Pool Time

I sat by the pool today for a couple of hours. I’m trying to soak up as much sunshine as I can before my road trip to Seattle Next Week. You see, I’m from Seattle and there isn’t a whole lot of sunshine there. Lots of gray cloudy days and lots of rain but not much sun.

Anyway, I’m sitting there reading a book, there are a few families around. They are playing music, laughing, cooking something that smelled really good and the kids are swimming.  It’s the perfect picture of an early summer Saturday at the pool.

I put my book down for a while and take a look around. There are two girls about 10 years old wearing matching swimsuits. Definitely sisters if not twins. Golden hair gleaming wet and skin already tanned from a lifetime of living in SoCal. They are little fishes. Diving into the pool, doing cartwheels and landing with their feet in the pool, jumping in and out of the hot tub, being brave, real and enjoying life. Basically, doing all the things little girls do.

Then two older girls arrive. Not much older, maybe 13. Just on the cusp of womanhood. Best friends for sure. Little breasts starting to swell but still slender and athletic looking. One is definitely the leader, the other one glances at her for permission before doing anything. Follows her around, nods when she speaks.

The younger girls see the older girls and they are enchanted! They cannot take their eyes off of the way the older girls strut a little when they walk. They stare almost constantly hoping, wishing that the older girls will look over at them and smile or say hello. But they don’t. The older girls remain aloof, whispering to each other. Even going so far as to use sign language to communicate privately (they think).

The younger girls move closer. They start to emulate the older girls. Try to swim like them, move to the hot tub when they do. Try to catch their eye for a glimmer of approval but it never comes. The older girls ignore them totally. As if they aren’t even there.

When the younger girls are called away to lunch, they leave their suitors sadly, moving reluctantly toward their mom. As I get up to leave,  I say to the older girls, “You know, they just want to be like you. They look up to you.” The girls smile awkwardly at me for noticing their little drama and I head home feeling awfully glad that I’m not 10 anymore or 13. I’m pretty happy to be the age I am and to have friends of ALL ages!!!!

 

Miss Apprehension

My eyesight is terrible! I wear contacts to help me see things that are far away – which is a good thing when driving on the roads in Southern California! I also have glasses in case my eyes are tired of the contacts. But if I want to see up close I must have bare-naked eyes. Then I can see from my nose to about arm’s length. After that the world is a blur!

How is your eyesight? Do you feel like you see things pretty clearly? If I stood next to you do you think we could see each other? You might be able to see my face but do you think you could see my intentions or the desires of my heart? Would you be able to read my body language and see what emotions I’m dealing with or would you just see a middle-aged woman looking back at you?

The problem with most of our communication with other people is that we experience things through our own “lens.” This lens consists of every interaction we’ve ever had with other people. Each of these interactions leaves a film or scratch on the lens. So when we look at a new person, new experience or new situation we have to look through this dirty, scratched and warped lens.We can’t help it. It colors everything we see.

That being said, do you think you see things clearly?

What do you see in these pictures?

Do you see people who need help? Or do you feel disgust or fear?

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Do you see something that makes you feel proud? or anger or frustration?

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Do you see a happy celebration? Or trash from the Ocean?

It all depends on your point of view doesn’t it? It all depends on your lens. What you have experienced and seen. So if you are ONLY seeing the bad, ugly, angry and fearful part of the world, it may not be that the world is really all that….It may just be that you need to clean your lens…Or get new glasses!

With much love – Dawn

The Most Important Part of Your Face.

I remember being a little girl watching my mom put on lip gloss. She got really focussed. She looked in the mirror and puckered her lips just so. The gloss always smelled really good – like berries or candy. Then she would mush her lips together making sure both lips were covered. Every once in a while if I was very good, she would let me put some on too!

That’s how I learned that my lips were the most important part of my face. The part that deserved the most attention. It didn’t matter if I was out playing on my bike or in a fort in the dirt…my lips should always be pretty and glossy and smell like candy!

Then as a teenager I started to get pimples. Like every other teen I was the victim of unscheduled eruptions that ruined my whole week. From watching everyone else,  I learned to cover my face. I used foundation, highlighter and powder to try to make my whole face look uniform. No big red swollen spots Here! No Sir!

That’s how I learned that covering up my face was the most important part. Don’t look natural. The more makeup the better. At work, at school, on a date….my face should always been that perfect shade of non-shiny beige.

Recently, my eyes have caught my attention. How did I get those dark circles? And why are my eyebrows looking so pale? I guess It’s that grey hair creeping in. I use a little concealer under my eyes although it’s hard to find stuff that doesn’t settle into my wrinkles. And draw on some eyebrows…quick!!!!

That’s how I learned that my eyes are the most important part of my face. The part of my face that I wish still look young. The windows into my older soul. The part of me that looks back at me in the mirror. My eyes that change color with my mood. Grey when I’m upset and blue when I’m happy.

From someone who has been there, please know that it really doesn’t matter if you are wearing fruity smelling lip gloss, or if your makeup is covering your zits. Whether your eyebrows are on fleek is of no concern.

What really matters is that you use your mouth to speak words filled with loving kindness. That when you do speak, you speak to everyone…the homeless, the singled-out, the nerds, the popular kids, the people who seem ok but really aren’t, the ones who need you to tell them, “You are not alone.” That you use your words to speak out against injustice and hatred. And that you also learn when NOT to speak…that’s a tough one.

It’s important that you use your face to be real. No hiding, no wearing a mask, no pretending to be something you’re not. “Perfect” is not the destination. We need you to be YOU. Because you have an individual purpose that no one else can achieve. Turn your face towards those who need to be seen and heard. Face the crowd. Face the Music. Let your face be your autobiography!

And finally, work to SEE people for who they are on the inside. Look on others with patience.  Look through their mistakes and into their hearts. Look for the silver lining. See what is good in the world and find grace for each and every soul you meet.

And then you will be truly beautiful…..

 

 

How to Drive in SoCal

Did you know that there are new driving rules?  You won’t find these rules written down in your Driver’s Hand Book or online. You have to learn these rules by driving around in Southern California. Here they are in no particular order.

*These are not real rules. Just my frustrated venting. 🙂

  1. Drive as fast as you possibly can! Pretend this 6 lane highway is a video game. You can swerve in and out of cars, you can go 80 or more and there are no consequences for your reckless behavior! While waiting at a stop light please rev your engine and then peel out and race to the next light one block up and then slam on your brakes just before the intersection!
  2. When turning a corner you may turn into ANY lane you like! Normally if you are in the far right lane and you turn right you would turn into the far right lane in the direction you are going…but NOT here! Here you can change lanes at any time during your navigation from your original street to the next one. Have cars on either side of you? Pay them no attention….just move on over whenever you feel like it!
  3. Semi Trucks can go through lights of ANY color. Green Yellow, Red…who cares? Just go. You’re so damn big no one is going to stop you or get in your way no matter how long they might have to wait. (Especially if they drive something really small like a Mini Cooper!)
  4. Turn Signal? What’s that? We don’t use blinkers here in SoCal. Blinkers are for the weak and undecided. They don’t need to know where you want to go. It’s really none of their business anyway – Just GO. No room for you between cars? Don’t worry…just squeeze yourself right in there. They’ll make room.
  5. The following rule is two inches. Grannies leave several car lengths between their car and the car in front of them. REAL SoCal drivers leave only inches between their bumper and the license plate in front of them. You should be able to see what color eyes the driver in front of you has! Maybe if you get right up on their butt they will go faster?

I’m sure there are more rules that I haven’t learned yet. I’m doing my best not to be angry when I drive but it’s a challenge! Hope you got a little chuckle out of these rules. Only three more months and I’ll be learning the Georgia State Driving Rules! Have a great day y’all!

 

My Birth – DAY on the Sea.

Okay, I know, I know!!! My birthday was last month! No, I’m not trying to drag out my birthday into another month but I do have something really important I want to talk to you about. It’s Balloons.

Most of us purchase balloons for our children’s birthday or maybe even to “let go” at our wedding shower. I see them in the grocery stores, the flower shops and even at restaurants sometimes. They are everywhere – Unfortunately.

After our last sail from Catalina Island to Ventura, California I will NEVER purchase another balloon. We saw at least 15 balloons floating randomly on the surface of the ocean and were able to save only six. I will say, it kind of felt like The Universe was saying “Happy Birthday DAWN!” because I have never seen so many balloons in the water.

But balloons don’t belong in the water. Fish try to eat them, birds get the strings wrapped around their necks and choke to death. Turtles get stuck in them. This is not a happy event for them!!!!

I know balloons look pretty and I know it’s a “thing” we human do to celebrate….but I KNOW we can find something else. I know we’re smarter than this! In fact,  If you are reading this,  I’m going to ask you to be bigger than balloons. I’m going to ask you to find another way – buy a cookie or a big cardboard sign or ANYTHING.

These oceans are OURS and we have to do what we can to try to keep them clean, to keep the fish healthy and to stop polluting our fricking home!

Because this:

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Is NOT worth this:

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P.S. We found a Mylar balloon in Joshua Tree as well 😦 Below is some more info for you. Please do your part to help. Namaste.

http://balloonsblow.org/impacts-on-wildlife-and-environment/

Cookie Police!

Do you like cookies? My favorite is a coconut macaroon but I’ll try just about any cookie once. I guess I like cookies as much as the next person. It’s even better when they are free! Even if they aren’t really great cookies – they’re free and that makes them awesome! My local print shop always has a box of cookies sitting out by the coffee maker and everyone is welcome to have one or two.

A few days ago, I was happily munching a chocolate wafer cookie while waiting to pick up some items when the lady in front of me turned and addressed me. I was in my own world at the moment so I didn’t really hear what she said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.” I said to them. Lady A dressed all in white with white hair wrapped up in a french twist said, “I asked if you were eavesdropping on our conversation?” “No” I told her, “I was too busy enjoying my cookie.” Thinking to myself, “Oh boy, what did I miss?”

Lady A continued, “Yes, it’s only skinny people like you who can eat cookies!” she said with a little laugh and a dismissive shrug. First of all I wanted to kiss her for calling me skinny and then my brain got stuck trying to figure out why she thought only skinny people can eat cookies. When I get confused like that I find that going with my gut is usually best.

So I told her thank you and then proceeded to share with her that I wasn’t always this size. That before I became a yoga instructor I was 40 pounds heavier, severely depressed and about ready to get a divorce. I think she was taken aback by my candor. “So you see,” I said with a big smile on my face “I earned this cookie.” I worked hard to get here and I now allow myself to have a cookie now and then. Cookies aren’t just for skinny people.”

At this point, lady B – much more quiet and a little cowed by her friends’ outburst began to ask me where I teach yoga and how she could find out about classes. Lady A left and Lady B and I visited for maybe 10 minutes. She took my contact info and may come to a class.

It’s strange being a public yogi. I get people who think I don’t eat meat – and lots of yogis do abstain from meat. I get people who think I don’t eat bread – OH HELL NO…..I Love bread. I drink coffee with a little cream and sugar and I even eat dessert occasionally. I’m pretty much a middle of the road yogi. I believe that between the two extremes lies the path. I’m not fanatical in any way except for the fact that I believe yoga can change your life. It changed mine.

So……If you want a cookie – eat it dammit. No matter what anyone says.

Xoxo From a Yogi who got called out for eating a cookie in public. And I’d do it again!!!!!

Vishuddha – Speak & Listen

I was that girl in school who was always getting in trouble for talking to her neighbor. My report card showed good grades but there was always that note, “Dawn would do better if she could visit less with her class mates.” I can laugh about it now but it was a big issue when I was a kid. I had something to say and I wanted people to listen!

So when my friend Julie Shepler invited me to attend one of her yoga classes on the chakras I wasn’t surprised when it happened to be the throat chakra – Vishuddha. In yogic teaching this chakra deals with our ability to communicate clearly, honestly and with mindfulness. We learn how to promote balance in this area so that we can speak and listen effectively. And I figured maybe she could teach me how to keep my mouth shut a little more often – LOL.

I love attending classes with other teachers. It’s one of my favorite things to do. But this class was different because Julie is one of my closest friends.  She is the kind of friend who listens when it’s needed and isn’t afraid to question you if she thinks you need help seeing things a bit more clearly. She will speak the truth when needed but I’ve also seen her hold her tongue at very frustrating times. She’s a good one to learn from!

The class was very good. I left feeling relaxed and refreshed. My favorite affirmation from class was “I speak with kindness.” It’s one of the things that I’m working on. I know it’s important to be truthful (Satya) but I want to speak with love. To choose love in all things: words, actions and deeds. It’s not easy but that’s why it’s called a practice.

Julie ended the class with a poem from Hafiz,

How

Do I

Listen to others?

As if everyone were my

Master

Speaking to me

His

Cherished

Last

Words.

…..If we listen like that then how can we fail to hear, understand and communicate with love? Until next time I’ll be working on listening more and talking less. 🙂

You can find more information on the chakras here: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-91/The-7-Chakras-for-Beginners.html