Humility & Hope in Progress

A few things I love – having opinions of opinions, walking on a path paved with certainty and close-mindedness disguised as open- mindedness, and last but not least always being right. 

Can you imagine the emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness that comes with all this pent up bitterness, self-righteous rage and judgement? Yeah – I bet a few of you can. 

I didn’t even realize my festering wound until my close friend, Amanda, identified it for me. 

Healing takes time and plenty of ointment – but NOT liquid bandage – I learned that stuff (literally) stings like a motherfucker. A story for another time. 

What is this ointment I’ve found? – I can’t share. Patent pending. (I’m full of “funny” jokes this a.m. – I blame the coffee)

My ointment – True humility, being honest with yourself and another human of where you are, that you need help, and being accepted unconditionally. 

The first step is the hardest for me – reaching out and being honest that I am living in a pit of “fuck it” and need [gulp] help [gag]. I love needing others. It’s the best. Trusting humans – sure – there is nothing to worry about. I may be a vocal groupie of Brené Brown but actually being vulnerable on all fronts and in all interactions feels abnormal and way too dangerous.   

Yet, in the past week, when I’ve let it all (well some of it) out to another breathing human being(s) – the freedom and restful sleep has been surprising.  Hell – I’ve even found myself surrendering to a God of love, grace and forgiveness. Before, I would have told you surrendering is straight up, 100% weakness, and a complete avoidance of being a self-reliant, responsible adult. However, I can’t ignore my experience and deny I didn’t feel lighter and even more hopeful after truly connecting with others in despair and joy and seeking assistance from my God. (That was hard to type out – I have to include this disclaimer: I don’t believe in a God who will save the “good” people from cancer and only let “sinners” die if you pray hard enough). I want to come up with a fun name for God – but as of today I’m ok with the traditional language. Anyway – I digress. 

Before this past week, I would have called bullshit and shutdown anyone who would try and convince me it is a good thing to be honest, hopeful, and trustful of humanity in the times we live in… because damn. Our country is swimming in a fear – ego – greed -polluted RISING ocean. 


Sometimes hope is a radical act, sometimes a quietly merciful response, sometimes a second wind, or just an increased awareness of goodness and beauty. Maybe you didn’t get what you prayed for, but what you got instead was waking to the momentousness of life, the power of loving hearts. You hope to wake up in time to see the dawn, the first light, a Technicolor sunrise, but the early morning instead is cloudy with mist. Still, as you linger, the ridge stands majestically black against a milky sky. And if you pay attention, you’ll see the setting of the moon that illumined us all as we slept. And you see a new day dawn.

Anne Lamott

I remember after the last presidential election; I was having breakfast with a friend. She asked me to make a choice regarding the type of person I want to be in times that feel utterly hopeless and doomed (I’m paraphrasing here):

a) To be the person staring at the wall (not that wall) while others suffer and secretly ridicule the hopeful 

b) To be the person who willingly engages in helping relieve another’s suffering even if it is only temporary 

I’ve had days, months – pretty much all last year give or take a few days –  where I chose to stare into our impending doom. All action felt pointless. I was a real joy to be around! 

I’m sharing this with you because I’m determined to not continue making that choice. I want to shed my personas (see previous post), my cynicism, and the need to be right that we are all doomed. I don’t expect a miracle, though I’m open to receiving one now.

This road of unlearning is going to be rocky – it has already landed me on my ass but I don’t see another choice that will lead to community, freedom, and a belief that a Great Spirit is here and now, in all and everything. 

Where am I today? It’s Sunday morning and I’m enjoying coffee in my newly gifted, comfy and often nap-inducing chair watching my foster kittens lose their minds and then crash. I’m reading the news (healthy balance) and learning about ways to be involved in the resistance. I’m praying to my God to remove my self-reliance and to help me recognize the spirit in everyone (yes….everyone). I’m ok if and when I fail. I’m learning to recognize I’m not alone in this thing called life. It’s nice.

One last thing – I’d recommend adopting furry friend or two – they keep you grounded and present. Check out your local humane society, animal shelter and here’s a plug for the cat rescue I volunteer with: clawscatrescue.org

We take the action—soup kitchens, creek restoration, mentoring—and then the insight follows: that by showing up with hope to help others, I’m guaranteed that hope is present. Then my own hope increases. By creating hope for others, I end up awash in the stuff.


We create goodness in the world, and that gives us hope. We plant bulbs in the cold, stony dirt of winter and our aging arthritic fingers get nicked, but we just do it, and a couple of months later life blooms—as daffodils, paperwhites, tulips.


Hope is sometimes a decision that we won’t bog down in analysis paralysis. We show up in waders or with checkbooks. We send money to India, and the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and to Uncle Ed’s GoFundMe account for his surgery.

Anne Lamott
(I know, I’m obsessed. As I’ve said before – deal with it!)

F%*# 2018 (well sort of)

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Let’s me just say – goodbye, farewell 2018. You almost killed me, but thankfully my friends, family, a new community, and possibly a sprinkling of God/Great Spirit, revived my heart before the close of the year. 

Now to today, Jan 1st 2019. The beginning of a new year usually entails writing down all of the things I plan on DOING in the upcoming months. Changing my diet, losing weight, reading more, computer screens less, writing and creating more, spending less and decreasing debt, volunteering more, keeping my self-care in check, and meeting my mat every morning. All perfectly fine things to do – nothing inherently sinister. Yet – Anne Lamott, Brene Brown, or someone I’ve read repeatedly but can’t exactly remember who, has drilled into my brain –  “Expectation are resentments waiting to happen.” All I need is more resentments to add to my list. (Don’t ask).

I’m starting off this year with something a bit different: 

Through the joy and pain, I want to be present and able to sit with all the wonderful and icky emotions & feelings – including physical pain.

I want to have an unyielding faith in hope and love despite knowing all the facts (Wendell Berry inspiration).

Regardless of the bleakness of the day, I want to still see the sliver of light that remains illuminous in the darkness.

– Me (ok 2019, don’t fuck this up)

I know, right?! This doesn’t sound like my default persona of cynical debbie downer or my other persona of spiritual “om” all is lovely if you meditate or one of my favorites, my persona of rage-filled activist looking for a coup. Life involves suffering – hell we all know that. Even babies feel the pains of hunger, loneliness, and a crappy diaper sticking to their parts. (Adulthood version: When the pad’s wings stick to your pubic hairs).

I’m ready to ditch all the personas I’ve created for myself over the years. That alone feels like one hell of a task but I’m done pretending and presenting a carefully scripted narrative. At least I think I am. Honestly, I think all my personas contain some element of who I am but a more exaggerated version which is neglectful of the complications and contradictions I hold within myself.

Do I know who I am? Nope.

Do I know who I want to be?  Not really. 

Does that bother me? Not all the time. 

Bottom line – I want to unlearn and “unbecome” all the falsehoods placed on me, either by another, society, or myself.

Funny, I didn’t expect 2019 to arrive after the last presidential election. Yet, here we all are, beaten but persevering – fighting without dehumanizing (at least trying not to) & having difficult conversations with others and ourselves.

Am I hopeful? Surprisingly yes.

Will my hope encounter assault? Of course. Every second of human existence contains our immense ability to be cruel to all living things.

Will I give up? Of course, I’m human and insanely imperfect. There will be days where I’ll be angry, sad, depressed, curled up and staring at the wall. Yet, I hope my perspective can shift back towards courageous, radical love.

Here goes something.

(And yes, I’m still 100% obsessed with Anne Lamott’s wisdom – deal with it).

“There is the absolute hopelessness we face that everyone we love will die, even our newborn granddaughter, even as we trust and know that love will give rise to growth, miracles, and resurrection. Love and goodness and the world’s beauty and humanity are the reasons we have hope. Yet no matter how much we recycle, believe in our Priuses, and abide by our local laws, we see that our beauty is being destroyed, crushed by greed and cruel stupidity. And we also see love and tender hearts carry the day. Fear, against all odds, leads to community, to bravery and right action, and these give us hope.”

“We can change. People say we can’t, but we do when the stakes or the pain is high enough. And when we do, life can change. It offers more of itself when we agree to give up our busyness.”

– both by St. Anne Lamott

Frustration to Reflection from a Judgmental Social Justice Wannabe

Why wasn’t their mention of the tax reform bill passage from the pulpit?

I agree honoring the Sabbath is crucial to sustaining your energy and ability to show up nonviolently. To love instead of hate and to not burn out into oblivion.

However, I craved to hear outrage, weeping, sadness and the offering of reflection of what Jesus would say to the us, what he would call us all to do, how we can move forward to love, help and create a more just world…what he would come steal from us in the night (as Nadia Boltz-Weber speaks to) – our greed, our privilege to look away?

I understand that some would find a sermon laced with political references polarizing – but how did our faith become unwound from action in the world? (Or is it?)

Where people object to sermons calling for the poor to be feed, for equal rights, access to healthcare if this requires being involved in political and/or social justice movements? (Or do they?)

As I told a friend, my pew attendance is hard. I’m trying to stay committed. I need a community for accountability and support. But oh how I judge, judge, judge from the pew. I know this and have to remind myself to be quiet (it is Advent) and listen.

Though I no longer adhere to the belief that Jesus is the only way, I’m still rooted in my faith (with plenty of doubts). Jesus does present a Third Way I try poorly to follow. Which is why I’m still sitting in the pew and hushing my inner critic.

Despite my own personal (selfish) sermon needs (wants), I do see people in my own congregation rising up to help one another – through a food pantry, support of homeless veterans, and much, much more. Maybe some places and some people have different ways of showing up – dare I say, different gifts.

My judgment might need to be stolen in the night and replaced with openheartedness and a wider lens to see all the different forms of activism present in my community.

My offering today, on the 1st day of Advent, is to watch the following segment and reflect if you and your faith community are showing up? And to know there are many actions needed to tackle the injustices of the world – all are needed in this movement.

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The Rev. Osagyefo Sekou (left), the Rev. Seth Wispelwey (fourth from right) and Brittany Caine-Conley (fifth from right), a 2014 Eastern Mennonite Seminary graduate, march with other clergy Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia, to counter-protest the “Unite the Right” rally. The three will be honored by the National Council of Churches in November. (Photo by Jordy Yager)

https://www.cbsnews.com/videos/faith-on-the-frontlines/

I started this piece with frustration but I’m ending it with more hope, reflection, and the confrontation of my own internal judgmental discourse.

I’m starting to see/realize where I fit in my faith narrative.

Anyone have a megaphone?

Before I go, here is a quote I came across today:

 “Hope is not prognostication. It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons. I don’t think you can explain it as a mere derivative of something here, of some movement, or of some favorable signs in the world. . . . Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but, rather, an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. The more unpropitious the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper that hope is. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. . . . It is also this hope, above all, which gives us the strength to live and continually to try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now.”

– Vaclav Havel, “Disturbing the Peace”

Sunday Questions

Will it ever be easy again?

Will I ever be able to discard my skepticism towards a religion I once adored?

Why did I land on this path? Why have I consistently left and returned?

Why do I seek newness in the familiar?

Should I look elsewhere or is that giving in to the easy way?

Does it matter when all religions, in my mind, point to the same, living entity?

How do I see the beauty and the dysfunction with equal ease?

Have I done anything to move toward change? Am I not as guilty for saying all the things that “should” be done – rather than actually doing them?

Where would I begin? Should I begin?

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I love sermons where wisdom, mercy and kindness reign.

I love small groups where judgment, at least outward judgment, is left in the parking lot.

I love Jesus – the radical Middle Eastern socialist that called into question the powers that be.

I love his words, his life, and I am stricken by his ultimate sacrifice for a world filled with greed.

I love growing in knowledge to where, when, and why these texts where written, rather than believing they landed on earth with a heavenly thud.

I also love the teachings of the Buddha and many other spiritual teachers.

What does this make me?

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I used to love liturgy.

The bowing, the crossing, the kneeling – all postures that once held richness in the service.

Why does it all feel dead?

When I’m on my yoga mat the exact same postures steadily hold meaning.

What has changed?

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I would love to not sit in a pew alone.

Yet when given the opportunity for fellowship – it’s a 50/50 chance I’ll shrink away.

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I wish the pews weren’t whitewashed.

Will Sunday segregation ever end?

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I would love a pew made of dirt, leaves and found under a tree.

Communion held in a home where real food and drink were shared.

A community known as a blessed place of rest to the entire city.

A building used every moment of every day to provide a need.

People intentionally moving closer to each other – knowing good well it will be even harder to love each other up close, to love all the dirt and grim and filth we think we hide behind our doors.

To be a community every single day.

Is this even possible in the world today?

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Downtown Little Rock – 11.12.17

“The human ego prefers anything, just about anything, to falling, or changing, or dying. The ego is that part of you that loves the status quo – even when it’s not working. It attaches to past and present and fears the future.”
― Richard Rohr

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Where to begin…

This first post will be absolutely all over the place and I make no apologies. Sometimes you have to let your fingers fly and be ok with the outcome, no matter how shitty it comes out. As I’ve cleverly added a tagline to this blog – embracing the dirt – I plan on embracing my own, my community’s, hell – the world’s. I think through this severely too tight of a hug we can learn a lot about ourselves and others. That isn’t to say that I’ll be “the world sucks, we are going to die!” in every post – I have hope in humanity. Sometimes this hope is the tiniest sliver but it refuses to be killed off.

It has been 3 years since I’ve written anything publically resulting in more than a Facebook status. Let’s say the past year has led me back to my own journal for rage fits and sorrowful pleas to whatever Spirit out there to help the US escape the hellfire we have doused with gasoline (because let’s be honest, we have never been “great”).

Even before 45’s presidency, I found myself in a deep abyss despite finding a short ladder out for about 6 months. All the negative habits came back with fuller force and wanted to eradicate my spirit. I’m not going to sugarcoat my journey or imply it was “divinely” orchestrated – because that would be a bitch of a God. I do believe that beauty can come out of the grimiest pits if you are one of lucky ones to make it out alive.

Thank God for friends (aka chosen family). The close ones that let you know it is perfectly normal to have a “go bag” in your car – they are also stockpiling food and considering wilderness survival training courses. The ones who let you rage out for 30 minutes and then say you need Charlie cuddles. These cuddles are amazingly effective in calming the internal debris spiral. The ones who love you not in spite of your sadness, but because it makes you a real, flawed, and empathetic human being.  Their love is unconditional.

Finally, I hope this is a place for storytelling, art, conversations, speaking truth to bullshit while remaining civil (as Saint Brené Brown commands us). I’m currently on the journey to learn how others have embraced the dirt and continued to pursue, find, and secure hope in the darkness. I want to find people that have committed their lives to service (broadly defined) and find out how they landed in their projects/paths/etc.  I want to know what their good, bad and mediocre days look and feel like. Fair warning, if you are one of those people, be ready for my email, text or call. I’m interested and I want to learn.

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Circle Yoga Shala – Jasper, Arkansas

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Not in Our Name

After reading the witness story of a father losing his son today – I froze in my chair, hands in front of my mouth in prayer, tears running down my cheeks, feeling immobile. I know I can’t end this man’s pain and the many others that are mourning entire families due to the siege in Gaza. All I could do was pray that peace would be realized, lotus blossoms would reign down from the sky, the borders no longer blocked but filled with neighbors welcoming those they have feared their entire lives. Yes, a utopian dream but I can’t live in the cynical state that I find myself after reading any and every news article, looking at pictures of death and destruction that leads to hate coming out of my mouth towards the oppressor that serves no one and no cause.

Currently there are 40 wars raging around our globe; children fleeing wars that my nation assisted in and many losing their lives because of the illogical support of human cruelty based on the wobbly foundation of defending one’s own country. What is perplexing is many of those doing the destruction do not look into the eye of their victims, they merely push a button to hit their “target” not acknowledging the human life that ended. The dehumanization is astonishing and I find myself in a dilemma of seeking peace and not demonizing the oppressor. Because the cycle of those that are oppressed —- becoming the oppressor is what we see today. Fear grasping our necks and our wallets. Land infiltrated by overconsumption and destructive attempts to funnel money out of it to fuel our cars (I am guilty) and to let the rich stay on top and those on the bottom to remain.

I’m fearful that this will not end until all of Gaza is destroyed. I have fallen into despair, hopelessness, regret, guilt, cynicism, and complacency.  Yet, I somehow find this tiny strand of a rope that leads me back to the light of optimism, that humans are good, that the world remains a beautiful, enchanted place.  Some days, I let go and fall back into despair but before I’m completely consumed, I reach up and that strand is always there, always present even in the darkest of times.

The massacre occurring in Gaza is piercing my side but from a safe distance – one where my awareness can be turned off by a click of the mouse allowing me to live my life in ignorance. But once you know, don’t you have the obligation to speak up, advocate, do whatever possible to end the violence? There is no unknowing. The violence seeks you at every newsstand – but the tricky thing is that this news can be filtered to continue the propaganda that one life is more precious than the other. This has never and will never be true and I find it disheartening that those of major religions with tenets to love your enemies, give the cloak off your back, do no harm to any being are the loudest voices on the screen calling for the genocide of men, women and children. How can this be and how can we rise out of this dark hole of fear?

I call to my ancestors that screamed from the desks; penning truths, being witnesses, seeking change, and being present in the world. I call to anyone who sees the light in every being, to honor that light through their voices, their choices in spending and how they live their lives. Can we all say, not in our name will violence be allowed and accepted as the appropriate response. Can we all take this pledge: Saul Williams’, Not in Our Name :

Also, please take the time to read this poem by Maya Angelo:

A Brave and Startling Truth
By Maya Angelo

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn and scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it

We must confess that we are the possible

We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world

That is when, and only when

We come to it.

 

Stirrings of a Nervous Breakdown…I mean Spiritual Awakening?!

I intended to write about feminism – a list of why we need a new movement and a direct response to those that have decided that feminism is no longer needed. Yet, this is what came out when I sat down to write.

It is revolutionary and terrifying to release the control and movement of your breath into another’s control. At least for someone that likes to be in control, which of course, isn’t me.

About a month ago, I was in the middle of my 2nd Yoga Teacher Training Intensive at Circle Yoga Shala that was focused on Pranayama (Breathing Techniques). I climbed the hills of Hwy 7 to the shala with a hybrid of emotions not yet knowing these would be forced to the surface in a room full of individuals due to focusing my attention on breath alone (under the guidance of my teacher, Matt).

On the 3rd day, we began the practice of Kapalabhati – “Skull shining breath.” (Get your jokes out now, Amanda).  In the middle of practice, I felt my chest tighten, my jaw clench, and tears flood down my face.  Completely perplexed by what was going on, I tried to make myself as small as possible in the room, not garnering attention from anyone. I have always been the “I don’t cry in front of other people” person. Also, I loathe being the center of attention which is obvious by the deep shade of beet red that rises in my face.  Yet, here I was sitting in what felt like a crowded room searching my head rather than my heart for why on earth I couldn’t gather myself and stop. I didn’t want to sit through this and show what I perceived to be a weakness. For some reason, I stayed put. I didn’t rush out the door and head off that mountain though I entertained that thought for about 15 minutes.  My tears slowed but I knew the minute we circled up to talk about our experience they would return. All Matt had to say was “Why the drop in spirit?” and here they came.  What I struggled the most with was my inability to pinpoint the cause of this downpour.  I sat there thinking is this what a nervous breakdown is? Have I completely lost my mind? Graciously, Matt moved to the next person.  I was really hoping for a break, but after everyone shared we went back to practice. And here they came again, but rather than forcing the tears and the emotions to go back to a tightly closed bottle, I sat there and let them come. I could not do the practice that was being taught, but I did stay with my breath body.  The practice came to a close and I wiped my face as we circled up. Holly (my teacher too) came in and noticed my drained face. She had me try and relate what was happening.  She observed that even in that moment I was barely breathing, so her only instruction was to breath in my stomach.  The rest of the day went on with a screaming headache but with kind love from my teachers and all the other students.

That night, upon Holly’s invitation, we sat down and discussed my experience.  I cannot write everything I learned from her that night; this would go on and on. What I am reminded right now, is the understanding and full belief that the trauma you experience in life is reflected in your body and your breath. If you spent much of your life in survival mode, this is reflected in your posture and where you breathe.  At the moment, I no longer need to be in survival mode. My task is to learn how to reside in peace and allow the wounds that have healed to be only a part of me. All the stories that have molded me into who I am today do make up my identity, but not all of it.  It is difficult to relay in words everything that was revealed to me.

The next morning, I woke up with a new sense of self-confidence. By showing my softer side to those around me and even to myself, I became more open. The guilt of previous mistakes, decisions, slowly began to drop off and I was ok with “mistakes” again. The perfection I set was the isolating force that kept me from fully diving into humanity. As well as my normal doomsday perspective of “expect the worst and be surprised with the best” was replaced with the life perspective “to be present in the joy and sorrow.” It could probably go without saying, but I have a lot to unlearn along with returning to my body and my breath with loving kindness.

I’ll call this a mini-spiritual awakening, rather than a mini-nervous breakdown. I’m hoping the effects continue to soak my entire being. I’m intensely grateful to my teachers and fellow yogis at the shala and all my dear friends and teachers back home in Little Rock. I’m awed by the loving embrace and encouragement that you all send my way.

“Some of you say, ‘Joy is greater than sorrow,’ and others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater.’ But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember the other is asleep upon your bed.” Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Fellow Doubter

Last night’s storms created the best mood for reading the night away. I’ve been in mourning after finishing my last book, leaving me struggling to start a new one. However, I grabbed Rachel Held Evans’, “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” from my bookshelf and her humor, contemplation, frustration, doubt, and overall faith was the perfect fit. She sits with the uncomfortable passages…something I find tremendously hard, especially in regards to how women were treated/viewed in the Old Testament; the stonings, the rapes, the ownership by men – to name a few.  My blood boils reading them or hearing people say the Bible has all the answers or is the perfect guide to life (especially traditional marriage). I want to ask, as the author does, have you read the Bible? I mean – like all of it? It is a landfill of grey areas and stories of sordid characters. Yet – I find comfort in it. Admittedly, more so when Jesus arrives on the scene and starts debunking the literalism held by the rabbis. I have long left reading the Bible in the literal sense – I had to. There are passages that still make my stomach turn but though I do believe it was divinely inspired – it was still put together by the hands of men (gender, for me, is important here). That is where I sit – uncomfortable but hopeful and inspired especially by the life of Jesus and many of the characters of the Bible.

Visits from friends, nutritious and yummy brunch at The Root, and probably one of the most relaxing yoga classes I’ve experienced in a long time produced a wonderful Sunday. I left the yoga studio and was taken aback when I first heard my voice – the quiet stayed with me longer than usual. Needless to say, grocery shopping probably was not the best choice of activity after class but this led to cooking for the next few days. Also, I booked a retreat filled with yoga, meditation, and hiking in the Ozark Mountains that will begin Wednesday! I’ll be unplugging entirely and can’t wait!

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” Marcus Aurelius

Copyright: Jennilee Marigomen April 2013 Filed under lukas, whytcliff park
Copyright: Jennilee Marigomen
April 2013 Filed under lukas, whytcliff park

Downsizing and Leashes for Cats

Copyright: Jason Hines: To Resolve Project 2012 // Live Simply
Copyright: Jason Hines: To Resolve Project 2012 // Live Simply

Today began with two cups of coffee, the initial one was dive-bomb destroyed by a lingering fly – one of about 15 that circled my chair all morning, and a muggy summer garage sale. People came and went and few folks bought our stuff. Amanda and I prepared and dismissed the rain clouds and flying pine needles, though this weather did result in today’s favorite quote, “Is that my hair or a pine needle?” The leftovers were donated to goodwill and a literal weight was lifted. Now to find a new home for my full size mattress set. Things are a goin’ out the door and into someone’s else space.

“Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.” –  Epictetus

This morning was Part I of LIfe Downsizing – for what I haven’t a clue. Possibly a future of communal living (if I could find another soul(s) interested and actually willing to create this reality in Little Rock) or living it up in a VW van or just merely a much needed return to simplistic living. If the VW van is ever to work, I need to conduct an experiment: one that involves a leash and my cat, Dylan. Anyone actually given that a try, meaning putting your cat on leash or living out of a VW van with a fairly temperamental old cat? I’m quite petrified of her reaction… and mine too. One good sign is that her previous owners named her Dylan after her love for Bob Dylan. So maybe in her previous life or deep down in her cat soul – she is a hippie, restless transplant too? Don’t worry, I’m not kidding myself here.

The evening rounded out with the construction of a fairly nifty stroller, cuddles and a diaper change with sweet Clem, and a good hug from my dear friend, Laura. All and all a stand-up Saturday with yoga practiced off the mat.

Now to bed to the delightful new Civil Wars album.