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?