The 50th birthday party (and the whole week of turning 50) was a great success. I wore a bright pink shirt and a multi-colored feather boa and twirled around the floor saying hello to people while the crowd - more than 150 people! - ate, chatted, made new friends, and donated money to some cool organizations. Altogether we raised more than $2000 in 90 minutes, and lots of people went home with lots of cool things. See the pics....
 
 

November 27, 2013
11:30am - 1:00pm
Wimberley Community Center

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Fifty years is not that long. But pretty long. Worthy of notice. My mother isn't coming to visit until the new year, and I don't really feel like going anywhere "special" - Thanksgiving weekend isn't the easiest travel weekend, and where I am is special enough. I'm planning to take the whole weekend off, so I don't need to take my birthday off; I'd much rather do what I love to do the most - teach my morning community yoga class. Make jokes about the benefits of child's pose for hiding from weird relatives, and wind relieving pose for the morning after the feast. The usual.

I thought about a party at my place, but it's an Airstream Trailer. That's a pretty tiny party for such a grand occasion. So it's potluck luncheon for the whole town instead, and an awesome do-gooder opportunity. I don't need presents. I live in a tiny space. In fact, I thought, I've got 8 chairs cluttering up the storage room that I might never use again, and one of the most fun things I've done for charity so far was paint a chair for the Arts from the Heart Chair Auction. (I did a high chair in Jackson Pollack style splashes and dribbles.)

That's where it started. My 8 chairs have gone out into the world, and are coming back transformed into one-of-a-kind treasures. And on my birthday we'll auction them off. We'll have a light lunch and a piece of birthday cake before the holiday, and it'll be fun and sweet. The idea got bigger fast. Regulars in the community class include volunteers for other great places in town, and a big rain on Halloween wiped out a local farm I care about. There is always something to do. Why not have a party around it?

 
 
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It's good to have some powerful goals to keep you moving forward when you are working toward toning your body or dropping a few pounds. Save your shopping dollars for the final goal, and just look in the back of your closet for the real finds. I've got a few things I can't bear to part with, because when I'm at my ideal weight, I feel great in them. Don't you? A favorite pair of jeans, a little black dress, a suit that hangs perfectly when you are just 3 or 5 pounds lighter?

We are moving toward the 3rd week of enLIGHTen, when it's time to form "the plan" - so I spent some time today digging through my off-season box for my skinniest skinny jeans - the grey-green karl kane's I picked up brand new in my sister's consignment shop a few years ago for just a few dollars. Feeling good in them will take the whole 9 pounds, but what an incentive - if I squeeze my thighs into these babies my legs look 5 miles long.

That's what I want.

 
 
I was standing in the shower this morning, turning on my brain to plan the day, and I thought, "OK, first up is dry skin brushing. Oh. &*#@."

The work of week 2 is habits. Habits are hard - they drive most of the day. What is the difference between habit and addiction? Between habit and ritual? The difference is mindfulness, and mastery of our desires. When weight loss is a goal, we often focus only on lack - on all the things we have to give up, and it makes us feel miserable. And the body is not designed to give up 100% of it's fat - so that last 10 pounds you've been trying to shake forever isn't inclined to move just because you starve yourself. If we could love our body BEFORE it is "perfect," -  what might happen? We are much more likely to get there if we love where we are going. So in week 2 we turn away from addiction and mindless habit, and start to treat our self-care like it's important, even sacred.

We slow things down, try to notice our habits, try to make them more sacred, less chore. We detox and cleanse, so our bodies feel better. Taking the time to dry brush your skin (the body's largest organ, a powerful shield against disease and death), and rub coconut oil into every inch of it is a very self-loving way to spend 5 minutes of your day.

The cool thing about habits is that they only take 21 day to make. So adding in something good, and practicing it just 21 times will make it yours. The more we do that, the more we pay attention, and add good things, and make them ours, the easier it will be to let go of the habits (and addictions) we know aren't serving us at all.

Here are some links to posts I've written before about all the cleansing and detox tools I'll be working with this week.....

Dry skin brushing - my favorite
Oil Pulling and other Mouth Cleansing Tools
Eyes, Ears, Nose


It's a liquid week, so I am eating 1 or 2 liquid meals a day. (Sadly, my chocolate-covered coffee doesn't count, so it's fruit for breakfast and healthy, homemade soups for lunch and dinner, and maybe a smoothie on the weekend.)

Here's a great spicy Mexican soup with only 5 ingredients that fills me up with pleasure.

Toasted Garlic Soup:
Ingredients: garlic, tomato, ancho chilis, salt, soup stock (optional bread and cheese)

Roughly chop a whole head of garlic. Saute it in oil just until it starts to brown, then remove it from the oil and drain it on a paper towel.

If you are adding toasted bread slices to your soup, thinly slice some baguette and toast the slices lightly in the oil and set it aside also.

Coarsely chop 4 large tomatoes and 2 dried ancho chilis (with stems and seeds removed)

Add the chili and tomatoes to the oil and saute until wilted - just a minute or so, then pour 7 cups of soup stock over that, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and the garlic. Bring it to a boil and simmer 20 minutes, until everything is soft.

Serve it piping hot with a couple of slices of toasted bread and a sprinkle of goat, feta, or parmesan cheese.

Yum.

 
 
It's the first full day of enLIGHTen -  a 9 week program that combines yoga and chakras and better lifestyle choices that will make me and the class lose a few pounds and love our incredible bodies a lot more.

To be honest, I could give up my beloved coffee mochas and do nothing else, and I'd lose the 9 pounds in a snap, but for the past few weeks while I've been waiting for enLIGHTen to begin, the very thought of giving up my morning run to Sip! makes me afraid. What would happen if I just didn't show up at the door as soon as it opened, and get my first swallow in before my early morning yoga class? Would I still be able to teach?

Sigh. Being a yogi means I'm going to have to tackle that attachment at some point, but not today. I bought a shiny new 16 ounce Tervis tumbler and put the big 24 ounce one away. I've got plenty of other healthier choices to work on, and if I only lose 5 pounds, well, close enough.

I don't diet anyway. I don't like to suffer. I like pleasure. I like to add things in when I'm working on weight, so I have less space for things that aren't serving. Good things, fresh and beautiful things that I don't give myself enough of, like water, and tea, and a squirt of lemon on everything, and the full 5 servings of fruit every day. And I give up things I don't care about - the space filler. I stop buying it, I buy better things. I downsize my plate, and I take care of my whole life balance things, which means I walk more and write more and connect more, and chill out in front of a movie eating ice cream less.

So that's the strategy for the whole first grounding week - we are supposed to nurture ourselves, take care of our feet and legs. We add in good things, eat lots of protein and red foods, keep our food and self-care log, and select a smaller plate, bowl, and in my case, coffee cup, for the duration. I also cut out good-for-nothing salty snacks right away. That's pretty easy with this bucket of Brad's Raw Leafy Kale "vampire killer" chips beside me.

But I realized how much of my daily rocket fuel is coming from chocolate covered coffee with 2% milk - lots! I'm used to eating just fruit all morning, plus the mocha, and walking around with a belly full of milk and sugar, but today with the smaller cup, I could barely lift my arms, my energy was crashing all day. So if I'm cutting back on the manna, I can't skip meals or skimp on breakfast - I need more, not less, fuel to feel good on.

Tomorrow I'll add a hard boiled egg and a hand full of nuts to the morning fruit, and stop pretending I drink enough water and just drink it.
 
 
In my writing group a couple of weeks ago, Tambra asked us to write for 20 minutes about our favorite body part. This is what I wrote....

My favorite body part? I don't know what that is; I might have to sift through piece by piece until I figure it out. But among my earliest memories is this sentence - and I remember it well because I heard it relentlessly throughout my childhood: "Geez kid, you've got a bony bum!"

"Geez kid, you've got a bony bum!"

"Geez kid, you've got a bony bum" was the response most adults gave me as I wiggled and squirmed around with my sit bones digging into their thigh bones whenever I went to seek comfort from a lap. It turns out laps are only as warm, soft, and willing as the bum that sits upon them, as I learned and learned again each time strong hands lifted me up by the armpits and deposited me back on the ground.

I hate this bony, boyish bum! My mother's thin, square hips, flat bottom and short torso are offset by my dad's long legged leanness, and whichever one's gene pool provided the decent breasts - the only real give-away that a girl lives in this body. In the summer before 7th grade, newcomers again in another small town, the first group of kids we met commented on my sister and I as they rode off on their bikes into the setting sun. "Which one do you like?" Billy asked Pat, who replied, "They both seem ok to me, but I can't figure out why that kid has bigger tits then his sister."

Once Pat figured out I was a girl, he was pretty eager to get his hands on them, but my lower half still seems to be better suited to a prepubescent boy. It's impossible to find pants to fit this bum nicely; they are either too tight and ride way up, or too loose and droop down like I've just pooped in my diapers. Stretch pants and skirts fall straight to the floor if I don't literally tie them to me, and "gusset" or not - that crotch is unseemly most of the time.

It's the one body part I just can't get comfortable with. A tomboy anyway, I feel awkward even attempting to wear "girly clothes" and I am always conscious of that flat, non-existent, non-heart-shaped, non-pretty bum. It's my worst part. No question.

Except I'm kind of certain that I owe my career to it. That bony bottom, squirming on laps, also squirmed on hard wooden school chairs, church pews and the seats around the dining room table. Rolling off my sit bones and into the soft, thin, fatless layer of flesh behind them and collapsing into my curving low back was one strategy I took to find comfort, until my back ached with the effort of holding me, and I learned to squeeze my bony bum just hard enough to sit up straight, using my muscles, not my nonexistent fat, to cushion me.

That squeeze, that strength, that connection to the straight spine and pelvis that allowed me to sit without pain, is the foundation of the work that I do in the world. What a lucky bum!

If I sat on your lap today, you'd probably still tell me I have a bony bum, and drop me back to earth by the armpits, but I guess I'm going to have to love this bony little bottom after all.

What's your favorite body part?
 
 
 
 
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Free play time before final relaxation - everyone explores something fun.
These pictures say it all. Enjoy!
 
 
Way back in October, we began to build a set of 4 big trees in the yoga studio. No small project, we're using a ton of lumber - but I think any tree that becomes a 2x4 that becomes a tree is going to be pretty OK with that.
In the hollow space in the heart of each tree, our resident artist Laura Salazar created beautiful painted tubes for us to place crystals, heart shaped stones from our local river, prayers bundles made by Tambra and Shiila, memorabilia from our first year in business, and love notes, intentions, blessings, and prayers. You are welcome to send your own offering to the trees - we'll be closing them up at the end of the month, so send something now - via email if you like, or in the mail: 203 Stillwater #1, Wimberley, TX 78676
 
 
I was a little disappointed last fall when I didn't make my minimum number of students required to start a teacher training session. It's a huge commitment for me, and the first 2 years were about testing the material. This time, the money matters a little more - it is allowing me to finish some long desired projects, grow the business a little more, spoil the trainees, and have a little left over to pay me, so I let it go and waited. I was gung-ho again in January, but I've learned not to push things too hard too early in a new year. If I set my expectations on high and my cruise control on low, January evolves in a much nicer way. And sure enough - just 1 day before training began on January 27, I got my 8th trainee, and life proved itself to be perfect as usual.

All 8 women live within an hour's drive, so I don't have to worry about accommodations. Not all will be teachers, but all are there for the right reasons. They are serious minded but also fun and sweet and full of love and light. And bright - 6 of the 8 taught a sequence of 10 poses on their very first weekend in training.

Each weekend includes all the aspects of training - a little history, a little philosophy, a little on the lifestyle and practices of yoga, a lot of practice, and a lot of anatomy and teaching methods. I try to be as experiential as I can - with guest teachers coming in to show the many diverse practices of yoga, and bite sizes pieces of all the lifestyle elements, so the trainees can deepen into their knowledge in a graceful way. So following the chakras works perfectly. In weekend 1 - we explore the root chakra, and we ground. We build a strong, safe foundation for the whole training experience, for themselves as teachers, and as a community. We wear red, carry red stones in our pockets, and eat all the red foods available - organic strawberries, raspberries, apples, grapefruit, pomegranates, cherries. Red pears, red peppers, red carrots, red hummus, red jams, red nuts and proteins. We study mudras (hand gestures) and the first limb of yoga - non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, non-lusting, non-greed. We learn to stand, and to stay. We learn 10 fundamental yoga poses, and practice teaching them right away. On Saturday morning, we experienced a grounding Kundalini set with our guest teacher, Ceci Zuniga. Everyone was solid and mellow the rest of the day. And I give them lots of stuff - notebooks and binders and piles of handouts. Everyone leaves knowing they made the right decision, and every weekend after this one benefits.

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