Good Enough to Sleep In. . .

I wore some really wild and fun workout pants to the Y this morning.  They were tight fitting, brushed cotton with pink, orange, green, white and blue, wavy stripes of different sizes running across them.  My personal trainer smiled when he saw me and said, “Those are outrageous.  I love them.  People have been staring at you and pointing at you since you walked in.  Don’t you feel odd?”  I smiled and shook my bum and said, “Let ’em look.  That’s why I bought them.”  He laughed and said, “Yeah.  They’re pretty great and they look comfy too.”  I picked up my leg and told him to feel how soft they were.  He rubbed my calf and smiled and said, “I would totally try a pair of those on if I knew no one was looking.  Hell, I would sleep in those.  They’re fantastic.”

I didn’t tell him that I wore them to yoga class yesterday evening slept in them last night and then walked in wearing them at the gym this morning.  I figured it’s summertime and I can pull off an occasional beach bum casualness in my dress.

After the Y, I had about 20 mins to kill before going to my hair appointment.  I decided to stop in at the local gardening shop to see what plants they had on sale.  I heard a lady behind me say, “Weren’t you at the Y earlier?”  I turned and smiled and said, “Yes.  Hi, how are you?”  She smiled back and said, “Oh I”m better now that I saw you in your wild pants.  Those are fun.  We were all looking at you and smiling.  I would wear a pair of those.”  I told her that they were soft too, and she said, “Oh, I would sleep in those.  They’re fantastic.”

We parted ways and I walked up another aisle and saw a woman from yoga class last night.  We chatted for a bit and she looked down at my wild pants.  I laughed and I said, “Mary, don’t tell on me.  I just came from the Y and I’m wearing the same pants as I did last night.”

She looked down at them and said, “I won’t tell.  Those are fantastic.  They look good enough to sleep in.”

photo

I Have Nothing

I have nothing to do today.  In fact, now that I’m on summer break from teaching, I have really nothing to do every day.  It makes for a day full of possibilities and I think, “Today I’ll accomplish something fantastic and worthy of putting out into the world.”  And, a 1 hour yoga session, 2 dog walks, 20 views of Facebook on my cell phone and 2 episodes of Orange Is the New Black later, and I still have contributed nothing of tangible value, or at least that’s how I feel.  But, somewhere in the day I did wash all of my laundry, make my bed, do the dishes and clean out the cat’s litter box.  That’s something, right?

I have nothing to complain about.   I could choose to gripe about how I am a little bored sitting here alone in my house, but then at least I can say I have a house.  And I have really sweet pets.  And the breeze is blowing right now as I’m sitting on my front porch typing and philosophizing about my life.  Sure, my hips are a little achy, and yes, I haven’t changed out of my yoga clothes that I put on this morning (which means my armpits smell a little ripe, but the breeze will take care of that), but I ate a nice and healthy meal and I moved my body today.  And I watched an enthralling episode of Orange is the New Black, so all is copacetic in my little area of the world.   That’s something, right?

nothing

I have nothing planned this summer.  It’s been a really beautiful experiment of sitting with myself day in and day out and really getting to know who I am.  Sure, I hang out with friends and yes, I go out on dates, but overall I come home to myself and I don’t just mean physically.  I am starting to know my own heart a bit more and not feeling as lost in the world as I have in the past.  I’m sure I’ll have moments of losing my way, but at least I’ve built a road map and have the resources (like yoga, reading, writing, gardening, drawing and watching good TV shows like Orange Is the New Black) to help me get back on track with living a fulfilling life.  That’s something, right?

all-or-nothing

I have nothing and everything at my fingertips daily.  I get to dance in the middle of my living room without the worries of anyone watching.  I get to choose how I will structure or not structure my days, and how many episodes of Orange Is the New Black I will watch before my eyeballs fall out.  I get to pay bills, run errands, feed my dog and cat, do laundry, clean my house, work in my garden, read my book, write my blog, text my mom, hang out with my friends, meet new people, visit with my neighbors, walk my dog, and eat healthy & delicious food.  So, hooray for nothing!  I’m so very grateful for this day.  I think I’ll do nothing more today (except maybe watch one more episode of Orange Is the New Black).  That is really something.

A Life Marked In Pencil Shavings and Other Things

I wrote this poem in honor of my Aunt Jane who recently retired from 35 years of being an elementary teacher who truly made a difference in her students’ lives.  Who was your teacher in your life that made a difference to you?

A Life Measured In Pencil Shavings and Other Things

By Megan Hoelscher

Paper cuts,
Pencils,
Paper
And Pens

Putting up bulletin boards,
Marking up bad compositions,
Pushing in the chairs
As 25 little ones run, hop, skip and jump
Outside in the fenced in playground.

Crayons,
Glue,
Glitter
And Gum

Showing and telling how to count to 100,
Reading favorite books,
Writing sentences that morph into paragraphs,
As 25 little ones chatter, squirm, smile or sneer
Inside the classroom filled with desks knee high.

Markers,
Books,
Bags
And Memos

Discussing progress with parents,
Putting together dioramas,
Growing beans in plastic cups,
As 25 little ones ask, push, smile or shove
Inside the classroom filled with desks knee high.

Emails,
Laws,
Lessons
And Rules

Giving a hug, a smile, a gold star,
Devising creative ways to add, subtract, multiply and divide
Laughing at jokes,
As 25 little ones sing, dance, create or destroy
Inside the classroom filled with desks knee high

Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwiches,
Carrots,
Chips,
And Hot Lunch tickets

Blowing a whistle,
Disciplining when necessary,
Giving money to those in need,
As 25 little ones munch, gobble, slurp and drink
Inside the cafeteria filled with noise.

Field trips,
Follies,
Foibles
And Phone calls home

Hugging those who are sad,
Lecturing those who are bad,
Biting back tears for those who are in need,
As 25 little ones cry, beg, plead or please
Inside the classroom with desks knee high.

A life marked in pencil shavings, books, papers, pens, crayons, markers, lessons, grading, strategizing, compromising, analyzing, buying things with one’s own money, talking, teaching, toting, preaching, paying, worrying, laughing, giving, building, breaking, loving, but most importantly learning

Can only be Valued,
Earned,
Rewarded,
And Measured

In Love

As 25 little ones give thanks in their own way
To the teacher who changed them in that classroom with desks knee high.

Inside a Dewdrop

This morning, I did my yoga practice in my backyard.  The dew was still fresh on the grass and the birds were chirping in my trees.  I unrolled my mat and walked on the uneven cushion the grass underneath provided.  I inhaled and stretched my arms out wide.  I exhaled and brought my arms by my side.  My body was awakening to the rhythm of this morning.photo 1

All my aches and pains from the 7 hours of immobile sleeping and the days and nights of slumping and standing, sitting and pushing, lifting and grabbing, melted away with each inhalation, exhalation and controlled yet fluid movement.

In one sequence, I was on my stomach preparing for locust pose.  I rooted my pelvis, toes and legs into the earth, brought my arms behind me, rolled my shoulders back, inhaled and exhaled into a strong yet fluid back-strengthening pose.  I opened my eyes and before me I saw a tiny raindrop on a blade of grass. My eyes refocused and I came out of the pose and looked again and I saw a multitude of dewdrops before me.  Out of nowhere, tears of gratitude and appreciation welled up in my eyes.  How miraculous to see all the blades of grass before me with one tiny dewdrop on each of them.  The first thing I thought of was Walt Whitman’s line, “A child said to me, ‘What is the grass?’ fetching it to me with full hands; / How could I answer the child?. . .I do not know what it is anymore than he.”  How wonderful to think that a simple blade of grass, a dewdrop, a flower, a tree that we take for granted is hard to explain when you really contemplate on its true essence.

photo 3

I remember last fall watching Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s new series of Cosmos and in one episode he talked about multiverses and what is inside a raindrop.  I was fascinated to learn that a raindrop is it’s own universe – filled with living microscopic organisms in a symbiotic relationship with one another.  (I guess I knew all of this from 7th grade science, but to see it represented on my big screen Hi-Definition TV was fascinating and really made it sink into my brain.)  And Tyson kept going and smiled and said inside these microscopic organisms are a small universe inside that keeps them going.  The same can be said for our bodies as well.  We’re all composed of atoms and elements, bacteria and blood, muscle and bone that came from some Big Bang way out there.  We’re made of Star Stuff.  To quote Tyson:  “We are part of the universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both those facts is that the universe is in us.”

I went on with my practice:  breathing to my own rhythm and relaxing into my body, which isn’t perfect and which sometimes creaks and cracks more than I would like it to.  My mind was clear and sometimes it wasn’t and I was worrying about what I would fix for lunch.  I was in tune with my body and my alignment and poses were impeccable and sometimes I wasn’t and my alignment was slightly off and I started to feel a tiny little tweak in my lower back so I slowly came out of headstand.  I went through a series of emotions in that short span of an hour:  excitement, contentment, bewilderment, anger, calm, love, joy, gratitude, confusion and  back to gratitude again.

What I saw as I opened my eyes from relaxation pose.
What I saw as I opened my eyes from relaxation pose.

During the last pose before relaxation, I watched a tiny little sweat bee land on my mat and rest before skipping to the dewdrops for a morning drink.  And briefly during this yoga practice I felt connected to every aspect of life, to the plants, the trees, the grass, the sky, the sun, the birds, the bees and the dewdrops.  Home in a universe that contains multitudes of universes.

How wonderful!  I didn't see the sweat bee in my photo until I just uploaded it for this blog post!
How wonderful! I didn’t see the sweat bee in my photo until I just uploaded it for this blog post!

To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every cubic foot of the interior swarms with the same;
Every spear of grass–the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles. -Walt Whitman