Let It BE!

let it be, Hawaii vacation, relaxationDo you remember those middle school essays: “What I Did on My Vacation” ?

Back then, I proudly wrote: “I read, I swam, I sunbathed by the pool, I caught fireflies.”

Back then, we didn’t have computers and cell phones, I-Pads and I-Pods, Twitter and Facebook.

Back then, we didn’t have a hundred choices of things to DO, like skydive or zipline, paraglide or climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, river raft or whale watch.

Back then, vacation was a time to just BE.

Now, most of us are always doing, especially on vacation.

So I’m kind of embarrassed to answer the question about what I did on my vacation this month:reading, vacation, Ann Patchett,

(1)  I read six books: The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, Time and Again by Jack Finny, Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming, Marry Me, by Kristin Walker, The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett.

(2)  I walked hand and hand with my man, with no destination in mind.

Kauai, Hawaii, walking, vacation

A path to nowhere.

(3)  I watched giant turtles teach me the power of floating to wherever I am taken.

turtle, Kauai

I could do this all day.

(4)  I shopped at the U.S.’s western-most bookstore in the little town of Hanapepe, Kauai.

Talk Story Booksore, bookstores

(5)  I dozed in the sun after an hour of a yoga tai chi class along the ocean.

yoga, tai chi, vacation, meditation

(6)  I admired the sunrise…and the sunset.

Kauai, sunset, relaxation,

(7)  I caught waves of memories, splashes of insight, whispered tradewind words of wisdom, sand drifts of dreams, and a beach load of joy.

Many say I didn’t DO anything…

I say I explored the world of BE.

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.” Robert Orben

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.” Robert Orben

Energy Magnetism

energy magnetismI’m your basic centered, normal, more ‘in there,’ than ‘out there’ woman.

That said, I’ve just had an amazing experience that seems unexplainable.

It began in yoga class (and for those of you non-yogis, don’t nod your head knowingly as if that makes me susceptible to ‘strangeness’).  Here in the left coast, at least, yoga is accepted as an important part of the exercise regimen of many: men, women, old, young.yoga class, meditation, energy

So back to yoga class. I arrive after work, exhausted, ready to go home instead and plop on the couch while sipping on a class of wine.  But I make myself attend the hour-long yoga session, knowing that the plow, down dogs, and a warrior pose or two will probably help.

The yoga teacher takes one look at me and inquires, “Tough day?”

“I’m exhausted,” I admit.

“Perfect, since I planned on a more restorative practice today,” she responds.

Shavasana, yogaI almost clap in delight. Restorative yoga is relaxing, quiet, with some twists and stretches, but little energy demanded. My main worry is that I won’t fall asleep during Shavasana (also known as Corpse Pose).

Sure enough, I walk out of class an hour later, a new woman. Still tired, but in a restful way. I want to curl up at home on the deck and just commune with the hummingbirds.

But first I stop at the neighboring grocery store to buy some fish and veggies for dinner.

vegetables, grocery store, energy

As I approach the vegetable department, wondering if I should splurge on a baked potato instead of wild rice, an onion falls at my feet.

Huh. Weird, since no one else is nearby.onion, energy, vegetable

After grabbing a spud, I walk past the potato shelf to retrieve the onion, but when I lightly place the brown bulb back on the shelf, another onion jumps out and totters to the floor.

onion, energy, vegetableI laugh, kind of, pick it up, and gently place it with the others.

But a third onion drops out of its space and falls, yup, directly in front of my feet.onion, energy, vegetable

Whoa, this is a pain.

I oh so slowly walk away from the misbehaving onions, and turn to my right to check out the greener (more friendly) vegetables. Two feet away from me, parsely, yoga, vegetableon the other side of the onion aisle, a bunch of parsley springs out of its snug space and drops to the floor.

NO ONE else is around.

I wonder if this is a candid camera moment. You know, suddenly a photographer and narrator pop out of the woodwork and shout, “Surprise! You’re on Reality TV!”

But no, I’m still alone, with the moving, jumping, laughing vegetables.

I rush away, noting a red pepper swaying with its ilk and, yup, falling as I run toward the seafood department.

“Salmon, now!” I whisper, whipping out my purse and finishing the deal before the lobsters, clams, and shrimp come after me.

Halfway to the car, I hear a thud on the blacktop and trip over something. The potato, stored in the bag with my fish, has somehow escaped the confines of my purse.

I run, not walk, back to the yoga studio. “Oh my god, what is happening?” I yell, yogic peace now dismantled.

After relating my story, the teacher just smiles.

“I told you that restorative yoga can expand your energy,” she explains peacefully.

Whaa? I don’t remember her saying that. I was too busy sighing while lying on the floor with my knees facing one way, my arms and shoulders the other.

“We are all energy. Right now you have a load of energy buzzing all around you, from your practice. The energy of other living things is just responding. Everything is gravitating toward you, reaching out, sort of like two magnets pulling together.”

Gawd.

energy, yoga, vegetables

My energy.

I suddenly feel powerful.

I have energy magnetism!!

And I LIKE it!

I leave the studio, feet barely touching the ground, holding my car keys tightly, wondering what I might next attract.

I know one thing – I’m going to keep on expanding my energy, but I might avoid the grocery store from now on after my restorative “workouts.”

 

FIVE-Minute Wonder

timer, time, five minutesI only have five minutes to bake.

Now, who can make scrumptious, tasty chocolate chip butterscotch oatmeal bars in five minutes? Not I, but that fact has never stopped me. Because I always try to fit in too many things in too little time. And then I whine, “Why can’t I get everything done?”

Nice, the way I psychoanalyze myself, I decide, as I soften the butter and pour in 1½ cups of white sugar, mix, then add ½ cup of brown sugar. The purple mixer, a sweet Christmas gift from my son and his wife, whirrs along like the hummingbirds outside our window. hummingbird, time, baking

Until we moved back here to the temperate climate of the bay area, I’d never heard the soft buzz of the hummingbirds’ wings as they compete for the sugar water in our feeder. Hard to replicate in words or even human sounds. How to describe? Like a hundred bees racing by my ear, only without the buzz. No, that doesn’t do it. It’s a hum as indescribable as the sound of a mixer’s beaters swooshing in the creamy butter/sugar blend.

I watch another hummer whiz past as I crack in one egg, then the other. Of course, I cogitate; my son had ulterior motives for giving me a new beater for Christmas. He loves my cookies. And he’s smart, I’ll hand it to him. He moans with delight and appreciation every time I bring him a new batch of chocolate cookies or, his favorite, my ‘forgotten cookies.’

Shoot! Speaking of forgotten, I am now 2 minutes late for my yoga class. I add another egg and a teaspoon of vanilla. The smell of the extract gives me a sense of serenity usually experienced after an hour of yogic gyrations. Total nirvana. Funny, how one of the synonyms for vanilla is ‘bland” or ‘plain.” Vanilla is one of the finest aromas in the world – up there with honeysuckle or the ocean. ocean, time, yoga

Ocean! Oh no, I promised my brother I’d send him the pictures from our summer seashore vacation. Has it really been a month since then? Where’d the time go? I almost sent those photos two weeks ago, but I got immersed in writing some new chapters of my book, and visiting our Berkeley grandkids, and my ‘day job,’ and our four out-of-town visitors in the past month.

I measure 2 ¼ cups of flour and slowly add it into the bowl, attempting to not sneeze as the white powder tries to escape the impending merger.

Speaking of merging, my daughter calls, interrupting the cookie making, and talks about the latest ultrasound. She and her husband merged again, and a third child is on the way. How the hell did I become a grandmother of five, soon six? Last time I looked, I was tucking our children to bed after reading them the fourth chapter of The Witch, the Lion and the Wardrobe.

Oh damn. I forgot to pick up the dry cleaning again. My wardrobe is suffering for it – will I need to wear the same blouse from three days ago? Horrors.

The mixer moans and I remember that I’m beating the hell out of my concoction. Quickly, I add the oatmeal and the chips. I’ve missed yoga, I’ll have to add a load of clothes to the washing machine now, and the potatoes are bubbling for the casserole tonight. Where was I?

Ah yes, five minutes to get everything done. I glance up at the clock. Well, I only have five minutes now before I need to….The dog hits his head against my arm. “Feed me,” he says, “Now.”

“Henry, it’s too early!” I tell him with a twinge of sympathy. But I glance up at the clock. Twenty minutes past his dinner time. Where oh where did those five minutes go?

cookies, chocolate chip bars, time, baking

WHAT DO YOU GET ACCOMPLISHED IN FIVE MINUTES?

The Weight of the Soul

brain, soul, weight“Breathe in! Breathe out.

Breathe in and slowly move your chin to the right.

Exhale, back to center. Inhale, chin toward the right.”

I slowly lead my chin, and my mind, into a trance. I’m so ready to leave this world and get transported by the words of my yoga teacher.

“Now inhale, move your head down, toward your chest.”

Ahhhh, I sigh. God that feels good.

“After all,” the teacher explains soothingly, “the head weights 15-20 pounds. That’s….”

WHAT? My eyes pop open as they reach for the yogi’s eyes. Is she kidding?

“Yes, yes,” she says gently. That’s a lot of weight we carry on our neck.”

I stop inhaling.

I stop exhaling.

My brain races with the thought. Twenty pounds? No wonder I can’t lose weight. Those 20 pounds of pure brain tissue are keeping the scale unmoving, no matter that I gave up ice cream.

My body lists to the left. Oh shoot, I’m almost fainting because I’ve stopped breathing.

Inhale, Pam. Inhale.heavy head in yoga

But 20 POUNDS of brain? Why had I not considered this before? All the dreams and wishes and worries in there. All the love and hate (not much hate, but I really do dislike baked ham) in there. And the conversations – internally and then externally.

The soul – how much does the SOUL weigh, compared to the brain?

“Pam. Pam,” the teacher looks grieved. “Where are you?”

I stand up straighter, swaying a bit from the lack of oxygen.

“I’m leaving,” I announce.

I need to find someplace to weigh my head.

I float out the door, my head trailing behind, feeling heavier than ever before.

The soul releases

The soul releasing its weight.