Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Follow Your Spirit

Yesterday on Facebook, I posted a list of possible class ideas I have for teaching in the coming months. I listed four possibilities:

  1. Yoga for the Pretzel Disinclined
  2. Yoga for Newbies
  3. Geek Yoga
  4. Catharsis: Integrating Body, Mind and Soul through Dance Meditation
The first two are actually pretty similar, and I believe I've talked about Geek Yoga here before. Catharsis, however is a new one. I came up with it yesterday on my drive in to work. Because what else am I going to think about? Certainly not driving...

Anyway, I got a lot of great feedback, but the best had to come from my friend Cheryl (Hi, Cheryl!). She said: "What makes your heart flutter most? Do that."

What's making my heart flutter most is #4 and #2. But really #4. There are many classes out there right now that do something similar, and I'm certified in none of them. Yet. But I truly believe that I can come up with a class that would be enjoyable and worthwhile. The idea of it excites and terrifies me, so I must be on the right path.

I need to do a little more research, a little more planning, and come up with a practice session with a couple friends whom I trust and would give me beneficial feedback. But this feels good. Real good.

Holy crap.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Change of Identities

A right of passage for nearly every belly dancer (pro or amateur) is to come up with the perfect dance name. I came up with mine - Kasia - four years ago. I hemmed and hawed between several different names (Katya being an early front-runner until I discovered a Boston-based performer using the same name) before settling on that. Which, if you get right down to it is a different version of my every-day name.

Some dancers - especially the pros - go by their given name, and it would be perfectly acceptable for me to do the same. I've got to admit though, there is something about having a whole different persona that is enticing. Even if the only time she makes an appearance is on the stage. I mean, if Beyonce can have Sasha Fierce, why can't I?

I've been feeling for a while now that while Kasia is perfectly acceptable, it doesn't really fit me much dance-wise anymore. I mean, It's just me, slightly different. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, if you want to go deep it says a whole lot.

But who hasn't dreamt up an exotic name for themselves in their deep dark heart? That name that signifies all those things you'd do, all those things you'd say, if only.

So, I'm currently in the process of "auditioning" new names. I haven't settled on one yet, so until I do I'm going to continue to dance under Kasia. But here are a few front-runners, in no particular order:

  1. Meret: Egyptian goddess of dance, song and rejoicing
  2. Jade: I've been using variations of Jade online for nearly 20 years now. Who's to argue?
  3. Ajna: means "to perceive" and is also the name of the 3rd eye chakra
  4. Thelxinoe: means "mind charming", and she is either a greek siren or muse, depending on which source you are reading.
  5. Anu: Irish goddess of magic, moon, air, and prosperity
  6. Olwen: Welsh goddess of springtime and rebirth
Does she look like a Thelxinoe to you? 
There are others, but these are the main front-runners. I keep coming back to Thelxinoe and Olwen. Time will tell, I guess.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Wherein I fit an Entire Week's Vacation in One Day

Yesterday ended up being a 20-hour day. I woke up some time around 6am to streaming sunshine and fell back into bed sometime around 2am. So I think I took Friday and seized the living hell out of it.

It started out pretty innocuous (it only took me three tries to spell that). Laundry, another yoga class as my favored studio, some shopping some banking. Then I headed to my friends who live nearby for dinner and a yoga class for the two of them. After that, I high-tailed it down to BTV to catch my brother's show.

Because of competing schedules (mainly the fact they usually play late Friday nights and I have to get up at the ass-crack of dawn to work Saturday mornings), I've never caught them. But I did last night. You guys, his band is GOOD. Like, seriously. Like, I think my brother is going to be famous.

photo by Matt Shelter

I am pretty sure this makes me cool by association. I'll take that.

For golly gee whiz, they even have their own wikipedia entry:

Here's a link to one of their videos:

Proud Sister Moment.

Since I slept in until 12:30 today (WTF?) and it's another rainy one, I may just spend it lounging and doing little. I still have a couple days left on this vacation, I am going to be as lazy as possible.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Oh yeah right. I like yoga. I forgot.

After intending on getting to a yoga class every day for the last three, today I got to one. FINALLY. I think the last non-teaching yoga class I attended was a solid month ago, and the last one I attended at my favored yoga studio was in December or January.


It's a good thing I'm letting go of my judging habit or else I'd say "who are you to call yourself a yoga teacher?"

Ha ha.

It felt so good, you guys. After leaving I was all "and I'll take a yoga class tomorrow between the two private sessions I'm teaching and I'll take one bright and early Saturday morning and I'll take another one on Sunday..."

Which is obviously not going to happen because I'm going out to see my brother's band play immediately after my second private session tomorrow and there's pretty much no way I'll be getting up Saturday morning for anything. Tomorrow I'm still hopeful about, although three sessions of yoga in one day might be a bit much.

I was never particularly good at pacing myself.

So I need to set an intention for myself. Find a way to make it to at least one yoga class a week. For my own sanity, for my own self-care, for my own Self. I can find a way. I can find the time. I can find the money.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Zzzzzzzz *snort* Huh? Wha?

I'm on my second day of vacation and I haven't left the house in two days.

Wait, what?

I know, right? I had all these grand plans (yoga every day! massage and energy treatments! long walks in the warm spring air!) and between sick coworkers, rainy days and an inability to actually have any energy, none of that has come to pass.

I have, however, managed to catch up on all my cheesy romance novel reading. So there is that.

I suppose somewhere I feel a little bad about not doing more so far, but on the other hand my energy has absolutely tanked and about all I can manage is some meditation (which I have been doing) and Roseanne reruns.

It's been a long, long, busy winter. I guess I'm entitled to my yoga pants and a little television. Maybe I'll have some energy tomorrow.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Which is named after Ostara, not Ishtar. I never thought I would have to specify that, but with the amount of Facebook posts telling me otherwise I thought it prudent to say it. But whatever it is you're celebrating today, I hope it's full of fun and happiness.

Anyhoo, I spent Easter up in Newport with my Mum today. Here are some pictures. If you wait long enough, Spring even makes it to the Northeast Kingdom.

So... Lake Memphremagog is still a little above flood stage....

... and Mom has to go play in it.

Momma's First Selfie

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tell Your Internal Hans Christian Andersen to STFU

We all have stories. There are the stories we tell ourselves out of entertainment (oh god, please don't tell me I'm the only one who does that) and then there are the stories we tell ourselves that we don't realize are stories. Those are the ones that linger long after usefulness.

  • "I walk like a duck because I took ballet during my formative years."
  • "I'm shy. I've always felt uncomfortable around people."
  • "I can't do that."
  • "I'm scared of _______."
  • "I've always believed __________."
  • "We never did it that way because _________."
  • "People don't like me."
  • "I'm not attractive."
  • "I'm weird and people get freaked out by my sense of humor."
You know, the stories. The things we tell ourselves must be true, because at one point in our lives either someone told us it must be so or else it was actually true. 

Is it, really?

Can you still not do that? Why? Can you still not do that thing because you keep telling yourself you can't? Do you still believe X because your Mamma told you she believed in X and you never thought about it any further? What if you actually *can* do that thing, and frankly you're pretty good at it? And what if, once you give it 5 minutes thought, you find you really believe Y instead? 

And where the hell did you get the idea that you aren't attractive? Because whoever told you that was lying. And if you told yourself that, why are you talking to yourself that way? You're beautiful. You're a Hot Ticket. Don't let anyone (even yourself) tell you any different.

Yes, I have externally rotated feet due to taking ballet at a very young age. So what? The only time I ever felt I had to bring that chestnut out was in yoga because they were all the time telling me to bring my feet parallel. I was convinced they wouldn't do that. But you know what? They do. I'm retraining my muscles and this story is just an old one I would pull out so I wouldn't have to change.

Change is good. You should try it some time. 

What stories are you telling yourself that are no longer relevant in the harsh light of now? 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Breathing Through

A couple months ago I bought the book Radical Acceptance on a whim. It addresses issues from a Buddhist psychologist's perspective and I have found it immensely helpful. I pretty much just read it while I'm doing laundry. The result is easily digestible snippets that leave me plenty of food for thought.

And you know how I like food.

I'm about half-way through it now, and it has helped with a lot of reframing of issues, and in a couple instances helped me put the pieces together. It can be difficult to do this kind of deep work without the help of a therapist or counselor. Sure, you can dig up the crap, but then what? This book has given me tools and ideas on how to move forward now that I've done the digging and uncovered the problems.

One of her basic ideas is "The Pause". You find yourself triggered and falling back on old responses. What do you do? Pause. Take yourself out of the situation, if only for a moment. Notice. Accept. Now... how would you prefer to respond to change the story?

For me, it has been a combination of deep breaths and mentally saying "this too." It's happening. You see it's happening. It's okay. This too. 

Deep breathing, saying "this too" and simple acceptance helped me get through my taxes yesterday what can only be described as the most painless tax session since I used to pay someone else to do them. Deep breaths, accepting what is. I got them done quicker and easier than pretty much ever.

Plus, I promised myself a Cadbury's Creme Egg when I got through it. 

Lately, whenever I find myself stressing about something (this morning, the hoops I'm going to have to jump through in order to renew my driver's license), I take a deep breath. And another. And another. I'll get through it. I have a long track record of getting through it. 

Yeah, I got this. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014


I was a little late getting around to cooking for the week this week. Mainly, I did it on Wednesday. Meh, I got there eventually. I ended up making just one of the three recipes I originally planned to make out of the Zen Monastery Cookbook. Instead of the minestrone and sweet potato biscuits I ended up making a blended root-vegetable soup:

Just a few tiny beet bits and it goes from a pretty orange to RED.

I didn't have a recipe for this. I basically started out with some onions and garlic, cut up the sweet potato originally intended for the biscuits and put them on to boil until mushy in some vegetable broth. Then I added some leftover root veggies I had in the freezer from a couple weeks ago. Blended it all in with with some Mexican-y spices and voila! I kinda wish I had some sour cream to stir in as I think it'd be the extra little thing to make it, but it's still surprisingly yummy. Considering the beets. If I ever get around to it, I'm going to make some couscous to go with it.

The recipe I did end up making from the cookbook was the manicotti recipe. I used the leftover chunky sauce from last week, but the rest was made Wednesday:
This manicotti picture looks exactly like the enchilada casserole picture. Italian enchiladas?

It's quite good. I mean, it pretty much tastes like every other manicotti recipe I've ever eaten, but it's yummy and filling and makes me happy when I smell it as it's heating up. So there you are.

Noms for the week. :-)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Need to Not Be Here, Now. Someplace Else Will Do Nicely, Thanks.

Spring is finally starting to happen in Vermont.


I'd take a picture, but it's the ugly, half-melted, brown grass and mud part of Spring. But the over all point is there is a ground underneath all that quickly melting white stuff.


Hey look, I think I spelled that right. On the first try.


I have taken some time off the last full week of April. I have no plans to go anywhere because I can't afford to. Paris will just have to wait. My current idea is to finagle a stay-at-home spa retreat for myself. I have 4 classes left on my yoga class pass, so I plan on making very good use of that. I'm also going to see if finances will allow for some body/energy work sessions. I am in desperate need of work on my shoulder. If things don't slow down soon and give it time to heal, I could do some serious damage to it. Which does not fall under the category of "fun times." I'm also hoping I'll be able to spend large amounts of that week outside. I've been cooped up in the apartment for months now and I WANT OUT.

Last year when I took my staycation (August? November? So long ago) it was a crappy one, filled with dental appointments and car issues. So this time around, I'm going to try and get everything accomplished before then so I can actually sit back and enjoy.

I think my first official act to start my vacation will be to sleep for 24 hours straight. Ahhhhhh.

So.... You Want to be an Artist.

For the last several weeks, I have been working through The Artist's Way . This book has been out since the 1990's and I've been...