Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sunrise Sourdough Bread

The sun, the sun, I salute the sun, I open my heart to everyone. The sun rises and the sun sets, the whole world in my heart rests.

A fire in the wood stove, a sweet sun salutation and “cranberry orange nut sunrise sourdough bread”, it doesn’t get much better than this on a cold morning.

Sourdough bread, one of my many passions. Several years ago I was given the gift of a starter. It was one of those friendship breads we so often get. We make a loaf and give loaves away then usually forget all about it. Well this time I decided to keep the “mother” alive. I tweaked the recipe a bit and spent months baking a basic boule’, without any sophisticated equipment, not even a baking stone. It was pretty good but I knew it could be better.

Time passed then one day, a friend told me about baking in a cast iron dutch oven. And as they say, the rest is history. I fell in love. Wow, crisp chewy crust, moist tender crumb! Fresh out of the oven it delights all your senses. A sight to behold, oven spring rises the dough perfectly and the crust splits and cracks beautifully. It smells lovely and sings to you as it cools. And come to find out sourdough is actually good for you, the wild yeast predigests the grains reducing the glycemic index. It is healthy for the intestinal tract, full of beneficial bacteria. After years of baking a basic bread and biscuits, I decided it was time for a little adventure. Time to step out into the world of creative add ins.

A breakfast bread was what I had in mind. I make a no knead sourdough so I stirred up my starter, added dried cranberries and orange peel, along with the salt, water, and flour. I set it to rise overnight. Turning it out onto my cutting board in the morning I gently folded in some pecans and gave it a quick shape. The loaf rested while the pot heated in the oven for an hour. Very little hands on work is involved in sourdough baking. The no knead recipe takes only 5 total minutes effort divided in 1 minute increments here and there. Time and love is all it needs.

Yummmm, bread baking feeds me, body and soul. 


Monday, December 9, 2013

The Snowy Day and the Lucky Duck

The Snowy Day, a puppet show

We rarely see snow in south Louisiana but that doesn't stop us from dreaming of the fluffy white stuff. We imagine ice crystals dancing in the air and sparkly snow blanketing the earth, so that's how we set our stage for this seasonal story. In this tale Elf is excited about the snow and is determined to get his friend Reindeer to come out and play. Elf is the kind of person who intends to live on purpose with passion, and I want to be like Elf when I grow up! 

Reindeer, cozy in his bed, stubbornly refuses. But best friends don't give up so easily and with a bit of persuasion finally Reindeer relents. Reindeer finds fault with one thing or another before eventually agreeing to a sled ride down the hill, but only if Elf is right there with him. They climb aboard the sled and head down the hill. Unbeknownst to Reindeer, Elf falls off. Reindeer is having a grand ole time til he realizes Elf isn't with him. Upset he starts to trudge home. Elf eagerly joins him and Reindeer soon settles down admitting he did actually enjoy himself. Over warm cups of cocoa they share the adventures of the day. 

Creative crafters and their Elf puppets
We always end our puppet shows with a puppet craft and this cute Elf was perfect. With brads attaching his arms and legs he was movable, ready to tell a Moving Tale. As storytellers and librarians our passion is promoting literacy, inspiring children to express themselves through story. Puppets are fun tools to encourage a child's imagination. 

Moving Tale; Kathe and Melanie, tandem yoga storytellers

The Lucky Duck

If you have a friend who can coax you out of your comfort zones you are one lucky duck. They get us to try new things. I am a lucky duck in more ways than one. I work with my sister who is also my friend. We encourage one another with a playful shove now and again. Months ago Mel and I registered for Mahabhuta II, a three day yoga festival held in Pensacola each November. Mel wanted to try Aerial Yoga. It looked fun but...I must say I was initially reluctant. Kinda like Reindeer, comfortable in my cozy yoga routine. But I figured what the heck, and we signed up. I trusted it would be an adventure and believed it would be entertaining even if I decided to sit back and just watch. So I let my concerns go. 

In Aerial Yoga slings are attached to tree limbs and you must trust the sling to hold and support you. Much the same way we must trust life. Trust comes from a deep knowing that we are here for a purpose. Do we believe we are supported? Do we believe there is a source bigger than ourselves that upholds us? Without belief we cannot do anything. Everything starts with believing, believing in ourselves, believing in our abilities. 

Once in the sling you have to rely on yourself to move into the yoga pose. Then comes letting go, letting go of expectations. After you flip over you expect you’ll slip right out of the sling and fall on your head. Sorta scary, it can happen but fortunately for us it didn't. Not a solemn class that’s for sure yet yoga none the same. The sling allows you to take inversions and splits with effortless ease. Much like we hope to move through life. When we trust life, believe in ourselves, and let go of expectation life unfolds in just this way, with effortless ease. 

Om Shanti

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Swamp Cat Slays a Dragon

Hot dry heat beat down on the bottomland woods. The summer sun has burned up Swamp Cat’s stored energy. She is long and lean. Bedraggled she rambles the rugged route beside the brown bayou, its surface warm like cafĂ© au lait. The cool shade of the cypress calls to her, come…be at ease.  She rests under the boughs; rusty leaves fall as a new season approaches.

High Lunge hands in prayer

Swamp Cat has remained in the deep of the bottomland woods all season, fending off intruders. Cunningly they approached, lurking about and hiding in the stumps and hollows. Swamp Cat suspected dragons. She felt their fiery breath but had not seen their faces. Elusive they did not show themselves. Tracks in the dry earth, and a frightening roar sounding in the dark of the night told her of their presence.  

High Lunge with a twist

Swamp Cat determined to slay the dragons, one at a time. Weary of their menacing ways, she prepared. She sharpened her claws and climbed the tall pine. Here her vision has always been clear. She spotted one. It was behind the wide old oak, its gnarly roots disguising a knotted tail. She balanced on the edge of the limb. It moved but remained sturdy. She had to trust her vision. She had to trust her power.

Crescent lunge

She leapt. Pouncing upon him, they toppled in a heap. He was scaly and rough. They twisted and turned. Swamp Cat landed on her feet. They looked upon each other, eye to eye. She saw him for what he truly was.  He hung his head. Through unspoken words he knew he must flee. This is her home and she wants to live free. 

Melting Heart

Running from dragons does more harm than good. It may be a short term fix but feelings have a way of catching up with us. They hide and lurk, breathing fire. However, when you are courageous and confront your dragons you’ll often find the strength you need to deal with them.  Recognizing our dragons allows them to be transformed.  Be they doubt, discouragement or simply the dreary wearies, once we see them and feel them they release their hold on us, at least temporarily. They may return but the quicker we recognize them and come to know our power the quicker we can respond, sending them on their way. 

This is where true freedom lives.  

Om Tat Sat

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I'm Pickin' up Good Vibrations

Everything on the earth has a vibration, an energy, people, animals, plants, even rocks. The energy of a gemstone is metaphysical, that which goes beyond the physical. Metaphysics includes that which the physical and scientific world cannot define but knows exists. Rocks, crystals, and gems are powerful. 

Their power lies in how we think of them. I like to think of them as reminders. Not only are they beautiful but each time we touch one, see one, think of one we can be reminded. I like to use affirmations. Affirmations help me focus my thoughts. Remember, quantum theory tells us thoughts become things. The librarian in me has been doing research on and off for years on the attributes of gemstones, so I decided to gather up a few pieces of my jewelry and see what was what. Now each time I wear one of these lovely pieces  I am reminded to allow the energy of Mother Earth to give me her gifts.

Choose a piece of your jewelry, see what it has to offer you. Perhaps you too will pick up good vibrations. In love and light, Mahalo, I serve.

Diamond: I am aligned with the Divine, a reflection of Love and Light.
Purity, devotion, unity, dedication, abundance, clarity
Psychologically imparts fearlessness and fortitude, stimulates the imagination.
Mentally provides a link between the intellect and the higher mind.
Spiritually allows the inner light to shine.
Message; “I display brilliant energy, reflecting purity, abundance, and devotion. I welcome you with grace and an open heart. In unity there is love.”

Garnet: I am focused. I know thoughts become things.
Creative, focused, passionate
Psychologically sharpens perceptions
Mentally dissolves limiting beliefs
Emotionally bestows self confidence
Message; “I am here to help you realize your creativity. You are passionate being. I remove your fears and remind you your thoughts create your experiences. Stay focused with an attitude of gratitude and watch with astonishment as your dreams manifest.”

Emerald: I am joyful, I see clearly.
Ensures physical, mental, and emotional equanimity, unity, patience, joy
Psychologically imparts inspiration
Mentally promotes clarity and truth
Emotionally enhances joy
Message; “I honor your heart’s essence which is Divine Love. From thoughts to manifestation our energies join to deliver the highest good. I compel you to walk with grace the illuminated path of love. All you require and desire is yours as you focus on service.”

Sapphire: I am serene and wise.
Aligns with the physical, mental and spiritual planes, increases serenity and wisdom
Psychologically helps realize truth
Mentally brings purity of thought
Emotionally releases confusion
Message; “I awaken your intuitive senses. Trust me. It is within that the seeker finds the road of purpose. I bring you calmness and serenity, with clarity and consciousness you fulfill your responsibility with joy.”

Jade: I am happy and healthy, wealthy and wise.
Offers serenity, wisdom and prosperity
Psychologically integrates the mind with the body
Mentally soothes the mind while stimulating ideas allowing you to act with ease
Emotionally aids in the release of irritability
Spiritually assists in awakening hidden knowledge of the Self
Physically cleansing stone, removes toxins balancing the fluids of the body
Message; “I offer the gifts of serenity, tranquility, wisdom and prosperity. “

Brown Jade; grounding, brings comfort and reliability
Green Jade; symbolizes peace and reflection, brings patience and prosperity

Pearl: I am graceful. My intentions are pure.
Offers harmony and grace, purity and integrity
Message; “I emerge beautiful and transcendent. Choose acceptance and compassion to realize harmony. Become infused with the Divine through self awareness.’

Amethyst: I am intune with the Source of Life. My life transforms with ease.
Enhances higher states of consciousness
Psychologically meditation and spiritual awareness
Mentally brings balance to the mind, calming or stimulating, helps one focus and be in control, connects cause with effect
Emotionally balances highs and lows
Physically tunes the endocrine system, strengthening the immune system
Message; “I am a link to the Divine. I increase awareness of infinite possibilities helping you to realize that Heaven is available NOW, HERE on Earth.”

Smoky Quartz: I am grounded. I let go and grow.
Assists in stabilizing spiritual energies as well as raising the vibration, help to release all that no longer serves you,
Psychologically relieves fear, promoting calm, dissolves negativity
Mentally gives clear insight, promotes concentration, alleviates communication difficulties
Emotionally centering
Message; “I assist in grounding and stabilizing your spiritual energies.  I increase the ability to release fears optimizing your potential.”

Hematite: I am secure. I trust my power. All is well.
Increase harmony and confidence
Psychologically boosts self esteem, enhancing the will, imparting confidence
Mentally stimulates concentration and focus, enhancing memory and thought
Physically strengthens the blood and draws heat from the body
Message; “I enhance feelings of stability and security, escorting you to new levels of self understanding. I increase optimism and willpower. Shift your perspective and increase trust.”

Turquoise: I am intune with the energy of the Heavens and the Earth. I speak the truth without fear.
Promotes spiritual attunement, enhances intuition and meditation, releases inhibitions allowing self expression
Psychologically strengthens the spirit and well being of the body
Mentally instills inner calm, aiding in creative expression
Emotionally stabilizes mood, stimulates romance
Physically defeats depression, protects against panic attracts
Message; “I combine the blessings of water and sky. I reflect the beauty and bounty of this life. I embody the oneness of Heaven and Earth. Use me to speak your truth, heal your heart, free your soul, and move forward without fear. Ask for power and guidance and I will heed your call.”

Agate: I am balanced. I am stable.
Balance emotionally, physically and intellectually, stabilizing energy. Harmonizes yin and yang. Stabilizes the aura and chakras
Psychologically facilitates acceptance of one’s self. Aids in self-analysis and perception.
Mentally improves concentration, perception and analytical abilities
Emotionally overcomes bitterness, healing trauma
Spiritually raises consciousness and links to the collective consciousness. Encourages quiet contemplation and assimilation of life’s experiences.
Message; “Time immemorial circulates within me. I assist you in finding wisdom, confidence and self expression.”


Monday, June 24, 2013

A Moment of Repose

A Moment of Repose with the Moon in Capricorn

The table is set. An eyelet edged cloth covering its scarred surface. A shiny silver platter sits polished and gleaming. The crystal placed just so. A bouquet of thyme, lavender, and rosemary are assembled. I light the candles and wait; the guest is soon to arrive.

She comes, following the Bright One whose grace reveals hidden truth. Her energy is powerful yet gentle, a soft glow illuminating expressions and emotions. She opens the door joining me for a peaceful and tranquil interlude.

I offer her a bit of thyme. She tells me I must trust myself, to align my feelings with my life’s purpose. I must find the strength and courage to receive the support and nurturing I need. I nod acceptance.

She pinches a spring of lavender releasing its fragrance. To purify my sense of duty and obligation, she claims. I must find balance, releasing all that I am not responsible for. The aroma is sweet.

Subtly she withdraws, leaving a portion of her power. Looking on me and smiling. I gather the rosemary and clutch it to my heart. I vow to remember, to live in joy, knowing that dreams do come true. 

Om Tat Sat. 


Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Peddler and the Impossible Dream


A Moving Tale presented “The Peddler and the Impossible Dream” as part of the summer program Dig into Reading. Kids discovered the treasure of believing in their dreams during this interactive yoga storytelling session for 5-12 year olds.

Mel and I were thrilled when more than we expected turned out for this session. We began with full breaths, gathering our thoughts so we could focus. Emma Jean helped us get centered and imaginations were ready. The adventure took us from a small cottage out in the country, down a wide winding river to a river bridge and a big city. As the story goes a young man has a dream, but the busyness of the day soon has him forgetting all about his dream. He begins to have the same dream night after night, which he believes is impossible to achieve. Finally he gives in and goes in the direction the dream tells him. Along the way enjoying the journey, only to arrive at his destination to find disappointment. Discouraged he starts for home and is stopped by a merchant who questions him. Dreams are silly he is told. The merchant precedes to tell him a similar story of a persistent dream of his own. The young man realizes why he was sent on the journey and rushes home. Once there, he discovers a treasure. 

We opened our hearts to our dreams as the peddler, strong and courageous with Warrior II. Next, gnarly roots came up out of the ground and we grew into old, old oak trees with tree pose. Shoving off from the shoreline we paddled our boats down the wide winding river in boat pose. Finally rounding the bend in the river, the river bridge came into view and we lifted into bridge pose. Returning home, we discovered our treasure and lifted our arms to the heavens with a sunbreath and proclaimed, “Nothing is Impossible!”

 What could be more important than discovering the treasure of believing in our dreams, having faith in ourselves, and knowing our intentions are for good? So often we think our dreams are impossible to achieve. We set them aside and forget all about them. Days, months and even years pass and one day the dream again reappears. When we take the time to dig beneath the surface, we can find strength and courage, true treasures. With these we can make a commitment to our self and step in the direction of accomplishing our dreams. Thank goodness, we live in a big, big universe where “Nothing is Impossible!”

Dream Big.

Moving Tale; Tandem Yoga Storytellers, Kathe and Melanie

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Breath in the Bluebonnets

Spring was just sleeping they often say, for when daylight returns the world comes out to play. The spring equinox brings us a balance of light and dark, waking the resting earth. Roused from slumber plants stretch and open their sleepy eyes. New life emerges taking its first full breaths. We too stretch and breathe ready for new adventures.

Drizzle followed us the length of the way, grey clouds hovering low overhead. Seeking release from the confines of winter we headed to the Texas hill country. Wildflowers were beginning to break ground and we looked forward to more than a glimpse of Bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush in addition to the fresh spring air. Yet where were the sunbeams we’d yearned to see? Good yogis know we ought to surrender to whatever is to be, thus should the sun refuse to shine we’d roll out our mats then settle in to enjoy family.

The next morning dawned bright and clear however and a cold biting wind greeted us. Bundling up, we set off eager as ever to discover our treasures. Bright blue faces with sweet little smiles covered the countryside mile after mile. Vivid orange splashes popped up here and there. We snapped photos in the blustery breeze. Drinking in the wild air we were filled with the energy of life.

Breath is life. In yoga the conscious control of the breath is called pranayama.  Prana means breath and yama means control. Pranayama affects our whole being; body, mind and spirit. This awareness of the breath brings us closer to controlling the mind and directs the energy of the body. Yoga science gives instruction to the practice of pranyayama; it is good to begin breath work in the spring. During spring the air is pure, neither too hot nor too cold. Wisdom is asleep in each of us and pranayama awakens this slumbering insight.

It is spring, time to wake up, the light welcomes me and I remember to breathe. 


Monday, April 1, 2013

Forever Friends

“Forever Friends” was our Moving Tale for March, Mel and I adapted “Elephant and Dog” a Jataka tale from Ancient India. Moving Tale empowers kids connecting body and brain through the social interaction of yoga storytelling. Kids leave nurtured, feeling self-confident, with focusing skills and a sense of emotional well-being. This month we included healthy relationships to our healthy body and healthy brain message . Our brains are wired to learn and grow from human interactions, our every social relationship. “Forever Friends” an endearing story of friendship is overflowing with eternal truths. So...just what does it take to be a forever friend?

Yoga  gives us the yamas to follow.  The yamas are the  attitudes and observances fundamental to a life lived in unity. They lead us down a path toward a place where we can be a forever friend. Our first step is kindness, ahimsa. We must be kind to a friend. It is often much easier to recognize the unkind thought or word directed toward another but what sort of thoughts and words do we offer to ourselves, for to be kind to another begins with being kind to ourselves. Are our words kind? Are they helpful? The second step leads to truthfulness, satya. Honest communication based on what we know to be true, not gossip, supposition or exaggeration. Commitment to truth is not always easy but at the end of the day, how do we feel about the words we say? Next we hop over to trust, asteya. We take a leap of faith, trusting that our needs will be met. We are not greedy and share what we have. Then comes moderation, brahmacharya, using our energies wisely. How do we express our energy? Do the things we say and do bring us closer or push us away from our friends. Finally we come to generosity, aparigraha. Here we let go of how we expect our friends to be and allow them to be as they are. Each step on the path brings us closer to understanding our relationship to others and our relationship to ourselves.

Story too help us understand the world in which we live and ourselves. The stories we tell; the thoughts we think, the words we say and the actions we take all tell a story. Storytelling and yoga unite our minds to our bodies. Bringing us into the present moment, this is where we experience the relationships of life. We begin to become aware of our stories. Are we being kind and truthful? Do we trust that we are cared for? Are we moderate and generous? As we listen to our own story and practice our yoga we might pause and ask, “Am I becoming the kind of person I would like to have as a friend?”

Mahalo, we serve.

Moving Tale; Kathe and Melanie, tandem yoga storytellers

The Magic Pear Tree

“For it is in giving that we receive.”--- Francis of Assisi

Artists Extraordinaire
What do you do when you finish telling a story about sweet, juicy pears? Eat some, of course. The story ends with everyone laughing as pear juice drips from their chins, so we decided that it would be a luscious way to conclude our first Moving Tale of the season. Yum.

Our Yoga Storytelling Adventure took us to China this month as Mel and I presented “The Magic Pear Tree”. Here is a short but sweet summary. The story begins as an old man wanders into a small village. He has no belongings but his eyes sparkle with tranquility. A Harvest Festival is being celebrated, hot and thirsty he asks for a small pear but the vendor is stingy and refuses. A kind young man steps forward and purchases a perfectly ripe pear presenting it to the old man. Thankful, he savors the pear and proceeds to plant the seed in the dry earth. When magically, it sprouts and grows into a full grown pear tree. The astonished villagers are encouraged to partake of the sweet juicy pears until the tree is left bare. The excitement diminishes and all depart. As the stingy vendor turns, he finds his cart empty. Understanding arises and he realizes that perhaps he should have shared a pear.

Blossoming Trees
Warrior II was our old man, we stood strong with a sparkle in our eye. Wandering into the village we practiced triangle pose. Refusing the request for a pear we sat in a low squat with arms crossed as the stingy vendor. In child’s pose we rested as the seed was planted. Magically sprouting and growing was a natural for tree pose, our branches grew upward and our hands opened wide as flowers and sweet ripe fruit formed.  The excitement diminishing we departed with side angle pose. Namaste with a bow took us to the perfect ending as understanding arose for the stingy vendor.

As always when I am preparing for a tale I listen to what the story has to say to me. These timeless tales steady my feet as I wander on my adventure through life. Yoga philosophy offers us a firm foundation. The yamas are guidelines for living well with others. The virtues of kindness, truthfulness, trust, moderation, and generosity guide us along the way.

The story of “The Magic Pear Tree” is a tale of generosity. Generosity, the act of being generous, liberal in giving or sharing. This quality first arises from our thoughts, then becomes more tangible as we speak words of generosity, finally manifesting in the physical act of giving or sharing. Seems simple enough. Thinking thoughts of generosity sends this energy out into the quantum field ultimately returning it to us. Hmmmm.
Yoga asks us to delve deeper into our thoughts, words and deeds. Here we come to know the very nature of our minds and begin to recognize our free will, life is a choice. We choose what we think, say, and do. Our personal reality is shaped by our personal choices. Our thoughts, words and deeds are energy. What we outflow we inflow, we reap what we sow.

Truly we know we are here to help one another. And when we remember this, we too shall have the sparkle of tranquility in our eyes. 

Moving Tale; Kathe and Melanie, tandem yoga storytellers

Originally published 4/20/2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Attending to Tortoise

“Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land.” …The Song of Solomon

Tortoise has been calling to me. Looking from place to place, my eyes open wide, my ears inclined to hear. I watch and listen.  What is it tortoise is offering to me? Tortoise, a symbol of strength, longevity and endurance, a progenitor of life, a bringer of wisdom.

Tortoise saunters confident and capable. In no hurry, steadfast she travels carrying her home with her. She lives a simple life, she has all she needs.  Grazing on vegetation, she knows no lack. She digs down into mother earth and lays her eggs. New life emerges. Withdrawing into her shell, she finds protection and rest. 

Perhaps the time has come to follow in the footsteps of tortoise. Yoga tells us that tortoise pose is dedicated to the maintainer of the universe.  Who is this maintainer of our universe? None other than our true Self. The yogi attempts to withdraw his senses from other objects, as the tortoise withdraws his limbs from danger. Then the yogi will be on the path towards wisdom and know freedom.

So I begin to apply myself to the practice of tortoise pose. The physical benefits are many. The entire backside of the body stretches. The back will relax and the hamstrings will loosen with practice. Blood flow is stimulated all along the spine, nourishing this complex network of nerves. The pelvis and abdomen are squeezed improving the health of the internal organs.

This is an advanced posture (strength) and it will take years (longevity) for me to be limber enough(endurance) to get into the final pose. Yet I practice, balancing effort with ease (life). And here I remember there is no destination, it’s all about the journey. (wisdom)

Om shanti. 


Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Frog Prince and Reluctant Teens

“Why are you crying my honey, my heart, why are you crying my sweet darling?”

The Frog Prince

Moving Tale presented “The Frog Prince,” as a puppet show. A classic fairy tale, the princess makes a promise then is reluctant to keep it. The story unfolded and the audience hushed. About halfway in still no peep could be heard. For a moment fear reared his head. We looked at one another, thinking “do they not like it?” When suddenly truth materialized, the kids were enchanted!

How often do we say we will do something but when it actually comes down to getting the job done we slack off? We change our minds or make excuses. Much of life is appears difficult. There are things we would rather not do. But are we spectators or participants in the stories of our lives? Unresolved issues often keep us sitting in the stands. We avoid dealing with unpleasant situations, and the fears we are unwilling to confront.

So the princess comes face to face with her promise and must let go of her aversions. And in doing so acceptance of the situation emerges. Then before she knows what is happening unconditional loves comes in and fills the space. Letting go is not an overnight affair but once it begins moving you’ll be surprised at the rapid results. Becoming a participant is easier than we thought, and the frog is transformed before our very eyes.

Moving Tale; Kathe and Melanie, tandem yoga storytellers

Reluctant Teens

Today I introduced 8 high school students to yogic breathing and the sun salutation. All males ranging in age from 16-21, these students are part of the public school system’s Community Skills Training Program. The program integrates the classroom in the community by assessing its resources. “Health and Wellness” was their theme and I was asked to give them a short presentation on yoga.

Not knowing what lay ahead, I casually prepared and determined to let things come what may.  We began by sitting on the floor, which was a riot. A few sat right down and I heard a comment or two that I let go in one ear and out the other. Two young men sat on a bench, so resolute a wrecking ball could not have moved them.  Stern of face and shoulders hunched, their demeanor told a stoic story.

I began chatting a bit about library cards and library materials establishing the foundation of the session. I followed this by telling them about the many free programs offered, such as this one. We opened with the meaning of yoga and its benefits for body and mind. I explained that most of the yogis of times past were men, attempting to set them somewhat at ease. Now it was time to remove our shoes and sit in easy pose. Another mutiny almost ensued, looking about I noticed a few who silently refused. Young adult males asserting their independence, who would have thought!

We sat up tall, heads high reaching towards the sky. A demonstration was in order; we placed our hands on our ribcage and belly and gave yogic breathing a try. Glancing around the room I noticed everyone participating. Even the aloof ones now were on the floor. Breathing in and breathing out, becoming aware of our breath. A sense of calmness came over the room. Ahhh…

Ready for a warm up we stood in mountain pose and took a few sunbreaths before these big strong guys balanced on tip toe. Energy quickly accelerated as we moved through a salute to the sun. One young man stated, “This is a workout,” while another said, “I thought yoga was just about meditation and om.” All took part to a certain degree and several were truly paying attention. We closed with the meaning of Namaste,and ended with a bow. 

Everyone went home with a handout and if only one student practices any one thing he was introduced to today, hip, hip, hurray!

Mahalo, I serve. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

A powerful ahnvee

Waking with a powerful ahnvee, I longed to get outdoors. A wet grey winter has been well underway and I knew exactly how I wanted to spend this day. A bright blue sky with a bit of a breeze quickened my senses so I set them at ease. A walk was in order, it was the least I could do. A short drive later Magnolia Ridge came into view.

My adventure today took me to an antebellum home on Bayou Courtableau. Sixty acres  still remain. The present owners graciously paved 3 miles of paths  and the grounds  have been open to the public for several years. I've been meaning to visit but somehow things always seem to get in the way. Upon my arrival I found a bold yellow sign: AS OF MARCH 1 MAGNOLIA RIDGE WILL BE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.


Thankfulness overflowed, I had made it just in time. I stepped onto the red brick walk, my companion was amiable but there was no need to talk. Most of the trees were quiet and bare except for the magnolias, they called with a shout. Their dark leathery leaves sturdy and stout.  The azaleas were blushing rose and pink , grassy meadows and  ever so slight hills made the experience complete. Cresting the grade I gave my attention to an old gnarled tree and there on its side a big knot smiled back at me.  The chocolate brown bayou moved swiftly downstream, a reminder that all ends like a dream. Lifting my gaze I offered a salutation to the sun and headed on over to where I'd begun.

After an hour of pleasure I ran right into pain. The duality of reality, happy to have been yet sad to never be able to come again. Alas another excursion here is not meant to be. Yet I am grateful, I woke up and listened to me. 

Om shanti, shanti, shanti. 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thoughts become things

Once upon a time a timid little mouse of a librarian was searching for peace and happiness. She looked here and she looked there, she tried a little of this and a little of that but something was always missing.  One day much to her surprise she discovered quantum theory. The nature of matter and energy, where all things are possible. She realized that as an observer she had an influence on the object of her observation. "Ahh," she exclaimed, "so...what I perceive, I receive." Or in other words, thoughts become things.

Here goes my attempt at blogging. Along with my thoughts I'll be sharing the ideas of others, so without further ado, may the adventure begin...

Firstly, "I do hereby nominate and appoint 'Imagination' the generalissimo and chief marshal of all luckless ragamuffin ideas which may be collected and imprisoned hereafter in these pages."-Emerson

To be followed by, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you have imagined."-Thoreau

My imagination and dreams have led me to an understanding that my purpose (or mission in life, if I choose to accept it) is to learn to love and experience joy while living an honorable human life with passion. I am passionate about expressing myself through story and yoga and my intention is to inspire others to do the same. I believe we create our lives by the stories we tell; the thoughts we think, the words we say, and the actions we take. The ancient practice of yoga strengthens both body and mind, directing us to an awareness of this creative source. 

And being here now may we awaken and remember thoughts become things.