After we picked you up at the Omaha airport,
we clamped you into a new car seat
and listened to you yowl
beneath the streetlights of Nebraska.
Our hotel suite was plump with toys,
ready, we hoped, to soothe you into America.
But for a solid hour you watched the door,
shrieking, Umma, the Korean word for mother.
Once or twice you glanced back at us
and, in this netherworld where a door home
had slammed shut forever, your terrified eyes
paced between the past and the future.
Umma, you screamed, Umma!
But your foster mother back in Seoul never appeared.
Your new mother and I lay on the bed,
cooing your birth name,
until, at last, you collapsed into our arms.
In time, even terror must yield to sleep.
If you were a scoop of vanilla
And I were the cone where you sat,
If you were a slowly pitched baseball
And I were the swing of a bat,
If you were a shiny new fishhook
And I were a bucket of worms,
If we were a pin and a pincushion,
We might be on intimate terms.
If you were a plate of spaghetti
And I were your piping-hot sauce,
We’d not even need to write letters
To put our affection across,
But you’re just a piece of red ribbon
In the beard of a Balinese goat
And I’m a New Jersey mosquito.
I guess we’ll stay slightly remote.
Canada is not the party. Its the apartment above the party-
Everything in our lives ebbs and flows at its own natural speed; when rushed, unpleasant “things” tend to happen. Personal change is most effective when it occurs slowly, allowing our behavior(s) to become automatic, and part of who we truly are.
The rigors of daily life are like a stirred-up lake during a busy mid-week holiday: Allow the wake to calm and the mud will settle, clearing the water, our minds, our hearts. Happy Canada-Land Day!!!
Biking is about rhythm and flow. It’s the wind in you face and the challenge of hammering up along a hill. It’s the reward at the top and the thrill of a high-speed descent. Biking lets you come alive in both body and spirit. After awhile the bike disappears beneath you and you feel as if you’re suspended in midair-
Flipping through some old photo albums while spring cleaning our spare bedroom – yes digital aged kids, photo albums! I stumbled upon a picture of myself thirteen years ago. In the background is my beloved mountain bike, a Cannondale “F” something or another, the same bike I ride while walking our beagle after dinner. Looking at the picture I recall that frustrating, exhilarating process that is learning to enjoy riding after suffering though a series of injuries. I needed a lot of help back then and still do to this very day. Sprinkle in a ton of support and patience from others to get me to this point in life – Close family and friends, caring but rigid doctors, rehab therapist, yoga teachers, open-minded “folks” who listened to my quibbles – All helped me
walk ride a path towards “whatever” I suppose.
A bright cloudless summer day in Upstate New York; my patient father watching me taking my first solo ride on my battle torn BMX bike, as I wobbled and bobbled right, then left, trying to find that savory spot of – Balance.
I was deathly afraid of falling on the asphalt hill in front of our house. So I would try riding into the grass when I started to lose my balance. It would hurt less if I fell in the lush green grass, right? Shortly after an early morning shower, I got my seven year old legs pumping away as fast as I could coming down from the top of the hill. Rain splatter streaming from the front tire onto the down tube as I picked up speed, as I neared the intersection at the bottom of the slick hill, the handle bars started to shake, and I lost control trying to make it over and through the inviting lawn to my right. I promptly keeled over and slid along the greasy asphalt for what seemed like an eternity and smacked hard into the raised curb, completely missing the grass. Crying with road rash down the left side of my body, bleeding knees and elbows … I limped to sit on the curb to gather myself.
A few days later I was pedaling my bike in varying circles at the top of this very same hill. Suddenly, a moment of unbridled bliss washed over me, I felt myself balancing, not shaking, not thinking about the newly formed scabs irritating my skin as I effortlessly pedaled. I was being, I was riding my bike without a worry in the world!
Not much has changed over the years, there will be lots of falls, bruised knees, bleeding elbows still to come. But eventually there is – Balance. It may be very small and fleeting, although it will happen.
the only things I remember about
New York City
in the summer
are the fire escapes
and how the people go
out on the fire escapes
in the evening
when the sun is setting
on the other side
of the buildings
and some stretch out
and sleep there
while others sit quietly
where it’s cool.
and on many
of the window sills
sit pots of geraniums or
planters filled with red
and the half-dressed people
on the fire escapes
and there are
this is really
something to see rather
than to talk about.
it’s like a great colorful
and surprising painting
not hanging anywhere
Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak… surrender to them. Don’t ask first whether it’s permitted, or would please your teachers or father or some god. You will ruin yourself if you do that-
There are many misconceptions about the role “results” play in achieving our goals (whatever they may be.)
We should define a couple of words before we move on – outcome and process. An outcome is centered on results, beating others and posting it on social media. A process involves focusing on what we need to do perform our very best, such as how we prepare and nurture our souls, training, or even practicing mindfulness. Notice how an outcome is focused on “things” outside of you. While in contrast, a process is focused entirely on you?
Most of us think that (myself included at times), in order to get the results we want, we need to focus on those results. Wanna get better at yoga? Gotta be more flexible! Loose a few pounds before summer begins … When does the outcome of a competition occur? At the end of course. If we become obsessed on the outcome, we are not focused on the process – What we need to do to perform our best from the start to the finish. What makes you nervous before yoga class or a big ride, the process or the outcome? It’s the outcome, and more specifically, a bad outcome such as not performing well or tumbling over trying to reach your “peak” pose. When we focus on the outcome, we are far less likely to get the outcome we want.
When we pause to focus on the process, we increase the chances of achieving the results we so richly deserve.
Sometimes, I can’t shift my heart from the outcome to process, the best thing I can do when this happens, is to get out of my mind completely. In other words, I go for an early morning walk, bike ride, or like yesterday morning – yoga practice in a quiet park. These moments gently take me from thinking about the outcome to, feeling the process.
“Be a lotus in the pond,” she said, “opening
slowly, no single energy tugging
against another but peacefully,
I couldn’t even touch my toes.
“Feel your quadriceps stretching?” she asked.
Well, something was certainly stretching.
Standing impressively upright, she
raised one leg and placed it against
the other, then lifted her arms and
shook her hands like leaves. “Be a tree,” she said.
I lay on the floor, exhausted.
But to be a lotus in the pond
opening slowly, and very slowly rising–
that I could do.