!) And while he was being defiantly indolent he noticed stuff like buttercups. And he read. And he wrote.

He went on to claim in this great article (that you really need to read for yourself), that “idleness” is indispensable to the brain. He claims we need quiet and space to be creative. He says idleness is a basic human right and we should claim it because life is too short to be busy.

So now I am all inspired to be defiantly indolent and thereby feed my creativity. (And what better season, no?) Plus, I’ve been feeling in a total creative drought lately, so maybe I really need to make more dates with my hammock.

Life is too short not to.

Busy
Posted in Photo-A-Day

July 1st

How predictable am I? First day of a new month, filled with all kinds of resolves to do all manner of extraordinary things, but hey, YOU. NEVER. KNOW.

I totally bonked on the Photo-a-day thing last month, so let’s give this another go. Today’s theme: Self-Portrait.

Kill me now.

Oh, how I hate taking pics of myself. Hate it. So let’s change the subject.

Today I spent the whole day screwing around with Mailchimp trying to learn how to send fancy emails to my yoga students. I like learning new things, but the time it takes, well, it’s my LIFE, and I am always questioning: Is this the best use of my time, my one wild and precious life???

Will this make my life easier? Will it make it more fun? Will it make it more interesting and groovey? Because these are the acid test questions. I dunno, but I spent the day doing it, and I sent out my first “campaign” which is what Mailchimp calls email. I feel like General Patton. Or Rommel. But I did it, and it worked, and I still have a lot to learn. Baby steps.

I made curried chicken salad for dinner. I took a shower. I am drinking water. My life is freaking AMAZING.

But today I was doodling around on 750 words, trying to figure out a formula that I could use to do this blog every day. Something like a template where I would just plug info in at the right spots, sort of like MadLibs, and at the end get a whacky story of my day.

And maybe I will make up a MadLibs blog post app, but the other idea I hit on was to think of this as a newspaper, with sections. There would be the Top Story section, and a Living section which could be house and home projects which are always ongoing. Then I could have a Sports page devoted to news about my personal yoga practice; a Business page about how the studio is doing, and a Weather page which would include the meterological situation, but also my psychological weather report. Then lastly, if I’m feeling musey and philosophical I could write an Op-Ed piece.

Wonder if that would work? No harm trying, right?

So just now when I turned on the camera thingy on my Ipad and told myself to just suck it up and take something I had a moment of complete despair. Really? Is this what time has wrought? And if so, fine. Just don’t make me look at it.

So I went back into my picture archives and found this. I took it one day when I was playing around with the camera feature on the Ipad. I made myself black and white. I seem to look better that way.

Self-Portrait