Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Teaching Yoga

I taught yoga last week at a meditation retreat with my meditation teacher, Sally Kempton. When Sally asked me to assist her by teaching yoga, I was absolutely elated and honored and immediately sent back a simple and direct email: “YES!” It was only after I hit “send” that I began to worry. What was I thinking? Was I really qualified and prepared to teach alongside my teacher? The insecurity started to get even worse when the only plane tickets that could get me from rural Idaho to sassy Big Sur cost close to $1000 - was this really meant to be?

Well, I forked out the cash, made all my connections, arrived at Esalen, and had a very direct conversation with myself. “Karen,” I said, “You are not the world’s greatest yoga teacher.” There was a long pause. “Also, Karen,” I continued, “You do not have the world’s best “let it slide” attitude, especially in the midst of a week of meditation and transformation.” I paused to allow these strikes against me to sink in. Just as my critical inner being was ready to continue, that other part of me that I greatly appreciate and always want by my side perked up. “The theme for this week is “Like Water Off a Duck’s Back.” Some utterly hilarious and creative people in middle school used to call me LaDuck so now was the time to live up to the name.

On the first night, I did not sleep. I had the anxiety-filled kind of night I have before running a big race or a long trail run. Just sitting in my bed, feeling tired and knowing that I was absolutely not going to fall asleep, thereby provided with numerous, uninterrupted hours in which to replay every step of every yoga class good, bad, and otherwise that I have ever taught, attended or heard about. The first day of teaching yoga went extremely well and, with the help of my new ultra soft pajamas my friend Sarah bought for me as a “Sursee” (surprise gift or love gift, in case you didn’t know), I slept like a dead rock. I mistakenly thought to myself that the first day would be indicative of the entire week. Not so.

On the second day, I mixed up left and right while giving instructions, which resulted in about 20 seconds of chaos. 20 seconds of chaos is a Really Long Time, by the way, when you are the one supposed to be teaching and your beloved teacher is amongst the folks spread out on yoga mats trying to figure out if they should really be trying to get that hand to that leg or if the other, much easier option is what the crazy teacher is talking about. The next day, I tried to eat dinner alone and my teacher sat down right next to me. I didn't have the wherewithal to explain to her how low blood sugar and fatigue make it hard for me to make sentences, make sense, and initiate conversation. I said something very dull and lame. Then I went to bed. It didn't end there, the next day, a cute, bubbly little 20-something-year-old girl came up and told me that she is a yoga teacher who teaches 6 classes a week in North Carolina and that she would be happy to “screen” my yoga classes for the following days since the previous days had been just, well, um, like simple.

It is amazing what happens when one becomes so full of information, effort, fatigue, and desire to do a great job in the face of her own beloved teacher. Falling apart was just not an option. Holding it together and letting all seemingly negative responses and mistakes slide away became my way. The day I fully decided to do that, one woman randomly walked up to me and said in that slow and highly articulated way only someone 4 days into a meditation retreat can say, “I appreciate you.” My massage therapist held my hand after she worked on me and had tears in her glitter-encrusted eyes as she thanked me for the opportunity to be in my presence. My roommate professed her undying love to me loudly on the deck of the cafeteria. Two longtime meditators offered a friendly, “Thank you, yoga finally felt accessible!”  And, not once did a creepy naked guy hit on me or stare too long at me in the clothing optional hot springs. Boo-yah!

On the last day of the retreat, our teacher did what all good teachers do; she reviewed the week. As she spoke of the things we did, I remembered them all, but the linear form of time was not accessible. All things felt to have happened simultaneously within a big golden bubble of clarity. Even sleep and wake, night and day, bathing and walking did not have clear beginning and ending points. The snafus that I did not put any energy into were so distant that they were laughable and insignificant. Sure, some people did not love my teaching. But you know what? My teacher did. And she invited me to do it again despite my droll dinnertime conversational abilities and my need to play a Jerry song each morning before teaching yoga. 

Looking back at my week, my biggest lesson learned was to Let Go. This is not something that comes easily for me, but something that yielded great returns in the end. Try it and see how letting go of small stuff makes the big stuff that much sweeter!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


An earwig landed on my baking stone today while I was making cookies. I was making the cookies for my friends up at Targhee who have been working their tails off all weekend to make the Bluegrass Festival unforgettable. Great job, guys! I have no idea where the earwig came from - maybe the spatula? Maybe the pot holder? Maybe my hair! But seeing him writhe around on a burning hot baking stone immediately triggered my empathic self which eventually led me to one of my favorite Buddhist sayings of all times, “May we know the equality of all that lives.”

All the creation stories I’ve heard vary greatly in their details and are absolutely consistent in their source: all things were created out of pure love. The world as we know it (and Lord knows it’s different through each and every one of our eyes) was created from Love. What we choose to do with ourselves and the things we perceive after our initial separation from that Great Love is largely up to us; and the one and only thing that Love actually wants us to do, actually craves and pines and breathlessly waits for us to do, is to see ourselves as we truly are: Gorgeous, Full, and Perfect expressions of Love.

This is why I love Jerry García so much. This is also why I cry at the Olympics, the Bob Marley movie, and when I see people smash ants and spiders. It’s also why I’ll chase a runaway coffee bean around my kitchen floor, rinse it off, dry it, and then turn it into a delicious cup of Joe - because inherent in that coffee bean is a delicious treat that makes some of us remember and recognize Love on the physical level. Each and every thing out there has a purpose and I would like to do whatever I can to facilitate its highest, fullest, most scintillating expression. And so it is with coffee. 

With Jerry García, it’s the same thing. I never met Jerry or saw him on the Earth. I do know that he experienced real connection and re-connection to his source through music and psychadellics until the two became quite intermeshed. The point I offer is not that everyone should necessarily love The Grateful Dead or have pure love experiences while listening to Jerry play or experiment with psychadellics, but rather to recognize the effect of one person’s ability to connect to love on the greater whole. It’s not just “the music” (because we all know it just ain’t the same when Bobby sings a Jerry song), it’s the beam of connection. Pure love coming through Jerry into the world and touching me.

And then the projection happens. That hit of connectedness, whether our own or a vicarious experience through someone else’s music, art, or dance; whether through nature or drugs or physical effort; that hit gets us hooked. So often the framework for how and why and where the connection came from is distorted so that an addiction is born! When I ponder why so many folks experience so much mental torture and the various ramifications thereof, what I discern is this: All any of us truly want is connection. We want to love and be loved. Touching the source either through the creation of beauty or the experience of someone else’s created beauty gives us that sense of complete fullness - the lack we felt in our everyday grind disappears and we feel Real.

And then, when the song is over or the vacation done, we walk back into our dusty and dirty daily lives and there the chasm between us and that ultimate connection reappears. Addiction comes in trying, trying, and wanting to get back to that place of Real-ness. Sometimes we’ll visit the same spot in nature. We’ll listen to the song over and over and over again. We'll take drugs, eat too much sugar, oversleep, try to control our diet, yell, numb our minds with hours of TV. We’ll shirk our human duties to ski powder, surf waves, climb rock and mountains, or run for hours and miles, not sure if we’re trying to make one thing go away or begging the other to come back. It gets very confusing and tailspinning. 

And this is the self-inquiry I would like to suggest: When did you feel most truly connected? Where did you feel it in your body? What ways do you try to recreate that feeling? Can you recreate that feeling in this moment? When you do, dissolve the person, place, or thing associated with it and just feel the feeling in your body. Close your eyes if you want and breathe into the places in your body that most fully feel it. 

People ask me all the time to teach them to meditate simply. Well, this is it. Re-experience any kind of love you've ever felt, dissolve the grippy mental attachments to who or what or where seemingly inspired it, and just feel the love. Close your eyes and softly breathe into it and, like a breeze on a small spark, it will glow and grow. 

If you've never experienced true love or connectedness, then close your eyes right now. Invisibly hovering over top your head is a portal that looks like a beautiful flower. The center of the flower is an opening where all the grace, beauty, and unconditional love you could ever imagine constantly flows. Imagine the limitless quality of love bubbling up out of the flower center and flowing over all its petals, gathering the extra sweetness that lies on a flower petal, then raining gently down all over you from its place above your head. It's a shower full of love always waiting for you. Some also call if Life Prana. Soak it up and know that it available at all times. 

And then, so that we truly can recognize the equality of all that lives, flow that Life Prana to all. Flow it to the cats catching birds and the birds that are caught, to the earwigs on your counters, the bossy lady at the grocery store, the screaming kid on the bus, the guy kicking his dog and the sweet, sweet dog, the hippies dancing, the rainbows shining, the bill in the mailbox, the thistle growing upward toward the sun. We are all yearning, looking, and waiting for that one thing that will change our world. That one thing, my friends, is Love. It’s looking for you.

“Nothing left to do but smile, smile smile.”

a P.S. about the earwig - I took him outside and put him in some cool dirt with a small piece of grass. I gave him a blessing and stood quietly for a moment. I bowed to him as I left. I don't know if he is alive or not. I used to think those kinds of actions were insane (saving single coffee beans and blessing earwigs) until I had the courage to do the things that spontaneously came out of my heart. Most of the time, no one knows what I'm doing or that I did it anyway (unless, of course, I post it on an internet blog). And that is a great way to start. Do the things your true heart asks of you in secret if you must at first. Do it even just in your imagination if the actual actions are too scary at first. When your confidence in the truth that your heart holds grows, you will be able to shout at the top of your lungs that you bless earwigs. Or not. Either way, follow your heart.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Go To Your Class Reunion

Everyone should go to their class reunions. And everyone should get a nametag so you know who is who at your class reunion. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking past someone who wants to be noticed. The looking past, in my case anyway, would be a combination of bad eyesight, an even worse memory, and a general sense of discomfort of being with people I haven't seen in a long, long time.

My 20-year class reunion was last weekend. Most everyone I saw and recognized (thank you, Facebook) was sweet, friendly, receptive, and sometimes even overjoyed. My friend Andi picked me up off the ground twice - what a way to feel loved! 

One guy I saw many times, made eye contact most of those times, and - nothing. This is not someone with whom I was close, it was actually someone that stirred the fear of teenage insecurities inside of me on a regular basis in high school. I was very unimpressed to feel those same emotions as the strong, confident, secure, and happy almost-40-year-old I perceive myself to be. 

About the 10th time I came into range with this guy, I just walked up to him and said, “That is an awesome shirt!” The distant, cool look instantly left his eye, he put his arm around me, side hugged me, and kissed me on the head. We had a short and meaningless conversation because we still do not have much in common and really had no mutual memories over which to chortle 20 years later, but the moment was cathartic. I approached him, he responded, and years of confusion, trepidation, and the unknown dissolved in that short, insignificant moment. Now we’re friends who don't really know each other. We still have little in common and I doubt I’ll fly out to Tucson anytime soon, but the tendrils of teenage angst are gone. What a relief!

The other cathartic moment I had during the reunion was seeing a picture of myself somewhere between the ages of 15 and 17. My memories of myself in high school involve lots of fear, anger, tears, lack of understanding and feeling understood, and a general grip of  mental chaos and negativity. This picture said something utterly different. There I was, all young and cute, wearing a jean jacket with buttons all over it, big hair and an even bigger smile. Aha! I was happy sometimes as a teenager. I did have fun and smile and laugh and make others smile and laugh. I did feel connected and it was not all angst, anger, and rejection. Know what my inner guidance said to me at that very moment? “Get over yourself.”

And that is what I did. I hugged everyone, I smiled at everyone, I truly missed the ones who did not show up whether I loved them in high school or not. I saw the common ground in all of us who did show up: a big mass of successes, failures, travels, hot spouses (you know who you are!), divorces, amazing children, careers, hopes, dreams, ideas all smashed together and mixed up and spit back out 20 years later. 

Certainly there are still people I connect more strongly with than others, people with whom I chose to spend more time than others, and those who seemed a little worse for the wear or more sparkly than others. But here’s what I think about it all - we all have collective and individual karma. The class reunion strongly brings into focus your collective karma with a group of people you could not choose (by the way, if you did choose them, think of the many important lessons you never would have learned!) and puts you back with them in a situation to continue to learn. 

Approaching this group who taught you lessons in love, friendship, hardship, character, and your own personal karma with the kindness of a grandmother (who will put up with a lot and then smack you when you go too far) worked best for me. Holding on to past injuries, identities, and angers will only cultivate more of that ugly stuff. I root for the beauty of it all - get on out there and hug those buggers - they’re the only class you’ve got! Life in high school was hard for Everyone (smart, ugly, thin, funny, stupid, popular, athletic, fat, boring, plain and any combination thereof) - why do you think The Breakfast Club is such a popular movie? We can all identify with at least one, if not all, of those characters. 

And on another note, and one in which we all have much more conscious control than our karmas, entering any relationship whether romantic, friendship, grocery store conversation or large gathering and expecting someone else to be a certain way (e.g. nicer, less egotistical, more understanding, etc) is in error. If you leave feeling injured, that's your problem. We are only in charge of ourselves and our reactions. As my very astute little brother said to me the other day, “People expect too much of each other. You have to make your own self happy. Nobody else can do it for you.” 

My personal addition is that unconditional love comes only from within. If you’re looking outside of yourself for acceptance, you’ll always be disappointed. If you’re looking for the jerk in people, you’re likely to find it. Conversely, and much more fun and surprising, if you’re looking to connect -even just about a nice shirt - you’re much more likely to experience that. Your preconceptions basically create your perceived reality - why not make it something worth experiencing!?

So thanks, Park High Class of ’92 - I continue to learn from you.

Much love and blessings to you all!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I Love Gay Men

I'm in California this week. The last time I came to California and watched a sunset on the Monterrey peninsula, I wanted to write a blog post entitled, "I Love Gay Men." I didn't have a blog then but now I do and Palm Springs has rekindled my inspiration. Some of what I love about gay men is cliche and obviously not true for all gay men. A big one: great taste. I'm talking taste in general: fashion, hair, car, food, drink. We were out to dinner the other night and heard a couple arguing Flirtatiously over who should eat the last bite of dessert (neopolitan ice cream). I love it! Part of the reason I love it is that I live in rural Idaho where anyone gay is certainly not out to a lovely dinner with their partner giggling over ice cream. It's comforting to me to see people act their normal selves in public (as we all should always be able to do with the usual caveat that our actions not cause a problem for ourselves or others). Another reason I love it is because I wish for all my friends, gay, straight or otherwise, that they have the chance to sit in a great restaurant and eat and drink and be in love and thoroughly enjoy themselves with no care or worry. The joy of watching people in love is catchy! It makes me do fun things like buy complete strangers dinner and go home with a happy feeling in my heart. A couple of days later, Dave and I were the subject of someone else's joy. There we were at an outdoor cafe on El Paseo, enjoying a post-run iced latte. A lady walked out and, drawn in by our absolute happiness and ease of being, started to chat. Unfortunately, she was a total right-wing hyper-religious woman with a major lack of tact. She went just a couple of steps too far and told us how she devalues education, doesn't want to pay taxes on her millions and doesn't approve of the fact that Dave and I are not married. She did also tell me I look pretty and young and she held onto Dave's hand extra long while telling him she could never marry again, she had had the love of her life for 39 years. For that I am happy, because love is love no matter what it looks like. Some of us require marriage to make it real, some of us require partners of the same sex, some of us require the occasional long dinner over a great bottle of Chianti and our mutual undivided attention. So take what you want from love, love who you want with all of your heart and mind and soul. And leave everyone else to their love, respecting that your version of love is all yours; what works for someone else is theirs and, really, is none of your business!

Monday, May 14, 2012


I saw the movie Marley yesterday and it inspired me deeply. I love the energy of a person doing exactly what he loves and doing it fully. The effects are not just incredible beauty, but a rippling effect of inspiration that demonstrates to others that doing what you love is, indeed , very worthwhile. Bob Marley died in 1981. His life's work reverbs through all aspects of past and present culture, even as it builds momentum into the future. This is what truth does. Whether you 'like' reggae music or not is irrelevant. As creatures created all from the same source, which is the source of everything good, bad, beautiful, ugly, tragic, divine, and everything in between, we know truth when it presents itself. Whether we acknowledge it or not is a choice. One of the most instructive tools I've learned through yoga is to look for the good, look for the beauty. Sometimes it is obvious like when a green tree bursts bright red flowers at the tips of its branches in the desert - almost everyonr would agree in the beauty of that. The beauty of a screaming child? The beauty of the stream of angry thoughts in my mind when 'things' aren't going my way? Well, this reminds me of a time when I was seasick - I was on a small fishing boat near Homer, Alaska. After I had puked out everything available in my guts and could finally see land, a man of great inspiration in my life, John Friend, said to me, "can you find the beauty in this? " my initial response was, " that it's almost over?" No. The truth is that it is beautiful because I can experience it. I have a body, guts, a sensitive vestibular system. I have the capacity to experience the world and I have a choice in how I respond. Choosing amazement over frustration, choosing to flow rather than grip, choosing to fully feel without creating a big, long, sad story about how hard I work or how hard life is, etc, etc, etc - that is the beauty and that is also the truth of life. Hold on to what feeds you, let it go when it no longer does. Love yourself and others, including plants and animals, and other people's children, plants, and animals, and just see if it's easier to access the beauty in the world before you see the yuck. A big fat thanks to Bob Marley for living, for creating, for inspiring, and for bringing his bright and colorful version of reggae to the world!

Monday, April 16, 2012


I am not a patient driver. I don't like to drive behind anyone going slower than me. I also do not like to be tailgated or sped past or made to stop or have others acting impatiently behind me. Yes, I want it all. 

I am especially impatient when driving to ski. This year, after many angry diatribes inside of my car on the way up to Targhee, I decided that my goal for the ski season would be NOT to get angry or drive aggressively on the way to or from the ski hill. This was particularly difficult on powder days, days I had to work in the afternoon (and so had only a limited amount of time to ski) or when behind Idaho 8B or 2F plates or any out-of-state plates (occasionally excluding Montana 6 plates or anyone with a Bridger Bowl bumper sticker). This does not leave very many opportunities for practicing patient driving!

It was hard, but what I realized after I caught myself tailgating and yelling pointers inside my car and then having to back off in honor of my intention, was that my behavior of agro-driving was, in fact, a big, fat, blinding, negative, unconscious Habit. 

The Buddhists have this great outline regarding awareness around habits. It goes like this: 

Unconscious Incompetence
Screaming at drivers who can’t hear you, tailgating drivers who may not have winter mountain driving experience, good tires, or the desire to get anywhere quite as fast as you. Allowing this negative energy to flow through you and out into the universe unchecked. Being grumpy and remembering and/or retelling the frustrating situation over and over and over again to yourself and any poor soul who is trapped on the lift or in the liftline with you.

Conscious Incompetence
Realizing that you are tailgating, yelling, frustrated. Noticing the yucky feeling of  bad energy spreading throughout your body, mind, environment, and into others and the universe; not being able to stop the tailspin, just realizing that it doesn’t feel good or result in any ripples of goodness.

Conscious Competence
Recognizing the urge to tailgate and/or yell and choosing a different action such as singing along to a great November ’73 Dead show, smiling, offering blessings, arriving, skiing, refraining from reliving what a great job you did not freaking out on the way up (which is just a different, equally ineffective way of succumbing to the force of habit - much like stuffing your face full of food when you’re trying to quit smoking), and generally enjoying the day despite your urges to choose poorly.

Unconscious Competence
Driving calmly and with plenty of room between your car and the next guy’s, arriving happily at your destination, and carrying on with an excellent day all around. There was never a question of frustration or self-control because you have trained yourself to realize that the guy in front of you is the guy in front of you no matter how late you left the house, how much snow fell, or how badly you would like to be “first” on the road.

There is, of course, a time to get upset when driving. There are always exceptions to the rules. That is why rules are ridiculous and each situation should be judged and acted upon based on its own merit and circumstances. This makes life much simpler in a way, and much more difficult to predict all at the same time. Needing to predict life and know how to act in every situation is really just another habit, ready to be acknowledged, transformed, and released!

Monday, April 9, 2012


At one point in my mid-twenties, I realized that I had never cried from joy. It then became one of my life goals - to love something so much that I cried tears of utter happiness. When it did finally happen, I was amazed at the feeling inside. It was joy for sure and it was also painful. The opposites are always in communion.

When you cry from joy, the joy part is obvious, it's the bursting feeling of your heart and soul; the tears, for me anyway, come from actual pain. For instance, Joy: "I love everything about India - it feels like my soul's home." Tears: "It is not my home; I will have to leave." And the obvious one I can only imagine and intuit from friends who have children, Joy: "I love this being with every molecule - seen and unseen - that I have." Tears: "Any pain this being feels will become my pain. And I will sometimes have no way to assuage that pain."


It boils down to taking a risk, whether calculated (like getting on a plane to a place you KNOW you will love with all of your soul) or uncalculated (like having your first child with no real knowledge of the true and palpable sense of having part of your soul living a life outside of your body). And just like Albert Camus says, your capacity for goodness equals your capacity for darkness. I'm sure I'm not the first to point out that your capacity for joy equals your capacity for sadness. The more you invest your heart, the greater the potential for pain.

And as Lloyd Dobler says, "I don't care! I want to get hurt!"

So get on out there, open your heart to its greatest joy, reach beyond the tips of your fingers, love bigger than your mind prefers, and git 'er done!! Cry some sweet and juicy tears of joy!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Reticular Formation

Bus Driver Jim has a Bucket List. He is bravely going forward with one of his items this summer. It is not my place to spill his beans so you will all have to check it out here (BDJ Bucket List) and make your best guess!! My friend Paul told me about his bucket list the first day I met him. I told him I didn’t have one; every time I wanted to do something, I just went out and did it. Then he said, “So, you don’t have kids?”

I met Paul skiing one day at Targhee. It was my one day a season to stand in line on a big powder day and cry behind my goggles. I Really Wanted to be at Bridger Bowl with the Love Of My Life (LOML)! I wanted to hike the ridge and ski the steep and gnarly and I wanted to do it with Dave. Alas, I was not there and so I stood in the line and I sat on the chair and I watched the first skiers float on down the pow all alone with tears inside my lenses. 

Mary’s opened and I headed up for The A only to find that yes, Mary’s was open; however, the sign leading beyond that to The A still said closed. I stood there in the saddle and felt Really Sorry For Myself. Then I skied it. The snow was light, sweet, fluffy, and just supportive enough to make it perfecto! When I got to the bottom, a guy had skied right behind me and said, “That was great, huh?” And then I started to cry. 

His name was Paul and he took his avalanche training at Bridger Bowl. He raised his 3 boys on a farm in Idaho City and now he does marketing research and bases himself out of Driggs. He volunteer ski-patrols at Targhee and the last time he skied The A, it shut him down big time with a huge rock to the hip and a forced 3 week ski hiatus. He had some business to settle with The A. He said, “You wanna go get some of that?” Oh yes, yes I did!

And that is how I roll. I don’t hide my tears from perfect strangers. Usually it's not even a choice and fortunately I am greeted by such kindness that it turns out well for both parties. Like this one soup lady in Washington state somewhere. I was wandering around a grocery store after a very sad encounter, looking for something to eat. I walked by her sample station a bunch of times but each time I thought I could say, “Can I try the roasted pumpkin?,” the tears welled up and I had to look down and keep on walking. On my fourth or fifth attempt, she stopped me with a white paper cup of the creamy vegetable (whatever) and I was so touched that she had gone out of her way for me that I sobbed and choked as I drank it. She was so upset by my sadness in a motherly, unconditional love kind of way, that she handed me a plate with three more soup samples and patted my back and said over and over again, “God Bless You! You take care of yourself! God Bless You!” She was so concerned and sweet that I will never forget her and plan to find her in every lifetime from here on out, just to feel her big, sweet, wide open love.

My Bucket List is as follows (although I really don’t like that title so I changed it to something much more palatable). My ideas are some my own and some based on the lists of aforementioned Bus Driver Jim and Paul, the man who teles with a vengeance.

Awesome Things To Do At Least Once A Lifetime (in no particular order):
1. Shave head
2. Keep bees
3. Live in Barcelona
4. Spend entire ski season at Bridger Bowl
5. Lead singer in a Grateful Dead tribute band (stage name: Karen Jerry Garcia)
6. Take an entire summer off from work
7. Purchase and drink a chateauneuf de pape (preferably whilst in France)
8. Drive around the US in my camper van with my pets and visit all my friends who are scattered about
9. Hula hoop dance like those sexy hippies at music festivals
10. Visit Tibet
11. Spend a ski season in Europe (preferably La Grave - thinking of you DC! ... and pain au chocolat and baguettes and wine and figs and steep, narrow streets and  ...)

More to come...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

That LaDuke Temper!!

Now that I’ve totally blown my anonymity, I will let you all in on another dirty little secret: us LaDukes, we inherited ourselves a red hot sizzling fiery temper! Albert, Julius, Don - I don’t know who got it first, but it has burned on down the family line like a match on gasoline as far as the eye can see!

My friend Christina hears me at work dealing with children and their families. One night she tells me she can’t imagine my having a temper. I laughed whilst smirking. Once in high school, I practically shattered my phone by throwing it against the wall after a fight with a boyfriend. It was an awesome phone too - one of those Swatch phones that lit up when it rang and you could see the insides through the transparent green plastic. My dad fixed it for me without even asking me how it broke. Not that he didn’t know, I think he was just saving me that embarrassed smile us LaDukes get on our faces once we cool off. “Duuuuh, sorry!”

Oh hell yes I was mad when I hurled that telephone. That boyfriend was threatening suicide because I was breaking up with him. Then he told his parents I made up the story and that actually he had broken up with me! I punched him in the face whilst wearing the diamond ring he gave me for that last one. What was important to my 15-year-old self is quite different now, but my anger was and still is my anger nonetheless.

And again, I digress...

Anger is a displaced emotion, meaning it has its root in a different, deeper emotion. Rarely do we take the time to figure out what that emotion is because it is usually much more painful and we perceive that there is much more to lose than say, a telephone, by addressing it. The baddest dude below anger is fear. 

Another time in a heated argument with a different boyfriend (relationships teach us so much!), I was the calm one, he was the angry one. As I stood up to leave, he taught me a poignant lesson; he stood as well and with the eyes of a 5-year-old child, he said, “Am I unloveable?” 

I think of this situation often when I am angry; it helps me to go beyond, through, or beneath the anger to find out what it really is that I am feeling. Am I feeling unloveable? Am I feeling lonely? Am I scared? And can I remember that by expressing the feeling closer to the source of me (fear as opposed to anger; vulnerability as opposed to rage), I am creating an avenue for a conversation as opposed to a blitzkreig (Mr. Lochridge anyone?) of insults, profanities, and damage to myself and another being? 

It’s not so easy and sometimes it has to happen after the anger has inadvertently burst out of us. But it’s useful. And it’s one of the best ways for deepening a relationship, especially one that matters. See how it feels sometime to offer your hurt, sadness, or fear to another as opposed to your anger. The palpable qualities of vulnerability are so much softer and attract much more compassion that the sharp, hot, edgy burn of anger. 

Try it out and let me know what you find...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Coconut Bliss

I just had one of the most divine experiences that I think a person can have.

My friend Shane made this old tire full of cement as a stabilizer for our laundry line in the summer. In the winter, it sits and collects snow. Right now, in this crazy winter we're having, the snow has melted and it is the only concrete in our yard so I sat on it. I sat on it because it's sunny and warm and my kittens like it when I hang outside with them and most importantly, I sat on it because I had a fresh coconut!

Inside my house, I used a sharp knife to shear off just enough of the top to clear the hard outer shell, but not so much as to make the juice explode. In my good, dumb luck, I ended up shearing the coconut top off without breaking the top layer of coconut meat! I grabbed my titanium camping spoon and took it all outside to sit on my warm chunk o' cement.

As I popped the spoon through the top layer of the tender, white meat, the coconut water splashed out all over my jeans. No worries to be had, the jeans are from Browse & Buy in Jackson and cost a mere $4. By the way, I love that lady over there who is just my size and gets tired of her super fancy jeans on a regular basis. Shout out to the Jackson jeans lady!!

So...anyone who is willing to enjoy a can of coconut juice for $2.99 (or more) would be out of their mind not to run on down to Barrels & Bins right now and buy a real live coconut for $4.29! It takes a sharp knife and some elbow grease to get the top cut off but Holy Hannah is it worth it!!!

The inside of a coconut is so full of juice that when you shake it, you might think it's hollow. When you drink it, well, hold on to your hats, people, because it is an amazing, divine, glorious treat! (Not to mention chock full of electrolytes and isotonics!).

As if the incredible nectar of the coconut juice were not enough in itself, there is more! When the vessel is empty, you get to smack it down hard multiple times on a chunk of cement (see how all the random info finally ties together??!) until it breaks open and then use your titanium spoon (because it won't bend under pressure!) to scoop out the most incredible, juicy, soft, delicious and light flesh of the coconut.

I haven't had a coconut like this since India. I would drink a coconut there anytime and every time I saw one. Of course, the experience is a little different in India. There is a man or a woman with a cart full of green-colored coconuts. You stop by and they show you on their hands how much they want for it (by touching each finger to the thumb. Fingers are divided into three parts based on each chunk of finger between knuckles. If they need more than 4, they go back to the first finger and touch the next knuckle chunk down. I got really good at watching hands, not faces in that bartering process!). When the agreed upon price was paid, the coconut vendor would take out a huge machetti and hack the top off the coconut. They would toss in a neon colored straw and wait for you to drink it up. Only once did someone bust it open and let me eat the flesh. The rest of them told me there was none and demanded the coconut shell back. Now I know why!!!

If you're not sold on a fresh coconut right now, all I can say is, The more for me! I'm headed back to B&B prontito!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Last weekend I decided I was ready for a cleanse! I was so ready I gathered up all my cleansing foods and herbs and containers, I checked my schedule and had 10 great days to do it, I wrote a list and a chart and got a great 3.5 days into it. Then it totally fell apart and I find it so very interesting.

The first three days I had a regular schedule with even some extra free time because the skiing sucked. Day four was a much different story: I had to work at Targhee. I thought I was well-prepared for that. I had a green smoothie (with no sweeetner) and some goji berries and 4 thermoses of tea and 2 water bottles. I drank all the tea, ate all the goji berries, drank 1.25 water bottles and some of my green smoothie. That was the problem. The green smoothie was so bitter it made me gag to drink it. Then the catered Targhee lunches came. I put mine in my bag, thinking I would eat it next week after my cleanse was over. But I was hungry. Then the crankiness started setting in. While looking for a bandaid, I noticed a Kate’s Real Food bar in my bag. I put it in my pocket and went for a short walk. Then I ate it while looking out the window at skiers on the slushy snow. Then I went upstairs and proceeded to eat all of my lunch (except the turkey because I don’t know where it came from). It was conscious eating, although I did realize that by eating one thing, I was very excited and interested in eating more. 

But I digress. What was most interesting to me was the change in my psyche after eating. Surely, I had a gut ache from eating Targhee food, but after that, and even underneath that, I had a conversation with myself. Myself said, “Stop trying so hard.” Now, that can be interpreted many ways, but I know what it meant. It meant that just because you hear someone say that most people’s livers and digestion are all fekakteh, that doesn’t mean you necessarily. It might include you, and it also might not include you. And even more essentially, “Stop trying so hard” said to me, “Please relax. Please release. Please stop trying to “do something” all the time. Just be.” 

This was apparent to me at another time recently; I was so frustrated that I got stuck in the snow in our driveway, so worried that my housesitter Sara would get stuck, so worried about coming home and getting stuck or ruining my car, and then worried about Dave getting stuck when he came home, worried, worried, worried ad infinitum. 

And so, I made phone calls, asked questions, sent emails, fretted, thought, wondered, meditated, prayed, pondered. Then when I did get a good idea (a mixture of ideas from all of my inquiries), I promptly went to ACE, bought sand and salt, spread it out, and chipped away three times in 24 hours. As I was chipping, I realized how much better I felt. It was then that I realized my need to “do.” Surely, the driveway/ice situation would have been rectified in one way or another (and it was, as it turned out, the weather turned so warm that now, less than a week later, the entire driveway is either mud or puddle), but I could not be at peace until I was doing something to help it along.

This reminds me of when Enrique was sick and I would constantly bring him water or tuna juice or yogurt or make a bed or sing to him or look for him or pet his paw or stare at him or sit near him or something, anything, something! My nickname became “The Hovercraft” and one day, when I was especially heartbroken and frustrated, Dave said to me, “I understand. You just want to do something because you know that you really can’t do anything.”

And so I see now that my cleanse was in part due to my crazy toxic diet the week before I decided to cleanse (lots of coffee, sugar, and snacking - a great sign that I need to rein it in!). And I also see (and hear from my inner guidance) that the cleanse is done. It played its part and now I can reflect on the lessons. The first one is to stop trying so hard. 

Thank you, Universe. I will stop trying so hard. Instead of distracting myself with menial tasks or packing my schedule so full that I don’t even have time for menial tasks, much less a great breakfast with Bus Driver Jim, I will do what is necessary, what is my duty, and I will let the rest go.

In India, there is a stunning fire ritual in which someone spoons a ladle-full of ghee into the fire to the pace of a beautiful chant for many hours. With each offering to the fire, the word “Swaha” is spoken or chanted. I love this word. My personal translation of it is much like the 12-step adage “Let Go and Let God.” At the end of the day or the end of anything, really, you just pick it up in whatever neat or messy package it ended up being and you toss it into the fire. You clap the remaining dust off your hands and you let it go. “Swaha!” you say, “Swaha.” The remainder is smoke, ashes, and bright, sweet light!

Excerpt from an Interview

"When we spoke, I kept referring to the grass talking to me, then once I said that was an exaggeration, and that is not true. The grass is not happy with me for saying that, and I am not happy with me for saying that. I wanted to clear it up just in case for some reason you remembered that detail of our conversation. I would not like for it to be printed or repeated that the grass does not speak as I do not find that to be the truth. All living things have voices, they are just sometimes different than our own."

Response: "I believe that all living things have voices. I once interviewed a famous naturalist (can't remember his name) who said the same. He was very convincing in his argument. I haven't thought twice about such a statement since."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why I Don't Celebrate Lent

Short answer: Because I don’t like giving things up.

My parents spoiled me rotten as a kid and not with material things, but with experiences. That is why, to this day, I can come up with the most creative ways of being able to “do it all”! (with the exception of bi-locating, but believe you me, I’m working on that one HARD!).

True story: Last year, for one month, Dave and I put a quarter in a dish every time we said something bad about someone or something. Every Time. It was kind of a version of Lent (e.g. giving up saying negative things) and it was a great mindfulness practice. When it was all said and done, we wondered what to do with the money. One of our ideas was to send it to the people about whom we said bad things. The letter would read, “Dear X, Here is $1.75 for the 7 bad things we said about you in March 2011. Sincerely, Karen & Dave” That really didn’t seem appropriate so we went out to dinner with the money instead. 

This story turned out to be quite an example of precisely why I suck at Lent; probably even moreso than the fact that I’m not (nor ever was) Catholic.

And I digress...

I believe Lent has already started, but for those of you who are still struggling to decide whether you really want to give up soda pop or if you should just go easy on yourself and limit your beer intake to 6 days a week, here are my suggestions: 

Participate in a Lent of Inclusion! Your daily mantra could be, “I will laugh from joy at least once each day during Lent,” or “I will compliment at least one person each day,” or “I will wash the dishes every day this Lent.” You could even say, "I will be the one to smile first for the entirety of Lent!"

The possibilities are endless and much more likely to affect you beyond the season of Lent. You might find yourself laughing, smiling, complimenting, or making beauty in the world each and every day in spite of yourself!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'm not picking my nose

I multi-task while driving a lot of the time. Today I was applying nose oil whilst driving. Nose oil is awesome and a critical piece of winter health. Bacteria is oil-soluble and there are lots of germs trying to get in your nose. Stick a clean pinky in ghee (clarified butter, which is great to cook with too) or use any kind of high-quality organic oil (sunflower, coconut, grapeseed) and swirl it around each nostril three times. Voila! The dryness is gone (this also decreases the urge to pick your nose), itchiness is gone (again, less picking), and bacteria are absorbed before they get inside of you!

Another thing I really like to do while driving is sing. One day, I was driving in Bozeman, Montana and singing my heart out to Ben Harper’s “Burn One Down.” I don’t know all the words but when I get to the chorus, I can belt it out just like Ben!! Well, it was summer and my window was down and I was at the corner of Willson and Main. The light hit red and the chorus came up! As I hollered it out passionately, I realized that the very private bubble of my little car is not so much so when the window is down. Also, the people who seem so far away in the cars next to me - partly because I don’t know them and mostly because I am not in their car - really are only 3-5 feet away from me as I am basically yelling. Yes, they can hear me sing. No, they did not appear to love it. 

A funny thing happened to me in this situation. Normally, I am kind of a shy and quiet person. In this situation, my logic told me to act like I didn’t realize they could hear me and just keep on singing!! When the light turned green and the other cars sped away, I started laughing so hard I almost had a vehicular crack up. I have to imagine that was good for my soul.

Just to give some context as to how wholly I sing in my car, one day (in the wintertime so my windows were all up), my friend Pete left me a phone message. He said, “I want to know what you were listening to today. When you drove past me, I thought you were screaming at someone then I noticed you were alone. Must’ve been a good song. See ya.”

Here’s Ben doing it right...

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Today Davé and I skied The A. This is a line that I love and sometimes I botch it. Today I was so excited to ski it that I forgot to buckle my helmet. Fortunately, I wailed on it.

Here is the song that came into my mind afterward - one of my favorites:

Eminem - Lose Yourself

My favorite lines are at 4:00 and 4:10.

Also, 8 Mile is a great movie.

Monday, January 30, 2012


This post is dedicated to my dad and Bus Driver Jim.

These two have a lot in common; they are both wicked smart and love techie kinds of things. They have both also saved my tuchas in many a varied situation, but that is a different post altogether. Today's point: Bus Driver Jim recently shared his photo-enhancing abilities with Dave and I . I sent him this picture,

 a picture that my dad took a long time ago when he was a guide on the Boundary Waters (insert link to Jim’s awesome map site, PinPoint). What I remember from the story my dad told me about the picture is more of a feeling and an experience rather than the details. It was a time when he was young and strong and working outdoors. He had a canoe and boots and food in tins and more food dehydrated in baggies. To hear a story like this told from the lips of my father and to see his face change back into that hard-working youngster, well, it struck me to say the least. It showed me a part of him that is exactly like a part of me - the part that loves being outside in the quiet stillness of a morning and the gratitude and specialness you feel when an animal shows itself to you in the low, low light. I'm Really Happy it happened to my dad at that time and in that place. And I wish for everyone in the world to experience fully that awesome connection of human and nature at least once, and to remember it well.

I might share the photo when it is done, but it might not be until after Father's Day because this was my idea: to clear up the light and contrast of the deer, then make the photo slightly larger and framed and give it to my dad on Father's Day. Because I love him. And I love that he had this experience. And I will never look at a deer in the waning light and not think of my dad for the rest of my sweet little life.

Here is actually one of my favorite pictures of my dad. It makes me feel good and loved to look at this one too:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ginger Cayenne Omega Truffles

This is my first blog post written from a more or less drunken state. I arrived home tonight (via back roads) with a baggie full of pebre, a full belly, and a free sample of ginger cayenne omega truffles. I’m sitting here eating White Cheddar Bunnies right out of the bag. I put the cracker box in my burn barrel. Yes, I sit outside and burn my garbage in an old steel paint can and I live in the "city". Thank God for rural Idaho. Thank God.

I just lived through my own personal final episode of “Lost.” I met a woman who was born in Sugar City, Idaho to Morman ancestors who graduated in Speech Pathology in 1958 from ISU and whose kids were friends with one of my very first friends in Teton Valley. I’m reeling just a little.

That reeling, by the way, is most likely from three glasses of red wine and single glass of some Chilean-style sangria that I drank, all while making empanadas, fettucini, and ravioli at my local chapter of Slow Foods' first cook-along. We cooked with lard (something I haven’t seen since my Great Grandma Esther’s freezer) and sriracha (that awesome, red hot Thai sauce that comes in a clear bottle with a rooster on it). We ate for three hours straight and I heard more life stories than I could ever have imagined. Each and every one of them infused my love of the human condition with a brand new zest and validated my current lifestyle choices (ski bum with a shitty work ethic, in case anyone was confused).

Life is short.

If you hate your life, change it.

Life is short.

If you don’t love it, change it.

Life is short so love it, live it, hug people, love people, be patient with yourself and others until you can love them and they can love you back.

When I first walked into this event, I was quite unsure. I wrote a check for $35 and stood alone wearing a blue apron covered with embroidery of an apple-picking scene. Finally someone offered me a glass of wine. Finally the others in the room were drinking wine. Finally people were comfortable enough to talk to each other. (As a sidenote, I realize how f’d up this may seem, and it is reality so take it or leave it.) By the end of the night, I’d had a conversation with a 78-year-old about the benefits and drawbacks of double rocker and traditional ski style. I’d learned from 3 women how they’d met the love of their life and known that no matter what happened, this was the last person they would love. I’d sat at the table with 4 (out of 12) other people who had undergraduate degrees from Missoula. I’d been asked to tell my story.

It’s so funny when someone asks you to tell your story. Where do you start? What do you say? Who really cares? Well, I’m funny enough that at least I can make my story interesting. At the expense of my dad (I know you supported me and my education fully and never said “Most people who go to school for 8 years become doctors” - but it’s just too good not to say!!), I made everyone laugh and reminisce and have good feelings toward their dads who may or may not have been too hard on them through the rough times (my dad was not). And that is what I’m good at; making people feel good. I’ve toiled and worried, felt angst and pain about what the heck am I supposed to be doing with this current blessed lifetime of mine. And you know what? The answer is, I’m here to make you laugh and smile and be thankful and sad for the things that are and the things that have passed. Hopefully, with each passing experience you learn to make more thankful memories than sad ones and more beauty than division, more love than not, and more acceptance than grief. 

After saying all that, I have to admit, that my favorite part of this evening is that I have drunk way too much, eaten way too much, stayed up much too late, neglected my duties, and skied all day with the love of my life. This day has been as fulfilling, interesting, chock-full, and tiring as any day in my adult life. And as I prepare to go to bed (maybe even without brushing my teeth, much less following my prescribed Ayurvedic routine), I am happy, full, inspired, and in awe at the greatness of life and the loveliness of friends, and the freshness of love that I can sit and eat crackers after 10pm, even after a full dinner and know, really know in the depth of my soul that my health and my happiness are not endangered because my love of my fellow man has been kindled and tended all day and into the night and love is what matters at the end of the day. Not green smoothies, not goji berries, not vodka, not flossing, not powder, not flat abs, but Love, Pure Love. That is what makes the world go round.

It is our job to make the world go round.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Follow Your Heart!

When you hear your heart speak, it can be so quiet and faint that you forget what it said or ignore it altogether. When your heart speaks, it is always telling the truth. How do you know if it was truly your heart speaking? Well, as one master says, “By the results.” And my footnote is that after you see the results, you start to catalog backward by asking yourself if the results turned out positively, and in line with goodness, what did it feel like  before you acted/spoke/didn’t act? If the results turned out poorly or you realized it wasn’t the best choice, again, what did it feel like beforehand

This is critical. The other morning I was amazing at my incredible life; feeling lucky, blessed, privileged, happy, peaceful, and all around good. “How did I get so lucky?” I ask myself all the time. What I then realized is that I’m not necessarily all so lucky, although my life is awesome, I’m actually full of trust. I trust that things are going to work out and that my meddling is oftentimes not necessary. For example, if I wonder and worry about how I’m going to get all this work done that I signed myself up for, I stop. I try to frame the thought in the positive. Such as, “I feel fortunate to have all of these incredible opportunities to use my skills and support myself financially.” If I really can’t think of a positive way to frame a situation, which is rare, I offer a blessing. For example, “May this situation turn out for the best.” Or even more simply, “Blessings to you (UPS guy who hasn’t delivered my package, ex-boyfriend who shows up at very inopportune times, co-worker who wants more out of me than I want to give, etc).” I also offer blessings when I am sad. When my cat Enrique was sick, I tried so hard to offer him blessings instead of focus on his pain and discomfort. The thought would arise, “My poor baby! Why does he have to suffer?” and I would try, as quickly as I could, to change my thought pattern to, “Blessings to you, blessings to you.” 

This changing of thought patterns does some amazing things in my mind. First, it gets me out of a big, long, sad, complicated story about how hard life is and how unfair it can be, which albeit true at times, is simply a huge waste of time. Secondly, it puts me in a state of contribution to the wellness or well-being of the world in general. And the tertiary point (I love this word by the way): it puts my focus on the trust in the universe that things will work out and I will survive.

Here is another great example from my personal experience. This is a long one, but bear with me, it’s a great one. The first time I went to Hawaii, I went with a boyfriend. We were not a good match and it was not a good trip. My birthday occurred during this trip, and anyone who knows me knows how much I love my birthday. Not just because I love presents, but because I love the fact that I was born. If I know you, I likely celebrate your birthday, because I love the fact that you were born! Thanks for that, by the way, thanks for being born and being a part of my life!

So, my birthday that year was really painful and raw and I hated it. A couple of days later, the trip had not improved and I was feeling like I was going to lose it in a serious way. I heard a faint whispering of something I’d heard somewhere before. It said, “Ask the universe for a sign. When you think you’re going to lose it, ask for a sign!” I didn’t really believe in this kind of thing at the time; however, I was utterly desperate so I said to the Universe, “Universe, show me a sign that I’m going to be okay because I’m not okay right now. Universe, show me a sign and show it to me soon and don’t make it something stupid like a butterfly or a rainbow or a stranger smiling at me. Make it real. Thanks.” And I sat back numbly and waited. We got to the grocery store in Pa’ia, Maui. I got out and went in alone. I crossed the threshold and passed the registers. Some stickers of surfing cats caught my eye. I grabbed them to bring back to the kids I work with. I turned around and was facing John Friend. (This man is a shining star full of love and grace, a true servant to Goodness, and my teacher of yoga. He is wicked famous in the yoga world and not someone you run into every day, especially not when you’re thousands of miles away from your home. Or maybe he is...)

He recognized me and we had a short and strange conversation. I left. I knew. The Universe was on my side, all I had to do was listen. After shopping and getting back in the car with impatiently waiting boyfriend, he drove right past John Friend on the street without even noticing. We stopped at Ho’okipa Bay - a stunning lookout over a surf spot on the North Shore. As I stood there looking at the ocean, the people on boards and kites merging with the gorgeous blue and white of the Pacific, I felt the insides of me shift. A neon greenish/blackish shape of myself inside of myself lifted up out of myself and hovered above me just long enough to make a 180 degree turn and then settle back in, inside of me. That, right there, was my heart speaking quite loudly. It was saying to me, “I have made the turn, now you must follow.” From that moment on, I vowed to myself never to ever do anything intentionally that went against my truth. I had to learn to speak up. I had to learn to stand up. I had to learn to do what served me best and not cower to anyone else’s commands. 

That was hard. The crappy relationship deteriorated over the next days. And although it was so difficult and inadvertently hurt so many beings in so many ways, and hurt me in so many ways, it was the driving force that got me to stand up, turn around, open my eyes, and start living truthfully. I haven’t looked back since and really haven’t needed to. The truth has a sweet and playful way of keeping you engaged in the present moment and allowing you to trust what’s next. It has a way of calming the past so that blessings can be sent in retro to the ones who taught you to be yourself even through their own bad behavior, as well as sending blessings of thanks to the one you used to be, the one who had the courage to become.

I often have a dream about that trip, that one day when I went up into the shack on Ho’okipa Bay to ask about the surf and the winds, that the very kind and rough lifeguard recognized the fear and sadness in my eyes and hid me under a tarp. When the boyfriend came looking, this much buffer and honest dude told him to take a hike. I stayed and lived on Maui, learning to surf and growing long curly hair that covered me when I slept on the beach in the moonlight. Basically, that is what happened. Only the man of my dreams is tall and svelt, and brighter and shinier and awesomer than I could ever have dreamed. I learned to ski instead of surf. Strands of my hair turned silver and glittery and the moonlight makes them sparkle through my bedroom window at night.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blogging isn't always easy!

I had a lot of great ideas about what to blog about today and now they have vacated my mind. I’m sleeping in the living room tonight. I drug the memory foam down from my bed and threw it on the floor. We are in the midst of a veritable blizzard right now and the noise and cold in my bedroom upstairs kept me up all night and made me cranky and/or spacey today. My friend Pete said he saw me and wanted to leave me a phone message that said, “Hi, this is Pete. It’s 5:00 here, I don’t know what time it is wherever you are. See ya.” I wish he had. It would have made me laugh. Or confused me. And either one would have been just fine.

This leads me to a thought about preferences. Why do we choose what we choose? And more importantly, why do we think that our choices are so much better than the choices of others? One way to tell is by looking at the effects the choices have on our bodies, minds, and spirits; or on others; or on animals; or on the universe at large. If there are no problems for ourselves or others (including animals and the universe at large), then the choice is really harmless and basically boils down to personal preference, which I do not find particularly interesting. If the choice does somehow create a problem for ourselves or any other sentient being, well, those are the situations that I personally like to ponder.

Lately I have been experiencing my relationship with coffee as one of the latter choices. It does create a problem for me sometimes. I get jittery and smelly. My eyes dry out and bulge out of my head slightly. My kidneys put on their protective gear and go into overdrive. My liver slumps and begrudgingly does its part. My mind flits and skips and gets Really Excited at small things, which is fun, actually. My taste buds simultaneously recoil from the bitterness of the strong dark coffee that I love and swell from the delight of the nourishing cream mixed in. The invisible part inside of me that craves comfort, unconditional love, tenderness, and understanding glows and curls up, smiles and softens - even if only temporarily, it is a heavenly sensation. 

What else could calm that invisible part of me, what else could soften the frenzy and not create a problem for myself or the rest of the world? That is a very Good Question and when I know the answer, well, I could let you know, but I’m pretty sure that the answer for me is different than the answer for you. And there again is that beauty of individual preference.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Moth and the Ants

This is a poem I wrote a long time ago. Enjoy:

The Moth and the Ants

The moth was stuck to the sidewalk
He was dying and the ants were coming
He fluttered each time they walked on him
I tried to pry him up
It was not a good idea
The moth is dying anyway
The ants are hungry
This is what nature is
Paradox of beauty and tragedy
The moth will die
The ants will feast and live
It made me so sad
That I sat on a bench nearby
And leaned way back
I smelled fire in the air
Watched dirt blow across the road
I saw a leaf floating in a mud puddle
The puddle was created by a car tire
Ripping out grass at the edge of the cement
The wet mud beneath
Giving way as the grass churned under
The puddle forming
From seepage below
The leaf looked silver
Almost like a feather
It wasn’t moving
Just floating
And that peace held me
All the way home.