In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff


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Happy Holidaze

We’ve been busy.  I’ve been busy.  Blogging hasn’t been on the frontlines here lately.  And since I got a Blackberry I’m spending much less time at my actual desktop and I don’t mind that.  This way my kid and her friends can geek all over Facebook. 

Lauren and her friends have been enjoying First Friday Art Walk downtown.  Pretty much every first Friday.  I do like to go to this, but I’m not a huge social person and I find that’s really the reason to go.  It is fun though.  Lots of pretty things to look at, lots of food to enjoy, live music, wine and more.  The photo below was actually taken at the new Price Cutter Bistro Market on Walnut and South.  Lauren is in the green jacket.  I cannot wash that green jacket.  Lauren received a hug from Christopher Drew Ingle.  He’s the singer in a band the girls are crazy about.  Never Shout Never I guess.  Izzy is dead center.  Izzy loves the cartoon Adventure Time, hence her funky hat that Mady made her for Halloween.   Mady is wearing the huge sunglasses.  Oh to be 12 going on 13.

 

A FREE photo op at a photography studio where some cool bands were playing.  I love this photo!  Lauren, Izzy, Mady, Kenzie and Sarah.

Jordan has been busy with off season track.  He’s so happy it started.  He’s also been busy with the ladies!  I think he went out with two different girls last Friday night.  Whoa.  I think one was a friendly date and the other was an actual date-date.  He’s also been busy working as much as he can.  Once track starts full throttle, he won’t be able to work as much.  We are still searching for a college and we’ve found a few that are searching for him as well.  Hopefully we’ll be able to make a decision on this sometime after the first of the year.  It’s stressful and I’m exhausted just writing about it.  When one wants to play sports in college, there’s lots to do.  Stuff like signing up for the NCAA, talking to a ton of coaches about athletics and academics and more. 

Yogaville is going well for me.  I’m enjoying the classes that don’t quit for the break.  The only ones that really take a break are the MSU classes.  But I am doing two intersessions for those folks (per their request) so that’s awesome.  A paycheck is always a nice thing to have.  The YMCA is still a lot of fun.  One student gave me a beautiful, live, potted norfolk pine tree this morning adorned with tiny little decorations.  Someone else gave me a lovely bag of assorted teas and homemade goodies.  They were SO good.  Someone in my free class at the studio, gifted me a loaf of bread sprinkled with powdered sugar and filled with chocolate creme.  Oh man, that was blissful with coffee for sure.  I feel incredibly lucky to have such a fun job that connects me with such amazing people on a regular basis.  I cannot complain.

Frank.  Of course he’s slammin’ busy.  He’s the director of public safety at the Mall.  This time of year means longer hours for him.  It also means he’s out in the cold directing traffic for hours and taking care of all of the other petty things that happen more this time of year.  We are (sad to say) usually pretty thankful when the holidays are over.  If you or any of your family are stuck in retail, you can relate. 

I remember having the video store.  The store was open 12 hours a day, every, single day of the year.  We opened gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve, we ate Thanksgiving dinner the night before, the day after, or whenever we could all find the time.  I actually rented 4 movies at Blockbuster the other day.  The guy that waited on me actually dropped $1,500 in my store at our closing sale.  He had all the cool indie films and foreign things in his hands.  I knew he had to have a store someplace so I asked him where his store was.  He replied, “Blockbuster.”  Nice.  Of course I took his cash, but honestly I wanted those films to remain on the shelves for customers who were interested.  But when one is closing shop, one does what one has to do.

Christmas vacation starts today.  The kids are out of school December 23 until January 4th, 2011.  We’ll be baking up a storm and hopefully I’ll find the time to swim off all the sugar I will consume.  I’m off from yoga for 4 days as well, but I’m thinking about attending a meditation speaker and practice the day after Christmas.  What a wonderful way to come down from the hustle and bustle don’t you think?  That’s it.  I’m going. 

Happy Holidaze to you and yours!


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A Day Of Silence

Little Portion in Republic, Missouri is where I spent my Sunday.  It’s where I spent the entire day, on a silent meditation retreat.  I’d never been on anything like this before.  I’ve spent weekends at yoga workshops practicing meditation and pranayama but never a whole day of meditating and being silent.  If you’ve known me for very long you know that I have the tendency to be, well…a chatter box.  This has shifted quite a bit over the last several years though.  I’m hoping I’m a much better listener than I used to be.

We started our day in that white barn that you see.  It has been converted into a bed and breakfast if you will.  Complete with a kitchen, public use room and bedrooms that were private and what not.  This piece of property has three buildings.  The barn, the yellow house that you see that used to be a milk house and a neat stone house where some nuns still reside.  This property also has several acres, a few beautiful gardens, a huge rock, and a stream that runs through the entire place.  Beautiful location.  And just a short drive from my house.  Who knew?  I want to go back here again.

We started out as a group meditating upstairs in a public use area.  I led us through some gentle yoga stretching to prepare for our sit.  We sat for awhile as a group together.  I don’t know how long.  I quit wearing a watch when I quit punching a time clock and purchased my video store.  After our group sit, we were free to continue sitting indoors, or go outside.  We all went outside.  The morning started out cloudy and a bit on the dewy side, but it cleared off nicely for the afternoon.  A few  of us chose walking meditation like we do at the studio.  Some of chose to sit on the benches by the water, or rest in the hammocks on the property.  I chose walking meditation with my camera and it was awesome.

Walking and meditating.  One person did this barefoot, awesome!

The creek.  Sun reflecting on the water.

Frodo.  Take me away.

A view of one of the beautiful gardens.

Someone asked me the other day why I meditated.  What did I get out of it?  And was it worth it?  My only answer at the time was that I liked it.  That question reeled out of control for the rest of my day as I continued to think about it.  I like the way I feel afterwards.  I like the way I feel while I’m meditating.  I like uncluttering and clearing  the junk in my mind.  I like the mental clarity that goes with that after I’m finished.   I’ve received answers to questions that I haven’t asked yet and that can be kind of scary.  I’ve also received explanations to things that have happened in my life.   And perhaps why they happened in the order that they have.  It’s cool, it really is.  And I do see now why some people come to class a few times and never return.  There’s a truth that happens during meditation not at all unlike the truth that you experience on the yoga mat.  It can seriously creep you out.

 

I left the retreat about two and a half hours early.  I had to teach a yoga class at MSU that evening and I didn’t want to stress out about it, or be in a hurry.  When I arrived home our son was at work and my husband and daughter were fishing together.  I was thankful.  I had a few hours to spend in silence and adjust to the tasks that had to be done in due time. 

So.  Do I quit meditating and forget all this stuff that keeps coming up over and over again?  Or do I stick with it?  Do I follow my heart and deal with the pain and other feelings as they present themselves?  I’ve answered my own question already.  I’m not qutitting.  I’m sitting with it.  Where I’m going with this I have no idea and I actually kind of like it that way.  I’ve lived my life without a plan for a long time now and it seems to suit me quite well.  I know that if I have enough money for today, I will be OK.  I know that if I have my health at this moment, everything is damn near perfect.  I know that if I get a “thank you” after I teach a yoga class that that’s all I really need for the rest of the week.  It’s all good.

I’m staying on the path.  It’s a good thing and I’m happy about it. 

 At the moment anyways and that’s all that counts really.


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Meditate on This

Some days, we were just meant to stay home and today was one of those days.  It was a cool morning and the sun was gorgeous.  I was on my way to a meditation class and took a detour since I’d left the house a bit too early.  Bad idea. 

I totally clipped this lady as she pulled out of her drive way into my path.  No one was injured.  Just my car, her car and my feelings.  I never even saw her.  I never even braked until it was over.  No skid marks.  It was THAT fast.  She got a ticket.  Anyways, I will need new rack and pinion steering, a new wheel, a tire and probably a fender and a bumper, unless they decide to sand and fix.  Who knows.  Until a business day, I shall wait. 

Every day when I leave the house I always say how much I love this car!  Maybe that’s a really bad thing to say.

And nope I wasn’t about to pee my pants, though I look like I’m about to.  I was just freezing to death, my hair was still wet.  Don’t you just dig those Merrell clogs with white socks?  I’m thinking about all the times I took the kids to school in my pajamas and didn’t have an accident.  That would’ve been worse than clogs with white socks.  Drive defensively.

Happy Mother’s Day!


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Retreat Reminiscing

IMG_1290This past weekend I brought one of my favorite yoga teachers to town.  This marks the third year Thomas Fortel has visited our area and it’s been a real treat every single time. 

We’d originally planned to meet at OTC so we wouldn’t disrupt our meditation group that meets on Saturday mornings.  But I had a last minute change of heart.  Our group was smaller this year and the space at OTC was gigantic.  And we didn’t just have one space reserved over there, we had two.  The other space was reserved for our catered lunch. 

We moved to the studio with no regrets.  The feeling at the studio was amazing and everyone agreed.  We settled in on Friday evening with pranayama, soft spinal twisting and restorative postures.  That evening pretty much set the tone for the rest of the weekend, which was slow, steady and quiet.

On Saturday we enjoyed over a full hour of meditation and breathing.  This is the total treat of the whole weekend.  The quiet and the focus that happens when meditating in a group field is amazing.  When the lights come up, everyone is so relaxed.  Eyes are wet and black with mascara that’s left the lashes and bed hair is abundant.  And the best part is that no one cares that they look this way.  After that we eased into an active asana practice for a couple of hours.  We took in some partner work, inversions and vinyasas. 

 After our active practice we enjoyed a catered and extremely healthy lunch.  Candi Davis, caterer extraordinairre, served us some wonderful yogi wraps, quinoa salad, white beans with butternut squash and fruit with an assortment of hot teas.  We took in gluten free brownies and raspberry oatmeal bars with our tea as our after lunch sweet.  She brought all glass dishes, cloth napkins and real silverware and carted it away afterwards.  It felt very good knowing we had no trash or extra clean up on our part.  I have her number if you want it.  She really puts her heart in the meal and you can taste it. 

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On Sunday we all arrived at the studio happy and a bit sad to know this was our last day together.  We engaged in that quiet group field again for over an hour.  After that Thomas stepped it up a notch with a very active practice including inversions followed by a much shorter relaxation.  As always, there were a couple of people that showed up that I’d never met and that’s always really cool.  It’s work getting all of this together and happening.  It takes more than just me and I am so thankful for the help that I receive in order to make this event and others happen.  View more photos here.

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There’s something about really diving in for more than an hour or two that soothes the soul.  I’m still receiving positive feedback and I would really like to thank those that chose to spend their weekend in this way.  Thanks Thomas, for giving us a wonderful retreat and we know we’ll see you next year if not before.

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Kirsten and Thomas on Sunday at the end of the retreat.


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Feeling Spacious

I am feeling rather broad.  My whole body feels spacious.  I suppose a lot of people wouldn’t think that to be a good thing.  Who wants to feel huge?  I guess it’s all in how you look at it.  Today, for three hours I enjoyed a Pranayama Workshop at Teach to Inspire.  Amazing.  I love the pranayama practice.  In fact, the pranayama CD I own by Thomas Fortel is one of my favorites.  But face it.  I only have so much time alone to really do that, so class settings like today, are a must!

Abbe is a great teacher.  She did a beautiful job of guiding us through different variations with added visualization.  Who could sit and breathe for three hours you ask?  Me.  And 14 other people. 

I had been really sick the week before last.  I had subs for 3 of my classes, but that still left me to choke through 7.  After that, my eyelids flared up with some weird crud.  Burning, itching, swelling and watering.  I know.  Sounds like a yeast infection.  Headed to the eye glass place at Wal-Mart where they got me right in.  The doctor slipped some orange eye drops in my eyes and responded with a big, “Hell yes you have a bacterial infection of the eye membrane”!  Fabulous.  Where did I get this?  Who knows.  Eye make-up, a yoga mat, a shopping cart handle?  We’ll never know, and I’m feeling good about that.  I have drops (burning drops) to put in my eyes 4x day for 7 days.  Oh joy.  Today was the first day I was able to wear mascara, and I did, to the pranayama class!

We started the class today on our backs resting on fan folded blankets.  New way to fold for me and I won’t forget it.  I used two under my back and one for a small pillow.  We worked on keeping our chest expanded as we exhaled.  Something I love.  I think I love it as it’s easy for me to tap into.  Probably from all of those years of swimming, competitively on a team!  I immediately felt better after the first 15 minutes of this practice.  Simply amazing!  We moved onto other forms of breath work, mostly working with 5-elements (leaving out fire) as our afternoon was moving in a very calming direction.   I was not in the mood to take in a “skull shining breath” so I’m glad she left out the fire part!  I really enoyed the water element, the feeling of the back body becoming a bathtub of breath.  I guess being a Scorpio and all I suppose the water element is in me.

I highly suggest a class or a practice of this nature when you are able.  I knew my breath was not where it was supposed to be due to sickness, stress and other factors.  It’s so nice to take the time out of the day to check back in.  I almost didn’t go of course.  I’m like everyone else.  I have so much to do.  My house is dirty, the sink is full of tupperware needing to be washed and there’s always laundry around here!  Tomorrow is also the 16th birthday party for our son.  It was extremely warm out today and yard work was tempting. 

But no. 

I went to a 3-hour pranayama class and for that, I am thankful.

Everything will still be dirty tomorrow, or the next day.  And who really cares?


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Yoga Mala Spring Equinox

Spring Equinox Yoga Mala

Sunday, March 22 from 3:00-5:30 p.m.

Tower Club, 901 St. Louis Street, Springfield MO

(Click herehammons-tower-1 to see a pan and scan view of the inside)

Join us as we welcome Spring with live drumming, chanting and 108 Sun Salutations!

You do not have to do all 108 sun salutations.  Come meditate, chant and meet like-minded people all for a good cause!  We realize this is Spring Break for lots of folks, but if you’re staying in town, enjoying the economic crunch locally, please join us on the 22nd floor, 270 feet up!  Enjoy the skyline, welcome Spring, renew your commitment to yoga and to your own wellness.  Event is free, with a suggested donation of $15, but please give what you can, we know times are tough!  All collections will go to the Alzheimers Chapter of Southwest Missouri.