I Don’t Know, But I’m Open To It

I don’t know, but I’m open to it…
In the bathroom of one of the yoga studios at which I teach, is a chalkboard where anyone can scribble something – hopefully after they have washed their hands.
A few weeks back, someone had cleaned off the board – wiped away all the usual platitudes that end up written there, like “I love yoga!” and “Namaste!” and “om mani padme hum.” This time, after the board was cleaned, someone had written a prompt of sorts: “What would love do now?”
I wrote down my answer early on, and then each time I went back to the studio, I watched the board being filled up with the latest batch of wise answers: “create equality,” “forgive,” “release,” and “hold space” showed up. And then “let grace abound” appeared.
Every time I read these, I feel like the true cynical, existential GenXer that I am. “Let grace abound?” I mean really. Who talks like this. All these people have drunk the KoolAid of the pop culture phenomenon that has become known as yoga.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that love really can do all these great things. And I am a true optimist deep down. Honest I am. But when you throw these concepts around on a chalkboard in a bathroom, it just feels like they lose all real meaning. I’m super glad that so many people have a skip in their step and a twinkle in their eye and believe that grace truly does abound. But it’s like saying the same word word out loud over and over again. After a while it begins to sound really weird and you start questioning what it really means.
One person did write “I don’t know, but I’m open to it” and I thought that was the coolest response of all. I bow down and offer that person a Sun Salutation.
Do you want to know what I added to the board?
“Buy me a sandwich.”

Chair Yoga at the retirement home
I am in the middle of receiving an additional 300 hours of yoga teacher training. Not so I can let grace abound (however if this is a natural side-effect, I’m ok with that), and not because I want everyone to do handstands. Rather, I want to learn the subtle art of assisting people in getting back in touch with themselves on a physical level. Because I believe connecting with your self on a physical level can be a gateway for connecting with many other levels of your being-ness. Hey does that sound like I should put it up on the chalkboard? Damn, I just can’t escape the platitudes when talking about yoga. But fortunately, I do know some people who can.
Part of my training is to work with a mentor, so I chose my friend Sonia. She teaches chair yoga twice a week at a local retirement home, and when she went on vacation last week, I got to teach the class for her.
There are about 6-8 regulars that come to chair yoga. They are varying ages – from early 60s to early 90s. Each of them has a different degree of ability and/or disability. It’s fascinating to see what can happen to the body as it ages. And I tell you what, these people are great. They are funny, feisty, and don’t take any shit from anyone. They know what they like, and they know what they don’t like, and they definitely don’t have time to mess with what they don’t like. One of them has a little trouble focusing and paying attention, but once you get him physically engaged, he can stay in the present moment and keep up pretty well.
At the end of class, they all lay in Savasana (final relaxation) for a few minutes, and we put a lavender-scented cloth across their eyes to help them relax. When Savasana is over, they sit up, and we bring hands to heart-center and say our Namaste. But every single time, they start tossing their eye cloths at the teacher as soon as they sit up. They aren’t going to wait around to give it back after class, they just throw it at you and get going. There is something about this that I find hilarious and life-affirming. Especially when I got hit with a few eye cloths last week.
I hope I am that awesome when I am 90.
Usually, Sonia starts the class with a quote from a well-known restorative yoga teacher. The quotes are about mindfulness, relaxing, being kind to yourself, and they are very good. But I don’t have a good book of quotes. So I started each class with a joke. This was Thursday’s joke:
What did the snail say when it was riding on top of the turtle?
I think they liked it. I think I’m in.

Till next time, much love to you and yours.









Meeting the Muse

The Muses were the nine Greek goddesses who presided over the arts (including music) and literature. A shrine to the Muses was called in Latin a museum. An artist or poet about to begin work would call on his particular Muse to inspire him, and a poem itself might begin with such a call; thus, Homer’s Odyssey begins, “Sing to me of the man, Muse” (that is, of Odysseus). Today a muse may be one’s special creative spirit, but some artists and writers have also chosen living human beings to serve as their muses.
-From www.merriam-webster.com

A muse. Different from amuse, but that’s just mincing words.

I believe that everyone has a muse at least once in their lives, that not just “creative people” have a muse to inspire them. Just like I don’t buy it when someone says to me “Oh, I’m not creative.” Everyone is creative. So everyone has a muse.

I would be a much different person today if I hadn’t found mine. My thinking would be different. My writing would be different. My personality would definitely be different.

Whether it’s in spirit form, flesh and bone, or existing in some as-of-yet undiscovered dimension or parallel universe, muses are real, and a necessary part of the human experience.

The muse is the entity to which our creation is dedicated. The person or energy blob or ray of light that inspires us to externalize what’s inside. They give us courage, strength and guidance. They are our audience.

We love our muse, whatever form they are in. We adore them, we know them, understand them, and revere them because they adore us, know us, understand us, and revere us. Whether they exist in human form or not, the lines between fantasy and reality get blurred, and this is the one of the few times when this type of behavior is ok.

If your muse is a person, however, and you’ve attributed them with traits or skills or superpowers they may not actually possess, and you  approach them in real life as if they do possess these wondrous abilities, trouble could ensue. Just saying.

You can give your muse whatever endearing personality quirks you want. You can imagine your muse having the perfect body, the perfect skull housing the most perfect brain that understands you perfectly. All of this is OK – whatever gets you through the long dark night of the creative soul. But if you call up your muse and assume they actually do know your every thought, and actually do love every single ridiculous word that comes out of your mouth, even more trouble could ensue.

Having a muse is a great way to focus creative energy. It is a great way to love something or someone, a great way to express emotion, and it is always a perfect receiver of your creative genius. I write to my muse all the time. I feel the energy of my muse, I let it wash over me, and as the waves recede, small pearls are left on the shore. I walk along the shore and pick up these pearls, and I collect them. And when I have enough, I string them together and create something bigger and more beautiful than they could have been by themselves.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? Making life beautiful? It’s nice to have help.

Mude Music


Container Vegetable Gardening – a Work in Progress

So now that I’m self-employed, I find myself around the house a little more. Which means I’ve had time to do some of the things on my “I Really Want to Do [fill in the blank] But I’ve Just Never Had Time Before!” list. One of the items on this list was to try to grow some vegetables.
I’ve learned enough about myself over the last few decades to realize that perhaps I should “start small” before I just go gung-ho into something new. This is one of those Mindfulness Aha Moments, by the way! I’m trying to stop and determine how I really truly feel about something before jumping in with both feet (this doesn’t mean I’m successful, but if I’m aware of it, maybe I’m headed more in the right direction)…
So vegetables. How could I dip my big toe into the waters of veggie growing without going crazy? And if I dug up the lawn and then changed my mind – oh I’d never hear the end of it! Plus, I’m on a very limited budget, so that had to be considered.
I decided to go for a minimalist approach and am trying to grow vegetables in containers.

We already had a bunch of big and medium-sized pots around, so I informed The Boyfriend that we would not be planting flowers this year, we would be planting FOOD. He actually seemed happy about this, probably because it meant I would then be responsible for watering everything.
With the necessary buy-in achieved, I went and bought a very large bag of “vegetable garden” soil from the store and mixed it in with some of the old stuff left in the pots. I should explain that if a plant that decides to hang out at my house is wanting to survive and grow, it better learn to deal with crappy dirt and maybe a little less water than it might actually like. Because I can’t bear to throw away DIRT and sometimes I forget to water. It’s a Survival of the Fittest approach to horticulture.
You’re probably thinking, these poor veggies don’t stand a chance! You could be right – it’s still too early to tell…
I bought some seeds online from The Seed Guy and they took a long time to mail them out, but they came with instructions and are apparently heirloom and non-GMO. I bought carrots, zucchini and squash from them – and then I bought radish, beet and cucumber seeds locally (read: grocery store). Supposedly they’re heirloom and non-GMO as well. I shoved a few seeds into some pots and said “ok seeds, do your thing!”
And then it rained for a month. The seeds loved it.
Everything is now growing! So far, the only thing I’ve been able to “harvest” are some radishes and sadly, they are so incredibly spicy I can’t actually eat them. So… radishes seem to be easy and quick, and if you like spicy, you might give them a try.


The squash and zucchini are growing quickly and are almost ready to flower, and the cucumbers, which were the last to be planted, are still pretty tiny guys (or gals?). A few of the pots don’t seem to bedoing as well as others – I guess this could be because of the soil quality and possible the size of the pot. But probably mostly soil. So OK, next time I’ll pay more attention to that. Because the little beet seedlings look oh so sad. And the carrots… well how can I tell if a carrot is ready to be picked? I just googled it, and here’s what I found. Well duh, I think I can handle that…

There’s just something very satisfying about being able to plant a seed, nurture it, watch it grow, then harvest and eat the (hopefully not too spicy) result. As my journey continues to become more present to the world around me and how I spend my time, growing veggies fits in nicely.
So, it’s still an experiment in progress, but so far, so good. I can’t wait to see if I’ll get some yellow squash and zucchini, because we eat a lot of it! And at the very least, I’ve learned that as much as I WANT to like radishes, they are not the veggie for me.

Have you done any vegetable gardening? Container or raised bed or? How did it work out? Leave a comment and let us know!


Additional Information
Here are some additional materials for you to peruse, if you want to find out more about container vegetable gardening!

  • Better Homes and Gardens (of course)
  • This DIY / Crafty web site provides a nice article
  • And I thought this infographic was pretty cool. Not sure what part of the world it’s for, so the seasons may not be super helpful, but there’s other good information included – and it looks cool!


the container veggie farmer hard at work.
the container veggie farmer hard at work.



Bad Mood.

I am in a bad mood today. And I was in one yesterday. And there’s a pretty good chance I may still be in it tomorrow too.
So, sorry in advance or for past behavior and sorry in the present tense too.
Most of the time when I’m in a bad mood, I just get quiet. Some people might consider this a plus, actually…
Maybe I shouldn’t even write about it? So that everything is just always positive and happy and upbeat?
Or maybe it’s OK to feel meh sometimes. Because I miss my Mom. And there is a hole in my closet that’s filled with dirt and my clothes are spread out over 3 rooms in the house. And it’s been cloudy for like, ever. I haven’t had a decent latte since Tuesday and I miss traveling. And I haven’t won the lottery yet.
Sometimes things just move very slowly. Meh, I guess it happens. It’ll work itself out.

One thing’s for sure, though: life is too short for shitty coffee.

coffee fail
today’s epic coffee FAIL – so bad i can’t even show it.

Links Oder Rechts? (Left or Right?)

Welp, the 2015 Spring Coffee Tour is now just a distant memory, since I’ve been back 2 weeks. I don’t currently have a freelance writing assignment, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy! There is no WAY I could ever, ever be bored. Too many things to do.
For example, I’ve decided to become more serious about a “yoga practice.” Meaning, simply, that I will actually go do yoga. So last week I went to 4 classes and will do that again this week, plus a little running / stair climbing. I can already tell a difference in how I feel. I finally found what will work for my body right now – which is not doing many activities that are too jarring. A combination of mental and physical work / discipline is exactly right for me at this moment. It feels great. However, yoga sure does make me a lot hungrier. I am HUNGRY I tell you…
I have been reading a very interesting book – “Story Wars” by Jonah Sachs. He’s a marketer, and the book is about… marketing. But he talks about marketing from a storytelling perspective. Those who tell the best stories will get their messages spread further. Apparently “storytelling” is big right now. Who knew? When I decided to use the whole “I tell stories” approach to how I describe what I’m doing now, I honestly had no idea it was currently a thing. Anyway it’s a very interesting book – it can apply to personal messages as well as large-scale advertising. I’m having a little trouble reading it though – part of me still feels guilty about sitting down to read a book. I mean, how unproductive! I’m trying, but these Desk Hamster roots run deep.
I am sort of at a crossroads here… What do I REALLY want to be doing? I know what I don’t want to be doing. That is very, very clear. I do not want to go back to being a Desk Hamster. I know this with every fiber of my being! So – what instead? Several things have come up as opportunities.
There is a new writing partner in the picture. Someone who, right after I met him, I could tell that this person and I were going to create something together. It’s going a little more slowly than I’d like, and it’s sort of changed forms, but I think long-term this will be a very good thing. A little more patience on my part is needed. However, I also know that if you have too much patience, nothing ever gets done. So at some point, screw the patience and let’s fucking get going already.
There is also a very large Business Opportunity coming my way. One that, the more we discuss it, the more it seems to be a really, really good idea. One that is bigger than anything I’ve ever attempted before (which to be fair, hasn’t been much up till now). It would require me to make a substantial financial contribution, take out a business loan with my partners, work my ass off for at least 18 months, and take more risk than I’ve ever felt comfortable in taking before. But it’s also a chance to make a meaningful contribution to my community while having fun and doing things I’m really interested in.
So what do I do with this? There are people in my life who would caution me against it. There are people who would cheer me on. But how do I really feel about it? This is where I discover I’m still a little rudderless. Or I’m still not able to trust my intuition 100%. Because what if it’s WRONG? But if I don’t try, I’ll never know. It’s a long term project but if we do it, it’s time to get started.
Meanwhile there are also termites to get rid of. And water leaks to fix. And mortgages to pay, groceries to buy… I’m covered, but the financial planner part of me hates to see any of those Net Worth numbers go down. So there’s still the balance between short-term gain and long-term goals, creative and practical… and the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the bottom.
I do know this: everything that has happened in the last 4 years since my mother’s death has led up to this crossroads. Everything I’ve seen and learned and felt and discovered and tried and didn’t try. I also know none of these things currently on my smorgasbord could have ever shown up if I hadn’t quit my job. It’s the start of something totally different… but what? I reckon I’ll find out soon enough. Till then – more yoga. And a snack.

links oder rechts?
links oder rechts?

My Dad reminded me the other day what my Grandma used to do when she needed to make a decision about something. I’ll tell you that story soon.