Much of the year, most of us live and work in climate controlled environments. Bugs are not welcome. Spring invites us to get outside and create.
In the school where I work as a librarian, the kids are developing a native pollinator garden. I didn't even know it was a thing! The idea is to plant native flowers and hopefully attract native insects and birds to pollinate them. It involves dirt. The delicate among us might complain, but we will work together as a community to make it happen. The majority of my students do not have ancestors who know what the soil looked like 500 years here. Nature returns to Long Island.
Our students are anxious to plant, but the soil needs to be prepared. We are turning over grass and putting down organic mulch. The hardest part of it all is being patient! The ground is ready but the air is not.
What are you preparing for now? How do you stay patient when all you want to do is get close to the ground and plant?
A recent challenge with a coworker left me reeling. I often hear from clients and colleagues about serious challenges, inequities and outright mean-spirited behavior that they must deal with on a daily basis. Maybe that is you? I rarely experience conflicts and live in a way that makes conflict rare, but as a human, it can and will happen.
In this situation, I compromised, but also took a good look at myself. What could I do better? How can I validate their experience? Were they right? Well, no, they were out of line, outright wrong, but does it matter?
Acceptance is key. Having healthy outlets like yoga and a meditation practice discharge the negativity of others and so after steaming about the conflict and the injustice of it all, I am back in balance. I said what I needed to say, left them to think about it, and let-it-go.
Reading the Tao Te Ching, translated by Stephen Mitchell, really helps me think about balance and how to live in a...
You can't blame the people of Long Island. Until recently, most cultural, literary, and historic landmarks were hard to find. As a reader of blog posts with Whitman in the title you might not believe me, but it seems that more Long Islanders have heard of the Walt Whitman Mall than its namesake.
For the record, Walt Whitman was born on Long Island and the mall came second.
When my children were younger, I would explore the small grounds of his birthplace, have a picnic and visit the museum and interpretive center. So much has changed! The WWBA now offers regular programing and some are over zoom so visits can happen without leaving your house.
I wrote the poem "Concrete Walt" with all of our multitudes in mind. In the spirit of Whitman, I imagined the Indigenous Long Islanders, the sailors and farmers, shoppers at the mall across the street, bugs and birds hiding in trees, the pollution below. All of it.
The land where the mall sits...
Nothing like a bee sting to interrupt your Zen.
I raise my hand in the lawn for a seated twisted yoga pose. My waist is wrung out like a wet rag. I think I’m so graceful, my fingers reaching for sky. My arm moves in slow motion toward the grass. I’m fully in the moment, describing the pose to my students step-by-step. The gaze comes last and with my head and neck aligned with the spine there is no reason to look down.
When my hand reaches the earth, it meets a bee. I’m stung. My yogi mind observes. It says, “You have been stung by a bee.” Yes, I have been stung, it hurts, and the class remains centered in the pose while I look down at my swollen finger and continue to cue.
It’s near the end of class and my non-yogi mind says, “Run! Get ice. Get Benadryl. Your throat will close. You will go into shock. You will die.”
We finish class. I ice my hand. I’m calm and surprised to be alive.
Have you ever been stung? I have...