Sunday, August 4, 2013

Watercolor and Couture for the Soul

J’adore Katie Rogers’ expression of beauty. I happened upon her gorgeous art on her website recently and am compelled to return again and again. My heart sings! How about you?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

And More Wisdom

I had a hunch this tea tag would make a good blog post. 

I made a huge tumbler of Yogi Tea this morning after drawing this tea bag out of the box. Apropos of this blog’s tagline I grabbed by iPhone to take a photo. 

As the camera focused, I adjusted the container of steaming hot peppermint tea and ... knocked it over ... sent it flying really, tea everywhere. The counter, the floor, my mobile.

The soaked tea bag remained on the counter, looking up at me. Intuitive? Perhaps. Conscious, not in that moment. But in the next one and the next one and the next one.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

She Who Forgives

“I think this belongs to you,” a friend said as she handed me this small piece paper December 8, 2012, in New York City. I’ve carried dog eared tea tag in the right-hand pocket of my black jacket ever since, a reminder. 

A close relationship shifted significantly over the last few years. Rather than list how it changed, who said what, who failed to say what, I acknowledge the loss. And am prompted to forgive. 

The act is one of the "'five things,' topics that typically need to be covered in order to facilitate closure," says Dr. Ira Block. In Grieving Mindfully, Sameet M. Kumar, Ph.D., writes:
I forgive you. This can be forgiveness about anything and everything. Forgiveness can be thought of as a radical acceptance toward someone else. Forgiveness is not to be confused with forgetting. However, when you forgive, through the power of compassion, you release the hold that this issue has had on your life. Rather than feeling unresolved outrage or a sense of justice unserved, you take upon yourself the responsibility for living life on your terms.
I forgive you. Quarrel over. I wish you peace and happiness.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Classique Choices

Hardwick stove, circa 1950s, still in use today and 
The New Laurel’s Kitchen cookbook, first published 1976, 
reprinted 1986, and acquired in the mid-1990s, still in use today

The New Laurel’s Kitchen, a handbook for vegetarian cookery and nutrition, contains a dedication that, more than 15 years ago gently, quietly shifted me toward a plant-based diet:
For our teacher, Eknath Easwaran, who understood the appeal in the eyes of the glossy black calf on its way to the slaughterhouse many years ago, and inspired us, and thousands like us, to give the gift of life.
The cookbook was recommended by a dietician at Georgetown University Hospital and became the first of many such resources. 

At the time, and unknown to me, I was to evolve into a vegetarian. It unfolded organically, rooted in ethics. 

The eyes of the glossy black calf.

First, I eliminated fish and seafood from my diet. Gradually beef and pork. Finally, all poultry, after following a truck packedpackedpacked with chickens on their way to a slaughterhouse on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Can you imagine the chaos in a big a$$ truck rolling at 55 MPH for miles and miles and miles?

I vowed not to eat meat again. 

A part of my sunny pantry, circa 2013

My practice and study of yoga years later broadened my view of non-harming and nonviolence. In the eight-limb path of yoga, and specifically the yamas and niyamas, the sanskrit word is Ahimsa ... kindness. For all living beings. 

Yoga Sutra 2:35 says, “Being firmly grounded in nonviolence creates an atmosphere in which others can let go of their hostility.”

I embrace thoughts of kindness with choices I make, including the jewelry I hand knot with love {vegan all}. 

Malas of faux pearls and non-silk thread

Peace and love.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

In Service

Uplift others and myself. This is my credo, crafted during yoga teacher training fall 2011. I've worked to live it as my karma yoga project -- teach 10 hours of yoga to clients of the Austin Center for Health and Living at Whitman Walker Health -- expanded to 14 months.

I co-taught many of the 55+ classes with my dear friend, Merel. I first introduced us as “the two Dutch girls. Merel is from Amsterdam, Holland. And I am from Amsterdam ... New York.” A sublime coincidence.

I’m grateful to Merel and the wonderful souls who showed up week in, and week out. One student, living at a local shelter for women, told me our sessions were the only calm in her day, her week. Counselors commented that the yoga students seemed to go deeper into meditation, a benefit perhaps from the centering practices and mindful movement. 

Merel returned to the Netherlands six weeks ago. Every Tuesday I’ve continued to teach, sending peace & love her way. I miss her dearly. Here’s a photo of us on her last day. {Look, no make up!}

Several weeks ago Center staff announced changes at WW, which would mean changes to its service delivery model. Which would mean the closing of the Austin Center February 28, after 21 years. My yoga in this setting ends as well.

So, I taught my last class at the Center today. Reflecting, I’m grateful for the:
  • Honor of creating and holding space for others
  • Opportunity to teach the power of the breath paired with asana
  • Recognition of grace, strength and light in each of us
I’ve gained much more than I have given. Namaste.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Tie a Bow Around It

From my art journal, a spread created at the conclusion of Kimberly Wilson's creativity circle circa 2012. 

Dites moi, SVP, what are you creating?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fortune Smiles

This urban dweller thanks City Lights of China for the reminder, which graces my gratitude journal.

Friday, February 1, 2013

February Is for Hearts

Did you know heart disease kills more American women than all cancers combined? One third of all women. It's true.

Today I wore red in support of my dear friends Jacqui and Mac, who live radiant lives despite heart disease. 

Learn more about your heart health. Oh, and smile and breathe! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Buenos Dias

It’s a rainy winter day in Washington, D.C. I'm grateful to hop on the slice-of-life 42 Metro bus, with people from all over, to my freelance gig this morning. The 42 wends its way from Mt. Pleasant, a neighborhood one-third white, one third-black and one-third Hispanic (predominately from Central America), to Metro Center.

Two tall successful looking Spaniards, their Castilian accents reveal, are catching up in the aisle. An elderly white woman prepares to get off the bus. She rises and says with agitation, "I'm getting off the bus. Excuse me." 

The couple doesn't seem to hear her. The woman is so tiny only I can hear from my eye-level-to-her-face seat. The international visitors do not move.

Exasperated, the woman exclaims, "Nobody speaks English anymore! Ugh, such a shame."

"It's a beautiful thing, amiga," I tell her as I work on one of my goals for 2013 — to master conversational Spanish.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Rose et Rouge

My daily wardrobe staples of black-on-black have yielded gradually to a glimmer of pink (as in the year of). And red. Perhaps a fundamental theme has emerged? 

Summer 2012, pink + red ombre wrap.

Fall 2012, pink faux pearl + red crystal mala.

Winter 2013, highlights of pink + red (along with my first French red).

Red is the color of the muladhara (root) chakra, located at the base of the spine. As Anodea Judith writes in Eastern Body, Western Mind, Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self:
For most of us, our roots are unconscious influences on our behavior, linked to elements of our past. To bring muladhara to consciousness is to bring awareness to our roots, to uncover the past, to examine the past, to delve into it. Everything that grows above branches out into infinity, growing more complex. Going down to our roots brings us into a singular simplicity, and anchors us into the commonality of the collective unconscious. It brings us home to the earth.
The related healing practice, per Anodea: hatha yoga and look at earliest childhood relationship to mother. My intention, exactly.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Bienvenue a 2013

Welcome to a new year, at long last. These last 12 months have been wildly exhilarating and simply brutal. I’ll spare you the details that I’ve been processing during my year-end ritual

Let’s look ahead. 

This year I celebrate ... pink. Many of my women friends have long adored shades ranging from blush to fuchsia. I remember it absent from my youth. Having been raised in large part by my father, and with three older brothers in the household, pink’s cousins red and orange surfaced periodically. But nothing as divine as rose. 

L’annee du rose is a year {to paraphrase Valentino} of strength, sophistication and femininity. 

Red was my beloved mother’s favorite color, she once confessed; and her mother’s name was Rose. In their honor, I plan to explore the deeper connections between and among us. 

Bonne annee et bonne sante!