Gifts~

Long before I began teaching yoga, self-doubt and thoughts that my new skills would be  insufficient ran rampant. They had an ongoing field day in my head and played unmercifully with my confidence. More specifically these self-doubts rose up when I would think of teaching those whose abilities and understanding of the Astanga practice were more advanced than my own.

Then one evening while chatting with my daughter, I was gently reminded (with my own words) that we all have gifts. We may not always easily see, understand, or appreciate them but when we choose to withhold them it is likened to withholding blessings. The kind of  blessings that only our gifts, given selflessly, might be bestowed upon another.

Gratefully this conversation and reminder happened before I met Ms. Georgette.

A 40 year practitioner of Astanga Yoga.

While still slightly intimated by our 40 to 1 year experience ratio, I silenced any self-doubt that threatened to rise up and met her right where I was, with all my strengths as well as all my weakness. And  was accepted as well as appreciated by her from the start.

After that first class, we hugged and thanked each other for coming out.  Then lo and behold by the end of our second class, we had come to trust each other enough that she asked if I would assist her into a head stand. The first head stand she had done since having a pacemaker put in.  

Whoa!

Honor as well as bewilderment fell over me as I contemplated what she was asking. She went on to say, that I, with my oh so new knowledge and skills, had been the first teacher, post surgery, that provided her with the assurance needed to once again be ready for this step.

That moment…

if self-doubt had won or if I’d decided to stay within my comfort zone…

would have never happened. And it is precisely that moment that opened my heart to fully embrace the teacher within my self.

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We all have gifts.

Mine that day was offering assurance of ability to support and assist an advanced yogi back into a asana that she had easily done for years, prior to health issues. Hers, was in the trust she bestowed upon me that day and many times after.

Today, when I got home from teaching, there was a package waiting at my front door. While always a delight to receive a gift, this dearly and deeply blessed my soul. Georgette made me a new yoga mat carrier and bag, shared a beloved book and wrote a note containing words that I will forever hold dear.

We all have gifts!

Don’t withhold the blessings that your gifts can provided.

Share them!

And share them often.

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Shady~

Run!

Don’t walk…

skip…

twirl…

or my favorite…

sashay…

to find an old lampshade.

We’ll be waiting right here till y’all get back.

So excited to share this heck of a fun, inexpensive, quick and easy transformational project with you.

Perhaps you’ve got the perfect lamp base but your shade is just one of those plain ol’ white, cream or black ones that you picked up at your local shade purveyor and it is well, boring which is SOOOOOO not you cause baby, you ain’t boring!

Or maybe you got one of those lamps that was all fancy and such and it came with its own shade. And while it may not a piece of art or reflective of your personality, it was pretty and fit a need.

Or like me, you collect things, odd things, things like ohhhh I don’t know….lamps. Vintage ones. Alabaster ones to be exact. And then you find yourself being over run with white marble lamps in need of many a shades.

Here was my solution….

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I got busy tearing some old shades, found at my local thrift store, UP.  And torn them up good!!!

Then I got creative…

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real creative…

 

 

 

then again…

 

 

and again…

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Creating a lovely home doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  Let your creative juices flow (ps we ALL have them). I  promise your enviroment will take on a personality and reflect you, beautifully.

If you ever want/need help, I love creating and am always up for a new adventure! Call me.

Life lesson number 81,739~

 

IMG_1163I dearly love to laugh, cut up, pick with someone who can pick right back.

My entire family is made up with folks cut from this kind of tapestry.

When it comes to humor, sarcasm, talking over top of each other, bouts of down right silliness, and having an all around rip roarin’ good time, we could each and everyone garnish a gold medal. Gratefully we are all also loving, considerate, and kind. But if a laugh can be had…we will go for it. So it is an absolute blessing that each us were born with a duck’s back and married those with like-minded disposition. Thus allowing the continuation of this family tradition while raising up the next generation of gold medalist.

This feat of ours comes in awfully handy. So even when the yuck of life rears it ugly head, uncomfortable situations arise, or sadness befalls us, humor is sought and admirably seems to always be there.

Now in grade school, on the onset of attempting humor outside of my inner circle of misfits, I quickly discovered that humor and sarcasm if not readily coupled with kindness could be offensive and from time to time even hurtful. Making life lesson #81,739 one that I had throughly thought I learned and held a Master’s degree in…

I’m talking…

walked the stage,

in a gown with tassels (cause that’s how good I was in this arena),

family actin’ a fool,

hat tossed up in the air….

kind of learned!!!

Then last week happened!

While attempting to deal with one uncomfortable situation, another uncomfortable situation quickly rose up. In an effort to keep the first situation light I attempted to be funny in spite of the fact that I knew (literally being convinced by this knowledge in the moment… yet still proceeding) it was not kind to the second situation.

Within 60 seconds…

just like holding a short fused stick of lit dynamite…

it ALL exploded in my face.

And only once the soot began to settle could I truly see it for what it was…

unkind…

not very funny …

and hurtful to two friends that I deeply love.

Life lesson 81,739…

ALWAYS (no matter how funny it may seem) lead first and foremost with 

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#81,739 was a mighty painful lesson to learn. Yet, thankfully, I learned it with compassion towards myself in spite of all my many many shortcomings, with appreciation that even at this ripe ol’ age I can still be taught, and with joy that the “old enough to know better” stage of life…still lies before me!

 

 

 

What’s your super power?

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Or perhaps a more advantageous and precise question would be…

What is your favorite super power?

Cause boy howdy if we are not all blessed with MANY!

My favorite of all the super powers I have, is my ability to discern and ascertain, almost instantly, someone else’s current state of being.

For my entire existence I have had the keen ability to feel another’s feelings so profoundly that I can sense their mood, attitude, the deepest recesses of their emotions, the moment I walk into their presence.

Through the decades I have learned that one of my favorite gifts that comes with this super power is the potential to alter and impact those feelings…

elevating when they are down, bringing calm when emotions are flared, balancing the chaos, lightening the heavy…

Typically this is achieved by my staying calm, full of love, being astute, present, but neutral~knowing these are their feelings not my own, praying for guidance as I maneuver the unseen, and more times than not, accomplishing it all without the need of words.

My super power has allowed me to live my entire life from a heart centered space.

It is magnificent and one that I would not trade even for those of Superman or Wonder Woman. Although I really would enjoy playing around with that gals bullet deflecting bracelets and magical tiara that so slyly functions as a boomerang.

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Now my super powers, just like Superman and Wonder Woman, my favorite one in particular, has weaknesses.

His, as we know, is kryptonite and if those indestructible bracelets of hers get bound together…poor child’s awesome powers are completely lost.

Mine, however, comes from a couple of sources.

First source of weakness…

when I am not well rested or completely run down. When this happens I am just no good to myself or anyone else.

Second when I have not spent time alone in mediation. For I’m left feeling untethered and unable to accurately hone in on feelings.

Lastly, and thankfully, this is the most unlikely weakness to be breached, especially when the other two weaknesses are strong and in tact…

is when my own feelings have been hurt.

Have found when it is the latter, I tend to quickly and quietly withdraw. For it is a difficult task to feel another’s feeling, when I am overwhelmed with my own. This form of retreating, is the way I’ve always handled my undesired emotions. This is the way that I can accurately understand and manage the upheaval of that which customarily stable. This is the way that feels the most comfortable…the most safe. This, I am finding, is not how I want to continue as I transform (my word for 2018) into all that I have been created to be. 

I figure, in order for me to continue to grow in and fortify my super powers that I must consistently strengthen them. So today, and every day that comes after, when I feel like cocooning in… I will take a moment, access my super power and see if my own hurt emotions can be fully felt, duly managed, without the need to retreat. It is a promise I make to myself, more importantly it is a promise I make to those I love. It is a somewhat scary undertaking that is well outside my comfort zone. But I liken it to Wonder Woman allowing me to play dress up with all her accessories. Without the ability to be vulnerable how can we ever truly understand our strengths and appreciate the super powers we have been given.

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Beauty uncovered~

There is often a desire to sit and write out a fun little ditty but more times than not when the desire hits I’m not necessarily inspired or have something particular to write about. Or perhaps I am inspired but the thoughts aren’t organized, or the thoughts seem to be lining up yet the words won’t flow or my favorite reason… I get drawn into reading one of my beloved “When do I get the manual” post, finding myself lost in her wonderful writing of silly antics going on in her neck of the woods and before I know it my desire to write myself has moved about 5014.5 miles away and my mind is on to something else.

Often, instead of sitting down and diligently forcing the words to come, I turn on tunes, dance around a bit, pick up a paint brush, scraper, sandpaper and get out of my head into my body.

I find that is where the magic happens.

In this incubator of creativity my mind begins to let go and the thoughts that were once held captive between my ears unravels its self into a kind of nothingness. And in that space there is room for movement to occur and the oxygen fueling my creativity sparks off an idea that typically transforms itself into a string of words. Sometimes the words get written out. Sometimes not. For they aren’t always meant to be seen or known by anyone but me.

This was precisely what took place today. However, unsuccessfully, I did attempt sitting down in an effort to force the word thing out. I even began tip-tapping out something along the lines of…here I am, sitting here, right here, with nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing what so ever to write about, yet here I am…a Pulitzer in the making right there.

Then I got wise.

And I got busy.

Not busy doing.

Not busy being.

Busy having fun.

Busy creating.

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I got lost in a sturdy vintage piece that a friend thought I would enjoy restoring.

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At first, given the enormity of the piece with all its crooks and crevices, thought that painting would be the way to go. But as I started that process the piece told me…

yes furniture talks to me. Doesn’t it talk to you?…

“the wood underneath all the brown-ness~ is gorgeous. Bring it out. Bring it into the light”

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With that I began the daunting task of stripping, sanding, working towards drawing the beauty that has been hidden deeply for years under layers of stain and varnish out and into the light.

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For now it is merely one drawer and a-whole-lotta brown yet to be uncovered.

But as I placed the one drawer back into its original spot a thought sparked and words strung together…

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There is beauty everywhere. No matter how deeply hidden. We only need to give it the time and care it needs to be discovered, looking past the brown-ness into that which is not always readily visible. (This includes crotchety folks, worn out bodies, scattered minds, tattered relationships, forgotten spaces, discarded pieces.) There is beauty in everything and everyone if we take the time to uncover it. For the beauty is there. It is just waiting to be brought out into the light.

two mothers~

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In  a serious tone, she asked “how long did y’all wait for me?” my heart skipped. Well it was more than just a skip, it was a jump, a somersault, and a cart-wheel all at once. Quickly praying for guidance and for words that as an adult I could not fully wrap my mind around yet now hoped that a 7-year-old would somehow be able to comprehend. Taking the longest inhale, holding her hands, I launched into ‘the conversation’…

“pretty much waited and prepared for you my whole life.  Ever since desiring to be a mom I would pray for a child that I could lovingly guide and whose life I could be a vital part of. To be honest, I secretly and sometimes not so secretly hoped for a daughter. And in all those years that I longed for, waited for, and prayed for this child, even with all the hurdles that were placed in front of, somehow, I felt at the deepest part of my being, that when the time was right it would happen. And while, I never anticipated that we would go half way around the world to become parents…for YOU, baby girl, I would have willingly waited for as long as necessary and would have gladly traveled to the ends of the earth. You were always meant to be ours. And we were always meant to be yours.”

Exhaling the breath I didn’t realize I was holding, I stood there waiting and wondering what she is thinking? Had what I said sufficiently answered her question? Did it sound to her little ear like a silly cliché even though every word was sincere and deeply heart-felt? Would the next question be why did they give me up?, or did they not want me?, or could they not care for me? Or any of the other million and seventeen questions I might have asked if in her place. Being honest with every action and word since the moment we met, my mind quickly went to was I truly ready to answer any and all questions she might need answers to?

My mind a flurry with questions I’d presumed would come my way, when she looked up at me with her gorgeous brown Asian eyes, smiling she said “I know all that. No, what I was wondering how long did you and daddy sit on the black sofa in China and wait for the nanny to bring me out to meet you?”

Oh

ohhhhhhhhh

OHHHHHHHHH

THAT.

“only about 10 minutes”

and just that quickly her curiosity was settled and off she went back to what she was doing before.

My daughter and I share a completely open line of communication. Absolutely nothing is off-limits. From time to time she has asked things that have answers that are far beyond her grasp. Yet I will still answer each to the best of my ability. Sharing what I believe she can take in given her level of maturity and understanding at the time of the questions. Sheltering her from time to time when she is not fully ready for the entirety of it. It has consistently been this way. For this and so much more I am thankful for the relationship we have created.

The conversation that took place when she was seven was not the first we spoke about her adoption. In fact, how we became a family, is a treasure to us. One that is fully embraced, highly cherished, and proudly shared. We adore that she became ours through such a loving process. We have talked openly about the history of China, with their one child policy. We have looked at pictures of the orphanage where she spent her first 13 months. We’ve discussed the possibilities of her having unknown siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins… As she got older and began to understand why families in China were not willing/able to keep their daughters, she felt sorrow for the insufficient value placed on girls and the lack of worth she feels is granted to women in her birth country. One of her heart-felt desires is to see this eradicated in her lifetime.

Fortunately she has never once felt unwanted, unloved, or abandoned. She has only known an abundance of love, unconditional acceptance, and complete embracing from her entire crazy family (her description). She is ours. We are hers. She is, and loves in return, enormously.

The only other time my gal has come to me with a question in a somewhat serious manner about her adoption was in regards to her birth mother. She asked if I knew what she looked like. Even though I believe she knew the answer prior to asking. Since she knows that her story, and our limited knowledge of her history, began on the steps of an orphanage in Nanjing China. Once again taking her hands and looking deeply into her eyes I answered with the utmost sincerity… “I do not, but she must be breathtaking to have had a daughter as lovely as you.” I went on to say, still with a resolute knowing “she loved you very much, of this I am certain, for she took a huge risk to leave you on those steps, out in the open, allowing you to be discovered and quickly cared for”. Once again satisfied with the answer she hugged me tightly.

Today it is rare for us to think about or discuss how we became a family. Just as I imagine folks who have kids the natural old fashion way don’t spend their days sitting around thinking and talking about their child’s birth. We just live each day in love, with a great deal of laughter, and an unfathomable amount of homework.

But every once in awhile and particularly on days like today…my gal’s 14th birthday, I will think about the breathtaking woman in China and say a prayer of gratitude for her courage and her precious gift.

 

 

 

 

Hunting in my own home~

Y’all I love to hunt!

There is such a thrill of getting out there into the unknown, the anticipation, the search the hope, that the perfect ‘trophy’ will come into range.

My hunt however has never been with guns, rather with an open mind and creative spirit.

My hunting grounds…

thrift stores

salvage yards

used furniture stores

and from time to time if the bounty is just right…other folks trash.

In fact found some excellent shelves for my bathroom just this way, however now my family will no longer walk the neighborhood with me on trash nights.

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Rarely do I have a strategy or solid idea of what I am hunting for. I just head out and allow the imagination to run wild. Sometimes there will be a need that I am trying to meet, such as rods for curtains that require hanging and come across old scroll iron work that creatively fit the bill while meeting the need.

Or a desire to have a bedside table and stumble upon industrial shelves, that beautifully provided additional storage.

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The current need around here became apparent as we were getting ready for an annual New Year’s tradition…Star Wars movie marathon. My gal, instead of sitting on the sofa in the TV room/studio, brought cushions from another room’s sofa stating “the sofa out there is so uncomfortable”.

And as I settled in next to her and her giant panda that was our movie guest/pillow for the night. I agreed the “floor sofa” was indeed more pleasant to sit on and made a promise I’d begin searching for more comfortable seating during my upcoming hunting trips.

Now friends I fully intended to keep my promise in a timely manner, even though, right now, every dime I’m able to save is being saved for new kitchen counter tops. Yet I knew I could pursue this promise by perusing with patience the wonderful discarded sofas and chairs out there. Having just helped a friend replace a sofa with just such an excellent find and in the process spending less for this well made, vintage, curved, corduroy sofa than we would have for a venti Starbucks cappuccino.

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So off I went goodwill hunting and happened upon not a sofa but a fabulous idea…

In one of the used furniture store they had a twin bed set up with a king sized headboard running along the backside. It was an ingenious idea that turned a twin mattress into a day-bed/sofa. Forgoing the continued hunting excursion. I headed home tearing apart the currently unused metal farmed twin bed that had been my daughters, handed down to her from one of her grandmothers. Then searching through boxes found a quilt my dad gave me when I had left for college almost 30 years ago. Scooping up all the extra pillows I could find around the house, and securing old doors as our ‘sofa’ back…I fulfilled my promise before we began watching Return of the Jedi and without spending a cent.

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So before you shop retail, check out second-hand stores, and before you go there, hunt your own home. There is treasure everywhere!

Y’all tell us about some of your excellent finds, repurposed items, and creative resources.

 

A masterpiece in the making~

Round these here parts there is always a project going on.

ALWAYS

Sometimes, we have multiple ones taking place at the same time. Yet typically there is one project that takes center stage. And this one project typically falls into one or more of three categories…

  1. it is a gift for another with a specific timeframe to which it needs to be given
  2. it has somehow caused a disruption or upheaval in the home and has infiltrated our peaceful serenity with it’s chaos
  3. it is a current obsession and my hands and mind can’t seem to stop playing, creating, or enjoying it

Many of these projects begins with a simple idea. Rarely do the ins and outs, hows and hows nots, the do and don’ts come with the initial spark of genius. Nope it’s merely a flicker of creativity that takes place then requires a bit of gumption, a great deal of spirit, one giant leap into the unknown, and then with time, effort, and fun… ultimately the idea takes shape and comes into being.

Our entire home has been created just this way. Idea after idea. Leap after leap. Project after project. Always a work in progress however when I or anyone else walks into the space we are enveloped by elegance, uniqueness, and simple beauty. Nothing here is perfect. In fact most of the pieces are somehow perfectly imperfect. Not one single item holds much monetary value. Yet all has been lovingly created, restored and placed. And as I sit here on my 14-year-old slip covered sofa typing out these radon thoughts to y’all, every single thing within my line of sight makes me smile with appreciation, gratitude and even pride for there is a sense of unmeasurable joy in creating such an environment.

Even my current project that leans unassuming against the fireplace in front of the stairs, brings about a smile.

Well…

at least now it does.

 

IMG_1567 Continue reading

Alchemy at its best~

Definition

When we immerse ourselves into something intensely, passionately, with a great deal of intention and profound joy.  It impacts us. Changes us. Transforming the moment, the attitude, the understanding…the person.

It can simply be by soaking in a tub of steaming hot water full of essential oils with their essence wafting through the air, or by taking off on a radical adventure in a far away land where relying on the kindness of others takes center stage. Perhaps it comes by enjoying a new hobby, or learning to speak a new langue, cooking a new dish, learning to play the guitar…paint…surf. Or it could be by the simple act of exploring deeper into knowledge and understanding of a current passion, skill, desire.

This week, the last week of my glorious forties, I completed the latter. Delving even deeper into my newly found passion of Yoga and taking on the challenge of becoming a Yoga teacher.  The leap from student to teacher in this arena was likened to a chasm for me.

Providing knowledge, wisdom, and skills with another comes easily as I tend to live life transparently and the act of sharing any of my gifts is one of my life’s greatest joy. However, rarely have I ever felt the desire to teach, coach, or train another. Even with my daughter I discovered early on that I was the most effective mom by engaging fully while lovingly allowing her the space and opportunities to become the extraordinary person she was created to be. Not by teaching her my ways but by living my life full on, passionately, with faith, hope and love. Ultimately setting just one (of many) example for her to witness on her journey of finding her own way of being. And gratefully so, for she is magnificent in every way!

Yet in the end (or as my teacher says “just the beginning”) of my remarkably intense teacher training, I was transformed. No longer merely a student and practitioner. Yoga became more than a series of asanas, practiced in a beautiful shala, while surrounded by a supportive tribe. Yoga became what it is…a union. The very word “yoga” makes reference to this. In Sanskrit the root, “yuj” (meaning “unity” or “yoke”), indicating that the purpose of yoga is to unite ourselves with our highest nature. Giving us the ability to transform far beyond the limits of our own mind and body granting us infinite potential to transcend those limitations.

Is my highest nature to teach? Well…that is still yet to be seen. But this I am certain of, by merely immerging myself deeper…magic happened. Like one of David Copperfield’s trick, the old disappeared and what reemerged is a new creation. Vegetarian, Sanskrit speaking (albeit with a southern twang) and all.

 

Crossing the bridge, finally~

10 years ago, I ran, jogged, walked, just about lost my cookies, and hit the wall while doing a 15K.

Two things factored in the almost cookie loss and wall hitting.

Thing one…my longest run/jog/walk at that time had only been 5 miles

Thing two…I was completely ill prepared for May and Orlando’s humidity, temperatures, and lack of breeze.

Crazy as it sounds, having lived in FL for 13 years and walking a step or two round the amusement parks that’s here, I thought…ain’t a thang, I so got this.

Hmmm hmmm hmmm honey child

Walking round the Mouse’s house to wait endlessly in lines, is not running, jogging, walkin’ 9.3 miles in the same shoes.

Y’all, get what I’m steppin’ in here? Continue reading