Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Tenerife, Easter Islands
A SUSPENDED BLUE OCEAN
Is a suspended blue ocean.
The stars are the fish
The planets are the white whales
I sometimes hitch a ride on,
And the sun and all light
Have forever fused themselves
Into my heart and upon
There is only one rule
On this Wild Playground,
For every sign Hafiz has ever seen
Reads the same.
They all say,
"Have fun, my dear; my dear, have fun,
In the Beloved's Divine
O, in the Beloved's
~ Hafiz ~
(The Subject Tonight Is Love -- versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky) www.panhala.net/Archive/Index.html
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Words...naw. Just slowly take Stafford in, as you would a fine wine.
Time wants to show you a different country. It's the one
that your life conceals, the one waiting outside
when curtains are drawn, the one Grandmother hinted at
in her crochet design, the one almost found
over at the edge of the music, after the sermon.
It's the way life is, and you have it, a few years given.
You get killed now and then, violated
in various ways. (And sometimes it's turn about.)
You get tired of that. Long-suffering, you wait
and pray, and maybe good things come - maybe
the hurt slackens and you hardly feel it any more.
You have a breath without pain. It is called happiness.
It's a balance, the taking and passing along,
the composting of where you've been and how people
and weather treated you. It's a country where
you already are, bringing where you have been.
Time offers this gift in its millions of ways,
turning the world, moving the air, calling,
every morning, "Here, take it, it's yours."
~ William Stafford ~
(The Way It Is)
What does this have to do with wellness and SparkPeople? EVERYTHING!
Sunday, April 03, 2011
My preferred cardio is bicycling (oh! that I could regularly achieve five days of one hour of cycling each-and-every week) and my preferred stretching is hatha yoga (my goal is at least a 1/2-hr. daily practice). The third piece of the *movement* equation is strength training, which I'm inconsistent about and need to add lower body strength training to, for a total of 40 minutes, three times per week. I'm planning to transition from free weights to resistance band strength-training in light of my summer trip to South America.
I got a friend to snap a couple of photos sporting my new Specialized helmet, to which I added a VERY useful clip-on mirror.
Besides my home practice, I have taken classes since 1998 at Cedar Rock Yoga with Anne, who has been an Iyengar-certified instructor since 1991. Having taken yoga from many different instructors of many different traditions, I can say with certainty that Anne is a gifted teacher. Teacher-trainee Sharon, who also teaches at the studio, exhibits great promise as a teacher and is working toward certification.
I must say that "stretching" is the least of the benefits of a regular yoga practice! This is excerpted from Anne's website about Iyengar yoga:
"The poses are designed to affect every part of the body. Every part is stimulated for promoting better circulation, which is the key to improving the immune system. When our bodies are physically stronger, it is reflected mentally and emotionally. When we are more flexible, not only can we move better, but our mental attitudes are also more flexible. Yoga helps bring this balance with strength and flexibility.
"A knowledge of anatomy and kinetics is important when doing yoga, especially when it is for therapeutic purposes, to aid in healing and to help prevent injuries. Maintaining the proper alignment of the spine and joints is critical for the health of the spinal cord, discs and nervous system, and the integrity of the joints and surrounding muscles.
"Strength is required to support the framework (bones) of the body and of course the internal organs. Flexibility is required so we can move the muscles that move the bones. Without adequate strength and flexibility, not only would we not be able to move, we would not be able to breathe, since the muscles of respiration must also be strong and supple."
Here are some photos of the studio, teachers, and students taken Friday afternoon and yesterday (Saturday morning):
Turning off of Scenic Hill Rd. into the driveway of Cedar Rock Studio (see the studio in the background?)
Anne owns the beautiful studio that her husband Hans primarily built
Becky, who I've known for most of the time I've attended classes there, with the studio in the background (a bank of azalea bushes borders the studio)
Walking up the driveway to the studio
Walking on the other side of the studio -- see the tulips
The windows and French doors as seen from the inside
Upon arriving early for a restorative yoga class (thus all the props on-hand) taught by Sharon Friday evening, I asked her to do a favorite asana and she chose virasana to supta virasana:
And look at Cory's fabulous bridge prep to full execution (from setu bandha to urdhva dhanurasana):
And Becky's triangle-to-half-moon (uthita trikonasana to ardha chandrasana):
Sharon demonstrating a restorative asana:
(with a reflection of the manipura chakra piece on Sharon's hand)
Janet, another longtime student of Anne's whose sister Debra, also a student of Anne's, created all the stained glass pieces in the studio
YES! As Ellen said, praise be to the new moon, which reaches its zenith in about 1/2 hr. (10:30am Eastern time, April 3, 2011). BTW, this is my very fav of the pieces in Anne's studio, but I couldn't afford it, and the crown chakra is fabulous too, and affordable!
Tonight, the New Moon Sisters gather on a friend's 75-acre farm. We will celebrate, commune, break bread, drum, and sit around the bonfire, burning things it's time to let go of.
Anne and Hans are avid gardeners; Anne does most of the flower tending and Hans cultivates fabulous vegetable gardens. What you see of the grounds is barely the "tip of the iceburg," e.g., by next week the bank of azeleas (see the above outdoor pic with Becky) is going to be bursting with bloom:
My pics of the following four chakra pieces aren't large and well-defined enough to absorb the beauty, but here's a glimpse anyway:
Solar Plexus Center (Manipura)
Just below the navel, the Sacral Center (Svadishana)
Heart Center (Anahata)
Throat Chakra (Visuddha)
Here's a closer look at one, the Crown Center (Sahasrara, known as the Thousand-Petaled Lotus), one of which I gifted myself for Christmas from Debra
Monday, March 28, 2011
A few photos of the great weekend in Eureka Springs, AR with dear SparkFriend Stephanie (SLASALLE) and her delightful partner, Beth. We both drove around four hours to get to Eureka Springs, a delightful village in the Ozarks of NW Arkansas; they drove south from Kansas City and I drove north from Conway, AR.
I stopped twice in the Ozarks -- first upon arriving to Leslie, at Serenity Farms Bakery, where I bought two Sourdough Multi-Grain Brick Oven-Baked Baguettes (which went well with the cheeses, veggies, and fruits we munched on Saturday evening) and oatmeal raisin cookies:
and then on to the Amish Bakery in Harrison, where I purchased some unnamed goods (and if anyone tries to pin any specific purchases on me, I'll vociferously deny them):
Saturday evening was particularly special as we enjoyed a delicious meal by candlelight in our rooms, celebrating WWF Earth Hour .
Here we are setting off on a 2+ hour Saturday hike at Lake Leatherwood, a spring-fed waterway situated inside 1600 acres of hiking trails:
I'm prepared for rain with my yellow rubber parka!
Stephanie at the dam
More views of the dam:
A sneak preview of the redbud in the Ozarks
Back at the room, Steph cleans up purdy durned good
Sunday morning we went to the fabulous Local Flavors Cafe and shared a wonderful brunch with new friend Carmen, the Inn keeper (with her cool-esque husband Robert) where we stayed at Tall Pines Inn.
I loved being a part of Stephanie and Beth's 10th Anniversary, which is actually on April 1 (they're no fools!!!)! We also found out that Carmen's birthday was Saturday!
A few photos from that lovely experience:
Here we all are
Carmen's pumpkin waffle and my huevos rancheros
Beth's eggs benedict and Stephanie's vegetarian omelet
Beth's favorite -- creme brulee...but she did share it with all of us!
Carmen extrapolating about something profound, I'm sure! haha
Stephanie sez "...and furthermore!" haha
And then...no matter where I am or what I'm doing...there is always this, cutting through my soul:
I want to tell you that the world
is still beautiful.
I tell you that despite
children raped on city streets,
shot down in school rooms,
despite the slow poisons seeping
from old and hidden sins
into our air, soil, water,
despite the thinning film
that encloses our aching world.
Despite my own terror and despair.
I want you to know that spring
is no small thing, that
the tender grasses curling
like a baby's fine hairs around
your fingers are a recurring
miracle. I want to tell you
that the river rocks shine
like God, that the crisp
voices of the orange and gold
October leaves are laughing at death,
I want to remind you to look
beneath the grass, to note
the fragile hieroglyphs
of ant, snail, beetle. I want
you to understand that you
are no more and no less necessary
than the brown recluse, the ruby-
throated hummingbird, the humpback
whale, the profligate mimosa.
I want to say, like Neruda,
that I am waiting for
"a great and common tenderness",
that I still believe
we are capable of attention,
that anyone who notices the world
must want to save it.
~ Rebecca Baggett ~
(Women's Uncommon Prayers)
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I feel like carbohydrates get such a bad rap and rep. And so I hereby proclaim my allegiance to -- THE GOOD CARBS!
Why? Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Whole grains, fruits, and veggies supply us with prolonged energy, fiber, and multiple nutrients that our bodies need for optimal health. Good quality carbohydrates can also trigger serotonin synthesis. Recognized as the "happy hormone," serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that affects our mood and sleep. The next time you feel blue, instead of reaching for that bag of chips or sugary cookies, opt for unrefined, unprocessed carbohydrates that will provide you with sustained energy and an improved mood. Toss that muffin and enjoy a whole grain cracker with a tablespoon of natural nut butter for a delicious and uplifting snack!
It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
-- Mary Oliver
St. Scholastica Benedictine Monastery, Ft. Smith, AR
This was my FOURTH retreat at the monastery with gifted teacher, poet, writer Sister Macrina Weidheker (a family of monks, priests, and wine growers www.wiederkehrwines.com/ ).
Here is her blog: www.macrina-underthesycamoretree.blo
gspot.com/ (I've enjoyed sitting in that swing many times on the monastery grounds.)
The winding path of the labyrinth served as a metaphor for our spiritual journey. And we also explored other forms of walking meditation, as well as sacred journaling,
My friend Marilyn, who shared the retreat experience, as well as the ride to and from the retreat, caught some lovely images while there:
At the entrance to the labyrinth
Saturday afternoon of the full moon (March 19, 2011) on the labyrinth; I also trod it in the glow of the moon
Love the feminine aspects of the divine
Can you see the dirt and grass on the bottom of the feet?
The pond is home to several huge bullfrogs
Some photos of me with/on MY NEW BIKE KaliMa, out-and-about, enjoying the day:
Kitty Rama wants in on the action too!
Aha! She has snuck into the frame again!
I rode just under 16 miles yesterday, including campus and downtown:
I definitely wasn't the only one out-and-about!
I am rendezvousing with dearest SparkFriend Stephanie (SLASALLE) in Eureka Springs, AR over the weekend, as well as wonderful Beth, finishing up my spring break in style! They are coming down from Kansas City; our drives are about the same (around 3+ hours).
Tall Pines Inn, Eureka Springs, AR
We'll be staying at Tall Pines Inn, which I found out about because Carmen, the Inn keeper with her husband Robert, attended the labyrinth retreat as well. I had originally met her a couple years ago at a sacred journaling silent retreat at the monastery.
We're thinking of having Saturday lunch here:
...and Sunday brunch here:
Local Flavor Cafe, Eureka Springs
The current plan is to eat the rest of our meals "in." I'll have a simple sandwich and salad ready for their arrival on Friday evening. I'm picking up something decadent at the Amish Bakery on my drive there: www.homeyhearthbakery.com/ for Saturday morning breakfast with Greek yogurt and coffee and we're talking about fruit salad and cheeses, etc. for Saturday dinner.
hikes (if weather cooperates)
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