Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Honestly, my ability to nap was rekindled in Tobago - it left me more relaxed than I'd been in ages. There, I was outdone by my friend Dan, who fell asleep at the end of every yoga practice - something we were all made aware of by the dulcet tones of his snoring. "Snorasana," we called it (an asana being a yoga pose - a little Yoga humor there).
Truth be told, I could curl up and fall back asleep right now, but instead I will shower and get ready to go out to dinner with my husband for our 7th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary to us!
Monday, May 29, 2006
my parents' dog Rhoda
...and, down the beach from us:
This is Cosmo's first real trip to the beach, and he's exhausted. I'm exhausted, too - in that state of relaxation that leaves you feeling perpetually on the verge of dozing off. No complaints. I'm reading a silly beach book and drinking Bloody Marys and staring out at the sea. Yesterday I led my husband and mom in a yoga session. Life is good.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Yoga high - and a new blog
Now Cosmo is humping his bed. I guess he feels good, too.
So, about that new blog: it's called Creative DC, and I really hope you'll check it out. I have to say that I am having a tremendous amount of fun with it. Somehow it's clicked more than this blog ever has... I just have a much clearer vision of what I want to do with it. Still, I'm not giving up on multitudes just yet.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
No more sitting still
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
My country tis of thee...
If you could choose where to live, would you choose America?
That's the question posed by this very interesting feature on the P.O.V.'s Borders: American ID Web site.
Sample responses so far:
"Yes - I am a woman, a homosexual, and of Mexican American decent. Where else could I live this openly without imprisonment, genecide or servitude?"Other cool features on the site:
"No - I don't like living in a country where wealth is so unevenly distributed, where the social safety net continues to disappear, and where so many people have no access to health care."
- Define America in three words, and hear how people around the world responded
- Name 5 essential recordings you'd take with you on a cross-country road trip
- Write a slogan for America
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Rainy day in Boston
I set the alarm for 9:30 so I could easily make it to an 11am class without rushing, but between the rain and my general proclivity for sleeping well past an alarm, I woke up at 10:50. When I had called to reserve my spot in class the day before, the receptionist had emphasized the importance of arriving early, and warned me, "if you're here at 11:05, we can't let you in." But I had been looking forward to this class so much that my desire to make it drowned out logic, and I leapt out of bed and was out the door in 5 minutes. As I stood on the street in the pouring rain, with cab after cab zooming by me, I almost gave up -- but I was craving yoga so deeply, and this studio sounded like it would be such a great space - so I held out hope. Up pulled a cab ("this is the kind of day for staying inside, listening to music, drinking wine and cooking," the cab driver said), and at 11:06 I arrived at Exhale.
I had resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't be able to get into the 11:00, but thought maybe I could take a different class later in the day, or sign up for one of their spa services. "I'm so sad," I said to the woman behind the desk when it was my turn, "I'm late for your 11:00." Then, wonder of wonders, she said, "it's ok" - and after quickly filling out a form and paying my $18 entrance fee, I was on my way to the yoga studio downstairs. Moments later a staff member slid open a wooden door (it looked like the entrance to an ancient Asian temple) and I entered the studio.
I was 20 minutes late, but it was an hour and a half class, so I still got a generous practice, and it felt wonderful. I missed the warm-up, so at first my muscles felt a little creaky, and I felt more awkward than graceful as we flowed from pose to pose. But I was patient with myself, and breathed deeply, and by the end of practice I was deeply, deeply relaxed.
When the lights came up, I rose slowly, and glided out into the hallway, where I discovered a locker room stocked with fuzzy robes, soft towels, bottles of lotion - in other words, heaven for this sensual Taurus. I took a shower, and water rained down on me from the shower head in the ceiling; I took my time getting dressed, and blew my hair dry, something I never take the time for. On my way out I browsed the shop up front, touching the soft, soft fabrics of the (dramatically overpriced) yoga clothes for sale, and made myself a cup of tea.
I eventually drifted back up to the main level, and out onto the street, where the rain was still pouring down. I found my way to a restaurant someone at Exhale had recommended, called Parish Cafe, where I sat at the bar and ordered a fritatta sandwich; I savored every buttery bite. Afterwards I ducked into a store across the street that turned out to be a wonderland of beautiful paper, journals, notecards and art supplies. I was in heaven.
I share this story as an example of how restorative it can be to spend a day, or even a few hours, letting yourself do whatever it is you want to do - whether it's watching a football game or taking a dance class or working in your garden. I also share because as I mentioned in my last post, I am playing with the idea of creating an inspirational space here in DC - and my day in Boston left me more convinced than ever of the power such places have to change the entire fabric of a person's day.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
I know I have high standards. I know that some might counsel, "be grateful for what you have. don't strive so hard." I am grateful - my life is full of abundance. And yet, I'm restless. Restless because I know that if I find that place where "my deep gladness and the world's deep hunger" meet, it will unleash deep joy and fulfillment, will color each day of my life with clearer purpose and meaning. I could spend the rest of my days working for companies whose missions resonate with my values - but at the end of the day, no matter how much I accomplish, I am a cog in someone else's wheel.
As I try to crystallize my vision of the work I want to be doing, I find myself focused on the idea of creating spaces that inspire people. As Eve Ensler once said, "We give what we most want to get, and we teach what we most want to learn." YES. I want spaces that inspire me, and am so grateful whenever I find them. I struggled for so long in this city, falling in with those who judge it as a khaki-pants town, with no creative community. I was wrong, and finding places like Tranquil Space and organizations like Washington Improv Theater helped me discover a city full of creative people dying to express themselves, to live differently, to find a community of others with shared interests and values. All of this pulses beneath the surface in DC, and it takes a while for newcomers to find. I see others struggling, and I think, if I could create a space that was a gateway into this dimension of the city I've grown to love - a gateway, like the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland - I would be giving such a gift.
What kind of space do I mean? Maybe a vegetarian cafe on 18th Street, with fresh, delicious, local food - a haven after a harried day at the office, a place to nourish yourself, a place to feel communion with others who seek out such a place. Or, an arts space - somewhere artists could rehearse, workshop ideas, perform... like the new Woolly Mammoth space, but with a feel all its own. Perhaps the cafe and the arts space are somehow attached.
Or maybe, an inn. I love to travel, and some of my happiest memories are of places I've stayed that have provided a unique and comforting experience that made my discovery of a new city or town that much more delicious. When I read travel literature about DC, it's all about monuments and museums; while these national treasures are, indeed, treasures, they cast DC as more of an object to be gazed upon, than a thriving creative city. I could see myself helping, in my own small way, facilitate travel to DC for a whole different dimension of experience: local theater, food, drink, nature -- a bike ride through Rock Creek Park, a beer at the Brickskellar, dinner at Meskerem, an evening at the Source. The inn could have space where community organizations could meet, films could be screened, artists could rehearse...
So many ideas, and yet I'm still waiting for that "aha" moment - the moment where the heavens part and the sun shines down and I know that, yes, THIS is the idea to pursue. I try to be patient - but patience is not my strong suit - and with each passing week, I fear weeks will turn into months, and I will still be stuck trying to crystallize a vision, instead of pursuing a dream. I try to savor and enjoy this process, of brainstorming, allowing myself to dream as big as I can... and I do enjoy it, to an extent. But after a while, being who I am, I want results.
One thing I do know (I think): I don't want to work at a systemic level. I don't want to sit in an office with city planners figuring out how to design DC to better showcase creative life. I don't want to issue grants to arts organizations. I don't want to be part of a marketing team. I used to believe that the more macro you were, the more of an impact you could have, but I'm ready to go micro - to make a difference through the individuals I help feed, nourish, inspire, not through strategies that inevitably relegate individuals to concepts.
Have you ever struggled with a similar process of crystallizing your vision for something? If so - any advice to share? I'd love to hear it...
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
Quote of the day
"If you always go as far as you can with what you have,
you will always find that you can go further."
In yoga, this is called finding your edge - the place in a pose, and in life, where you're pushing yourself as far as you can...never to the point of pain, but as my yoga teacher said last night, you never want to find yourself "just hanging out."
Thursday, May 04, 2006
1. Chef Alice Waters on the spiritual significance of food and meals (as quoted on the Web site for Heritage Foods USA)
"We have always seen the meal as a center of the human experience. At the table we are nourished and gladdened, put in touch with the source of life, and reconnected to traditions and creativity. This is true of everyday life as well as special occasions. A good kitchen respects its sources, chooses ingredients that are sound, seasonal, local when possible, and appropriate to the event. Garnish and presentation play supplemental roles, not principal ones. Respect for traditions, both artisanal and sophisticated, is an equal to inventiveness and improvisation."Yes yes yes yes yes.
2. Stephen Colbert's satiric send-up of the President and the mainstream media at the annual Press Corps dinner.
3. The "U.S.A. in Three Words" feature on the Web site for P.O.V., and indie film series on PBS.
4. Practicing yoga at home and at Tranquil Space, reading Yoga Journal, and thinking about my yoga trip to Tobago (floating in the sea...)
5. Reading The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant.
6. Helping L'Enfant on 18th Street in Adams Morgan celebrate their 3-year anniversary. The theme of the party? $3 glasses of champagne and a free shoe shine...
7. All the flowers in bloom on my street, and being able to see green out of the front of our house.
That's a lot of inspiration in one week. Lucky me.