Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 60 - Fitting In


Day 60: fitting in

There have been long stretches in my life where I ached to fit in with the mainstream and then shorter times spent rebelling against it and trying to fit in that way instead.

I acknowledged this yesterday after walking around the Plaza with my energy spent enjoying the sunshine with mama & giggling with her as she enjoyed window shopping.

It was when I looked at our photo and laughed at myself not realizing I was wearing purple Sacred Circus pants at this fancy outdoor shopping village. That would have never happened in my past! Mama continuous to teach me about what is important.

photo: Marie & Mary at the Plaza!

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 57 - Marie's Morning Song


Day 57: Marie’s morning song

My family (except sweet mama) is probably pretty annoyed that I’m such a joyful morning person.

This has been mama’s morning song for over a year and it is amazing how attention to how / what your first activity is can set the tone for your day. Marie sang from the moment she woke up until she got in her shared ride van 10 min ago. She’s probably still singing!

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 56 - Playing Music with Friend


Day 56: playing music with friend

I bought this bansuri flute in Mysore, India 2 years ago and it sat in the closet patiently waiting for me to be ready. Tonight is the longest I have played any flute for some time.

Brad & I explored new sounds, instruments, and emotions last night for a couple of hours while our partners ate mac & cheese and watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer. To each their own!

photo: hubby & Laura enjoy their star wars shaped mac & cheese :D

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 54 - Music Filling My Heart With Joy


Day 54: music filling my heart with joy

Many of you know I set music aside a few ago to pursue yoga. It was absolutely the right decision for me and I had no idea if I would come back to music at any point in my life.

The last few days I’ve spent skipping around, singing & just feeling really joyful. This crazy desire to play the harmonium came up and so I emailed Geetanjali in India to ask if I could break into her house to get her harmonium! Of course she made it happen.

This is my first go at it tonight! Falling in love with love through music is a beautiful path.

Video: Radhe Shyam

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 53 - Paying Attention


Day 53: paying attention

How many times is our answer "uh huh" in "conversations"? When we really aren't listening to someone and thinking about what we are having for dinner or when we washed our hair last (me...shameful lol)

I have to be careful not to do this with my sweet mama because she tends to get in a loop and say the same thing over & over.

When I pay attention to the nuances of what she is saying, each time is slightly different with new inflections. A deep listening learning experience for me if I actually pay attention.

photo: Marie & I walked Mass St and stopped to have a cold pressed juice together

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 52 - Tape on My Heart


Project 40 & Figuring it Out

Day 52: tape on my heart

Heart opening can come through grace, through practice, and by being near someone who wants their heart to open as much as you do. It feels like your heart is breaking, exploding & growing all at the same time.

This will be my final post about Bryce Delbridge for awhile as I need to let him go, but, for today I taped my heart to remind myself that this is where most of the work in yoga resides. All I see are hearts! The leaves, my beautiful mala...

A handful of us showed up to practice together (Mysore) this morning and we were able to give good assessments of ourselves and the 2 others who didn't attend Bryce's training. I have gone to countless yoga trainings, and the beautiful thing about Bryce's teaching is that we are able to walk away and actually use the knowledge in our own practice. How many times have I walked away from a training with my head exploding with knowledge and not know what to do next?!? SO MANY!

Bryce, you are a healer and our Bhairav. Thank you again for shining your light.

photos: Bryce used tape to point out our weaker areas (such as my left glute medius, left quad, right tricep, lats, can see I have a lot to work on!) and I used some leftovers to tape my heart

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 47 - Day 1, 50-hour Yoga Training


Project 40 & Figuring it Out

Day 47: day 1 of 50-hour yoga training

17 of us have committed to spend one week together learning from Bryce Delbridge. Today we all braved a public assessment of our bodies, learning how Bryce scans bodies from feet to head and customizes practices accordingly. We are all going to get the opportunity to do the same on one another each day. So exciting!

photo: learning a self-massage practice that is important to pair with a strength-building asana practice

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 46 - Law of Attraction


Day 46: law of attraction

Books like "The Secret" & "Think and Grow Rich" really made many people contemplate the power of our thoughts & words.

What if what you say and think really became a reality? This concept is not modern and we could certainly discuss it using yoga words.

This year I’m going to put more effort into using this with money making. I tend to feel guilty and think I need to “donate” my time for good causes to be helpful in this world. What if I could do more good with means?

I’m putting it out there without softening it like I usually would:

I no longer feel that making money contradicts my yogic principals. Money can be made running a successful business and I’m going to do it and not be ashamed or embarrassed about it.

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 45 - Men in the Arts


Day 45: men in the arts

I think we can all agree that our planet is out of balance right now.

Ladies, I believe it is our job as partners, mothers, friends to encourage the males in our lives to be comfortable exploring their feminine side. We are not just one gender - more than XX and XY, right?…/how-science-helps-us-…/

Men that dance, sing, write poetry / music, the piano are SEXY.

photo: Mike, Marie & I went to Dinner Theater in Topeka last night. Cast was 90% male!

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 44 - Taking Our Health Reins


Day 44: taking our health reins with both hands & eyes wide open

If we sat back and waited for doctors to tell us how to get a grip on the pillars of health (nutrition, sleep, stress reduction, exercise) we would probably end up in the ER.

Western medicine is amazing at addressing acute care, for example my mama's surgeon saving her life this year, but I haven't seen much attention paid to the specifics of really taking care of yourself.

A few supplements that have been very helpful for both mama and I:

1) Vitamin D
2) Hydrogen Water (if you don't know about this contact Alan Jay Redd!)
3) Magnesium

I just listened to a wonderful podcast with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee whose life was changed when his baby ended up in the ER for what he later found out was a calcium / vitamin D deficiency. He was blown away that he had never thought about these things (as a long-time practicing physician) and decided he would help his family figure things out and then went on to help his patients with these pillars of health, and now is an author, speaker...

He also found limiting technology in children kept them from being put on depression meds (depression scripts have gone up 400% in 20 years). I think we can all agree with that treatment and see the sad truth there.

I highly suggest your own thorough investigation of your specific needs/deficiencies. If you need help there are so many knowledgable people out there – for instance my friends / brilliant health coaches Christy Christy Olson KennedyAlan Jay Redd, & Kathleen Kastner Mortenson. I'm happy to share their contact info with anyone interested.

photo: mama and I are lucky to have access to this beautiful food and enjoyed making it & eating it together (wild caught salmon, garden greens, tomato/cucumber salad), Vitamin D & malic acid to make hydrogen science experiment!

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 42 - Who Says You Have to be "Happy" All the Time

Project 40 & Figuring it Out

Day 42: who says you have to be "happy" all the time


Social media & plenty of other sources trick us into thinking we need to be "happy" all the time. What does "happy" even mean? I suppose we can dork out about the biochemical processes that cause this state, but I'll start by approaching it from its antithesis / a yogic point of view.

Swami Satchidananda summarizing Yoga Sutra 2.15:
To one with discrimination, everything is painful indeed, due to its consequences: the anxiety and fear over losing what is gained; the resulting impressions left in the mind to create renewed this world, all experiences that come from the outside (nature, material things) are ultimately painful.

Oh my, if this is true we can wipe that fake it 'till you make it smile off our faces and just stay in bed!

I'll try again – what if we could think about "happiness" as remaining in a neutral state, uncolored by what is going on around us – a state of just being and less reflective of the outside world. I guess I just put a yogic spin on it anyway 🙂

note about quote: John Lennon travelled to Rishikesh (northern India) to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram to study Eastern philosophy / meditation...

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 40 - Fearless Heart


Day 40: fearless heart

As I mentioned on day 33, my intention for meditation is to tear away the armor around the heart (ego). This takes courage – the courage to be vulnerable, and really the courage to believe this is actually possible.

There is a beautiful Vedic verse (Sanskrit) that says: 
Ekam sat viprā bahudha vadanti
Truth is one, seers express it in many ways

This leaves room for Truth from seers of all traditions – so beautiful. Whatever your Truth is, may you grow your courage to live from an open heart & to follow your heart's truth.

photo: Michael showing Abhaya Hrdaya mudra that we will practice in 6pm Power Yoga tonight. We will work on opening the heart through asana and intention and end with fun work on Scorpion Handstand

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 38 - Leaving Room for Unconventional Friendships


Day 38: leaving room for unconventional friendships

Most of the time (consciously or unconsciously) we have an idea of how our potential friends look, think, talk, political party, spiritual tradition...the list goes on & on.

An unconventional friendship with an 80 year old man presented itself to me this year. This man is somewhat shy, gruff, straightforward, and set in his ways. We have learned to "make fun" of one another for being stubborn and set in our ways.

Yesterday I went to visit this friend and his wife and found out that he is a talented metalworker and for most of his adult working life came home from his suit & tie day job to explore his creative side. I was so delighted!

I have commissioned a large sculpture from him to celebrate my mama's 80th birthday this year. It's shape will be the new logo for the Eudora Senior Center.

What a joy to have this person in my life!

photos: friend's artwork on display in his home

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 36 - Trying to Find Our Own July 4 Tradition

Day 36: trying to find our own July 4 tradition

Mike played in a golf tournament yesterday and mama's Day Center was closed so Marie & I decided to come up with a new 4th of July tradition.

We read the Declaration of Independence together in the rose garden and talked about what we are thankful for here at home.

The Osher "Underground Railroad in Douglas County" class has sparked my interest in Kansas history. We are reading stories of abolitionists who hid strangers in their homes. This is the America I hold dear.

There have been so many atrocities endured by Natives, slaves, immigrants, women...but contemplation of this statement (below) that unites us felt good:

"...that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..."

photos: mulching of the "Italian-style terraced garden" might be another yearly tradition and then Marie, Mr. Sam and I sat (in the shade) in the rose garden for a good deal of the morning contemplating all that we are thankful for

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 34 – Homemade Dog Food


Day 34: homemade dog food

Soon after Marie's colostomy surgery, Mike and I started making / packing Marie's meals to send with her to the Day Center during the week. We have noticed a huge difference in her cognitive function with a low carb lifestyle and feel that it is well worth the effort to do this.

We got to thinking about our other in-home family member Mr. Sam. Although we have been feeding him high quality dog food, we often wonder if we can do better for him.

This weekend Mike decided to make the effort to make Mr. Sam's dog food from scratch: grass fed beef, sweet potatoes, carrots, rice, turmeric, ginger, pepper, freezing and putting appropriate portions in mason jars.

It came down to the question – why is Mr. Sam eating something we can barely stand to spoon out of the container?

photos: Mike and I text photos of Mr. Sam when the other is out of town. Dog / cat parents can probably understand why we do this!

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 30 - Music & the Brain

Day 30: music & the brain

My sweet mama was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s over a decade ago and has been on a slow decline since then.

What has been the only sustaining memory is her ability to recall a handful of Christmas songs and a few other songs like Amazing Grace and Moonlight Sonata.

She started to lose these in the last couple of months and looked scared when I tried to get her to the piano.

After last night’s recital (it took some prodding) I got her to the piano and we started to sing these songs. After about 20 minutes she actually played a bit of Moonlight Sonata and I’m grateful I got it on video.

An interesting article on how music is the last thing to go in those suffering with Alzheimer’s. I’m so thankful she has a deep connection to music and that she shared this love with me.…/

Project 40 & Figuring it Out – Day 28 – अहिंसा (ahimsā) Nonviolence


Day 28: अहिंसा (ahimsā) nonviolence

Without diving to deep into yoga philosophy, ahimsā is part of the first limb of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga from Patañjali's Yoga Sutras. As everything in life, nothing is black and white and we can spend our lives pointing fingers at what is "violent" or "nonviolent" or we make a sincere effort to look into the eye of this important concept – in our own lives – from moment to moment.

Swami Satchidananda on ahimsā:
Ahimsā is not causing pain. Some authors translate it as non-killing but it is not that. Himsā means to cause pain; ahimsā, not to cause pain. Killing is different from causing pain. Causing pain can be even more harmful than killing. Even by your words, even by your thoughts, you can cause pain.

Now for an extremely difficult and sensitive topic in my world / the yoga world:

In my heart I am a vegetarian. It my practical householder life with a meat-loving husband I am not a vegetarian. This has been a huge struggle for me and I have flip-flopped back and forth, each time saying this was the last time I would waver from my decision. All I can say right now is that we owe it to ourselves and these important topics to not sweep them under the rug.

I love my husband for his strong effort to support farmers who are trying to do what they deem is nonviolent or less violent for these animals.

photo: last night Mike made homemade ravioli stuffed with goat cheese smothered in homemade pesto with basil from our garden.

Project 40 & Figuring it Out – Day 27 – Lifelong Learning


Day 27: lifelong learning

As I was setting up the chairs for our Senior Center “Underground Railroad” (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) class I contemplated the beauty of continuing education.

So much of our education consists of required classes we often begrudgingly take in order to get a piece of paper that signifies we are competent enough to get a job in our desired field.

That doesn’t seem nearly as exciting as continuing to learn (for fun!) in our older adult years. We will be at max capacity for our first class this afternoon!

It’s not that learning has to happen in a "classroom" setting, but it is interesting how many of us are drawn back - I know I am!

photo: getting the Hammert Building ready for our first class. we will offer 3 per year.