Archive | June, 2009


30 Jun

Lisa and I are spending a week at her parents house in Dana Point. This is the view from their kitchen:


So yes, I’m in heaven. We answer e-mails, go to yoga class, and hit the beach, feed the kids and go swimming at the neighborhood pool. Plenty of chocolate in the house, plenty of sand and sunshine. Heaven on earth.

Yesterday I went to Yoga works down the street and took “Power Yoga” with Geo. Lisa sent me off and said, “you’ve got to take class with Geo – he’s crazy!” She then added that she took class with him before she was the yoga master she now is – and she isn’t sure if he really is any good! So off I went. I thought, Geo sounded like a Pokemon character, what could be more fun than taking class from a pokemon-yogi? Geo didn’t disappoint. He’s a bit silly, and has a white afro and a very gentle way about him. He is fun, the Yoga Works studio is charming and the students were friendly. There was a lot of movement versus static poses – and that felt great. We did about 100 chatarunga push-ups, and you know how I love my push-ups.  His music was fun and I really enjoyed it. Nothing like hitting the beach after that kind of a good detox sweat.

I did notice a couple of things though. In comparison, I have to say that the students at Cosmic Dog have rockin’ form. Whenever I travel to other studios, I notice that many of the “advanced” classes include a lot of students who are there for the ego-trip of being advanced, whatever that means. Hence, they never really learn wise form and/or technique because of the pace of the advanced classes, or power label. I’m proud of what the teachers are doing at The Dog – it’s good, safe, effective yoga. We’re blessed. The other thing I noticed about the students there is that they chat during class. Seriously, during savasana, they tell the teacher, “you’re looking very fit!” and he tells them his latest eating regimen. Strange….. fun… but strange!



26 Jun

In case you find yourself in a similar situation of making bad judgments, let me give you a little advice:

1. Never let the youngest in the family know her father is taking “Da Boys” out to see Tranformers – without her.

2. As a consolation, watching Sleeping Beauty – because she doesn’t get enough “girl influence” – is again,  bad judgment.

3. Sleeping Beauty is not a healthy substitute for the violence she would have otherwise seen in Tranformers with Da Boys. Have you seen that wicked Dragon try to slay the lame prince who doesn’t speak? Scary. (And seriously, what does Aurora/Rose see in that man? Yea, he has a great horse. Drew and I talked a lot about the horse.)

4. You will also have to explain WHY the prince has to kiss the protagonist in order to save her. “But why will that wake her up Mommy?… WHY?” “Well, in real life sweetie, she would set her alarm clock all by herself, right? Then she could go help the Prince find his voice and use his words instead of violently slaying that Dragon, and they could all live happily ever after without bloodshed and ignorance…”

5. Fast forward 7 hours to 3AM. I am spooning with Drew in her bunk bed. “Mommy, when I grow up will I be brave like you so I’m not afraid of that Dragon?”

I am SO sending her with Da Boys next time… no more Princess movies for us.

Father’s Day – Part Two

22 Jun

Dan often goes to church without me and wrestles the kiddos by himself. Yesterday for Father’s Day, I thought it would be nice to stick together and keep our little Missy from ruining his listening time. Drew was a wiggly mess. I finally wrapped her on my lap and she begged me to sing her new favorite song. So, we whisper sang: “Oh Jesus I love you, and I love Buddha too…” several times. It really calms her down. Then, she was enticed out into the foyer where I could still see her and she joined the throngs of naughty children who were having a coloring party. During the closing prayer, I look over and she’s with her friend. Drew has her hands in anjali mudra and her head is bowed reverently. Her little friend had her arms folded and said, “like THIS”. Stubborn Drew says, “I do THIS, my mommy taught me.” Sometimes I think she doesn’t pay attention, but man – the girl is watching every move.

The talks were interesting. We got a big lesson on the “importance” of fathers. The speaker quoted stat after stat of how the children in father-less homes have a higher chance of getting in trouble later in life than those with two parents in the home. (never mind that there are numerous socio-economic/stress factors also involved in single parenting normally… there can be many factors to a child’s perceived success.) Now, I love fathers. I have a great Dad, I’m married to a great Dad, and I see fabulous fathers everywhere these days. Seriously, I think feminism was the best thing to ever happen to MEN. Now, it is expected that they have relationships and share equally in parenting duties and I see husbands rise to the occasion every day putting us moms to shame. Both the father’s and the kids of this new generation are benefiting from it. There is an intimacy that is built through the mundane tasks of feeding a child and wiping their little buns, and putting them to bed. I see great examples of this new version of super dad everywhere. My own husband does his best to be at as many parent-teacher conferences as he can. When the kids were babies, he was the one who mastered the burrito-baby blankie wrap and my kids know that if they wake up in the middle of the night whose side of our bed will bring them more comfort. (it’s not mine!) Just yesterday, during church I watched Dad after dad take out their crying children and care for them. Dads are vitally important.

All of that aside, I was very disappointed in the talk. I looked around the room and it’s hard to see someone, even in our family oriented Mormon congregation, that hasn’t been touched by divorce. Not everybody has a dad, or maybe a good dad, or a father for their children. There were single moms in the chapel and it seemed really insensitive to me to hammer those kinds of details out. Can’t we celebrate Father’s without putting down the experience of those who have no father? Can’t we talk about being surrogate father’s to those in need? Can we celebrate stories of great fathers and our relationship to Father in Heaven without putting down and deriding those who have no father? Sigh. Actually – after my little rant I have to admit that I only have one requirement for a good Father’s Day Sunday Meeting. LAUGH. OMG, if we can’t laugh on Father’s Day, what’s wrong with us? Don’t the Dad’s deserve at least the effort of entertainment on Father’s Day? They are after all, at church!

Pop Vs. Pup
While flying from Denver to Kansas City, Kansas, my mother was sitting across the aisle from a woman and her eight-year-old son. Mom couldn’t help laughing as they neared their destination and she heard the mother say to the boy, “Now remember — run to Dad first, then the dog.” — Karla J. Kasper

“There’s no such thing as fun for the whole family” — Seinfeld

“My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.” “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising boys.””
Harmon Killebrew.
“Before I took the old family car to college, my father loaded the trunk with soft-drink bottles filled with oil, coolant and transmission fluid. Sure enough, my car overheated. Scolding myself for not listening to my father’s instructions, I looked at the engine and saw how well he knew me. The oil cap was labeled Dr Pepper, the transmission stick, Coke, and the empty coolant container, Diet Pepsi. I finished the trip safely.” — Charlotte G. Alexander

An eight year old boy is walking down the road one day when a car pulls over next to him.”If you get in the car,” the driver says, “I’ll give you $10 and a piece of candy.” The boy refuses and keeps on walking. A few moments later, not to take no for an answer, the man driving the car pulls over again. “How about $20 and two pieces of candy?” The boy tells the man to leave him alone and keeps on walking. Still further down the road the man pulls over to the side road.”OK,” he says, “this is my final offer. I’ll give you $50 and all the candy you can eat. The little boy stops, goes to the car and leans in. “Look,” he says to the driver. “You bought the Ford, Dad. You’ll have to live with it!”

A mother took her little boy to church. While in church the little boy said, “Mommy, I have to pee.”The mother said to the little boy, “It’s not appropriate to say the word ‘pee’ in church. So, from now on whenever you have to ‘pee’ just tell me that you have to ‘whisper’.”The following Sunday, the little boy went to church with his Father and during the service said to his father, “Daddy, I have to whisper.” The Father looked at him and said, “Okay, why don’t you whisper in my ear.”

Paternal Payback
On the day I received my learner’s permit, my father agreed to take me out for a driving lesson. With a big grin, he hopped in behind the driver’s seat. “Why aren’t you sitting up front on the passenger’s side?” I asked.
“Kirsten, I’ve been waiting for this ever since you were a little girl,” Dad replied. “Now it’s my turn to sit back here and kick the seat.”
— Submitted by Kirsten Wiley

Father’s Day

22 Jun

Voices from upstairs:

Dan: What?!!! What’s this mess? Etc., etc…… (their room is DEMOLISHED)

Kids: It wasn’t me… it wasn’t ME….

Dan: Help me pick this up, etc., etc.

Me: Hey babe, go back to relaxing – it’s Father’s Day. Don’t worry, I’ll yell at the kids now.

(And then I got out my pretend spankings and pretend yelled at them. Pretend yelling is great. They laugh, you don’t scar them for life, and it’s strangely cathartic. But seriously… how DO they get so much crap stuck under their bed?)


22 Jun

Years ago, I read an article in the local paper about a woman who had run a marathon. She was a senior and if I remember correctly, she was in her 80’s. The race officiators extended the time limit of the race because she was determined to finish. The interview she gave the paper included a quote from her that I think of almost daily. She said, “Nothing could be easier than putting one foot in front of the other.”

I almost canceled the nature retreat I was leading yesterday. Only a few people had signd up, and I knew that preparing for it was going to be time consuming – and time is the one resource I just don’t have right now. I had already spent 3 hiking days looking for a good open, safe spot for the yoga portion of the retreat and couldn’t find anything that wasn’t crowded, full of poison oak, or hot and sunny. A little voice inside of me though, told me to hold it anyway. Then, my doctor told me to as well.

You know you’re not making things up when you explain where you’re at to your GP and she nods along and looks like she wants to give you a hug. My doctor was a great listener and I was reassured that she wasn’t just a meds only kind of doctor. We talked about where I was with my depression, and she said that the therapy, the yoga, the meditation, the stress-management was going along just as she would suggest. So here I am once more,  back on meds for a while.

Why is it so hard to talk about? So hard admit? I know where I’m at – I’ve been here before and I want to nip this in the bud before I digress too far. I’m not embarrassed to ask for help, or admit that I need it. Still, it would be dishonest not to admit that there’s a little part of me that feels like, “is there anything I can master? I’ve done this before, why am I back here? Why isn’t all of the management working?” There is definitely a part of me that is disappointed in myself for not being more of an optimist. And somewhere lurking down deep is the thought that I am supposed to be the teacher. Even though my conscious mind knows I am the eternal student, the tangible ego-ic world is quick to remind me that I should be the master. After all, I’ve helped many people through this before. I’ve managed my state of mind without medication for several years now.

I know how ridiculous that sounds. I know that I am one of the most positive people on the planet  most of the time. The big truth for me though, is that everything really is impermanent, and for me it’s humbling to note that nothing is more impermanent than my own state of mind.

I’m dealing with the internal and I’ve become pretty good at that. Dealing with the external was something I’ve learned to manage through boundaries and saying NO to doing too much. So here I am realizing that if I want to keep my life as dream-filled as it is, I have to do more than is ideal for me personally. That means that there is a lot more stimulus going on both externally and internally, more than I can keep up with.  Being mindful and accepting is really helping.

I say it to my students so much it’s become a joke. “Suffering is optional”. So this time around, as I notice that it’s really hard to make it through a day without yelling at someone, composing myself and apologizing, or I’m just not sleeping because I’m anxiously running over all of the things that need to be done, or I’ve just lost that desire to do anything – I know it’s time for help. I’m not going to suffer this time until my family is suffering with me. So, I’m trying a new medication called Pristiq. (I’m very skeptical of the name… terrible name!) As with most depression meds, there is an adjustment period. So for the next couple of weeks I’m dealing with a bit of nausea, being tired, and shaky hand syndrone. Kind of like being pregnant again. But, it’s all good – I feel like I’m climbing out of the hole again except this time it’s not scarry or overwhelming. It’s just is what it is.

Yesterday, the retreat was amazing, simply amazing. The six of us rolled out our mats on a wide stretch of cleared and packed trail. We were next to a creek-bed and huge trees wove overhead providing shade. I spoke as little as possible so that rather than worrying on form, we could move organically into our own natural expression of being. The birds chirped, the breeze sung through the branches of the trees, our drishti was a leaf, the spiders crawled around our mats and our feet rooted right down into the earth. Sirsasana (headstand) and Urdhva Dhanurasana (backbend) gave me a liberating new view of my world upside down with blue skies peaking though the branches of the big oaks. Those sirsana feet were reminded to reach up into the clouds just like the trees. It was downright magical.

Nobody cared that we had to shift plans slightly or that we started out a bit late. We all shared food and climbed through the beautiful foothills and canyons of Mt. Diablo, really enjoying a real connection with each other. I enjoyed listening to my friends and getting to know them better.  For a whole morning, I forgot how tired I was, and how I couldn’t keep myself from shaking during yoga and how I almost wanted to throw up, or about what I needed to do next or where I needed to be on time.  I felt so grateful to live in such a gorgeous world. We climbed up the last steep hill and it was so effortless for me.

Climbing out of this hole of anxiety and depression feels good.  There’s no fear or despair this time, just acceptance of where I’m at. Nothing is easier than just putting one foot ahead of the other.