Tuesday, July 31, 2007

We're All Bozos on the Bus

I made it to Omega and have been teaching yoga here for the past 2 days and it has been interesting. There's such a diverse and eclectic group of people here with such varied experiences of yoga. Fortunately they are patient and really easy to get along with. I was a bit nervous coming in as there are so many teachers on campus and I'm teaching in the room that Kofi Busia is in and it's intimidating. Then last night I went to hear Elizabeth Lesser read from her book, Broken Open, and she read the part about how we're all just bozos on the bus and I relaxed a bit.

There isn't another bus where everyone is pretty and wealthy and doing it right, lives all running smoothly. We're not alone on the bus of bozos - people who live actual lives - lives of fear and insincerity and trials and ups and downs and wondering and wonderment and everything. She explains it much better in her book, you'll be happy to know.

Anyhow, while I'm here I'm teaching everyday at 7 am, which is a bit of a "stretch" as we're not usually out of bed at that hour this summer. I'm also teaching almost every night at 5:30 and a couple of classes a week just for the staff. And when I went to teach today I thought about how I'm not alone in this. There isn't a perfect yoga teacher out there just waiting to take my place. I'm the teacher for the next two weeks and I'm doing just fine. Some people might even say I'm doing great!

Remi's back from her golf cart drive with Luc, my mountie yogi friend. So I'm off for a while!

Friday, July 27, 2007


So after I finished publishing my little blog post yesterday I noticed that I had some voicemail and I decided to take a listen. There was a message from Loblaws saying that they had my wallet and that it had been found in the parking lot. I hadn't even noticed that my wallet was missing. Oh well.

"C'mon kids," (Remi had a friend over), "we're going to Loblaws to get my wallet." On the ride over I was reviewing the contents of my wallet in my head - oh yea, there's 20 bucks in there - I took out my receipts recently so I've got those - oh, there are 2 cheques - and I'm wondering if the stuff will be there or if my wallet will be gutted. I figure the stuff's there or my id wouldn't still be in my wallet and they wouldn't be able to call me.

Sure enough, the wallet's there, everything's in place and so was the bag of broccoli I had also left when I had been shopping earlier. Whew. I got the guy's number who'd found it and turned it in, called to thank him when I got home, and that was that.

The last time I had my wallet stolen I had $300 bucks in cash (bad move) and I was able to keep my id and credit cards, but the person at Starbucks in the Glebe made off with an easy whack of cash (it was leftover from my trip to the States, which I'm about to embark on again, as a matter of fact). The time before that, my wallet was found in the parking lot of Costco, and instead of walking it into the store, the lady who found it took it home to St. Albert. That was a bit of a journey to get back, but well worth it as again, everything was left intact.

I learned a long time ago not to have anything on me that I couldn't stand to lose. Jewelry, money, passports, gifts for people, whatever. I travelled in Asia many years ago and slept in community dorms and on beaches and learned to relax and know that my stuff was probably going to be okay and if it wasn't, it wasn't the end of the world.

While I was living in South Africa, someone came into the house I was staying in while I was there and took my purse out of the house. They took the wallet, including my credit cards and id and left my cash and passport and purse, thank you very much. The credit cards were replaced within a week and my Canadian Citizenship card took about 6 months at least to get back. Oh, and a bracelet with sentimental value was taken too. I just felt grateful that I didn't know it was happening and that nothing happened to me!

Sometimes I leave the keys in the door to my house. And like in the Michael Moore movie, as a good Canadian sometimes the door to my house is open and you could walk in. I try to lock it up and pay more attention to that now that I'm a mother, but I figure that if someone wants to take something, they will.

I've learned that my happiness does not depend on my stuff. I don't have much that can't be easily replaced. Even trinkets I've bought abroad show up in stalls in the Market now. You can buy everything just about anyplace in the world. The rest that's local is usually perishable anyhow.

So I'm totally grateful that I got my wallet back, and if it had been gone it would have for sure been a hassle that I could do without, but I know I'd be okay.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cops Get Fit

Below is a cute clip with a yoga bit at the beginning and then a story about the police getting fit back in the '70s. (Above is a picture of my buddy, Luc, that I took a couple of years ago for a laugh.) I still teach the police at the college, but here in Ottawa, not the one in Toronto they refer to in the documentary.

Here's the link:

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Yoga Works

I haven't posted in a week, not because I don't have anything to say, but because I've been busy teaching yoga and when I'm not doing that, I've been out playing in the sun! (It's sunny right now too, but I'm in between classes and about to hop on my bike to get to my next class.)

If you want to get the benefits of yoga, you have to practise. It's as simple as that. You can think about doing yoga, you can have yoga dreams, but without the practising part, you won't get the benefits. And when you do practise yoga - it works! You get the benefits right away! Summertime is a fun time to skip off and not do yoga - I know. But if you keep up your practise over the summer then things like long walks or golfing or standing in line at amusement parks or long car rides won't be as hard.

I'm heading off on a long car trip in a few days. I know my yoga for comfort sequence (basically my beginning class) will make that trip manageable. While I'm away not only will I be doing yoga, but I'll be teaching yoga as well! I won't be on a vacation but a change of location, which sometimes is just as good :)

I'll be teaching yoga at Omega and I'm looking forward to seeing my old friends who are still there and to being exposed to all of that great holistic culture! Good food, music, vibes, people - if you haven't been to Omega, I suggest you give it a try. While the Canadian dollar is so high you'll get great value for your money these days.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Off to a Good Start

I mentioned before that I decided to offer meditation classes at the Shepherds of Good Hope partly in response to my discomfort with what was going on in my neighourhood. I was feeling judgemental and uncomfortable. My response when I get like that is to get curious rather to be more distant. So I thought I could offer meditation and see what happened.

It went well, and much like any other meditation workshop that I've led anywhere. One guy shared that it was a big deal for him to close his eyes in a group of people, totally honest, and he also mentioned after one of our "sits" that he felt some anxiety come up. Wow. I acknowleged him for having those feelings and for staying in the room anyways.

So today, I'm walking towards Rideau Street and I'm nearing the beer store and I notice some people sitting around and one of the people is that guy! We said hi and I kept walking. I felt so good. I felt connected and not annoyed and just a part of things in a different way. I knew that I would benefit by offering meditation classes but I didn't think it would happen so quickly or have such a positive impact.

I learned in my yoga experience that the world is one family. Today I felt the separation gone and I feel part of the world family again. I hope that made sense!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Free Meditation!

So I led my first Meditation class at the Shepherds of Good Hope this evening. It went really well. You are all welcome to come. It's on Mondays at 7 at the Shepherds on Murray St. See you there!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Animal Dreams

I guess I could just look this up on the internet, but I'm wondering what it means when you have dreams about animals.

This week I've dreamed about snakes (getting hit by cars, and they had belonged to Oprah), and cats (sick ones on an island, lots of sand), and last night it was grizzly bears (one was under water and the other one was stuffed like a stuffed animal and huge, next to a life-sized moose that was also like a prize from the Ex, not stuffed like taxidermy). What does it all mean?

I don't figure it means much, but it's funny to remember my dreams and notice that there are lots of animals in them. I thought maybe it meant that Hammie's on his way out, which may be true because he's coming up on 3 years, and that's pretty old for a hamster.

I have admired my Hamuel. He has done damage to my home with his perservance and sharp teeth. He has practically lived in the wild inside my house. He spent many many days in a row on the lamb. Even the other night he was downstairs in the bathroom walls. "Hammy! You get back upstairs right now!" He's like a hamster Houdini. I've even called the manufacturer of the cage to complain, or inform them rather, that their cages do not contain hamsters as claimed. He's in a "lock down" situation now, so his escape the other night baffles me. When it happened a year ago I put a call into the fire department to ask them about the potential damage to the electrical wiring in the walls. I got some good info. "Not to worry" was the main message I got though.

He sleeps a lot. He rattles his cage a bit when it gets dark out. He doesn't spend as much time on the wheel as he used to. I was convinced that I could put power back into the grid if I could hook up his wheel to something.

And being the mom, I clean his cage. I feed him and water him and even pet him. Remi is a bit tired of him and wants a dog or a cat. Or a bird, that's the new "ask." I told her I know she won't clean the cage, so when Hammy's done, so am I for a while. I'll miss him. I missed Buddy, the rat. And I'll possibly continue to have animal dreams and remember my pets...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Meditation for Crackheads

As most of you know (if you know me at all), I live right downtown next to the Shepherds of Good Hope, and there is a lot of "stuff" going on in my neighbourhood, not to mention on my steps, especially after midnight. When the weather's nice, there's more people "sleeping" outside and hanging around on the streets. I have noticed more crack lately and fewer needles and I've seen newer women on the corners who look in rougher shape than the regulars of the past few years and I got to wondering more about crack addiction.

Megan's blog has discussed the recent decision to stop giving out free crack pipes and I'm not sure what it all means, but the issue is becoming hot here in Ottawa.

From what I understand, crack addiction is one of the worst and recovery is difficult and people's reality is so different. I figured I'd like to offer meditation classes to that group, not so that they could recover or get off drugs or whatever, but just because meditation can be good for people in general. I spoke to someone in my yoga classes who works there and she got me a spot and starting on Monday, once a week I'll volunteer at the Shepherds, offering meditation.

As someone who literally has this going on in my back yard, the idea of spreading the services out across the city is an appealing one at first glance. When funding for mental illness programs was cut some years ago, many people were put out on the streets who really need support for living. Having a high concentration of services in one area of town has led to a trail from the Mission to the Shepherds, with stops on the way, and people just hanging out on other people's porches and stuff. I'm not clear on all of the issues associated with this, but I do know that it's a problem, and it seems to be getting worse.

When I start getting judgemental and opinionated about stuff, I try and take a closer look, get interested. So I thought I'd bring myself in greater contact with this marginalized population, rather than shut myself inside and wait for the "authorities" to do something to make me feel better.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Meditation: the Musical

After seeing some awesome live theatre shows lately, (check out the Parks Canada Players), I got inspired and was thinking up some scenes for plays that have yoga and meditation themes, mainly along comedic lines. For years I've had the idea of having yoga teacher characters that would come out and lead the class. Goofy teachers, airy-fairy teachers, even the yoga dominatrix has been discussed. But after watching a play at Ft. Wellington the other night that was totally interactive, it got me to thinking about a show that would have the audience be in a meditation class. Actors would be interspersed throughout the audience and would do their thing from the seats, which would be pillows on the floor. At some point there would be singing and dancing. "Meditation: the Musical" comes to mind. I crack myself up. If only I could get it out - it would be funny.

Friday, July 6, 2007


I really feel like I'm on vacation now. That's probably due to a couple of things. One is, many of my regular students are on vacation. So either classes are cancelled or there are only a few students in a class.

The other thing is that my daughter is out of school and she's home a lot and we actually get to sleep in! Most of the time I get up early just 'cause, but now that I don't have to have her dressed, fed, and out the door by 7:35, we can lounge a bit and I must say, that feels really good!

I was telling people in class last week about how people thought of different koans and things to get them out of their current state of mind and blown open to new ideas and thought patterns. Well recently I had my own things creep up to blow me away. One is crop circles. I haven't been into them before, and I'm not now, but I just thought about them a bit and that got me to thinking and let's just say, it doesn't sound like there's a real explanation out there. So that was cool.

And then I rented a DVD with conversations with Abraham the other day from Singing Pebble. Well that's a bit of a mind-blowing thing too. I've heard some Abraham recordings, which you can listen to for free on this site, but this DVD is new and has visuals, and then it turns out it was done by a guy here in Ottawa I've never heard of before. So check that out if you're interested.

The whole Abraham thing reminded me a lot of an experience I had years ago that I could call "Conversations with Gurubelle." I'm still so skeptical of all of this stuff even though I suppose I've had quite a bit of experience with it all!