dharma lesson of the day

I don’t normally leave the house before 8:00 a.m. I don’t normally attend breakfast gatherings. I don’t normally plan a coffee meeting after a breakfast gathering. I don’t normally teach a yoga private on the same day as two other engagements and an evening of kids’ activities. But Monday (despite knowing my mental limit) I did just that, and to assuage myself I decided to sandwich the busyness of the day with a noontime yoga class lead by my favorite teacher. Continue reading dharma lesson of the day

no masks friendship

I had dinner with a friend last night, one that I rarely get to see, but who goes way back. She shared that recently she’d wanted to pull out every hair on her head (one by one), make a nest out of them, crawl into said nest and die. This was the way she felt after losing her shit on her kids. She described her violent spewing of f-bombs and desire to murder after witnessing one of her children repeatedly hit the other with a gaming controller. She painted the picture so very clearly. I was grateful for and felt reassured by her honesty and vulnerability. Witnessing child against child violence and responding with violence and rage is all too familiar for me. It is one of my biggest nemeses. It is the very thing that brought me to a mindfulness practice, and when I slip up, it is the very thing that makes me believe momentarily that I should quit, because can a person really teach while in the throes of learning? Continue reading no masks friendship

Classroom flashbacks: we are all the same

I retired from teaching college Spanish in May, and since then I really haven’t thought too much about any one particular class. Until recently.

In one of my first years teaching, the textbook we were using had a culture segment about the impacts of globalization in Latin America. Taking advice from a colleague, I showed the documentary Señorita Extraviada, which investigated the incredible number of disappearing women in Juarez, Mexico where an outcropping of maquiladoras (foreign factories) had sprung up after the signing of NAFTA. The movie packed a punch. I watched it with the class in complete disbelief. I couldn’t believe that so many women were disappearing, some found after having been brutally raped and cut into pieces, and others never found. I couldn’t believe the foreign companies didn’t investigate when their workers went missing en route to and from their factory jobs. I couldn’t believe the indifference of the Mexican police. I couldn’t believe the disinterest (ignorance?) of the U.S. I couldn’t believe how powerless the Mexican families were in seeking answers about their missing mothers, daughters and sisters. Continue reading Classroom flashbacks: we are all the same

Five days in Oakland

I was supposed to be landing in Phoenix right about now on my way home from Oakland, CA, where I came to meet my newborn niece and kick it with my soul sister, who is also my sister by blood. But because of a giant Midwest ice-storm, instead of breathing stale airport air and hustling from one terminal to another, I’m lounging on the bed in the spare room with the sun streaming onto me from the window, open to the sounds of the street just a few feet below. From my perch I can see the trees surrounding Lake Merritt and the bus stop equipped with the belongings of the mute homeless guy who calls it home. When the breeze blows just right I can hear drumming from a large group of men playing not far from here, and in the span of a few minutes I can hear a multitude of languages spoken by the passersby below. I can smell the inside scents of a 100 year old building and the outside scents of the sea and the Mediterranean restaurant next door. Continue reading Five days in Oakland

a strong call for cultivating the feminine

The first time I was introduced to the idea of the feminine with enough gusto to wake me up was while working with a shaman a handful of years ago. After watching me throughout a night of ceremony, he said,

“Katie, you even move like a soldier. How can you access the feminine?” Continue reading a strong call for cultivating the feminine

the smartphone: control and communication

Our children may be at risk for developing a primary attachment to electronic devices rather than human beings. And so may we. “  –Jon Kabat-Zinn

And so may we.

Maybe this is the part of the equation that has got me so flabbergasted as to how to negotiate the world of social media when it comes to my 12 year old. Maybe this is more about me and my attachments than it is about him. I know that’s what he thinks, as he asked me just yesterday, “Why can’t you let me have a normal teenager’s life instead of one you have to control?” Continue reading the smartphone: control and communication