Tuesday, October 27, 2009

yoga and writing workshop

For a few weeks now I had been looking for something to do to nurture my creativity, which has taken a backseat to work and academics for quite some time. I had been feeling quite disappointed in my dried-up creative juices. I needed something to take care of ME, but I didn't know what exactly. I knew I didn't have the time to commit to a weekend-long retreat or a vacation. I would just end up feeling guilty and stressing about all the other things I need to be doing, so I knew that wouldn't work. I wanted something that was short but sweet. Something that made me feel like I was going "away", but close enough that I didn't have to drive too far. I wanted an intimate setting with not a lot of people. So I knew what I DIDN'T want.

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up an issue of Natural Awakenings and found an article about an upcoming "Yoga and Writing Workshop". I was intrigued.

It sounded like just what I needed. Four hours long, less than a half hour drive away. Something that integrated body, mind, and spirit. A little yoga, a little meditation and reflection, and writing! I signed up that very same day. It's amazing how God/Spirit/the universe provides.

I was so glad I went! It was a beautiful fall day. The workshop was held in a quiet old building surrounded by trees. I intentionally got there early to take a walk on the grounds. Came across a weathered, wooden bench....pink wildflowers growing amidst a sea of fallen leaves... My feet sinking into the soft earth.

I stretched, breathed, wrote, and listened. I listened to my body, my breath, my thoughts. And I listened to others. We listened to each other. Fifteen strangers in a room, being present in our bodies and minds, writing, and sharing little pieces of ourselves through the written word. We all wrote, wrote, and wrote some more, in a safe space.

I realize how much writing and art enrich my life. I always wish I could do it more. I know I have realigned my priorities for the next few years until I have the letters "Ph.D." after my name. But I have to find ways to receive and take part in small doses of art every now and then. I feel much more balanced because of it.

Here is one of the poems we reflected/meditated on:

The Healing Time

Finally on my way to yes
I bump into
all the places
where I said no
to my life
all the untended wounds
the red and purple scars
those hieroglyphs of pain
carved into my skin, my bones,
those coded messages
that sent me down
the wrong street
again and again
where I find them
the old wounds
the old misdirections
and I lift them
one by one
close to my heart
and I say holy holy

- Pesha Gertler

For more information about writing workshops, click here.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

wisdom from a 6-year-old

I was listening to the radio this morning (I think it was 90.1 FM) and the host was talking about this story of a 6-year-old whose dog died recently. The 6-year-old said (I'm paraphrasing here) that life is about learning to love and being nice. So the dog died because he already knew how to do that, so he didn't have to live very long.

How profound is that?

Thought I'd just share this photo of my nephew from an afternoon at the Children's Museum, one or two summers ago... he was in the "animal hospital" play area. :)

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

meditation amidst the "crazy-busyness"

North Carolina Arboretum
Asheville, NC

"Let us not dash, but whisper through."
- Tony L. Arrasmith, 2007

(read this quote by a photographer at a recent art show at this place)

A few weekends ago I decided to go out and take photographs. My poor camera had been neglected for weeks. One perfectly crisp and cool fall day, I went for a nice solitary walk in a nearby park, then went to the Krohn Conservatory to see the orchid show/sale. I took LOTS of pictures.

Sadly, I felt disappointed and frustrated. Typically, taking photos puts me in that centering, meditative mode. But I wasn't feeling it that day. None of the photos I took really stood out for me. And I was taking photos of my favorite subject - botanicals! I reviewed the photos again, but none of them spoke to me. What was wrong? I had great natural lighting in that place; it was fairly early in the day, so it was not too busy and distracting. Yet I didn't really LIKE any of the photos. They were just.... ok. So-so.

"Let us not dash, but whisper through."

Maybe that was it.

Some things in life cannot be hurried. Some things are nurtured through long pauses. Some things grow and take root in slow-ness, in gentleness.

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