Monthly Archives: July 2018

Gratitude Friday

1. Flowers in the bathroom. I loved this bunch extra lots.

2. Morning walks. We still have to walk “in town” rather than by the river because of the mosquitoes, so there aren’t as many pictures to share to prove to you how lovely it is to talk a walk with my tiny family before many people are up and out. Sam has had a little bit of a set back, with the same issue he had with his back right leg manifesting now on the left. Hopefully we’ve learned something and it won’t get as bad this time around. No matter what, we’ll do everything we can for him and he has an awesome PT vet.

3. Practice. The drama with Shambhala leadership doesn’t change my devotion to my practice or the benefit I get from it. I’m still here.

4. Four baby dinosaurs, getting bigger every day.

5. My tiny family. I never get bored of just hanging out with them, doing practically nothing.

Sam “helping” me meditate

Bonus joy: Teaching yoga, insurance for our cars and our house stepping up and fixing stuff when a bad storm wrecks it, finding a good home for something I don’t need anymore, laughing with Eric, bumping into friends when I hadn’t expected to see them, our “new” fence, naps, good books (I’m reading Pachinko, a National Book Award Finalist, by Min Jin Lee), and good TV (Netflix just released another season of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee), and good films (I finally watched The Florida Project and the little girl who played the lead, Brooklynn Prince, is amazing), Palisade peaches, cherries, barbecue, swimming on my back across the pool, my new swim fins, ibuprophen, CBD oil, a cold glass of clean water, getting the laundry done, hanging out with Mikalina, texting with Chloe’ and my brother, the way Carrie gets enraged about the same things I do, good neighbors, meeting new dogs, dark chocolate with salted caramel, butterflies, a soft breeze, the ocean.

Something Good

1. I am still processing this: Report alleges sexual misconduct by leader of Shambhala community and Shambhala Head Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche Accused of Sexual Abuse in New Report. I read the report and I absolutely believe the women, and feel certain there are many more who have not spoken out but who were similarly harmed. I also read Sakyong Mipham’s “apology” letter and think it’s problematic af, not an apology at all. I am confused, outraged, shocked, and heartbroken. This is my Buddhist practice lineage, and I’m not sure how to react, so for now I’m just sitting with it, holding compassion and confusion and rage and grief in my heart simultaneously. A few other teachers have made posts, videos, and statements. For example On Shambhala from Susan Piver, Reflections on Shambhala from Ethan Nichtern, and Offering support to the Shambhala community from Lama Rob Owens (video). Lodro Rinzler posted on Facebook, “I am feeling a lot of pain around what is happening in the Shambhala community. I personally have clarity that it is time for me to officially exit Shambhala as an organization and no longer teach there. The Shambhala teachings are separate from the organization, invaluable, and will always be a part of me.”

2. In Nigeria, an 11-year-old artist is creating waves with his unique creations. (video)

3. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren visits a detention center. (video) “I went down to the border protection processing center in McAllen, Texas so I could see what’s happening there with my own eyes. They wouldn’t let cameras inside, but I can tell you what I saw.”

4. More racist nonsense: A family called the cops on this 12-year-old boy after he accidentally mowed part of their lawn (video), and Two first-hand accounts of the horror at the heart of Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance policy of separating children from their parents at the US border (video), and After 40 Days Apart and a Missed Flight, a Migrant Family Reunites on The New York Times, and These parents were separated from their children and detained by US border patrol agents, who suspected them of trying to enter the country illegally (video), and Immigration Lawyer Broke Her Foot When ICE Officer Pushed Her on The New York Times, and Officer In Antwon Rose Shooting Charged With Homicide, and Protests continue against the largest immigration detention center in the US located in McAllen, TX (video), and Trump Aims to Dismantle Protections for Immigrant Kids and Radically Expand the Family Detention System, and Businesses divest from Alison Ettel’s marijuana company, TreatWell, after viral 911 video, and Watch a mother and son reunite after being forcibly separated for over a month (video).

5. She raised her hand to help, and it made a beautiful difference in one man’s journey. (video)

6. Annapolis shooting suspect “wanted to get revenge,” lawyer for harassed woman says. Explain again why we need a wall to keep the bad people out when they are already here, white, male, and legal?!

7. Best highlights from #WhatTheFluff challenge part 2. (video)

8. Trans Woman Kicked Out Of D.C. Restaurant For Refusing To Show ID Before Using The Bathroom.

9. This minor league mascot recreated ‘Dirty Dancing’ — and it was spectacular. (video)

10. Cats are in a world of their own! (video)

11. Rep. Maxine Waters Goes On Live TV And Reads Actual Quotes Of Trump Inciting Violence.

12. San Diego’s ‘Aunt Debbie’ overwhelmed by donations.

13. A top House Democrat lost his primary — to a socialist.

14. Stop Condemning My Bitterness, Start Condemning The System.

15. Supreme Court finally condemns 1944 decision that allowed Japanese internment during World War II.

16. ‘This is not the land of the free.’ (video) “This imam experienced things at U.S. detention centers that he never even encountered at Syrian refugee camps.”

17. 20+ Hilarious Dog Snapchats That Are Impawsible Not To Laugh At.

18. 10 Reasons Why Coming to America Is the Best Black Movie of All Time.

19. Marriage Equality Museum Will Defiantly Stand Against Hate. (video) “Three years after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, this man wants to transform his brightly-colored Equality House into the first-ever marriage equality museum. The building sits right across the street from the notoriously anti-LGBTQ Westboro Baptist Church, making the museum a powerful symbol in the face of hate.”

20. 30 Ways White People Say ‘Black People’ Without Actually Saying ‘Black People.’

21. The past 72 hours in Sarah Sanders’s dinner and the civility debate, explained.

22. Stop Tone Policing My Outrage at This Presidency.

23. An Arizona woman needed a drug to induce a miscarriage. Her pharmacist refused.

24. I’m Reading 50 Books by Women of Color This Year—Here Are Some More of My Favorites.

25. 7 Myths about Cultural Appropriation DEBUNKED! (video)

26. I’m Not Political (Because I Assume I Will Retain All of My Privileges Forever).

27. ‘People Of Light’: New Campaign Seeks To Redefine What It Means To Be ‘White.’ I can’t even. You’d think this was an article from The Onion, but it’s not.

28. The Hate U Give movie trailer.

29. CDC lists oil of lemon eucalyptus as comparable to DEET for mosquitoes. I’ve used this for the past couple of years and have to agree with the findings. Plus, it smells delightful. Oh, and it’s not POISON.

30. Yoga For Stress Management from Yoga with Adriene.

31. In final episode of “Parts Unknown,” Anthony Bourdain discusses death and Buddhism in Bhutan.

Day of Rest

Half of the eggs in the robin’s nest in our lilac bushes hatched

At noon today, it was exactly half way through 2018. I don’t know if that’s accurate because I didn’t figure it out myself or hear it from an expert, but rather one of my friends posted it on Facebook this morning. True or not, it got me thinking. Just like we often do for the new year or on one of the solstices, it offers the opportunity for reflection. It’s as good a time as any to consider what we’d like to relax, let go of, surrender, and what we’d like to invite, seek out, cultivate.

I shared this with the yoga class I taught this morning. I wasn’t off to a great start — when I got there the downstairs door was locked, and it’s been so long since I had to open that one, when put my key in and it didn’t work, I panicked and assumed I didn’t have the right key and wouldn’t be able to get in. I finally got some encouragement to try my key again, and it worked, reminded me that back when I used to teach a 7 am class and was the first one there, the key was kind of sticky sometimes. It worked out, but the confusion had gone on long enough that I felt frazzled, off center. For the first few minutes of class, I couldn’t find the right words, had to try really hard to put together what I was trying to communicate, but eventually I softened and relaxed and was able to connect with the truth of what I was teaching.

When you feel yourself tense up, allow yourself to relax and you might float. This was a realization I had last week during my swimming lesson. If you missed it, I am 50 years old and even though I took swimming lessons as a kid, I never really learned. I was bullied and learned how to be afraid of the water and of people judging the way I tried. This summer, I signed up for private lessons with a teacher who had the right mix of skill, kindness, and humor. Only five lessons in and I am swimming on my own. Still terrified a lot of the time, but trying.

In last week’s lesson, my teacher asked me to float, first on my belly and then on my back. I confessed to him I didn’t know how, hadn’t ever done it before on my own, at least not that I could remember. He gave me some simple instructions and encouragement, and I tried it. First, I leaned forward, letting my face go into the water and my legs reach out behind me. There was a moment when I was tipping and my feet were starting to float when I felt myself tense up, resisting what was happening. I wanted to quit, to put my feet back down and stand up. The instinct is old and deep and sticky to “save myself” when I feel myself going under and the water filling the space around me.

Instead, I relaxed and let go. I surrendered to the water and the way my body wanted to rise to the top and hover there. Next, I did the same on my back. Later, I was on my back kicking my feet and moving my arms, swimming the length of the pool. My ears where covered by the water and it was so quiet. Even though my limbs were moving, it felt like I was gliding along the top without any effort — floating. Unlike when I was on my belly, my nose and mouth were out of the water and I could breath easily and normally. I felt utterly safe and content.

I keep thinking how this applies to life in general. When something scary or even just uncomfortable is happening, I tense up, start to shut down, withdraw, and maybe even run away. To float, you have to breathe past that moment of resistance and relax instead. Soften, let go, surrender. It’s only then that you can know the truth of what’s on the other side. I keep looking for the other ways I do this – resist instead of relaxing – and wondering what I’ve been missing all those times I chose to run away instead of surrender.