Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Financial Planning for "The Rest of Us"

If you check out Richard Shillington's site here,, you'll see he's got some questions and answers that to me are interesting. So interesting in fact, that I've set up a workshop about it. It's coming up in a week from Saturday. Please come. Tell your friends and bring them. If you can't afford the $20 ask for a reduction and just come.

Reading the stuff on his site, I can see that it really is like alignment in a yoga pose. If your feet aren't in the right spot and your legs are bent when they're supposed to be straight and you're rounding your back when you should be lengthening, then where you put your arms isn't going to make much of a difference. So in yoga there is an order to your alignment and going beyond what you can do with integrity can wind up hurting you and at the very least, limits the benefits you'll get out of your pose.

Same thing with retirement planning. If you don't have your foundation and you're reaching up for something but you're not grounded, then your chances for success are limited.

There are other areas of your life that are like this too, but this is just one that's easy to look at. Please come and check it out!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Scheduling, Schmeduling

I've heard it a million times before - if I schedule something I'm more likely to do it. And there are somethings I schedule and actually land in my agenda - teaching yoga classes for instance. I schedule them and they happen. I go, we stretch, and I've done the thing I said I was going to do and that's it.

There's more to life than teaching yoga classes though. And some of those things are scheduled and some of them aren't. The things that aren't scheduled that will get done anyways are things I don't need to schedule like feed my neopets, pay my bills, pick Remi up from the bus and stuff like that. I'm going to do those things anyhow. It's the things I'd like to have done but I'd really rather not do myself that I need to schedule but don't.

It's not rocket science. But it doesn't always happen because something else gets more important than putting those things that need to be scheduled in my agenda. I'm like a kid getting away with something if I don't schedule those things - and then it's like I'm not responsible for them because they weren't on my list. Wrong. I'm still responsible for them.

So in a couple of minutes I've actually scheduled time to schedule. And I'm supposed to schedule myself for an hour. AAAAaaaarrrggh. This is where I resist. Here's my stretch. Some of you reading may wonder what on earth I'm going on about because scheduling is easy for you. You've got something else that is stretching! The thing to do (I'm telling myself) is breathe into it (that's Inspiration) and feel it and exhale (that's deepening the pose or put another way, going for the goal that's set), and don't worry because it's all going to pass anyhow!

Okay, continuing to do my blog is not me taking time to do the thing I've set out to do. So I'll stop now.
I'm back. I did it! And I'm not done! And that was fun. I also converted my paper agenda to an Outlook file and it has Tasks and it was fun to go back to that. I've got more to do but it feels better already. Aaah.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Crystal Healing

I know I shouldn't be so skeptical, but I am. When am I going to learn and admit that all of this yoga stuff works? And I wouldn't consider crystals and whatnot to be a part of yoga, but rather things that may or may not work on the subtle bodies that may or may not exist. I should just give it up and say, "I get it." But instead I like the surprise factor when something that is worked on in my "subtle body" is impacted in my "physical body."

I'm the one who just wrote that your yoga practice will show up in your relationships. Relationships aren't concrete, they're subtle. So working stuff out with yourself on your mat can impact your life in other areas, particularly in your relationships with other people. Your kids, partners, bank tellers, bosses, staff, cashiers, anyone. That never really seemed like a far stretch.

But now I'm all surprised and giddy because Kathryn worked something out on my back yesterday that involved her holding her hands still and John noticed that night that the knot that had been there for eons was gone. Like disappeared and not there. And the day before it had been killing and was sore and had been for a while. And then Kathryn balanced my chakras with her crystals and held that spot and I guess let some stuff go out or something, and there you have it. Knot gone. Heart chakra more open.

One of the big learnings I'm having in my Introduction Leaders Program at Landmark Education in Montreal is that the results I have in my life are so much more about who I'm being than what I'm doing. To shift one's being is instant but also elusive (to me often), and I find it intriguing. Look outside for signs of what's happening inside. I teach this stuff! And it still comes as curious and interesting and magical when I'm paying attention and it happens to ME.

My program coach Maryse helped me identify this morning something that I was hearing from people as something that I am a "clearing" for. I noticed that I've got something running in my head like, "not now. It's too far, and it's expensive." I looked around and noticed that I have been meaning to visit my grandmother in California and in fact a year ago I discussed a visit with her but I kept putting it off. I don't mind visiting my grandmother, but finding the time in my schedule to take an expensive, long plane ride was difficult and I kept avoiding it. So when I noticed that I'm generating that in my life, I got online and looked at booking flights to Orange County in March.

I tell people in the meditation workshop that how you meditate is how you are in your life. There will be clues when you meditate as to how you're being at work and at home. And if you're feeling stuck and are wondering what's in your way, just look around, because what's in your way will be there in a couple of areas at least.

I'm not sure if this is making sense or not, but I'm in an inspired place and feel like I'm at the source of my life at the moment, making it happen, causing it to be as it is. That doesn't mean I'm not impacted and influenced by my circumstances at all. I am. But navigating the seas of my life is up to me...

Anyways, if you'd like some energy work done, I can recommend a wonderful practitioner! It may work out some other things in your life as well as balance your chakras!

Friday, January 25, 2008


My grandpa guru used to say that you could measure your progress in yoga by looking at your relationships. I think that's so true. When we lived at the ashram and thought we were all enlightened and whatnot, someone would remind you that all you had to do was go home for the weekend to get a taste of where you really were along the path.

I figure I'm practising yoga on many levels. When I practise yoga, that's practise, doing meditation is practise, my going to Landmark Education courses is yoga practice. And I think the quality of my relationships has improved over time. That doesn't mean I don't get triggered by anyone anymore or that I don't get impatient or even still dislike people. It just means it's easier for me to be in relationships I suppose. Or the depth I'm able to have in some relationships has increased. I don't know. It's so subjective. It's just in relation to how I was before, not in comparison to anyone else or their relationships.

I think I really forgave my father for all of his being the way he is by my 40th birthday because when the day came and I knew I wanted to talk to him on my birthday, I simply called him. I didn't wait for him to call or not call. I just called him and we talked and I know he loves me and the fact that he doesn't remember holidays or birthdays is just how he is. So my dad didn't need to be different. I shifted how I saw him and let go of judging him and then he can be how he is and that's really fine with me. That's something I definitely got by doing the Landmark Forum.

And then I let go of some big stuff last year and found that I'm able to really be with people now. So I've got John in my life, and I'm so happy and grateful to have found him and to be able to appreciate him and be with him. I wasn't able to do that before for whatever reason. I have the loving partnership that I always dreamed about. I am in a magical love story that I saw in the movies and it's also just very plain and real and basic. My coach Joyce, told me that when you're in an "enlightened" relationship for lack of a better word at the moment, things begin to get very ordinary. And that is so beautiful and wonderful.

So that's where I'm at. I may not sit in meditation in full lotus, but really I don't care about that. I'm in an awesome communion with someone and even though you may not be able to see it on the outside, I can totally feel it on the inside. So it's been my yoga practice on many levels, especially the work on being in relationships I've done, that has made a difference. Keep up your practice, and look around in your life for your results! They're there...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kapalabhati Pranayama

After getting on the highway going the wrong way (the car is used to going to Montreal), coming home and finding out the dog has been a bit sick, and then actually for the first time in this house, spilling a full cup of coffee all over my leg and carpet, I decided I needed to balance myself a bit.

Instead of reading about Brit's custody battle and Heath's death, I decided I'd check out Swami Ramdev on YouTube as Sharda had suggested. This link is in English. The guy is awesome and is inspiring millions of people in India.

Take a look at him and I'll ramble on some other time...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

We Have Colds

Remi did great yesterday, getting taken around the city to hang out while I taught yoga. She did reception at Rama Lotus, played on her DS at CHEO and I think she was playing on her DS at the Canadian Police College as well. After that I realized I was coming down with it too. Oh well.

Today we slept in. I did work from my home office - planning the events on the right hand side of this page - please come - and she watched some TV and played some more DS. I spoke to her teacher about what homework she could be doing and it turns out she conveniently left those text books at school. Ooops. So she is up from watching Revenge of the Sith (some kind of Star Wars that John's getting her into) and we just took this Photo Booth photo. And with the groovy filters that Mac has, you can't really see how "bad" it is. Red noses and teary eyes.

If I were puking I wouldn't go and teach. But with just a bit of a sore throat and lower energy than I'd like, I'm still going in. No sick days for the self-employed!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Yoga and a Sick Kid

Remi's pretty used to tagging along with me when she has to. Sometimes it's because she's sick and sometimes it's just because. I'm not sure how many yoga classes she's sat in on, but it's quite a few. She's gotten good at being still and reading a book or keeping herself occupied while I'm leading a class. She's been to all of my sites and has a different routine at each place. When she comes to Rama Lotus she works at reception. At CHEO she plays on her DS. Today she's going to get to do both of those plus figure out something while I'm teaching the police. Being a mom isn't something I do part time - that's my full time gig.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Yoga Exams

I finished marking the exams today of the yoga teacher training. The pile I had to mark anyways. I find it difficult to mark those things because it means I need to make decisions and I don't always like to do that. I can mark yes or no, but when it's more subjective and I have leeway, my students out there will probably be happy to know that I err on the cautious side and give the writer the benefit of the doubt in most cases.

I do like looking at people's handwriting because I don't see much of that these days. Yoga students in general are not great spellers I'm sorry to admit. And I make sure those things don't influence my marking even though if it were up to me, I'd give out marks for penmanship and spelling and grammar.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I am sad. Sad about the stuff. John said I should go back and get the stuff out of recycling. I'm not going to. I showed him the pictures and read him my blog and he said I should go get it. I said, "no, I want to let it go." He actually put the stuff out on the curb and I asked him to take a picture of it. I took the indoor shots.

It feels really sad and good at the same time. Sad, like I'm crying sad. Like when I saw the pictures of my stuff on the curb, I was looking at an old friend. Maybe this is extra-dramatic, but it's how I feel and it helps explain why I've held on to it for so long. It has meant a lot to me. And it doesn't mean any less to me to let it go.

I'm surprised by much I feel about it. And on the other hand, I must have been feeling this much or else it would have been easy to toss any old time.

It seems to me though, that to let this stuff go is freeing. I'm not sure yet. From what I understand of the yogic teachings and everything, letting it go is the right thing to do. It doesn't always feel that way in the moment. The moment is confusing, like I could hold on to something or that I could do everything I ever wanted in a second. But it takes something to manifest a project or an idea. And not all of my ideas will get played out. Some of them won't.

I used to clean out my closet (while all of these things were neatly stored in boxes in my parents' basement where I didn't ever need to wonder about them) and I'd put stuff in Ian's trunk. He'd keep it there for a few days or a week and then take it to a charity drop off when I didn't know, and if I changed my mind I could go back to his trunk and retrieve it if I was in time. Sometimes I'd go back and get the odd thing. Sometimes it would be too late. Oh well. It always turned out fine either way.

And Remi's seen all my notebooks and said "ooh" and "aah." And John's seen them and though they were neat and that I'm a total pack-rat and maybe we should hang on to my stamp album because there maybe something in there of value.

Don't think I've given it all up, because I haven't. Believe me. I've got teeth, an old retainer, my father's mother's locks of hair and old jewelry. There's many more piles to put out. I did get rid of a Super 8 animation of David Setter shaving off his beard while I was at McGill. That was fun.

Many more opportunities ahead to hang onto stuff and collect and hoard and continue to let go...

(Oh, and I know paper recycling is black box. But I use a blue box for everything and the guys just take it. As long as it's the right stuff for recycling they'll empty whatever colour bin it is.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

On Second Thought...

This is later on after yoga class...and I'm considering renegging. Maybe I won't put the recycling out. How could my precious things be just put out on the curb all night where people might rummage through that stuff? I could get up early and then put it out. Maybe I'll take more pictures. Aaarrgh. BTW, the child's art in that picture is MINE, not Remi's! It's serious. I have her teeth saved and I have mine too!

Hans said I should save my notebooks and stuff from school when I was young. Have it go to my grave with me. NOOOOOO. It's musty. I'm allergic to it! Maybe I should claw back those wedding invitation replies and the bits of wrapping paper and write a story about it all. NOOOOO.

Tara was psyched to get her stuff. I'm glad. She asked me if I was cleaning out and I replied that I'm getting ready to die. And I'm not kidding. I expect to be really old when it finally happens, but sometimes I think if I were in an accident and went now, someone would have to shovel through all of my things not knowing which ones were really important and which ones I just couldn't figure out what to do with. The longer it waits, the longer I'm not taking responsibility for this stuff and putting it off to another day. I'm old enough to know that "one day," "someday," really might be "never." So if I want it to be done, today's the day. So actually, by getting ready to die, I'm saying I'm ready to live!

I guess I'll put out the recycling now...

Letting Go...

I'm taking a break for a minute from what has been occurring for me as an enormous, life-long task of getting rid of my old stuff. But it hasn't really been going on my whole life. I've been collecting and holding on my whole life. Today I'm letting go. I am laughing about how long I have taken to get rid of this "stuff" and I even hauled a bunch of it back inside the house and right now I'm recharging the batteries of my camera so I can take pictures and show you how crazy this has gotten.

I like myself and I think I'm special and have special things to say. I think that one day I will make special projects, maybe even "art" with my old things that are so special. I have special taste, special points of view, even special friends that I've held onto this archive for my whole, entire life. (You'll see when I get to adding the pictures.)

While the battery is charging let me tell you my daughter is not this way. She is so unbelievably UNsentimental that I can hardly believe she comes from me except for the fact that I saved even, get this (don't get grossed out), her UMBILICAL cord with the plastic thing attached, that I am quite certain she's mine. That was just one of the many jewels I came across today while I've been going through the boxes that have been stashed next to my bed for months since my daughter exiled them from her room. She tosses her old drawings and I retrieve them from the recycling bin. She even got rid of her furniture on her last birthday so she could have more space. (She's 9 if you're just meeting me).

I'm 41 now. I realize I'm not that special. I'm not going to make special art with my special momentos. I have beer bottle labels from a beer factory I visited on my German exchange when I was in Grade 12. I found packs of matches from the same trip.

I've got a $2 Canadian bill. That must be worth something. I have my old journal from when I was 8 (I'm hanging on to that). I've got homework books from all through grade school. An Inuit Project from Grade 7. My paper on black holes from Grade 6. It gets funnier. I was a Who freak for some reason when I was 13. I collected articles and back issues of music magazines they were featured in and I saved every single one of them.

I let go of every wedding card and invitation reply from my wedding over 10 years ago. I called Ian before I tossed them all into the recycling bin as there are cards from family and friends who have passed away and he agreed it would be nice to save some of that stuff, so I made a pile for him.

I have saris from living in an ashram and trips to India, and I've been hanging on to them thinking I'm going to decorate with them or something. Tara at Rama Lotus will be the proud new owner of those things later this afternoon when I go over there to teach.

I'm cleaning up today like my life depends on it. Because it does. If I don't clear out this stuff, it will stay there, cluttering my space, clogging the arteries of my life. Continuing to bother me to the point that I shut down and ignore it, ignoring the things that go with it - broken promises and dreams unfulfilled. I want to let that stuff go. When I came across my draft wedding vows to Ian I was moved. I really meant them at the time. When he returned my call I told him I was sorry I hadn't kept my promises to him. It's not the first time I've said it, but it's okay to go back and say sorry again. I thought it was mutual and that doesn't matter - I promised to stay with him no matter what and I didn't. And he's still there and we're still parenting and my life didn't go as I had planned. And that's really okay. And I can still let it all go.

The battery hasn't finished firing up yet, but I'll see what I can get with a few shots.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tips for Meditation

I'm just listening to an episode from Tapestry at Torsten's suggestion and it's great! It's an interview with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche who's a special guy living in Halifax. (If the link is stale try looking for the episode January 8.)

One of the things he said early on in the interview was that when people ask him what they should do to help them with their meditation he tells them to clean their kitchen. I thought that was great. I got the impression the interviewer thought he might be kidding, but I was talking out loud to my screen, "No, he means it. It's true!"

My latest homework in my coaching program with Joyce Hardman is to get back to basics and take care of things at home. Tidy up, make sure there's food in the fridge, take care of my space, do laundry. And I know it works. It's systemic as the Rinpoche says. What's happening in one area of your life is happening in other areas. And back in late 2005 when I was actively looking for a relationship, I went to work on being strong on the homefront with the idea that if I make a strong home, I'll find someone who will want to come and stay. That's simplistic, but it's basically what happened.

So now when I'm looking at having projects I'm working on manifest and it seems like there's a block, I look to what's happening at home and I see where I'm out of alignment. I'm putting things back in place at home (washing machine is in place now!) and other projects are getting into gear more smoothly. Check out my latest project, which may interest you or someone you know... It's something I'm doing with the help of Mike McCracken, my yoga buddy. I am a bit behind and it's no wonder. I was so overwhelmed at home and feeling down and when I shifted back into taking responsibility for my life, poof, a website got built, things are happening.

So when the Rinpoche tells you to clean your house for a better meditation, listen to the man! He speaks the truth!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Yoga in the Boardroom

It takes all kinds of flexibility to be a yoga practitioner, eh? People think you have to be physically flexible to do yoga - well, you know what I have to say about that. (In case you don't know - I know you don't have to be flexible or feel flexible or anything to do yoga.) Being flexible in other areas is far more gracious and interesting.

In the past I've written about having to do yoga in strange locations - hallways of a hospital, freezing cold floor of a college gym - and it takes something from the group to do yoga in those kinds of places. Today I went to my regular Thursday spot and the place we "usually" have (that's in quotes because it's changed a lot over 5 years) was not available but the group was willing and ready. So we hunted for a spot in the building and came up with the boardroom.

Usually if I'm going to do yoga in a space, we move the chairs and tables to the side so we can have an open space with junk around the sides. Today was the first day that I've ever taught with the table actually in the middle and the people around the sides. We couldn't move the table - it had power cords running through it and was not something we could take apart for yoga. So there we were, some people on one side, some people on the other and kind of in the front and wow. I was really touched by who these people were that they would do yoga like that - because they wanted to do yoga!

And is it ideal? Probably not, or else we'd all be practising yoga that way. But it was another lesson about how it doesn't matter what the externals are - you're still you inside - whether it's on a beach, in a yoga studio, or even on the floor of a boardroom. Your yoga connection can happen anywhere!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Can't Go Anywhere...

I went to Chapters tonight just to get out and go for a little walk. I figured I'd get the latest Scrabble dictionary because the one I have now is rather old. The Scrabble board I'm using has score sheets from my dad's visits in past years and even old ones with Tonk K! (Hey Bud!) So now that John's gotten into the habit of playing Scrabble with me (a very recent shift), I figured I'd get a new dictionary.

I went to where they should be and they're all sold out. Good news. Means lots of people are out there playing Scrabble! All is well...

While I was looking around at what else I could get, I came across Daniel Goleman's latest book on Social Intelligence. And rather than get a large armful of books that I'd like to read, I made a mental note that when I got home, I'd get my fix by looking them up on the internet.

I also got a kick out of Victoria Beckham's book, which was actually really informative, but I restrained myself. Her book was fashion tips and things to keep in mind when you're putting yourself together.

Good thing I'm pretty much "what you see is what you get." It's my turn at the cash and the person behind the counter says, "hi - I took your meditation class and I just wanted to tell you I'm still meditating." She did look familiar to me but I see so many students and sometimes it's just once and it's a long time ago so I can't always be sure. I basically run into people all the time who tell me I was their yoga or meditation teacher. You know - you see me.

I bought a book on jokes and something for Remi and I'll go back in a week or so for the latest Scrabble dictionary.

I came home and looked up Daniel Goleman's site and found this neat article about meditation.

John laughed when he saw what I bought. Maybe next time I'll get that Posh Spice book instead!

Oh, and the next Learn to Meditate workshop is on January 13 at Rama Lotus.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year

New years are so arbitrary. It's fun marking time like this but really, it's just another day. We make it mean so much, which is great. It's a great opportunity to reflect and consider and regroup, but it's just something we've created to help us mark time.

I've been thinking a lot about time lately and noticing how really a second is a heartbeat. It's the time between beats of your own heart. So it's not so much that humans have created time, but we ARE time. We are actual clocks walking around. And women, for sure, we're monthly calendars as well as regular time pieces.

So if we are time, that changes the whole problem of "I don't have enough time." It would change to "I'm time for this (or that)," or not. Where are you going to be with your time? How will you be? Just questions...

We label things that are important to us. We give names to relationships and have loads of distinctions for things. I was thinking about that as I was eating snow last night on Major's Hill Park watching the fireworks on New Years Eve with my ex-husband and our daughter and her friend and her friend's dad, who's also my ex's friend. And I was thinking about how I've heard that northern communities have more words for snow than we have, and I figure that's because snow has a big impact on them and so how they describe it will be more important to them. My relationships are important and that's why I've got former husbands and ex-boyfriends and current friends and people that have crossed over in both directions.

So there I was eating snow and I wound up with that taste in my mouth that only seems to come from having eaten snow, and I'm looking at the fireworks and also noticing the reflection the fireworks were making in the windows of the National Gallery and the Chateau Laurier, and I'm just loving my life. Loving how it's turned out, loving who's been in it with me, who's in it now, and what's happening. And even though people stress me out and bother me in general, I'm also really grateful and impressed with who people are, with what they go through and live with and how really amazing people are. And I notice the names I've given to different relationships because they're important to me, mother, daughter, partner, and different names, because I say so. And we say so, because it's important to us. Our society is concerned with relationships and so we have lots of ways to describe them.

And time is important to us, so we mark it in different ways and celebrate at different times even if we don't feel like it. As humans passing through this plane/sphere/whatever it is, we like to label the things that are important and so even though the New Year may be actually pretty arbitrary, especially to birds and cats and rocks and planets, it's important to us. And so we mark it. Happy New Year!