The Singing Violin

I am not sure which was more beautiful – the notes that came from her strings or her passionate expression as she played them. As I listened to young Lavinia Pavlish play her violin, I was transported to another world. It was a world where beauty and truth reigned supreme. Her expression ranged from focused frowns to joyful smiles, but each was so genuine and organic, driven by the relationship created by this woman and her instrument. It was as if she was sharing a piece of herself, feeling every note as she carefully found it or created it, caressed it, and then released it out to the audience with loving care. Her soul – that which cannot be seen, was sent out riding on the magic carpet of notes to connect with other souls. The Truth and Beauty that lives in each of us is so connected. I sat in the presence of God as the notes soared into me, through me, and I was moved to tears. Time stood still in that moment. What a gift to be able to do what you are meant to do in this world. What a gift to create such beauty. And even further, what a gift to be able to share that gift with others. I am so blessed.

40 Days – Week 3

Well, I completed week 3 of my 40 days yesterday with an awesome restorative yoga class! It is so relaxing and rejuvenating…it is a like a 60 minute vacation for the body and the mind! If you have never done it, I highly recommend it! I have learned that rest days are really important in terms of letting your body get caught up with itself. Some days I have done yoga and running on the same day which feels good, but it is nice to pair that with a rest/restorative day. This was a pretty good week all around. Here are the stats:

5 (yoga) – I did practice 5 times, counting Amy’s Sat class twice again. I also took a Barre class one time which is not yoga, but not running either – it is hard to categorize it, but it is a good strength building workout!
4 (run) – I ran three times this week
3 (fruits and veggies) – check!
2 (20 minutes of writing a day) – I wrote 4 out of the 7 times this week so that was okay
1 (reflection) – I read my reflections daily
0 – still no nut butters – for 21 days!

I’m halfway to 40 days! I don’t necessarily feel any different, but I am more aware of eating better and trying to get all my activity in. I’ve been thinking about my next goal and thinking about registering for a half sometime this summer/fall. I realized today that the Akron Marathon is the same weekend of Homecoming this year so that won’t work. Crud. I could do Columbus or maybe the Towpath half. We shall see. I will do a little more looking and thinking before registering for one. Anyone want to run/train with me?!

40 Days Week 2

So I’m almost done with my 3rd week of my 40 day journey and I’m just getting around to blog about week 2! I guess that tells you how well I’m doing with my writing component, huh? Actually it has not been that bad. I’ve been writing here and there and in the spirit of not being perfect, here is my report on week 2!

5 (yoga) – I did get 5 practices in for this week! I count Amy’s Saturday class as two because it is crazy hard and awesome!
4 (runs) – I only ran twice this week, BUT I did try the barre class for the first time and so that counts for something! It was really different, fun and a great workout! I’ll definitely go again!
3 (fruits and veggies) – It has been relatively easy to get these in three times a day or more.
2 (writing 20 min) – I wrote 5 out of 7 days which is pretty good for me I’d say!
1 (reflection once a day) – I did this definitely. It helps to have the reflections up right next to my toothbrush!
But best of all – still no nut butters of any kind! I don’t miss it too much…just every now and then!

Onward on!

An Angry Runner

April 16, 2013

For once I was not annoyed by the dudes in hoodies and shorts (with their hoods on), loudly grunting and groaning as they lifted weights in the fitness room (and then dropping them loudly) while I ran on the treadmill at lunch today. No, I actually liked it. Their and shrieks and shouts matched the anger I felt running today and just propelled me to keep running. I clicked through the TV looking for something to help me zone out for awhile and get away from news coverage of yesterday’s tragedy in Boston that is still unfolding. But I could not seem to find anything but news channels and I began to get angry…CNN, MSNBC, all with talking heads blabbering on, scrolls of “breaking news” coming across the screen all against a backdrop of the same horrific video footage that has already been burned forever in my mind.

“Come on, ” I thought. “Where is TLC’s What Not to Wear when I really need it?!”

Finally I gave up and shut the darn thing off focusing instead on thinking about each of the people who had died in the blasts. One mile for each one…But I started thinking about what I was so angry about and started running faster.

I know some people are talking about being strong in this situation, or finding “light in darkness” or some other type of positive feeling right now, but not me. Maybe I’ll get there, but not now. No, right now I’m just angry.

I’m angry that, yet again, innocent people were hurt and killed in a horrific act of violence.

I’m angry that of all places, this evil has descended upon a recreational event. A race – THE RACE for the running community on a holiday has been forever tainted by this horrible thing. This race is not controversial or political in any way. It is simply good and pure: a healthy competition where people can challenge themselves, train and achieve an unbelievable personal goal while family, friends and community members cheer them on.

I’m angry that it seems like every area of our world has been systematically rocked and changed by evil, leaving fear and suspicion where innocence and trust used to live. Our airports…our schools…our recreation in public spaces…

I’m angry that outstanding runners who have trained their butts off to qualify for this race were not able to finish and they might not ever get that chance again.

I’m angry that as much as I want to know who is responsible for this heinous act, it probably does not even matter in the long run who it is. A name or names to associate with this incomprehensible tragedy will not change anything. Evil just IS and it seems like we are powerless to stop it.

As I sped up towards the end of my run I recalled the last breaking news story on CNN before I turned off the TV. It was the story of the eight-year-old boy at the finish line who was cheering on his dad running the Boston Marathon yesterday. He did not get the chance to congratulate his dad on a race well run because he died from injuries caused by the bombs. I flashed back to another young boy (9-years-old) who cheered on his mom at the finishing line of another marathon in a different city two years ago. That mom heard the claps and cheers from her son and felt the joyful embrace from her son and family on that wonderful day. Same 26.2 miles but with a very different outcome. Oh, God, be with the people in Boston. God, be with us all.

Raising the Barre!

So I finally went to my first Barre class at Yoga Lounge yesterday morning. I was a bit timid to try it thinking that I am not a dancer in any way, shape or form and a bit intimidated about the bars and mirrors and everything. Also, I was resistant to thinking about that beautiful space as anything other than for yoga, as it has become such a sacred and special place for me for yoga. However, I am all about trying something new so I just went for it and went to the 6am class. Hey, it was a Friday, how bad could it be? Little did I know then that it would be the best part of my day yesterday – but that is another story!

So I walked in, and my friend Karie, kindly explained to me how to set up the space. There was lots of equipment involved – ugh…not happy about that. Not only was it 6am, but now I had to grab equipment and set up my space properly with a yoga mat, slide board, another foam mat, two sets of weights and a ball. I’m used to getting in there, flopping my mat down, grabbing a block and assuming my suptabada position to quiet my mind (or sometimes continue sleeping, let’s be honest), until the teacher arrives. No none of that at Barre! Get your stuff all set up and then stand, no child’s pose, no suptabada, no seated meditation…and get ready! I think I was standing in a bit of a pout when Amy walked in. Thankfully we started right in before I could be too cranky, and after some knee lifts went right into arms. I was quickly glad that I wimped out (I thought) and grabbed lighter weights because the arm sequence was intense with no breaks. Awesome. Next came the glideboard thing. So, this explains the reason for slipper/sock things! This is a slippery board bookended by two buffer type foam things. The goal, I discovered, is to glide one foot all the way and hit the buffer and then have the other foot follow it and tap the first foot and then do the same on other other side. At first this felt easy, but the more I did it the more I realized that this is really a great cardio workout! I kept feeling like was a human shuffleboard! This part of the class was a bit boring for me, but Amy started going around the room asking us questions and then pretty soon we were done. It was suggested that we could add arms, but I just stayed with the basis foot movements since it was my first class.

Next was the barre…we did a number of sequences of squats (well, that is why I call it!), and such and it was definitely really hard and an awesome workout! It was fun because Amy used dance terms like “first position”, “second position” and “releve” which at first I would think would make me feel intimidated, but it was actually kinda cool. Yes, one of my fantasies is that in my next life I would be a dancer…or at least be good at it, so this felt really cool! To take a class at a barre, with a mirror, next to a group of amazing women, and a teacher calling out dance terms. And, I could actually do it and keep up, for the most part! Very cool. Yes, the barre has been raised ladies and germs and I’m glad I went for it rather than just doing the limbo!

A Life Remembered

Twelve easels filled with smiles
Give a love history lesson to all
Norwegian painting, wedding dresses and Swedish collectibles
Provide evidence of a life remembered

Family reunited across the miles
Reconnecting in spite of the reason
Happy to be a part and
Sharing in a life remembered

Special hymns sung
Shaky voices impart readings
Tearful speeches offered
Witnesses of a life remembered

Grand pipes swell to their dynamic climax
An amazing send off for an amazing lady
Jesus had a co-pilot this Easter Sunday
And I applaud with praise, tears and joy.
Celebrating a life remembered

Pans overflowing with a Swedish feast
Eating, laughing, crying – then repeat
Kind words from lips, from computers, from papers
Demonstrating a life remembered

A memory no longer perfect
But a heart still kind and gentle
No one liked her – everyone loved her
A life remembered…a love remembered…forever.

Rest in Peace, dear Aunt Kay

My 40 Days: Week 1

Wednesday, April 10

Well, I suppose I should report how I am doing so far on my 40 days! I completed my first week on Monday and all things considered I think it went really well. Here is how the numbers came out with the goals listed to remind you:

5 yoga – I got 4 in
4 running – I got 4 runs in!
3 fruits and vegetables per day – I got this in everyday.
20 minutes writing – only got one in of 7 days (need to increase this in the coming week!)
1 reading of a reflection – I got 5 out of the 7 days done
0 nut butters – no nut butters for 7 days!

I unexpectedly needed to go out of town for three days this week (family funeral) so it was a little more difficult to get everything in. My schedule and my mind were a bit disheveled so I just made the best of it. I was just glad to get all the runs in! As I said in my intro to the 40 days I was not shooting for perfect so I’m okay with that. I am enjoying reading the reflection in the morning. It helps me to set a good intention for the day. I also am enjoying NOT eating almond or peanut butter. I have discovered another great to-go breakfast…my English muffin egg-wich which is surprisingly portable as well as rediscovered my steal cut oats. I have cut down significantly on night snacking as well so all is well. So there it is – my tracking of the first week – short and sweet! Let’s see what the next week brings!

Ladies who “Lunch” or “Locker Room”?!

So I got to thinking the other day about my lunchtime workouts. Pretty much every day between the hours of noon and 1pm you will find me either running outside or on the treadmill, taking a yoga class or every now and then doing the elliptical machine. I am so grateful for this time. First and foremost I am thankful that I work in a place where the culture supports working out at lunchtime AND that I work in a building with not only a locker room right in it – including showers and the whole bit, but also a workout room and group exercises all for free!

But more than having the time to exercise and the awesome free equipment, showers and yoga classes, I am grateful for the community that has been built over the years during this time. There is a contingent of women who fill the locker room with flurry from about 12:00pm – 12:05pm and then again from about 12:45pm – 1:05pm or 1:10pm (hey, sometimes we need more time to beautify afterwards!). Some take yoga, some do the “Insanity workouts”, run, hit the elliptical or other machines, swim or some combination of those. But, the one thing we ladies have in common is that we are using our lunchtimes to get our activity in. We will don our sports bras and sneaks, and armed only with water bottles and good intentions, move our bodies, sweat a little (or a lot in my case) and get a boost to get us through the rest of the day.

We are not the “ladies who lunch” as Barbara Streisand sings about in the Stephen Sondheim song. No, we are the ladies who “locker room”. While the ladies who lunch have their shopping bags, we have our gym bags. While the ladies who lunch have their expensive shoes, we have our flip flops for the shower. And while the ladies who lunch have expensive meals at restaurants, we have a salad or leftovers at our desks post-workout. I would even venture to guess that the locker room has taken the place of the old coffee klatsch of my mom’s era, for women who work outside the home. I mean let’s face it, if we had a bunch of extra time to spend with friends outside of work, we would not need to make such good use of our lunch hours to get our work outs in! Am I right? And yes, the whole community thing is the key! I so enjoy getting caught up with my girls during our lunch runs/workouts. Even if it is just quickly telling a story during the walk to the fitness room for yoga, chatting in the shower or yelling above the noise of the hair dryer, this locker room time is precious connection time for me.

Then just as quickly as the flurry of women descends upon the locker room, it draws quiet again as the last locker doors are slammed shut. The only trace left of the lunchtime rush is the little trail of water on the floor by the drain and the sweet smell of baby powder and perfume that lingers. We came, we moved, we sweat a little (yes, some more than others) and we connected with other women in order to reset our bodies, our minds, and our attitudes for the rest of the day.

Until noon again tomorrow. And don’t forget a clean pair of socks!

My 40 Days and my break up with peanut butter!

April 1, 2013
Day 1

So it is Monday and the first new day of a new month! Perfect time to start a new program, right?! Right! Seriously – this is no April fool! Also Easter Sunday was yesterday so it is a prefect time to start something new. Here is the background info…I had signed up for the 40 Day program sponsored through the Yoga Lounge based on Baron Baptiste’s book, 40 Days to Personal Revolution: A Breakthrough Program to Radically Change Your Body and Awaken the Sacred Within Your Soul without too much thought, honestly. I looked at the schedule and figured I could make most of the Tuesday night meetings. I bought the book and figured I could get the 5 times a week yoga practices in – no biggie. I really didn’t actually know what the program was all about before signing up. I could not attend the informational meeting about the program, but didn’t seem to think that was a big deal. I just committed and figured I would figure it out as I went. It is not surprising that I was not successful with the program (aside from practicing yoga regularly!). I didn’t take/make the time to read the book, meditate or even set my own goals for the 40 Days. I also ended up missing about 3 of the Tuesday night meetings and basically felt like I flubbed up the entire thing. Fail – ugh. However, all is not lost! As some of you know, I am pretty determined and I refuse to just let this go as a missed opportunity! So – after thinking about it for the past 2 weeks (yes, I actually thought about it!), I have decided to do my own 40 Day program and I have set my own goals. I don’t expect it to be a perfect journey, but I do expect to show up and do what I say I am going to do – for me!

So here are my weekly goals for the next 40 days:
(I’m adopting an easy way to remember them using the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 plan. I mean it can’t get any easier than counting right?!)

5. Practice Yoga 5 times a week
4. Run 4 times a week
3. Eat a veggie or fruit with each of my 3 meals a day.
2. Write for 20 minutes (2×10 – okay, so it is a stretch) a day.
1. Read my daily reflection once a day and meditate on it.
0. Zero peanut butter or almond butter for 40 days. Peanut butter/almond butter and I have developed quite the fond relationship these days, but it is just not working for me anymore! While my mouth and tummy say “yes”, my pants are starting to say, rather loudly I might add, “NO!”. I only buy the all natural stuff now (for the past year or so) with no added sugar, just the nuts, but still it has gotten out of control. I need to be more creative with breakfast and snacks so this will nudge me in a different direction!

So, wish me luck!