Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Grace

Went to our once a month restorative yoga class at work. The whole practice, especially the guided meditation, was sweet and it was precisely what I needed as it was one of those days.

Last night, I went swimming after a two or three week hiatus. I've shaved 13 minutes off of my time. It wasn't a goal but I guess that I've become a more efficient swimmer and that's nice. I still have swimming goals like learning how to do a flip turn and possibly bilateral breathing but I'm not in a rush.

I have a book on swimming but every time I think about reading it for tips, I also think about the Big Bang Theory when Leonard is giving Sheldon the business about learning how to swim on land.

I love this picture.




And this one: My authenticity is my rebellion.



When  I was on Instagram last night, found out that yogi Heidi Zoltak had died at the age of 45. She was diagnosed with Mucosal Melanoma last year and the way she shared her journey was grace in action.

I felt so sad and overwhelmed, preparing myself to write the following, but had to catch myself remembering who this post was all about. Heidi would be pissed if i took the "feel sorry for me" approach to all of this. My beautiful wife and best friend moved on tonight. She no longer suffers from this disease anymore. Our wonderful social worker, Cece, noticed a smile on her face just before she left us. I would do Heidi injustice by saying the world is worse off without her and this is only because she left it such a better place than before she got here. As one of our friends recently posted, "Heidi was the miracle given to us". Although she was taken early, her impact on each of us goes far beyond a lifetime. She will always have a place in our hearts. She will always be looking over our shoulders during those tough times, telling us that it's all going to be ok. She was the most selfless and giving human being i have ever met in my life and i thank god i had the oppotunity to be a part of that. Not to mention, her sassy self could put anyone in their place if and when she deemed it necessary. I leave you with this sunset picture i took tonight. The night my best friend moved on. She always loved the sunsets. I know she's up there now, in that beautiful sky, looking down on us. I know i'll see my soulmate once again, but until that day, i'll send a kiss to her every time i see that sun drop below the horizon. She loved all of you, i love all of you.
A post shared by Heidi Zoltak (@heidiyogi) on

Sunday, January 7, 2018

What To Chase


Watched episodes of Empire with my cousin last night then stopped by the grocery store around 10:30 p.m. for a #MilkEggsBread run since the weather people were predicting icy conditions.

It was warm enough for me to walk this morning but the weather warnings were still there. Since the ground had been cold for so long, the rain would make roads, sidewalks etc. potentially hazardous so I've been at home -- cooking, cleaning, relaxing and reading; sometimes it's good to be on lock-down.

Enjoyed my walk since I wasn't compressing my body trying to keep warm. Also listened to a podcast which, for some reason, I don't normally listen to unless I'm walking. My walk also reminded me that there is a season for everything and I found myself anticipating the bushes and flowers in bloom.



While in the locker room on Saturday, heard a catchy song and wrote down phrases so I wouldn't forget it. Realized that I had already watched the video after having visited the Zumba teacher's Facebook page. Dua Lipa's New Rules is totally going on my iPod. Love the collective and diverse feel of the video too...

Like Dianne Bondy, I enjoyed what Lilly Singh said about growth. As soon as I finished typing that sentence, I went to sign up for Sharon Salzberg's February meditation challenge.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

New Beginnings


Hibernating seems like such a good idea right now.  Stayed in bed for a long time on Sunday and Monday but I also spent a great deal of time on New  Year's Day cleaning and cooking. It felt like a  good way to start the year and I'd truly like to do major uncluttering and stay on top of household chores in 2018. Felt such a sense of relief when I finished and the space felt different and spacious even though I didn't toss much.

I made no real resolutions but I will make whatever adjustments I feel are necessary to make me happier and content...

I work in an old building and the heating unit was blowing cold air so  it was hard to concentrate (on Tuesday)  and hard to type. One of my coworkers texted me today to say that she could hear water pouring in one of the departments and to stay put as there was no internet quickly followed by no lights. So I stayed put and dealt with work matters until I heard that everyone was told to go home. It was nice to have extra and unexpected time to take care of a few things.

Window at Work

In the spirit of new beginnings, this poem speaks to me:

Thursday, December 28, 2017

This Time of Year

Feel like I've been out of control but I'm giving myself big credit for the leaving the house last night at 7:40 p.m. and going to Zumba even though the temperature was in the teens.

I'm off my regular schedule but the world is off its regular schedule during the end of the year so I'm not alone. 

I've done a couple of Amazon Prime exercise videos, including Fitness Kickbox and Latin Zoom Cardio Workout. I enjoyed both but especially the latter. 

Went to yoga after work today and found it hard to settle down because it was cold in the studio and I had been cold all day at work but I just kept a blanket around me and finally relaxed. The teacher, who's really on maternity leave, subbed for the regular teacher. I loved her yoga-talk about embracing choices during practice. She was essentially saying modify poses if you need to. She also talked about not putting so much New Year pressure on ourselves and to think about adding elements to our lives as opposed to eliminating things. 

I also like what Sean Haleen had to say about this time of year...

This time every year, I'm bombarded by advertisements and posts that imply the "right" thing to do is work extra hard, diet, cleanse, etc., Especially within the context of Yoga, this communicates to people the fruits of our practice become attainable through punishing ourselves for the past few weeks of indulgence. This also reinforces that "harder" is naturally better for us. I used to live for punishment and it lead me down a hard road of addiction and starvation. One message I can't repeat enough from experiencing this, is that if you beat yourself up, all you'll feel in the end, is beaten up. This is what drew my so strongly to the teachings of the Buddha many years ago. Neither lavishing yourself nor depleting yourself leads to fulfillment and we often ricochet from one to the other. Teachers, practitioners, yogis, remember that using Yoga to punish yourself doesn't lend itself to self-realization, it formalizes the bond we have with seeing our bodies as "wrong" "unworthy" or "needing to change." Let yourself feel full, nourished, and okay during this time where the pressures to make certain choices are inescapable. #yoga #yogateacher #yogamen #yogalove #yogalife #instayoga #stopdropandyoga #yogaeverywhere #yogaeverydamnday #downdog #yogatime
A post shared by Sean Haleen (@sarcasticyogateacher) on

The Travel Penguin's post about being organized made my Like List as well.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Dazed

Dazed...
Feeling as if I'm going around in circles.

Wanted to go to 9:30 yoga or 11:00 o'clock yoga and didn't make it to either one and after I crawled back into bed, I knew that I was in danger of missing the 1:00 o'clock lunch/dinner at my aunt G.'s.

The snow was falling gently this morning and I found myself not wanting to move but knew that I needed to get to the store.

Once I made it to the store, I was texting back and forth with two or three people then I ran into two people. All that to say, I missed the appointed time to get to my aunt's.

This holiday season has been confusing. How many people do I get stocking stuffers for? How has a religious holiday turned into such a materialistic fest?  Found myself at Walmart on Saturday because I really wanted to see if they had these cookies that another aunt wanted. There was not a parking spot available so I parked at the nearby Sam's Club and walked over. Luckily, I had less than 20 items but all I could think about was the collective price of all of those shopping cart contents.

Got things from people at work that I totally wasn't expecting.  A new colleague gave me an extremely thoughtful gift; it's one that I would have given myself...


So, it's Christmas Eve and I'm washing clothes and trying to knock out other tasks and trying to squash that familiar feeling of never being able to get enough done.


Monday, December 18, 2017

To The Gong

It's been a while since I bicycled so I was sore on Saturday afternoon.

I put yoga high on the agenda for Sunday but still had to talk myself out the door. Sometimes I feel like my body just shuts down before the work week starts.

Went to a new-to-me teacher's class and she started the class talking about a yoga concept and related it to a cancer diagnosis that she received at the age of 28 when, in her words, she found out that she wasn't immortal. A more recent scare had her moving away from techniques that she relies on to keep her calm and centered. It was a powerful reminder and way to start class.

Post-yoga, my body felt 97% better...


Tonight, I went to the final sound meditation of 2017. Got out my big IKEA and filled it with blankets and pillows.

Woke myself up a couple of times with snoring but that's one of the benefits of the gongs is that no one is able to hear you. This meditation was my third one so I knew when I heard the chimes and rain stick that the meditation was ending. Wow, not all hours are created equally because I felt like I'd only been listening to the gongs for 20 minutes.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Anytime

A couple of weeks ago, told Patti that I was jonesing for brunch at a place in her neighborhood and she said Anytime.

Well, anytime was today. At first, I was going to try for Zumba and then thought about the nice weather so I brought up biking. Yes, I brought up biking knowing that Patti has a bike with the thin wheels and she also has those clip on shoes. 

At some point, Patti emailed me to say that her son's mother-in-law would be joining us for brunch and bicycling. The brunch crowd got bigger and the bicycling crew expanded by one. 

We paused after the scrumptious brunch, debated about how many layers of clothing to put on then met up with one member of our bicycling crew along the trail. 

Jessica is trying to convince me to wear a helmet, get a road bike and cycling shoes. She swears that road bikes make all the difference as far as struggling less. Don't think I'll be getting a bike soon but if someone wants to give me one for Christmas, I won't return the bike.

Because I'm unfamiliar with the trails in Illinois, I couldn't gauge how far we'd bicycled or how much road we had to cover. When we got back to Patti's house, she declared that we had gone 15.2 miles and it totally felt like it. Also of note, I have never bicycled in December. 


*Part of the regular menu... I cracked up when the server said that Patti's pillow bread had been toasted with bacon fat.