Yoga, Cleavage, Laughter & Namaste


Namaste: My son Luka tells me sometimes, after I raise my voice at him:  Now, calm down and concentrate... He is 6. Cracks me right up, and I start laughing, and can not bring myself to continue the tirade :)
Namaste: My son Luka tells me sometimes, after I raise my voice at him: " Now, calm down and concentrate..." He is 6. Cracks me right up, and I start laughing, and can not bring myself to continue the tirade 🙂

image attribution


Each day of December, I am being moved to post by Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge:
Today is Day
29 Laugh. What was your biggest belly laugh of the year?


So, this one’s hard for me. I’ve been sitting here thinking about how little I belly-laugh.

Sure, I watch Seinfeld reruns with Jeff, and we laugh until tears come…at the same old episodes. Like the one where Elaine dances like a freak.

Yes, in my family of origin, including sisters, offspring, their offspring, we completely lose it at holiday gatherings when someone farts. Especially my nephew, but I won’t out him here. Now, my eight year-old grandson is taking up the practice, having been gifted a whoopie cushion from said nephew. This Thanksgiving, when my two sisters and I, our four children, and our growing cluck of grandchildren (up to six now, with five being born in the last thirteen months) made sure we brought the Fart CD so we could regale ourselves, once again, with the pure joy that comes from potty humor.

But, all-in-all, I tend to be pretty serious. I tend to feel things deeply. I tend to write deep poetry and take long walks gazing at the beauty of life. I tend to dance and do yoga with a depth of concentration and intensity. So, when my big belly laugh happened this year, it wasn’t so much as a belly-acher or gut-buster, but it was more about the surprise that came when I could laugh really hard, along with others, at my own expense…in the middle of a hard work-out yoga flow class…taught by one of said sisters (the one that said, “Yes, I’ll take it” when asked if she wanted the ‘wicked-sense-of-humor’ gene just prior to conception. Of course, she is the older sister, so it was already taken by the time I was conceived).

Molly Fox, my sister, is quite the fabulous yoga/nia/pilates teacher. She is well-known on the East Coast for her fitness studio that she had in Manhattan for years in the eighties and early nineties.

It was in her Saturday morning class that my laugh moment of ’09 occurred. It’s not that it was that funny…it was funny to me…and to a class full of yogis. This is what happened.

I was in the front row, as I am wont to do in her classes. We were doing some kind of asana (don’t know the names at all) where  we were in a lunge with one knee on the ground. Molly was trying to get the class to lengthen the spine, rising and extending up from the center of the body, lifting the chest from below. She was explaining it, and then to help give people a better sense of what she was talking about, she came over to me, bent down beside me and said to the class, “Here. I’ll show you.” She quickly looked at me to ask if she could touch me, and when I acknowledged yes, she said, “This is my sister, so I can hold onto her breasts. Lift from here.” Of course, she didn’t grab my breasts. She gently held my rib cage and lifted me from deeper within my body. It was incredibly helpful to feel the difference between what I was doing and what she was suggesting.

I suddenly heard everyone break into laughter. I looked in the mirror. I realized I was wearing a pretty low-cut yoga top, and as she held me by the rib cage, being in front of the mirror with my breasts being raised up, much cleavage suddenly appeared front and center within the ‘very’ present awareness of everyone in the room. I didn’t know if they were laughing because of my being her sister, her comment, the sudden influx of cleavage, (couldn’t resist, Kelly) or all of the above, but I began to laugh, too. It all seemed pretty absurd and gloriously un-seriously yoga like. Molly’s classes are the best, ’cause she is so down-to-earth, so in love with her students, so good at what she does, and so damn funny.

Molly loves and respects the practice of yoga to the depth of her being AND she can have fun with it, which, to me, is the sign of a great teacher. Like Luka, the 6-year old son in the image caption at the top, a good teacher brings us back to reality, to the sanity of life that comes from not taking it all too seriously.

It’s here, in this not-too-serious place, that I can sometimes experience the deepest Namaste.

I think laugh will be my verb for 2010.

Maybe my noun will be cleavage, simply loving the cleavage that comes with womanhood. It may be about the cleaving away of what I think being a woman has to be from what I truly discover and experience it to be. Perhaps it might bring a softer, more loving embrace of my womanhood.

Maybe, just maybe, being with it all as it unfolds is the Namaste, the deepest bow, to what is.

What about you? I’d love to know, what makes you laugh? What is your verb for 2010? Your noun? Your ideas for bringing fun, laughter and ease to your world? Your best belly-laugh? Your ’09 cleavage story? Your real-life experience of Namaste?


When I Was A Boy


One of the things near to my heart is gender healing. I see gender healing as the foundation to healing the human predicament. So, when I came across this song, I wept. Dar Williams has gifted us with a beautiful song that so poignantly speaks to what happens to both boys and girls when we become conditioned out of our natural balance of both masculine and feminine qualities.

What if we had grown up believing we are both a boy and a girl? ‘Cause we are.


I won’t forget when Peter Pan came to my house, took my hand
I said I was a boy; I’m glad he didn’t check.
I learned to fly, I learned to fight
I lived a whole life in one night
We saved each other’s lives out on the pirate’s deck.

And I remember that night
When I’m leaving a late night with some friends
And I hear somebody tell me it’s not safe,
someone should help me
I need to find a nice man to walk me home.

When I was a boy, I scared the pants off of my mom,
Climbed what I could climb upon
And I don’t know how I survived,
I guess I knew the tricks that all boys knew.

And you can walk me home, but I was a boy, too.

I was a kid that you would like, just a small boy on her bike
Riding topless, yeah, I never cared who saw.
My neighbor come outside to say, “Get your shirt,”
I said “No way, it’s the last time I’m not breaking any law.”

And now I’m in this clothing store, and the signs say less is more
More that’s tight means more to see, more for them, not more for me
That can’t help me climb a tree in ten seconds flat

When I was a boy, See that picture? That was me
Grass-stained shirt and dusty knees
And I know things have gotta change,
They got pills to sell, they’ve got implants to put in,
they’ve got implants to remove

But I am not forgetting…that I was a boy too

And like the woods where I would creep, it’s a secret I can keep
Except when I’m tired, ‘cept when I’m being caught off guard
And I’ve had a lonesome awful day, the conversation finds its way
To catching fire-flies out in the backyard.

And so I tell the man I’m with about the other life I lived
And I say, “Now you’re top gun, I have lost and you have won”
And he says, “Oh no, no, can’t you see

When I was a girl, my mom and I we always talked
And I picked flowers everywhere that I walked.
And I could always cry, now even when I’m alone I seldom do
And I have lost some kindness
But I was a girl too.
And you were just like me, and I was just like you”

Dar Williams’ music is the music that rocked my world in 2009.

This post is part of The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge (by blogger Gwen Bell):
Day 10 Album of the year. What’s rocking your world?


Sometimes, Life is Like Pasta


Sometimes, life is like pasta – in the simplest moments, when the heart is set free to enjoy the little things it loves, life is served up al dente, or ‘to-the-tooth’. In these simple moments, taking it in, (life that is) is like savoring rich, warm pasta, that is soft in the mouth, but still has a firmness that feels so right.

In these al dente moments, there is a rightness to life, an alignment where one feels so much a part of the ebb and flow, of the community, of the day. It’s like life and you have settled down for a warm meal and you enjoy each other’s company. The surroundings don’t need to be posh, and what’s happening doesn’t have to be good and big and splashy. Life is just there, served up to be savored.

A few months ago, I had a meal with my honey, Jeff, where life was served up just this way.

Jeff and I were in the city, San Francisco. We had come from Berkeley, to enjoy the annual fleet week, where the Blue Angels put on a show over the San Francisco Bay, using the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz as their stage props. Unusual for October, the day was gray and foggy, and really cold.

When the show was over we trudged up from the Marina to Chestnut street, ready for a hot meal. It was only a few minutes before 5:00, but we were cold and hungry. I remembered a place to eat that we had been to once before – E’ Angelo Trattoria. Fortunately, they opened at 5:00 on Sundays. We made our way there. By the time we entered, there was only one table available – so surprising for 5:00 on a Sunday.

The restaurant is very traditional Italian. The wait staff is Italian by birth, and that day many of the patrons were Italian. Ever since I spent three months studying in Florence, I have so enjoyed moments when I get to have a taste of Italy here in the States, even if just for a meal. That day, there seemed to be lots of kids out with their grandparents, one group sitting right next to us. It’s such a sweet sight to see two elderly people, totally enjoying their young grandchildren.

The special that night was Beef Short Ribs and Pappardelle. Now, I hardly ever eat pasta…only when I’m in Italy. But, this night Jeff and I both ordered the special. This is when life served up the most amazing meal, al dente. I can still taste the flavors of this amazing dish. The pasta was just right, and had been blessed with a virgin olive oil and seasoning that melted right in my mouth. Pappardelle comes from a verb that means to ‘gobble up’.

For some reason, everything just came together that night. Life served up a rich, beautiful moment, and I was lucky enough to notice and take it in.

Day 2- Gwen Bell’s blog challenge, Best of 2009

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