And then there were 5

 

I am at work doing my best to be present and focused on what is at hand. This is no small feat given that I am getting continuous updates from home as to the comings and goings of The Foxes. It is so amazing and I am grateful for the diversion. I got a lovely note letting me know there are five babies. We now have confirmed visual on five babies. I was giddy with excitement.

And then there was a short wave of panic. Five? Wait, how many babies do foxes have? So I looked it up and found out that Red Foxes tend to have 1-10 kits at a time…then I screamed. Ten?! Oh my goodness, can we handle ten little foxes soon to be big foxes running all around our hill? I breathed and gave over to the Universe knowing it’s all going be alright. The Foxes are here and bringing joy. That’s where I will stay.

Matt and I are constantly chuckling now and empathizing for that Mama Fox. Every time we see those wee ones pop out and my wee ones go running up the steps to see them, the foxes zip back into their holes. We giggle but apologize to that Mama who has probably been out hunting all night for them and would simply like five minutes to nap or do whatever and she can’t get it. We know. We know all too well.

Wednesday Morning Meditation

May 8 – We only had 20 minutes to discover our stillness and find the light within ourselves. We began from a standing spiraling energy and gently took each breath to settle and go inside. We took care of our bodies. We took care of our hearts. I am so blessed to have this opportunity and doing my best to take it every time.

Tadasana and Utkatasana brought us swiftly into concentrated power. I am so proud to look out at the room full of young people taking the journey to be healthier and more mindful. It is in these moments of sustaining postures that I am no longer agitated by discomfort. I am finding ways to allow it to be there while also being appreciative that I can experience this. I enjoy reminding my students that they have control over their experience and can adjust accordingly. It is liberating.

Cobra today was transformative. We focused more on our alignment and less on how high we lifted and it became a new experience. I am hoping to show them that pushing through sometimes leaves you empty. That in yoga it is important to explore the stretch and sensation in the small movements and adjustments. My students took the time to allow their bodies to gradually rise and stayed present to what slight shifts could reveal.

When is came time for our closing mediation I encouraged my students to focus on recognizing their inner strength and power. With every inhale we invited thoughts of what we most want to become. We inhaled the strength and power we wish to possess. With every exhale we expanded and rejoiced that we are already what we wish to become. We celebrate the path and continue the cycle. I saw the light beam out from every face in front of me. These kids shine. Be the light.

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Magic of Foxes

Not too long ago, we noticed a large dirt mound on our hill. It had not been there before and it was strange how it seem to simply appear. My husband climbed over the railing of our steps to take a closer look. He reported back that it was a large hole, like a den some animal has built.

Then the most amazing transformation happened to our household this week. An adorable family of foxes emerged. From what we have seen there are four babies. They tumble around the woods and race around with their lunches hanging out of their mouths. It is exciting and soothing all at once. Everyone in our family is so in love it is invigorating. Yesterday we spent most of the day watching them race around and watch us watching them. It is wonderful what they have released in us. I am so grateful for this new bit of life and joy in our world.

My daughter desperately wanted a fox from Santa Claus. A real fox she could have as a pet. We convinced her that it would not and could not happen. She kept believing that a fox would come to her. So this experience has caused a sense of hope and universal connection for us all. She believes they are there because of her wish.

We have been doing research and learning about foxes. We have told the children that we are going to do our best to live in harmony with the fox family. We are happy to learn that they will help limit the rodent and tick population as both of these felt out of control. Maybe the Universe answered my pleas for help on both accounts. The foxes are here and we welcome them with open hearts to our River Cottage.

Practice what you Teach

April 17 – This week I wanted my yoga students to not only make strides in their personal practice of focus, stretch, strength, and balance; but I wanted them to know that anything was possible because they possess all the tools they need to be successful. I wanted them to believe that they hold their power. Our mediation was centered on the quote:

Everything you need, your courage, strength, compassion and  love; everything you need is already within you.

I began class with that phrase and ended with it.  I also told them:

There are only two mistakes someone can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting. -Buddha

I could feel them melt as they released into these ideas. When I said it at the beginning of class, it was something to think about and roll around in their brains. When I said it again at the end of class, I could feel the kids grow and get more powerful. It is the most amazing feeling in the world to feel that inner strength from someone radiate into the room. I am so thankful for this opportunity.

Then it flooded me like a fiery bubbling wave. I needed to hear this and say this. I needed to remind myself that I do not need to search anywhere but in my own self for all the courage, strength, compassion, and love I need. I have it. I have had it all along. So much of my upbringing has reinforced the American scheme of being dependent on commercialism, self doubt, and self deprecation in order to survive. I am reteaching myself to look within and like what is there. I am learning to be faithful in myself and capabilities.

 

The time is always NOW

“The is never a time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment, the time is always now.” -James Baldwin DWCHS ’42

April 3 – This was our closing meditation in yoga this morning. We are reinforcing that we are control of our actions and how we focus our energy. I am never quite certain from where the quote or intention will come and yet every week as if by magic it happens. I am so blessed to be part of a group of young people that are using yoga and meditation to redirect their futures.

I have found this quote particularly helpful in warding off feelings of failure and doubt. I am always in the moment of creating my salvation. I am always in the opportunity of generating positive change and growth. It seems as though stress, deadlines, expectations, and frustrations have been consuming my thoughts. I am doing my best to remember that I can breathe and make better choices. I can enlist help when needed. I can believe in the power of now to release me from the mistakes I made before or the perception of myself that is not serving me well. I know that each breath I inhale, I can reflect all the things I am able to do in this moment to feel and be better. With every exhale I breathe out gratitude for the opportunity to be this amazing person with choices and love. This is what I encourage in my students. Go inside and bring in the celebration of self. Breathe out the appreciation and be thankful for the ability to be celebratory. It guarantees motivation and positive energy.

Each moment I take my salvation, my future into my own hands, I am empowering the inner warrior to love, celebrate, and give thanks. In this moment now I am beyond happy that I am bringing yoga into my life with a more focused and dedicated approach. I am grateful that I have students with which I can share my journey and together we learn and grow. Healing is a process. I am coming back stronger and more aware and I am thankful.

 

Appreciation

Today while at my daughter’s soccer practice, I was chatting with some other parents. One mom that I am friendly with took pause and asked me how I am feeling. It took a moment for it to land on me that she was genuinely asking about me -not my family, my work, my schedule, but asking about ME.

I am so grateful she did that and don’t feel as if I gave it as much appreciation in the moment as it deserved. When I thought about it later, I wrote her a text message to let her know I was grateful.

I would like to do more of that – noticing genuine moments of care and honoring them. I am not going to be grandiose and say that this year, month, week or even day I will commit to that gesture. I am simply going to encourage myself in this moment to be more aware of moments I can be appreciative and do it.

Yoga Challenge

Making time for myself can be difficult. Often I think of things I want to do or change about my life and set these huge goals or create expectations that simply cannot be met. Recently, I was realizing I wanted to get back to my yoga practice. However, with two little ones and a busy schedule, it can be difficult to maintain a regular class practice.

I spoke about this with a friend. I was feeling defeated that it is too difficult to go to yoga class regularly. She suggested something so genius and simple I have to write about it. She suggested I take a small bit of time in the day for me to do yoga. She asked if I “could find 5 minutes today?” SO when I hung up the phone, I found a quiet place to myself and became still. I did one sun salutation and then another and then one more. I heard my kids looking for me so I came back to a place of stillness and simply got quiet with myself for another five minutes. It was great.

Then I thought, what if I gave myself sun salutations each day? If they can become a practice that develops into more – great. If not, let’s see how many days I can give myself that gift. Simple. I am not worried about getting to class or rearranging everyone’s life.

What transpired was amazing. As I carved out my pocket of time and space for sun salutations, my kids watched and began to understand that mommy would need a small window of time to herself and it was okay. Sometimes they even join in and the session grows in length.

This may sound silly to anyone who has freedom over their time. Yet, this is also teaching me and my children important lessons about prioritizing and meditation. My sun salutations challenge is also helping me to see the wonder and opportunity in the whole of my day. There are so many unclaimed moments that can be redirected inward.

So now I challenge myself to #sevensunsalutations where I try to have seven days in a row that I give myself some inner sunshine. If I miss I day, I simply begin again.

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Claw Foot

Never underestimate the power of a good bath.

When I first moved to Manhattan, I lived in an apartment that was a sublet from a guy I did not know. It was very reasonable rent because it was his families’ apartment – rent stabilized and he was not looking to make money off of us, or at least a lot of money. How fortunate I am to have had this opportunity. I don’t think the move could have been possible otherwise. My amazing friend and roommate worked almost an opposite schedule to mine so my evenings were spent alone. I had very little money when I came to Manhattan. I gave myself two weeks to find a job. Much to my delight, I found one and felt relieved. Now my job was an hourly wage that would certainly not have me rolling in the money but it would cover my rent with a little bit left for food and such. There was nothing left for partying or going out in the evening for a long stretch.

My ritual became an evening bath. I would come home from work. Eat a salad or whatever my nightly ration was and then begin to compile my belongings for sanctuary time. In this apartment our bathroom was small but held the most glorious claw foot tub. I had never lived in a house or apartment with anything but the prefabricated plastic cubical tubs. This tub was magnificent. I was able to stretch out and be completely covered. I would take the phone in there. In case I needed to make a call – I wasn’t getting out for a while. I would surround myself with candles, books, and journals. My usual bath music was Norah Jones but I was often adventurous and daring.

I firmly believe these hot soaks saved me. It did not prevent me from all dangers and bad decisions but I really believe that my ritual and self care kept me aware, sober and healthy more often than not. That is a good thing! Sometimes I fantasize about these bath rituals. I desire to get back into the routine but I know that now I am a wife and a mom…creating such luxurious and self centered time is almost impossible. But I am entering a new phase or quest as I shall call it. I am embarking on a journey of increasing my self love without feeling it is extravagant or excessive. This is imperative to our future.

In my little cottage, we have a claw foot tub. I have bathed both my precious children in this enormous vessel. I have soothed wounds, aching muscles, and washed away tears inside this animal of an appliance. We often talk of remodeling our bathroom and getting rid of the giant tub and putting in a walk-in shower. I can’t bring myself to do it. A really good shower is equally amazing, however, there is something so nurturing and comforting about a bath. Simply looking at it can fill one with a warmth and embrace of pure, tender, care for the soul. It is a place where the troubles of my family are soaked away into reflective conversation and quiet time. It can also be the source of joyous celebrations of a fun filled time in nature. The bath bares witness and holds us while we sit with our experiences and scrub them away from the surface.

Never underestimate the power of a good bath.

 

Waiting

I’m in an ER room watching my daughter sleep.

We have been in the ER for almost 12 hours.

Two different hospitals. 1 ambulance ride.

She is so beautiful.

I am humbled by her .

 

written July 2017

Everything Changes

The throng of commuters felt thicker this morning. Even on a crisp autumn morning, June was stifled in the woolen embrace of hundreds of people shuffling to work. She was worried she would be late. Worried that she forgot something. Worried she wore the wrong blouse – it might say the wrong thing- give the wrong image. A older gentleman with salt and pepper hair and a hint of cologne bumped into her arm with his bag. She looked at him and away almost immediately. She began to rifle through her handbag while speed-walking in the dispersing crowd. She needed to check the address again. It gives her calm, comfort to check directions almost every 30 seconds. Although she has always done this, she has never taught herself to stop burying the directions into her handbag after each glance. This has become a habit, a ritual of sorts.

She feels the scratchy torn paper in between her fingers and begins to raise it out like a crab in a net. June looks casually into her hand and is sent falling forward onto her hands and one knee.

The stream of onlookers diverge around her and a family stops to help her stand. She thanks them and lush faced assures them she is alright. She has to stoop back over to collect the contents of her purse that have toppled onto pavement. Her pen, her sunglasses and some papers. June scoops them up and notices an unfamiliar piece of stationary erratically folded stuck to her directions. She glides her self to a potted plant to put herself back together. She throws everything into her bag and looks at the stationary. It is expensive and somewhat personalised. She can feel the weight and texture of its fibers. She strokes a fingertip on the soft emerald piping around the edges.

June opens the paper to see the green trail and smooths it out on her leg. It is not the entire sheet. It has been hastily torn and crumpled. There are smudges of words along the ripped edge. All that can be read is:

Please stop waiting to hear “I’m sorry”. Get on with your life. I have.

The letter was not originally intended for June but it’s sentiment drove a stake through her chest and nailed her to that very spot. She looked around and studied the faces of those around her. Was anyone visibly shattered from this as well? She saw a young man reading something small in his hand and she thought for a moment to approach and ask if this was his. The she saw him remove a granola bar from the wrapping he was reading and toss it in the bin.

Please stop waiting to hear “I’m sorry”. Get on with your life. I have.

She read it again. This time the words pressed into her heart. She winced and looked around again. Who would write this? It is so cold and insensitive. She felt such sadness for whomever received this note and cast it away. June then began to wonder if this was a section of a letter purposefully torn off and discarded or had this been the talisman carried and fingered for affirmation. Was this the best or the worst section of the letter?

Time seemed to slow down for June. She leaned back against the brick encasement of perennials and sighed. She wiped a bead of sweat from her chest and listened to her own pulse. The sounds of the street morphed into a blanket around her feet. The directions to her appointment were cast aside on top of her bag and she took them in her shaking hand and crumpled them tightly into a strong fist.

Please stop waiting to hear “I’m sorry”. Get on with your life. I have.

This was written for her, she knew it. No she didn’t have the entire letter and no she didn’t recognise the handwriting but she felt it was meant for her. June felt a bubble of anger rise in her throat. “Get on with your life.” Who would be so brash to imply she wasn’t living it up? She thought of her father all smug and disapproving.  June was griping the letter so tightly in her hands she felt the paper shutter as if it would explode.

With a new fevered gate she trudges her way through the current. June steps off the curb, she raises her right hand clutching the letter to ward off a exuberant cabbie. She let him know she is not to be trifled with today. June has been rewired and is heading directly to her appointment with no doubts, no need to check or recheck anything. She flicks her hair back and shoves the letter into her pocket.

*response to daily prompt: everything changes