Find the Funny Friday: Yoga & Hiking

It’s Find the Funny Friday–here we go:

A year ago, I went to Kripalu, for a yoga retreat.  It is one of my favorite places to go for a long weekend alone, to delve deep into my practice, and eat incredible food.  This time, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and so signed up for a Yoga & Hiking retreat as Kripalu is immersed in the beauty of the Berkshires.

I bought myself my first pair of hiking boots and pants.  I covered up and doused myself in DEET as my adventure preceded an incredibly wet and rainy November.  I headed out, ready to climb into bliss.

Now, I have say that I was fully conscious in my decision to head into the woods knowing that I get an incredibly bad reaction to mosquito bites. I was entirely covered up, but made the poor decision not to spray my face as I thought DEET on the rest of my body was bad enough.

I wish I could exaggerate the swarm of mosquitoes that followed me on the trail.  I wish I could exaggerate the amount of bug bites I got on my face, the only part exposed and unsprayed.  The thing about my reaction is that it, rarely, takes a bit to get into its full swelling.  But this time, I found myself enjoying the view, amidst the swarm, and then made my way back to my room, content and exhausted.

Kripalu’s dining room is cafeteria style, with long buffets and long tables set up.  Breakfast is silent, a way to add mindfulness into a meal.  I woke up and went to eat, with one eye swollen shut, my hairline puffed up (it’s quite a strange sight) and my cheekbones gone.  I had to silently ask those I knew as I sat down to eat, if they had Benadryl.  Not an easy charade word to perform! And what was even funnier, was their reactions as they tried to stay silent.

Needless to say, I spent the rest of the weekend inside, in zen safety, on my mat.

What’s your funny?

xoxo

Why I reread Tess of the D’Ubervilles, by Thomas Hardy, every 5 years

insidetheriver

Do you ever go back and reread your favorites books like you revisit your favorite restaurant or museum? Do you ever ask yourself why?

I reread Tess of the D’Ubervilles, by Thomas Hardy, every 5 years since I was twenty years old. He wrote the book in 1891 to mixed reviews because of its challenge to the Victorian ideals of his time.  In fact, after he finished his last novel, Jude The Obscure, to more criticism, he stopped writing novels altogether and kept to poetry.

His book is poetic and tragic and modern in his thinking.  His depth and compassion for a female character, in the context of his time period, is astonishing enough.  The censoring and revising and his need to add to the title  A Pure Woman is equally as fascinating and I recommend learning about the background of this book if that sort of thing interests you…

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I Quit

There once was a monastery that was very strict. Following a vow of silence, no one was allowed to speak at all. But there was one exception to this rule. Every ten years, the monks were permitted to speak just two words.

After spending his first ten years at the monastery, one monk went to the head monk. “It has been ten years,” said the head monk. “What are the two words you would like to speak?”

“Bed… hard…” said the monk.

“I see,” replied the head monk.

Ten years later, the monk returned to the head monk’s office. “It has been ten more years,” said the head monk. “What are the two words you would like to speak?”

“Food… stinks…” said the monk.

“I see,” replied the head monk.

Yet another ten years passed and the monk once again met with the head monk who asked, “What are your two words now, after these ten years?”

“I… quit!” said the monk.

“Well, I can see why,” replied the head monk. “All you ever do is complain.”

http://users.rider.edu/~suler/zenstory/zenframe.html

I love this zen story.  The monk could only speak two words every ten years and those two words were complaints.  He spent his time thinking thoughts that kept him stuck in that cycle of angst without movement or transcendence.  Thirty years dwelling on what was wrong without taking the turn to see what is…where the road opens up and eventually becomes road-less. It also took him thirty years and six words to finally say, “I quit!”  He stayed stuck, following the rules, until he decided to make a change.

How often do we do this?  How often do we stay stuck in complaints, almost delighting in our chance to point out what’s wrong with everything?  How often do we stay stuck for years before making a change, deciding on a choice that was always there?

I have said before that it took me twenty years to write, “Inside the River.” I complained about my lack of discipline, time, inspiration, talent.  I quit, deleted, ignored, complained. The monk realized after thirty years that he could make a choice to quit rather than complain and rather than transcend into the spiritual realm that his silence could offer. I, too, decided another way.  Each draft, restart, and new choice veered away from the complaining.  Each misstep, rewrite, and finishing touch was a step forward.  Each time I acted upon instead of complaining about was a spiritual awakening.  If I only had two words every ten years for those twenty years (regarding my book), my words would be similar to the complaining monk.

My first two words now would be, “Thank you.”

What would your two words be?

 

Find the Funny Fridays, in quotes

insidetheriver

Here we go, second Friday of “Find the Funny Fridays.” Sometimes we take life too seriously…and laughter seriously works.

When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second.  When you sit on a red hot cinder a second seems like an hour.  That’s relativity.–Albert Einstein

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.–Steve Martin

Out of all the lies I’ve told, “Just Kidding!” is my favorite. –unknown

People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.–Winnie the Pooh

I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed.– William Shakespeare

I’m sorry, if you were right, I’d agree with you. –Robin Williams

Always borrow money from a pessimist.  He won’t expect it back. –Oscar Wilde

Beauty isn’t worth thinking about; what’s important is your mind. You don’t want a fifty-dollar haircut on a fifty-cent head.
— Garrison Keillor

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Find the Funny Fridays, in quotes

Here we go, second Friday of “Find the Funny Fridays.” Sometimes we take life too seriously…and laughter seriously works.

When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second.  When you sit on a red hot cinder a second seems like an hour.  That’s relativity.–Albert Einstein

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.–Steve Martin

Out of all the lies I’ve told, “Just Kidding!” is my favorite. –unknown

People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.–Winnie the Pooh

I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed.– William Shakespeare

I’m sorry, if you were right, I’d agree with you. –Robin Williams

Always borrow money from a pessimist.  He won’t expect it back. –Oscar Wilde

Beauty isn’t worth thinking about; what’s important is your mind. You don’t want a fifty-dollar haircut on a fifty-cent head.
— Garrison Keillor

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
— Mark Twain

Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.
— Erma Bombeck

And finally…Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.
George Carlin

xoxo

 

 

Don’t Borrow Trouble

My yoga teacher (thanks Meg) said this phrase to me after I imagined the worst case scenario (which never did happen).

It’s now my mantra for everything:

My son driving home from college in the rain…don’t borrow trouble.

My book has gotten rejections and one interest (still waiting back)…don’t borrow trouble.

I’m getting on a plane soon and I’m not a great flyer…don’t borrow trouble.

Did I leave the oven on…don’t borrow trouble.

You get the point.  It’s a quick statement to reset your brain, to clear it out of thoughts based in fear about things that may never happen.  We all do it, this habit of borrowing trouble, as if anticipating it can make it somehow lessen or go away.  It’s a way to disengage from our present moment, a way to keep the illusion of control about the future. It’s a way to stay stuck, with the pay-off being “see, I was right.”

We have no control…the only thing we can control is our reaction.  The only way to control our reaction is to stay present: what do I see, what do I hear, what do I feel, deep breath.

I wrote, “Inside the River,” because I had a story to tell.  Now I want that story to be heard.  I am trying to find an agent who believes in the magic of Magical Realism.  It’s a small niche in the United States…don’t borrow trouble!

 

xoxo

Going inside, “Inside the River”

insidetheriver

  • The earth is like a terrarium in that it rarely loses or gains matter.  This means the same water that existed on the earth millions of years ago is still on earth today.
  • There are more than 2100 known drinking water contaminants that may be present in tap water, including several known poisons.
  • Water molecules are very attracted to each other and stick together,  giving water a high surface tension.
  • Water is the only natural substance that exists in all three states of matter–liquid, solid, gas.  What’s amazing is that when water freezes and becomes solid, it expands, but then becomes lighter and so floats on the water.

I’ve always been attracted to the magic of water, as if it were people wanting their stories to be heard.  The interesting facts about water permeate my book and support Ana and Emma.  If the same water exists from long ago, perhaps…

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