Archive | December, 2009

Christmas – the real hippy holiday

23 Dec



21 Dec

Update (see post below)

On the way to church today, the reindeer were back up to their old tricks. (Maybe next year there will be a third, baby reindeer?) I laughed out loud and send a metaphorical high-5 out to the powers that be.

Kieran: What’s so funny?

Me: Those reindeer!

Kieran (laughing): Yea… they’re playing leapfrog!

Me (snatching up any opportunity to educate): Actually, they’re mating.

Kieran: What?

Me: They’re mating.

Kieran (face scrunched, eyes squinted, head cocked) What?

Me (louder now): They’re in mating position.

Kieran: Is that a yoga pose?

I’m proud to report that we had the most glorious of meetings at church today. Fabulous, joyful singing, music and lots of joy. The 2nd and 3rd hour of meetings were canceled so we could party in the gym and really enjoy each others’ company. No merry Smithmas (thanks for that term Cheryl!) this week. Well done.

Christmas Leela!

16 Dec

Ah, Leela. The Cosmic play of the universe. I’m so grateful for the little snippits of humor I find in the reality around me. I love it when humans enter into that cosmic flow of playfulness and join in. This week, I need it. And so, I pause from my huge list of things that must be done by tonight, to bring you a touch of the Leela in my life:

Sunday I was driving home from church a little bit bummed. It was the last lesson before Christmas and I really wanted to connect with all that is Christ-divine. I got to know some awesome sisters in the hall, and then went into RS for a lesson on…. Joseph Smith. (cue the violins) Sadly, I drove home wanting more. The drive home is stunning, a back road that winds through Blackhawk along the base of Mt. Diablo. This road accesses some of the most posh, swanky neighborhoods in the area and right now the homes drip with tasteful Christmas decorations and white lights. Very proper and elegant! I passed one of the gated community entrances, and I saw something very similar to this:

That’s right folks, humping reindeer! Just what I needed, I giggled all of the way home. I immediately assumed it was some of Brandon’s friends from the high school – you know, those wild ‘n crazy kids. Sadly, Brandon was home the night before, so I couldn’t congratulate him for some fine creative leela. As I thought about it though, I began to wonder, am I the only one who needs a laugh today? The only one stressed out? Am I the only one who has to hit the yoga mat to get any relief? Then, I thought of the wealthy and famous people who live in Blackhawk who must be feeling just as bummed as I am. Was it the CEO of Safeway sneaking out at 3am to create a little reindeer hanky-panky? Was it a member of the A’s, or the Raider’s who wanted to let off a little steam? Or maybe it was the people who are famous for handing out 5 lb. bags of M&M’s on Halloween. Personally, I like to think that it was some millionaire, straight-laced, bored business man, tip-toeing outside late at night in his 3-piece suit past all of the manicured yards to create a little mischief and perhaps, to turn his nose up at all that is proper.

Those laughs lasted me until the next morning when I took Brandon to school. We were all prepared to snap a photo, but alas, the reindeer were back to their proper elegant position. So, I was forced to google search for a photo to show you and found the Facebook group: Reindeer Humpers Anonymous – check it out.

It’s the thrill. The adrenaline. The creative bursts as the reindeer are piled four or five reindeer high! The beauty of perfectly aligning the rotating heads to match perfectly. The satisfaction of humping the same house so many nights in a row the owners put them away. The challenge of motion sensor lights and dogs in the side yard. The genius of groundbreaking positions and artistic arrangements. The sene of accomplishment when entire neighborhoods have been humped, with no reindeer or lighted ornament left untouched. The bond that forms between reindeer humpers that no one else can understand. The balls it takes to hump reindeer with front lights on and curtains wide open. The scars from being impaled by the pegs that attach the reindeer to the ground. The grass stains that cover your jeans. The camraderie of working with your accomplices to conquer the one house with the most reindeer in the city – and taking that one inspiring moment that makes time stop to look at your reindeer ornament orgy masterpiece.

No matter what makes you addicted, celebrate this beautifiul sport all holiday season. Spread the joy and cheer of reindeer humping to everyone who will appreciate it.

Shall we join?

Then, as if it couldn’t get any better, today I saw this:

I really needed that joy! I’ll be looking for more much needed leela throughout the week.

Hitting the mat

13 Dec


I think my college roommate is still in shock that I’m a yoga instructor. I don’t ever think I’ll live down the day I threw a bottle of hair spray at her for singing a perky song while getting ready at six in the morning. I used to get angry a lot. Now? Not so much.

In fact, it’s been quite some time since I’ve been angry or overwhelmed or frustrated. I usually experience these emotions a couple of times a year, and yesterday it was time to rage. It’s not the big, momentous disasters that upset me. I take those in stride. The bigger the problem, the more gracefully I seem to react. It’s the small things that get to me. The consistent complaining from children, added with the tracking of rain through the house on muddy feed, compounded with a huge to-do list, aggravated by constant requests and suggestions from everyone around me, multiplied by not having time to clean the house or return phone calls. Nailed in with the realization that I haven’t looked in my kids’ eyes all day long. When these things join forces and couple with lack of time to center myself, I get angry.

For the record, I think anger is a normal part of being human. Being out of balance is a normal part of being human.  I don’t see it as good or bad, productive or non-productive. It’s just an energy that moves through us. We have the chance to feed it or push it away, or simply experience it. The past few days, I’ve been simultaneously feeding it and pushing it away. I’ve yelled at my kids, given myself time outs, eaten too much sugar, and created a lot of crazy stories in my head. I let myself taste anger and have to admit that it was a tasty, junk food meal. While I was in the circle of anger, I knew it. I knew that the things I was doing weren’t helpful in the least. I knew that I knew better. I didn’t make the effort to sit quietly with the anger.

Yesterday morning, Lisa let me vent. I went on and on and on like a high school girl playing victim. Then I apologized and she laughed and we both agreed that I needed some yoga. I didn’t have much time (which is one of my main stressors), but I stepped on to the mat anyway. There was an alter of flowers and candles at the front of the room and I put on my favorite yoga music mix. I used the candles as a funeral pyre and offered my anger as fuel for the fire. Then, I started hitting the mat. 20 minutes of not-so-graceful Surya Namascar gave that anger the life it needed. I felt it appreciate having a space to live its life, and a direction to move in. When I rested in Samastihiti at the end of practice, it was gone. Burned in the funeral pyre.

I love the power of tapas – the refiner’s fire. Works every time. Sometimes intentions are symbolic, and sometimes they are literal. Yesterday was a literal day, and thank god for it.

So what do you think? Is anger good or bad? Does it depend on how it’s used? How have you handled anger successfully? Can you see the signs of anger approaching, or does it sneak up on you?

Warning: Extreme cuteness ahead…

1 Dec

When I was growing up, my Dad used to say, “You can have a dad, or you can have a dog.” My dad was pretty sweet, so I never pushed it. We had many cats, I had a horse, chickens, rabbits, and even a pet rat – but no dog. I had never been much of a “dog person”. You know the “dog people”? The people who talk baby talk to their smelly canine and makes excuses for their bad jumpy behavior? The people who think it’s funny when their 100 pound dog is humping your leg? The friend who never wants to go on vacation because it means leaving her dog behind?  Plus, the barking, the poop, the constant neediness that dogs have were qualities that never quite peeked my interest enough to add a dog to the family. I was OK with getting an outdoor dog eventually, but when we bought a house with a small yard, I figured it wasn’t going to work out. A dog is a dog, and their place is outside.

Dan had a samoyed growing up. His uber-cool big cousin gave them the puppy for a Christmas present. They lived in the mountains of Pollock Pines with no fences and lots of open space. That dog, “Nikki”, roamed free and happy. I met her when we dated in high school and she was super sweet. That connection of a boy and his dog is a deep, abiding kind of love.

What does a kid do whose dad won’t let them get a dog? Well, my little sister is trying to get a newfoundland dog, the biggest, drooliest dog possible! As I lent her moral support, and looked at the size of her prospective dog, and her 600 square foot apartment, I started to think that maybe we could do the dog thing! After a lot of research, looking, and planning, we went to Portland last week to pick up our newest family addition.

Meet “Echo”, the real-life Cosmic Puppy:

I know… “Aaaaawwwwhhhh…..” In an effort not to be one of those “dog people”, I researched dog training before we ever picked her up. At nine weeks old, after only one week with us, Echo sleeps quietly in her crate, is picking up house training quickly, and is as sweet as can be. So far, the little genius has mastered great yoga tricks like: sit, down, crawl, come, stay, and place (go to your mat). She needs more coaching on not “treeing” Drew on the couch and being so mouthy with the little ones. She is sweet and travels well in the car. She love going to the yoga studio in the morning and greeting all of the students and their kids. When we do yoga together early in the morning, she does downward-facing dog. It’s as if she was meant just for our family.

What most surprises me about her though, is that she is a perfect barometer of my energy. When I’m stressed out, she’s stressed out. When I’m calm, she’s calm. It’s instant. It takes so much work to care for her, keep her safe, train her, and give her affection. She is so loving and sweet, tipping her head, giving kisses and trying to be obedient. It’s such a great reward, and I’m surprised how much I love it. I am definitely beginning to understand this human-canine connection that so many people love. I think we’ll keep her – just don’t call me a “dog person”!