December 21, 2015

Beautiful Lemon

This is the inside of my integrated lemon.

2016: The Year of Integrating Parts

As a strategic planner I believe in a certain amount of intuition to set direction. Each November I begin a personal practice of reflection with the intention of pursuing mindful development for the coming year. I frame this as GOST: Goal, Objective, Strategy and Tactic. Since 2009 this been my motivational process. It takes six to eight weeks for a goal to formulate into an evolutionary exploration that manifests intention into action.

2015 was framed as The Year of Creative Expression. When I first set this goal I did not have objectives strategies or tactics fully formulated. Instead, I imagined what "success" would be a year out if I truly did allow myself to savor creativity. Upon reflection, the objective was to reconcile the seeming disparity of being both a business teacher and a yoga instructor. Strategically, I looked for opportunities to lead a creative practice of bringing yoga Asanas into the business school classroom.

In the final quarter of 2015 I took the tactical leap and began each Monday morning Leadership and Organizational Behavior class with yoga, breathing and mediation. My confident and creative voice guided the college students in what became their favorite part of the day. With their continued trust I wondered where I could take this creative expression in 2016. This was clearly a step on the pathway to reaching fuller potential as a teacher.

This morning there was a sign that clarified my goal for 2016. Walking to a client meeting in San Francisco's Mission District I had a lot on my mind about controlling change in myself and others. The sunlight unexpectedly caught my eye as a fallen object glistened bright yellow with morning dew. I reached down to pickup an oddly-shaped fruit and looked up to see a lemon tree that must have grown overnight. The fruit was waiting to be discovered by someone on this busy street. How could no one else have noticed?

I have it in my hands now and the the fruit smells tart and feels ripe. But what is most amazing is that nature created this unusual and expressive growth. It speaks to me as a sign saying "uniqueness is beautiful and does not fit into a standard template." The one-of-a-kind lemon has a little curly green tail where it was starting to grow a new segment before launching itself from the tree. This is the tail of possibilities.

The remarkable lemon is my inspiration for 2016: The Year of Integrating Parts. It reminds me that I do not have to strive for the perfect answer that everyone might expect. Instead, my objective is to be present to celebrate the various interests and curiosities within me and my students. Strategically, I will explore all of these parts with the wonder of how to tactically integrate them into a Tale of Possibilities.

December 7, 2015

Cracked iPhone Screen as a Touchstone to Being Present

Yesterday I dropped my phone and the screen cracked. I tried to not be devastated but all I could think was that I needed a new phone. A broken screen to me is a sign of being irresponsible and careless. Certainly the crack was a sign that I needed an upgrade.

But as I let the crack settle into my life I realized how overly attached I am to this powerful device. It keeps me connected to people and information as well as distracted when I feel the slightest bit bored. You know, those in between moments when you could be noticing things around you or even meditating but instead you turn to the phone.

Well, this crack breaks the hallowed surface of this doorway into other places. It is now, a reminder that facing the screen is not like being present, but rather being somewhere, anywhere, everywhere else.

Ironically, today I am asking my students to create a touchstone reminder of the motivational Emotional Intelligence goal they set 10 weeks ago at the start of the quarter. Brian and I were chatting about if we each had a touchstone and I recognized that there are many pieces of jewelry I wear on a regular basis and each has special meaning but I have nothing that I wear or bring with me consistently. Except maybe this phone which I have recently been forgetting at home.

So, this phone has been my shiny distracting object. Now, with its cracked face I can see that the looking glass is not flawless and I can turn away and look around me, a prompt to be mindful of the present.

November 21, 2015

ENFJ Steps Towards Career Integration

Found this statement on Truity and it resonates with me:

"The ideal work environment for an ENFJ is forward-thinking and people-centered, with a clear humanitarian mission and an emphasis on constructive action. The ideal job for an ENFJ allows them to develop and implement ideas that improve the circumstances and well-being of other people."

That pretty much captures what I'm about.

Plantar Fasciitis - Foot Mystery and Mythology

By Katy Bowman, MS
Over the past 6 months I have developed awful foot pain which I soon learned is called Plantar Fasciitis. Sounds like a disease and feels like torture. As a yoga teacher I have begun encountering many female students who currently or previously had this ailment. (Similarly, many students I encounter have experienced frozen shoulder and I want to develop yoga practices that address these common ailments.)

As we share the advice we have been given by various foot experts, I keep hearing conflicting information. Keep the foot fully wrapped and supported in a hard leather shoe, with a firm sole and no ankle movement was the most popular guidance. But then I mentioned my situation to Nancy Leigh-Smith, my yoga mentor and she told me about the book Every Woman's Guide to Foot Pain Relief: The New Science of Healthy Feet by Katy Bowman, MS.

Let me tell you that this book is beautifully written, logical, fun, informative, and just makes sense. If you have your feet wrapped up in hard leather all your life, you are restricting movement and eventually, you can end up with foot pain - as I have now. But if you begin to liberate and enliven your foot and toes you will have a happy foundation.

Instead of avoiding being barefoot, as so many experts advised me, I am now teaching my toes to work, collectively and on their own. The pain is dissipating and I am integrating many of these exercises into my yoga practice. Thank you, Katy and Nancy!

Getting Focused and Integrating

You might have noticed that I have not been posting to this blog very often over the past couple of years. Let's just say, I fully embraced 2015 Year of Creative Expression and my voice is all over the Internet. So, I'm thinking that 2016 will be the Year of Focus and Integration.

November 3, 2015

Inspire - To Breathe

I've noticed that I frequently use the word"inspire" to describe my intentions. This made me curious to explore the origins of the word. How appropriate that "inspire" has its origins from Latin "spirare" to breathe. That is exactly how I know if I am inspired - I am able to take a long, deep, smooth inhalation and exhalation. Then my heart feels full.

October 3, 2015

Reality Check - I am Living my Dreams

I love making mind-maps.
This morning I had a long talk with myself and I reflected on my life. "What would I want to do differently if I were living my dreams?" I realized - I am being the person I want to be and pursuing the adventures that interest me.
  • Teaching - Yes!
  • Consulting - Yes!
  • Loving - Yes!
  • Adventuring - Yes!
  • Innovating - Yes!
  • Body-Mind-Breath Balance - In the works!
The only challenge is the stress that I put on myself. Everything is all piled on top of everything else. My list of top priorities is, well, everything. So, I need to unravel the layers and take each action in stride. I am the sum of my parts.

October 1, 2015

Launch of The Curiost!

www.thecuriost.com
Today begins a new venture - The Curiost - a website for curiost tourists to share daycation travelogs.

Visit our online gathering place and
 #BeCuriost

September 26, 2015

I own my own point of view

I was just listening to an interview featuring Shawn Calvin on NPR and she commented, "many subjects have been covered but I own my own point of view." Very inspiring for finding and expressing our creative voice.

September 9, 2015

Being A Spaz and Owning It

I received some feedback that a student described me as being a "spaz" sometimes in the classroom. It wasn't meant as a kind label. In receiving the information I initially felt hurt. The wind was taken out of my sail and it was like my cover was blown. This is because I have often felt like a spaz - being different and not fitting in with the norm. In high school I was bullied by popular girls who saw me as an easy target because I was a "spaz".

But as I reflected on the label, I realized that I am proud of this difference and not fitting the norm of being polished, poised and passive. My passion for the subjects I teach, the energy I use to share my lessons and the sense of urgency I feel is authentic and passionate. If that comes across as being spastic, good. There is nothing worse, in my experience, then squelching your vivacity.

September 7, 2015

Inappropriate Wedding Songs

Overheard while walking around Lake Merritt:
"I keep thinking about inappropriate wedding songs, like, I Would Die 4 U which is inappropriate and appropriate."

September 5, 2015

Creating a Life Free of Over-Commitment Clutter

"Think in concrete terms so that you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space."  - Marie Kondo

Earlier this week I was chatting with my parents about over-commitment. We have a habit, perhaps even a practice, of making promises because our nature is to see the potential in almost everything and everyone. People love Kweskins because we follow-through, rarely drop the ball, and ensure that we get the job done - with excellence. In fact, I think we thrive on seeing people happy, fulfilled and us getting a pat on the back.

However, I would equate this life-long practice with being a giant ball of Velcro that becomes wobbly with all kinds of attachments. Let's call it over-commitment clutter. Some would call it the need to set boundaries or just learn to say, "thank you for asking, but no thank you."

On our family phone call my mom mentioned The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and how she is expanding the concept beyond stuff and also considering all of her commitments. This book has been sitting on my shelf for almost a year, set aside after I had read the intro, and now I've been inspired to pick it up again.

With this new filter in mind, decluttering my commitments, I read Marie's statement at the top of this post and inserted "life" into "space" and a feeling of clarity began to bubble up in my over-crowded thoughts. "Yes, I can do this!"

How appropriate on Labor Day Weekend to give some details to a vivid picture of what my life can be if it is over-commitment clutter free. Yesterday, I was helping my students identify goal-setting success indicators. How do you know when you have reached a goal? What might you be seeing, hearing, doing, and saying? This further anchors the goal into a positive framing. So, as part of my practice this vivid picture I will include the success indicators.

September 1, 2015

Lessons Learned from Hector's Search for Happiness

Feeling a bit stuck and found an inspiring film with these Happiness Lessons:
  1. Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.
  2. A lot of people think, happiness means being richer, or more important.
  3. Many people only see happiness in their future.
  4. Happiness could be the freedom to love more than one woman at the same time.
  5. Sometimes, happiness is not knowing the whole story.
  6. Avoiding unhappiness is not the road to happiness.
  7. Does this person bring you predominantly: a) up or b) down?
  8. Happiness is, answering your calling
  9. Happiness is being loved for who you are.
  10. Sweet Potato Stew!
  11. Fear is an impediment to happiness.
  12. Happiness is feeling completely alive.
  13. Happiness is knowing how to celebrate.
  14. Listening is loving.
  15. Nostalgia is not what it used to be.
Hector and the Search for Happiness is worth watching. Now to read the book.

August 28, 2015

Apocalyptic Sky Over San Francisco Bay

Are You Smoking Opium in That Pipe?

I've been noticing that some long e-cigarettes look like opium pipes. Today I watched a guy smoking one and the way he held the pipe, slouched and slinked made me think that it is a pretty dirty habit that makes you look lethargic.

August 27, 2015

How Many Hands Does it Take to Assemble a Folding Kayak?

At least four. I paid for a lesson at California Canoe and Kayak to learn to fold and unfold my Oru Kayak. At least I know it is difficult for the pros too. Now to practice. Some day I will take the kayaks to the water, assemble, and actually get in.

August 26, 2015

Thumb Pain From Cell Phone Use

I love reading the New York Times on my iPhone when I have spare moments. Sorry to say that this is the first and last activity I do while in bed.

Over the last two weeks I have noticed that my thumb joints have aches. I just wrote it off to aging. As I observed the use of my thumbs during the day I realized this pain has increased with my reading of the NYT. It is exacerbated by writing emails on my phone.

I also notice that using my eyes this way - narrow, small focus and squinting - also causes ocular pain. Lesson I am learning: relax in bed and buy a paper.

August 20, 2015

Folding Kayak Fits in Smart Car

Earlier this year I purchased two Oru folding kayaks - one for me and the other for Brian. We assembled them and the experience was so difficult, I actually gave up on using the kayaks. Instead of expanding my kayaking I shut it down.

Today I resolved to give it a try and the first step was discovering that the kayak fits in my Smart car! Over the first hurdle.

August 19, 2015

What Does it Mean to be Earthy

When I was in college being earthy meant you smelled like earth- a combination of sweat, garlic and patchouli. I suppose that the bike messenger I am sitting next to right now on BART fits that definition of earthy.

But now when I think of someone as being earthy, I associate them with being grounded. This is someone who is "low in their body" both in terms of their energy source energy, breath and even their center of balance. An earthy person has a lower voice resonating from their respiratory diaphragm. Perhaps they would even describe themselves as being intrinsically motivated.

As soon as I articulated this "earthy", I found my shoulders dropping away from my ears, my body moving more smoothly and my mental intelligence coming from my physical intuition body center instead of my brain and eyes. The focus on me being in a place here and now - feet firmly planted on the Earth. Suddenly my fear of heights seemed to make sense.

I like this more grounded place and am going to continue exploring how to dwell here.

August 16, 2015

Living Your Dreams Over 65

Once Again Meryl Streep has inspired me by playing a character who lives her dreams at any age. Back in 2008 it was Mamma Mia and in 2015 her role as Linda/Ricki in Ricki and the Flash has warmed my heart.

Yes, this film is a Baby Boomer advertising vehicle with not-to-subtle product placements. But, it is also a story about a woman who learns that she can live two dreams - pursuing rock 'n roll and loving her estranged family. She blends both with the symbolic trio of braids in her 80's hairstyle that represent her three kids who she left behind for a rock life in LA.

Could she have lived both dreams and stayed with her family? From the arguments she has with her ex-husband (Kevin Kline) it is clear that a domesticated life is like a trap she has to bang against. She is clearly happiest and most comfortable when on stage jamming with her band the Flash. It all comes together in the film's final scene.

Another treat in this film is Rick Springfield who has never looked better. His open-hearted character is the grounding that allows Ricki to find balance in her life. This New York Times article about how he landed the role alongside Streep gives insight into this multi-talented artist. Who knew that Springfield is a New York Times bestselling author? His novel Magnificent Vibration: Sometimes Heavenly Intervention Can Put You in Hell is at the top of my must-read list.

I am inspired by these two actors who are 65+ and live life to the fullest - both on screen and off.



Being Vulnerable to a Sense of Smell

This past week I had a cranial-sacral therapy session with my friend Lauren and at the end of the session she asked me what I noticed. The sense that had opened in me was that of smell. Suddenly I had a stronger sense of the odors, good and bad, around me.

I've always had a strong sense of smell but have dulled it over the years by breathing less deeply. Why? I am not sure. For me smell can be overwhelming and even shocking. By shutting down my nose and breathing less deeply I have protected myself from these smells - out of habit. Only recently have I noticed that when Brian has asked me to smell something he has prepared, I take a big preparatory, olfactory opening breath and then step in for an official whiff. All the nuances of the fragrance permeate my senses and I give in to the smell.

What effect does shutting down your nose have on living a full life? Well, I imagine that it has impacted the stress I carry in my head, neck and face. If I am constantly clamping-down on my nasal passages, certainly that is not relaxing. Also, I talk more nasally than I probably should. Not breathing deeply also means less oxygen to the body which affects the body and mind. I remember a massage therapist in London telling me that I was not getting oxygen to my back body and therefore my neck and back muscles were stiff with lack of oxygen.

Most significantly, not breathing deeply to avoid smell means that I a not fully experiencing the world with one of my senses. This is a form of protection - avoiding deep connection with what is around me - control.

Ironically, I am a restorative yoga teacher. I lead 90-minute yoga sessions where I guide my students in noticing, feeling, accessing, and expanding their breath. And yet, do I intrinsically know what that means if I myself do not fully breath?

Today I set an intention to allow myself to use my full sense of smell: to open my nostrils and let the fragrance shine in. This is a practice in being open, receptive and vulnerable. Frankly, it is a metaphor for my willingness to again blog as I have been absent from contributing to this site openly. We all go through cycles of openness. As I open my nasal passages to trust my senses I too will open my heart and begin contributing once again to this blog.

May 29, 2015

Creative Mind Word Cloud

This past weekend my parents visited and we chatted about my desire to keep learning and then how I getting overloaded. My mom said, "You have a curious mind. You like to learn so that you can expand your possibilities." Wow, what a great insight. I put together a word cloud to explore what I LOVE to do - because I am always looking at possible business ventures. Here's the word cloud that emerged. At first I was surprised that AND was in the middle and then I thought, "that's what I am about, possibilities." Improv is about saying "yes, and" which is pretty much how I see the world - filled with
opportunities.


May 6, 2015

Dhalia's Nike Box

Put out a box and Dhalia makes it her newest hangout.

Daily Dose of Dhalia

My cat is sweet and silly. I've decided to capture and share her habits. Where is she today?

May 2, 2015

Tiny Kitten Cam

A teaching colleague of mine showed me tinykittens.com where you can watch, live, kittens sleeping and nursing with their mom. I have to say that there is something fascinating and soothing about watching the cats.  Hopefully, watching this does not make me into a cat lady. Brian thinks this is the first step to cat-ladyhood.

March 26, 2015

January 30, 2015

Hebrew on My Gas Receipt

Filled my gas tank at a new Safeway gas station in Alameda and there was Hebrew on my receipt. A message from the promised land?

January 27, 2015

Astrology Message - Live Your Dreams?

Each week I receive an astrological reading from Rob Brezsny - just to give my week a little focus. His writings are provocative - often referring to historical and pop-figures as metaphors for his readings. Here's this week's message:

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In the 1951 animated movie version of *Alice
in Wonderland,* Alice says to herself, "I give myself very good advice, but
I very seldom follow it." I hope you won't be like her, Pisces. It's an
excellent time for you to heed your own good advice. In fact, I suspect
that doing so will be crucial to your ability to make smart decisions and
solve a knotty problem. This is one of those turning points when you
really have to practice what you preach. You've got to walk your talk.

Since I believe that people should live their dreams - that is how I'm going to take this reading and suggest this good advice to myself. 

January 23, 2015

Love in the Kitchen

This quarter I created a new first assignment for the Culinary students in my Management, Supervision and Career Development class. They have reflected on their Culinary inspiration through images and text, and then articulated their career intentions.

To try out the assignment I made my own inspiration board. This was both an enlightening and empowering exercise that resulted in me realizing my culinary vision is Love in the Kitchen. Today the students will share their inspirations and goals - I'm eager to learn about their paths.

January 16, 2015

Front Row at the San Francisco Symphony

Elvis Costello narrates L'Histoire du soldat. Here I am front and center taking myself on a date sitting between two dates.

January 9, 2015

My Little Planet

Is this a photo of a planet or a stone wall taken with a fisheye lens on an iPhone? You decide.

January 2, 2015

Hipster Business Name Generator

You know you're in a Hipster Business when the name of the business is two sometimes unrelated words connected by an "&". A friend told me about the Hipster Business Name website. Every time you click the link a new business name is generated.

Here are examples - and as you generate them you can purchase the domain name - if it is available:



Ironically, Brian, Tesy, Eduardo and I went to a restaurant last night that not only had a Hipster name but also the Hipster "X" as the logo.