IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

Summer Time Teachings

Monday, June 01, 2015


In the words of the great Alice Cooper, "School's out for summer."  For most of us that is now true. 


But, not for me.  I'll be getting those recent high school grads in just a couple of days.


A few of my colleagues and non-teacher friends moan when I say I am going back quickly after finishing up my yearly semester to begin summer semester.


But really, I don't mind.  I actually dig it.  In the summer, I usually only amass a dozen or less students, compared to the 25 I have to wrangle in the Fall.  In the Fall I teach all the Composition classes you knew and loved, a few literature classes, but mostly writingwritingwriting.


I teach more than English though.  I teach (and study) human nature.  And that nature, although the human does not, changes with every single semester.  Quite possibly, daily.  They would like to tell you that people's behaviors, outlooks, opinions can't possibly change that often or that quickly, but, oh, my friend, they do.


Think about it.  We are constantly globally connected.  We can't go a day without some mention of a political statement, or what some family has been hiding, or even to what extent Kanye smiled.  We are constantly connected to our smart phones, and that is not very smart.


When I was in college (and in grad school), I had a TV but it wasn't connected to anything but an old VCR.  In the mornings, I put on a CD (usually Tori Amos) and drank some coffee (usually French).  If I had down-time at night, I watched a favorite movie.  Smart phones did not exist.  If I needed to research something, I went to the library, the one with paper books, and shelves, and card catalogs, and librarians with an  extensive knowledge on the history of everything.


Smart phones are nice, but so is human interaction, which brings me back to teaching summer school.  Right now I have 6 students signed up to take my Introduction to Literature class.  I will spend 3 hours twice a week with 6 people.  Tell me we won't get to know each other in all the uncomfortable ways.  We're going to talk about words and why someone a hundred years ago needed to write them.  We are going to talk about words and why we need to choose them wisely. We are going to talk about trees and why a tree is never just a tree!  We are going to sit with our metaphors and look at the leaves and the sky.  We are going to listen to birds and probably traffic.  We are going to talk to each other.


If you happen to need Introduction to Literature, or maybe you just want to talk about trees that aren't trees, look me up. I'll be in Room 504.  I have a view of the river, the bridge, and the Farmer's Market.  I have 6  people talking to each other.



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

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



"Who apart from the gods is without pain for his whole lifetime's length?" ~Aeschylus

Friday, December 28, 2012
Do not be ashamed of your pain or the effects it brings. There will be those who are close to you who will not understand, but do not despair. Part of our human existence is to experience pain in some form or another...allow this moment to build your capacity for compassion, even for those who might forsake you in your hour of need. Pain does not discriminate, and while it might not show it's face to us all in the same way or at the same hour, it will visit every single one of us at some point in our lives. May this truth bind us together and ultimately increase our capacity for compassion, understanding, and loving-kindness for one-another. Please be kind to those who are suffering, as we will all know suffering and need the kindness & understanding of others at some point along our journey.


(I originally wrote & posted this to one of our Facebook pages in May of 2012.  I'm in the midst of a painful migraine today and needed a reminder so I'm reposting.)

If you live with chronic pain, how do you manage it?



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