Monday, June 23, 2008

Mantra Monday: Sometimes You Just Have to Start From Scratch - and Begin Again.

The Mathematician and the Artist were shocked to discover that I don't have a toaster and use my oven when I see fit to have semi-toasted/warmed bread. With great alacrity, the Mathematician corrected this abhorrence and tomorrow I will be receiving a brandy dandy new to me KitchenAid toaster (to go along with all of the other kitchen gadgets I somehow accumulated). I rushed home from work as languidly as WMATA could possibly transport me.

Barreling though the door, quickly changed from my work clothes into (what else) yoga pants and a t-shirt ready to get baking. I pulled out my bread machine and began to pull together the ingredients for my honey-oat wheat bread. I only had 1.5 cups of wheat flour. No problem I could cut it with white bread flour, it wouldn't be the same, but it would be passable. THEN, just as the machine moved to the rising phase of production I momentarily lost power in my apartment.

Not more than 45 seconds.

The lights came back on and the sounds of XM's Ethel station filled my kitchen. And there was a lone beep from my bread machine, asking me if I was ready to start making bread. Yeah.

I lost a loaf of bread (and dropped the gooey mass of flour, honey, oats and gluten on my kitchen floor).

So, tomorrow I'll be making another loaf of bread, starting over - maybe trying my hand at some amaranth bread.

Kinda like this painting I began in in August 2004. I spent one afternoon sketching the structure and one afternoon painting what I would call the base. Have I touched it since? Nope. It has, however, moved to three different apartments since then. Looking at it, it really wasn't that bad. I just lost the idea somewhere along the line and can no longer connect with that original vision (nor can I find my notes and sketches).

Life gives this wonderful oppertunity to start fresh, whether it be a new day, a loaf of bread, or a painting - there has to be a willingness to accept and embrace that potential.

So tomorrow, I begin again.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Class# 174; AYC DC Mysore Class # 28: Savor.

It was one of those weeks, AGAIN.
My Monday began with some crazy allergic reaction puffing my eyes pretty much shut and treated with what could best be described as a Benedryl induced coma. I finally recovered enough to go to practice on Wednesday morning, but it was a moon day!

Practice on Thursday and Friday morning, it felt as though each remaining drop of Benedryl was being plucked out of my system drop by drop with needle nose pliers. Work was crazy busy - I don't know if it's the weather, but everything seems to be coming to a head at the same time. In my experience, during the summer work slows to the pace of New Hampshire maple syrup in late November in law - it has been more like ice cream outside on a DC midsummer

At work yesterday I had the oppertunity to meet the client of one of my attorneys, reviewing media and audio footage related to his case. While normally I would jump at the chance to watch and compile media, I must say that some of the images and audio really hit me hard.

Finally I left work, and getting to the Metro I realized that I left my wallet at my desk. Then the battery on my iPod died - not that I could find any music in it's ginormous library that I could tolerate for more than 10 seconds. After 5 minutes arduous contemplation, I just decided to just go home, it was 7:30 in the evening. It could wait. When I returned to my apartment, I was in no mood for anything, I just wanted to curl up on my couch in a blanket with a pint of Ben & Jerry's Half Baked. As I came to my apartment there was a package notice wedged in my door. I wasn't expecting anything, probably just some overflow. Curled up on my couch, with a cup of tea, (no Half Baked in the freezer, grrrrr) I was in a staring contest with the notice on my table. It was winning. I gave into its taunting. I reassembled myself and trudged heavily to the front desk to pick it up.

It was a package from Lady Apollo.
I opened it and smiled.
My first honest smile this week.

An unexpected and simple gesture of love, warmth, and friendship.

Practice this morning felt light and as though something had been lifted. Instead of loudly and sloppily plopping back during my SunSals I actually floated back landing quietly and with strength. I wasn't in a rush and savored each pose, deepening my twists, and opening with every backbend.

Every day is a new day and oppertunity to live. To observe and learn from the past, knowing that wounds heal and opportunities present themselves with patience, hard work, and time. Each day is really separate and independent from the one before and the next.

Most importantly, each day is best savored.*

* Although, sometimes, it does require a side of Half Baked...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Mantra Monday: The Secret is to Begin

A couple Saturday back I ventured out to the wilds of NE, with the local members of Bauhaus, to Artomatic. Begun in 1999, it was a way for local artists to come together and share with each other and the community at large. At Artomatic, two things are clear: the fun and the true passion that some of these Artists have for their work.

While walking through the floors I was stopped dead in my tracks by a single lithography piece. Simple white courier lettering on a plain black background:

The secret
is to begin.

In that solitary moment I realized that I've been talking the talk, without walking the walk. Talking about metalsmithing. Then saying that I'm "taking a break" (even though the last piece I completed was in May of 2007)
from that to concentrate on drawing and teach myself how to paint. Have I started back on drawing, honestly? Truly?


I chalk it up to fear of failure - beacuse if you don't start, you can't "fail," right?

It's absolutely amazing how easy it is for me to find something else to direct my energy into. It's astonishing how creative or desperate (as the case might be, my bathroom is now pretty much spotless) I can be when it comes down to avoiding taking action.
My recent favorites are spending time on YouTube looking up Ashtanga yoga demos or "cleaning" my apartment or trying out new recipes or reorganizing my tea.

So, last Thursday night I returned to the metalsmithing bench. Tomorrow night, I begin sitting with my drawing board from 7:00pm until at least 9:30pm. If I have the discipline to wake at 5am for Mysore, I should certainly have the discipline for something I have enjoyed for as long as I can remember.

Small yet determined steps, remembering that...

The secret is to begin.

Friday, June 6, 2008

On the Mend.

At 5:15am on Monday I woke up in a galaxy far, far, away from bright eyed and bushy tailed. I rolled over in bed and had an absolutely wonderful two and a half hour Sleepasana practice. A dentist appointment at 9:00 am (no cavities!!! And, for those keeping count, yes I am now regularly flossing) and promptly drove myself into work. Work cruises along and then... *WHAM*...4:30 hit like a train with 7 Pro Hac Vice motions to file and 4 pieces of correspondence to get out the door.

I end up having to shuffle evening plans around, but I'm happy that I drove in so I can take Rock Creek Parkway back to my apartment and avoid the Metro. In a mirror of the end of my work day, I'm just cruising along, groovin' to some Durga Das, and then *WHAM* pothole! In a choice between a pothole and a biker, I'll take the pothole. I perform a quick status check, everything still seems in tact. Until I park and get out of my car. Yep, a good size chunk was taken out of the sidewall of my tire.

"Oh, well. That's why it pays belong to the Club..." I continue to sing the AAA jingle as I drag myself up to my apartment and call the Mathematician and the Artist to complain about my day. I had absolutely no motivation to write my Mantra Monday, let alone cook dinner. I did manage to pull a pretty decent dinner around the few odds and ends lying about my pantry and fridge.

As I settled in to watch a fun movie (i.e. nothing inde or that involves thinking - eliminating a good 2/3 of my movies) I realized that Tuesday was a Moonday!!! In Ashtanga, practitioners get full and new moon days as days of rest - I liken them to preplanned mental/physical-health days. Sweet. I go to bed with the knowledge that I can wake, get in a solid meditation practice and begin some sketching before work!

Alas. It was not to be. I woke around 2:30 am with what can best be described as a severe case of Delhi Belly. or Montezuma's Revenge. BUT I'm in DC! How did I get a seat in the Porcelain Caucus?

Tuesday was spent nursing a 101 degree fever, sleeping, and drinking pressed apple juice all between convening sessions. By bedtime (which I hadn't really got out of bed all day, so the time frame is nebulous), I was feeling better. I figured one more day off from practice, will do my body good, I'll go back Thursday morning.

I make it to work on Wednesday, check my calendar and I have a doctor's appointment on Thursday morning. Ok, I think, it's alright, I'll go back to practice on Friday morning. One more day, it will be good for me.

This morning, did I make it to AYC?
No. But my neighbor did begin hanging prints in their bedroom around 12:30am this morning.
I did, at least, wake at 6:15 unprompted, did some Sun-As and Sun-Bs.

Boy. Tomorrow morning's asana practice is going to feel so good... that I-really-haven't-done-a-full-on-practice-in-five-days good way.