Goddess messages

I attended my first full moon circle last Friday night. It was magical. Upon arriving, we each picked a goddess card. I picked

the Green Tara: Start delegating

Bor-ing. The message didn’t seem very spiritual or goddess-like. And besides, I do delegate. Max unloads the dishwasher and folds laundry, TJ does his share of the driving and perhaps more than his share of the cooking and shopping. I pay a friend to clean my house. And I think I ask for help when I need it.

I shrugged, reviewed how I had come to choose that specific card and assured myself it was because it was calling me. I decided I simply must not understand yet and told myself to be patient. Continue reading Goddess messages

Hallowed new yoga offerings

Looking for blank paper this morning, I opened one of the discarded and half-used notebooks I keep in a back drawer and saw written in beautiful little boy script:

Philosophy questions:
#1. Is the purpose of life just to die? …

Whoa. Good question, son. This one’s got my wheels turning too. I’m not sure. But you’re right, these bodies we inhabit are at some point going to become lifeless. Empty of breath and spirit.

Scary thought, isn’t it?

Yep, but an appropriate one to contemplate as Halloween, All Saints Day and my personal favorite, Day of the Dead, are just around the corner.

Halloween is a day of costume, candy and occasional gore. All Saint’s Day seems to mean going to mass. But Día de los muertos, as I remember from living in Mexico, is a vibrant CELEBRATION.

It is pulsing with life and activity as celebrants seek to connect with friends and relatives no longer walking this dimension. Revelers eat the departed’s favorite foods, drink tequila and nibble on ornate candy skulls made of sugar. They build ofrenda alters adorned with marigolds and make fiestas at the cemetery. Most importantly, they send prayers and well-wishes to help support their loved ones’ spiritual journey in the after life.

This year I get to celebrate Día de los muertos not by participating in parades of painted faces and drinking tequila, but by leading yoga in a brand new space, and this act feels just as sacred and just as much a reason for celebration. On November 1, instead of looking to connect with the spirits of souls now passed, I will gather with others looking to connect with the living spirit of breath. We will celebrate breath, the ever-constant companion in our journey from birth to death, and we will use it as a metronome as we move our bodies. We will move and breathe in a new space created with the vision of healing mind and body by invoking the spirit.

I am excited to be joining Great Plains Mental Health as they expand their therapeutic offerings, and I invite friends, family and friends of my friends and family to join me next week as we christen the space with our yoga practice, connecting spirit, mind and body. We will end class on Día de los muertos, like we do in each and every class, reverently honoring the sacred practice of rest and the inevitable death of the body, as we lie down to rest in savasana, corpse pose, and let the resin of our practice soak into the cells of our living and breathing bodies. And perhaps, through continued practice and contemplation we will come closer to answering the ageless question about the purpose of life.

I’d be honored to have you join me on the mat:

Wednesday, Nov. 1 12:00 noon
Saturday, Nov. 4 9:30 a.m.
Monday Nov. 6 6:00 p.m.

First class free.
Drop-ins $10

Happy Halloween, feliz Día de los muertos and namaste,

Katie

Note to our treehouse host

Peter,

The morning we left your Airbnb abode I wrote in your guest journal a smidgen of thanks and praise for being the host of the most. Feeling the pressure of an impending flight, I didn’t express myself as well as I wanted. Please accept a redo…

Dear Peter,

I believe the universe conspired to bring me and Angela to your enchanted treehouse. Like you said, it’s booked through 2019, but I stumbled upon your place (in a city I had no desire to visit) while on-line last summer,saw availability and booked immediately. The universe then challenged me with an email alerting me to a processing error, asking me “are you sure about this?”.

Hell yes.

My husband wasn’t keen on a trip to Georgia or spending 48 hours in a tree, but I knew with quiet confidence that accompanied or alone, I would experience an Autumn retreat. Days later, listening to my dear friend’s excited banter about tiny houses, I mentioned having a treehouse rented for a weekend in October. She asked, “not the secluded intern tree house in Atlanta?”

Exactly that one. I had my travel partner.

As you know, she drove from Texas, retrieved me at the airport, parked the car, and we only got in it again to return to the airport.

The time in-between was the most magical and healing time I’ve experienced in many years. The nest you’ve created with trust, vision, earth-love and the discerning eye of a man raised antiquing with his mother at flea markets held us safely in its pockets. Spending 40+ hours cradled in mother nature’s arms, while at the same time enjoying the amenities of home, was a gift we cherished every single moment.

When during the tour of the treehouse’s three rooms you shared their names, body, mind and spirit, rivers of chills coursed through my body, only to amplify and chart new courses as the weekend progressed.

We immediately felt protected upon being introduced to the Old Man, the 160-year-old, enormously tall pine around which the room spirit (our meditation and yoga deck) was built.

Body was the cottage-like bedroom, housing the most comfortable mattress upon which I have ever slept. There, with the bed rolled to the deck under the open sky, I willed myself to stay awake as long as possible in order to savor the cool night air gently tickling my hair, the radiant warmth of the heated mattress and the night sounds of the forest. This was a near camping experience like no other.

We enjoyed most of our delivered meals and wine (thank you, Postmates!) in the Swiss family Robinson meets Sundance room christened mind. Here we read in the stack of journals on the table stories of past travelers, lovers and friends who have retreated to the charm of your creation. Here was also where we sipped morning coffee on the tiny balcony overlooking the creek while watching the squirrels scamper and searching for owls whose hoots we heard the night before.

Just as essential to the experience was the feeling of being taken care of. To be awoken by the tinkle of a small bell, knowing that meant you’d left the coffee and tea you’d prepared for us in a small basket at the property’s edge was warming to both our souls. I can’t possibly know if you make every guest feel as welcomed and valued as you did us, but it seemed we only had the urge to ask you a question and it would be answered. Thank you for showing us the parts of Atlanta that I’m sure very few visitors get to know.

This blessed abode beckoned our friendship to deepen as we bore witness to each other’s insights and discoveries about the earth, humanity, mothering, partnering, adulting and each other. Sure, friendship can deepen anywhere, but the backdrop, built upon seven ancient pines offering refuge to weary souls amplified our journey. The luxury of two days of story-telling, (Oh, how great the power of telling our stories!) looping back to pick up threads set down hours or days before was a blessing made richer by our surroundings.

In your trees we swapped stories, how-to’s and book titles, but more importantly, we celebrated the magical powers of the divine feminine within ourselves and we felt the presence of the divine masculine holding space for our growth.

Thank you, Peter, for more than you’ll ever know.

I look forward to next time,

Katie

Raising sons

I got my hair done on Friday. This is a luxury I didn’t often allow myself in the past, but blessed be the wiry, gray curlycues that started sprouting, now I get pampered regularly. And lucky me, I’ve made a new friend, to boot. While brushing out my mane, my mother-of-two-girls and pregnant-with-a-boy hair stylist shared with me that she’s terrified of raising a boy. There is the issue of outdoor plumbing and all the foreignness that it entails, but even bigger than questions about circumcision and adolescence, she quoted Gloria Steinem to capture her unease:

We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons…
but few have the courage
to raise our sons more like our daughters.

Continue reading Raising sons

Holy heat 

The summer heat is stifling, so much so that it dictates the day’s plans, forcing us to bow to it, surrendering to the water or a day in the A.C.

It is on days like this when I stumble across a pair of sweatpants hiding in my shorts drawer that I am in complete disbelief. I can’t fathom ever wanting to pull those things onto my body. I can’t imagine the cold. But the fraying drawstring is proof that I have done this often, and my 40 years experience leads me to believe that I will be cold enough to do it again.

Likewise, I am shocked in the winter when donned in wool socks, a stocking cap and leg warmers I find a rogue swimsuit in the back of my bureau. How could I ever expose so much skin when I can’t imagine disrobing anywhere outside of a steamy bathroom? But the lingering scent of tanning lotion and chlorine is proof that I have often felt differently.

These experiences of seasonal disbelief remind me of my seemingly sticky moods.

When I’m riding high and the blood is flowing and I’m feeling great, I really can’t remember what it feels like to be down. I don’t believe it’s possible to feel any different than the amazing and connected way I feel right then. Why would I contemplate feeling other than fantastic anyway? I push the thoughts of depression and despair out of my mind and savor the freedom of joy.

Until I feel the opposite.

And then I can’t remember what it’s like to feel good. Darkness is all I see. I unconsciously conjure up yucky memories and replay past conflicts, big and small. I make mental lists of why I suck, why my life sucks, how people may be screwing me over and how I’m fucking up my kids. I back away from the light and cower in the corner.

This was my MO for many years, whiplashing unaware between emotional states, feet off the ground when flying and sprawled facedown on the ground when not, but I am oh-so-gratefully noticing that my modus operandi is changing.

Instead of being caught completely off guard, I am beginning to see the dark clouds approach and to observe my mind begin to interact with them. I witness my thoughts transform as my mind shuffles through past experiences picking out the negative ones, as well as picking out the ugly in others. I watch this happen with a little more distance and curiosity and a little less fear, and I do it without completely getting swept up in the river of negativity. I remind myself that like the seasons, this too shall pass, even if it seems impossible to believe in the present moment.

In the meantime, one foot ashore, I remind myself what I know to be true:

  • this  could be symptomatic of low blood sugar or lack of sleep (eat and rest)
  • these thoughts should NOT be taken seriously / acted upon (observe, note, wait)
  • my imagination can run wild (stick to the facts)
  • my breathe can be my guide back to a more manageable place (BREATHE DEEPLY)
  • gratitude can be a gear shifter (remember the good, say it out loud, write it down)
  • sensorial stimuli shifts  too (take a shower, listen to music, enjoy a favorite scent)

Perhaps more important than any of the above is to remind myself that like the midwest seasons, moods ebb and flow. This is not only normal and natural, but BEAUTIFUL, so I benefit to relax, wait patiently, and ride the waves. The scariness only happens when I allow the gremlins that are my negative thoughts to take over in my mind and turn a passing storm into a monsoon. There’s no room for them if I stick to the points above and repeat the mantra:

I’m okay. It’s okay. The kids are alright.

Because I am. It is. They are.

OM. ON.

Here comes the sun

I’ve always had a sweet spot for the summer solstice with the long, glorious summer days that surround it, but only in the last couple of years have I gotten curious about how the solstices and equinoxes play into life’s rhythms, cycles and celebrations. This summer’s solstice is extra special for me. Not only does this week mark the year’s longest days before they gradually begin to shorten into the slowing momentum of fall, winter and the end of the year, but next week also marks my 40th birthday, the one traditionally hailed as leading into the slowing momentum of middle age, older age and death. Continue reading Here comes the sun

a crack in perspective

Much to my heart’s sweet content, the boys joined me for yoga rocks the park yesterday. This is a first for them despite the many years that YRTP has been a thing here in Omaha in the summertime. It’s not that I’ve not wanted them to join me every year. Nor is it that I haven’t asked them to go with me each year. It’s that I’d never requested them to go as I did yesterday. I was needing to get outside, to move my body, to feel community and to spend time with my men, and instead of asking, “does anyone want to join me for yoga this afternoon?” I stated, “we’re going to yoga this afternoon”. Continue reading a crack in perspective

birthday note to my middle

Dearest Ted,

Happy birthday middle child! Oh, how I wish April 20th could come before April 17th every once in awhile. What would it be like for you to just once experience a birthday before your older brother? You may ask what would it be like to experience anything before your older brother. But Ted, you know that feeling deep in your bones: the daredevil bike riding, skateboarding and rock climbing, and being on stage too. I’m sure you also ask yourself what it would be like to have all the experiences last in our family as well, to have parents whose laps aren’t filled with a baby brother. But Ted, because your father and I are frenzied to do it right with the first and we vacillate between being sentimental and nostalgic (or too tired to care) with the last, I think you may have the best spot. Continue reading birthday note to my middle