Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014

I have been brainstorming about how to sum up 2014, and no words come to mind.  I could sum up a lot of the things I have done this year, all the different ways I challenged myself, all the different ways I fell down and attempt to list all the lessons I learned.  I don't want to.   

I am looking forward to 2015!   Not because it is a New Year, because I honestly have started looking forward to each moment to see what unfolds, to see what present I get to unwrap.  

New Year's Eve seems like a boundary, a time to leave things behind and create something new.  The reality is that boundary exists with every breath, if a person choses to do that.  

I am excited to see what peaks and valleys I get to explore in the time coming up, I hope you will continue to follow me.

Question to consider:  How will you approach this boundary of time and space?  What intention are you going to bring with you?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Adam and I have been very focused on getting rid of clutter and making our lives a little simpler.  So when I asked about putting a tree up, Adam wanted to stay on task and continue to get rid of things.  However one day I was home alone and decided I wanted the tree up, it wouldn't take that much energy or time.  So I broke one of the rules of the house and carried the tree down the stairs and set it up.  

There are a lot of lights burned out, so I just used some of the blue lights we usually hang up outside.  We both decided to pass on the ornaments and just enjoy the tree.   I see this balance of light and dark.   

It feels a little bit more like Christmas, and I am really looking forward to spending the time with Adam cooking, snuggling, working out and watching some Christmas movies.   

Question to consider: How will you celebrate this year?   Do you put a tree up because you want to, or because you "should?"

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"Shoulds" turn into will or won'ts

I was recently reading some articles about people that work with Hospice patients, because that is one of the things I do.  I believe it is helpful to read about what other people have learned, to begin to gather language and competence with this work.

One point has really stuck with me, it has been circulating in my brain, just waiting to take form.  I tend to write my best when my emotions are very high.  So this morning when I got a phone call telling me that my hospice patient had died, the words came tumbling out as I finished my run.

The opportunity in a terminal diagnosis is the freedom to turn all of the "shoulds" in life into will or won't.   The people I work with are pretty simply in their thinking.  They no longer worry about all the shoulds in their life, they tend to focus on what they want to do and don't feel the need to explain to anyone why they will or won't do something.   Despite the pain and grief that they are carrying, I get to witness moments where they truly live. 

My patient looked at me one morning and said "you are so relaxed, teach me how to do that."  She was feeling a lot of anxiety, and had very limited mobility, so we talked about what she could do.   We started with breathing. So I talked to her about her lungs and we worked together on different muscles to use to breathe.  After that everytime I saw her, we talked about her breathing.  For her, this was not something that she "should" do to feel better.  It started to become something she did, because she wanted to.   

Here is the reality.   Life is a terminal diagnosis, no one knows when they will leave this life or the last time they will look into their loved ones eyes.   Treasure those people, treasure the moments of your life.   

Question to consider: Will you accept that you are going to die one day?   How will you act differentlly?


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tiny pieces of paper

This piece of art was recently displayed at the advocacy center.  I absolutely love it!  For someone to take all these tiny pieces of paper, all these broken pieces and put them together to make a new image is beautiful to me.   It reminds me of spending time looking at stained glass and wondering how someone can put together broken pieces to make a new and glorious image.  

This whole idea of of destruction and creation cycle mystifies me.  The two cycles are really the same, I needed to be torn apart, I needed to have all of my beliefs challenged before I was ready to meet my teachers and open enough to really start creating myself.  

I am loving the process of taking all the little broken pieces of myself and falling in love with the new image that is slowly emerging and changing.  

Question to consider: What are you building in your life with some "broken" pieces? 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Talisman

I love Adam!  I love him a lot.  When I get back from a trip there is always a kind of rough period for both of us.  Sometimes it can even be after a quick get away.   There seems to be some rough waters for a while.

This last time when I got back from Nepal, I was dealing with some reverse culture shock.  To the point where I would wake up in a panic in the middle of the night, not know where I was and wondering why someone was sleeping next to me.  I would calm down rather quickly, still for a couple of weeks my sleep was disturbed.  These rough waters of Adam and I getting to know each other, show up in all kinds of ways.   However, one night during a particularly tense dinner, we both texted our teacher asking for help (at the same time.)   Honestly we needed a translator, we just weren't communicating.

So we met with our teacher the next day and talked things out.  There was one thing he said, that totally confused me in the moment, he told us to become each other's talismans.  A talisman is generally something that changes your focus, it attracts good things to you.   Our teacher began to describe how often times we tend to use our spouse as someone that we can vent to, we can take things out on, and we forget how precious they are.  Basically it had gotten to the point where neither Adam and I were looking forward to seeing one another because of all the tension, and changes we had both gone through.    He suggested we change that focus.

I didn't understand this point, until I came home from work a couple of days later.  I wasn't in a great mood, the moment I saw Sterling however my state changed.  I was excited to love on my puppy, to play with him, and my stress faded into the background of my mind.  I realized that Sterling had become a talisman for me.  He brought out my playful side, my energetic side and my happy side.   

If I could do that with Sterling, who frankly drives me completely bonkers.  I can easily do that with Adam.   I can focus on the good things, I can focus on being my best self around him, and give us both time and space when the tension just gets to be too much.  One reason I married him is because he does help me bring out my best self and I want to be her as often as possible.  

Since that realization I have begun to look at the talismans in my life whether they are people, animals or objects.  It has been an interesting journey to observe how something simply can trigger a pattern and bring me to a state.   

Question to consider:  What is a talisman in your life?  What triggers you to change your state?


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Nepal Summary

I have been home for a little while, apparently long enough to get ready to plan my next trip to Nepal.   Seems that I may have caught a bit of a travel bug, Adam and I are planning a lot of amazing trips for the upcoming year.  I am so excited to see what continues to unfold and what happens next.

So here are the links to about my time in Nepal this year, both trips.  It is completely unreasonable to me that this time last year going Nepal wasn't even in my consciousness and yet when the opportunity came up all I did was say "YES!"  

Question to consider:   What will you say "YES" to today?

Friends  (The summary of my first visit)

Presents (A little reflection)

Enough (A little prayer for everyone)

Preparation (Getting ready for the second trip)

Portal  (Just a little bit about time travel)

Flying in the Breeze  (Is everything going wrong?  Nope, just kidding!)    

Safe and Sound  (BTW - Everything is OKAY)

Just hit the Ground Running (The world keeps turning)

My First Workshop (OMG! - I am teaching....)

Festival Time (Learning about celebrations)

Workshop #2 (The time is going by so fast)

Yoga with the Monks (Maybe this yoga thing works.....)

Halloween (Egg salad sandwiches, games, candy and ice cream)

Workshop #3 (This was my energetic class, they loved Qigong!)

Lake View (Free time!)

Dancing Monks (Dance rehearsal for upcoming services)

Full Moon  (A love letter to Adam)

Fourth Workshop (Soooo much yoga!)

The Next Adventure (Back to Kathmandu)

Happy Thanksgiving

The "real" Kathmandu (Getting to see the city in a different way)

Selfie Pod  (Capturing unforgettable moments)

Qatar (My favorite part of this post, is talking about running into Adam's arms...I really did! It was so amazing to see him again)

 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Qatar

Seeing this statue, reminded me that I was no longer in Nepal.  Still completely confused about where I was, just I knew I was no longer in Nepal.   I arrived in Qatar in the middle of the night, and had one question to answer.  Do I need to eat or sleep more?    I had a decent amount of time for a layover and Adam and I had discussed that if I was exhausted I would get a hotel room for the 10 hours I had.  However I was hungry and really just wanted a shower.   So I headed to the lounge, bought a lounge pass and spent the next 10 hours, eating, drinking lots of water, reading, listening to a book,  talking with Adam and taking a luxuriously long hot shower.  

It always seems like the journey home is going to take so long, (~38 hours) however the time passed rather quickly.  I was still exhausted when Adam picked me up at the airport, however all that exhaustion was forgotten when I saw his face and ran into his arms.  There is a magic that exists in that moment, seeing his face for the first time in over a month, hearing his voice, and feeling his arms hold me, the world is still and stable.    

Question to consider:  What is your favorite airport and why?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Selfie pod

Jiwon had this fantastic device called a "selfie pod,"  that made taking selfie portaits much easier.   I have a pretty short arm, so my photographs rarely turn out the way I would like.  (Though I usually still get some great photos.)   This deviced allowed the three of us to pose for a photo.

We spent a lovely day at Bouda, meditating, giving offerings, shopping and enjoying some momos.  Looking back, I feel sad that I don't have more photos from that day, to share with others.  However those moments were just for the three of us, and when I put on my Tibetan dress or play the singing bowl I purchased I know that I have plenty!

Question to consider:  What is your favorite souvenir from your most recent trip?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The "real" Kathmandu

Tenzin promised Jiwon and I that we would experience the "real" Kathmandu, not what the tourists experience.   I saw a very different side of Kathmandu valley and aprreciated hearing the stories about the city and the refugee camp that I was staying in.

There is something to be said for getting to experience life in the city with friends instead of as tourists.  Jiwon and I never quite knew where we were going or when we would be going there, instead we just climbed on the ride and enjoyed the wind in our hair.   

Question to consider:  How have the people you travel with changed your mind about a place you had visited before?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!!   Feeding the fish in Kathmandu.

Question to consider: How will you celebrate today?  How will you express your gratitude for your very life?


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The next adventure

I left the monastery early, not so bright.  I snapped this last photo of the lights in the courtyard, and was happy the camera had difficulty capturing the moment, not knowing whether to focus on the light or the dark.  It summed up my feelings when I was walking across the courtyard.   I chose to focus on the next adventure, spending a couple of days in the "real" Kathmandu.   I could still feel the loss, leaving the monastery behind, leaving those boys and their smiles and tears behind.  I took it all in, and walked with my friend Jiwon across the courtyard in silence knowing she could understand the mixxed up feelings in my heart.

Question to consider: Who decides what is the light or the dark?  Doesn't everything in the dark, become light as soon as we focus on it?

Friday, November 21, 2014

The different forms of excitement

I woke up yesterday so excited, not really for a particular reason.  Someone might say "unreasonably excited,"  in fact that was the response my yoga teacher Kim gave.  I was excited about life and all the things I was going to get to do that day, including a doctor's visit.

So I got out of my yoga class feeling great, super optimistic about my doctor's visit, kinda of going through the yearly check list in my mind.  My doctor and I had a brief chat about life, Adam and traveling, and then I got to put my feet up in the stirrups.  

If you have have been reading my blog for a while, then you might be familiar with Adam's and my journey with fertility treatments, and that I tend to  have ovarian cysts from time to time.  These cysts can grow quite large and can cause pain, discomfort and even affect my range of motion in yoga poses.  So I was really hoping that my doctor would not want to order an ultrasound, just to get a better idea of what was going on.  Unfortunately expectations tend to kick me in the ass.   

So I walked out of the doctor's office with my ultrasound orders and feeling scared, upset and doubtful.  My mind began to spin stories about how I wasn't good enough, how there was something wrong with me, and all the work I have been doing doesn't matter.   Luck would have it, that as I drove home there was a traffic jam and I got to sit parked in my car for about 20 minutes.   I got to sit with myself and breathe.  I was granted this opportunity to really ask myself some tough questions.  The first one is do I really believe what I say I believe.  Do I really believe that I can give things empowering meanings, that I can focus on what I have, that anything can be used to my advantage?

The next set of questions I started asking myself, was about why am I doing yoga, qigong, meditation and studying Dao?   Am I doing it to get something?  Do I wake up before the sunrise to do my physical practice only to heal my body?  

Here is what I came up with as I sat with myself.  First I don't know what anything means right now, all I know is my doctor wants a better look at my ovaries.  Who am I to say that my body isn't healing perfectly, and right on time?   

As soon as I got home I called Ashley and we signed up for a half-marathon!   Because I know that my body is healthy and strong,  because I trust the path I am on.  Because I do believe what I say I believe, this just serves as a good reminder to have trust and patience.  

In the morning I was feeling that super bubbly type of excitement, walking out of my doctor's office I felt the scared type of excitement, talking to Ashley I went back to bubbly excitement  and finally I ended the day with a passionate type of excitement to keep going, to keep walking, to find out what happens next.   

Yesterday I had to change my focus to what I have experienced in the last couple of years.  

I am happy!!!       

Question to consider:  Do you have any tips for training for a half marathon?     

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fourth workshop

I didn't get a photo with my fourth and final workshop group.  That final group, brought out my yoga teacher side.  They wanted to move, and it was a very strong group, I think I spent easily four hours teaching yoga on the full days.  I even had one gentlemen miss dinner because he ran down the street to find some more yoga classes.   (I do mean ran down the street.)   I was so happy to see someone find another type of movement that he enjoyed, to witness a little spark igniting was very special.

I went to Nepal, feeling completely terrified out of my mind about teaching, about sharing my practice, about being that vunerable.   I came home feeling so grateful for each one of my students, for how much they taught me, for creating such variety.  Immediately when I came home a lot of people asked me if I was going to keep teaching.   This question usually set my mind running, and so I said "I don't know."   

After one pretty emotional conversation with Adam, about teaching, about how it might work, about how to get started.  I took a step back, and went back to what I want.  I want to gain more experience teaching, I also love the flexiblity of volunteering.   So I reached out about a volunteer opportunity I heard about months ago.   Just like that I found a new avenue to challenge myself and teach with the flexiblity and freedom that leaves me available to still volunteer at my other jobs.  So starting in December I will get a new group of students to work with.  I am feeling extremely excited and terrifying.

Question to consider: When was the last time you witnessed someone's spark igniting for a new passion?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Full moon

I walked out of my room one night to go to the bathroom, and got a glimpse of the full moon through the clouds.  I look up at the sky a lot, no matter where I am, it doesn't matter if it is day or night.  I look for the sun, the stars, the moon, the clouds or the birds that fly through the air.  When I am in Nepal, I think about how the sun is shining on Adam when I am looking at the moon, or the stars.   There is something about  the idea that the moon glows because it reflects the sun that I adore.

Each one of us has a light, and the brighter it shines the more it is reflected in the world around us.  When Adam and I are apart, I believe we both continue to shine because we have faith in the other person's path.  We are the sun and the moon, when one of us shines the other is able to reflect it back.   We are on opposite schedules, one of us is finishing the day and the other is starting.  We are able to encourage the other person be sharing the lessons we learned that day.  

When we are together the polarity is not quite the same, however I still believe we reflect each other's light.  When we are together we also are able to see the other person's light, the sun and the moon are locked in a dance across distance; Adam and I get to dance across the whole floor, together, apart and then together.

Question to consider: Where is our focus when you look up at the sky?  What do you look for?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dancing Monks

My last few days as the monastery, the monks had begun rehearsing Lama Dances for an upcoming event.  It was interesting to see how the different personalities came out while they were dancing.   I got to watch the rehearsals, I got to watch the older monks teach the younger monks the dances.  I feel lucky that I was able to watch that progression and see the evolution especially with the younger ones.   Despite missing the event itself, I was about to focus on what was in front of me, instead of being upset that I was going to miss the upcoming festivities.

There is a book I read a while ago, that talks about there being no ordinary moments in the world.  I have found when I am truly present, when I focus on what I have, on what is in front of me; all those worries and anxieties fade into the back ground noise.  Maybe I didn't get to see the costumes, maybe I didn't get to see the butter sculptures in person; I got to see so much!

Every moment is special and unique, in every moment there is something beautiful to be grateful for. Seeing people dance tends to make me what to dance! 

Question to consider: How will you dance today?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lake view

The days fly by when I am working, if I am not actively teaching, or spending time with the monks, I am lesson planning, doing my practice or working through new yoga sequences.   (Yeah for body awareness, or soreness depending on your focus)

Every Tuesday I took the time to go to Lakeside, have a meal that involved meat and to just enjoy the view of Fewa Lake.  So I went to this Arabian place every week, they had a ginger lemon tea that I fell in love with.   There were days that I had company and moments like this, where I was the only person in the restaurant and I embraced the quiet.  This was a moment when I was really aware of being alone and realized that I am totally okay with being alone.   In fact I looked forward to the moments when I was alone and my thoughts were still and calm.

As I continue my journey loving and serving others, and with gaining competence teaching, I find I have far less "free" time.  So instead of looking at the fact that I have less free time, and feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks I still get to do with "less" time I enjoy the moments of peace just a little bit more.   I find the enjoyment in being busy, how luck am I that I have the opportunity to share my passion, to share things that changed my life into something amazing with other people.   (See what I did with focus there?)

Question to consider:  What is your focus in your "free" time?  Do you focus on how little you have or simply let go and enjoy the moment?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Workshop number 3

Each one of my workshops brought out a different focus of my practice.  Each of the groups challenged me and taught me so much.  I have to say that this group really brought out my spirit, all their questions on energetics really lit me up.  To have the freedom to talk, to begin to say things out loud  and suddenly realize that people want to listen, people want to share their experiences with energetics. 

I have two degrees in Science and I still apply the scientific method to what I am learning and experiencing.  I have also learned to accept that just because science doesn't have an explanation doesn't mean that it didn't happen or doesn't exist.  (Science "discovers" things all the time, it changes the names of things and is constantly evolving.) 

Do I understand what I feel when I practice Qigong or yoga?  Can I talk about what might be happening to my physiology, yes?  Do I actually know?  No!  Which is why it helps to ask other people questions and expand your understanding.   A lot of times in yoga, we will work just one side of the body and then compare the two sides in a pose.  Robert said the most freeing statement ever, in terms of understanding the difference between sides.  "Just notice, don't try to put a language to it, the language, the description of what is different will come with time."  

Thank you so much for this group, the language just came out at the perfect time.  You enriched my language and helped me voice it. 

Question to consider: When was the last time you were asked a question, and after answering it you thought "how did I know that?" 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 4th

I took this photo on Sunday, when I was doing my morning practice.  I have done a lot of different rituals in our practice space, and I have said a lot of prayers.  This moment brought tears to my eyes, my teacher told us "incense carries the wishes of the heart."   As I watched the smoke rise and dissipate into the room I began to think about November 4th.    So many things have happened in my life on that day.

So I wanted to examine the three events that came to mind as I watched the incense burn.   The most recent was last year, my Grandmother's funeral was on November 4th.  Last year at this time we were in New Mexico gathering with family to celebrate my grandmother's life, to remember and feel her contribution.  I was so grateful that I had been able to get a last minute ticket to see her, to hug her, to talk with her before she passed away.  I will always have those moments and all the other moments with her.  When I was in Nepal on the anniversary of her death, I remember having the silly thought, "would she be proud of me, of what I am doing?"  I say it was a silly thought, because she was always proud of me, she always loved me and just because she has transformed from the earthly plane doesn't change those feelings.   Those feelings are eternal!

The second one was a few years ago, I had a surgery  that morning.   Again people gathered around me to support Adam and I during the surgery and for my recovery.   There is nothing glamourous about dealing with the after effects of surgery, and I am grateful that both Adam and Ashley were there to help me.  There were moments when I didn't think I had the strength to sit up and one of their hands was there the entire weekend to help me sit up or get up.  They both held me while I cried and simply reassured me that it was okay.  I would love to go back and tell that Lenore that not only is everything okay, she will still get everything she wants.  She just needs to let go of what it has to look like.

The third event was 16 years ago.  OMG, sixteen years.  A young boy and girl sat in front of a building lit a white candle and accepted that they were in a relationship.   His hair was long, my hair was shorter, and now his hair is much shorter and my hair is long!   Everytime I light a white candle I remember the stillness and clarity of that moment.  I remember how significant, certain and connected I felt.   So Happy Fourth Love!   Thank you for walking with me for the past 16 years.    Maybe candles also carry wishes of the heart?   Or maybe that candle simply sealed a wish?  Who knows!

Question to consider: Are there any calendar days that seem to attract significant moments in your life?  What do you focus on those days?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sterling Sunday

A moment from Monday night when I got back from Nepal, well after I had showered.  Sterling is still working on forgiving me.  I was so happy and continue to be happy to spend time with my little bratty pup.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween

Happy Halloween!  When I was in Nepal, I was fortuante enough to be there for a Halloween celebration.  It was a little early, who cares, the point was to have some fun and games with the monks.

The morning started with chopping onions and tomatoes and peeling 400 eggs for egg salad.   It was a lot of egg salad, the children gobbled up the egg salad sandwiches though.  I have to admit they were delicious and a nice change.   


We played games with each one of the classes, if you have been a regular reader you may recoginze these faces.  This is my old science class, now they are class five!



Question to consider: What will you do to celebrate Halloween?  I think Adam and i are going to have a quiet evening at home to reconnect and maybe look through the photos I took in Nepal.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

In the middle

I am back in the States, giving Sterling ball time and getting settled back into a much faster pace of life.  During the day I send Adam photos of what makes me smile, and so I attempted to get a photo of Sterling chasing his ball.   As you can see I didn't succeed at getting a photo of Sterling, however this photo got me thinking about an idea I have been sitting with for a while.

"We come in, in the middle of the story."

I don't remember where I heard that idea, it has been tumbling around inside of my head.  Today is a perfect day to take a break from writing about Nepal to talk about the middle of the story.   To me the idea is that people are here before you arrive and they continue on after you leave. 

Traveling alone gave me a lot to think about in terms of only having the middle of the story to work with.  I had no control over what brought my students to me, what brought anyone into my circle, no control over which little boys become monks and are brought to that monastery, and I have no control over the future.  No idea what will happen after I leave and allow all the people I met to continue their lives, their story.  

With that perspective, the only thing that exists is here and now.   So my focus was on being present.   Everyone I met had a story and most people are happy to share a part of the story; it is still only a piece.  The reality is as much as I love the people I spent time with, most of them I will never hear from again.  I will never know what directions their life went after I spent time with them.  This trip to Nepal I felt okay with that concept, I focused on enjoying the moments I had.   Understanding that even if I never hear from those people, even if I never see them again; they mean the world to me.   I get to write this lastest chapter of my life, and I accept simply being in the middle.

Question to consider:  What does the statement "we come in, in the middle of the story;" mean to you?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yoga with the Monks

It is funny how I only have three short sleeve shirts, that I brought with me.  I feel like I wear the same thing everyday.  I brought more warm clothes, thinking I would be cold.  Oh well, I just get to do laundry more often.

So I got the pleasure of teaching the college age monks yoga as part of their English coaching class.  So we did some yoga and talked about different muscles groups.  I need to come up with more difficult poses to challenge the monks in our next class.  They are very strong. 

Slowly my confidence with teaching is growing, I still feel uneasy and awkward.  I am so glad that my students continue to challenge me and help me grow.  As I research more difficult poses to do with the monks my own practice will grow and develop.  I really enjoy the interaction between the students and helping them fix things in poses that might be hurting.  

Time is going by so fast, and I am starting to feel the tug of home.   


Question to consider:  Do you travel light or do you pack enough for whatever situation might come up?  Lately I have been packing light, because I am not a fan of carrying a bunch of stuff.  It has made some things simpler and other things more difficult.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Workshop number 2

The class size increased a little bit for workshop number two.  It was wonderful with a bit larger group, more questions and more diversity.   I am wondering if the workshop size continues to grow how I will fit everyone in the space when it come time to do yoga.  I don't know, I guess I will find out if that happens.

The first workshop group asked for more and more yoga, this group asked for more and more philosophy.  I am feeling excited to see what happens next.  

I have had such amazing students with such great stories, and understanding attitudes.  I got pretty flustered attempting to explain a concept, well to draw the concept on the board.  Finally the students stopped me and said, "Lenore we got it, we understand."   I just got caught up in the moment, of wanting to draw the concept.  I wanted to be right, instead of happy.  I am thankful my students broke my state and we were able to move on.

Question to consider:  What is the biggest group you have ever taught?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Festival time

I arrived in Nepal in the middle of Dashain, the longest and biggest festival in Nepal.  A lot of people told me that it is like Christmas in Nepal, it is a time for families to gather and celebrate.  There are also a lot of goats eaten, so the road outside of the monastery was packed with people selling and buying goats.  It was interesting to see how people got the goats home.  It was common to see a goat on a motorcycle sandwiched between two people.   (Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of that.)
I did my best to capture this photo, of the goat in the hatchback of the car in front of me.  There was also about 7 people in the car as well.   Lots of businesses were closed during this time.   I didn't get the opportunity to go to any of the Hindu temples to see what might have been going on; I focused on teaching my workshop.   Even driving back and forth, there was a lot to observe.

Question to consider: Have you ever been packed in a car with a bunch of people?  How about a goat?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My first workshop

Here is a photo taken at the meditation center that I am teaching my workshops at.   So far this experience has been a little surreal.  I am standing there speaking, and there is a part of me that remains confused.  There are moments were I still am in awe that this is my life, that I am on the other side of the world, talking about things I am passionate about, and giving people tools that can enrich their lives.  

Some of the topics flow effortlessly, and some of the topics I feel very awkward talking about.  That shows me the areas of my practice that need more cultivation, the areas that I have been neglecting.  It also shows me what I focus on in my day to day life.  What I enjoy, what I am passionate about.    

I feel incredibly blessed that these strangers are taking time away from their holiday and devoting time to listen to me.    

Question to consider: Look out your window, and find something beautiful to focus on for three breaths.   What did you see?   How did it feel to take a little bit of time for yourself?


Monday, October 13, 2014

Just hit the ground running

As the first light breaks over the hills, the echo of the gong rings through the air at the monastery.  I have been awake for a number of hours, because of jet lag and excitement for the coming day.  I got to spend the morning at the monastery, and then head into town to handle some last minute details for my workshop.  
I love the sunrise!  It is amazing to watch the sunrise here, with the panaramic views.  To watch the the light change on the himalayas, to watch the monks run into the temple for morning services and to feel the peace and silencce at the monastery.
I snapped this photo just before the students came up to class.  For my first workshop I had four students to start with, one left to go treking and the other left because she was ill.   It was a perfect number for me to get my feet wet and play with my plan for teaching.  The group was really upbeat, postive and understanding about me feeling awkward.   

I learned alot about my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher.  I have a lot of work to do with my yoga.  It is funny, because while I have a consistent yoga practice at home, it is totally random and a little chaotic.  Mostly I work on helping something that hurts feel better, and then I am done.   So I will be spending my break time actually coming up with a yoga sequence.   Hopefully I will also learn a little better how to describe the poses.    (One thing I was not prepared for in teaching my classes was non-native speakers.  I know it seems obvious now, it is interesting when you have a very specific language for something, and then you have to find different words. )


Question to consider:  Is there a lot of variety to your vocabulary or do you find yourself using the same words all the time?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Safe and sound

I love people watching in airports!  There is an amazing diversity of people, so flying domestically in Nepal provided some great people watching.   I saw a newly married Hindu couple, lots of little girls in party dresses, lots of trekers (returning and heading out) and even a large group of  older American woman traveling together.  (They also happened to be on my plane!)
After only a slight delay, we were flying over Kathmandu in one of the smallest planes I had ever been on.  The 25 minute trip was very pleasant, we were given peanuts, soda, cotton balls for our ears and some maginificent views of the himalayas.  I was sitting on the opposite side of the views, so I wasnt able to get any good photos.  Trust me it is worth the trip!
After landing in Pokhara and wishing my fellow travel companions safe journey.  I took a taxi to the monastery and settled into my room.  
There is an ease at the monastery, and a feeling  of peace.   I am lucky to have another "home"  on the other side of the world. I don't have another way to describe it, it feels like home.  

Question to consider:  What feelings do you associate with home?  Can you create those feelings anywhere no matter where you are?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Flying in the breeze

So sometimes every goes according to plan, and sometimes it feels like everything is going against the plan.   My arrival in Nepal gave me some very good opportunities to practice patience and nonattatchment to plans.  

I had been E-mailing the guesthouse I was staying at, and I thought I was going to be picked up at the airport.  After getting through the visa line and picking up my luggage.  I was feeling a little freaked out that there was no one there with a sign to pick me up.  So after texting Adam to let him know I arrived and asking him to check my E-mail, I sat down and waited.   I took some time to gather my thoughts and decide what I was going to do.  

Eventually I talked with a cab driver and somehow we both managed to figure out where I needed to go and we set off in the chaos that is Kathmandu traffic.   I arrived at the guest house, had access to wifi and sent a couple of E-mails.  I felt settled and calm, especially after getting some lunch!

Little did I know my plans were about to change again.  One of my friend that had arranged my bus to Pokhara told me that the reservation had been lost.  Since it is festival time in Nepal right now, there were no more seats available.  So we both started a frantic search to figure out how to get me to Pokhara on the day I wanted.   Eventually the travel agencies were closed and I simply got to go to sleep not knowing when I was going to be leaving Kathmandu.   Luckily the guest house had room for me to stay another night!

The next morning I set out to find a travel agent to see if I could book a flight to Pokhara.  Luckily I was able to get a seat on a flight the next day!  However I was disappointed about staying in Kathmandu for another day.   I longed to be in the quiet and peaceful atmosphere at the monastery, to get away from the noise of the city.  

After I let go of that idea, I made the most of my day in Kathmandu.   I had some amazing experiences, including getting to hang up prayer flags at The Boudhanath stupa!   Such a neat experience and one I would not have had if I had spent the day on a bus.    

Sometimes you just have to let go, blow in the breeze and see what you can do in a situation instead of focusing on what is not going to happen.

Question to consider: Do you find it easy to let of plans, when things change?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sterling Sunday

Look Mom! I put my ball with my other toys so that I can play with it whenever I want!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Portal

After hours of travel, losing track of what day it was.  I got to spend a day in Kathmandu.  I was staying  near the Boudhanath stupa, so I spent the day walking around the stupa, and meditating.  I noticed this Thankga shop almost immediately.  I sat for a long time just looking at this painting.   It captured my imagination as a portal.  

The idea of time travel and the distoration of traveling to the other side of the world settled on me when I saw the criscrossing blue lines.   I saw flght patterns, I saw the different decisions I have made in my life that lead me to this moment.  

This moment surrounded by strangers, by different languages, different cultures and different ages I was feeling out of harmony, still tuned into the U.S. and not quite grounded in Nepal.   Quickly things come back to me about how I fell in love with this country and I the noise, the dirt, and pollution are able to fade into the background.   I feel the peace, the happiness, and the ease that I find here.

Question to consider: What do you see in the photo?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Soaring spiders

I know this is a strange photo.  I walked out into the back yard and found this length of spider web leaping from our tree to a neighbor's tree in the back yard.  At least ten feet!  I captured a photo as best I could, the arrow is pointing at part of the reflection of the spider web.

I just watched the web blow in the breeze, mesmorized and humbled by a tiny spide taking a leap like that.   I wonder if it even had a goal, or it just leaped into the wind.  If it could see the destination or it simply threw itself into a journey, trusting the it would be able to climb up the web no matter what happened.

Honestly I have no idea what it is life to be a spider, I have no idea what it is like to even be another human being.  I come into people's lives, including my own in the middle of the story.   Time will continue after I am gone, and things happened long before I was born.   Since it is the middle of the story, every moment is the middle it is the perfect moment to write the ending I want.   I can write the story of my life any way I want, it is an amazing gift.   The difficult parts, the parts that have me crying on the floor unable to move, the moments that have me so angry I am paralyzed, the moments when I feel so small I don't know what to do, all of those are opportunities.  An opportunity to stand up, to start moving or leap into action.  I read a lot of fantasy, and the deck always seems stacked against the hero, and somehow the hero makes the situation okay.

Author your life, tell the truth, and see those moments for what they are.  The moment where you lept like a spider and landed somewhere you didn't expect.  Breathe and take in the view!

Question to consider:   How will you write your next breath, then the next minute, the next hour, the next day?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Look what found me!

So the other day, I went to grab something out of the back seat and look what I found!   This little guy climbed into my car from outside while I was unloading groceries and stuff.  He had a collar, so Sterling had some company for the afternoon, before this little guy's parents could pick him up.  (Adam got a cute photo of them sleeping next to each other on the couch.)

It is funny how a very normal, and ordinary task can get quickly change into something different.  When I found him, I didn't know what to do, he didn't want to leave the back seat.  Add to that equation, that I was extremely tired and hungry and I handed this little guy the remote and started to feel and act anxious.

I ended up calling Adam a little paniced and confused Adam.  I was not communicating how the dog wound up in the car, only that there was a dog in my car that didn't want to move.  Since I was tense I decided the dog was tense, and thought it might bite me.   Adam came home from running errands, climbed in the back seat and easily picked up and started cuddling the little pup. 

This was a lesson for me about how important it is to control one's state.  It is fine to feel anxious and stressed, I can chose to act another way.  The feelings are going to come and go, I do not need to hand the remote to my feelings in my life.  We remember the actions people take, we have no idea what they were thinking and feeling, actions are what matter.

Question to consider: How do you push the "reset" button when you start to feel stressed out?  How do your actions change after you press the reset button?