Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Girl's Just Gotta Have Fun --- Day 206

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 10 blocks and teach yoga class

If you've ever considered writing a blog, I encourage you to do so. I had virtually no idea what blogs were but at the same time considered them bad/self-centered/extraneous to anything/the hieght of narcissism when friends suggested several years ago I give writing a blog a try.  It was an idea that went dormant, but then surprised me by re-emerging from somewhere ready to go.  So, 206 days ago I started writing and posting - ie, I started blogging - with the goal of posting every day for a year.

What has this blog of mine been like?  Bad/Self-centered/Extraneous to Anything/the Height of Narcissism.  And, probably for those reasons alone, Fun/a Blast.  All our lives - mine anyway - we work tirelessly to cover the rotten, misanthropic, socially awkward, dull, ill-considered, shallow, you name it parts of ourselves - commonly known as Our Shadow.  Now, along comes this vehicle where we have permission - or I've taken it - to reveal/express/come from that shadow place if I so desire.  Wonder of wonders: I can be my Shadow self in the Daylight.  Highly recommended/ two thumbs up.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Little Cat Nap --- 205

Walk: 3 R/T Mindful Body
Distance: 27 blocks and teach 2 classes and 1 private

Now I really am finished with that giant sub for the traveling to India teacher.  It feels like an accomplishment, and I'm proud of myself/body.  It was fun after its fashion, but I would not want to teach that often on a regular basis.  It's a lot and for me staying fresh feels like a challenge.  But, who knows, maybe I'll miss it and look for more classes/privates.  We'll see.  Meanwhile I'll rest on my laurels and enjoy a week with friends in Marin and another museum outing with docent friends.

Let the cats play while I'm away

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The King of Versailles --- Day 204

Walk: Very little.  To and from car and Embarcadero Theater garage (The Queen of Versailles)
Distance:  Maybe 6 blocks - but tomorrow I teach 4 times

Here's 'Versailles' in Orlando, Fla. - the 90,000 sq ft 'home' on 10 virgin acres a nouveau/then ruined/now-making-a-financial-comeback-of-some-sort billionaire couple are hoping to finish.  Besides the animals dead from neglect, the most chilling scene in a movie of many chilling scenes is an interview with the timeshare billionaire ceo when he talks about what he hopes to do if he can get his business up and running again.  Thinking of an earlier scene where he spoke with pride about the way he had added to the lives of so many people by bearing, marrying and employing them, I expected him to say he was looking forward to being able to offer his former employees their jobs back.  They are the human comparable to the dead and neglected animals.  But instead - with no mention of all who have suffered along with him and his companies - he begins recounting all the material accomplishments he will finally fulfill.  The project that haunts him the most and drives him to tireless rumination and fund-raising attempts is this house - this Versailles.  You realize - without condemnation because of how well this documentary is handled - that he has not one shred of compassion, empathy, concern for others, depth or ability to deepen.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry --- Day 203

Walk: Mindful Body, Sundance Kabuki (Ai Wei-Wei: Never Sorry), Union Square
Distance: 3 miles and teach yoga

The Artist with one of his 40 cats: Ai WeiWei and unnamed cat

The Filmmaker: Alison Klayman


The New Yorker Writer: Evan Osnos

The Artist's Point of View

The Movie:  Ai WeiWei  I say see it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cindy Sherman Does Closets --- Day 202

Walk: Union Square/SFMOMA (Cindy Sherman Retrospective)
Distance: 2 miles and yoga class

Cynthia "Cindy" Morris Sherman is an American photographer and film director, best known for her conceptual portraits. In 1995, she was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. Wikipedia
Born: January 19, 1954 (age 58), Glen Ridge
Awards: Hasselblad Award, MacArthur Fellowship

There's is something hard to reconcile between organizing your wardrobe/closets/look and going to a Cindy Sherman retrospective.  I have to say I think Cindy Sherman 'wins' in exposing artifice, the way our appearances reveal more about us than we are intending, the subtle omnipresence of horror/decay/ugliness in our society and other exposes.  However, in spite of all this, we must dress (in my opinion)/put on a look and our appearance works best when it is an expression of/in energy alignment with ourselves in the moment.  The caution is not to make too much of it, not to confuse appearance with reality.  Now take it from there......

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sacramento Ramos Fizz --- Day 201

Walk: Around Crocker Museum in Sacramento
Distance: @10 blocks 

The best and unexpected thing during my art trip to Sacramento was a one-man Mel Ramos show at the Crocker.  Not the American collection which was supposed to be so good.  More another time...

Mel Ramos


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Big Tomato* Hello --- Day 200 (!)

Walk: CPMC (for cosmetic skin ideas), Fillmore Street
Distance: 18 blocks

Let's see, I've been out here in San Francisco for 43 years on and off, and tomorrow for the first time I will go to actual downtown Sacramento.  I've driven by it several times on the way to Tahoe - hoping as I approached that I'd timed the traffic correctly and could just whisk right by on the freeway (I-80) that belts it.  And that has always been the case.  A few times I looked out the window and noticed a pretty river or some distinguished looking building.  (Probably the Capital Building as Sacramento is our capital city)  But mostly it was just 'Goodie, got through there in a hurry, on to Tahoe.' 

But tomorrow I leave our natural 'air conditioning' (read parka weather) and rediscover summer.  It was 91 degrees there yesterday, a a dry, Hot heat.  I'll go with friends from my docent training and we'll see a museum that apparently has one of the best collections of American art and furniture in the West and then a museum devoted to Indian baskets.  Probably we'll eat somewhere in the city (small 'c') and we can't help but see more than just the museums.

I'm looking forward to it.  An adventure - with no airplane in sight.  Also a fun, intelligent, learned group.  Stay tuned....

*One of Sacramento's nicknames - along with Camilla City, Almond Capital of the World and a few others.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yoga Teaching Music -- Day 199

Walk: JCC/Redhawk, Mindful Body
Distance: 2 miles, yoga therapy session, teach class

Maybe new music to teach to will help re-spark.  Listening to possibilities.  It's hard as there can suddenly be a fast or loud track in the middle of a tranquil rhythmic album, or the whole sound is just syrupy, synthetic enough to set my teeth on edge, etc.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Shavasana well earned --- Day 198

Walk:  2 R/T Mindful Body
Distance: 1.75 miles, teach 2 classes and 2 privates

Five weeks of subbing for a traveling teacher completed today with no injuries. Namaste to my body; I was apprehensive all the extra classes at unusual times might be too much.  A very worthwhile experience with lovely students...

PS - Now it's the next day and I've learned there was some sort of glitch so I'll be doing the 4 class/private Monday one more time next week.  Then, then, Shavasana..

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Stress, Please --- Day 197

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 8 blocks, take yoga workshop

Took a workshop today on stress - and ended up kind of stressed.  Maybe because doing something (what?) about yoga teaching is on my mind..

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summer Doldrum Soliloquy --- Day 196

Walk: R/T Kabuki Theater (Magic Mike)
Distance: 2 miles and teach yoga class

Maybe it is mid-summer doldrums, but today I wonder about whether to stop teaching.  Then there would be nothing... except the emerging 'next thing.'

It's not the income, although the whole way money works in the yoga teaching world is confounding, often depressing.  What you are there to impart is physical, yes, but also spiritual. Yoga philosophy/spirituality is an integral part of yoga practice.  So, I am part yoga 'guru' in the ancient Eastern sense along with being a movement-based class leader in the (increasingly athletic) Western sense. So, what I have to pass on is Huge, and extremely absorbing on and off the mat.  It is safe to say yoga is always on my mind.  Each class/student presents new questions about anatomy, personal life issues and schedules, dealing with injuries and illnesses, or why I do or do not include certain things in my classes.  For instance, many come for chanting or dietary advice or very technical understandings of very 'advanced' poses - and I do not concentrate on these things.  I/every good yoga teacher can only teacher with authenticity; they can only really pass on what they deeply know and resonate with.  That's part of the spirituality really.  I could chant I guess, but it would be hollow, just the shell of chanting, and the student would be cheated.  And so would I because I would essentially be pandering or, in the Western sense, co-dependent.

So there are myriad on-going, deep, imperfect decisions always to be made.  The task is infinite so, on a good day, you feel like you've tapped into and passed on that sense of the transcendent infinite - and on a bad day, you feel deeply inadequate because there is so much and you could only offer so little.  There are many, many bad days - even when students are really happy with the classes and come regularly, I carry deep sadness/emptiness that something always is missing.

What is missing too is real world connection.  Maybe in offices people have 'networks' of people, work 'families' and friends to do things with after work or to share work gossip and gripes with.  Not so for the yoga teacher.  For one (big) thing we work alone, maybe passing other teachers as we come and go from our studios or offices or private venues where we teach.  Even if we talk, it is surface talk as all our concerns and student-teacher relationships are personal, private and actually spiritual.  The student-teacher relationship is essentially sacred even in our contemporary Western culture.  And this adds to the lack of 'yoga family and friends' because it simply doesn't really work (or is very rare) for students and teachers to be friends.  What both student and teacher are there for is not friendship - something more vast is meant to go on.  As I say, sacred. 

But we're no longer living in a society where spiritual guides live separately in places like ashrams and are supported by society.  (I might add, a personal 'Yay' on that).  But then there is the 'new' business of yoga teachers/spiritual guides/sacred personages being people living at large and needing to support themselves like everyone else who works for a living.  And at present, the money is non-sensical.  Yoga teachers for the most part get paid around $4.50 a student, can't predict their income due to variable class size, must pay their own medical, liability insurance and taxes.  When they are sick or on vacation, it is on their own dime.  And they need to keep growing their own practices so face expenses for their own yoga classes, retreats, trainings. Teachers who have 'quit the day job' are under constant pressure to build classes, give workshops, promote, hustle, hustle, hustle. Without community.   Really, it's a (rewarding) mess with the benefits of constantly living at your edge, growing and helping people, but it's also physically challenging/depleting, depressing and isolating.

You can't imagine the attachments to your students and your teaching though.  There's a huge, deep Tug between you and virtually every one of them.  In some ways stopping teaching is literally unthinkable. Unthinkable. It's a smoo you can't wrap your brain/being around.

So, what to do?

Friday, July 20, 2012

No --- Day 195

Walk: Fillmore Street/Clay Theater (The Intouchables)
Distance: 1 mile

Thursday, July 19, 2012

An Old Passtime --- Day 194

Walk: R/T Mindful Body, Fillmore Street, etc.
Distance: 2 miles, take class, teach private

Just a quick blog tonight so I can spend time arranging flowers.  It always centers and relaxes me; such a timeless, meditative diversion.  You too?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Money or Else...? --- Day 193

Walk: Fillmore Street
Distance:  16 blocks

So I have a ticket to see Eddie Money at Yoshi's tonight.  Problem is I probably won't feel like hiking over there in an hour or so, around 8.  Evening concerts can be hard for a single (woman) to go to.  Takes an extra push to get and stay there.  And Eddie Money isn't a singer I know very well - or even at all.  There's an oldie called "Love a Rainy Day' which I like and think is by him.  But when I went to the list of his top sellers it wasn't there.  Maybe not by him. 

Too bad about missing the concert ; the elusive  love of my life will probably be sitting there right next to my empty chairs.....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

To Be Or Not.... Day 192

Walk: R/T JCC/Fillmore Street
Distance: 3 Miles and teach class

For some reason I was fiddling around with the difference between personal 'merger' and 'surrender' the other day. Both terms are huge, but these thoughts happen to come close to the way I was considering them at the time.

To me merge seems quite passive, a quiet blending of self (perhaps with something amorphous).

Surrender though is conscious, an act of will (in spite of one's desires, wishes, instincts), capitulation, an acknowlegement of smallness in relation to a 'master.'  It isn't necessarily humble, noble or good.  Just an "Okay, Uncle/I give.'

Monday, July 16, 2012

4 classes and out --- Day 191

Walk: 2 R/T Mindful Body
Distance: 16 blocks, teach 4 classes/privates

   My mind on four yoga classes.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ommmm... --- Day 190

Walk: Union Square
Distance:  8 blocks

Is this that restful, soulful, life-deepening country we see in the movies? (See blog entry Day 125)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

CIWT Knows Bags --- Day 189

Walk: Mindful Body, Downtown/Union Square
Distance:  3.5 Miles and teach yoga class

 Well, maybe I should take back yesterday's entry about knowing nothing about handbags.  I went to look at the handbag array downtown (on a Saturday - Wow.  Between the bags and the crowds, quite an undertaking).  But I digress:  When I went into Coach, they immediately complimented me on my bag.  'Sure,' I thought, just a salesperson's ploy.  But then I noticed they had a whole fall line in a similar burgundy patent as my bag. Same thing happened in Longchamps; the salesman actually had a long talk with me about my bag and how much he liked some of the features and hardware.  Okay, on to some other fancy store where again the clerk commented on my bag and how good it looked with my jacket.

So, here's the story on it: I got it at a thrift store about 4 years ago for something like $30. 

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Old Bags Never Learn --- Day 188

Walk: R/T MIndful Body, Fillmore Street
Distance: 2 miles, teach class

Now it's on to handbags, which - along with shoes - I still have not mastered.  Knowing that, at least I haven't spent $1000+ on one.  Price tags like that for handbags and shoes make me realize I live in a completely different universe from Imelda Marcus (and many other women apparently) types.

Decisions, decisions.....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Trader Joe's --- Day 187

Walk: R/T Mindful Body, small errands
Distance: 1.5 miles, take class, teach private

When Trader Joe's opened their store near me about 7 years ago, I'd go maybe once a month for basics like paper towels.  Each trip I began to get more of a hang and notice more and more of their incredible prices - starting with flowers.  Then juices, cereals, nuts, wines.  I also noticed how pleasant it was to shop there because of the employees - nice, efficient, friendly, helpful, really know the merchandise.  Now I go practically every day and think of it as my main grocery store.  (If I were a top notch cook I don't know how I'd relate to TJ's, but it is just the ticket for non-foodies like me).

Caution:  See what the man below is doing?  People see a line of cars waiting to get into the TJ's lot and try to outmaneuver it maybe without knowing they have parking attendants and the line moves really, really quickly.  (Trust me, no one dislikes lines more than I do).  The road they do this on is one of the busiest in San Francisco - with four lanes of people whizzing cross-town.  There are also several blind hills.  Unfortunately, no more than 100 yards from where this man is walking, a 25 year old aspiring architect was struck and killed by a driver who came over the rise and could not possibly have avoided her.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ahhh, my, our, their Lake House --- Day 186

Walk: Downtown, Fillmore Street
Distance: 4 Miles

They always look so idyllic, these old family houses, when you see pictures, drive by or even as settings in movies.  I just a got an email from a friend who opted out of his share of his family's lake house several years ago.  I take a bit of credit for encouraging him as I have seen many, many of these family owned houses become the source of bitter family disappointments, disagreements, and out and out feuds and lawsuits. 

The first generation after the parents die - the original brothers and sisters - might - make it through all the hassles largely because they share common memories and know the 'rules' of the house.  It helps immensely if they all live near the house and have equal access to it, agreement on furnishings (whether to keep the old, when/how to update), and enough money to easily pay their share of upkeep: taxes, winterizing, repairs, new roof, etc. (this is key).

But by the time their kids, the grandchildren, have grown all hope of easy enjoyment is usually lost.  The parents have aged and no longer enjoy tennis, waterskiing or even sitting in the sun.  They have dispersed and live away from the family home so getting to it is a chore.  Or several may have moved but one may have stayed close by, and that child's children may have spent an 'inordinate' amount of time at the family house.  They may have have trashed it even.  They may have brought friends on a regular basis, expect to have their weddings and important events there.  They don't know 'the rules.'  Then when the inevitable maintenance, tax and repair bills continue to come in - and indeed are often much, much steeper, the cousins who live hundreds of miles away and seldom or never make use of the house, are struggling with tuition and medical costs are increasingly resentful that they should pay as much as the (richer, closer, more destructive, you name it) relatives.  And the relatives who have easy and constant access feel cheated of their lovely way of life when the away family members don't or are angry about paying the percentage of ownership fees set up many years ago in the original parents' will.

If the house somehow continues to be held by the more and more extended family (replete with numerous marriages, the 'bad apples,' etc), watch out.  Hatfields and McCoys, here we come!

 The house & Lake


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ling Kong --- Day 185

Walk: R/T Fillmore Street via Mindful Body
Distance: 16 blocks, teach class

I think it's likely all the yoga teaching has captured the parts of my brain that thinks blog thoughts.  Again a ling day. 

The Chinese symbol below is Kong. 

Chinese Symbol For Empty

-Empty, hollow, void
-Sky, air; emptiness, void of the world of senses
-For nothing, in vain
-A surname
-Unoccupied, vacant, blank
-Leave empty or blank, vacate
-Empty space; free time

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ling --- Day 184

Walk: 2 R/T Mindful Body
Distance: 16 Blocks, teach 2 classes and 1 private

This is also a Chinese symbol for zero.  It's sound or name is 'ling,' and it nicely sums up today's blog thoughts after much Monday yoga.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Chinese Zip --- Day 183

Walk:  Nope
Distance: A little up and down around the house

Yay Roger (and too bad Andy). Good men.  Nice day of tennis watching, resting, reading around here.

This I understand is the Chinese symbol for cipher, cypher, naught, nil, nothing, nought, zero..

All Day Yoga --- Day 182

Walk: R/T Mindful Body, Fillmore/Sutter
Distance: 2 Miles and teach two classes

An instructor who teaches the class after mine on Saturday called in sick, and her students asked if I would teach the class they had come for. What good yoga teacher could say no? So, two classes. Then I decided to wander over to the Fillmore Jazz Festival and ran into a completely unusual addition: Jai Uttal, a Kirtan singer. And what a wonderful addition! Stayed, danced, enjoyed.

Getting started; gathering the people..

Picking up the rhythm...

Watch the girl in the red shirt...

She can really dance....

Jose Neto packing up....

Jai Uttal talking with a crowd member after the show...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Gentleman's Final --- Day 181

Walk: R/T Mindful Body, Fillmore Street
Distance: 2 miles and yoga class

And now Roger Federer too!  In the finals of 'his' tournament and just as graceful and light as the picture above.  The crowd pleaser par excellance and so well deserved: gentlemanly, clean, beautifully dressed, impeccable manners - but Most Important of course one of the most elegant tennis games ever: light, graceful, strategic, 'orderly,' polite, present and powerful as hell.  Almost seems to be (one of) the last of the old tennis breed.  And he will play a worthy and also sentimental favorite, the Englishman, Andy Muray, who finally made it to center court finals Wimbleton in his home country.  No matter how it goes, watching these finals should be a very special experience.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sweeter(?) Serena --- Day 180

Walk: R/T Mindful Body +
Distance: 1 mile, teach private, take class

Serena Williams advanced to the finals of Wimbledon with a victory over Victoria Azarenka on Thursday.

I love that Serena Williams is back - literally from almost dying. And into the Finals at 'her' tournament, Wimbledon. Good for her!  And her father notes she has been changed by the foot injury, operations, losses, inability to compete (or even to fly long distance).  According to him (Richard Williams): “I think she has,” he said. “I think Serena is not as mean as she once was. Serena used to be very, very mean.” Still not a sentimental favorite for sure...But that power is not to be denied.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independent I, Aye, Eye --- Day 179

Walk: 2 R/T Mindful Body
Distance: 16 blocks, teach one class, take a restorative one

Second to Thanksgiving, this is my favorite holiday.  Not so when I was young and it was about occupying myself along with other kids bored in the huge stretch after hot dogs while parents 'socialized' until it was dark (and mosquito-y) enough for fireworks to begin.  They didn't particularly warrant the wait, and then finally, home. 

But now as an adult I can choose to forgo hot dogs, any parties, fireworks (except those I can view from my windows).  I love/honor/believe in/value what the holiday is essentially about: Independence and Freedom.  And the United States.  And also what it is not about: fill in the blank.  I feel particularly free to do as I wish this day and meditate in my own way at my own pace on my appreciation/gratitude for the country I was lucky enough to be born, raised and live in.