Tag Archives: random musings

baby steps

writing

I hope that everyone who told me since I started this blog in 2005 that I should write a book will buy it when it comes out.  Y’all, put your money where your mouths are!

OK, it’s not published yet but I am taking baby steps.

I wish I had a $1 for every email I received over the last 13 years from every person who told me I inspired them.  Or helped them get back on track with Yoga.  Or told me my “fierce voice” was needed in the world.  Or told me that they went to India to study Yoga because of this blog.

Or who emailed me just to say THANK YOU for my emotional labor.

Forty-five years ago my creative writing professor told me that I oughta write and if I don’t oughta get kicked, hard and swift. Mr. Brooks, I’m finally listening to you.

I’m also listening to those people from places far and wide who told me that I have a fierce voice that the world needs to hear, that there are people who need my insight and wisdom.  They had more faith in me than I ever had in myself.

My writing was always stream of consciousness.  I wrote in spurts.  So I will take baby steps: I joined an online writers’ group that concentrates on writing memoirs.  I am hoping it gives me focus and helps me discipline myself.

I’ve always written SOMETHING, way before I started this blog.  I was an English major in college and made it half way through a Masters.  I wrote poetry in high school and was named one of Illinois’ “best high school poets.”  I also won a few writing awards in college.  Back in the day I wanted to teach English in a junior college but life got in the way.

In the past year I have felt a change coming up, a life turn, so to speak, where I must do something different.  I have not done a yoga training since 2015 because I don’t see the point anymore what with the Modern Yoga Scene.  I’ve taught in India and Africa but does anyone invite me to teach anywhere anymore?  Not for many years.

I became a Certified Yoga Therapist (IAYT) only because someone might find the piece of paper important if I shop myself around, not that I thought it actually meant anything.  Only to people who are impressed with pieces of paper because no one gives a shit I studied for 10 years at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram.

I thought about going back to school for a Masters in mental health counseling because I figure I’ve been doing that for 17 years of  yoga teaching anyway.  I hate to say that age has anything to do with going back to school, but for this subject, yes.  I’d be too old once I graduated, had to intern, etc.  Ageism is real and I’m not stupid.

But writing….the Universe was telling me something again.

My writer friend, a pissed-off yogini, asked me for some advice.  After I gave her my two rupees she had a few things to say:

“The writer in me wants to request that you write a book on these topics.  Right now we are flooded with spiritual books, practices & such. But very few really nourish.  It’s like eating donuts with pink frosting.  I truly value your journey in this lifetime & your insight. Your insight sparks — it really does. It cuts thru the bullshit. Goddess, it’s such a necessary voice.”

She suggested a memoir.  Hmmmmm…..

  • I have my Yoga journey — DUH, go back to my very first post here.
  • I have my upbringing — abuse and finally finding out my true roots, my real ethnicity.
  • My teenage and college years — running away, drugs, sexual assault, domestic violence, surviving what would have killed others.
  • I have my 13 years of India travel.
  • I have my gardens that I can use as a metaphor for growth and life cycles.

garden 2

garden 3

We shall see.

Get your popcorn.

And hold my beer.

random musings: life, connections, India

I read Why India? this morning and left a comment for Braja. I told her that she was preaching to the choir (and thank you, Braja, for posting that awesome pic that I liberated — that little pic says it all for me!)

Why India indeed? Braja wrote about it — I listened to a deep, inexplicable stirring inside me and I went, alone. I was 51 and had never been overseas anywhere in my life. I told my husband (who for an entire year before I went was very negative and not supportive of my decision whatsoever) that nothing and no one will stop me because the feeling I had was so intense. That sense of urgency is called samvega and if I have to explain it to you, you wouldn’t understand. You just have to feel it and know it in your core. And when you feel it, there is no turning back.

It was my karma. The minute I set my foot on Indian soil at 2 am outside the Chennai airport and walked into a sea of brown faces I knew I had come home. It was primal, visceral, certainly a past life thing, and there has not been a single day since 2005, not one, that I do not think of Ma India. That’s me in the photo, upon first seeing the temple in Gangaikondacholapuram. I stood there amazed. The shakti was palpable.

Now I am planning my fourth trip for January 2010 and I’ll be moving out of my comfort zone of South India. My friend and I decided to visit Kolkata. We’ll be there for about 8 days before moving on to Delhi and then taking the train to Haridwar — where the Ganga spills out of the Himalayas — for the Maha Kumbh Mela. Yup, us and about 50 million of our closest friends. We will be there on a most auspicious day, Mahashivaratri, Shiva’s day, and I will be there when he dances. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but for about the last two years I have felt in my bones (just like I knew I was going to India) that something will happen for me there. A few weeks ago a spiritual adept confirmed my intuition, and if it happens, it happens. I won’t say what she said, you will have to wait until I get back. If I come back. My students and my friends know there is always that chance.

So I’ve been very pensive these few days. The details of my African yoga retreat are being finalized, and since finishing my latest training I can now fully concentrate on my India trip. The line from a Grateful Dead song keeps going through my head, “what a long, strange trip it’s been.” Indeed.

Yesterday as I walked to the Chicago yoga studio where I trained I thought about how nervous I was on the first day of training, a mere 7 years ago. Now I am planning my fourth trip to India, I’m leading a yoga retreat in Africa in February, and I might be teaching in Australia next May. I’ve created my own holistic healing modality, a combination of my Phoenix Rising training and yoga therapy teachings from the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, and firmly grounded in insight meditation and mindfulness practice. And yes, I’m trademarking the name, I’m going to play the American yoga game at least in that respect. Seven years. “They” say we go through major changes every seven years.

And those connections we make. I’ve always said that I feel more connected to the global yoga community via this blog than I do to yoga people in my own backyard. For one thing I’ve received more support from people who I’ve never met than from people who know me here. Funny how that works. People like Kevin who paid my deposit to the ashram I was going to study at but then changed my mind (yes, he got his money back from the shady swami.) We’ve never met but he paid a deposit. That’s trust.

People like Nadine who calls me one of her “yoga mothers.” We’ve never met but we both attended KYM at different times so we have the same yoga sensibility (and we both love love love Mark Whitwell.) Nadine hooked me up with the woman who can make my Australia teaching possible. But me, a “yoga mother”? I cried when I read that because I am only a mother to cats. Most people I know would never think of me as mother material, in fact, they’d snort and laugh and roll their eyes at the thought. But what they don’t know about me….it’s their own avidya.

And of course dear Svasti. We are both survivors and connected in that way. She said, “I have this theory about the little blog world here…that it’s made up of similarly disaffected people, who get it because that’s also been their experience.”

Yeah, I get it. Connections. There are others and I hope you know who you are.

None of this is lost on me. Life is ebb and flow. Some of us have some pretty heavy karma to burn through in this life. There are no accidents and all things happen for a reason even if we don’t know the reason at the time. The realizations I’ve had in these last seven years, well, let’s just say that if I died tomorrow (and I am very comfortable meditating upon my own death), I would be happy. Very happy. And grateful.

It’s all so connected, it’s all so real to me: yoga is life.

What’s so hard to understand?

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