Archives for category: the middle path

Feminist Psychology Space Time Tanks

I’m rethinking this blogging stuff.

Actually, what I’m really thinking about is being flexible.

And not in that “oh, you’re so flexible” yoga sort of way. Or maybe I am. Maybe the physical flexibility we look for in our asana practice is really just a way to contemplate the flexibility we need to have in our lives. The flexibility to live with change. New circumstances. Sudden hairpin curves on the road of life. You know what I mean.

And so I’m rethinking this blogging stuff.

In two weeks time I’ll begin graduate school at Sofia University. I’m chasing a master’s in transpersonal psychology. I’d thought about attending Sofia for the past few years but didn’t think I was smart enough, had enough time or enough money. And so I spent a few years twiddling my thumbs and signing up for courses that didn’t feed my heart and brain the way my heart and brain need to be fed.

Turns out I am smart enough, I can make time and graduate student loans are easy to come by.

But something will have to give. So, for now, Your Weekly Prompt is on hiatus.

Originally Your Weekly Prompt was Your Daily Prompt and my intention was to post every day – a photograph, a poem, an essay or maybe just one word. Anything that might set the creative wheel in motion for anyone who happened upon the page. As for what it might do for me, I hoped it would support my writing by encouraging discipline. And it sorta kinda did – until 2012 took a hairpin turn to the left and every thing I thought I was going to do pulled over to the shoulder of the road to accommodate everything that I did do.

If you follow Your Daily Prompt I hope you’ll follow Practically Twisted.

Practically Twisted will be pulling double duty for the time being. Keeping track of my yoga life, my writing life and my non-existent love life. Should be fun.

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

As a holiday gift one of my students presented me with a home-baked coffee cake. Possibly one of the best coffee cakes I’ve tasted. I knew I was in trouble from the first slice and so I did the only reasonable thing: I cut the cake in half, wrapped one half in foil to share with a friend and put the remaining half in the freezer. My intention was to reward myself from time to time with a sliver of its walnut and buttery goodness.

Yeah. That kinda didn’t happen.

Because this is that weird week. That odd week at the end of each year that we don’t really know what to do with. We’re sort of finished with the gluttonous food frenzy that began at Thanksgiving, and yet we still have New Years to contend with. For the self-employed yoga teacher it’s that week when not all classes are in full swing. Private clients are off skiing or basking in Hawaiian sun. In other words – I have a bit of time on my hands. Sure, I could put this time to good use like cleaning my kitchen floor or organizing my storage space. But didn’t I just get done making a resolution to be kind to myself? I think I did (you can read about it here).

And so I had no choice. I had to eat the coffee cake.

Now before you picture me a twitching, glassy-eyed madwoman with brown sugar crumble smeared on my face and trailing down the front of my sweatshirt – I didn’t say I ate ALL the coffee cake. In fact, I backed away from the coffee cake after the second sliver (ok…third sliver). Yep. I burped that Tupperware baby and slipped that bad boy right back in the freezer where it belonged.

Because half the fun of luscious coffee cake is the anticipation of enjoying that last slice on Sunday morning, warmed gently, with a mug of steaming fresh pressed coffee.

Besides, like I said, I resolved to be kind to myself. And to me that means taking a middle path. Showing a bit of moderation. Even when the best coffee cake in the world is begging to be enjoyed.

Is it Sunday yet?

ps…Yes, I’ll try to get the recipe… 

376 words/20 minutes with 10 minutes of fussing

 

I nestled it in my palm and gave it a small squeeze. It was soft all the way around. Not mushy. Just soft. I knew it was a gamble but I didn’t have much to lose. I carved a neat circle with the point of my paring knife, took hold of the dried foliage and pulled. Inside, near the skin, the orange crimson flesh was soft – almost gelatinous. But it was the firm core that troubled me. Had I done it again? Had I given in too soon?

One gorgeous, beautiful, ripe persimmon.  Worth waiting for.

One gorgeous, beautiful, ripe persimmon. Worth waiting for.

Maybe all this meditation is paying off, because the persimmon was just a few hours shy of being perfect. My spoon slipped into the melted flesh. The cool fruit had the perfect amount of sweetness balanced with a tang that reminded me of ripe passion fruit.

If you crave instant gratification you’re better off grabbing a banana. But if you want to enjoy the most delicate, complex flavor (and practice mindful patience at the same time) keep the company of five persimmons for six weeks and then, when they’re almost mushy, one-by-one chop their cut little tops off and scoop spoonfuls of Mother Nature’s Instant Pudding down your gob.

Speaking of patience, being mindful, meditation and compassion: Santa Claus brought my upstairs neighbors a television. I couldn’t be more thrilled. Really.

They fell asleep in front of it last night. Or at least I think they did because when I pulled out one earplug at 2:00 AM I couldn’t hear his booming bass voice but I could hear the booms from the war drama they had been watching.

No, I didn’t hear him until 4:00 AM. He wakes up at 4:00 AM and although their apartment is the exact size and floor plan as mine (about 200 square feet) he’s worried he won’t heard with all the racket of pre-dawn going on outside in our little patch of suburbia.

Sigh.

No, I don’t enjoy complaining but neither do I enjoy confrontation. Moving is not an option, but these are:

  1. Stop complaining because, quite frankly, I sound like a cranky old lady.  And I am not a cranky old lady.
  2. Begin a gratitude practice: I’m grateful for the roof over my head. I’m grateful for the sounds of life and happiness that surround me. I’m grateful for earplugs. And valerian. And red wine.
  3. Be grateful for those moments when I am in “the flow” and whatever is happening around me (or above me) melts into the ether and I don’t hear a thing. Like now, for instance.
  4. Extend the hand of friendship. I should introduce myself. Perhaps with a holiday card welcoming them to the neighborhood and a basket of almost ripe persimmons. (NO! They’re NOT getting the persimmons!)
  5. Accept the things that I cannot change: I cannot move. I cannot build a sound barrier between their floor and my ceiling. I cannot become a raging lunatic pounding with a broom handle and shouting at them to “Turn down the damn TV!!”  That is SO not an option.
  6. Embrace the things I CAN change: like my attitude. My practice. If I can wait weeks while persimmons ripen I can adapt to the cacophony of noisy neighbors, creaky floors, bombs falling and couples in love.

Yes. I can.

554 words/about 30 minutes with a bit of revision

Sloth in the Amazon

“You have no discipline.”

I laughed at the suggestion. Me? No discipline? Say what??

I was visiting the same friend with whom I’ve shared meals with over the past few months. It was an offhanded comment, tossed out to me as I bundled up for the drive home.

But it sat with me, the comment. Right there in the passenger seat. It noodled its way into my brain, burrowed through my grey matter, interrupted a few dreams and is now, here it is again:

My Morning Vexation.

Seriously. Me? Undisciplined?

Our intention was to follow Benjamin Franklin’s sage advice: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man (or in this case – little ol’ me) healthy, wealthy and wise.”

But I always have been an early riser. I love mornings. I’m one of those people lucky enough to be able to jump out of bed ready to start the day. For the past year, on most days, I’ve been waking between 6:30 and 7:00 AM. When I was working on the manuscript gathering dust in my storage locker I made it to the desk by 5:00 AM. So what if want to hit the snooze button a time or two? I’ve paid my dues.

Nope. My friend insists the day should begin at 6:00 AM, seven days a week. I, on the other hand, believe there ought to be allowances for days when our work schedules keep us busy until the early evening. For me, that’s today.

So when I seemed non-committal about rolling out of bed in time to put the Rice n’ Shine on before sunrise I became an undisciplined sloth. He was teasing (and for the record, never called me a sloth – that’s my doing), but clearly I must believe there’s some truth in his pronouncement or else it wouldn’t be nagging me so.

After all, where’s the meditation practice I promised myself? Why is my manuscript in a storage locker instead of Amazon’s bestseller charts and climbing? What about those ten pounds I’ve allowed to settle around my bottom half over the past two years? The pounds I lovingly call “writer’s ass” but are more likely a consequence of mid-life hormones running amok because I don’t have the self-control to say “no” to the occasional salted caramel (or evening bowl of ice cream). Finally – what about the medals for all the marathons I’ve run? Where are they? Well – there would be a few if the marathons I ran weren’t all in my head.

(Excuse me while I grab an ice pack. Do I know how to beat myself up for a fantasy life unlived or what?)

The truth is this: I do the best I can. There are days I shine. There are days I could live better. There are days I fail. We dream, we set goals, we make resolutions. And sometimes we have to set the dreams aside for a while, change the goals, abandon the resolutions. It’s not because we lack discipline or focus or drive or ambition. It’s because life happens. Sometimes life lifts us and we scale great heights with ease. And sometimes it grabs us by the…well – it grabs us by the you know what.

But here is another truth: Impermanence.  Moments pass.  Circumstances change. Happiness will turn to sadness just as surely as sorrow will turn to joy.

So maybe it’s not about demonstrating exemplary discipline after all. Maybe life is about living. Sleeping when you need to sleep, dancing when the mood strikes, eating with good health in mind but never forgetting to eat a few bowls of ice cream and some salted caramels along the way.

 617 words, 25 minutes and a few minutes of revision.