Best laid plans until Vladimir the Russian Wolf Hound decides it’s his party, then it’s best just to roll with it ;).
Things have definitely settled down after last weekend’s torrential storms and flooding here in Austin; even Red Bud Isle dog park is back in business. It’s a very pretty park to start the day in and even to do some qi gong if you know how to go with the flow!
Sure it’s cornball, but I believe the key to happiness, which is fleeting, is to look for the good stuff in times of chaos. What do you believe?
On a bright & brisk March day, I did some qi gong moves that focus on releasing grief from the lungs, by literally letting the lungs breathe (stretch), while pointing index & thumb like a gun (Chicago-Bang_Bang). The Bean is a HUGE Figure 8 ta boot, such a magical place!
I was in Chicago to say goodbye to my Uncle Buzz, a bittersweet trip for sure as his dance card was up. I tipped Buzz’s Chicago Whitesox hat my uncle, to the Loop; and to the Irish of Chicago. I bid you a fond farewell into the Mystic xx
I am following the suggestions of Dr. Christiane Northrup from her book, “Goddesses Never Age” although I have been practicing standing on one foot with eyes closed to find my balance for some time now — it never gets old;). But now it turns out it will help you stay young and mobile! Although you probably shouldn’t try doing it the first few times on a cliff overlooking a busy highway… :DD
Qi gong is great to wake up in the morning and also great to help you prepare for sleep. By rotating your arms around in a bird-like fashion, it helps quiet the mind and encourage deep breathing. A soothing Beatles tune helps :))
This qi gong move is called Big Bear Swims in Ocean and is totally great for relieving stress in the shoulders and back. The energy of the river helps move the energy out & away, and for this I am grateful because here in Central Texas, we’ve got big drought problems. My dog Henry came along for this one w00f.
I have overcome my fear of doing qigong in public (mostly), and at this groovy Austin museum on a rainy January day, I pull out a Heaven & Earth followed up with a Knocking on the Door of Life. Good Day Austin!
Your posture can affect your energy, so best to sit up straight to help you feel more confident. Cross your legs and arms in front of you if you want to ward off unwanted relationship questions from Aunt Marcy :))
Sometimes I burst out in tears when I think about my mom, and I’m occasionally surprised at how close I feel to the sadness, but I don’t question it, as grief is what it is. This usually happens when I am doing the dishes or sweeping the floor or some other mundane task, but not always; sometimes it happens when I am out in public and I find creative ways to work the tears into whatever it is I am doing. I get a pang in my heart and find the most comforting thing to do is to put my forearm over my eyes and let it all hang out, even if in silence. It is usually short-lived, but bellows from deep down.
Last night I threw a ribeye on the hot iron skillet and it hit me just as the sizzle splashed up; the sorrow of my mother’s death. The sorrow of her unlived life; dreams never seen, love never felt. It is not that I wish she were here, because we did not spend much time together and when we did it was strained — or something. I cry for her sadness and how our entire lives together were summarized in those few short days or minutes before she could not speak anymore. I cry for not having a daughter; who will hold my hand when I die? But still, my mom and I made our peace. She loved me. She was sorry. I was sorry. I loved her.
I often see it as my mother slipping into a black, fiery hole, on a board that is angled at a fairly steep 45-degree angle, leading into the black, murky hole. It is a big hole and I am kneeling on one knee on the edge, with my arm extended towards her, leaning farther in as I am physically begging her to grab my hand. There are angels standing along the edge of the hole, probably about ten of them — I just counted them for the first time in my mind, because I have not paid much attention to them. My mom is slipping feet first into this hole and she is looking back up at me, reaching towards me and trying to say something to me as if its the first time she is speaking to me and obviously, it is the last time. Always in this scene, I am reaching towards her with my right arm as I have my left forearm over my eyes, as I hang my head low in deep sorrow. She is leaving me for the final time. The sadness goes deep.
“Don’t be scared, Mom”, as she slips in deeper.
What do I know? Nothing. It’s hard to know what to say when someone is dying.
I miss her. I think she’s okay. What do I know?
When I am hit with this moving picture show in my mind, and once I compose myself, I think about how much my life has changed since my mom’s death. In many ways, maybe I too was sliding into a big black hole, because I certainly didn’t feel all that alive 18 months ago. I was trapped in my own fears, imprisoned by my own thoughts and completely out of touch with my heart. I had accepted that I was getting old and that there would be no more real moments of joy nor carefree silliness in life; only perhaps drunken silliness, and this is not really all that silly, except that it is pretty silly.
I clutched my heart a lot after my mom’s death; I thought I was having a heart attack. I couldn’t breathe and I was terrified. I reached for the walls when I walked in case I fell down. I was so afraid I was dying. Nooooooo, please not like this. I found a doctor, made an appointment. Then fell asleep for two weeks.
After I changed everything in my life, I actually started to have real fun again. My spirit came back after I left Chicago and moved to my mom’s empty place in Woodstock, where I began to pursue the things that mattered most to me. People fell out of my life, good ones and bad, as did a number of jobs — money too; oh the money went tumbling out. I started taking long walks around Lake Geneva, because I simply had to move about outside, as well as doing lots of yoga. I quit drinking and drank kale juice every morning and soon felt amazingly strong and ready for new adventures. I was breaking free of the shackles of my life, which in hindsight felt a lot like walking through a long dark hallway while being striped of every thread I wore. It was beautiful and terrifying time, and the fears of the future were loud, but my faith grew louder each day as I awoke to a new ability to see and feel…. energy. Twirling Figure 8’s are what I see, everywhere. They make me hopeful.
I am certain I will spend the rest of my life learning about energy, even though I hear those sarcastic Irish voices in my head that say, “you do WHAT Meag??! You see Figure 8’s???? Should you be driving? Are you in the paint again Meag???” I boot those needling leprechauns aside and forge ahead — they cannot stop me now because they are all dead and I am alive and roam the earth with my trusty energy balls.
I initially thought I would be an energy healer in my next career, but as I dig deeper, I am not so sure. To work with people’s energy is to associate with them on such an intimate level, which presents all sorts of ethical issues that I’m not interested in, quite frankly. I have always been a bit of a loner, so I looked to other ways of working it. Which is why I am super-glad I have jumped into the arena by returning to my first love, DANCING.
I am now a Nia Technique teacher, although for years I studied and taught Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythm’s. I loved my time in the 5 Rhythms but my life fits so much better with Nia now. However, no one is coming to my classes just yet, but gosh it’s great practice! I suspect this dance may be a bit too progressive for Dripping Springs. Change is in the air here and people are moving here in droves, but the majority of people here are young, church-going families, who I suspect are not looking to take a dance class that combines the best of modern dance, martial arts and the healing arts. I keep my heart and my eyes open for new horizons, as usual, as I look outside of Texas.
What is Nia dance, you ask? When founders Debbie and Carlos Rosas created NIA in the early 80’s as an alternative to the high-impact aerobics craze, they called it “non-impact aerobics”. Over time they determined the acronym was negative, so research took them in a new direction. It was then renamed “Neuromuscular Integrated Action”, but how lame is that? About 15 years ago, a truth revealed itself: in Swahili, Nia means ‘purpose;’ in Hebrew, it means ‘to create subtle movements.’ Ah, the metaphysical truth.
In Nia, we use nine classic movement forms: three from the martial arts (t’ai chi, aikido, tae kwon do), three from the dance arts (jazz, modern, Duncan), and three from the healing arts (yoga, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais). There are also 52 fundamental steps and patterns. When the custom choreographed music starts up, I move the moves by adding my own personality and style of dance, so that it becomes my dance — and I encourage you to discover your dance. This is why I really love Nia, it honors the skill level and development of the individual spirit with these age-old practices. There is no wrong way to do Nia, unless you are hurting yourself; you move in your body’s way. I learn something new each time I dance the dance and I anticipate future learning pangs.
I incorporate tools to improve my body’s energy during my class that I have learned over the past several months, and I also share them on Instagram, called #newenergyin15 . I’ve learned these tips from Lee Holden, Sonia Choquette, Lydia Wong, Donna Eden at Eden Energy Medicine ( I LOVE Donna’s energy!) and from my own inspiration, so it really is becoming my style and maybe someday I will have students!
When the tears for my mom appear, I let them hang out, because they keep me grateful and in tune with why I pursue the things I pursue. My mom’s dreams were cut short many years ago while she sat around waiting to die and then she fought like hell in the final hours. I’m attempting to mow down my regrets before they have a chance to fester; having sat with three people as they laid dying revealed some crushing views on life and I am thanking my stars above that I have an opportunity to turn my life around. Once again. 😀
My mission statement: “I want the rest of my life to be the best of my life.”
My quest to understand energy has only just begun, so do you care to dance with me?
May has finally warmed things up in the Midwest after a never-ending winter, and now the buds, blossoms and green fields are singing everywhere — I have even spotted a real live elbow or two (a sure sign of spring) while out and about. I am on Month Two Point Five of my “time out” from the city and I continue to make good on the promise to myself that I would not get bored. Outside of work and school, I intend to find new people, places and things and interesting things to do. People live here for a reason, right?
I’ll be honest; Northern Illinois bores me to absolute tears. I know I am not long for this area because I am here for a reason and I am dedicated to discovering things that I had not known while growing up, nor back for ocassional visits. I’ve officially made peace with Woodstock, but c’mon you all drive me crazy Illinois.
When I go to grocery stores and ask if they have organic vegetables, they look at me as if I am the Creature from the Black Lagoon. A produce guy said to me, “I’ve been eating these pesticides my whole life and nothing has happened to me!” I laughed, said “me too!” and sashayed away. We’ve all been eating them but now it’s time to stop, Bubs! I don’t expect it to be Organic Town USA here, but I do enjoy the conversations it can encourage. Northern Illinois has a huge resistance to it.
I have never understood McHenry County and probably never will. I went to the local community college because I heard they had a map of all the county trails but when I pulled into the main parking lot, I almost fell out of my car. Literally. They had created a mock-cemetery in the front yard of all the babies aborted. There were vicious signs everywhere. I was aghast. At the community college. eeee-gads. I’ve often commented that it feels more like Texas here than Texas.
There is something about this county that just does not want to be budged.
So be it, I am only a visitor.
My temporary explorations must carry on! The curious mind has pushed me across the border to Wisconsin, once again. My ex-sister-in-law Wendy and her family live in Linn Township and we have long considered each other as family, even though technically we are no longer. Wendy’s oldest son, Jackson, now five, has autism and recently they added Inka, the German autism service dog, to their rowsy family. Inka was trained in Germany and continues her training locally yet has a fairly substantial bill to support her services. Wendy and her neighbors are really good about creating events to support each other and a few weeks ago they hosted a partial-walk around Lake Geneva to raise funds to defer some of Inka’s training costs. The walk ended at Foley’s Bar & Grill where they offered a special Reuben sandwich for the day and sponsored a meat raffle. yes a meat raffle, say what?! Tables & tables of meat were raffled off, I’ve never seen anything like it. I won a huge a Wisconsin salami.
So this was not only a great event to be involved in, it totally sparked my memory that there is a 20-something-mile path that goes all the way around the lake and it’s open to the public. Over the past two weeks, I have hit this trail and it is SPECTACULAR.
As you make your way around the lake, homes that are not visible from anywhere but the lakefront are visible, as are their gorgeous landscapes and lake-faring accouterments. No two homes are the same and the path is varied and semi-rugged, by going through golf courses, flat beaches, endless green lawns and beautiful lakefront patios and so on. I recommend remaining very respectful because you are very close to people’s homes, but there certainly are areas you can sit back and take in the views. I sat at William Wrigley’s boat slip to take in the sunset — very serene indeed.
I look forward to learning more about Lake Geneva this summer, especially because this is FREE! Things just taste better when they are free, yahvoh!
I am completely grateful my health has returned (WHEW!) and my legs are strong once again and ready to hike, hike hike. Ever since I read Cheryl Strayed’s “WILD” when I was in Lake Tahoe a few weeks ago, I am feeling compelled to plan a super-big hike, but not entirely the same as Cheryl Strayed’s hike of the Pacific Crest Trail.
I back-packed through Northern Arizona several years ago and hiking with a monster-backpack is very hard work — I felt very tall and my legs were never stronger. It’s hot and dirty, dusty and smelly but I absolutely loved the experience — even though a mountain lion growled at me and I thought I was going to die right there. I didn’t.
That was an experience a woman should experience in her twenties, and that’s about when I had mine. Except I think I was 32. I am looking to do something different now and will continue to research and plan.
My legs are ready to climb things again, this much I know. A treadmill will not cut it.
Next up, mom’s ashes are going for a swim. Thank you for reading my words, I do appreciate it. xo