Saturday, December 27, 2008

Am I too comfortable?

"People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. "
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sooth your tummy

Try this digestive tea recipe. I take a powdered blend of these herbs with water after meals. But this sounds like a lovely way to ingest them as well. I received this recipe in a newsletter I get from Banyan Botanicals. When taking ayurvedic herbs for the digestion, the taste of the herbs is important. It's part of the healing action.

"A digestive tea following a meal can mprove digestion and help to soothe the entire gastrointestinal tract. The ritual of making and drinking tea can provide a relaxing time, giving yourself a chance to show some devotion to agni, digestive fire. Here is a simple recipe from Amadea Morningstar's The Ayurvedic Cookbook."

Digestive Tea
2 cups water, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds.
Bring water to a boil. Put all the seeds in a blender. Pour in boiling water. Grind the seeds with the water. Strain. Drink after any meal.

Friday, December 19, 2008


It's been hard to get on my yoga mat the past few days. Seems like it's been one thing after the furnace repair guy...take the cat to the vet....hang around while furnace get's replaced...take the cat to the vet (again). So this evening, much later than I usually practice, I was finally able to do a little yoga. The house was warm again and quiet. I just stepped onto my mat and let it happen.

Leaning my hips against the wall for an easy forward fold.

Playing with the wall in half moon pose (ardhachandrasana).

Draping into the wall for bowing warrior (parsvotonasana)

Then on the floor for pigeon to half forward fold to a twist to a side bend on each side.

Then I settled into a mindfulness meditation.

I watched my mind reach back into the busyness of the week and then come back into the stillness and the quiet. Mind moving back and forth, watching.

Trying to hard?

I'm contemplating this quote...

"Meaning is something that's given to us. Although we make a great effort to find meaning, we always receive it as a gift."

— David Steindl-Rast quoted in Tying Rocks to Clouds by William Elliott

If you have any thoughts on this, let me know.


The New York Times has a fashion blog called The Moment.
A recent piece featured a high-end men's fashion store that offered, among other things, a cape. The blogger posted " Ever a fan of a good cape, I’d opt for Yohji Yamamoto’s inky wool version ($3,840)".

I loved this reader's comment....

“$3,840 for a cape? Why? Does it make you fly?”

Saturday, December 13, 2008


"Drawing on my fine command of the language,

I said nothing."

--Robert Benchley

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


There were so many bits of wisdom in Sharon Salzberg's book The Kindness Handbook - a practical companion. My previous post on "neutral" was inspired in part by this book. Before I take it back to the library I wanted to post one more quote.

"When we send a neutral person lovingkindness, we are consciously changing a pattern of overlooking them, or talking around them, to one of paying attention to them. The experiment in attention we are making through these benevolent wishes asks of us whether we can practice 'loving thy neighbor as thyself' when we don't know the facts about someone's dependent, elderly parent, or at risk teenager, and so our heartstrings have not been tugged.

When we think of our neutral person, we haven't learned the story of their suspicious mole or empty evenings. We have no knowledge of their inspiring triumphs or their admirable philanthropy, and so we are not in awe of them. We aren't seeing their tension after a disappointing job interview, or their sadness after their lover leaves. We practice wishing them well anyway, not knowing any of this, but simply because they exist, and because we do know the beauty, the sorrow, the poignancy, and the sheer unalterable insecurity of existence that we all share.

Paying attention this way, we learn that even when we don't especially know or like someone, we are nonetheless in relationship to them. We come to realize that the relatedness is in itself like a vibrant, changing, living entity. We discover the gift of caring, of tending to this force of life that exists between us, and we are immeasurably enriched by that."

Friday, December 5, 2008


A woman awake — a woman with a fierce and awesome commitment — is a fearsome confrontation to our mediocrity and casualness. Most of us, myself included, would rather defend ourselves against our own potential greatness, because we know the sacrifices that living such greatness would require.
— Regina Sara Ryan in The Woman Awake

To Practice This Thought: Identify the sacrifices you would have to make if you stepped into your own greatness.

I came across this quote the other day. It really struck me deeply. I don't think it has to be just about women, of course. I think the word that stands out most for me is "casualness". It says to me that we can be offhand about our gifts. We might even recognize them as gifts but can't quite bother to expend the energy to cultivate them or offer them up to a world in need of gifting.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I grew up with the threat of fire blossoming in the night, rather than tornadoes or hurricanes.

I never lived up close enough to the dry chapparal of the foothills to be threatened but fire still filled my childhood dreams from time to time.

Recently the Tea Fire destroyed the homes of many in Santa Barbara including the home of my teacher Erich Schiffmann's brother Karl. Karl has written movingly about his experience.

Wildfires have always felt alive to me, like an animal stalking the hills. They are given names. Not the human names that hurricanes are given but names that tell of their birthplace. The fires slither and climb through the canyons and mountain tops in stark contrast to the dark night sky and the blackness of the mountains. You are at once amazed by the beauty of the flames and fearful of the danger and destructiveness. There is always wind, that blows hot and dry from the high desert to push the fires down toward the sea.

Here's something I wrote years ago when another fire, the Sycamore Canyon fire of 1977, scorched the hills that surrounded my home town.

through an ashen haze
the moon has risen
full and flushed
and cannot cool the scene.

a crimson corona traces the ridge
etching the canyons
with ribbons of orange
flaring and sighing
in this wind.

my back against the seawall
i seek relief
from this fevered heat.

salt smelling shore breezes
have fled
in the face of this
fire-baiting wind
that sucks the air dry
and curls the waves
back on themselves
before they can cool me.

i watch the flames
consume the blackness.

daylight will expose
the fired foothills,
resin-boiled and seed burst.

but now

in the darkness
i face the night beast
of my child dreams
come to visit once again
and steal my sleep
with fear of being devoured
by its subtle rage.