Monday, December 27, 2010

The Practice

#1506 - Flexibility in my Yoga Cleaning Exchange - I can work it in whenever it works for me and the studio isn't in use. I was gone over the weekend, so I'm thinking tonight.

#1507 - Receiving some Tea in the mail as a gift which I am drinking now

#1508 - My hair felt really soft before I got in the shower. Was it because I used some magic product? No. It was because it had been longer than usual since I washed it.

#1509 - Seeing the results of my sister-in-law's creativity. She made a pretty impressive homemade gingerbread house. It is circular and has a mushroom like roof. It reminds me of where Smurfs would live.

#1510 -I wasn't feeling very grateful. Then I took a shower, sat down to write this and they came.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


#1486 - New Yoga pose - kneeling/sitting on ankles, lifting knees in the air and placing hands on knees.

#1487 -
A friend sent a website where I could record myself singing and email it to him (new to me). His response to my simple song was very supportive and he asked for the words because he wants to do his own version and send it back. FUN.

#1488 - Recording myself sing, which I haven't done sing I was a kid. I used to do that all the time. Listening today, I think I sound hesitant. I'm grateful for this awareness.

#1489 - Developing an appreciation for how hard it is to record something to sound perfect, or even decent! I don't usually pay attention to my mistakes on guitar/singing because they only last a second, but on a recording they last forever.

#1490 - Writing an email to someone who needs it.
I am horrible at small talk, but if something is important I often have what feels like the right words. Hopefully that was the case today.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Longest Night

#1476 - Honoring the Winter Solstice with Elizabeth Harper, all from the ease and comfort of my home. (It was something that you could listen to on-line or dial a phone number.)

#1477 - Almost forgetting to dial the number and listen, but then seeing the paper where I'd written it down, five minutes before it started.

#1478 - Having the time to just listen for an hour in my home without competing demands

#1479 - The Meditation Elizabeth Harper led - I love listening to her meditations. In part of it we received a gift from the person we visualized standing to our left. My gift was a RED PEN, the idea being I could rewrite with it.

- I picked up a movie recommended to me recently. I looked at it today and it is rated PG. A PG movie intended for adults, refreshing.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Don't Ask

Turning These Bikes Into a Gratitude
(I thought the first bike was bad, the following I almost missed completely.)

I didn't think it could be done, relate these bikes to a gratitude, but right after taking these photos I went to the co-op and counted 13 Bikes. These 13 bikes were in use TODAY at the grocery store. AMEN!

The 8 Republicans that voted to Repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell

On Being on NPR today was speaking about my favorite poet Rumi. A woman said that if you speak a new language you will see a new world. She was speaking figuratively, but literally it works too.

Two overheard comments in my day:

"I don't know if we're going to make you mac and cheese anymore if you won't eat the leftovers Maddie. They taste the exact same."


"I didn't realize my heel was so powerful."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Love Letter to Yourself

#1456 - My sister in law making Okonomiyaki - I'll add that she put squash in this time, not a typical ingredient.

#1457 - Finding a new/interesting Winter Solstice Event that I would like to try.

#1458 - The advent calendar assignment I pulled today - "Write a Love Letter to Yourself." It made me smile and I am curious to try tonight.

#1459 - In a very early meeting in the housekeeping department of a retreat center, where I was to spend a season, I stated, "At the end of the season I don't want to think, 'I'm never cleaning a bathroom again in my life.'"

"You want to be present," my manager replied, "I like that." I had no idea what she was talking about. I had never heard someone speak about "being present."

Fast forward some years later, today while cleaning the shower, I recalled this interaction and realized my growth in understanding. Not only do I appreciate presence when I see/feel it in others, if I would list the one quality I most desire in a partner... it would no longer be athletic, spiritual, caring would simply be someone who is present.

#1460 - The music link on Mraz's website that I'm listening to as I type this. "Qawwali Flamenco is a meeting between the Pakistani Sufi tradition of Qawwali and Spanish Flamenco"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Soul Felt its Worth

#1446 - Hearing Christmas Songs Anew since I'm playing them on guitar for the first time. Today I realized the Drummer Boy is a sweet song. He has no gifts, except that he can make music, and that is the gift he offers the baby.

I also am really enjoying O Holy Night - especially this line "Till He appeared and the Soul Felt its Worth"

#1447 - When I was listening to this Shanti (peace) chant today I started picturing the countries in North Africa and sending that energy to them (because for the first time in my mind's eye I could see them and name them.)

#1448 - I've always enjoyed the owner of where I take yoga classes. Tonight her daughter was teaching the class. I had never met the daughter before, though I read her bio and knew she also taught pre-natal yoga. I discovered she is a doula as well and that she works as a birth attendant at one of the birth centers that just opened in the Twin Cities in the past year. I enjoyed talking to her about this.

#1449 - In part of this discussion, her mother mentioned how people can be unsure about energy work, but if you offer them a pill they have no hesitation in taking it. Since energy work doesn't have any side affects why is it more scary than a pill that often does?

#1450 - Feeling Fully Surrendered and Safe in Savasana and wishing everyone would experience that feeling

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hasidic Jewish Reggae Singer

#1436 - A couple of people I occasionally encounter annoy me. At some point today this inner conversation shifted and I thought, "I am Willing to See Them Differently."

#1437 - My father went into work Sat AM to meet some contractors. He knew he might get stuck there since we had a blizzard.

He called my brother Sunday, a bit before noon, to come help dig a path for his car to the road. When I told my friend he was still at work, 32 hours later, she said, "He is going to be crabby."

When I saw him though he wasn't, tired yes, crabby no.

He said he had been prepared. He changed the oil in his car (which he could pull inside the building), he shampooed something (rugs?) and said being in a warm building is a lot better than being stuck in the snow. I still have no idea where he slept (if he did), all I know is that most people would make a big deal out of this. He doesn't however, so unless I really think about it, which I did today, I don't even notice how amazing of an attitude he can have.

I used to easily find so many faults in my father (and still do at times), yet I'm grateful that I do that less and less and see the amazing parts more and more.

#1438 - "I should say that you are not only the foremost Hasidic Jewish Reggae Singer, to my knowledge the only Hasidic Jewish Reggae Singer, or is there a whole school now that has developed?" Robert Siegal

"Pretty much I'm the only one." Matisyahu

NPR interview

#1439 - Matisyahu's song Miracle - which starts at 5:42 in the interview

#1440 - My friend's parents just returned from Hawaii. I was so grateful to hear about a tour guide that discussed what seems to be left out in the Hawaiian utopia dream: what was originally done to the Hawaiians (similar to what was done to Native Americans), how there are few Natives left, that all the sugar plantations are being paved over because "development" is more profitable, and that they used to be self-sufficient and now are completely dependent on tourism. Yeah Tour Guide Woman who is Brave Enough to Tell Another Story!

Bonus Gratitude - Jill's Post

Saturday, December 11, 2010


9pm conversation in the snow

Ashley - "We were out here for like an hour?"
Tammy - "Two hours."
Ashley - "And I didn't eat any snow." (She forgot.)

Tammy - "Just a minute I need to go write that down."

Ashley - "Why did you write that down?"
Tammy - "Adults don't say things like that."
Ashley - "Usually, I seriously eat a whole gallon. This is why I don't stay out so long. I eat snow and then I just lay there."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Questions that I Ask

I always find it fascinating to think about how things that seem really basic to our lives, became that way. Take for example the most popular fruit in the U.S. - the Banana. For years I have wondered how something that did not exist in the United States became a staple. Today I'm grateful to finally research this and learn a seemingly simple fruit has a complex history. Here are a few interesting tidbits:

There are about 400 -500, one website said 1000, types of bananas. In the U.S. we eat one - the Cavendish banana.

The banana was introduced in the U.S. in the late 1800's (we hadn't overthrown the government of Hawaii yet) and its history is complex. One of the articles I skimmed is called:

When Bananas Ruled the World: Intrigue. Power. Corruption. Death. Sex. The history of oil has nothing on that of the yellow fruit.

Videos like this showing the not so pretty picture on bananas:

I thought I might reach some sort of conclusion from this research, but I haven't. When I visited Costa Rica I was amazed to discover fruit I had never heard of, lots of it. For whatever reasons, pineapples and bananas get all the fame and therefore - land.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hockey and Yoga

#1406 - Yoga class usually has a majority (sometimes all) women. Today there were at least a handful of men, the one right behind me - enjoyably attractive. He was new and there with friends. He was not a typical yoga person (whatever that means). However, he was clearly athletic. The teacher suggested we try handstands, which is rare. Some people skipped it, this guy hopped right up. I took the wall space next to him, and took a few tries to get up. I was kicking up as if I were doing an actual handstand so I kept coming down again. The man told me "kick harder against the wall," which was obvious, but I still enjoyed that he spoke to me :). When we left he put on a hockey sweatshirt, that fit him. A Hockey Guy willing to try Yoga. Yeah!

#1408 - There seems to be some sort of Universal Conspiracy to keep me doing Yoga.

It began when I asked for a Kathy Smith Yoga Video for Christmas at 21. I don't know that I had any idea of what yoga was, I just had a few other Kathy Smith videos that I used/liked.

Since then I could make a long story of when and how yoga has manifested. I was blessed many times to live in places where I practiced in classes for free, or just on my own. In 2006 I paid for yoga for the first time. Every time I've considered taking a break from buying classes, something happens that keeps me going. This also could be a long story so I'll just mention the last year. I did not pay for yoga at all this year because my generous father bought me yoga gift certificates both for Christmas and my birthday. Now when I'm almost out, the owner of the yoga studio asked me if I would be interested in an exchange. If I clean the studio twice a month, I can take all the Yoga Classes I want. I saw the list of what I'd do today, and I think I'm in.

There seems to be some sort of universal conspiracy to keep me doing yoga.

#1408 - You know how sometimes, hopefully, you've laid on your back, looked at the stars, and realized how small we are? Well, Jason Mraz posted a link that gives a similar view. So if you need a little perspective today. Click here. (You move the bar, I didn't get that initially.)
#1409 - I've been trying to figure out how to turn the following into a gratitude, and I'm grateful to have figured it out.

#1410 - Sometimes an outside perspective can simplify things and I'm grateful for that perspective here. There was an article in a Belgian Newspaper that one of the blogs I read commented on. She translated this section which is information that I want to spread.

1. On America.

- The richest percent of the Americans acquires 24% of all personal revenues (in 1979 it was 9%).
- The inequity in revenues in America is bigger than in Colombia, Russia or Mali.
- In 1980 American CEO's had an income 42 times superior to their average employees. Now it's 531 times.
- Between 1980 and 2005, more than 80% of all income raises went to the richest percent of the population.

The highest earners need to keep their tax cuts huh?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Low Lighting

#1396 - Accepting the internet was not working - I tried for a while and I wanted it to work so I could write these, but it didn't lead to stress. I recorded my gratitudes in my journal and thought about my/our expectations such as, "This should work," and how quickly they can lead to agitation.

#1397 - While I was cross-country skiing today I thought about the last time I skied, which I believe, was the first day I wrote this. It was interesting to come home and read a comment on my last blog, by the only person I don't know who reads this, advising me to read entries from my first month and see how much they've progressed. I tried reading a few they were kind of boring and too generalized. I'm not sure what she means exactly, it can be hard to see yourself from the outside. However, the idea that doing this every day has lead to better writing is certainly encouraging.

#1398 - Cross-country skiing is a very quiet activity. I often end up feeling trapped with my incessant repetitive thinking. On top of that it can be a lonely activity after going by myself for the umpteenth time. Today I was grateful: first of all that we have enough snow in early Dec to ski, second that my brother came with and helped motivate me to go on a longer course, and third that after creating space for all those annoying thoughts to babble they eventually quiet down.

#1399 - Seeing Wheelchair Cross-Country Skiers

#1400 - A Week with Low Lighting in the Evenings-My lighting style in the evening is usually less than other people, I find it relaxing.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Liu Xiaobo

#1386 - I stopped shoveling and just listened to the falling snow, something I think of as silent, but it wasn't. It sounded like a light rain, but muffled, something you had to be still to hear.

#1387 - I didn't think trying to photograph snowflakes would turn out, but I tried anyway, and I kind of like it

#1388 - Reading that 8 U.S. senators - including Gore, Kennedy and Wellstone - helped Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner from Kenya, when charges were presented against her in 1992

#1389 - Learning that before Wangari Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize she had received

The RIGHT LIVELIHOOD AWARD - which is apparently the 'Alternative Nobel Peace Prize' - something I had never heard of. "Unlike the Nobel Prizes (for Physics, Physiology/Medicine, Chemistry, Literature, and Peace), the Right Livelihood Award has no categories." Apparently many award winners work for grassroots non-governmental organizations.

It saddens me to be completely unfamiliar with every name that has won this award, with the exception of Wangari Maathai. Seriously, we give power to what we focus on, and the fact that we all know names like Bin Lauden, but not Xiaobo is an indicator of misplaced priorities.

I am GRATEFUL that such an award exists and for the work all the people who have received it are doing!

#1390 - I had no idea who won the Nobel Peace Prize this year. This information often must be searched for and I did not remember to look. However Today I am Reminded

2010 Nobel Peace Prize Winner - Liu Xiaobo

He took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989 and is still working for human rights in China. A year ago he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for his human rights work. This is the fourth time he has been imprisoned and he still perseveres!

See if I read about people like him every day on the front page of the newspaper I would have a lot different view of humanity and what is possible.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gift - Presence

#1376 - When I hear the word gift I think of presents. But in the Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary the first definition is, "a notable capacity, talent or endowment."

#1377 - Which leads me to something I love about the English language - the best gift being your Presence not your Presents

#1378 - Slipping on some hidden ice, Faltering, Recovering, and Laughing

#1379 - Using the book I just picked up, Wangari Maathai's Unbowed, to create meaningful smalltalk

#1380 - Starting the Advent-like Calendar that we made - my first day related to the word gift