The yoga room

Yoga room

Our server fell apart, which means this blog has been down for just a few days short of a year.  I’ve missed it.

This holiday season, I used the yoga room to store, hide, and wrap gifts.  The result was a huge, wonderful mess.  I’ve finally got it cleaned out, organized, swept and mopped.  I’m ready for the year ahead.

In Septemer I began a mindfulness and focusing program at my yoga studio.  We’re learning to meditate, as well as refocus our mind on the present instead of worrying about the future or living in the past.  Classes resume this weekend, and I couldn’t be more excited.  My yoga room is back to being an inviting space not just for yoga, but now for serious meditation and contemplation.

I had planned to start a trauma-sensitive yoga training, but we’re trying to buy our farm this year, so all funds need to go to that.  And that’s fine.  There will be time later for more yoga training.  I’m looking into the new mentorship program at my yoga studio; that will be local, and with teachers I already love.  I get so much out of my private sessions with them, and can imagine really enjoying a mentor/mentee relationship.

Right now I’m working through a book I started last year called Deep Listening.  The concept of deep listening is about quieting the mind and being present while listening to others, but in this book (so far) that mindful listening is directed to ourselves.  How often do we really stop and listen to what our bodies and minds need?  We usually wait til they are screaming at us before we get the hint.  It would be much less dramatic if we slowed down and heard what they had to say before they became desperate.  The chapters in this book are short, easy reads, and the yoga and breathing exercises at the end of the chapters are not complicated.  But they’re well-chosen and they create a sense of peace.  I’m enoying this book a lot.

 

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Starting fires

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I’m learning how to make cone incense!  It’s honestly not going very well.  The two on the right were my first attempt, using a recipe I found online.  They did not light, so I bought a book and found a recipe that probably will light, considering it includes a healthy amount of saltpeter.  That’s the two on the left.  They’re little more than cone-shaped blobs, but I’m really just interested in their ability to burn.  And if they smell like the myrrh I made them with, all the better.

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Making dog beds

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Today the animals helped me cut foam to put in the new waterproof dog bed liners I got from SimDogBed on Etsy.  They’re really well-made liners, with a velcro instead of a zipper.  I bought them because I had this mass of foam just taking up space and thought it would make good dog beds for the eventual Jewel’s House dogs.  After cutting enough foam for the four covers I bought, I had enough foam left over for two smaller cat beds, so back to Etsy I went.  Now I just need to find some pretty outer covers for all these beds.  Maybe some embroidered with the Jewel’s House logo.

The new semester starts tomorrow, but I’m still exhausted from the last one.  I’m grateful for afternoon classes.

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Those are some good burgers, Walter

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I was just going through pictures on my phone and came across this one from October.  We went to my brother in law’s wedding, and he lives in an In n Out state.  It’s a miracle I made it to the wedding at all, as I considered just camping out at one of the many In n Out restaurants in the Dallas, Texas area.  I mean, it was a lovely wedding and I’m glad I went, but I do miss those burgers.

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Buddha friends

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My beloved Buddha statue broke in our recent move, and I only just got around to buying a new one.  The old one is actually outside in the garden, because only the bottom section broke.  But I found I missed having one in the yoga room, so I searched amazon until I found the perfect new friend.  If nothing else, he is a comforting presence.

This coming weekend, I go back to yoga teacher training at Circle Yoga in DC. Due to that terrible sinus infection I had last year, I missed many training sessions. I’m so happy to finally be making them up. This weekend’s is especially exciting, because it’s the mindfulness class. I was sad to miss that last year, and to have to wait a whole year to have the opportunity again. After the class, the head teacher and I will be figuring out exactly what other dates I need to show up for – I really missed a lot. Even though I would have liked to be done with the 200 hour training and be ready to move on, I’m grateful I get a whole new set of friends to explore yoga with in 2018.

 
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Winter perch

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This is where I have been spending a lot of my time. The heated blanket Ben gave me has been wonderful. Here I have my records and other music media, books on the fireplace mantel just out of frame, my laptop, and usually some snacks.

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We’ve even managed to connect an NES controller to the laptop so I can play emulators. All these years later I’m still obsessed with Mario 3. It became my happy place.

This week I’m going to be organizing my sheet music, and planning my return to that world.

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Currently…

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I’ve been hanging on to Louise Penny’s new book Glass Houses for a few months now.  She is my favorite author (up there with FG Cottam), and I wanted to save it for when I could enjoy it fully.  I didn’t want that voice to be nagging, reminding that I should be doing other things.  No, I wanted complete peace.

But when on earth do I ever feel completely peaceful?  I was worried I’d never actually read it, and then find myself back in school with no time and certainly no peace.  After  scary but short-lived depressive episode yesterday, I decided it was time.  I made Ben go out to get my candy, I made some popcorn, and settled in.  And I’m so glad I did.

When I decide to go back to academic pursuits, I’ll begin researching for my podcast.  I have some good sources lined up, but I need to dig in.  Perhaps when I get tired of eating and reading and reading and eating.

Speaking of peace, tomorrow I’m doing some work on my yoga room.  I considered making that room an office, but every time I step in there, I remember just how badly I need a peaceful place, separate from the world.  I can have my office here in the living room; yoga needs its own space.

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Good times, bad times

2016 was spent building things and making plans for the future.  We put down foundations in this place and that.  It was a good year for us, even though it seemed to overall be a bad year for everyone else.  2017 isn’t shaping up to be so great.  The plans I made are crumbling around me.  Nothing is working out very well, with the huge exception of yoga teacher training.

This could have gone either way.  I was worried about having to deal with bright and bouncy people, or with yoga snobs.  I was worried about the general atmosphere of the place.  I was worried I wouldn’t be able to physically keep up.  I wasn’t worried about keeping up with the reading.  But people are friendly, everyone is very different, the studio is extremely peaceful, the teachers are incredibly kind, and I’m able to keep pace.  I feel like I belong there, which isn’t a feeling I get very often.

The teacher training course came at a perfect time, as these things often do.  Yoga helps us learn to let go of things that aren’t working.  So many of the things we put in place in 2016 aren’t working, or aren’t working out.  Some of these things have been in place for almost my entire life.  How sad is it when we realize that those life-long things are no longer working?  How do we get passed that?  How do we mourn this loss?  And it is a great loss.  If nothing else, I have a happy, positive presence to focus on.  There are kind people to interact with, lessons to learn, books to read, asanas to try, philosophy to absorb.

I have to put an old life to bed and start a new.  But when that new life involves nothing but yoga and family, it gives me a feeling of calm contentment.  Not hope, but something more neutral.  I’m happy with neutral.

 

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Winter survival

God, I just hate the winter.  It’s dark, it’s cold, and my body tries to shut down.  The only saving grace about winter is the pretty snow, but even that turns into an annoyance after awhile.  Each year I dread the coming winter.  This year, I’ve very deliberately gathered some things around me that help me cope, and I’ve made sure I don’t run out.

One of my biggest issues is my dry, uncomfortable skin.  I was especially out of my mind last year when we lived in a house with forced hot air heating.  This year isn’t as bad because we have comfy hot-water radiators (my favorite, and a must-have in any house we buy).  But I still need help.

This is a major favorite, courtesy of Sabon NYC. I recently ordered one, but can’t get it open! So for now I’m using something from Target. This is one of the best scrubs I’ve ever used. Not only does it exfoliate, but it also leaves behind a trace of it’s skin-loving oils.

 

After exfoliation comes more oil. This is the massage oil, as opposed to the shower oil I first used. The shower version is meant to be rinsed off; massage lotion can stay on and be absorbed. And my body just soaks it up.

 

My face is no exception to winter’s cruelty. Murad products were recommended to me at one of my facial sessions at Massage Envy. I figured it was just some garbage they get a kickback for marketing, but I tried it because the facial gal told me that if I need to put lotion on the second I get out of the shower because of how dry my face already was, I was using the wrong cleanser. And to its credit, this does not cause that to happen. My face still feels moist and supple when I leave the shower.

 

Then this happens. Toner.

 

Then this. Renewal complex.

 

Then this. Night moisture. There is also a day moisture that has 15spf.

 

Then, finally, the body lotion. This is from Firebird Bath&Body on Etsy. It’s the perfect body butter.

 

Can’t forget this for the places on my back I can’t reach.

 

For my hands. Sometimes, even the best lotion can’t stop my hands from hurting. That’s when I pull this out.

So that’s my routine.  Yes, it takes awhile.  Yes, I do it every day.  Sometimes I skip the exfoliation if I’m not feeling well or quite tired.  But without this regimen, my skin dries out so badly that it hurts.  The pain sometimes keeps me awake at night, believe it or not.  How ridiculous is that?  Hate it or loathe it, this is what I need to do to stay properly moisturized.

Notice that I didn’t include prices… dot dot dot

 

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