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Showing posts from March, 2022

Rejection

  A bit ago, the Arts Mill had a call for art for the BIG show. I was excited to participate-NSAA is near and dear to me. And it would be my first attempt to paint (and sell) a large canvas. I was pretty proud of the painting I created.  I submitted it. It was not accepted into the show. It was REJECTED. I’m not going to pretend this didn’t sting. Or that thoughts of “well, it’s clear I’m not a painter. I wonder who I should donate my paint supplies to?” didn’t cross my mind. But I always go through the “poor me” stage. After all-being an author means that rejection isn’t new to me.  When I dusted myself off from all of that, I asked the Arts Mill’s director, if I could pay her for a critique of my art now that the show (without my painting) was over. (I get critiques for my writing-why not have a critique on my painting?) She was straightforward and shared her exquisite wisdom in a gentle and kind way, which is the perfect blend for learning. The painting that came forth next on that

Good way to end the day

  Laughter and wine, blankets and a dropping sun.  Then hushed tones to witness a champagne sky as the fire falls behind the water.  The rhythmic sound of clapping waves is joined by gentle clapping of spectators who gathered together in a quaint village to celebrate the ending of a day.  I’ve said it before when I was a part of a similar evening, at the other end of the country… how wonderful it would be if EVERY collection of 24 hours, strangers to each other and friends that are forever would conclude their day by gathering together in appreciation and awe. What a beautiful way it would be to end each day.

Cold Yoga

  Last night, eleven of us gathered for yoga. A cold night is the time to welcome a warm class. But I walked into the studio and the heater wasn’t working.   Broken.  Now what?  It’s an old building. Sometimes, this is how it is.  Still…a chilly space isn’t even close to ideal for yoga. So, when people arrived at class, I offered, “would you like to cancel class and wait til the heater is fixed?” No one left. Not one.  Instead, they wore coats and warmed blankets next to space heaters. They joked about “cold yoga” vs “hot yoga.” They shuffled their mats around so they could share the warmer spots with one another.  And they practiced yoga.  This is how it goes in my classes. It is never perfect…but it always is what it is without much struggle.  It is… Letting go of expectations.  Having a different perspective. It is going with the flow in a balanced manner.  Mostly, yoga in my humble studio is about the yogis who gather each week and show up on their mat with grace and dedication.  I

Remembering

  A week before Christmas, I visited my dad in the memory care unit. His face lit up when he saw me. “Sheri! My sister! You are here!” I’m mostly used to it now-- that I am sometimes his sister to him, sometimes his daughter. Sometimes I’m someone he simply knows he knows but he’s not sure how. After our visit that day, I remembered and found an email he had sent nine years ago. It was a photo of he and I, on a quiet boat ride just before sunset when the lake was still and the loons were calling. In the email subject line he had written only this quote: “Those were the days, my friend, I hoped they’d never end.” He emailed me that a year before my mom died. And just before his memory started to fade. As this 2021 sweep around the sun comes to a close, I’m reminded. With the wedding and the move of two daughters. Gatherings for yoga, sound, and meditation on the mat. Writing and art and editing. A book released. Hikes and bonfires, and shared bottles of wine. Relationships that are new,

A Story

  I had a meeting a few months ago with a woman who wanted to hire me to write a book that would be a message of hope for children who have a life-threatening illness.  This was a challenge for me as it was a different sort of picture book than those I’ve previously written. Plus-it was her story that I was to write.  However, as I listened to the reasons why she wanted to share this message with children-I felt drawn to try for her.  So I did.  I used a lot of yoga when writing the book-I united both what I knew and what I needed to learn. I gave the child character strength and flexibility. I leaned into the discomfort of writing a book that was so clearly dealing with pain.  I read the completed story to the woman and then gave her space to receive it. To go home and process.  I wasn’t sure if she liked the story. Or what her family would think. I won’t share more details of the story I wrote or the pain, hope and healing that brought her to me-as these details aren’t my story to sh

Worthy Journey

  A memory popped up today on Facebook. I took this photo three years ago, in India, of people making their way to the largest spiritual gathering on the planet.  That was a tough trip for me. I was recovering emotionally and seeking peace through my practice. I was physically sick most of the 14 days. I bucket bathed in a hut and slept in a tent during 37 degree nights wearing a coat and hat to bed.  And it was my first time alone and away after the end of my marriage.  But I wouldn’t trade a moment of that journey. It helped me gain perspective, gratitude and humility.  And spending hours in silence with eyes closed, seated and still, side by side with others that maybe did or maybe didn’t speak the same language as me, I came to learn a new and sacred meaning of “unity.” And that’s…how yoga works. 

Unlikely Friendships

  This charming illustration by Joanie Stone is from a story I wrote about the unlikely friendship between a girl and a chameleon and the love they struggle to find for each other. Today, I’ve been thinking about friendship and love. That gentle feeling you have when someone sees you-and knows exactly what you think and feel about nearly everything, because they think and feel nearly the same.  How we are often drawn to those that have the same opinions, views, and perspectives. Who enjoy the same things we do, and who don’t deviate much from what we believe in. It’s a good thing. But then I wonder…how sometimes we walk away from those who don’t fill the checklist. How our paths were crossed with someone and perhaps we’ve missed an exquisite opportunity to learn, and grow…and love. This chameleon came close to deserting the girl in this story. Afterall, she wanted to adventure when he wanted to nap. She preferred cookies (apparently a devote vegan) over grasshoppers for snacks. And if

Cattails

  This morning’s sunrise hike was through my yard with the pups. The sun tinted the cattails in such a way…it was pretty.   But cattails aren’t just pretty. During one of our nature hikes I learned about the editable qualities of cattails. Poultices can be made from the crushed roots that can be used on cuts, burns and bruises.  But the most special association with cattails, for me, is “peace.” It is said that the bulrush flower spike, given as a gift, is intended as a symbol to end any conflict.  If only… Prayers for sunrises lighting the way towards peace, on all corners of our earth.  A more than pretty way to begin any day.

True Nature

  I was invited to teach yoga/meditation and an intention to some high schoolers in a school by a student that I practice with at my studio the other day. I have forgotten how inspiring such an exchange is.   I was reflecting on one of the intentions that I’ve worked with teens on and that is, living your truth, your true nature. How do we really live our lives—like we see ourselves, or like others see us. If we were to describe ourselves, do we see ourselves really as we are or do we see ourselves through the eyes of what others see.  Which is more true?  I’ve learned through experience that it’s a challenge to live what others expect of you, because that involves taking into account all of their past experiences that brought them to where they are today. However, it can be more of a challenge living your own truth. Isn’t it easier to please others. Does this lead to surpassing expectations, letting people down? Perhaps sometimes one, sometimes another, and sometimes a little of both.

Together

Summer 2018-  “I have an idea,” Is probably one of my favorite sentences. Whitnie said it to me a few weeks back. She told me her idea and asked if I wanted to do it with her.   I love new ventures more than anything. But the biggest reason why I didn’t hesitate to say yes was because of the idea itself. And where it came from. And what it means to her, to me, and hopefully…to others.    Tupo pamoja was a phrase in Swahili  she learned when she was volunteering at an orphanage in Tanzania. The folks there say it. Translated loosely it means we are one .    As we were brainstorming, Whitnie and I discussed the meaning at length. We are one doesn’t infer that we are the same, of course. But more so that we are different-and honor  each other because of our differences, not despite of them. Peace. Sacred. Unconditional. Understanding. Love-- are all written into the meaning of the phrase “we are one.”      In the work that I do, it’s the language I already speak. Not Swahili as much (I kn

A Woman's Place is in the Wild

  I learned a lot from my mom and my grandma. My mom ran a successful business, raised three kids, had a 51 year old marriage before she passed away. And every night without fail, she made a home cooked meal for her family. She’s also the one who helped me find frogs, taught me how to gently hold a baby turtle, and calmly helped me look for a snake that had escaped from the jar and was slithering around our house.     When I’d walk down the street and visit my grandma, she’d stop ironing my grandpa's shirts, or cleaning floors or baking homemade brownies. And she’d take me in the woods and exclaim how each wild flower was more beautiful than the next.    I’m hoping I’ve passed down some good ingredients on how to be a balanced woman in today’s world to my three daughters. Maybe I wasn’t the one who taught our three how to cook or how to iron. But as they are finding their places in the world, I know one place they’ll always feel at home…thanks to the moms of our life, my mother, g

Our Nature

Spring 2018- One other time I had heard the sound of a fawn in distress, so when I heard the bleating this time, coming from somewhere in woods, I was pretty sure I knew what it was.  As a teacher, mom, yoga guide, energy therapy worker-- it is often my job to help. But sometimes, I know, the best form of help is to not get involved. And in the woods, many experts say it’s best to let nature take its course. Let it be. And so that’s what I did. I let it be.  Until the crying stopped. And time went on. And eventually there I was in the lower field. And there she lay in a wet part of the woods barely able to move, injured, with other signs that I won’t detail here that she was in a desperate state.  As I looked at her, barely able to move, I hesitated, considering again  letting nature take its course. But then  my  nature got the better of me.  Whitnie gathered a blanket, made a nest in a big enough box. Kaiti arrived home, hearing what was going on. Standing in the garage. Hushed voice

Searching Nature(s)

Searching Nature(s) Sprin, 2013- I was one of those little kids with muddy knees and swamp soaked tennies. The woods were my playground. Hiking worn deer paths and dipping toes in icy brooks was what I did. A lot of what I learned growing up involved my time spent among the trees. Yet as an adult I became aware that for as much as I knew about nature, there was more to discover. One such treasure was the coveted morel mushroom. When I learned they existed, I couldn’t wait to begin the search.  But first, you need to learn what to look for.  So I did research online. In books. The tips of finding the morel were plentiful. Search under a deal elm or among an old apple orchard. After a good rain and a few warm days. When the lilacs bloom.  But when I walked the woods, I couldn’t find.  So you find a guide/teacher to take you further.  A friend would show us what to look for. Do you know what it’s like when you take a picture of a flower with your smart phone? You point the camera to the p

Peace is Always Beautiful

  “Peace is always beautiful,” is a quote from Walt Whitman. Whitman, like John Muir, Rumi, Gandhi, Tagore and Thoreau - were seekers, and graced humanity with wisdom of their findings not only about the external, but about the internal.  Internal seeking equates, for many, to the quest for Inner peace.  An inner peace not just as a fleeting moment during Tuesday morning meditation, but as a way to be.  I’ve received hints through the whisper of leaves, the giggle of a stream and fresh snow on  outstretched branches of a birch,  that this way to be can permeate each breath, even as it  lands softly on pain and struggle.  It’s true-letting go of the struggle… accepting change.  Seeing solutions. Turning inward for answers instead of outward for approval…it’s peaceful.   Inner peace is also about selectivity and focus-of choosing a backpack that is just the right size and shape so it doesn’t hunch your heart into hiding and inhibit the freedom of your step as you hike your path.  Not bei