Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I've been involved in a lot of drama the past week especially. Tons of Fringe plays, Remi's going out for an audition tonight for a part in a play, but that kind of drama is fine. There's the other kind of drama that has been going on that makes things all intense and weird. Without going into the gory details just know it involves an ex, a reconnection, the truth coming out about what "really happened" way back a few months ago, contact with "the other woman," and not in that order. Then there are all of the accompanying feelings, of course.

The good news is it doesn't feel as bad as it did when the initial hurt happened, the bad news is that it does hurt all over again. No tears, just a big punch in the stomach kind of feeling.

We all love in different ways. Some of us try to love each other by sharing information, others try to love each other by withholding information we're afraid will hurt. We talk about this in yoga all the time. When do you tell the truth? What if that truth will hurt someone? What if not telling that truth will hurt someone? And then it's all context. If you're someone like me, not hearing the truth is way worse than hearing the truth even if those contents are distasteful. Other people would rather be spared the details and will feel loved by being sheltered from some information. It all depends. There's no right way to do it.

I go back to Anthony DeMello and am reminded that reality is manageable. We can all handle reality. It's here. It just is. And again, I have to go back to the reality that what's so is that that I've been lied to some more, again, lots, whatever, and even though I'd prefer to just hear the straight scoop, the other person won't dish unless forced. So, my reality, which is manageable, is that I've been had. Used. And it makes me feel like a total idiot. Okay, so I'm not being not very powerful. Hey, what doesn't kill you, will make you stronger!

For a great, short talk on getting stronger, surviving, thriving, and actually achieving the impossible, listen to Ray Zahab. Thanks, Tamsin, for mentioning to me his video was on TED.

Friday, June 26, 2009

When Things Fall Apart

Here's a quote from my Pocket Pema Chodron:

"Things falling apart is a kind of testing and a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy."

That's how I'm feeling right now!

I've been having such a blast at the Fringe Festival and I'll be sad to have it be over. I can barely tell what day it is because being involved has turned me all around! That's a good thing!

It has been so great seeing Remi come out of herself and play and connect and interact with people. She's an inspiration!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fringe Plays

Just a short note to say what I saw. I went to Parker and Seville at 6 and I went based on the fact that I had a pass, it was a time I wanted to see something, and what was on their website. It was the first play I saw that I'd say, "ohhh, that's what they mean by a 'Fringe' play." The good news is that I've seen about 8 others and that's the first time that came up!

I went to see Paul's "On Second Thought" again. Took my sister. It was just as funny. Maybe even a bit funnier because my daughter wasn't with me and I could really laugh at the jokes and not worry about her reaction. I did end up sitting next to a regular yoga student by accident! (Hi!)

I wanted to see "Like a Virgin" but didn't make it. The courtyard was compelling and it was too hard to get up and go to the next venue! The guy who did "The Accident" was hanging around and that was excellent - if you're looking for something, that's a good one.

I still want to see the "Like a Virgin" play, "House", and I must see "Oreo". I'm sure Remi's got some on her list too. She saw "The Squatter Heart" tonight and when I asked her how it was, she said "it was cool." I love her wide acceptance of plays in general. She's so open and her tastes aren't that defined yet.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Turns out I'm Taller

It turns out that I'm taller than I thought I was. I "grew up" thinking I was 5'2". If I stood up really tall I may have been 5'2" and a half. But lately I've wondered if perhaps I'm taller than that. So today when I was at the doctor's I asked him to measure me. I'm 5'3" and a half. I know that I've grown. I'm certain that I actually got taller over the past 3-4 years. It's not just that I stood up straighter or anything. My doctor said it could be because I've been weight training and that makes bones bigger. Activity makes bones bigger, too, and I've been only teaching yoga (and not doing other jobs) for the past 3 and a half years. That's how long I've been doing regular (twice a week if that) weight training as well.

So if I'm 5 foot 3.5, I'm not even really short. I've self-identified as short for most of my adult life. I'm practically 5'4" and that's hardly short. And with shoes on I'm like 5'5". Wow.

I've said for years that yoga can make you taller and the other week someone asked me if I'd gotten taller and I said I didn't really know. Now I do. Yes, it makes you taller. It doesn't make you shorter, let's put it that way. And my doctor said that people my age start shrinking. (I'm THAT old.)

On another note, I'm still going to Fringe plays and I suggest you do too. Last night I saw The Accident, and it was great. Remi sat through it all and I think she was sleepy for the parts that were maybe a bit over her head. I'm so proud of her - she's been an awesome volunteer and she's really come out of herself and been so fully self-expressed at the Fringe Tent. She's comfortable and friendly and so responsible. On top of it, she's genuinely interested in theatre.

I was saying to a few people that they should market their plays to Remi's age. She's the age that will drag both of her parents to shows she likes. Usually it's movies. And at her age, she's still interested in seeing things again!again! Plus, she's a girl. So if you connect with her on an emotional level she feels a relationship is there and will want to see your play because she knows you and feels a part of things and like she should go. So Fringers, pass out your flyers at schools. No kidding. Get in the gym and advertise with a preview. They'll bring their parents and aunts and uncles and whoever they're with! Tweet them - Twitter's not that weird!

So tonight's karaoke night at the Fringe Tent. I'm teaching yoga until 9 and we'll see if I'm up for a sing-along. Could be fun...

And don't miss my Billet Paul's show tomorrow night at 7:30 - Remi will tell you with a smile that it's hysterical but the very end was just a bit disturbing for a 10-year old! That's On Second Thought at 7:30 at the Arts Court Library.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Volunteering at the Fringe Festival

I knew that I would like volunteering at the Fringe Festival. I wanted to do something fun and help out and be a part of something good. I had no idea that what was going to happen was that it was going to be a total bonding experience with my daughter. I signed up for myself, to enrich my life, to connect, and what happened (what is happening) is that not only am I having a blast, my daughter is having the time of her life.

She said tonight that it feels like when we go to Omega. (We go to Omega Institute in New York every year now during Family Week and I teach yoga and she is in a program and runs around like a maniac.) She meant that she feels free and good and has freedom to run and play. This is in super-downtown Ottawa. She feels free.

Yesterday she was with me for a couple of hours when she is normally with her dad. In a case like that she'd usually come and hang out at Rama Lotus with me. This time she wanted to volunteer at the Fringe by herself. I checked it out and made sure it was cool and when I came back after teaching my class, she had stories. She had made connections, run errands, learned how to do the Volunteer Headquarters tasks. Today when we were to do our shifts together she said, "I call highlighting, t-shirts, and radio!" This basically meant there was nothing for me to do, but we found something.

She already has an interest and a passion for theatre. She says she probably got it from John, who used to bring her to the theatre a lot and continues to nurture her love of theatre even though it's to a much lesser degree now.

I've been on record saying I think the best thing that came out of my relationship with John was my car - I felt safe and good and like I could reach for something a bit better than what I had. On second thought, I think maybe his introducing Remi to the theatre is the best thing that came out of that relationship.

Speaking of On Second Thought...that's the name of my billet Paul's show at the Fringe. I saw it tonight and just about died. It was too funny. If you want a live LOL and I'm not kidding, go see his show. It's only ten bucks. Special mentions also to Catgut Strung Violin, which we saw today and Countries Shaped Like Stars, which we saw yesterday.

The thing that's so cool about live theatre is that it's live. Anything can happen. There's not a giant budget behind it. It's done by people, for people. I'm hooked. And the Fringe Festival in an opportunity to see tons of live shows at a cheap, cheap price.

One last mention - today I noticed the Bloggers Wine and Cheese and asked if I could get in because I have a blog and sure enough, I got in! And I got to meet some of the people whose blogs I read regularly. So that was another total unexpected treat from being at the Fringe. I was sorry to have to leave the table but my daughter was keeping me on track with her list of must-see shows!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Life as a Teacher

It takes a while, but I get it eventually. At the end of the Presence Process we were to look at what bothers us and see where we do that ourselves - the world is your mirror - nothing new there. And that teaching is also old and not new to me. When I was doing the Introduction Leaders Program with Landmark Education one of the things we did was look at what was in our own way by seeing what sort of feedback we were getting.

So this week I'm noticing that someone's not calling me back who said they would. And I'm not calling and just getting a bit annoyed and then not bothering. And this morning it hit me! Who am I not calling back? Who did I promise something to that I haven't delivered on? And it came to me in an instant. So I got out the stuff to complete the task so I could do what I said I would do. Phew.

The message then is to thank the messenger internally and get the message. I got it. The stuff is in the mail - it's on its way!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Goodness of People

My billet arrived today from Toronto. Paul Hutcheson is staying with me for a couple of weeks while he does his play at the Fringe Festival. The story is that I had some time on my hands, I was looking to volunteer someplace, I saw Catriona's postings and thought it would be fun to help out the Fringe Festival, I got on the email list of the volunteers and was invited to consider hosting someone from out of town who's participating in the festival. I knew instantly I wanted to but I had to talk Remi into it. When she realized it wouldn't involve someone staying in her bedroom because I renovated the Office, she didn't mind. So we signed up. We didn't know who it would be, we just said yes.

I got the room as ready as it was going to be and this morning it turns out the sheet I had for the bed didn't fit so I ended up at Wal-Mart to get a fitted sheet. I was in line and I was chatting to the woman in line and she thought it was so strange that I would open my home up to someone I didn't know. "Hide your jewelry," she said.

I told someone my billet was coming in a day or two and she wondered if that was my code word for "lover." We're so not used to sharing our homes!

I know people are people. They do crappy things. But I also know that people are totally people and that they're great and good.

Paul said he got similar comments like, "what if they're weird?" He said he told them, "then I'll leave." Exactly.

Remi got off the school bus and as we were walking home she said,"so there's some random guy at our house?" "Yep," I said. I introduced her to him when we got home and I think I can safely say they hit it off.

Come see his play at the Fringe Festival! It's on Friday, June 19 at 6:30, Saturday, June 20 at 9:30 pm, Sunday, June 21 at 4:30, Wednesday, June 24 at 7:30, Friday, June 26 at 11 pm, and Sunday, June 28 at 3pm.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Love Her

OMG I love Pema Chodron!

So today I went to CHEO and my first class was cancelled because people were in quarantine and I don't know why but I figure the Swine Flu has something to do with it. My second class was almost cancelled because just about everybody went home sick except for one student, who was sick, but couldn't get a ride home so stayed in the program. She just wanted to relax. So we did a yoga nidra exercise and I told her I'd read some quotes to her. I didn't have my Pocket Pema on me, but I did have my BlackBerry, so I did a little search and came up with some gems to read.

One of them was this article, about three ways to handle chaos.

And then there was this one, which had something in it that really rang true for me. Here's part of her interview:

"I'm just going to make a blanket statement, and then it will probably be a subject of a lot of conversation: There's no way to stay stuck in misery without talking to yourself about it. And that includes knowing that you're going to die next week, or knowing that you're loved one is going to die next week. "

There's more in that article if you follow the link.

On another note, the Fringe Festival begins this week. I get my billet on Wednesday. His room is just about ready. It's still officey - but it's freshly painted and there's a queen size air mattress ready. Just need to find some sheets and stuff and it should be done. He's from Toronto and here's the scoop.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Some Future Moment

I watched my mind try and hurry up my meditation this morning, like it often does, and I laughed. It's trying to get out of this moment, like there's some future moment that's going to be better than this moment. Like, "hurry up and finish meditating so you can hurry up and get to yoga so you can have that class be over so you can go out, so then you can blah blah blah."

What a joke! It makes me laugh. I'm old enough to know what the future moment looks like. You know what it looks like? It looks exactly like being in this moment! This one. Not some future one. When the future moment does finally get here and then occurs, it occurs just like this with some other moment further out in the future calling it out of being where it is. Too funny. It always looks like this. THIS.

It's such a trick. If you are closely connected to NOW, to how things are right this minute, you'll soon discover that it is ALWAYS like that. Depending on the altitude of your orbit it may occur as different levels, and that's a reality too, but if you're really in the body, with your breath, being totally present, then the moment is simply and always the moment. Imagining a certain kind of future can help determine your mood in the present moment, sort of like the view you've got out your window, but when the future moment arrives, it is the present. Just like this. There's no escaping it.

Can't live in the future, can only live now. Can't live in the past, can only be here. Circumstances change, people change, things happen, but when closely examined and felt, it's always like THIS. No better, no worse. There's no better moment. This is as good as it gets :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yoga App

I'd really like to get some of my pictures into a little application that would run on the iPhone and iPod Touch so you could buy it and have it on your devices and I'd make a little money doing something fun and creative. I mentioned awhile ago that I'd love to be an iPhone developer but that to do that properly would take a lot of training. So I'm working on an idea to make it so that I wouldn't need so much training to get my stuff up into an app that you could download from the iTunes app store.

I've got some help and I'll tell you more about it when there's something to say, but just know I think it would be neat if you could put your own content into this application or you could at least have me or someone else you know, not someone from Yoga Journal (although I realize that sometimes, that's someone you may know, like when Lucy was on the cover).

I'm a gadget girl and I love my little things and I especially love it when I can customize them or make them do cool things. So hopefully this little idea I'm cooking up will turn into something you can see!

I found a video of The Edge doing some kind of yoga with his BlackBerry. If you get to about the 7th minute in, you'll see him holding his device while doing some moves. It isn't how I imagined people using the program I'm working on, but it gave me a good idea of how it could be used!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I finished the ten weeks of the Presence Process on Sunday night and read the rest of the book on Monday. It was a really great thing to do and if you feel like it, I'd recommend checking out this book, The Presence Process. Now that it's over, I feel like I can skip my meditation already but I noticed that I do like the feeling that comes with doing it regularly, so I'm back on. I fell asleep one night before I meditated and gave myself a break, and this morning I definitely got back to it. When I get distracted and stop meditating, it's fine, but things deteriorate quickly, and it's better for everyone if I just stay on top of that :)

In preparation to host our Fringe billet (I think billet is such a funny word), I decided to paint the office and turn it into a bedroom for two weeks. So I've been doing some painting meditation, which includes special breathing, especially when dark green paint touches the white ceiling. Hmm. Fortunately, I'm not in a huge rush to have it finished so there are a few more days to perfect my technique and get it looking okay. Then I'll have to get the office chair out of the bathroom. There are things everywhere that used to be jammed in the office. Hmm some more.

It's working for me so far to get the place tidied up by inviting a guest to stay. It's better than moving, which is what used to happen in the past. Seeing as how this is the longest I've lived anyplace in my life, I've had to develop some new strategies for keeping things fresh and hosting a comedian seemed like a good thing to do. We'll see how it turns out. He shows up next week sometime and then the plays will run for 10 or 12 days towards the end of the month.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Morning

Let's see. I think the Swine Flu has passed, and it won't surprise me if that's what it was because Remi was quite sick for her. Fever for days, lethargic, no appetite, home from school and all that.

I'm on the last day of my 10 weeks of meditation a la Presence Process. It has been quite eye-opening (and closing, especially for the meditation part!) and I highly recommend you check it out. Along with opening my eyes to the good stuff, of course I've been opening my eyes to the bad stuff and the stuff in between and I can say I feel good, but I also feel agitated.

Maybe that's because the next Yoga Teacher Training is coming up in a few weeks. We go the green light, our minimum was met, and I'm in charge again. It's exciting. I love teaching the teacher training. It flows really well when it's really well planned out and that's what I'm up to these days.

Before the YTT gets under way, I'm going to volunteer at the Fringe Festival. I was thinking of things to do, ways to meet people, something fun, and I saw Catriona's updates talking about the Fringe and it got me to thinking I could maybe give them some of my free time. She hooked me up with the volunteer coordinators and now I'm not only doing shifts at the big tent, Remi's coming with me and we're hosting an artist at our house for two weeks.

I think that calls for some paint. I've never painted the office/3rd bedroom of my house since we moved in. So it's primer white and has been for six years. Gulp. As I type that I realize that I think this may be the longest I've ever lived in any house in my entire life.

My intention is to sort and file and convert my office into a bedroom by next week. Ha! It's a small space, so it shouldn't be hard. Remi and I figured we'd go pick out some paint and do it today but a quick call to Torsten last night to see if he had any paint remainders sobered me up to the fact that we need to prepare to paint. Huh? Sand the walls and fill the cracks and blah blah boy stuff, more blah blah things I don't understand, blah blah. Can't we just go pick out some fun colours? Just push the stuff into the middle of the room and throw a tarp over it? Isn't that how they do it on TV? I guess that's why this room is still white.

On another note, we participated in some of Doors Open Ottawa and it was really fun. If you have time today, check it out! We especially enjoyed the Traffic Control Centre tour. Big Brother is here and he's in my 'hood. That traffic camera could definitely pick up action on the street a few feet away from here. That's if it's zoomed in on things other than the intersection. Did you know they can adjust the lights to give more green time if there's a long line of trucks or whatever needs some help? I thought that was cool.

Last night walking through the market, Remi and I came upon some buskers doing a live circus act that had lots of yoga in it. These two young guys were out there doing acrobatics with a big hoop, a ladder, and each other, with a message to kids to get off the couch and get into their bodies. It was really impressive and moved me to tears (which isn't hard if you've been following). Fantastique!

Alain sent this around last week and it made me laugh out loud.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Community Garden

A while back one of my neighbours asked if we'd like to try doing some gardening in the back of our place. "Sure," I said. I'm not much of a gardener but I figured if he'd tell me what to do I'd just do it and maybe I'd get to share in that activity so many people seem to enjoy so much. I've even listened to Ed Lawrence on Ontario Today just to feel included.

So recently we planted some seeds and we also planted some plants so we'd have a staggered supply of salad stuff. I inquired about the animals around and my neighbour basically said, "it's an experiment. We'll see."

When I saw the groundhog scurry under one of the cars the other day I KNEW she was up to something. I still had lettuce plants at that point. This morning, however, there are stubs. Lettuce stubs. I guess we need a net. I'm laughing right now. I don't want to get that involved. I have a topsy turvy tomato thing, which last year yielded about 4 tomatoes overall. I have some basil and parsley, which I can pick off and toss into tomato sauce once in a while. I've taken the seeds I got as a present from Tamsin after the Yoga Teacher Training and planted them in a planter on my balcony, so maybe those will grow. I'll keep you posted.

"A groundhog is a person in your neighbourhood, she's in your neighbourhood, in your neighbourhood..."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I'm in the last week of the Presence Process, which I imagine I'll just start over again once it's finished, and the thing this week is to appreciate ourselves and our lives. Basically the idea is that what we think about expands, so think about good things and that will expand. It's actually quite a bit deeper than that, but without you actually going and reading and getting into the Presence Process, that's about all I can say.

So yesterday I meditated at CHEO in the afternoon as I hadn't quite gotten it together to do my meditation earlier. I was in between two classes I teach there to some teens and did my breathing thing and then the second group came into the room just as I had finished the meditation and was doing the exercise of coming up with a list of 5 things I appreciated about myself or my life. I told them what I was doing and they didn't hesitate to then jump in and help me out, but it wasn't like I was stuck. They saw an opportunity. "You're a good mom." "You influence and touch people in a positive way." "You're really good at being with people when they have a problem. You can be close to them. It's easy to be close to you." Wow.

I got my 5 things fast. Then we turned it around. I asked them if they wanted to appreciate themselves or have something appreciated about them. We did that for a little bit but what was really obvious was how easy it was to appreciate other people and how much more challenging it was to appreciate themselves.

The other thing Michael Brown gets at is that we find what we're looking for. So if we don't like what we're finding, consider that we're actually looking for that. If we don't really think that's what we're looking for, switch it up. A few weeks ago I knew I didn't have a sun roof, so I didn't have one. (If you remember the story, I did have one, I just didn't know it.)

So I invite you to come up with a short list of 5 things you appreciate about yourself or your life. If you get into Week 10 of the Presence Process you do that twice a day for a week, so there are 70 things to come up with and no repeats allowed!

I was visiting Jonathan Foust's blog today and came across this video so I'm going to grab it and let you see it here. He has a great blog though - I've mentioned it before and I'm doing it again.