Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wintery solution

With the chills and another blast of winter coming our way, I love my twist practice to keep me grounded and balanced. The slippery roads and cold will keep me tucked up at home close to my warm wood stove, not really inclined to head out to a studio. Warm as it may be when I get there, there is a lot of chilliness on the way.

I have to also admit to a little over indulgence during the colder winter months. Snacking in the dark hours after dinner rather than out walking with the dogs or playing frisbee in the yard can certainly change my digestion. So again - twists are the direction I turn toward.

The following link to the Yoga International wealth of resources provides a great twist class if you do decide to roll out the mat at home. :)

Monday, January 27, 2014


There is a great story I heard in one of my audiobooks.

Two men are having a heated argument. A great sage come along the path. They stop the sage and ask him to settle their dispute. One man argues his side, then the other. Each then turns to the sage.
One says, "Surely you can see that I am right."
"Yes," the sage says, "you are right."
"But," the other man argues, "Did you not hear my side? Can't you see I am right?"
"Yes," the sage says, "you too are right."
A third man witnessing this event says, "But sage, both men cannot be right!"
"Yes," says the sage, "you too are right."

The morale of the story is that each of us in our own mind is always right. The mind wants us to be right. We are each made up of our own beliefs, ideas and experience. We all bring that to every new experience and it colours our view of it; shapes it to our understanding. Our understanding cannot possibly be the same as the person next to us because they do not have the same history, beliefs and ideas. So yes, we are all right.

I had this stuck to my fridge for a few years. "Be happy, rather than right." I believe this is one I heard in a Wayne Dyer book. I stuck it there when I was going through my divorce and there was much to discuss in the dissolution of property. The reason I put it there was to remind myself that just as I came to negotiations with one set of ideas, my ex came with his own. It wasn't to remind me to give him everything he wanted. It was to acknowledge him and what he wanted. In other words, to be kind to both of us.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Fun and Games

This weekend I made a resolution to not allow myself to get suckered into TV in the evening anymore. Not just TV, the computer, aimlessly surfing websites. This was not the first time I made the resolution. I made this same resolve on January 1. Unfortunately, I did not successfully follow through in the three weeks since January 1. I would get home, get all the evening chores done and want to tune everything out and convince myself that one show wouldn't hurt. How could it? I even pretended I was doing something more productive with my time... knitting, while I watched, or rather listened.

But this idleness. The sitting and not tuning things out found me restless. I would get up and go to the kitchen. It wasn't long before my nightly ritual of watching the "just one show" turned into more than one show and consuming a big bowl of popcorn while I was at it. Worse yet, the compulsion began to grow to include that relaxing glass of wine.

Now you can see where this is going.
And Friday night, after a rather unfulfilling week at work, I sat down with half a bottle of wine, four episodes of a show I had already watched and big bowl of popcorn.
My body revolted. Specifically, it revolted at 2 am with becoming overly warm and uncomfortable. I awoke groggy and feeling guilty. I knew I was responsible. This Ayurveda Yoga Specialist knows that heating wine and spacey popcorn throws me completely out of balance and of course disrupts my sleep with heat and wakefulness.
After a couple of hours of stewing, journalling and eventually falling back to sleep, I awoke with a renewal of my resolve. The night time TV has to go. The night time snacking needs to end. I informed my son that every night we would now play an hour of games. Scrabble, dictionary, Trivial Pursuit. No TV, just games. I recent weeks, the arguments about getting off TV or a computer or a video game has run daily. So not only will I change my behaviour, but he will too; better for both of us.

This time will be different. I can already say that with certainty. Why? Because last night promptly after dinner, Fynn said, "what game do you want to play? It's an hour of games remember." He would barely let me get the dinner dishes washed. We ended up playing games for a few hours. We need some work with our charades.

I slept well last night. I feel so very grateful this morning. And I have reaffirmed to myself that even more than TV, my son longs for connection, we all do. And when we participate in it, the heart blossoms.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What's your Unique Purpose

"People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." ~ Simon Sinek

I love this quote. And I love that he is right. This week I was in the middle of a disagreement with someone and this was a great reminder. Why? Because our argument was created because we disagree about the why.

My why for how I live my life, my purpose is to explore potential. Whether that is trying to understand how to be a better climber or how to help others become better, I thrive on exploration of potential. I also thrive on being seen as a person who is helpful, creating opportunity for others to explore their potential. The disagreement between this other person and myself is because that is not his why. In the end my why is not better or more right, it's just mine. Just as his is his.

And that is okay. We all have our own why. Some of us have explored what it is and some have not. Some people do what they do for immediate gratification or just self gratification, some for service of others and still some because they cannot be happy if they do not do what they are uniquely called to do. It is an attachment to the idea that others should agree that creates separation and challenge. Not everyone wants to explore the potential I see for them or support me in exploring potential for myself.

But as Yoga master Rod Stryker says, "the Vedic tradition is founded on the principle that, as individuals, our happiness is completely dependent on us fulfilling our own unique version of duty."

Not everyone will buy what I do, but that is not important. My own happiness is dependant on the expression of my unique purpose, not the outcome. I am not responsible for the happiness of others. They must find their own why. And as my good friend Jim Collins would say, if I move away from what I value, I will fail.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Beauty on and off the mat

Beautiful. An amazing and beautiful friend and fellow ParaYogi, Nicole, has written this great article full of advice I could use.

These past weeks back to work from the Holidays have seemed miserable, anything but beautiful. Issues with getting the job done well, misunderstandings of what needs to get done, bumpy meditation practice, very little asana practice, dogs that have hit on the road to distraction, a broken arm and little to no time to write. Certainly hasn't seemed beautiful.

And yet last night, I had a meeting with my fellow teachers at 108 Yoga. I looked forward to this meeting with all my heart. I was anxious to get there to sit with beautiful smiling faces and expansive spirits. Laughter and joy. We sit in the freedom of presence that one reaps from a personal practice. It is a comfort to sit with people who practice. They are calm and mindful. We all still have our likes and dislikes, our challenges and our joys. But even in the midst of challenge, there is a sense of freedom from the outcome, or from winning, being right. I am so grateful for this sangha.

This is the real gift of practice. And integrated with practice of the Yamas and Niyamas, asana is a gateway to cultivating mindfulness, a sense of presence. There is no complete mastery of asana, there is only the ongoing practice. The mindfulness is asana opens the door to discernment and cultivating calm. The more disturbing the challenge, the more the foundation of asana practice supports cultivating inner peace and the ability to make the best choice.

As I reflect on Nicole's article, I realize that in all the struggle with work, with dogs, with trying to manage hospitals and work schedules, the beauty lies in the fierce love I feel for all those in my life. The clouds shadowing the beauty grow from a lack of mindfulness and steadiness. My own lack of steady practice. Time to get on my mat.

Monday, January 20, 2014

"There is nothing like impossible." Swami Rama

This morning as I thought about my hopes and dreams, I realized that my mind would quickly by pass relishing in the idea of success in achieving the dreams and move straight to "how to achieve." I want to know. I don't want to trust it will happen, I want the control of making it happen.

I don't think I am any different than many others. I think that we count on knowing and that knowing gives us a sense of control. And it is through the sense of control that we believe. Conversely, when we don't know how we will overcome our challenges, we become hopeless.

I would see this so often in climbing. A new route is cleaned, and one by one climbers approach it and start. Discussion ensues about how to do the moves. Then one person succeeds and suddenly everyone can do the move. One person completes the route and then suddenly everyone can complete the route... or at least more than no one. It is this knowing that keeps climbers in their comfort zone. I watch and when a beginner starts climbing, they make gains early. They move through difficulty relatively quickly while they are still in that experience of being so new, they do not know what they can and cannot do. Eventually, they understand what is hard for them and what is not. This is when they stop trying so hard on the things they know are challenging and stay with what they know. They plateau and they stop growing.

What if we just believe and then look for the things, events, opportunities that lead us in the direction of achieving our goals? What if we just stay curious?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Being the best

I am listening to a book called the "Charisma Myth." It is a "how to" have more charisma. Why am I listening to it? Because sometimes I am so focused on the outcome, I do not pay attention to the people involved and that leads to me being a fiery, intense person who feels resentful and frustrated, and that everyone dislikes. Oh, I get things done, but then I need to do it. I have known this about myself since I was president of a sorority many years ago and had to sit through an intervention where I was asked to just let others do things even if it wasn't the way I would do it.

Fast forward all these years later and I manage student staff for a climbing facility. I attempt to give them the appropriate training, make it very clear what is expected, and I attempt to give them a little autonomy and let them get the things done without too much interference from me. So when they don't do the things they are supposed to do and this is about the risk management of climbing, I find myself stewing. Why can't they just do what they are supposed to do?!?

Yesterday the real question came to me... what do they need from me to do the job right?
The answer, the motivation to do it right. And that is something I cannot give them. That is something they either have or they don't.

Then another question, "what is my motivation in it needing to be done to the level I want it done?" On a conscious level, I would argue the answer is the safety of users. On a subconscious level, I understand that I have a hunger to be the best at things I do. If I ask why being the best is important to me, that will take more self reflection.

A few years ago my aunt said, "Heather, you always had your own way of thinking about things." And this is true. I spend a lot of time motivated to do the best job. Not just a good job, the best job. No matter what I am doing. It is the thinking that motivated me to test myself in the climbing world as a coach. It is this motivation that empowered me to study Yoga when my life seemed to be falling apart, rather than to just fall apart. This spirit to always be better has served me well, as much as it has been a thorn in the side of others.

For me to navigate this more group oriented approach to being the best, or doing the best job, I just need to let go of the idea that they need to be motivated in the same way I am. Change my expectation to meet the outcome, and perhaps come at it with a little more charisma. ;)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Busy as a Bee

Since the end of the Christmas and New Year Holidays from work, I have been busy. Even this weekend morning, I will be out the door early to offer a workshop.... something I am excited to do and something that put my head in the books for the past few nights. Taking a break to do a little fun reading, I came across this article. I could write a blog this morning about this topic, but Edward M. Hallowell, MD did such an amazing articulation of my experiences of late in this article, I think I will just share it.

Please, please honour yourself and take the time to read it.
Tips to Create the Life You Want

Thursday, January 16, 2014


"Tomorrow Is Another Day."

This is common knowledge, yes, but it's helpful to acknowledge there's always another day to get it right when today just isn't working out.

And when we believe that this moment will be the rest of the day, it probably will because we will keep rejecting it, dwelling on and it and letting it rule our present moment.

Let go and carry on.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Digestive fire

With the full entrance into the New year, the schedule is getting more and more demanding, the days seem to have less time. The Masters say, this is when it is essential to commit to your practice. Rod Stryker has often said, if you very limited time to practice, you should do an agni sara practice. So I will offer you this article, since my days are full and my time to offer you my own work limited.

And this comes from one of the best sources on the web. Enjoy!

Guide to Agni Sara, by Sandra Anderson

Sunday, January 12, 2014

When things get challenging

Lately I have found it more challenging to practice. In response I reflected on why? Initially the thoughts of shifting schedules, disrupted sleep and too much merry making and poor eating came to mind. As we rolled beyond the Holidays and back to work, things have not improved, and I shifted my blame to the behavior of the dogs, who really have been disruptive this week. Now there is the broken arm and getting the staff coordinated into the new schedule at work.

But really this morning as I have pushed meditation back again, and try to use the excuse of the restless night because of the pounding wind and rain, I can see, it's not that. The thought "I should do an asana practice," floated through my mind. And it was quickly followed with "that is not going to change things." I know asana helps to cultivate stillness of mind so we can really discern truth. It is a tool. But in the eight limbs of Yoga, the Yamas (restraints) and the Niyamas (skillful actions) come before asana. AND as was so eloquently described by Greg Capitolo at the master class I attended Friday, these are more like spokes than limbs or rungs. 
The five restraints or Yamas include non harming, truthfulness, non stealing, moderation of the senses and non possessiveness. The Niyamas include self care or purification, contentment, self discipline, self study, and surrender. As I reflect on the past number of weeks, what I see is how distracting the environments I have been in have been. The TV on draws the visual and auditory senses away from the self and the inner landscape. This has had a huge affect on my state of mind. The non possessiveness has been triggered with the shopping for the Holidays and the dogs tearing things to pieces, the project of renovating has embedded me in possessiveness. On the flip side I am strongly committed to self study and yet struggle with contentment. I don't like the wind and the cold and the damp and it is winter in Nova Scotia. 

Since the spokes of the wheel of are various lengths, so too my practice rolls along a little bumpy and harshly. I notice most of us like to practice what we excel in. Believe me I am not different. But I also know after years of coaching, working on your weaknesses can only be successful if we start at an easier level and see some success. For me it is easier to walk away from a TV set then it is to practice contentment in winter. It's easier to write and round out self study through that forum than it is to cultivate the discipline to avoid my comfort foods on winter. 

So I will start with the easier things and they will give me the will and confidence and determination to work with the harder things. They will build shakti, inner strength. There is no point where we have mastered these ten elements completely. Rather these elements make up the soil in which we plant our karmic seeds and it is ever changing as a result of our actions and the actions of the environment in which we live. The quality of other practices, meditation, asana, pranayama are influenced by the quality of this soil.

Namaste ;)

Saturday, January 11, 2014


For 8 am on a Saturday morning, the house is very quiet. Fynn is sleeping. He had a big night. He broke his arm and it was midnight when we started getting the cast. As I sat in the emergency waiting through the process and absolutely helpless in it, I recognized how complex life can really be. We are born into this world in a very violent and painful way. We take falls and usually get up and keep going, sometimes we get stitches or casts. Sometimes it's a virus or bacterial infection and we take drugs. For the most part we are quite resilient. And yet, there are still those things that can happen that can take our life away in a moment. Hitting his head instead of landing on his wrist could have meant a very different outcome.

I watched my child smile and tell his story, chuckle and engage with the doctor, and I could have been focused on disappointment and fear. Fynn will not be able to continue the ski Fridays at school, nor will he play hockey this term. He will really not like that. He will no longer be able to participate with the snowboard league. I have never had a cast, but I will bet he is going to go through some discomfort with it. None of those things mattered. All I could really see was that he was breathing normally, moving pretty normally, (except for the arm), smiling and alive.

I end so many of the Yoga classes I teach asking the participants to cultivate a sense of gratitude for their health and their will and determination that brought them to class and through class. Sometimes it even sounds contrived to me. As I sit and try to do the same thing, it can take work. Last night despite it being midnight, despite my own fatigue, despite the potential to feel disappointment, all I could really feel was grateful. So very, very grateful. It did not take work at all. Sometimes I guess it is good to get a little shaken up.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A little faith and a lot of love

"It is said that faith can move mountains, and it does." Swami Rama

This is absolutely perfect for me to remember. When I feel that things are not as they should be, I always stop taking care of me.

Bella shouldn't be bananas when I am out during the day. I start trying to gain control and feel out of control. This leads to my own compulsive behaviors. Snacking or having a drink to relax leads to restless sleep. Restless sleep leads to rumination and stronger attachment. This leads to more challenge with meditation. It all begins to snowball. Ironically I notice I also just continue to chase her new behavior. She gets in the food cupboard, get a lock for the door; she gets into the garbage, abracadabra the stairs; she gets in my room, move furniture to block her.

Fear of more destruction. Fear of having to give her away surface. Fear of being a bad pet owner are the driving force. I keep trying to get her to succeed by giving her chances maybe she doesn't want. She is trying to tell me something with her behavior but I am not listening.

What if I consider the faithful thought that we will work this out?
Thoughts like call the trainer I worked with last fall come up. Call the vet and see what they say. Ahhhh, now I am resting in possibility and not fear. Hope.

I guess my job when I begin to ruminate is to cultivate faith first. Good to remember.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Never Give Up

Spent a few hours in the middle of the night wide awake and journaling. Slept in and did not get to meditate this morning. The challenge I put to Byron Katie's Judge Your Neighbor worksheet was my thoughts that life should be fair. I can recall this being my favorite angry and resentful retort to my parents as a child. I clearly remember my mother's reply, "Well, life is not fair."

With a little more wakefulness and separation from my restless night, I wonder about this. I am quite sure Victor Frankl would agree that life is not fair, and yet he did not let that help him survive a concentration camp and go on to create a treatment approach for people in therapy. Nor did this woman, Lizzie Velasquez in her description of her life experience in this TED talk.

So what do I really have to complain about? Not much really. I am not being fed barely enough to survive, not being asked to light myself on fire and do the world a favor by dying. I in fact have it pretty good. My real problem is that I keep expecting it to be better than it is.

Thanks Byron Katie ;)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Me too.

This morning I awoke after a restless night. I did not want to move. I knew if I moved too much, the dogs would begin. Baxter would come over and jump up toward me, wanting me to get up and let him out. I thought about meditating on my back and knew that would not be a good idea. I really want to write. But there is no time. It is already 5:20 am and by the time I get meditation done, dogs taken care of my morning cleaning routine and check personal email, have a cup of coffee and breakfast, it will easily be 6:30am. And the dogs will still need their walk which is a half hour commitment. And then it is time to leave.

As I sighed heavily and fought off the covers along with my barrage of negative feelings of resentment for not being able to just get up and write, I decided I would follow the advice of my teacher's teacher, Pandit Rajamani Tigunait; I would write reflections on what is the root cause beneath these feelings.

As my fingers skimmed over the keyboard and my thoughts were spilled out onto the page, I was still being pulled toward the dogs. Bella was pacing and moving constantly, whining. This is not normal morning behaviour and I knew she needed something from me. Eventually, I got up with a huff and took her outside. Standing with her on leash trying to decide where she would do her business and trying to pull me further and further from the warmth of the house. Eventually she and I both gave up and went back in.

Clarity. This is all about feeling like I am responsible to everyone, thing else before myself. This is about me and my expectation that I am responsible to take care of everyone else first and myself only when all of that is done. My dogs will not die if they do not eat as soon as we get up. It took a few days, but even as pups they both figured out to rest while I meditate. It is time to just establish the new boundaries with everyone that help me feel less responsible. More importantly, to have faith that my intention to complete my responsibilities will get them done in the time they should, but not necessarily without me taking care of me too.

Intention in the Pose

With this time of year and an urge to work toward becoming the person we wish to be whether that is more flexible, stronger or more steady, it will take will. It takes more than just the desire to get to class and to perform the asana. It becomes hard to get to class on some days. And even if we cultivate enough will to get there, sometimes it is hard to be there fully. Our mind is still at our office or thinking about other obligations.

The following article provides some great suggestions on how to cultivate the willpower needed to achieve the things we desire. Enjoy! And remember, it takes energy to stay committed, so balance your rigorous asana class with a restorative one.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Resolve to evolve

Many years ago now, Nick and I were climbing in Rifle Mountain Park in Colorado. It was late September and the temps were perfect for sending hard projects. Nick was so close to sending his 5.14b and I my first 5.13. On a rest day we went to town and learned via voicemail that we had lost our sponsorship. We were devastated and at a loss of what to do. To make a long story short... we had decided to leave the canyon and return to Nova Scotia. I would try to get a teaching job and Nick would possibly go back to working at the Trail Shop in the interim. As we were driving out of the canyon a fellow climber pulled us over and said,

"Eventually people will not remember who did the first or second ascent of a route, but you will always remember what you accomplished and what you walked away from."

With a new year on the horizon and the noticing of days turning into years, it is a great statement to reflect on. Many of us will set New Years resolutions with gusto and we will embark on becoming who we want to become. But what will we do when our sponsorship is pulled... and it gets hard?

Again I will reiterate... it takes a coach, and our friend who reminded us why we climb was that coach in that moment. Who will be your coach to help you through the hard moments?

It takes a desire you really believe in.
Don't just resolve to lose weight, resolve to feel light and energized.
Don't resolve to find a new job, resolve to be working at something that is really exciting and inspiring.

Resolve to become the person you wish to become.

PS For my regular readers... just torn up cardboard and paper from the fire box on day 2.

Monday, January 6, 2014

And it was.... ok

So we left Bella and Baxter alone at home for three and a half hours. Upon arrival I saw all the non proofing I had done. They pulled all the empty beer bottles out of a cubby that is at floor level. They pulled out shoes from the shoe caddy, fortunately they refrained from chewing the shoes.

Whew... that didn't seem so bad. Fynn went to work on cleaning up the mess and I went about walking them along one of their favourite routes. It was a beautiful afternoon.

Upon returning home, I decided I really needed to fix the door. So I went downstairs to get the screwdriver. And that is where I realized a whole lot more went on in that three and a half hours. They had managed to get the garbage bag out of the rubber garbage bin and tear the entire bag to pieces.

Despite having meditated this morning, I am still on the fence. To leave them with the access to the whole house or not. I recall that when Bella was about a year, I tried leaving her and she progressed from a manageable mess to my discovery that she got into a drawer and got a knife out. Hmmm.... that was months ago.

Perhaps it is one of those things you just need to give time.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Choosing the present

The morning is dark and cold. We are up early and did the post blizzard shoveling last night. We should have packed the car. Perhaps then I would not have forgotten my boots. But forget my boots I did. And this leads to new choices. Having arrived at the ski hill, do I spare the additional expense and rent boots, or do I enjoy the warm sunny table inside with hours before me of reading, writing and taking photos? From this cozy vantage point I can see Fynn coming off the jumps.

I can appreciate the many people braving the minus nine temperatures in pursuit of the next thrill. More importantly I can see this as opportunity or lost opportunity. I can allow it to impact my mood positively or negatively. I have chosen positive. 

I have potentially eight more weekends of this experience ahead. With minus nine, my ability to enjoy the outdoor experience is somewhat limited. I hear the many folks coming and going, reporting on frozen toes, fingers and just how cold it is. IEEE the many folks moving past the window with their entire face covered. Perhaps there is a reason my boots didn't get into the car this morning, perhaps not. Regardless, I get to chose what I do about it and how I do it. I get to chose seeing the beauty in this present moment or stay in the regret of forgetting in the past. 

Risky business

As you know, if you read my blog from yesterday, I spent yesterday at Wentworth. I did enjoy the time of watching my son and getting photos and a video of him in the terrain park. I knew it would be a long day. And I was concerned about leaving the hounds, Bella and Baxter at home. Bella, my year and a half old black coated retriever mutt who loves company and has a lot of energy. In the first year of her life she has destroyed numerous shoes, her dog bed, more than once and she has gotten bread off the counter and has managed to pull blankets and towels into her cage to destroy them when I was trying to keep her in a cage. Worried she would have the cage collapse on her, I gave her a room. She has taken the trim off the walls and even pulled drywall tape off the wall. She has chewed electrical cords and gotten into any box or basket in the room - even those that are elevated to the four foot height. Now she is only a medium sized dog and weighs in around fifty pounds. But she is bouncy.

Baxter is a six month old golden retriever. He was brought into the scene because I thought perhaps Bella was suffering from separation anxiety, and with a companion, perhaps she would settle down. Baxter is learning to become bouncy, however he by comparison has only really been involved in tug of war over the bed and the resulting destruction. He gleefully enjoys chewing on sticks from the wood bag and wrestling with Bella. He loves her company and she his. And now they are best buds. He will chew her muzzle off and destroy it and her harness too.

When we left yesterday morning, I gave them time in snow, I left them with a bone and an extra large kong filled with frozen peanut butter - each - to keep them busy. I was concerned though for after a few weeks of having us home pretty much everyday, I knew the adjustment would be hard. Bella always has a harder time and misbehaves more on Mondays than any other day. But imagine my surprise when arriving home to discover two hounds gleefully at the door. Not in the room they were left in. I opened the door and let them out and peered into the house. I began to consider how this could have happened. Did a neighbour come over and let them out of the room? Fynn investigated and found the truth.

They knocked the door off the hinges.

As I considered what could I do now, I went immediately to I cannot handle this. Maybe I need to let Bella go to a home where there is someone there all the time. And as I watched her and Baxter bound around in the snow, I realized how much that would hurt her and him and me. And Fynn. 

I can't give up on her. But what am I to do? Then the thought moved through my mind, "maybe it is time for her to not be shut in a room." Careful investigation of the rest of the house showed no signs of destruction, just a pulled apart ball of wool and obviously some running around the living room given the disarrayed rug.

This morning as we walked through the woods still ripe with a blanket of undisturbed snow, I reflected on an article I read about how to parent willful children. I was one of those willful children. My parents called me stubborn, mischievous and a trouble maker. The article suggested that rather than try to control a willful child, to try to connect with the child using patience and negotiation. The author suggestions that communication and cooperation. As I watched Bella and Baxter bound up the hill I thought, "how can I make that work with Bella, my strong willed child?"

This may seem crazy to some, but to me, my pets are like children. And they are family. So I cannot give up on Bella. Communication with her comes in time off leash. Cooperation comes with the right balance of treats and positive reinforcement. It comes with giving her quality time. And I suppose, there comes a time when one must try just trust too.

Wish me luck.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Life Long Essence

Wonderful Christmas dinner at my cousin's home with my sister and her family, my aunt, my cousins and their family. On the wall in the hallway was a photo of my sister and my cousin, their kids and partners. It was taken while they were camping one summer and I am guessing but more than ten years ago. Their boys, one of whom celebrates his seventeenth birthday today, look to be about six or maybe seven. I look intently at my sister who in this picture did not drive, she wasn't taking dance lessons, nor did she practice Yoga. Those were things that came later. But my sister has always been a soft place to rest. It is as if she exudes this inviting and welcoming energy that allows one to feel safe. Her home feels safe, her kitchen always seems clean even when it is full of dinner dishes to be washed. She is the place I have gone for reprieve from the real world. I don't believe I am the only one either.

As I looked at this photo and could see the progression of years, I realized we don't notice this passage of times readily in the day to day of living. A birthday is just another passing of twenty-four hours. And yet all those twenty-four hour periods add up to years and years add up to decades. There are more lines on my face and my skin feels a little thinner. I notice the change in the shape of my face as my tissue begins to drop. And yet there is the essence within me that does not feel this movement of time. There is the part of me that still wants to start off down the sidewalk on my own. I seem to have a curiosity that always wants to explore and try something new. To create something new. That is the essence of me that is unchanging, just as there has always been this essence of feeling safe with my pain when I am with my sister.

What about you? What is the essence of who you are, unchanged from a few lines and grey hairs ago?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Back in Business

Here we are the first day back to work after an extended break, and a break where I remained at home. Normally when I am off work, I go away. So this morning we begin a new routine. We have to find the time to fit this writing in and still get off to work on time. If it is not possible, if I begin to feel too rushed, then the posting will move to later in the day.

I am looking forward to going back, even though on New Year's eve my answer to "Things to do that make work more fun," was "different work." It is not the intellect that will come to understand what it is about my work that I love and what it is that I don't. I think it will be the instinct that drives me in one direction or another. after having asked myself this question for so many years of doing the same or almost same job, I can say that the answer seems to allude me. I know I tend to keep moving in the direction of teaching and mentoring, coaching even though there are times I find people a big pain in the backside. I also know there are some times I just love the creative aspect of developing new programs, new curriculum. I also know I dislike the monotony of dealing with scheduling and payroll.

So we will have to see where it drives me on this cold day in January.