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i prefer eastern laziness

There are different species of laziness: Eastern and Western. The Eastern style is like the one practised in India. It consists of hanging out all day in the sun, doing nothing, avoiding any kind of work or useful activity, drinking cups of tea, listening to Hindi film music blaring on the radio, and gossiping with friends. Western laziness is quite different. It consists of cramming our lives with compulsive activity, so there is no time at all to confront the real issues. This form of laziness lies in our failure to choose worthwhile applications for our energy.” – Sogyal Rinpiche

100 hats

I signed up for the October Mondo Beyondo course, and it feels like I’m already jump-starting my life. Sometimes all it takes is one small step to get me excited and engaged again.

Here’s one of the items from my list (not everything on it is “visit Australia” or “stay on a houseboat”): knit 100 hats. One of my classmates pointed out that I could start that one right away, and she was right, because I actually have a hat on the needles as we speak.

So I registered a domain name: For now, it’s a blank page, but I think Hat #1 will be up there by the end of the week.

coincidence or no?

The Daily Om for today, Moon’s 18th birthday:

Permanently Parents: The Changing Nest

Once individuals become parents, they are parents forevermore. Their identities change perceptively the moment Mother Nature inaugurates them mom or dad. Yet the role they undertake when they welcome children into their lives is not a fixed one. As children move from one phase of their lives to the next, parental roles change. When these transitions involve a child gaining independence, many parents experience an empty nest feeling. Instead of feeling proud that their children have achieved so much—whether the flight from the nest refers to the first day of kindergarten or the start of college—parents feel they are losing a part of themselves. However, when approached thoughtfully, this new stage of parental life can be an exciting time in which mothers and fathers rediscover themselves and relate to their children in a new way.

As children earn greater levels of independence, their parents often gain unanticipated freedom. Used to being depended upon by and subject to the demands of their children, parents sometimes forget that they are not only mom or dad but also individuals. As the nest empties, parents can alleviate the anxiety and sadness they feel by rediscovering themselves and honoring the immense strides their children have made in life. The simplest way to honor a child undergoing a transition is to allow that child to make decisions and mistakes appropriate to their level of maturity. Freed from the role of disciplinarian, parents of college-age children can befriend their offspring and undertake an advisory position. Those with younger children beginning school or teenagers taking a first job can plan a special day in which they express their pride and explain that they will always be there to offer love and support.

An empty nest can touch other members of the family unit as well. Young people may feel isolated or abandoned when their siblings leave the nest. As this is normal, extra attention can help them feel more secure in their newly less populated home. Spouses with more leisure time on their hands may need to relearn how to be best friends and lovers. Other family members will likely grieve less when they understand the significance of the child’s new phase of life. The more parents both celebrate and honor their children’s life transitions, the less apprehension the children will feel. Parents who embrace their changing nest while still cherishing their offspring can look forward to developing deeper, more mature relationships with them in the future.

the mind likes to window shop

From Tami Kieves today:

As a coach, I’m in the business of helping people get answers to their most pressing decisions in life. Now, it’s not uncommon for a client to come or call and say, “I like gardening, playing the cymbals, hiking in the backcountry, helping people, and learning about color theory, healing energy techniques, and Russian Poetry. So how do I put that all together?” Then they pause and wait for their magic answer. They will be pausing a long time, I assure you.

I will tell you what I tell them. You don’t have a thousand different directions. The mind has a thousand directions. But your heart has only one or two. You don’t even have a decision to make. It’s already been made and encrypted within you, like the rhythm of your toes soft padding on the floorboards and the delicate, determined map of your fingerprint. It’s just there, strange as the moon, yet familiar as your breath.

Remember, the mind likes to window shop. It fancies the life in this boutique, then wants to try on the boots in another. But the soul invests all of itself. It’s not as casual or as distracted by fashion, sales, promises or ease of acquisition. It’s not interested in possibility. It pitches toward destiny. That’s why you will never know a sense of ease, even when you come up with answers, unless you choose to listen to the answer that will take away all questions.

This is great stuff. If you want to read more, go here.

i love these

Life LessonsPosted on Caroline’s fridge. Whoever Caroline (and Jack) are, you know they have to be awesome.

one more sleep till christmas

Here are some Christmas-y things I’ve done this season:

    My craft table
  • Sold a bunch of my knitted stuff at a holiday craft fair
  • Baked cutout cookies with Moon. (Photos are still in my camera.)
  • Ate said cookies.
  • Went shopping on Dec. 23, which turned out to be quicker and easier than any of my previous excursions.
  • Put up our pre-lit, artificial tree.
  • Smiled about all the snow.
  • Sang winter carols at church. Played “Carol of the Bells” on chimes. (My notes were F5, F#5, D6 and E-flat6.)
  • Drank eggnog, eggnog lattes and eggnog chai lattes.
  • Made a wish list.
  • Bought a present for the giving tree at church.
  • Wrote a Christmas newsletter. Stood in line at the post office to buy nutcracker-themed stamps. Mailed cards on time.
  • Felt thankful, contented and happy. (And at turns, frantic, disorganized and unprepared.)

I didn’t:

  • Put antlers on the dog.
  • Decorate the Christmas tree. It isn’t even wearing a skirt.
  • Hang any outdoor lights.
  • Get out the stockings. (Got to find them tonight, I guess.)
  • Get depressed or anxious. (Thanks, modern pharmaceuticals!)

Hope your holidays are awesome.

why i blew it

Okay, I posted every day through the 17th (which really is some kind of record for me), and then I fell off. What happened?

At the beginning of the month, I was going through some serious sh**, due to an ill-thought-out decision to go off my anxiety medication six weeks earlier. (I had made some cool lifestyle changes, so that ought to be enough, right? Guess not.) Posting to my blog every day in November had a special appeal to me this year, because it was one more way I could try to hang on to what sanity I had left. Frankly, most things made me think about death, and writing about it (well, parts of it) was a welcome distraction. I could kind of remove myself and be an observer of what was going down in my brain.

Yes, riding in the car made me think about (accidental, violent) death. Happy old people made me think of my own inevitable decline and demise. Cute little kids made me think about how they would grow up too fast, get old and die. I had a constant sense of anxiety — fight or flight! — that made everything a source of panic.

At one point, before deciding to call the shrink, I told Pete, “I feel like I’m already dead.”

This is my brain, not on drugs!

So, the first six days of the month were me trying not to lose it. The second six were me getting my mojo back. And the rest of the month, well, I’m busy living. Most of it is fairly mundane stuff. The internet does not want to know what I had for breakfast, right?

That’s my excuse for my NaBloPoMo failure. I won’t call it an epic fail, because in so many ways it’s a resounding success.

day two

I knew before I got to church that it would take all my might to hold my sh** together during the service. Which was interesting, because I was worship assistant today. I stood in front and read announcements, got the service started and introduced songs. I almost burst into tears for no reason four times. The service was longer than usual, too. My final duty was standing by the door afterwards and hugging people as they left.

I was pretty proud of myself for getting through the whole thing. Of course, I lost it in the car on the way home. SpiritMan is a patient guy. I’m glad he understands that there’s no big underlying drama or reason when I occasionally turn into a big wad of feelings.

In other news, the kids and I went to meet Kiko, who is quite charming and delightful. That was easily the highlight of the weekend. :)

My goal for November is to get back to normal. It’ll be interesting to see how my posts change as that happens. (Fingers crossed. Toes, too.)

help them win

Take care of everyone you meet.
Give your smile to those without,
because on any given day
somebody, somewhere
is losing their personal battle.
Help them win.
Ashley S. via The Ripples Project

When I was four years old, my mother used to bring me a cookie every time she came home from the market. I always went to the front yard and took my time eating it, sometimes half an hour or forty-five minutes for one cookie. I would take a small bite and look up at the sky. Then I would touch the dog with my feet and take another small bite. I just enjoyed being there, with the sky, the earth, the bamboo thickets, the cat, the dog, the flowers. I was able to do that because I did not have much to worry about. I did not think of the future, I did not regret the past. I was entirely in the present moment, with my cookie, the dog, the bamboo thickets, the cat, and everything. It is possible to eat our meals as slowly and joyfully as I ate the cookie of my childhood. Maybe you have the impression that you have lost the cookie of your childhood, but I am sure it is still there, somewhere in your heart. Everything is still there, and if you really want it, you can find it. Eating mindfully is a most important practice of meditation.
—Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step (from Daily Tricycle)

sticky hot

Today was the hottest, most humid day I can remember in a long time. I was So. Crabby. I wasn’t happy with any of my clothes, and my body felt huge to me.

Kirtan made it all better, naturally. The room at Jewel of the Lotus wasn’t any cooler than the outdoors, but I quickly forgot about my discomfort when the chanting began. My bad mood disappeared. Magical!

Moon went mini-golfing with a group of friends in the afternoon. She was outside for about 3 hours during the hottest part of the day. I think she was a tiny bit crabby as well, but after she changed clothes and complained a little, she headed to the movie theater with some different friends. (They saw “Hellboy 2.” Good flick, they said.) At least movies are in air-conditioned comfort.

Me, I’ll take kirtan.

happy easter

We went to the in-laws’ today and saw the extended family and all the kiddos. Celebrated some birthdays, too. Now we’re all in front of the TV, watching a DVD about sacred geometry, black holes, aliens, etc.

We kind of believe a little bit of everything, I guess. Keeps things interesting.

spring fever

I feel like I’m getting ready to hatch or something. It’s just been such a long winter, and the past few weeks have been exhausting. Guess what, though? We’re supposed to get snow on the 20th.

We’re settling into a kirtan routine, with Pete playing percussion for MaaShakti Das at a small gathering periodic Fridays. MaaShakti always makes some sort of observation or comment that sticks with me afterwards. Last Friday, it was when he pointed out the deities he’d brought for the altar that evening. The large statue was Ganesha. He reminded us that Ganesha can remove all obstacles.

So when I was out shopping on Saturday, I picked up a small Ganesha. Because I could use a reminder that I have help in that area. I noticed that the word is “remove,” not “overcome.” Somehow that was powerful for me.

early solstice

Yesterday our family participated in a Cosmic Celebration (like a Techno Cosmic Mass but without the Christianity) of the winter solstice. It was a small group but a lot of fun. The kids ran sound, and Pete led music. The best part was the dancing. I couldn’t believe how much the kids were getting into it.

Before that, we had a family portrait done for our church directory. It’s been ages since we’ve had a portrait done, and I had forgotten how funny and unnatural the whole process feels. But the pictures turned out well enough that we bought a set. The photographer was tearing down his set during our Cosmic Celebration, and he said he thought we were awesome.

kirtan rocks

Awesomely, we helped start up a regular kirtan at our church. The leader is a gentle young guy with many tattoos and a calm baritone voice. We just returned home a half hour ago. The vibe is so peaceful. I think it’ll last me a while.

Kirtan is the spiritual practice that most resonates with me. How interesting is that?


I’m totally loving this article and the thought behind it. I already have some shrine ideas. Very sweet, just like life itself.

kirtan practice

This evening, SpiritMan, Moon and I went to meet a man who owns a harmonium and knows how to do kirtan. Ever since our introduction to Ragani and her music, we’ve wanted to start up a kirtan near home. We’re not the only ones.

I kind of thought we’d be practicing – you know, learning the music. But there is no practice in kirtan. You’re just doing it. The harmonium player, M., obviously knows what he’s doing. Kirtan is part of his individual routine. It’s his meditation. I’m excited that we got to meet him.

Other than that, it’s been a quiet day. We all fell asleep this afternoon, wasting the beautiful weather – but it was relaxing. I’m feeling rather peaceful at this moment.

voluntary simplicity

Tonight, SpiritMan and I are going to a kickoff session for the Voluntary Simplicity study program at our church. We’ve joined a discussion group, which ought to be fun. Our Medicine Wheel study group last year was an interesting way to get to know other people and explore our beliefs.

This topic is a little different for me, though, because we were all over the simplicity movement around 7 years ago. I had picked up this book out of curiosity, and it was truly eye-opening. SpiritMan read it when we were on vacation and began his spiritual studies in earnest after that.

The thing is, I’ve fallen off the wagon in so many ways. We used to be debt-free, and that’s not the case anymore. My year of self-employment set us back quite a bit. Besides that, I am not the purist I was at the beginning. There’s more clutter in my life, and some of it I want to keep. I never would have guessed I could ever become so attached to TV shows. I’m eating meat again. It’s okay; I think I have more balance now.

But there’s plenty of room to grow, and I think I’ll learn a lot in the coming weeks.

Blogged with Flock

i’m breathing

Turbo and I went to see a medical intuitive a little over a week ago. She had done a remote body scan on each of us, and we went to her lovely country home to go over the results in person and experience some chakra healing.

And it was rather amazing. I wasn’t sure what Turbo would think of the whole thing, but he was very open to it all. It helped that her observations were absolutely right on. She identified conditions that we already were aware of. During the healing session, Turbo fell sound asleep. Snoring and everything.

I think I got even more out of the visit. It wasn’t like she “saw” anything alarming – in fact, some of the insights she received had seemed almost not worth mentioning. But I’m glad she doesn’t edit herself, because there were things I needed to hear.

The main one being that I need to breathe. That statement set off all kinds of recognition ‘hits’ in me. I instantly remembered my massage therapist friend pointing out to me a few weeks ago that I hardly breathed. She was helping me with a stiff neck, and apparently I kept holding my breath. She told me I needed to remind myself that I deserved to take in the atmosphere. I deserve life.

So… deep breaths for me, consciously, daily. Oxygen is my friend.

Blogged with Flock


good news, bad news

Of course, the good news is that Rummy is down and so is the chokehold the Republican party has had on our guv’ment. I was able to safely vote Green without it risking the wrong people getting elected.

But the people of Wisconsin have spoken, and apparently they’d like to have the death penalty back in our state, and they want to write discrimination into our constitution. Ugh. It’s especially sad because there’s already a law defining marriage. The new amendment would go further, and rule any marriage-equivalents (i.e. civil unions) invalid.

My opinion? The state should only be doing civil unions in the first place, whether for hetero or same-sex couples. They shouldn’t call the piece of paper a marriage license — it would be a writ of civil union. Marriage would have no legal status, and be considered as a ceremony similar to baptism or a Bar Mitzvah. That way, churches could marry whomever they want and stick to their religious principles without getting in the way of anyone’s rights.

But besides all that, “gay marriage” is inevitable. There is simply too much attention given to the concept (even though it’s fear-based and negative) for it not to be manifested someday. So there.

And that’s all I’ll say about the election. Now, back to our regularly scheduled knitting and parenting content.

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