This blog includes reflections, creative work and resources. It is a glimpse of one person's journey within the realm of inquiry, experience with the human body and spirit. Look for ideas rather than answers. No claims are made. Perfection is not implied. I write as inspired to do so. Take what works for you, leave the rest. If you share anything from this blog, either verbally or in writing, please do your best to give credit where credit is due. Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Beginning, A Middle, An End

Within myself recently I've noticed a frustration with others' inability to accept the reality of things having a beginning, a middle and an end.  After a stretch with this experience popping up every so often I now see my own discord with the nature of change.  I want it in ways, yet desire control.  My idea to move forward with understanding is twofold: embrace a single quote by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus and get outside, out of climate control and man-made comforts, rest with nature, see what it has to teach.


Thursday, June 20, 2013


Construction and Deconstruction of a Mandala with the Dalai Lama


Dust In The Wind
All We Are Is Dust
In The Wind

- Kansas, 1977

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

Re-Visiting Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance

About twenty-five years ago I tried to read Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Joseph Pirsig.  For a non-technical person it's a challenge to understand parts of it.  This time around I'm listening to the audio version with better success.  At middle age grasping Pirsig's Metaphysics of Quality is more within reach as well.

Humans Valuing Nature

The recent turmoil in Istanbul started over people protesting for the preservation of a park, in the hopes of preventing a new shopping center being built in its place.  [It's a good cause but unfortunately there's been violence.]  In 2006 the Yoga In The Park class formed out of a discussion during a walk through said wooded park with a friend.  The book Last Child In The Woods by Richard Louv was our topic.  It is a recommended read, one I wrote about early-on in this blog.  His thesis is an important one.  It involves the increasingly diminished opportunities for children to have access to open, natural space.

There was a period of time when I forgot how much I crave time with nature.  The desire, however, expressed itself through consumerism.  It was several years after moving to a city, working in another city, I wasn't getting outdoors much and I'd yet to reignite my joy of puttering in a garden.  One day in a big box store it occurred to me how I often I was drawn to bird houses, things with floral prints and the like.  Now, there's nothing wrong with bird houses and floral prints but for me at the moment I realized I was trying to purchase nature experience.  Since then daily encounters are embraced: those moments in the garden when a new flowering bush has started to bud, enjoying the site of a tiny toad, feeling the ocean water hold me up or push me sideways, listening to a bird on the utility wire above. What a loop I'd been in:  missing out on an important aspect of life experience, seeking it elsewhere, that elsewhere is destructive to what is treasured both in manufacture on one end and on the other, the time needed on my part to earn money in order to fill the gap.  Now that's a sequence I can do without.

The Adirondack Park in New York is an extraordinary effort of mixing private land use, much of it subject to rules and restrictions, along with vast tracks of preservation.  It's history holds a bit of ugliness in the struggle to find balance between lowered human impact and property rights. An imperfect arrangement of legislation in some ways, the spirit of the idea has endured since the late 19th Century, it is a gorgeous place.  As barely part-time residents, my husband and I assure those who've always lived within "the blue line" (the park boundary) there is much to be appreciated.  Everything has it's pros and cons.  Everything.

My husband had been with a friend and his child on our local beach.  The child expressed being bored to which the father said, "Do you realize people work long hours all year in order to save up the money and vacation time to come here for just a week? And that's if they're lucky."  I'm not sure what happened after that but it wouldn't be a stretch to assume the child eventually found something to be amazed with in the sand dunes or at the shoreline.  This story is a reminder to start where you are.

It may not be necessary, but maybe it is, to launch big legislation or battle over the preservation of a park.  There are small opportunities everywhere, if one values the connection with nature.  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles.  Then the victory is yours.  It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell." Buddha

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dynamic Anterior Lower Legs From Horseback Riding

Never have I had such dynamic front lower legs.  Horseback riding has created an amount of dorsiflexion capabilities like I've never had in 44 years.  Years of swimming, yoga, jogging, cycling, dance & tumbling in my youth and undoubtedly genetics have provided strong & large calves and a good point.  The muscles around the shins lacked tone, until now.  "Relax that heel down" was repeated over and over again by the instructor in my first months of riding.   Between rides now I flex and circle my ankles, feeling the might in the anterior leg muscles.  I surmise this strengthening has helped to prevent the mild shin splints I used to get from jogging.

Yoga As Preparation For Unplanned Meetings With Gravity

The kind of gravity alluded to here has nothing to do with jowls, thighs or the backs of arms.  Asana practice introduces the body to a variety of shapes with differing relationships to gravity.  With a gravitational mishap (i.e. a fall) is it a little less foreign for the nervous system to process if the body takes a similar shape on a somewhat regular basis?  Perhaps a small part of the system says, "Been there, done that."  Of course there's the additional muscle and joint preparation.  Many parts of the body become the primary ground to the floor depending on the pose: feet, hands, shoulder blades, head, sitting bones, etc.  The joints have practice bearing weight, the spine contorts creating a supple snake and muscle are strong & lengthened.

I've been horseback riding one to two times per week since August and have yet to fall off.  It will happen though.  In asana during inversions, wall work, OM Gym practice or even handstands and front flips in the pool I think about how the human body launches off equine creatures.  This may be the best preparation as I had asked the riding instructor if falling off a horse is something to practice and he replied that it's a nice notion but there's really no way to do so.  When it happens it just sort of happens.

When he was 64 my father fell off a ladder while trimming a tree.  Although the accident resulting in serious injuries he felt Airborne Division experience was a lifesaver in that muscle memory kicked in for the landing.  An ankle shattered as it is thought it absorbed the greatest impact.  It was later discovered his neck sustained a break but it could have been worse.  Maybe his theory of body preparation was correct.    

All this said, let's aim for yoga asana practice to improve balance so unplanned meetings with gravity are non-existent or less frequent!