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.