From Palm Trees to Pine Trees

Now I am a serious blogger. I know this because I am posting from Gate D2 at the Charlotte Airport (CLT). I am feeling all bloggerly as I sit cheek by jowl with a whole buncha other people waiting for the (delayed) flight to Philly. 

Left Florida this morning. I liked a lot of what we did there but ultimately I am not a “Florida person.” Too little diversity, too litttle energy, too little friendliness. Florida needs something. It needs a soul, or something. It seems tired. It looks pretty, though. The weather tropical and Hemingway-esque, but the people are wrong. 

And at least 80% of a place is the people.

By 10 PM we will be back in Tioga County. Another place where the people are wrong. (Where are the people right? I don’t know. Possibly nowhere. ) As we flew over Charlotte I saw pine trees. Pine trees are good.

I finished the novel, Euphoria last night. It was okay. I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. It bothered my sleep, so that’s something, right? The story infiltrated my subconscious. I wish I was a storyteller. 

On the plane here to CLT G was crying over her book. I am trying to think of the last novel I read that had me in tears, and I can’t.

Gotta board.

  

Taking Inventory

I just watched Lavendaire. She’s really cute. She’s living a life I think a lot of people of her generation dream of: YouTube star. She dispenses wisdom, and makes that wisdom look trendy and cool. Her wisdom is legit, though. This is not a diss. 

Today she was talking about 5 habits that you must cultivate if you want to be happy. 

1. Don’t blame other people for your problems.

2. Read.

3. Daily Gratitude.

4. Meditate.

5. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

It made me pause and take inventory.

1. I don’t blame anyone for my problems. At least not anymore. I used to when I was younger, but I don’t anymore. Forgiveness has a much higher ROI.

2. Reading. Reading has taken a hit lately because I’m resisting picking up anything new because I think I should be reading The Bros K, so I wind up reading nothing. That has to stop. Emily recommended Where the Crawdads Sing. I usually don’t like any kind of story where crawdads are involved, but I’ve been hearing chatter about this one. The nature writing is supposed to be gorgeous. And it’s set in North Carolina and I have family there, so I think I’ll pick that up today and give up, formally, on The Bros K

3. Gratitude. I’ve gotten out of the habit of sending notes. I want to start that up again. In today’s mail there was a clipping and a postcard from Zee. I feel so loved by and connected to her because of this lovely habit she has of mailing things. 

And I cannot lie: I also love how weirdly anachronistic a letter looks sitting amidst all the bills on the dining room table. Almost as out of place as a Starbucks cup in a Game of Thrones scene.

4. Meditate. I’ve been skipping a lot of days lately and I can’t figure out why. I absolutely love the Waking Up Course with Sam Harris. Why am I not fitting it in? It’s only 10 minutes. 

Begin again, Kath. Today.

5. Don’t take self seriously. I need to remember this as I embark on this video adventure. I need to mess around and have fun and accept that my first video will suck, but my 50th one will be a lot better.

In other news:

Today is Day 48 of The Ultimate Yogi. I’m going strong. Feeling strong. I don’t know if this hour-a-day+ thing is sustainable forever, but it does lay a solid habit foundation.  My feeling is that a 20 minutes-a-day practice, done consistently, with maybe one longer practice thrown in every week for kicks, is a more do-able-for-life thing.

Spring has sprung. Tulips are ruling everyone’s garden at the moment. Stellabella was deeply involved in them at MU the other day. But I can’t tell if it was the tulips, or the fresh mulch she loved more. Happy Spring!

Happy 14th Anniversary Main Street Yoga!

MSY logo plain 1

This Thursday, March 1st,  is the studio’s 14th anniversary.

I remember buying the mats and the blankets. Ordering and putting together office furniture, designing a logo and ordering a sign, setting up a bank account as a DBA (Doing Business As).

It was this new, exciting venture, full of risk, full of hope. We were giddy with fear.

In terms of the money, it was a business, but it felt more like a daring adventure. We had a, “Let’s run it up the flagpole and see who salutes” attitude about it.

We had our doubters, too. Especially among our families. There were a lot of good-natured pats on the back, a lot of “good for yous,” a lot of smiles of forced optimism.

Because we were total newbies at this. What did we know?

For my part, all I knew was that I had returned from yoga school on fire. I had found it. My it. My reason for being. My why. My thing. Finally. At 50.

Late bloomer? Yes. But not dead yet. And then this amazing space had appeared, poof! Like that, out of nowhere.

And just like that. We were in business.

I was the teacher. G did the business.

I offered early morning class, noontime yoga, after school yoga, 5 o’clock yoga and 7 o’clock yoga. Five classes a  day. Six days a week.

Nobody ever came. To any of them. Most of the time.

On the days when nobody came, yet again, I’d sit on the big windowsill and watch cars at the red light. Sometimes people would walk by on the street.

Somedays my traffic meditation would be disturbed by the photographer next door making noise with squeaky toys to get little kids to smile for their picture.

One day I watched a man eat a whole Big Mac in 5 bites in the time it took for the light to change.

One day when nobody came I considered going down, unfurling my mat on the sidewalk and doing postures there, to attract attention, and hopefully, interest.  I thought better of that, though. People around here were leery enough of yoga as it was. I didn’t need to go down and validate anything eastern and crazy and contortionist.

Once, the ladies from the public library asked me to come and give a talk about yoga. But please, they asked, could you not say the word yoga?

(I agreed. I even pulled it off. To this day, I don’t know how I did it, but it was my most masterful feat of legerdemain, ever.)

I knew the reason people weren’t coming to yoga was because they had the wrong idea about yoga. I knew their ideas about it were both wrong and nuts. It was going to be up to me to de-nuttify yoga for the people of Mansfield. It was going to be my unstated mission.

I wanted them to understand, most of all, that it wasn’t a challenge to their  religious beliefs.

That was the main sticking point for most people.  At least at the beginning.

They were Baptist or Presbyterian or Methodist. They weren’t into Hindu voodoo patchouli Hare Krishnas chanting om. No. We’ll have none of that.

But, they had also heard that doing yoga  could make them less creaky. And even less cranky. Was it true?

Two people came. Then four. Then a little group of eight started coming consistently and regularly on Wednesdays at 11. They formed themselves into a group. They came to know each other, though they would only see each other at yoga. They came to like each other, and ask about each others lives. They were all retired. That’s why they could come at 11. They’d go to yoga then to lunch.

And then other little groups began to form, and I would ask them questions about their lives and how they felt, and then I’d go and developed classes with them in mind.

And that’s how it came to be that I am still doing this 14 years later. The groups are larger now. Nobody’s worried about yoga clashing with their religion. They kinda laugh at such an idea.

We laugh a lot in yoga theses days.

Yoga has become different over the years, because they’ve become different and I’ve become different. Yoga has to keep changing and accommodating itself to the changing, morphing lives of the people who practice it.

As for me, I don’t sit alone in the window too much anymore. But sometimes before or after class, I’ll sit there and stare out for awhile. Nothing’s changed very much.  People still eat fast at the light, drink, smoke, blare their music on sunny, warm days.

I have a chalkboard on the sidewalk, now, in the spot 14 years ago I thought about spreading out my mat. It advertises Main St. Yoga. I hope people parked or walking by will be intrigued enough to walk up the stairs.

Yoga brings people together. It gets, and keeps us breathing. And laughing.

Happy Anniversary, Main Street Yoga. Long may your freak flag fly!

The 150th Post

We are in Rochester for the weekend. G wanted to check out a catcher, and I tagged along.

I really had no idea what recruiting involved, but now I do, and it’s pretty deadly. And boring. And today, hot and humid. We watched half a game and G said we could go. She had seen what she came to see.

Now we are resting at the Double Tree before dinner. After dinner we are going to the movies to see Trainwreck with Amy Shumer.

Jennifer said I should celebrate and this seems fitting.

Now I have to shower, meditate and figure out what kind of food I want to eat. There are so many choices here! I think some quality tequila may be going down, too.

Yeah. It feels like a Patron kind of day. image

Be back Monday.

 

#brynneandjesse

Dear Brynne and Jesse,

G and I wish for you what we have:

Someone who sees us as we wish to be seen  and not necessarily who we are…yet.

Someone who sees our best self, the self we are cultivating, the self we are striving to be.

Someone who forgives our shortcomings knowing that we all mess up, fail, and are stupid. But even when we fall short of our own, and the world’s expectations of us, they still love us.

This evening I watched my beautiful friend Brynne marry her soulmate. I wept as she walked down the aisle in her backyard, on the arm of her father, in a dress her mother stitched with love.

I remembered her as a little 7th grader in my English class that I wished I could spirit out of there and say, “Look. This is a complete mess and you don’t belong here. I wish there was some way we could just get out of here, go somewhere and talk about books. I could teach you a lot if I didn’t have to put up with this ridiculous school.”

I remembered her coming to my early morning yoga classes before the school day. Her father dropping her off.

I remember her teaching the most amazing yoga class in my studio. Brilliant,  inspired yoga.

And now, she is partnered. And I love her partner. He is worthy of her, and she of him. Today they vowed to live respectful of each other’s differences and to live a life of excitement and adventure.

I danced to “Uptown Funk” with her and her friends. I hugged her mother.

I feel so good tonight. This is a happy day. I can’t wait to see what this partnership grows into.

Namaste, darling Brynne.  I love you. I respect you. I honor your path.

IMG_5114.JPG

Date Night: The New Wednesday Ritual

We’ve decided that since I don’t teach on Wednesdays in the summer, that Wednesday will be “date night.”

G recruits every weekend, so Saturdays and Sundays will find her in a sack chair with a clipboard watching terrible high school softball, while I sit home and binge watch Property Brothers.

So we’ve decided that every Wednesday we will take turns planning “Date Night.”

Today was the first one. Her date to plan.

The morning started off with us training together with Vince. Then we stopped at Night and Day for a coffee, and then it was home to our separate work.

I holed up for 3 hours with the book. She mowed and did other housework.

At 3 we took off for Corning. First stop: Driving Range.

I have not swung a golf club in YEARS. How many years? 6? 7? 8?

So we took drivers and split a bucket of balls. Her drives were things of beauty: straight and high and long. (She is a really good golfer.)

My first few drives almost beaned the cars parked in the lot behind me. But then I settled in and a few went straight. Not far, but the balls started to have a nice arc.

My form isn’t bad:

IMG_5077Head down, arm straight. Could use some more turn on the backswing.

Then, after we warmed up on the range, it was on to the main event: The blood sport of Mini Golf.

The greens were lightning fast on some holes, and super slow on others. A bunch of boys and their babysitter let us play through, but not before telling us that if we got a hole in one on the last hole, we got a free ice cream.

I told them we were playing for beer. The babysitter gave me a look.

It was neck and neck for awhile, but in the end, she won. I took it very seriously, though.

IMG_5079After golf, it was off to dinner. Tried a place we’ve never tried before in Corning called Hand and Foot (which I always want to call Hoof and Mouth, but that is a disease, right?)

It was fine. Nice ambiance, weird, but not bad little menu. They need to invest in proper stemware, though.  G’s IPA came in this:

IMG_1842Now the pressure is on for me to beat this next Wednesday.

Any ideas would be welcome.

Tending Things

We tend gardens. And children. And some of us tend to the sick.

Today I tended to my bills, my accounts, my business. I watered the plants, switched the pictures around on the walls, dusted the sills, folded all the blankets and lined them up neatly on the rack.

I tended my meditation practice, and my yoga practice.

I tended my students, and then, afterwards, my friendships.

To tend things is to watch over them, to protect them (when possible), to keep them from harm.

To tend is to pay attention, to mind, to watch.

To tend is to be human, and kind, and appreciative.

Today I tended things.