Writing

Think Inside the Box

Yeah, I know. The saying is “Think Outside the Box.” But sometimes, you need to turn things inside out and take a look inside because what you think is going on around you isn’t what it appears to be. Huh?

Let’s back up a bit. I am now home. This marked my biggest stretch of time away from home since going out on tour with Noah. I was gone for two solid months, a bit more. The last time I was home was for only a few days in mid-March when we came back for Noah’s state exams. He was in testing and I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get a months’ worth of appointments crammed into four days’ time.

So now we are home for a couple of weeks. Although I still have tons of appointments and organizing to do (including opening mail, sorting files, paying bills, etc.) this time at home also includes time for introspection. It’s necessary. It’s about time. You see, living on the road leaves little time for contemplation of any kind. My meditation practice has been kicked to the curb, I hardly have time for an asana practice anymore and I feel lost in the shuffle of an odd sort of reality show.

It’s like living in a traveling college dorm. You live, eat, travel, work, exercise, and socialize with the same people for months on end. You grow to understand each other and know each other – sometimes a bit too well and sometimes not really at all. The “not really at all” part is when things tend to go awry in a social experiment like a touring musical. You see, rumors can run rampant and people often get sucked into believing things about their travel mates that can be, well, let’s say not nice and untrue. Usually I just try to be the best mother I can be to my son and stay away from the fray. It can be isolating at times but mostly, it feels safe. Most of the people I live with do not know me very well. With this said, I can say I have some tried and true tour friends – some people I hope will be my friends for life. They are good, kind and honest people – people I know I could go to for any kind of help. But in order to really know me, or anyone you live with, you have to look inside the box and not just at what’s going on outside. This means forming your own opinions of people and not listening to what others may say. It seems easy but it isn’t. It’s hard enough in the “real world” when you go to work every day and come home to the sanctity of your own home and family. It’s even harder on tour.

Yesterday I enjoyed something I haven’t had time for in a while: reflection. I delved into my Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, an ancient and brilliant sage. For those of you unfamiliar with the Sutras, they are a collection (sutra can be translated to mean “thread”) of kick-ass advice on how to live a more compassionate and fulfilling life. I immediately gravitated to Sutra 1:33:

“By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness” – Sutra translation by Sri Swami Satchidananda.

The first three parts of this all-important sutra come easy to me but the last part is where I struggle. I’m going to paraphrase a couple of pages from Satchidananda’s book so you all can understand what I’m talking about here. After that, we’ll discuss and hopefully you will all weigh in as well.

           “Whether you are interested in reaching Samadhi (enlightenment) or plan to ignore yoga entirely, I would advise you to remember at least this one Sutra. In my own experience, this Sutra became my guiding light to keep my mind serene always. 

            Who would not like serenity of mind always? Who would not like to be happy always? Everyone wants that. So Patanjali gives four keys: friendliness, compassion, delight and disregard. There are only four kinds of locks in the world. Keep these four keys with you and when you come across any one of these four locks you will have the proper key to open it. What are these four locks? Sukha, duhka, punya and apunya – the happy people, unhappy people, the virtuous and the wicked. At any given moment, you can fit any person into one of these four categories.

            When you see a happy person, use the friendliness key. Why would Patanjali say this? Because even four thousand years ago there must have been people who were not happy at seeing others happy. It is still the same way. Suppose somebody drives up in a big car, parks in front of her huge palatial home and gets out. Some other people are standing on the pavement in the hot sun getting tired. How many of those people will be happy. Not many. They will be saying, “See that big car? She is sucking the blood of the laborers.” We come across people like that: they are always jealous. When a person gets name, fame or a higher position, they try to criticize that person. They will never admit that she might have gone up by her own merit. By that jealousy, you will not disturb her but you disturb your own serenity. She simply got out of her car and walked into the house, but you are burning up inside. Instead, think, “Oh, such a fortunate person. If everybody were like that how happy the world would be. May God bless everybody to have such comfort. I will also get that one day.” Make that person your friend. That response is missed in many cases, not only between individuals but even among nations.

            And what of the next lock, the unhappy people? We should have compassion. If you can lend a helping hand, do it. If you can share half of your loaf, share it. Be merciful always. Remember, our goal is to keep the serenity of our minds. Whether our mercy is going to help that person or not, by our feeling of mercy, at least we are helped.

            Then comes the third kind, the virtuous people. When you see a virtuous man, feel delighted. “Oh, how great he is.” Don’t envy him; don’t try to pull him down. Appreciate the virtuous qualities in him and try to cultivate them in your own life.

            And, lastly, the wicked. We come across wicked people sometimes. We can’t deny that. So what should be our attitude? Indifference. Don’t try to advise wicked people because wicked people seldom take advice. If you try to advise them you will lose your peace. I remember a small story from the Pancha Tantra which I was told as a small child.

            One rainy day, a monkey was sitting on a tree branch getting completely drenched. Right opposite on another branch of the same tree there was a small sparrow sitting in its hanging nest. Normally a sparrow builds its nest on the edge of a branch so it can hang down and swing around gently in the breeze…it was warm and cozy inside its nest and the sparrow just peeped out and, seeing the poor monkey, said ‘Oh, my dear friend, I am so small; I don’t even have hands like you, only a small beak. But with only that I built a nice house, expecting this rainy day. Even if the rain continues for days and days, I will be warm inside. I heard Darwin saying that you are the forefather of the human beings, so why don’t you use your brain? Build a nice, small hut somewhere to protect yourself during the rain.’ You should have seen the face of that monkey. It was terrible! ‘Oh, you little devil! How dare you try to advise me? Because you are warm and cozy in your nest you are teasing me. Wait, you will see where you are!’ The monkey proceeded to tear the nest to pieces, and the poor bird had to fly out and get drenched like the monkey.

            This is a story I was told when I was quite young and I still remember it. Sometimes we come across such monkeys, and if you advise them they take it as an insult. They think you are proud of your position. If you sense even a little of that tendency in somebody, stay away.

            So have these four attitudes: friendliness, compassion, gladness and indifference. These four keys should always be with you in your pocket. If you use the right key with the right person you will retain your peace. Nothing in the world can upset you then.

Okay, discuss or think…but take it all in.

I am sure that some of you who know me personally might be thinking, she wrote this about me. If so, check the egos with your baggage and get real. I am writing about me and you and everyone who is human. And remember, the sage Patanjali said the words above, oh, about 4,000 years ago. This means that WE, as human beings, have not changed much in thousands of years. We have the same issues, the same problems, the same struggles that our ancestors had. The reason I brought up my current situation (being on tour) is because living in a bubble gives me a unique perspective. Once I stepped out of the bubble, it became much clearer to see where my own struggles lie. It’s also evident that Sutra 1:33 can be applied to everybody and every life circumstance in some way, shape or form. It’s like taking a good, hard look in the mirror and then placing the same mirror in front of everyone you live and associate with. Most of us can relate to one or more of the four character types outlined in Sutra 1:33. Maybe you’ve even associated with all of them at some point or another in your life, as life is constantly changing.

We have ALL also encountered happy, unhappy, virtuous and wicked people and have probably handled these folks quite differently depending on our world views and life experiences. Again, for me, the toughest type to deal with is the fourth. Wicked is a pretty strong word, I know. But it was not my word choice, it was Satchidananda’s. And, wicked, as I interpreted it through my readings of various Sutra translations over the years, doesn’t have to mean wicked as in “Wicked Witch of the East.” Sometimes it’s difficult to see “wicked” on the surface and again, this is why we need to look “inside” the box.

Patanjali says there are four keys. My struggle, again, lies in finding and accessing the key to number four. You see, it’s hard for me to be “indifferent.” Usually I internalize things for a while and take everything personally. Slowly, I am learning to let go and go about my own business. I know I need to try harder still just to disregard and ignore these types of people. If I can do this successfully, anyone with a wicked nature can’t affect or hurt me. Again, this fuels my resolve to work towards letting go through yoga, meditation, breath work and whatever other means are useful to me.

What keys are challenging for you? Have you taken a good hard look in the mirror lately? What type of person do you see: happy, unhappy, virtuous or wicked or a combination of more than one? How do you best deal with each of these types of people? Do you hold the keys?

Life is not easy. The best we can do is be friendly to the happy, compassionate to the unhappy, delighted for the virtuous and indifferent to the wicked. Amen Patanjali.

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Categories: Etcetera, get real, On the Road, Philosophy, That's Life!, Travel, Truth, Writing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Breaking Up is Hard to Do………….

But so is hanging on. Trust me on this one. It’s sort of like standing in quick sand, not that I have ever actually done this. Nonetheless, I imagine this is what it feels like. You want to leave or set yourself free. In some instances, you want to run, fast. But you can’t. You’re stuck. Every time you try to free yourself, you seem to sink in even deeper.

Hypothetically, if you are in this type of situation, what do you do? You either stay stuck and keep sinking OR you find some way to break free. Sometimes it’s easier to remain stuck. You know the environment and your little spot is familiar and comfy. What’s the alternative? The unknown. Yet somehow, you KNOW you need to cut yourself loose. But this takes courage and it’s scary to venture beyond your comfort zone.

Still with me? I’m going somewhere here, I promise. Let’s back up a bit. You haven’t heard a peep from me in oh, almost three months. You could say I’ve been stuck in the quick sand and it’s not too far from the truth, metaphorically speaking. I’ve had some big decisions to make and opted to simply not make them for months. All the while, I sunk in deeper and while this was going on, my life became more and more stressful. I knew what I needed to do, yet I couldn’t do it.

I needed to close a door — at least for a while — in order for others to open. To simplify: I needed to stop running Breathe Joy Yoga, the business I opened nine years ago and have been operating from the road for almost a year. It was becoming insurmountable. What seemed like a simple business to outsiders was way more complicated than it looked.

Here I am, traveling full-time with my son AND trying to balance the books, schedule classes, manage a staff, communicate with customers, handle payroll, send out marketing e-blasts, keep up our social media sites and more. I wanted to give it a try. I thought I could do it all. But I couldn’t. It was exhausting me. Stressing me out. Stressing my family out. Stressing my manager out. Not only that but I started to resent the studio and yoga in general. I wanted to devote my time to my son and the show but there was always something else that I had to handle. It was just too much. But yet I could not let go. Not for six months. I knew in September that I needed to give it up. But it took me six months to do it. Tomorrow (April 1) is our last class at Breathe Joy Yoga. At least for a while. Ironically, I will be home this summer. So why couldn’t I  keep the doors open for another few months until I return?

It was time. Time to let go. Period.

It’s hard to let go of anything you care about. We’ve all been there. How many of you have held onto something or someone for way too long? When you finally make the decision to break away, you instantly feel relief — if for no other reason than you simply made a decision despite how difficult it was. Tomorrow I will be free. It doesn’t mean I won’t be sad. It took me nine years to build my business from the ground up. But I feel good about this decision. I have no regrets because it was the right choice.

So now, when I get home this summer, I won’t have a yoga studio anymore. Maybe I will teach yoga classes elsewhere. Maybe I will teach in my studio once again. Maybe I won’t teach at all. Maybe I will sell my studio, my business, my house. Maybe I will tour again (I know, my tour friends are laughing now!) Maybe I will write a blog post every day. Maybe I will do nothing for a while. Maybe I will relish in spending more time with my kids, husband and dog. Maybe I will travel. Maybe I will move to another city or state or country. Maybe I will learn to bask in the complete unknown. Maybe — no, certainly — I will feel grateful that I can make choices and have the complete support of my family.

There is one thing, however, that I know for sure. Doors that had been shut tight will now open because I was brave enough to set myself free. This is how it works. I’m ready to see what’s on the other side.

Categories: Accidental Stage Mom, Etcetera, On the Road, Philosophy, That's Life!, Travel, Truth, Uncategorized, Writing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Reality Check

Yoga Sutra 1.8: “Misconception occurs when knowledge of something is not based upon its true form.”

As Sri Swami Satchidananda explains it: “In the twilight you see a coiled rope and mistake it for a snake. You get frightened. There is no snake there in reality; there is a false understanding. But still it created a terror in your mind. It is not only valid knowledge that creates thought waves, but erroneous impressions also.”

We all have things we think to be real or true. Our relationships, our careers, whatever it may be that defines us. But what happens when your truth isn’t quite as you thought it was or should be. What then is the truth? What is real?

I’m going out on a limb here and I will probably piss off some yogis and yoga teachers in the process. But I don’t care. Gotta speak my truth.

And I know, I’ve probably already lost about half of you already…..but stick with me here. It will all make sense in a moment.

I left home in April 2012 and have been touring the US (soon Canada) ever since. Pretty much the only thing that’s kept me somewhat grounded in this tour de force is my yoga practice. Not the sweating, twist-yourself-in-knots type of practice that many Americans consider yoga, but the breathing and simplicity of the practice. Sometimes I just stand in mountain pose so that I can truly feel my feet on the ground. Other times I roll out my mat and do what feels good. And still other times I go to a yoga class. That’s where the truth starts to become fuzzy.

In every city I go to, I search for a yoga class that isn’t hot or power or rock ‘n roll or in a sling shot. I look for the studio that’s been in town the longest or has a teacher older than 19. I’ve been to studios from Los Angeles to New York City and many places in-between including, in no particular order: Wisconsin, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, Arkansas, Indiana, Vermont, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Some of the studios have been chains, others just small spaces. I can tell you this for sure: yoga ain’t what it used to be. Everyone has a gimmick and everything is FAST. Yup, that’s right: FAST. In all but a couple instances, the classes have been crammed with as many poses as the teacher can think up in an hour, regardless of whether he or she knows how to safely get students from one posture to the next. Music is usually blaring (not that I have anything against loud music, but sometimes it hinders the ability to quiet the mind). The students look like they are competing in a yoga fashion contest hosted by lululemon (sorry, it’s true). Teachers talk incessantly even when they have nothing to say. Most classes have next to no warm-ups or cool-downs. They usually don’t mention the breath or the mind. One had no savasana at all.

Here’s the thing: This is what people want or at least think they want. This is how teachers are learning to practice and instruct.

It’s a sad but honest reflection of our culture. As a society, we don’t know how to slow down but yet we want to do things that are good for us. So we do yoga. Even if we don’t know what that is. We also teach yoga even if we don’t know how or even have an inkling of an idea of the centuries old healing practice that we are passing down.

Let me back up here for a moment. I opened my yoga studio nine years ago. At the time, I was pretty much the only Hatha studio around. Since then, there are now studios within 10 minutes of mine IN EVERY DIRECTION. All but one offer strictly hot, power yoga classes. I’m not even counting the gyms and YMCAs which all also offer yoga. In order for all these studios and classes to serve all those students, there have to be enough teachers. So almost all studios now offer training courses, many of which are franchised or canned (but the students don’t know this). I am not saying these programs are bad or that all teachers don’t know what they are doing. I am just trying to lay it all out there. Teachers are being pumped out faster than you can say Patanjali and students are coming to classes in droves regardless of whether the class is good or bad. They hang on the teacher’s every word even if the teacher has no idea what he is doing or saying. Students think that if they do enough chaturangas, they are doing yoga. Heck, they might even think that 20 chaturanga push-ups will quiet the mind. Skip it, they probably don’t know that stilling the mind and yoga are one and the same.

It’s not just happening in studios. Look at yoga conferences and festivals. Students flock to these big events where the classes are taught by those I now call rock star yoga teachers. These are teachers who have become “famous” in the yoga world and have large followings of students. Some of these teachers are actually very good at teaching yoga. But most are just overwhelmed with their own egos and the large base of students who seek them out in a convention center packed with 150 other adoring students. Most of these teachers are under 35 years old and many have been teaching this ancient healing art for less than eight years (that’s my unscientific poll but I betcha I’m right on the money here). I’ll admit it: there was a time when I aspired to teach at these big conferences. When people pay money to come to your classes or workshops, even if the money goes to charity, it feeds the ego. No getting around it. But after witnessing what I have over the past eight months, I want none of this.

Wanderlust Austin

Wanderlust Austin

DSCN0733

Me and my gal Michelle

It all hit home in Austin, Texas. Michelle, one of my closest friends, lives there. We did our yoga teacher training together at Maha Yoga Center with a gifted and wise teacher. For the past four years Michelle has been whining about the yoga scene in Austin. I keep encouraging her to teach because, well, she’s the real deal. She has tried but can’t seem to find a studio to teach at — somewhere she can keep it real. She said all the studios are hot or power or fast or gimmicky. She said all the studio directors and teachers don’t know a thing about anatomy and sure as heck can’t teach a breathing technique. I didn’t believe her. I mean, really, Austin? It’s a pretty progressive city with lots of yogis. Since I try to take a class in every city I visit, I was determined to hit a studio in Austin with my yogini friend Michelle. We picked a studio named after its famous circuit of yoga festivals: Wanderlust. It looked hip and fun. Let’s just stop there….We walked into a noontime class and had to restrain ourselves from laughing out loud. The skinny teacher in perfect yoga clothes had us rolling on the floor, literally. We rolled and then jumped up. Rolled and jumped up. Rolled and jumped up. We did a few fast poses in-between the rolling and jumping and then she bid us adieu. No rest for the weary. No savasana.”That wasn’t even on the top five worst classes in Austin,” said Michelle as we walked out. I raced back to my hotel to roll out my yoga mat. My nervous system was completely out of whack.

I know, I know. To each their own. But really, call that what you want, but don’t call it yoga. To me (and you are welcome to disagree) yoga was and is about quieting the mind, breathing, finding stillness, feeling grounded and balanced. It’s about moving in a way that makes sense and is rooted in anatomy and yogic science. It’s about being honest with yourself and your students. It’s about knowing your limitations. It’s about slowing down so that you can listen and hear your own inner voice: the voice of intuition. It’s about finding stillness amid the activity. Try doing 20 poses on both sides in an hour. There’s simply no time for stillness. Police give fast drivers speeding tickets. Who is going to slow you down in life? Just you.

Witnessing the yoga scene around the country has caused me to consider closing my studio on several occasions. I’ve become skeptical of myself. I mean, what is my purpose for being here when I’m losing the battle to hot yoga studios, fast classes, and DVDs/podcasts that promise results in 20 minutes? I have often wondered if perhaps I’ve got it all wrong. But then I come home and realize that what we are doing here is worth it. Regardless of whether we’ve got five students or 500.

This is real.

Categories: Etcetera, humor, On the Road, Philosophy, That's Life!, Travel, Truth, Uncategorized, Writing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

2012 in review: Thanks everyone for reading!!!!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Accidental Stage Mom, humor, On the Road, Philosophy, That's Life!, Uncategorized, Writing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Losing My Identity. Finding a Purpose.

I’ve been in New York for almost four weeks now. The days are running together. I’ve gone from jeans and jackets to T-shirts and shorts in a matter of weeks. And I haven’t left the West Side.

My life has revolved completely around Noah, who is in intensive rehearsals to star as Billy Elliot in Billy Elliot, the National Broadway tour. This is a new feeling, a new way of life for me. If indeed you want to call it my life. For the first time in memory, I don’t have my own “thing” anymore: the comfort of my house, a job, routine, social life, teenage son to prepare for college, dog to walk, etc. My life consists of getting Noah to and from rehearsals, making sure he eats well, ensuring that he gets enough sleep. Well, that’s about it. Sure, I did this for my kids at home along with lots of other stuff. But this is VERY different. Different because it feels as if I am sort of lost in Noah’s life. It’s as if someone plucked me out of my own life and plopped me down in someone else’s. Now, don’t get me wrong….I wouldn’t trade it for the world. As a mother, allowing all my children to live out their dreams is what I’m supposed to do. At least according to my world view. But it doesn’t mean it’s easy or comfortable for that matter. In fact, sometimes I feel like a fish out of water. I forget what day it is. ALL THE TIME. I sit in the tea shop with my iPad or meander through the streets of Chelsea and suddenly it’s pick up time again. At the end of the day, I often return emails and wonder, “What the hell did I do all day?” Sure, I picked up Noah, dropped off Noah, made sandwiches, did laundry and maybe caught a yoga class. But, come on, really?  What did I do?” And somehow the days go by.

Yoga teaches us that we are not our labels, e.g. “wife”, “yoga teacher,” “accidental stage mom.” The opposite of “human doings,” we are “human beings.” We are here on this earth to be present to all that is. Huh? Yeah, I know. Heavy stuff. But it’s true or at least I believe it’s true. We also have a purpose or sometimes more than one purpose. As Princeton says in Avenue Q (this blog would not be complete with at least one Off-Broadway reference), “What is my purpose?” Most of us think of a purpose as a job, career or role as a parent or spouse. But is that really a purpose or is that more like an identity? And if you take an identity away, what then is your purpose?

I think we all basically have the same purpose, as crazy as this sounds. And that is: To just be…be open to all that is, embrace what life throws at you, and be prepared to make changes and/or go with the flow. Be willing to drop your perceived identity in the flash of an eye. And then…here’s the hardest part: Once that identity is gone, be comfortable with who you really are which has nothing to do with your job, career, role or how much money you make.

So, who am I? A yoga teacher? A writer? A wife? An accidental stage mom? Does it matter? Let’s strip away the labels and what’s left?

This is all I know: I am here and this is where I am supposed to be. Maybe being here for Noah, being truly present, is in essence a way back to myself. Maybe I needed to drop everything I know to be able to fully embrace change and just be here now. Maybe Noah is helping me find my way home.

Categories: Accidental Stage Mom, On the Road, Philosophy, That's Life!, Writing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Good God!

Jesus found his way back. Thank God.

It’s not what you think. Actually, I have no idea what you think.

Jesus Saves

Jesus is really Israel. And praise the lord I have friends who spy on my house or I would never have known Israel was even there. Confused? I bet….Israel, you see, is the tile guy who was at my house in Sharon, Ma. today finishing the tile work on my bathroom that has been under a remodel for two months. Israel drives a truck that says in bold letters across the back, “My GPS Is Jesus Christ.” If you ask me, Israel was heaven-sent. Before delving into a discussion about why my house is still being remodeled, I need to turn the focus back to Israel, er Jesus. Israel, the Brazilian tile dude, is in seminary school studying to become a minister. So this explains his truck and the reason why he says a prayer for everyone. I didn’t make this up. I couldn’t have if I tried.

We kind of like having him around. It’s not his fault that he disappeared for a month. In fact, the bathroom was supposed to be finished three weeks ago. But, as Joel likes to say, these types of jobs are always one-and-a-half times the estimated cost and take twice as long to complete as they’re supposed to. It doesn’t matter how much praying you do. On time construction projects are damn-near miracles. So far he’s been right on both accounts. In defense of Israel (don’t worry – this blog is not going all political on you), he’s not the general contractor and he could not complete his part until the other parts were done and ready to go. If any of you have ever remodeled a kitchen or bathroom, you certainly know what this is like. You could be sitting around waiting for days or even weeks for an electrician, plumber, painter or another key player to show up. In the meantime, fast-food becomes your friend and cramming the whole family into one bathroom becomes the norm. Not that I am complaining about the bathroom situation, especially seeing as my toileting facility in New York is tinier than the smallest bathroom in my house. I share my NYC bathroom with Noah and sometimes my husband. I should clarify: Joel is always my husband, but he only sometimes stays with us in New York and shares the bathroom.

Okay, back to Jesus. The home remodel project went on hiatus, apparently. We didn’t ask for this “break.” In fact, I was really “praying” to use my own bathroom when I was home last weekend as now I won’t be able to use it until July. And god-willing, it’s finished by then! But no such luck on my recent trip home. In fact, I get a call every day from Joel: “Nope…no one was here today. Everything still looks the same as when you left.”

But TODAY, the Jesus Saves truck was parked in front of my house! Hallelujah.

How did I know this? Heidi, the new manager at Breathe Joy Yoga, drove by to teach her yoga class and saw the truck. Religious about keeping a vigilant eye on the comings and goings around my house, she snapped a picture, texted it to me with the message “Jesus Is Back”.

“Praise the Lord” I texted back. I called Joel and he confirmed the good news. Israel showed up bright and early.  It turns out that he needs to replace a bunch of tiles because the stone wasn’t installed correctly.

Oh lord.

Categories: Etcetera, humor, On the Road, That's Life!, Uncategorized, Writing | 2 Comments

Pass the Epsom Salt Please………

Long time, no write…..As you can guess, we’ve been busy. Well, Noah’s been busy and I’ve just, well, had no time……Our whirlwind started last week in Los Angeles when Noah began his dance training, wardrobe fittings, physical therapy, core cardio classes, and tutoring with the Billys.  For me, this meant trips back and forth to IDA (International Dance Academy) and The Pantages Theater (where Billy Elliot is playing) in Hollywood, and the makeshift school set up in Oakwood Apartments, building E, in Burbank.

And now we’re in New York City, Hell’s Kitchen to be exact. Funny how I had been here for four days before I realized exactly what neighborhood our small one-bedroom apartment was in. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have much time. But little by little, I am getting to know this pretty cool neighborhood. Noah, on the other hand, has basically seen the inside of our apartment and the studio where he is rehearsing in Chelsea (17 blocks downtown). That’s because he’s in rehearsals and tutoring from 9-9 six days a week. He went in Noah on Monday, May 7 and will emerge Billy Elliot on Saturday, June 10.

Ok, so now you’re probably thinking: what the heck am I am doing for 12 hours a day and why haven’t I had any time to write? I know, I know, it doesn’t seem to add up, does it? Well, here’s the low-down: think of it like the first year of a newborn baby’s life. For first-time moms (or dads), taking a year off from work after your baby is born seems like a luxury until you leave the hospital. Right? Suddenly you are home for entire days at a time and have no idea where the days went. You wake up after little to no sleep, feed the baby, change diapers, put the baby down for a nap and repeat. In between, you may have an hour or quite possibly 2-3 hours to do a load of laundry or make food for yourself. And then you are onto the same thing the next day. Essentially, you have windows of time all day long but not enough of a block of time to get anything substantial done. This is the best analogy for my life right now.

With the way “Billy” training works, I need to get Noah there in the morning and pick him up at 9 (or trade-off with the other Billy-in-training’s parents). Then, I have to be back to meet him for lunch and dinner breaks. Don’t ask…something about labor laws. All these trips require time to get there and back. You guessed it: leaving only small windows in-between. I decided that today I would grab one of these small windows and crank out this blog post.

Among the other essential things I’ve managed to do in my small windows: order food online as I realized I cannot shop the way I do at home. I figured this out quickly on Sunday night when I tried to carry four bags of food several blocks. I also bought a subway pass, met a New Yorker friend to check out a condo uptown, bought toiletries as the apartment was barebones when we arrived, visited a dermatologist as I needed a prescription, did a load of laundry, and took a yoga class (restorative yoga is in the cards for my window tonight — woo hoo!) I considered getting my nails done at the nail salon right next door but I didn’t think my window was long enough. So, the nails will have to be a mess until I get a bigger window. Oh, and I bought some epsom salt and frozen peas for Noah.

Except that all this doing nothing is exhausting and I think I’ll leave the peas to Noah tonight and reserve the warm epsom salt bath for me. It’ll be an evening of salted peas for us…..

Categories: Accidental Stage Mom, On the Road, That's Life!, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

Welcome!!!!

“The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it” — Leo Rosten

Hello and Welcome to Away From OM!

I guess you can say I’ve come full circle or returned to my roots. After spending many years as a journalist, editor and writer, I took what I would call a “hiatus” from deadlines and the stress of working ridiculous hours to devote my life to teaching yoga. Now, however, I am on “hiatus” from teaching yoga to devote myself to writing. Huh?

This time, however, it feels different. This time I am writing for the sheer love of it. Writing about my travels. Writing about my adventures with my son Noah on the road and the difficulties of being away from my other two sons and husband at home. Writing about stuff that matters to me: living yoga on and off the mat, being a responsible and loving parent and anything else that floats my boat.

Yoga is about reaching liberation or freedom from the ego and mind stuff that keeps you locked in a sort of internal prison. So I guess you can say I have merged my love of yoga and writing. For the first time ever, I feel free to write about what I want, when I want. I am writing for myself. When I first started this blog, I thought, “What if nobody reads it? What is nobody is interested?” And, then my monkey mind quickly retorted, “Who cares!” Now that’s what I call liberation!

If you do wish to join the dialog, you can find my posts under the “Posts” tab. Please comment on my musings, some of which will likely resonate with you, and share your thoughts. Let’s create a dialog in the name of love, freedom, adventure and anything else that matters.

Thank you all so much for reading!

Much love and peace.

Categories: Etcetera, That's Life!, Writing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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