IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Sometimes," said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."

 

 

I had this dream the other night. Truth be told, I have dreams most every night. Stairwells, old, empty houses, haunted houses, attic spaces. Hmmm, I see a theme.

 

Well, anyway, I had this dream the other night. I was boarding a jet, one of those big airbus things. My mother was there, my nephew. I had a black, rolling carry-on.

 

I am boarding for my flight to Paris! I am in my seat. I am buckled in. I remember: I don’t have my camera.

 

For me, this is a weird dream. Paris is on my bucket list. I am in my seat thinking, well, I could buy one when I get there. I wonder how much Parisian cameras cost. Should I buy disposable cameras? Should I buy a nice fancy thing with lots of buttons? But mostly I am pretty unconcerned that I have forgotten my camera.

 

I’ve mildly contemplated this dream for a few days. Shrinks, on the whole, agree that dreams are there for your brain to work out a problem. Pickles are pickles. A Rose is a Rose is a Rose (ah, Gertrude, how we love you). This jet is not some sort of Freudian man-issue.

 

I digress. What if you are supposed to go on the trip of your imagination and not record everything you see? What if you are supposed to lock it into your mind, and forget about all the people who will never see the Paris you saw.

 

You know how long the camera has been in existence? The Daguerreotype was built around 1835. That’s nothing. That’s only 179 years of recording things. That means for a gazillion years man has put his memories in that little walnut shaped brain of his. In 179 years, we have not been able to solve poverty, loneliness, hunger, illness, but we sure can take a selfie and call it empowerment.

 

A while back, I broke up with someone, and in my need to shred every ounce of memory, I tossed photos like Nixon shredded audiotape. Then, I started digging deeper, getting into childhood photos. Did I need every image of me in a gingham nightie holding a dolly at Christmas? I remember the dolly. I remember the nightie. Do I need the photo? Do I need to carry this dusty thing with me everywhere I go? Some would say yes. My mother would say YES! But I don’t.

 

We live in this world where we photograph, illustrate, journal every single moment. Here we are reading this via Facebook, we can open a "window," and we can take a quick spin and see everyone’s memory. (Go ahead. I’ll wait). We post pics of our manicured toes, our ice cream cones, and our meal from our birthday, our new car / bike / house / apartment…… None of these are Paris, surely, but do we need to record every moment?

 

I am guilty as all of you for recording the splendid moments of my life, but what does it matter? If there were a tornado or hurricane or fire, there it goes. Gone.

 

As I write this I am at a local watering hole, people are chatting, catching up on the daily gossip of who did what, the game is on the TV, the bartender is wiping down a tray, he smiles at the server. He pours a pint with one wrist on the tap, with a laziness like waiting for a pay phone to ring. When he lifts the land line, his pinky knuckle is on his cheekbone. The girls are busy as bees, even in their resting moments their eyes are busy as FBI at a presidential parade. And, I’m ok not recording them, or the Edison bulbs, or exposed bricks.

 

Look. Don’t stop recording your stuff. I like your stuff. I like to know how you are and what you find beautiful. Here’s the thing: if I go to Paris, and I take a pic of the Eiffel tower, is that any different from any other postcard of the Eiffel tower. Of course, it is my moment. In that moment, it is my Eiffel tower.

 

Should I experience the moment fully? Should I just breathe in every forged bit of iron, every pair of lover who ever kissed, the souls who jumped, who cried, who lost their way. Should I smell the grass, the Galoises wafting, should I wait for Gertrude and Anais to shed their love on me?

 

Oui. We should fall in love with the present. It is the only now that matters.

Be Kind, Guest Editor Michelle Ladwig

Monday, June 02, 2014
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
                                               - Plato

I work in an environment where I see the same people at the same time every day.  It is the life of a teacher.  For 16 weeks at a time we, college professors and students alike, move like clockwork, quite consistent in our where and when.  All together we consist of about 2,000 worker bees with many queen bees holding down one ever-buzzing hive.  


Because of this time-aligned movement, I see people through seasons, through colds and sniffles, through accomplishments, mild injuries, really anything the average human can get themself into.  At the beginning of the year I ran into a young man as I was exchanging classrooms with a colleague. This young man is tall as a wildflower, thin as a rail, and has a soft and effeminate voice. 


During this 2 minute classroom exchange with limited dialogue, I watched and listened as my colleague (with more clout that I have) refer to this young man as a female.    


My heart was broken.  My eyes went from my colleague to the kid and back again.  I tried to gently interject and correct.  His expression was one of dejection and sad acceptance, like a puppy accepting his corner of the den.  Everything about my colleague was bluster and position.          


I was angry.  I couldn't call out my colleague, and I really just wanted to hug that poor kid who didn't have to seem the voice to correct him.  I guess what really bugged me is that my colleague had so much ego he couldn't get out of his own way to recognize the delicacies of another human being.        


But really, are we any more superior?  Don’t we make judgments daily?  Think about our average grocery store. There’s the fat lady with a buggy filled with poor choices; the teenager with tattoos and gauges; the dad using his food-stamps, holding up the line.  


I do.  You know you do.

      

But, the more I think about it, my colleague didn't pass judgment.  That isn't the case.  He didn't think, I’m guessing, oh, what a homely girl or some such.  He made an assumption and that isn't the same as judgment. Right?  Please someone explain this to me.

     

He assumed that kid was one thing because he didn't look a certain way.  He didn't ask questions. He didn't take the time to know each singular person in the classroom.  He just barreled through them, focusing on his agenda.       


Speaking of the dad in the grocery line, this happened to me.  Dad was trying to pay for his groceries with his food stamps.  It was taking a while.  I leaned in and chatted with his toddler girl about colors and the shapes of balloons.  The clerk apologized for the wait.  The dad apologized for the wait, but really I felt he was apologizing for being poor.  I don’t care if you’re poor.  I don’t care if you are overweight and like Little Debbie’s.      


I certainly don’t care if you want to dress outside the social construct of your gender.   Our kid has now begun cross-dressing.   And it isn't dressing for attention.  He isn't dressing in drag.  I had a kid in my high school class who dressed in drag: all kinds of wrong gathered from Grandma’s and Goodwill.    

This kid is dressed like a stylish teenage girl.

      

If I didn't know him before, I would sincerely think she is the tallest girl I have ever seen. And the prettiest. Quite pretty.  Lovely mid-west, corn silk blonde hair, blue eyes, and thin lips like a pulled bow.

I don’t know what’s in her head.  I am not in a position to ask.  My only option is to open doors when we cross paths, which happens twice a week at 10:20, and smile.  I hope my smile is thing that keeps her alive and happy and healthy and positive.  I hope a smile walks her to her future.

I love that kid with no name.  She is everyone I ever walked past.

The Truth is in the Choice, Guest Editor Michelle Ladwig

Thursday, May 01, 2014

 

Sometimes I think it’s funny that both of my professions, both of my creative loves, involve precision, creativity, attempts and failures, and no-holds-barred shoot outs with my nemesis.  The difference is here:  In academia, the nemesis is the editor.  In yoga, the nemesis is the self.


When I go to school, I dress appropriately:  slacks or skirt, blouse (no cleavage), suitably heeled shoes (no toe cleavage), proper under garments; i.e. things are covered.  I carry a bag filled with books, red-inked papers, pencils, pens, and “Good Job Stickers.”  When I head out to the studio, I carry a bag filled with a mat, a towel, water, one MP3 player, hairbands, pose-driven choreography in my head, and ambition.  When I slack off the outer garments of propriety, I am in barely anything:  a sports bra and hot shorts.


I teach and practice in the tradition of hot yoga.  We keep the room at a lovely 105 degrees.  (If you were from the south like I am, you’d agree 105 degrees ain’t nothing).  The tradition beyond the temperature is in the wall-to-wall sheet of truth staring me down.  We like mirrors!


Truth: once in a while I look in the mirror and think I should cover up. I am too old to bare my belly; too old to wear hot pants. Too old.  And here, right here, is where I not only question my wardrobe, I question where did that come from!


Mother Nature and I have been at it for about a year now.  If you are unsure, let me tell you, shit happens and it happens at glacial speed.   My mother said that one day my skinny body and my metabolism would go to pot.  Well, I haven’t gone to pot.  I’m still doing worlds better than my high school peers, but man, things are a-changing.


Now, all kinds of chicks and dudes come to hot yoga.  All bodies, all ages.  Tall boys, full-figured gals, double sport bra ta-tas, shaved legs, unshaved legs, fitness fanatics and chill lotus flowers.  Here’s the thing:  I don’t care how you look or if you shave your legs.  That’s your body and it’s a beautiful thing.    I have never once noticed if you gained weight.  I do notice when your tricep heads start defining, or your delts get sculpted, or when you finally master THAT pose.


But, when I look at my body in the big ole’ horizon of mirror, I notice things.  And, here, I am tempted to create the laundry list of ughs and wtfs, but that would be counter-productive.
I don’t like it, but what am I going to do?  Diet?  I hate grapefruit.  Run til I drop?  Hurts my everything.  No, I am going to yoga.


I am going to look in the mirror and study the body I have earned.  Positive Laundry List: I like the shape of my lips and the color of my eyes, and my curly red, Moppet hair.  I have strong core muscles, arms and back muscles that allow me into hand stands and arm balance work.  I have two healthy breasts, a hale libido, toes that point, feet that flex, and a body willing to go where the heart goes.

And my heart wants to swing from aerial hoops and silks, fly in AcroYoga with my friends and my husband, go for bike rides above water puddles and below apple blossoms, and I want to paddle the Mississippi on a SUP board.  If the nemesis is the self, then the heart is the child with no caution, only wild abandon.  I am choosing to turn that voice off.  I am choosing this body.


Finding My Center After the Storm

Saturday, September 07, 2013

I'm watching Turkey Buzzards circling over my backyard as I sit and work in my office on this peaceful Saturday morning.  Through the other window I see an intricate spider web attached to the eaves of the roof swaying in the gentle breeze.  My 3 children have spent the morning playing, disagreeing, making-up, and playing some more.  There is such peace and fullness in my heart/mind at this moment.  I'm reminded of the word purnam, or "perfection," which, in this context, does not mean what we might think.  I am full...I am whole...I am perfectly content in my spirit as I observe the fluctuations of the world around me.   


After the longest Winter of my life (which bled into the Spring and even early Summer), I am refreshed to find the ground beneath my feet again.  It felt like a metaphorical hurricane swept through my life and left me completely demolished internally.  

After a month of testing in January, my son was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism.  While I had suspected this for the 5 years prior to his diagnosis, there was still a part of me wishing they would tell me I was wrong on that emotional day.  

The day before I drove to Chicago for this news, I learned that my father was diagnosed with another form of cancer (he had beat Prostate Cancer years before).  My relationship with my Dad has not been a close one, and so I was left with a mixture of feelings, including grief and fear.  

It was a hell-of-a week, and I took a few days to try to assimilate all of this news.  And then...that following Friday as I was waiting in the pick-up line at school I received a terrifying call from my mother.  She was having a stroke!  I spent the next week in and out of the hospital with her...trading shifts with my brother as we worried what would happen next.  Once released, she came to live with me for a few weeks so I could care for her, which included sorting out all of her new meds, helping her learn to give herself insulin shots 4 times a day (for her out of control diabetes), cooking heart-healthy meals, and more.  I was happy to do it, but I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.

By the grace of God, her stroke did not leave her completely handicapped.  While it certainly affected her, with time & rehab she regained most of her speech, balance, and abilities.  It was life-changing for her (and for all of us who love her), and she made incredible lifestyle changes in an effort to avoid another stroke.


Now, months later, we're all doing pretty damn well!  My father & I have become closer than we've been in years, and his cancer is under control at the moment.  My mother lives independently with a helper now who comes twice a week, and she continues to be stronger everyday.  My son, well...of course there is no cure for Autism, but we've been able to get him a 504 at school, which means he is protected for the rest of his educational days.  I've finally been able to talk to him about his diagnosis, and together we are learning how to navigate this unique path God has blessed us with. 


Everyday there are new challenges to face, but this is the nature of human existence for all of us.  For everyone of us life is going to be full of heartache, scary moments, and metaphorical hurricanes that make us feel defeated.  But, the beauty is that there are also moments of deep joy, moments to celebrate, and remarkable miracles which build us up again.  All moments pass, change, ebb & flow.  

I'm eternally grateful for the skills my yoga practice has given me.  Because of these tools I am able to find my center...remember to breathe...and accept that I am not in control of the world around me, but I can control how I react to it.  With a very glad and grateful heart, I am thankful for this moment.  


Namaste

<3 IndigoGrrl

Just for today,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I will not be angry.


Just for today, I will not worry.


Just for today, I will be grateful.


Just for today, I will do my work honestly.


Just for today, I will be kind to every living being.


These are the 5 principles of Reiki according to the founding father of Reiki, Dr. Mikao Usui.  

I've posted this prayer in years past and had questions as to why I would focus on these principles "just for today" and not all of the time.  The idea is to wake up and recite these words in our heart/mind daily...and even moment by moment when faced with the challenges of daily life.  This is a reminder to stay in the present moment, and with each breath to be mindful of acceptance, integrity, and compassion.  We are all here sharing this human experience, which is full of suffering and difficulty.  It is easy to become overwhelmed by our adversities, but if we take it one moment at a time and give ourselves gentle reminders it can become more attainable to follow this path of peace.


Wishing you a day without anger or worry, and full of honesty & compassion.


Namaste~

IndigoGrrl

"Buildings and bridges are made to bend...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013
in the wind, to withstand the world that's what it takes.
All that steel and stone
is no match for the air, my friend
what doesn't bend breaks
what doesn't bend breaks...."

Ok, so you might not call it "current," but I still love this Ani DiFranco song from her 1994 album, "Out of Range."  You can listen to the rest of it here on YouTube, but I wish there was a good live performance to share.

What I love about this Righteous Babe is that she's been a champion of speaking her truth.  She's challenged conformity and embraced who she is.  Much of her music is political, but my favorite tunes are the personal songs that pull at my soul and push me to really look at those feelings.  She doesn't hide or shirk or become a prisoner to forum.  And now...she's a mommy, like me.  Suddenly she's all the more relatable.  

I needed to hear her song today...to remind myself that even the strongest & tallest structures are made to bend in the wind.  To withstand the world it really is what it takes.

Peace,
IndigoGrrl

I haven't felt the Earth move

Monday, January 28, 2013
under my feet nearly enough this winter.  I spent so much time and effort building up a running practice last year from April all the way until the end of November.  I even ran my first races...two different 5k's which I found to be exhilarating experiences! 
 
It wasn't easy...I never was a runner and could never get past that first mile.  I started with alternating 3 minutes of jogging with several minutes of walking early last Spring.  It wasn't pretty, but I'd make myself go for 45-minutes...even though I couldn't run half of that at the time.  
I just kept at it...and then I got the best advice yet on how to approach my cardio, "The first 5 minutes are going to suck.  Know that & do whatever you can to make it fun,"  advised my friend who frequents our Wellness Studios who is also a doctor (Dr. Margaret Millar).  She encouraged me to keep at it...to get past those first 5-10 minutes, and to make it FUN!  
Hello, technology!  It hadn't occurred to me before, but once she filled me in on these simple pointers I loaded my iPhone with all kinds of crazy club music (which I don't normally listen to at ALL), invested in some good supportive shoes from the experts at Running Wild, and accepted the "suck" of the first 5 minutes.  And then...magic!  I love the stress-relief and weight-management that comes from a dedicated practice.  It doesn't hurt a bit that it makes my husband notice my legs.
  
But, OH MY GOD it has been a crazy winter.  December hit and those running shoes haven't been on my feet once (well, maybe a couple of times but it wasn't to actually RUN, sadly.)  I can't even blame the weather...especially since I love the cold & snow!  Between purchasing a 2nd business, battling the flu season with 3 kids, the holidays, and a mile-long list that even bores ME (so I'll spare YOU), this mama has lost her steam (and found her beer belly.)

Well, guess what?  Screw YOU crazy/busy schedule!  I'm getting my ass back in the saddle..er, running tights and I'm going to burn off that stress.  It's gonna suck for more than a minute, but not nearly as badly as it sucks to feel defeated & pudgy.  Help me out, Carole King...mama's finding her groove today!

Happy trails, friends!
~IndigoGrrl



Who's Howling

Saturday, January 26, 2013



...at the Full Wolf Moon tonight?


I love a Winters Full Moon more than any other, I think.  It could be that I was born in February in the snowy midwest, but when I really search my heart I know.

The moon is Yin energy:  quiet, cold, still, silver.  It is the opposite of its Yang counter-part, the Sun (which is roaring, hot, active, and golden.)  Winter herself is the energy of the Yin Goddess, so a Full Moon on a Winters Night is as Yin as it gets.  I want to be silenced by the peace of the cold, bright, beauty of her.  I want to dive into a silent retreat, immersed in introspection so that I can emerge in the Spring ready for personal growth and abundance.  

But within the very heart of Yin, is Yang. While she is shrouded in her quiet power her very heart burns with wild fire.  She looks out upon the attractive, fiery dance of Yang, but within his heart is Yin...dark & cold.  This eternal dance between the night and day, fire and ice, hot and cold preserves and sustains all of creation...of nature...what the yogis would call, Prakriti (and what we would refer to as "nature.")


How do we find that balance of these two energies within ourselves?  How do we acknowledge and accept both aspects instead of falling into the temptation to grasp to one way of being or the other?  We could just howl in agony over the pain this dilemma creates, or we could tune into the Wisdom of the Full Winters Moon, travel deeply within our own hearts, and through introspection explore the answers to these ancient questions.  

Wherever your path leads, may the light of the Full Wolf Moon shine brightly upon you tonight.  May you find the peace, wisdom, and compassion to unite both the Sun and the Moon within your heart.  May all beings be happy and free from Suffering.


Namaste,

IndigoGrrl

"God is in the Roses...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

...the petals and the thorns.

Storms out on the oceans; 

souls who will be born.  

And every drop of rain that falls, 

falls for those who mourn. 

God is in the roses and the thorns."


I heard this Roseanna Cash song for the first time about a year ago as I was driving to our Yoga Teacher Training program at Indigo on a Sunday morning.  I was listening to NPR and hadn't been paying much attention as my mind was busy and my heart was heavy...I don't remember what internal battle I was fighting on that particular day.  I have battled chronic depression my entire life...and while I have overcome so much of this disease there are days & moments when the weight of the world and the suffering of humanity (especially of my own loved ones) swallow me up whole.


But when this simple yet powerful song started to play,

I was instantly hushed -- suddenly I was fully present...alive...aware...surrendered...accepting...at peace in the moment.  Tears of release streamed down my face and as I took deep breaths in and out I found myself absorbing the essence of God and letting go of the hurt.  

It was a moment that made a lasting impression.  It didn't erase my struggles.  It reminded me that my struggles are part of the process.  God is with me in the easy moments and in the difficult moments.  When I remember to let go of my firm grasp on those thorns my pain is so much less severe.  A rose can rest in my palm...thorns and all and when I just give it space (not casting it aside nor grasping firmly...just allowing it to BE) I can become aware of the complete beauty of God.  


Awareness.  Discernment.  Surrender.  There's that Kriya Yoga theme popping up in my life again.  Hmm...


**Just a sidenote to clarify my points of view:  when I refer to God, I do not see a separate God between cultures.  I do not believe there is MY God & then there is YOUR God, and I don't even really assign or assume gender here, as I believe God is bigger than those human labels & understandings.

Whatever way in which you personally connect with this Divine Creative Source, I believe it is the same energy for all of us.  Part of our human experience is finding our own personal connection with God (or the Gods, or the Goddess...or the Sun, or the Universe) ...these are all aspects of that one Infinite Source, in my humble opinion.   





Yes, Mother...my tree IS still up.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Thanks for noticing :/


While we're on the subject, it's January 9th and I still have gifts left to wrap and give.  It seems the many heavy & big things I'm juggling at the moment have caused a few details (details that I am 'normally' quite on-top of) to fall right off my priority list.  Ker-PLUNK!

And guess what?  It's OK!  The world is still turning, and I'm managing the big & heavy things in my life pretty well...even if that darn tree is still up.


PS:  Don't hate on my mom...she's awesome in so many ways.  Maybe not so much in the "I just had a long & emotionally-draining day & I need you to just smile and hug me" way, but awesome in her own special ways.


Peace on Earth, Good Will toward...moms?  Yes.  Even in January.

~IndigoGrrl




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