“If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough” – G.O.A.T.
Dreaming big doesn’t have to be extravagant- it may scare you to dream of a day when you don’t wake up stressed. It may be scary to dream of a day when you do something that honors your true self. It may be a dream for you to speak your truth regardless of what others may think.
Let’s all dream big. Let’s sit with ourselves in stillness find out what makes us scared shitless and go after it anyway.
“I’m in no hurry: the sun and the moon aren’t, either.
Nobody goes faster than the legs they have.
If where I want to go is far away, I’m not there in an instant.”
― Alberto Caeiro, The Collected Poems of Alberto Caeiro
Sometimes it seems easier to not have time. It’s easier to not have time to be healthy. It’s faster to say ‘who has time to meditate or do yoga?’
I was like that. Moving so fast that I didn’t realize that slowing down would give me the time to reevaluate what was important. Sitting still gives me a chance to be in the thick of things even when it’s uncomfortable.
I love waking up much earlier than I need to. Laying in bed just before the sun comes up is precious. It’s time to be quiet with anything that needs attention. Sometimes it’s just nice to be with the silence of my busy Jersey City hood before the activity of the day.
Had a small but mighty class on the fourth floor. Inspired by a class I took the previous evening, I invited everyone to explore moving in slow motion as a way to examine the body and breath. We gently lifted a knee and placed in back down to the floor flowing side to side with Thai Chi like movements. It was playful, challenging and fun. By the end of class everyone was ready for a deep relaxation. Bolsters were placed under knees and blocks were strategically placed for maximum comfort. And then…
A CO called for medical and they had to leave for treatment. ‘Michelle’ (not her real name) said, ‘This is the best part! Ugh.’ Her friend new to class asked if they could do it quickly before lining up. But people were already making their way to the door.
‘You can’t do it fast, that’s the point. It takes time to get inside. You’ll see next week.’
I knew they had to dash but as they were rolling up their mats Michelle said, ‘When I get back I’ll do some relaxation on my bed. It’s kinda quiet there.’
Michelle empowered herself. She was going to make time to breathe whether class was happening or not.
That’s yoga. We don’t always get the class we want, but if we’re open we can find what we need.
Adrianna Keener, a fantastic trauma-informed yoga teacher and I jogged across the street to catch the Q-100 bus. I was excited, not just because is an anatomy nerd like me but because it’s nice to go to Rikers with someone. Hey, we all get lonely. We saw a social worker who said we may not get on the island. There was a make-shift sign that said Rikers was on lockdown. No movement was allowed. This essentially means that people are on their beds all day. Since the sign was handwritten we decided, hey- we’re on the bus let’s go and see what happens. When the bus took the same mysterious turn it did a few weeks ago I knew something was up. Sure enough the driver said last stop (before the bridge to Rikers). We stood around for a few moments thinking what to do. You can’t walk over the bridge unless you’re looking to have a chat with DOC employees who carry assault rifles- so we thought the day was a bust. Employees could catch a shuttle. But, volunteers? Not sure. Fate intervened. Anneke Lucas, founder of LPY and apparently a woman who has perfect timing zipped up in her car. We hopped in and decided to see if we would be turned away. I was sure we would be, but when Anneke waltzed back with a parking pass I decided to keep my trap shut and surrender. We crossed the bridge without incident. Anneke was going to the men’s jail and Adrianna and I were headed to Rosie’s. We weren’t sure if we’d get to teach- but we had made it this far. The vibe at Rikers was sedated buy not heavy. But instead of yoga we led a meditation for 11 women on the 4th floor. Cheri Clampett’s meditation on meridians and chakras seemed like a good fit. Before the meditation Adrianna and I talked about meridians and how they relate to our body (geeks unite!!!). This set the stage for a powerful meditation. And while there were a few distractions everyone was grateful for the break in the day. One student talked about getting frustrated with noises and as a group we were able to talk about unhooking from the small stuff. Grateful for perfect timing. Namaste y’all.
I love my neighborhood and the people in it. After a long day of school I get to go to local yoga studios and teach. More often than not class is filled with a sense of togetherness. Sometimes class is tough and I hear collective groans or giggles if I make a joke to ease tension in a challenging moment. Lately, as a massage therapist community has a more intimate meaning. Community is healing. This is new for me. Not gonna lie- I have hermit tendencies. Being alone comes easily to me. But I know I’m not in this thing called life by myself. I find a big smile sliding across my face riding down the street and saying hello to students, clients and friendly faces I know from the yoga classes I take. It takes a village to raise children and to sustain a neighborhood. This is good. This is life. This is love.
Be a good neighbor.
Sometimes blame feels better than starting the healing process. Yesterday, I banged my shin while I was straightening up my bedroom. I have a large bin that is full pf shoes that I no longer wear but nostalgia allows them to take up space. I really should confront getting rid of them in the name of clearing space and all that. Alas, it’s a struggle to be evolved every day of the week. I mean c’mon, give a girl a break.
Anyway, while vacuuming I saw the edge of the bin sticking out from under my bed. Annoyed (because I hadn’t dealt with the useless shoe issue) I shoved the bin with my foot. My shin slammed into the bed. Hard. I could fit my index finger in the dent. After cursing for two minutes I looked at the bed as if it were guilty of the crime. Then I turned my attention to those god damned shoes. Stupid shoes….
I should have gotten some ice. I did, it took longer than I can to admit here- but I think my point is made:
Whether you chose to deal with something/someone or not you pay. My bad.
Meatless Monday was on hiatus primarily because I was over thinking it. Stymied and frustrated I wallowed in self-pity because I wasn’t creating recipes that I deemed ‘blog-worthy’. Then I called bullsh*t on myself.
The thing I loved about Meatless Monday was that it was supposed to be easy and fun, Part of living a mindful life in being in the moment and accepting what is. I stopped doing this when it came to posts. This week I decided throw myself into the fire and whip up whatever I had handy.
This was inspired by a book I love, Culinary Artistry its a cooking concept book that talks about flavors and the science behind what foods and spices marry well. I’m not a cook who loves to follow a recipe to the letter, so this appealed to me. The result is what is this week’s Meatless Monday recipe.
The farmers market had asparagus on the cheap. In my fridge I spied a head of cauliflower, capers, lemons and spring greens.
Warm Cauliflower and Asparagus Saladwith a lemon caper vinaigrette
Juice from one lemon
Capers (2 ounces with juice)
1/4 cup light tasting olive oil
1 TSP dijon mustard
1/2 shallot minced
2 cloves garlic minced
handful parsley chopped
one small onion sliced
Steam florets and asparagus for two minutes until just tender.
Quickly sauté veggies with garlic and sliced onions for three minutes with one tablespoon olive oil.
Plate veggies on spring mix and dress with vinaigrette.
It’s a good thing. It’s hard for me to get into parts of my hips. But yesterday at Jivamukti Jersey City, Austin’s class went deep in my hips even though it didn’t seem like it at the time. I think it’s because I was letting go.
In the midst of change I can get a littledown right stubborn.
But as the asana practice took us into the hips I found myself thinking about my previous relationships. Nothing specific. Just a feeling. Instead of ignoring it or distracting myself, I decided to go deeper. Typically when I fold my hip flexors clench. But yesterday there was none of that. I don’t know if it has to do with some recent changes in my life. But the more I let go of things and situations that don’t serve me, the more my body opens up to the present.
My hips don’t lie.
2015 is my year of living mindfully. Are you here, now?