Friday, July 31, 2009

New Haircut

It's raining again here in Ottawa. I don't mind really. I'm still thrilled that it's not snowing.

I got my hair cut today. My bangs were getting in my eyes and it was time to get it cut again. I don't like it when my bangs get in my eyes. I have a little conflict with my hairdresser about this. She thinks my bangs should be long and I don't like it when they're in my face and I threaten to cut them myself, which I've been known to do, so she humours me and cuts them shorter than she believes is right. If I really had it my way, I'd have my hair super-short and just use a number 3 or 4 and take care of things that way.

Today though, everybody was happy. My hairdresser was happy, I was happy, and my daughter was happy that I was doing something new. On my facebook status I reported that, "Jamine Ackert got a new haircut. Or got an old haircut again. Let's put it this way, it's been a long time since I've had my hair cut like THIS." And the funny part is that someone from highschool said, "back to the high school cut, sweet," so I wasn't lying. I did have this old hair cut! I was afraid I had been exaggerating.

It's an asana. Haircutasana. It feels funny. It feels normal though until I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or touch the back of my neck. Then I remember I'm doing a pose. The posture of having a new hair cut. It doesn't last long, and everyone that saw me today knows that as soon as I wash it, this haircut will be different.

I leave early tomorrow morning to go to Montreal for my workday as an Introduction Leader with Landmark Education. A day I dread and look forward to at the same time. And then I'm heading off to be at Omega for Family Week as the core faculty Yoga Teacher for a week. People keep wishing me "Bonne Vacances" and I keep saying that it's not a vacation. It's actually an underpaid week of work! Tonight someone in class wished me a Good Vocation after I'd said my spiel. And he was totally right. Of course this is my vocation, which is why I'm doing it this way! After class he mentioned to me he'd been on a recent trip where he visited some Native American sites in NM and AZ and reflected that their worldview had no distinctions between work and play, religion and seasons, and things all were fluid and holistic. I'm going to look into that some more. I can totally relate to that idea of things just being how they are and not making up a lot of boxes to put them into. I'll check it out and report back.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Here's another Present

I love helping people achieve their goals. And tonight I got to help someone play their game of becoming an Introduction Leader with Landmark Education. It's a long story if you don't know the context and a very short one if you do. I was going to lead an Introduction to the Landmark Forum but I wasn't completely prepared and when the opportunity came up for someone else to lead the Intro and have a chance to complete the measures for their Introduction Leaders Program, I jumped at it.

Anyways, I love the work that happens in the conversation at Landmark Education. Tonight I got present to an area of my life that hasn't been working as well as I'd like it to and I created a possibility. I could go on typing a lot and try to explain it and I may do that sometime, but right now, I'm sitting in a cool place of feeling satisfied that someone achieved a big goal and I had something to do with it, plus, I got to create a new possibility in an area of my life that's important to me but I honestly haven't been dealing with. Super bonus.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Teaching Yoga is a Present

Teaching yoga is a great way to stay present. It's its own practice, just like being in the mat in the poses is a practice, leading a group in yoga practice is a practice too.

When I'm teaching I'm often get distracted but I have to come right back to the present moment or else I'd fall off the edge. So even though I can go off in my mind a little bit, it's only a very little bit or else I couldn't carry the class. The work that it takes to keep coming back, to know which side we're on, which pose we're doing, what time it is, and all of that, keeps me focused on the present moment. And that is such a gift. Having a practice that brings me present is my present!

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Shoes

I made a spontaneous purchase this evening. I bought new shoes. Okay they're not really shoes, they're sandals. They're high heeled sandals. Completely not practical. Remi thought they were excellent and has already asked to wear them.

Here's another thing on the list of yoga teacher expectations - they don't wear impractical shoes. Their shoes are comfortable. Let me tell you, these high heels are comfortable! I was talking with one of my yoga teacher friends about shoes, well, we've talked about it on many occasions, including stopping being yoga teachers and opening a shoe store instead, and she misses the fancy footwear that came with her old job. I never had a job that required or accepted high heels for most of my life. I just haven't taken them up. Tonight's the night.

Not only are they impractical, they are expensive. Good. That makes this even more memorable. It was a treat to myself. Being 42 and getting some luxurious footwear. And now that I'm even taller I can just go ahead and keep on growing. Why stop at 5'3.5"? I think I could end up at 5'6" in these babies.

Wearing high heels requires different pants. (It's about time I get some new pants to be honest.) These sandals won't go with most of my clothes - I don't think - but I really don't know. I think I'm going to need to build a wardrobe around my new shoes. Help. Help me. Please! Friends, please assist me in figuring out what to wear with casual high heels. Your input is welcome.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bug in the Eye

I'm having fun with Twitter lately. It's neat following the links that people share and it's quicker than blog reading. Some of the links go to other blogs so there's lots of blog-reading potential for sure. I was joking a couple of weeks ago that it was going to be some passing fad very soon and we'd all remind ourselves in years to come about what idiots we were when we were "tweeting." That may still come to pass, but in the meantime, I'm kind of enjoying it.

I like to get some "tweets" that inspire me, so I follow people who post things that make me smile or remember.

This morning I followed a link that went to an Abraham-Hicks video I hadn't seen yet. Here it is.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Broken (Crack Pipe) Glass

One of the problems with the little glass crack pipes that get handed out to people to protect them from infections and stuff is that they break easily. They break into tiny little pieces and bigger pieces and they're a pain to sweep up. I'm not usually an uptight sort of person - you'll often hear me break out into "it's all just molecules" - but it's starting to freak me out when people walk into my house and don't take off their shoes.

My next door neighbours are Chinese and they're all about taking off their shoes. They've got a total system for where the outdoor shoes get to and where the indoor shoes start.

It makes sense. I also like walking around with shoes on. But in my neighbourhood, right before you get to my door, you've walked in dog pee, people pee, barf, poop, and lately, bits of crack pipe glass. So just take off your shoes at the door.

I can see how the eastern tradition of washing your guests' feet when they arrive would also be something to consider taking up here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Don't Go There Alone

Now that the intensity of the Yoga Teacher Training is wearing off, my mind is back to its old tricks. When I've got time to worry about stuff, I do. Or at least that's what I've been doing this past year. I've done my meditation retreats, I've done my daily practice, I lead the workshops, I read the books, and still! Still it will go down those streets that lead to dark, nowhere places. I've even gone down those roads, sat down, felt what's there, and it STILL won't disperse.

So today when a Landmark buddy said to me, "a long time ago someone told me that your mind is like Harlem - this was a long time ago, Harlem's changed - don't go there alone," I really listened up. Just don't go there. I know what's there. And today it's not useful. So I am not going. And I watch how I'm being pulled there and today's discipline is I'm not going.

I know the danger of keeping too busy - I teach people to slow down! And lately, I've also noticed the value in being super-busy. Obviously there's some brahmacharya involved - moderation. Be busy, take rest. Have some rest, get busy. And I'm aware that being busy can be avoiding something else - and I've checked it out and in this case it's just simply appropriate to distract myself and get busy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Yoga Outside

Sometimes it seems like a good idea to do yoga outside. Especially if you're used to doing it inside. So today I took both of my classes at CHEO to the out of doors to get some fresh air and do yoga on the area I call the "grassy knoll."

It turns out it was lawn-mowing day. Plus weed-whacking day. Plus some kind of sawing day. I gave them the option of going back inside but they rathered stay outside with all of the crazy noises than go back inside. As I yelled my commands at times, "inhale arms up overhead!" we laughed and just had a good time. As I said, "it'll be a yoga class you'll remember."

When the whacker man saw us, a small group of people on yoga mats in a circle, clearly doing some low-key, relaxing moves, I thought he'd keep his distance. Nope. He had a job to do. Given the kind of summer it's been, he probably hasn't had much chance to get all of those long blades cut down around the trees and pillars. We didn't complain. Again, it was a yoga class to remember.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

First Half of the YTT Coming to an End

The yoga teacher training has been awesome. We're just about half-way through. The first test is tomorrow morning and then we break for a month. When they come back, the students will begin lots of practice teaching.

I feel so protective of this group. There's something so special about being with a group of people who are committed to showing up and who do keep showing up. It's easy to teach but it's also way deeper and more fun to teach. Having this group all condensed and having the fire turned on has been awesome to witness and to be a part of. I'm way more relaxed myself this week than I was at the beginning, when Kat and I were just getting started and working things out. (Our teacher line up changed at the last minute and we had some course design issues to work out.) But at the same time, I'm more protective and on guard, let's say. I want to make sure this group is safe and nurtured and that the space is consistent and honoured. They're doing a great job of honouring their own space. I've had a few challenges from the outside though, (students wanting to join at the last minute, room requests over lunchtime, other teachers wanting to address the group), and it's been interesting to notice my own reaction about it all.

I'm not being very wishy-washy, which is how I've experienced myself in the past, like "we can make this work," whatever it is. I'm keeping more boundaries, not just with this group, but with myself as well I suppose. In a healthy way. Of course anything will work. But given that, what's best in this situation and is that available, are the kinds of question I'm asking myself.

My mentor told me recently that the kind of teacher I am is the kind that helps people find their own way, not the kind that gets people to copy them. She reminded me that my dharma is to be a teacher, and that it seems that no matter what, I'm going to be a teacher, so just go ahead and be teacher already. And that to be a teacher who helps people find their own way is special and it's not shiny or sparkly necessarily, but it's lasting and gives people an opportunity to experience themselves. Anyways, I'm starting to see what she means by watching this group and it's pretty neat.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's Still All Yoga

At first I wasn't sure I liked the intensity of the current Yoga Teacher Training Program I'm leading with Kat. It takes over, there's no "me" time, there's no "you" time in case you've been trying to get in touch with me, which means there's no time to let my mind wander and go off into unpleasant places. As a result, I'm sleeping again, even going out a bit to see some of the free Bluesfest shows up my street, and basically feeling mainly normal. I haven't seen my daughter it what feels like weeks and that's a bit weird - there's this room in the house with a bunch of stuff in it and no one's in it, and I have to say that is a bit bizarre, but otherwise things are cool.

I was saying to Kat yesterday that I think I kind of like doing the teacher training like this. All packed in. If you're someone who's done the YTT the long way, don't worry, that has loads of its own benefits too, it's just that I'm appreciating doing it this way and I wasn't expecting to. Mind you, when the YTT is over school starts again and basically summer's over, but that's okay, it turns out it hasn't been much of a summer after all.

Being with a group that all knows each other and is progressing together and is basically on the same page is so different than the groups I usually teach, which are drop in or short term, or the attendance varies. In this course everyone's there almost all the time and we're moving forward as a group and there's something so satisfying about that. The long version of the YTT is like that as well, which is part of what makes a yoga teacher training so fun for me.

This YTT has a big 12-day intensive, a month break to practice and do work (and let me go to Omega to teach at Family Week), and then another 12-day intensive. So even if other things have to be put on hold, that's fine. I think some wounds are healing because I don't have the chance to pick at them and when I resurface I'll be in a new place.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

All YTT All the Time

My life is YTT a the moment. It's all yoga teacher training, all the time. Which is as it should be, really.

I'm totally thrilled to be focused on making yoga teachers! There have been a few diversions, including this evening's wander through the market to see George Clinton. That was cool. Along the way I ran into a bunch of people I know, which is also cool.

I'm afraid now of running into someone who used to live with me who I'm now no longer speaking to, and that freaks me out. I don't like being afraid to go out, but at the moment, I am. But it doesn't stop me. I go out anyway. The whole fear thing is interesting and I'm taking a closer look at it but for the moment, the truth is, I'm not out much and so I don't have to worry that often, so it's not a big deal.

We've been talking about Truth in class lately and it's a great conversation. I'm a lover of the truth, but sometimes there's an impact, as we all know and is why we don't always say what's so. Sometimes being human sucks. We do shitty things. We don't want to admit we do shitty things. We don't want to admit we put up with other people doing shitty things. And then we realize we all do it, it's what's there, and we relax. Or not.

I'm in a limbo place. I haven't landed. I may never land. It's okay. I'm all Buddhist now, so things are just fine. They crumble and get built up again. Ha. I know that it's a case of "careful what you ask for, because you'll get it," and I know that the truth is like that as are so many other things. I wanted to be aware and now I am and there's an impact of being aware. Aware of the little movements of thought and of body. I see a lot more. Oh God if I could just go back and be ignorant again, I totally would. Innocence is truly bliss. Alas, there's no going back. But there's bliss in knowing, too. I know that. I'm not SOL.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

YTT Starts in the Morning

I'm excited tonight because the Yoga Teacher Training intensive starts tomorrow morning. I love teaching YTT - it's one of the best jobs ever. It also stresses me out a bit and I get a bit nervous before it starts but that's not a bad thing. I'm so glad that it's finally here and that there will be a whole new group of people I'll get to be with starting in the morning.

This training will be different than any I've lead before as it's all day intensive training for 12 days in a row and then we'll take a break and do another 12 days in a row. I'm ready and I'm nervous and excited and everything.

I've said good-bye to my daughter and hello to Kat Mills and tomorrow I'll say hello to the new YTTers.

The Fringe had a bit of a hangover to it once it was all over because it was so fun and compact. There was some withdrawal. I imagine this intense training may have some similarities, and if that's at all true, this is going to be a blast.

I'm already quite aware that this is going to be a group affair, and having been in many groups in my life, I expect this one to act like one. It's predictable that there will be people who talk more than others, people who withdraw, there will be skeptics and resisters, open sorts and curious ones. We'll all share a love of yoga and that's the coolest thing. We'll create a safe, fun environment that will be a place we're all dying to get to in the mornings. Look out Ottawa and beyond (people are coming from all over to do the training) because we're prepping a whole new batch of teachers!

On another note - one of my mom's dogs had puppies the other day and Remi got to witness their births in the middle of the night. You can watch them live on the Puppy Cam.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oh Canada Day

It's a day off for a ton of people, and they all seem to have met up in my neighbourhood to hang out! It's quite a scene down here in the Market. They even brought the Snowbirds with them. Wow. It's cool to be standing under that when they go by.

So there's lots going on I'm not blogging about - otherwise it wouldn't be a blog, it would be my life, and you could just come over and I'd tell you everything and you would just be a part of it.

One thing is that I'm picking up my Landmark Education stuff again and will be leading a home introduction to the Landmark Forum on Monday, July 13 and if you're reading this, consider you're invited to attend. Send me a note for details if you'd like to come. I got a little coaching yesterday about yesterday's blog news and wow, is it powerful and amazing to get coaching like that. Cuts to the core! The insight I got was about stopping beating myself up for being a bad mom. It's buried in there. We all know I'm nowhere near a bad mom, but somehow it snuck inside.

A reminder I got too, was that nobody's in integrity - we're either putting it back or it's falling away. I know, but to be reminded is good for my soul because I was starting to doubt the goodness of people.

And the last thing for today is what I was reading a bunch yesterday, which I think resonates. And it's from my Pocket Pema:

Seek Long-term Relief
We act out because, ironically, we think it will bring us some relief. We equate it with happiness. Often there is some relief, for the moment. When you have an addiction and you fulfill that addiction, there is a moment in which you feel some relief. Then the nightmare gets worse. So it is with aggression. When you get to tell someone off, you might feel pretty good for a while, but somehow the sense of righteous indignation and hatred grows and it hurts you. It's as if you pick up hot coals with your bare hands and throw them at your enemy. If the coals happen to hit him, he will be hurt. But in the meantime, you are guaranteed to be burned.

On the other hand, if we begin to surrender to ourselves - begin to drop the story line and experience what all this messy stuff behind the story line feels like - we begin to find bodhichitta, the tenderness that's under all that harshness. By being kind to ourselves, we become kind to others. By being kind to others - if it's done properly, with proper understanding - we benefit as well.

And that totally hits the nail on the head because I can tell you that it feels the same flavour inside to lash out as it does to be dumped on and harmed from the outside.