Friday, January 22, 2010

After months away due to a demanding work/school schedule, I'm finally back to my morning yoga practice. I'm soooo excited to be back! I enjoy the led classes I've been doing too, but the morning mysore is so centering. I was really, really missing it.

Diving back in, we're working on my back bends. I've spent the past year terrified of back bends because they hurt my lower back. But now we're deconstructing them and taking me back to the start to build up again, and it's been really good. Once I get them a little stronger, sturdier, and bendier I might be ready to start second series. And that's even more exciting!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Things I've done recently that make me feel joyful (because today I feel like I need a reminder):

Jumping on a cold spring morning, and taking a picture that makes the front page of flickr's Explore (and is currently sitting in the #2 spot out of all photos uploaded today).

Putting art on my walls. Mostly it's my own art, some photos and some paintings, and it inspires me to continue making more.

Getting my taxes finished under the deadline and sharing orange slurpees with my roommate to celebrate.

Hanging out alone in the CCE archive, digging through boxes and discovering treasures.

Drinking tea and reading Mary Oliver's poetry with Sergei curled up on my lap.

Riding my bicycle as fast as I can on the trail along Saskatchewan drive so that my eyes tear up from the wind.

Composting, recycling, and realising that I now live in a home where every day is Earth Day.

Practicing yoga in the warm, orange, sunny studio at the Yoga Loft, surrounded by friends.

Playing music and singing with friends.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Things I'm enamoured with:

The North
I love the idea of the Arctic. Stories about the Klondike keep my absolutely rapt. Today I picked up a book called The Klondike Quest by Pierre Berton and I'm so taken by the photos of men (and a few women) who tried their luck trekking through great expanses of frozen land only to find that their camp had disappeared under 50 feet of snow when they return, and other such stories.

I also love the idea of the seasons in the North. I hope some day to experience the thrill of the first sunrise following 6 weeks of dark...

I'm not sure why, but I eat up everything I can find about contemporary China. For years now I've been deeply fascinated by their politics and economy and culture. Mostly I read magazine and newspaper articles, of which there are no shortage. It all just seems so magical to me, the scheming and control and planning and the way the people react to it all so positively in many respects.

I have five lamps in my bedroom. I have to skip past the lamp section during my Ikea visits with my gaze to the floor or else I risk coming home with two or three more. I love how different lamps create different types of light, and how I can combine them to get it just right.

Jump shots
As in photos of jumping. They are so fun to shoot, and I love how each shot is totally different from the one before it. I like them all, from the stills where the subject could be floating up or just suspended, to the ones with lots of blur and motion.

There are many more things, but now it's bedtime. Tonight I'm enamoured with my warm flanel sheets, pillows, hudson bay blanket (that's a whole other story because I'm deeply enamoured with the idea of the Hudson Bay Company as part of Canada's history), and a warm kitten curled up on my legs.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Inside and Outside

I've been thinking a lot lately about where to put my energy: focusing inward on my inner spiritual self or focusing outwards on my community. Of course it doesn't need to be one or the other, but I feel like one is bound to become a higher priority for me.

I've spent the past 5 months focusing almost entirely inwardly. I've been struggling with getting my act together so that I could take care of myself again. I love yoga, and it immediately became my sanctuary where I could let go of the anxious and destructive thoughts in my head. I was so inwardly focused that it wasn't until about mid-January that I even had a conversation or gave anything more than a short greeting to anyone I practiced with.

But since then, I've started opening up again. While I'm still a little broken inside (who isn't?) my focus has begun to move outwards again. I have a strong desire to begin working with an organisation that is working to fight homelessness in Edmonton, and I want to live an environmentally responsible lifestyle. I want to surround myself with interesting people and share good conversation and meaningful experiences with them.

During yoga practice a couple of weeks ago, the instructor read a passage from a book as we were coming to the end of svasana. I forget the details, but the main idea was that our bodies are our temples, and we must treat them as such by respecting them and focusing on nourishing them. While I agree that those things are necessary for a health lifestyle, I wouldn't go so far as to say my body is my temple. I prefer to think of my community as a kind of temple, and that I serve my community as a channel for God's love.

Now, I know that's an odd-sounding thing for me to say. I'm still not really sure what I believe. I narrowed it down a little while back, and I think that I believe in the idea of God. I love the idea of a heavenly father, but I don't really believe he's there in the sky or anywhere in particular. I love the ideas of heaven, of resurrection, of redemption, of forgiveness for sins, of eternal love. But I don't really believe in a person who grants those things. I savour the ideas of them, and I often live as though I believe them. But I savour the feeling that I'm comfortable with not believing in them. Or at least with not knowing if they exist. I suppose that makes me agnostic, or something or other.

A colleague of mine told me the most wonderful story the other night. He was chatting with a gospel singer about why he sings. They talked about ministry, about the feeling of singing, about history and tradition. My colleague asked, "how does music help you attain redemption?" The man replied, "We don't sing for redemption--the singing is our redemption!"

We raise our voices together and sing our redemption. How perfectly right and beautiful.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Tonight I went to my first evensong service at St. Luke's. We closed with this prayer, which moved me deeply: "O Lord, support us all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, Lord, in thy mercy, grant us safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

I've only just recently started going to church services again, but so far it's only been a positive experience. During the past year I've begun exploring my spirituality on a variety of levels, and while I don't have any answers yet as to what I believe, I'm deeply enjoying this journey.

The service this evening was quite lovely. The congregation was quite small, perhaps 12 people and another 7 in the choir. I enjoyed the intimacy of the gathering, the quiet and calm atmosphere. Normally at St. Luke's we use the Book of Alternative Services, but tonight we returned to old Book of Common Prayer. I really enjoyed the language of the text and the highly interactive quality; it was far more responsorial than our regular service. I also like that there was a great deal of scripture cited right in the service in addition to the readings.

Pastor Dan gave a particularly good sermon on the importance of living humbly and being grateful for the blessings we have. He talked about how we often envy the lucky few who have so much, but that their position is perilous and fraught, and it's a long fall from that peak.

One of the hymns we sang was "Abide with Me." I remember that was Aaron's favourite hymn, or so he told me. I can't remember if we sang it at his funeral, but we should have if we didn't. Whenever I sing it I think of him.

It was strange, and more than a little sad, to realise that I was the youngest member of the congregation by a full generation. I wonder sometimes what will happen to St. Luke's as their congregation shrinks over the next 15 or 20 years. I suppose it will probably be subsumed by another similarly shrinking church in the neighbourhood. When that happens it will be a hard thing for me. I have so many memories in that church--in the building and with the people.