It is when we are confronted with poignant reminders of mortality that we become most aware of the strangeness and wonder of our brief life on Earth.
~ Kathleen Basford
If this time is our only time, and it is, then surely we do owe it to ourselves, and to each other, to pay attention, to look deeply, to listen closely, and to respond to all of it, somehow, with love and gratitude.
~ Katrina Kenison
There is always a sunrise and always a sunset. And it’s up to you to choose to be there for it. Put yourself in the way of beauty.
~ Cheryl Strayed, advice from her dying mother as recalled in her memoir “Wild”
“Put yourself in the way of beauty.” Isn’t that wonderful? How often do we consciously do so? A month or so ago, when we were seeing and experiencing mostly rain and mud and chilly temperatures, it might not seem like it would be easy to put myself in the way of beauty. But it’s there. Always there. All I have to do is put myself in the way of it.
I continue to practice my Lenten idea of paying attention to transitions and the liminal, of easing into them as gracefully as I can. (If you missed what it is I’m up to, it’s in my last Monday meander post, here.) One thing I’ve noticed is that by slowing down, time has expanded. I already knew about this experience, but it’s not something I think about very often when I’m moving throughout my day. Having to pay attention as I move from sitting to standing, from room to room, from indoors to outdoors, or from morning to afternoon, has reminded me that there is plenty of time in a day if I am present in the moment. Also, I begin to see how circular time can be. There is a rhythm to the day, most noticeable when I’m in the present rather than reliving the past or musing about the future.
The stretching of time might account for my absence from blogging for the past couple of weeks. I’ve been out on walks around here and at the beach, taking plenty of photos, and there is no dearth of things to share. I don’t know why I haven’t. Perhaps a break was in order, for whatever reason or reasons.
As you might have noticed, I love words. Words are, of course, labels and a vocal way to help us name or call things/people or to convey some sort of information. Lately I’ve been thinking about what I call my morning practice, my belief system, and what I call myself.
I received a certificate for completing my yoga teacher training sometime last year. I could teach. If I wanted to. I have taught, briefly. I found I really didn’t want to.
I could call myself a yoga teacher and/or a yogi. I don’t think I want to, mostly because I’m not sure that what I believe and practice IS yoga. Given all I’ve learned during my teacher training about cultural appropriation, I think that what I believe and practice, if I taught it, might border on appropriation. Maybe not appropriation exactly, but perhaps a dishonoring of the tradition. For instance, I have learned very little Sanskrit. Sure, I’ve picked up a bunch of words here and there. Does it matter? It might. Some think it does. Worse yet, I mangle the pronunciations. In all fairness to myself, I mangle the pronunciations of English words, and English is my first (and pretty much only) language. Languages are not my forte. I write words just fine. Speaking them is a whole other story.
For some, names are very important. There is much talk about how mispronouncing someone’s name, without bothering to ask them how to pronounce it, is a form of dishonoring them. I can understand that. If I am unsure how to pronounce someone’s name, I will ask. Always. Because yes, that feels respectful, the right thing to do. Respect, I think, is the point. Disrespect, too, is often the point for some who go around mispronouncing names (or giving them ridiculous nicknames).
I grew up with a last name that none of my teachers in school pronounced correctly. I was instructed by my parents to correct people when they mispronounced it (and to ignore them if they continued to mispronounce it). So, I did because that is what my parents wanted me to do. Otherwise, I honestly did not care. I still don’t. To make it more interesting, as an adult I met people in the Midwest with that same last name (my maiden name), and they pronounce it in a way I was taught was incorrect.
Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto, right? Maybe.
All of which leads me back to what I practice and what I call myself. I don’t think I’ll call myself anything at all. I’m not particularly fond of labels and while I recognize their usefulness, there are times when maybe it’s better to be without words or labels. I really don’t need to call myself anything at this point. If I should decide I wish to teach something at some point in the future, that will be a different story. As for my personal practice, it feels like yoga, looks like yoga, and I think it may very well be yoga.
In other news… Like many others, I’m awaiting my turn for the shot in the arm that might give me a bit of freedom. M, being older than I am, qualified on a couple of levels (age and job) and has gotten his first jab of the vaccine. He’ll be getting the second one soon. I have no idea when I might be able to get mine since I am in the last group. I also don’t know which vaccine I will end up with. I will take what I can get.
In the meantime, we are going ahead with plans to go to Ohio for an extended stay during the spring months. We’ll all isolate as we did last summer, and stay within our bubbles. Hopefully that will be enough to keep everyone safe. We’re at the point now where we don’t want to push our luck so there might be mask wearing involved if there are reasons there should be. Certainly we all wear them when we’re out and about. What I mean is that I might double up with a mask for the first week or so. It depends on what the kids have been up to (and by kids I mean the adults as well as the grandchildren).
Although we’re still having some chilly weather with occasional morning frost, spring is doing its thing. There are buds on the trees, the crocuses have pretty much finished for the season, and the daffodils are on the cusp of opening. I’m enjoying the somewhat cooler than usual spring, knowing that once it begins to warm up we will likely head straight into summer weather.
I reckon that’s enough from me for now. Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting with me today. I was wondering… there was talk last year about someone hosting a spring group walk, similar to Walktober but in the springtime. Has anyone decided to do it? Maybe someone out there is thinking about it? If so, I’d love to join you.
I’d invite you out to the Point for the sunset this evening, but we’re socked in with clouds and there won’t be much to see. Still, we could go for a walk by the water and see what the wind and waves have been doing. Thanks to the time shift (which I have to admit I don’t like because it’s difficult to adjust to and wouldn’t it be nice if they did away with this sort of thing??), sunset is now at 7:11 PM. Ooops. I won’t be able to join you. Gita class is tonight at 7:00 PM. Oh well. Please go on without me or watch it at your place and let me know how it goes.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind. ♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,736) Signs of spring, including the smell of manure in the air from the farmers fertilizing their fields. Stinky, yes, but a sure sign that spring is on the way. 1,737) Getting our own gardens ready for planting. We have great plans for vegetables and flowers this year. 1,738) Cleaning up the asparagus bed in anticipation of the first spears making their appearance. 1,739) Personal practices and discoveries. 1,740) Friends, family, and love in all its forms.