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Half Way to 124 Years Old

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This week I celebrated my 62nd birthday or, as I prefer to say, I’m half way to 124 years old. It was the best birthday yet. Hubby and I got up at 4:45 AM and made our way at 5:06 AM to the beach with the best easterly facing view: Manauhant.

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What a great way to begin a new year of life!

It was twilight as we hit the beach with chairs and assorted snacks. I was surprised at how light it was and the sun hadn’t yet shown a sliver.

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To the west was the setting moon– a big peachy pizza pie slipping down the horizon. I love the juxtaposition.

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We were the only ones on the beach — loved the solitude.

We sat in our sweatpants and sweatshirts, sipping a thermos of hot black coffee and watched the sky turn colors.  First a warm pink then a lighter, brighter yellow.

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The clouds were placed perfectly to give added reflection. Before long the top slice of the sun appeared. It was like a surprise gift–so much better than expected. Little by little it rose to meet or make the day.

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It made my day! I tried to capture some of it on camera, but didn’t want to to miss being in the moment.

Before I knew it, the ball of fire was in full view and quite impressive. For that half hour, our world stopped and all that we focused on was the rising sun.

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It was like magic. I have no doubt that the ancients were convinced that it was divine or quite extraordinary. I did a few Sun Salutations because it seemed like the normal, right thing to do. And thus began my sixty second year.

We spent the whole day at the beach, with lots of quiet time before the rest of the world awoke and put on their swimsuits. There was time to gab and talk about everything I wanted to do this year. We nibbled goodies from the cooler and had our books to read, pads of paper to write on, my knitting was often in hand and now a bit sandy.  That’s OK, the kids will love winter hats with bits of beach sand in the pattern.

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The quiet simplicity of it all was the best. Seagulls visited because David fed them bagels.

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Pretty shells and sea glass found their way into my beach bag to maybe become jewelry. We kept finding clouds shaped like punctuation marks or animals in the sky.

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As the day moved on and the sun was overhead, we took several dips to cool off and start the process of warming up all over again. With a beach bouquet and ginger molasses cookies in hand, we celebrated, and I loved every minute of it.

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WalkDoc August 2014

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Lazy Afternoon at WoodNeck

Lazy Afternoon at WoodNeck

 

Beach Plum Blossom

Beach Plum Blossom

 

Love the rocks!

Love the rocks!

 

WoodNeck at 4 PM

WoodNeck at 4 PM

 

Beach Plums, No Jam

Beach Plums, No Jam

 

Chappy Sunset

Chappy Sunset

Yoga- Next Chapter

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photo 1I have been joyfully practicing yoga for fifteen months, and am a different person because of this practice. It’s true that I no longer have back pain, can actually hold a plank for several minutes, and can do a headstand (sort of, it would be nice if I could keep my legs together, for the nuns’ sake!) I know more poses than I ever thought I could remember and can actually create a fluid sequence using them. Ah…Vinyasa Yoga…I love it!

A month ago, the studio I belong to (Innerglow at Mashpee Commons) announced a three week Intensive Teacher Training course. The class description says it leads to a deepening of one’s practice and a certification to teach yoga. When I first heard about this offering, I wondered if it might be for me. I’ve been a teacher “of something” all my life; did I want to teach yoga, too? Was I proficient or experienced enough to take this class? Did I need to get into even better shape before embarking on this adventure? Do I want to teach or just live a life with a very open, flexible schedule? So many questions, but I know I feel a driving passion to keep doing yoga.

As is often the case, I must have been ready to learn, and the teachers appeared; Sheryl Light and Michelle Itzkowitz work their magic on me and the six other yogis in our class. For the past three weeks, we have been present, working, thinking, learning, sweating, and laughing 10 to 12 hours per day. I don’t think I’ve ever used so many muscles or thought so much about the connection of breath, mind, and body. Yoga is more than poses and wearing LuluLemon pants. It’s meditation in motion and linking body and breath while clearing the mind of clutter.

In short, this intense class is one of the wisest and kindest acts I’ve done for myself in a very long time. Yes, it is a challenge physically, but also mentally. The physical exercise is only one part of the entire process. Landing on my mat and emptying my mind of chatter, to do lists, real and/or imagined worries, and the urge to find perfection is wicked hard. “Quiet your mind” says the teacher…Then like the shot at the beginning of a race, my mind starts to run…Oh, did I put the clothes in the dryer? Fish or pasta for dinner? Remember to call the vet for Blackie’s test results (he’s fine- don’t worry). Did I lock my car? When are the real estate taxes due? I am learning to listen to these mental interruptions and then release them instead of letting them lease space in my head rent-free.

One by one, I let them go and listen to what a silent mind sounds like. It’s quiet, and all I think about is my breath: inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Move my body with my breath, not in opposition to it. Good stuff starts to flow and come together. Then I learn that the word “yoga” means “union” and it all starts to fit together.

At the end of our three-week program, I’m in awe of another “union” that has been created. There are seven of us in class and two teachers. We’ve formed a family of our own. In this short period of time, we have created “siblings by choice.” What a gift this is, and it is completely unexpected on my part. My guts tell me that these women will be good friends for life. Yesterday was our last class together—and graduation. It was bittersweet.

On the mat and off the mat, I notice the lessons learned in this class with these people. In so many ways, it is a gift that keeps on giving. I’m very grateful for it all and will be teaching my first community class on Saturday, August 30(Labor Day Weekend) at 4 PM at Innerglow Studio, Mashpee Commons. The fee is a donation that will be given to Heroes in Transition—a wonderful non-profit that aids veterans by providing appropriate assistance to those with special needs in four key areas:

Home modifications for disabled veterans

Transitional Support Group Therapy

Financial support for service families

Assistance dogs for veterans.

 

Everyone is welcome. Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

Portals and Passages WalkDoc July 2014

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Sometimes a walk in the woods is more than a walk in the woods. This week at Highfield Hall/Beebe Woods in Falmouth, MA,  there was an outdoor art exhibit that knocked my socks (and sweater) off. Trees were yarn-bombed with eye catching color and texture.

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They surprised this visitor while traveling up the hill and, like magic, color popped on the sideways and byways– and all of it was hand knit or crocheted. The surprise element worked, and it was delightful.

 

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Of course, the exhibit doesn’t end here, but gave me the incentive to knit some cozies for trees in my own yard.  My daughter Molly’s immediate response: “Do it, Mom! All of them.” Ahhhhh, the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree!

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The design, color and texture of the yarnwork on the picture above is my favorite, maybe because it is so unexpected in such a bucolic environment.

 

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The yarnbombing wowed me, but the sea glass fragment house sent me to the moon and back. A zillion pieces of Mother Nature’s worn beauties are linked like jewelry and create a small house. From the outside, it glistens.

 

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From inside, it provides an entirely new perspective to everything around it. My eyes kept having to decide what to focus on: the intricate glass or the altered view of what existed outside of it.

 

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I did think about how much fun it would be to collect and build one of these gems, but after careful consideration, realized that I might want to finish the zillion unfinished projects already in my queue. Maybe not….started to collect pieces already, just saying.

 

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This last portal is a glorious gate created with shells and all kinds of found objects. It was a total surprise on my right as we meandered through Beebe Woods. I love the juxtaposition and the element of surprise. That’s what captured my attention throughout this walk… what a great composition of man made and nature made art. I want to go back again after the storm and see what it looks like.

 

 

 

WalkDoc June 15, 2014

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Cape in Early June WalkDoc

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Bike Path WalkDoc 5/27/2014

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