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Manic Monday: poetry, podcasts and more

It’s Monday again, and you know what that means? Time to check in on what’s going down at the Poust House during this week of pandemic. The weather has improved, so sitting on the deck is back in rotation, sometimes with a cup of coffee in hand; other times with a glass of wine. Always in view of my birdfeeder. The finches, sparrows, cardinals and occasional woodpeckers are still around, along with the bunnies, chipmunks and squirrels. Best entertainment of the pandemic, as far as I’m concerned. Here’s the rest of what’s on tap…

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The gift of community, the joy of the tribe

The older I get, the more I like to tackle things I probably have no business tackling. In the course of the past 10 years, I’ve done everything from tennis lessons (I was never much of an athlete) to dance classes (hip hop and belly dancing, of all things), from pottery and mixed media (I was always known for being “bad” at art) to Italian lessons (Spanish was always my second language of choice). And for the pièce de résistance, I am nearing the completion of 200-hour yoga teacher training, where I am, by far, one of the oldest in the class.

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Yoga, the True Self, and fear of change

Three times in my life — three, count ’em — I have either started to train as a yoga teacher (back in Austin in the 1980s), started the application process to train as a yoga teacher (in Albany a few years ago), or stood on the very edge of making a decision to train as a yoga teacher (at Heartspace in Albany this past September). Every single time I let myself get in my own way by getting inside my own head and talking myself out of what I know without question would be a life-changing, soul-lifting, completely transforming experience. And I’m not even talking about the part where I would become a certified yoga teacher. I’m talking about the part where this training would finally force (in the gentlest way possible, of course) me to face me, to face the True Self I’m always writing about and talking about but afraid to confront in a totally open way. Read more

Collage as prayer: cutting and pasting my way to God

Sometimes losing our serious adult demeanor for a bit and doing childlike things can take us deeper into our spiritual center than any book on prayer ever could. Case in point: I spent Saturday armed with scissors and a glue stick, cutting and pasting — and praying. Although I’d done collages before on my own, back when I was working my way through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I had never used the art form as a way to deepen my spiritual life. Until this past weekend when I headed back to the Dominican Retreat and Conference Center in Niskayuna, my new favorite spiritual place, for a six-hour workshop called “Collage as Prayer.” I convinced one friend to join me and then met up by chance with another once I got there. We had a great group of women, probably about a dozen of us or so, led by Sister Ethel. The result? Two collages and a whole lot of insights into myself and my spiritual journey.  Read more

What are you feeding – fear or joy?

I originally wrote this post in January, but I came across it this morning when I was looking for something else. It was exactly what I needed to hear today, so now you have to hear it again too. Who knows? Maybe someone else out there needs to hear it today as well. Here you go…

I’ve been ruminating on this topic — What are you feeding? — for a while in my private time because I think it’s a pretty big deal. If we feed our fears, if we feed our anxiety, if we feed relationships with people who don’t really care about us or, even worse, make us feel “less than,” we throw a spark on the dead leaves lying around on our spiritual doorstep. Eventually it becomes a raging forest fire of self-doubt or unhappiness and, if we’re not careful, it will siphon off all the energy that should be feeding the good things in our lives. Read more

What are you feeding – fear or joy?

I’ve been ruminating on this topic — What are you feeding? — for a while in my private time because I think it’s a pretty big deal. If we feed our fears, if we feed our anxiety, if we feed relationships with people who don’t really care about us or, even worse, make us feel “less than,” we throw a spark on the dead leaves lying around on our spiritual doorstep. Eventually it becomes a raging forest fire of self-doubt or unhappiness and, if we’re not careful, it will siphon off all the energy that should be feeding the good things in our lives.  Read more

Of course yoga is spiritual. That’s the point!

A couple of friends sent me an article today called “Yoga – A Catholic Perspective,” and as soon as I saw the graphic and the one-line synopsis, I knew I wasn’t going to like it. But after getting through about three paragraphs, I realized I was wrong. I didn’t dislike the story; I HATED it. I have to say that this is one of the most insulting pieces — and that’s being really kind — I’ve ever seen written on the topic, and that’s saying something. I mean, I don’t know what this priest’s experience with yoga is personally, but there is almost nothing about this story that holds water for most of us who are intimately involved in the two aspects of his topic: Catholicism and yoga. Read more

Why I’m canceling my subscription to Spirituality & Health magazine. I hope you will too.

Here’s the Letter to the Editor I fired off to Spirituality & Health this morning. I think it pretty much says it all. (A special thank you to my friend Jeanne G. for inspiring me to speak up on this.) 

To the editors,

I recently subscribed to Spirituality & Health. I was so excited to get my first issue (May/June 2013) — until I opened it up to the Rabbi Shapiro piece and was stunned to see wildly inaccurate and incredibly offensive statements regarding my Catholic Christian faith. I was so upset I almost called immediately to cancel my subscription, but I tried to let it go, assuming (hoping) it was an isolated incident. I have to admit, however, that I could not read the rest of the issue because I was so turned off by what I’d seen up to that point. Read more

Yogis in the mist

Today was a classic case of turning lemons into lemonade. What had at first seemed like a potential inconvenience became a blessing. Read more