Posts Tagged ‘reflections’

Rubber boots and Mittens

I went for a hike today,

A dead hike mom would say.

“Everything is brown,

The colours all down

Not a time for hiking

And too late for biking

You should have done this a month ago.”

As you can guess,

I left mom for a rest,

And to my surprise,

The place was alive.

First I was spooked,

By a nesting goose,

As I followed a path

That circles her bath

Then further I crept

And a whitetaileddeer lept,

From her exposed graze

To a pine tree maze

I next took the track

To the maple syrup shack

Followed “frostbite ridge” trail

To a flock of wild quail

and stood still to listen

to the morning dew glisten.

I stooped low to investigate

What a bear or fox ate

And took a wrong path

When did that maple collapse?

It began to snow

The wet stuff, you know.

When I found the track back,

I was met by the cat

He hopped on 3 feet

To the house where we sleep

So we completed the loop

Lured by scents of soup

To find Mom in the snow

Waiting with hot cocoa.


10 Days of Silence and Nothing



Yet another move is ahead of me, and this one I’m doing solo.  This move is free of trucks, boxes, tape, food, work, books and music.  Thank goodness.  It’s free of all of the stuff that clutters my life and distracts me from living life itself.  It’s free of complex thought and free of the senses.   That’s probably a dramatic enough introduction so I’ll now tell you that I am beginning a 10 day Vipassana Meditation course tomorrow at the Ontario Vipassana Centre.  Me and 49 others will spend 10 days in complete (noble) silence with the following schedule:

4:00 a.m Morning wake-up bell
4:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. Meditate in the hall or your own room
6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast break
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. GROUP MEDITATION IN THE HALL
9:00 a.m – 11:00 a.m. Meditate in the hall or your own room
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon Lunch break
12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. Rest and interviews with the teacher
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Meditate in the hall or your own room
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. GROUP MEDITATION IN THE HALL
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Meditate in the hall or your own room
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Tea break
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. GROUP MEDITATION IN THE HALL
7:00 p.m – 8:15 p.m. Teacher’s Discourse in the hall
8:15 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. GROUP MEDITATION IN THE HALL
9:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Question time in the hall
9:30 p.m. Retire to your own room. Lights out


I have chosen to complete this course because I have some internal work that needs to be done.  It involves healing, letting go, feeling safe, becoming more mindful and focussed, detachment from things that I attach my identity to, and I’m sure more that I’ll discover over the next 10 days.  However, I am also aware that I may just spend the next 10 days sitting, waiting for the next meal and secretly singing in the shower. hah.  Who knows.

Here’s some more information if you’re curious:


Week #2 in the Ashram…

These are my lessons from the second week of life in an Ashram in the Sivananda Teacher Training Course in Val Morin, Quebec:

  • The World Cup squeezed it’s way through the gates of the Ashram and instead of our 2-4pm lecture on the 4 Paths of Yoga, we ate popcorn and watched the final game!
  • The scary rustling and sniffing around my tent at night is a stray black cat……that has stirred up emotions in meditation of when our old black cat died on my 18th birthday….xoxo Blacky.
  • My ego pops up everywhere, awakened everyday by another ego.
  • I was scolded for tossing my cutlery ‘disrepectfully’ into the dirty dish bucket by one of our lecturers and I cried and cleaned the floors for an hour after that.
  • “Kriya” day was Thursday.  Kriyas are purifying/cleansing practices and thus:
  1. I poured water in one nostril and out the other (Neti Pot) = fairly easy.
  2. I threaded a catheter through my nostrils and out of my mouth to floss and release mucous from the nasal passage = much gagging, many attempts, many thoughts of giving up because I could feel the thing at the back of the throat but couldn’t reach it, more gagging, tears, snot……success in left nostril! (later in breathing exercises, I could breath so clear from my left nostril and I felt suffocated by my right…..almost makes me want to do this more…)
  3. I drank 8 cups of warm salt water quickly and proceeded to vomit it out (you’re supposed to, it brings mucous from the esophagus out) = not terrible, no acid comes up so it feels pretty normal and you can see all the mucous.
  4. The last was to swallow a long piece of wet gauze and then slowly pull it out = very few of us could even watch this, nevermind attempt it.

Very excitingly, this Sunday is the festival of Swami Sivananda’s death and there are going to be 25,000 people here at the Ashram!  It is a huge celebration that we are helping to coordinate, should be crazy.

Om Namah Shivaya

Are you ever alone and Should you be?

Today, as I suited up to go for a bike ride, Tequila (the dog on the farm we are looking after) got very excited to see me put on my jacket, and I knew I wouldn’t have the heart to leave her behind.  Thus, instead of biking, I opted for a hike.  Off we went down what’s called “The Rail Trail”, Tequila leading the way.  As we walked, I became very aware of how much of my attention was with the dog, like it would be if I were walking with a friend.  My mind would begin to drift to whatever thoughts earned priority in my sub-conscience, and then be interrupted by the rabbit that Tequila had scared out of the bush, or by wondering where she had gone, or by watching her play in the river, or by concerns that she may be thirsty etc.  Walking with a dog changed my walk experience.  It distracted me from my own thoughts and brought me out of my own head very often.  I was not alone.

I wondered how often dog owners are alone. Or have their consciousnesses adapted to include the dog

I wonder if it is better or worse to have a constant companion always in your presence. This could be a dog, a partner or a child.

And I wonder how often mothers are alone.

Like, really alone.  Where no one knows where you are, no one is expecting you, you’re not responsible for anything, you’re not concerned about the time and you’re able to think very deeply, naturally and without interruptions, forever if you felt like it.  Sounds like you’d be in a vacuum doesn’t it.

I wonder how often humans are supposed to experience time like this.  I experienced a lot of solo time before I shared my life with my current partner.  I was almost always alone, in my own head-space.  And now, there are days when I’m alone, but I always know he’s coming home for dinner.  Even if we’re apart for a day or 2, he is present in my consciousness always.  And yet there was a time when I didn’t have that constant companion.  And I think at those times I would have deeper thoughts.  My mind would contemplate life intensely, scrutinizing each step I took.  With a partner, I think I tend to let little things slide.  For example, we drive pretty often, and when I was on my own, I would bike to China and back to avoid driving.  My mind doesn’t venture as deep into itself anymore.  It’s either that I have less to prove now that I’m happy and loving, or that I forfeit responsibility when there is 2 of us and our decisions have to accommodate 2 opinions, 2 sets of needs and 2 sets of priorities.  On the flip side, at times when I didn’t have a partner, I was lonely.  There were times when I was desperate for someone to do things with.  Just someone to buy groceries with, to live with and cook with.

All of this to wonder.  What are we meant to do?  Live a conscious, independent life, or share life with each-other always, perhaps venturing into deep uninterrupted thought less often.  I realize there is a middle ground, however how often do we commit to being truly together and being truly separate?  When I hit a time in my life where I had lots of time to think alone, (which often accompanies facing some hard truths and rough patches), I had a few epiphanies in a row.  I posed all my life’s questions to my mother in one breath.  Asking her if she had thought about these things, how she felt about them, why she was living in the rat race of capitalist Toronto etc.  And my mother’s reply was that most people don’t have the time to stop and think like I did, that it was a luxury, and that she had to go because she was in the middle of filing a prospectus.

Any thoughts?  Any long, uninterrupted thoughts?

the beginning

Having recently read the Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet, I am pretty sure there is a part where the author ponders out loud, “…where to begin?” and Pooh innocently hints at what a strange question that is, because as far as he’s aware, there’s no where else to begin but the beginning.  Not really sure that helps much Pooh, but I’ll give it a shot and consider today the beginning.

I sit and listen to him speak.  Convincing me of some knowledge that he has.  That I do not.  True, I don’t know who the biggest exporter of tobacco is.  He does.  As does he in regards to many minor topics I note.  By habit, I feed his desire for expertise and ask “really?”.  Please don’t feed the bears.  In defense of his ego, he continues and in defense of my ego to earn a crumb of knowledge/power I feed him “including cigarettes?”, digging for the oh so diminishing “I don’t know”.  He effortlessly confirms, continuing on with even more knowledge than he knew he had.  When I come to the present moment of what’s happening, I remove myself from the dialogue.  Physically, mentally and obviously.  When the silence rests, and my ego has been stuffed into a dark hole and told “not a peep”, he contemplates his rant and retracts that it includes cigarettes, dismissing the idea that I even asked about them and that he had confirmed “yep”.  While I work to let go of a deep yearning to attack his weak argument, he, in secret, consults his guru on tobacco exporters, in a hopeful attempt to confirm his lecture, and if not, to devise a twist so that he still seems correct.  google: biggest tobacco exporter.  To his unease, he finds that in fact, my homeland the Netherlands, is not the biggest exporter of tobacco…”anymore”- his ego hiccups when confessing this to me.  With hopes of dropping a useless topic, but with every effort to do so seamlessly I respond with a closed lipped, oh-so-songful, “hmph”.

This later erupts into a complicated and tired argument/dialogue that would need to be recorded and decoded to even begin to write about.