adventure

Silver Lining

The other day an older gentleman was in one of my classes. He arrived early, so we had some time to chat. I asked him how his morning was going. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but he wasn’t very convincing that he was having a pleasant morning even though his words said it had been. He then asked me about mine. I mentioned I’d gotten my car back from the body shop, having smashed it a week before. I commented that I had enjoyed slowing down and doing some walking around through my neighborhood while my car was in the shop.. His blue eyes beamed, and he told me how great it was that I could find the silver lining. He said maybe he should work on that himself. I told him I have plenty of stories of tough times that turned out to be really wonderful. I mention bed bugs, he thought I’d said I’d been mugged. Hah.

It got me thinking about how we get to that place. The place where we can take a step back see the chaos or discomfort or tragedy around us, and accept it for what it is. We can find joy there, or at least a semblance of happiness. When we can acknowledge that we will make it through whatever the challenge that’s been presented, and enjoy the challenge. Laugh at it, even. 

Watching your house burn down, looking the other direction, and finding some sort of silver lining is not what I’m talking about. Non-acknowledgement does not promote growth. Really digging in to the challenges life throws you, and being able to take some pause, taking time that has been offered to peel back some layers is the gift. You may never have an answer to why, but it could point you in a direction that makes your life more rich. You experience growth, that’s the silver lining, however it manifests.

It’s okay to grieve, to be angry, to be frustrated, to feel. It’s okay to be a hot fucking mess, to be devastated, to be lost. Sometimes walking helps, sometimes sitting in silence. Drinking excessively does not. Chewing does. Slower movement and stillness. Slowing down and focusing on nothing else but the breath can help. Bringing ourselves into awareness is the only thing I know to do during challenging times. You can get there a number of ways. Some make it easier and more enjoyable. Letting go is key. Embrace the fact your world is fucked.

Acknowledge it. Breathe into the discomfort. Discomfort and agitation are places where changes are made. Let it go. Trust the process. Take care of yourself.

#ranching

Weekend before last I went out to Duschesne County for the weekend after a Trauma Sensitive Yoga workshop in Lehi. The workshop was great. Yael Calhoun is wonderful. I learned about some of the subtleties that create a trauma sensitive environment in a yoga class. Yael works with veterans and military sexual assault victims. She taught us some powerful techniques using basic communication. I'm glad I attended. 

Afterwards I drove two hours, partially through Provo Canyon for the first time, it was stunning. Saw kayakers and fly fishers. It was fun to come up to Heber from the other side of the mountains than I normally see on this trip out to the country going the long way out past Strawberry Reservoir. 

As always, being out in there is delightful, therapeutic, a treat. We made foraged dandelion pancakes for breakfast! Who knew? My cousin Brock heard about it from a person in his foraging class. So we tried it.  

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Definitely learned some things here, too, but they were delicious and fun. Will definitely try it again.

We also cut down a box elder tree. It was my first tree chopping experience. We all got to hack at it. (Yes, it would have been easier with a chainsaw. This was more fun, less noisy, and didn't require gasoline fumes.) I got to throw the rock attached to the rope up into the tree. Sometimes you aren't fully aware that you have unexpressed anger or frustration to release. Swinging an axe to a tree takes care of that. 

We saw a crane! I thought she was talking about a crane that falls on to the sidewalk in NYC and kills people, so I didn't bother to look at first. I'm glad she was persistent. I love how we look, watch, then go right back to what we were doing. 

So the tree finally came down. Success. 

Feeding and petting the horses also was a much needed therapeutic activity. We started with carrots, but they were still hungry. Who can walk away from a horse. 

Happy Horses

Happy Horses

Heidi and I went for a hike up the hill to look for frogs in the pond. Along the way we found wild asparagus, picked it and ate it. We brought some back and ate that, too. It's so fresh you can eat it raw. 

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Then it was time to go back home. I always feel so energized and happy after a weekend like this one. 

Snowstorm Stripes

I drove this dude from Ft. Worth, Michael, out to Park City this morning from the airport up through Parley's Canyon in a snowstorm. Before we reached Sugar House there were warnings for semis to put chains on their tires. (I grew up in Dallas and lived in NYC as a pedestrian for 7 years before I moved to Utah a year and a half ago.) Parley's Canyon on a good day is treacherous because it's steep, curvy, and people drive like maniacs. Before we reached Lamb's Canyon, traffic reached a standstill. I offered Michael to take him back to Salt Lake, but he flew in to go skiing. 

On the way to pick him up I was thinking about my very first friend Michael, who died 20 years ago with his girlfriend after colliding with a semi driving from Keuka College to his girlfriend's parents' house upstate in a blizzard. He was killed instantly, she died later at the hospital. It must have been gruesome and horrific. The accident happened shortly after his 21st birthday, he was buried days later on my birthday. 20 years ago last Sunday. 

I learned how to drive in the snow last year after I moved to Utah. Everyone's advice is to go slow, avoid hills and other drivers. It works pretty well, except when you're on a highway during morning rush hour traffic. 

I was telling Michael from Ft. Worth about my mom and brother getting stuck in the snow in Bears Ears a couple weeks ago on their way to Salt Lake from Dallas. Spending the night in the car, how they could have died, and that they were rescued by a satellite phone feature in the rental car and an $1100 tow. We approached what appeared to be the snarl, a car on the shoulder turned over on the driver's side. 

"They survived!" I told him, finishing the story, hoping the same was true for the occupants of the turned on its side car. He laughed. 

We finally got past Jeremy's Ranch, snow and slush became wet road and sprinkling rain. The clouds began to break. I could go the speed limit again. Captain Badass played as we exited Kimball Junction. I'm pretty sure Michael from Ft. Worth took notice and acknowledged quietly to himself what a badass job I did getting us through that snowstorm through Parley's Canyon without incident. When I dropped him off I gave him a fist bump and said thanks for being on that adventure with me. He gave me a nice tip. 

As it turns out, as it is in favorable weather conditions, the drive back to Salt Lake through Parley's Canyon is more treacherous. The snow had stopped and roads were plowed. People drive like maniacs, and it's mostly downhill. The left lane was closed because a subaru ran into a guard rail just before the runaway semi exit. The whole right fender was gone and it was turned around 360 degrees. After the curve a compact chevy almost drove into my line and would have hit me if I hadn't slowed down (and honked). Shortly after that, a semi changed his mind about exiting 215 and just started moving into the right lane almost taking out the compact chevy. I had time and space to move to the left lane, but the semi was making no excuses about coming over. That could have been real nasty.

I earned some driving courageously in the snowstorm through Parley's Canyon stripes today. I've often thought of driving as a metaphor for life. Sometimes you have no choice but to face what's thrown at you with courage and humor. 

I've driven hundreds of thousands of miles since the mid-90s, about 20 of those miles have been in the snow, none on the highway until today. Michael from Ft. Worth was pretty chill about it. He even told me he wasn't nervous when I asked if he was. Thank goodness, I needed him to be not nervous. He laughed quite a bit, and he seemed to have a good time. So did I. It was for sure a rite of passage. 

yogacentric

Last week I started a volunteer gig teaching yoga and art to a group of elementary school kids for their after school program. They're calling it YogART. The kids range kindergarten through 4th grade, all super sweet. They have been playing a yoga spinner game that they all enjoy, so I've continued with that. For the art portion, I just had them do a free draw so I could assess where they are for our first session.  This week I'm going to see how far we can get with Surya Namaskara A (sun salutations) and self portraits. It's definitely important to meet them where they are instead of being attached to the outcome. My number one goal is for them to have fun. If they get more out of it and learn anything, that's great, too. It's great practice for me. 

I also had the amazing opportunity last week to scribe for Arun Deva while he was giving consultations in Salt Lake. It's amazing how much you can learn by sitting and typing all the words two people say. I love how aligned Ayurveda is with my feng shui practice. While I know I have no ambition to become an Ayurvedic practitioner or doctor, I think it is a wonderful tool for the tool box. I also attended his Emotional Intelligence workshop and a 2.5 hour yoga therapy asana practice. He is truly a wonderful teacher and has inspired me tremendously. Feeling very fortunate and grateful for the whole experience. He reminds me of my mentor, William Spear, but an Ayurvedic version. 

I'm looking forward to attending two of Benjamin Sears' Sacred Geometry Vinyasa classes at Second Side City in Dallas when I'm there in a couple of weeks. I seriously can't wait. So glad my trip coincided with it. Unfortunately it ends the day after I arrive, so I only can attend 2 classes. Oh well. I'm loving the idea of attending super awesome yoga classes when I travel. Sacred Geometry is one of my most favorite subjects. 

Next month I will be finished with the Level 1 Yoga Therapy Teacher Training. Level 2 does not start until mid-June, so I have time to focus on teaching. That's exciting. I can't believe it will be next December before I will have C-IAYT after my name. It is the highest level of credentialing in yoga, so I am grateful for the long process. Otherwise it wouldn't be as meaningful. Salt Lake has been such a wonderful place to be for this part of my journey. 

Anniversary

A year ago my mom and I arrived in Salt Lake after a 4-day trip across I-80 from New York. It's hard to believe it's been a whole year. I'd say it's been a success. It's been wonderful spending time with family, making new friends, creating a new life. It didn't turn out exactly how I'd planned, but I'm happy with the way things have evolved. 

I love this time of year as summer comes to an end and autumn begins. I'm having a party this week to celebrate my anniversary with Salt Lake. Hoping for no rain so we can have a fire in the fire pit. Everyone will have the opportunity to write down something they want to let go on a piece of paper and put into the fire. It's also a wonderful time to celebrate accomplishments and establish new goals.

I'm almost finished with my 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training. I've just begun the 300-Hour program and plan to continue to receive a certificate for Yoga Therapy. It's been an amazing journey so far. It will be a wonderful compliment to my feng shui practice. 

road trip

I arrived in Salt Lake City a week ago after a 4-day road trip across the country from Brooklyn with my mother. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Wyoming. 

Gary, Indiana was the first interesting stop. I wanted to see Michael Jackson's boyhood home. The neighborhood is partially abandoned. On his street, many homes are boarded, while on surrounding streets earth is reclaiming land. Large swaths of empty overgrown lots made it feel post-apocalyptic. 

Jackson Family home.

Jackson Family home.

House across the street from Jackson Family home. 

House across the street from Jackson Family home. 

In the neighborhood around the corner, so much decay. 

I hope Gary will experience a renaissance. 

Next stop was Chicago. It's changed so much since I was there last in 2009. We had lunch at my aunt's house and picked up an umbrella stand. Long story, short version: My mom's dad gave it to my dad's sister when they moved into the house nearly 40 years ago because he was friends with the family who built the house. Now they're selling the house and the umbrella stand will stay in the family. It was a delightful visit.

From there we continued on, stopping in Iowa City to see the University of Iowa. Love the eclectic mix of architecture on campus, especially Hancher, the performing arts center by Pelli Clarke Pelli. 

Arts Building West by Steven Holl was also a treat to see. 

We continued on through the rolling hills of Iowa and spent the night in Des Moines, a little farther than halfway to SLC.  We were both exhausted from two straight days of 8+ hours in the car. We had to drive across the busy state highway from our hotel (not because we were exhausted, but it wasn't pedestrian-friendly) to a Bennigan's (the other choices were Taco Bell, Wendy's or McDonald's) for a snack and a glass of wine. 

Celebrating the halfway mark!

Celebrating the halfway mark!

Rolling hills transitioned to cornfields. 

Somewhere in Nebraska after all of the cornfields, the midwest starts becoming the west. It's stunning. I was driving, so not many pics. 

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Sinclair saddled up

Sinclair saddled up

The final night we stayed in Cheyenne, a great Old West town. We drove around a bit before dinner. I love all the old buildings and signs. 

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The next morning we stopped a few hours outside of Cheyenne for coffee. Not much was open except for Rifleman. I went in to ask the whereabouts of Penny's Diner. There were four rugged old timers sitting at the bar at 7:45am. 

I thought only bars in New York are open at 6am, and on a Sunday to boot.

I thought only bars in New York are open at 6am, and on a Sunday to boot.

Some people think Wyoming is boring, but I think it is really beautiful. The iPhone doesn't really do it justice. Most of the 6.5 hours was spent in it. Desolate and magical. 

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We finally made it! 

Autumn color in the mountains.

Autumn color in the mountains.

Woot! We reached our exit.

Woot! We reached our exit.

wild horses + land art

Utah is a magical place. Last weekend 13 of us piled into two cars and made the trip out to Spiral Jetty with a stop at Golden Spike Monument

On the way to the Jetty from Golden Spike there's roughly a 20-mile drive on washboard road surrounded by beautiful mountainous desert landscape. There we encountered wild horses (mustangs) crossing our path. Horses can represent wild freedom, free expression, gentle grace and beauty. They are powerful, free and wild. They are also a problem because they reproduce too fast, have no predators, and overgraze among other issues.  

When we finally reached Spiral Jetty, it was surprising to see so many other people there. There were at least three or four other cars parked, and we passed people leaving as we were approaching. Definitely off the beaten path. Fortunately (depending on your perspective), the lake water was low, the Jetty is not always visible depending on water level. After walking the spiral, we walked another half mile across the white salt desert to the edge of the lake. Felt like being on a different planet. 

For a sense of scale, there are two people standing in the center of the Spiral. 

For a sense of scale, there are two people standing in the center of the Spiral. 

Reminds me of the Moon

Reminds me of the Moon

Salt crystals

Salt crystals

Red Algea

Red Algea

Definitely a worthwhile pilgrimage, the horses made it more magical. 

ending and beginning

A couple of weeks ago, I was a person who had 1 hot pink umbrella with 2 broken ribs. Over a period of 5 days, I became a person who has 1 cheap, but long-lasting black umbrella, 1 cheap short-poled black umbrella, 1 heavy duty blue umbrella with a wooden handle and a corporate logo, and 1 hot pink umbrella with 3 broken ribs. 

About a month before this transformation occurred, I began thinking about where I would dispose the hot pink umbrella when the time arrives. (She had one broken rib at the time.) I can't just ditch her in any garbage can. I won't just toss her out with my kitchen garbage, as I have many times with others.

Now that I have more umbrellas than I need, it might be time to let her go. She is broken, although still functional -- she provides more coverage than the cheap short-poled black umbrella. She puts me in a happier mood than the cheap, but long lasting black umbrella. He's so boring and everywhere. He's the umbrella you have because you didn't have your umbrella that day when it started raining, but at least you know what you are getting. The heavy duty umbrella with a corporate logo is super nice. He can withstand 50 mph winds and has an ergonomic wooden handle! Highest quality umbrella I have ever had, but I can't do midnight blue or corporate logo for my go-to. It's just not part of my costume, unless the alternative is getting soaked. 

My quest to find a magical green spot for broken, battered, hot pink umbrella began this morning at Brooklyn Bridge Park. We still have spots to hit, rain or shine, before we part. 

Brooklyn Bridge Park. July 19, 2016.

Brooklyn Bridge Park. July 19, 2016.

scavenger hunt

I heart Open House New York and the Museum of the City of New York. 

From the ridiculously fun Zoning Scavenger Hunt over the weekend:

Here we are in the plaza at 140 Broadway.  Not pictured is one of my favorite sculptures, Noguchi's Red Cube, and the Harriman Building in the background. 

Marker reads: "PROPERTY OF 140 BROADWAY CROSSING PERMISSION IS REVOKABLE AT WILL".

Marker reads: "PROPERTY OF 140 BROADWAY CROSSING PERMISSION IS REVOKABLE AT WILL".

I love this plaza. A few weeks ago I asked a long time New Yorker about the property markers at the edge of plazas, specifically the ones by Noguchi's Cube in front of 140 Broadway. He didn't know. Answer: Clue 20, a result of the 1961 Zoning Resolution that encouraged construction of broad plazas. You can imagine and appreciate why these plazas are so important to the City.

Another favorite spot in New York: 101 Spring Street in SoHo.

Clue 21: Where Donald Judd lived and worked when not in Marfa. 

Clue 21: Where Donald Judd lived and worked when not in Marfa. 

The neighborhood was originally factories. When artists in the 70s transformed the spaces in to lofts, it wasn't legal. It is permitted because of zoning amendments. Of course, the neighborhood is more international shopping destination than artists' lofts these days, but the zoning amendment helped transform the neighborhood to become what it is today. 

From there we raced uptown to the Garment District and Times Square. Then hustled from Time Square with a detour towards Rockefeller Center for Clue 15 and then back to 42nd and Fifth to get this shot with the answer just peeking out. 

Clue 7. Answer: Empire State Building. Stretching it for 2 points with the photo. The Empire State Building's iconic form is derivative of 1916 Zoning Resolution. 

Clue 7. Answer: Empire State Building. Stretching it for 2 points with the photo. The Empire State Building's iconic form is derivative of 1916 Zoning Resolution. 

Literally around the corner is Clue 7's Bonus: It has similar interpretation of Zoning Resolution and was the Tallest in the World when completed. From here we hopped in a couple of cabs.

We immediately jumped in a cab after this to head north and east with only 15 minutes left.

We immediately jumped in a cab after this to head north and east with only 15 minutes left.

Our cabbie who took us to 375 Park Avenue drove like a real New York Cabbie, weaving in and out of traffic with moxy. He even let us get out to snap our back to back photos in front of Seagram Building and Lever House before jumping back in to arrive at the next location, too far to walk if we were to reach the last 3 clues before 5pm. 

Clue 13: Seagram Building, 1958, served as model for future office development.

Clue 13: Seagram Building, 1958, served as model for future office development.

Clue 13 Bonus: Lever House, 1952, circumvented existing zoning requirements with 2-story block intersecting tower. 

Clue 13 Bonus: Lever House, 1952, circumvented existing zoning requirements with 2-story block intersecting tower. 

With 5 minutes to spare, we uploaded our last photo, Clue 24 (Citigroup Building in Queens, visible from UN Plaza), for 3 points. Afterwards we were all relieved, I think, to be finished. We had to get a picture of our whole group before we headed up to the reception at the Museum of the City of New York.

Group photo  with our patient photographer along for the ride  in front of UN Building. Not sure she knew what she was getting into, but she was wonderful!

Group photo with our patient photographer along for the ride in front of UN Building. Not sure she knew what she was getting into, but she was wonderful!

While we didn't win, we did finish above average and had SO much fun galavanting all over the City (including a ride on the Staten Island Ferry) in our customized t-shirts and learning bits that are so important for the Public to know. Can't wait to see the stats (and the answers)!