Tonight's poem is another personal walk down memory lane. When I set out on my poetry challenge 2018 I didn't really know what themes would reveal themselves and looking back on the 59 poems of the start of the year I'd say nostalgia is featuring heavily. I know these poems are probably not as interesting to you reading them as they are to me writing them, however, even if all their good for is inspiring you to reflect on your own fond memories - and maybe pen your own - then I'm satisfied.
Today's morning commute was quite smooth for my husband and I as he dropped me off at the transit station, compared to the discombobulated woman who was gathering her items out of her four door sedan that she had careened up a heaping mound of snow in the middle of a median and rammed into a tree. There was no ice.
Today is my birthday and I've been humbled and awed by the outpouring of love and well-wishes that have come my way from my family and friends. I know I've said this before and I'll say it again. I really do live a charmed life.
I taught my first yin yoga session open to the public last night. It was magical. I really enjoyed it and I hope my students did too! My poem today is another yoga philosophy poem about santosha, a niyama, a "positive duty" as outlined by Patanjali for recommended activities for healthy living. Santosha ultimately boils down to cultivating contentment. I believe contentment is fundamental for healthy living and I also believe that it is something you can practice and build over time. In my poem I tried to capture exactly how I construct my own contentment.
Tonight my poem is another walk down memory lane to the frog pond in the woods at the back of the farm I grew up on. Enjoy!
Confession time. I really only clean my house in preparation for a guest. Really. I mean, it's not a sty in between those times but mopping? Nope. Dusting? Nope. Cleaning out the corners? Nuh - uh; not really done until I have the appropriate impetus...an upcoming visit from a guest. What this results in is a happy circumstance of me wanting to have a party not just to party, but also to tidy up. I wrote a poem about it.
I really do think humans are such a fascinating species. Today's poem arose from my walk to the bus stop through the bustling Minneapolis skyway system. There were three teenagers walking ahead of me and one of them was holding on to their smart phone blasting tunes for all the world to enjoy...ahem. I grinned to myself hearing them joke with each other, calling names, chatting about the music. It seemed their joviality and the music coming from the small phone speaker created a glow of youth and levity around them. I really couldn't help but smile as I realized I was looking at the modern day boombox.
Ok, I'm feeling pretty proud of my own cleverness tonight. My poem is a simile of the changes that occur to oneself when travelling and the changes that dirt undergoes to transform into rock. It's sedimentary.
Alright! Alright! I'll stop.
But, really, travelling is a magical experience that transforms and refines your character and your life skills. I was reflecting on some of my most amazing travel experiences, my semester in Merida, Venezuela, my one year wedding anniversary in the United Kingdom. Those adventures punctuate the story of my life in exclamation points and all caps. Hence, the poem:
It's "Love Your Pet Day" according to twitter and I've been lucky enough to have had some amazing pets in my life. I used to love having my faithful four-legged companion coming along to gather the herd for milking. I wanted to capture just a glimpse of that magic between a girl and her dog.
Today was a nerve-wracking day as I switched this website from amysense.weebly.com to a bonafide business website, moonsweptyoga.com. It's the name of my yoga business and captures the spirit of what I want to bring to the world with yoga. The moon, to me, is peaceful and calm and comfortable in her own skin - and if you are "swept" by something it means you've been affected by it - so Moonswept Yoga means I'll be sweeping the effect of the moon to anyone in need of a little peace and comfort. That being said, I was in need of some peace and calm as I was poised to press the "send" button to make it official. I'm constantly learning and growing as I journey to offer more resources to spread comfort and ease around the world and transitioning this website is definitely a chapter in the book of lessons. The good news is everything changes so if I fall out of love with the name or the site I can recreate it in whatever form seems appropriate. The key is taking a step, and by taking my own steps, I can be my own catalyst for change.
There are so many events conspiring to change the course of our planet and I truly believe that humanity has the ability to respond with honor, respect, and compassion to ourselves, each other, and all the other species floating in space on this rock with us. So I wrote this little poem.
Growing up in rural Wisconsin meant plenty of beautiful winter days out in the sunshine on the ice and it's still one of my favorite ways to spend time when I'm back home visiting. Today I got out on the ice for a little while with family pulling up various size blue-gills to say hello and then sending them back down below.
My undergraduate degree is in anthropology, the study of humans, because I really find us fascinating. One thing I find particularly interesting is how and when we pass down knowledge about seemingly mundane yet fundamental tasks, such as loading the dishwasher or cleaning one's belly button. So my question to you is:
It's Valentine's Day. I love Valentine's Day. I am happy to celebrate the abundance of love I feel everyday - all sorts of love for my friends, my family, and my spouse. In honor of today, I spent some time penning a poem about all the sweet ways my husband shows me love. I hope it isn't too sappy for you all. Happy Valentine's Day!
I went back to a yoga theme tonight again. I was thinking a lot about hoarding because I attempted a "Konmari" session this weekend. I was inspired after listening to "The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo and - I know, I know - I'm supposed to do my whole house in one sitting but I'd need to use a week of PTO in order to accomplish that coup and I won't. I just won't. So, I attempted to tackle just my clothes and I got through two dresser drawers and 2/3rds of my closet. It was not easy, even with Marie's simple steps I still struggled to identify whether an item brought me joy or if I simply wanted to keep a hold of it because I like having it around "just in case." Aparigraha is the sanskrit word for "non-grasping" or "non-possessiveness." It is one of the yamas from Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga and, I think, particularly challenging whether speaking figuratively or literally. In a literal sense, it is hard to not to keep or buy, or even desire, extra things, stuff, junk - whatever you want to call it. Figuratively, the same difficulties apply to emotions, such as when hoarding anger builds into resentment. Even good things can be spoiled with hoarding, morphing love into jealousy. It's not all bad news though. As I went to select my clothes for my outfit this morning, I did feel joy and peace when I saw all of my items arranged neatly in the drawer. I knew exactly where I had put everything and that they all belonged there. I think that's what cultivating aparigraha is meant to feel like - that you've reviewed everything within and without and you know you have everything you need and nothing you don't surrounding you so your life can be peaceful and easy and free.
Ta Da! I updated my site today. I got some great feedback from a graphic designer co-worker (thank you, Adrienne!) and then I got my professionally shot yoga photos (Thank you, Colette and Lucia) and both gifts came together to bring you the update you see today. For my poem, I got nostalgic again and decided to try to capture the amazing architecture and layout of the dairy farm I grew up on. It's really fascinating when you think that the initial elements of the farm buildings were constructed in the late 1800's/early 1900's and that it's modern appearance is a continued patchwork of updates and growth. I still like to go back and visit it from time to time and see how much it's changed.
I started my day filling up with a huge breakfast to sustain me and set off to Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan, MN. I mountain bike there with my husband in the summer and today I was going to hike the trails while he took his fatbike around the course. It's been a very busy winter for me and I haven't been able to hike as often as I would have liked and so today was as wonderful as you'd expect. Exhilarating, invigorating, centering, clarifying, rejuvenating, I could go on but I think you get the idea.
On my childhood farm, we had 80 acres of woods growing in the back of our farmland, way back beyond our fields and barnyard. I used to love spending hours there with my sisters, exploring the frog pond, walking along the creek that wended it's way along the edges of our land. It was a place of fun as a child, and later, as I began to leave my adolescence it became a place of serenity. I get that same sensation now, years later in whatever form of mother nature I'm in - both joyful and tranquil.
A short yoga primer today to go along with the poem. Svadhyaya, the sankrit term for self-study, is a niyama, a positive observance or duty to cultivate in oneself as described in Patanjali's yoga sutras. It's just one helpful step outlined on the path to living your best life and it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately. My husband and I are re watching the entire Harry Potter series and finished the Order of the Phoenix recently in which Harry is punished by Professor Umbridge and has to write "I must not tell lies" with a special quill that marks the words into the flesh on the back of his hands. Now, Umbridge is horrible and I by no means advocate corporal punishment, however, she had the right idea about the lies - even if she was the one telling them. The thing is, I think we can fall into a habit of lying to ourselves everyday. We can lie to ourselves that we like to do something when we clearly don't or that something doesn't hurt when it really does. Or we can say we don't think we are worth something or we don't look like what we think we should look like. Svadhyaya, to me, encourages that deep gaze in the mirror. The time to ask what lies have I been etching into my own skin, leaving a scar? I think the yoga asana practice gives space and time to start that work - to start shutting out the noise so you can hear the sound of your own inner voice. I tried to capture that in today's poem. Hope you enjoy.
I had an incredible day at work attending a Baldrige 101 course conducted at a local community college by Performance Excellence Network. One of my top 5 strengths from Strengthsfinders is learning. I love acquiring new knowledge, it keeps me inspired, and helps me stay current in best practices for the work that I get to do in continuous improvement. I decided to write an acrostic poem where the first letters of each line form a word that maybe captures some of the magic that happens in my mind during learning.
More memories of a farm kid tonight. My childhood "imaginary name" was Cleopatra. Yes, Cleopatra. And yes, I picked it myself. I also asked that my sister call me "Cleo" for short while we played. We would go on all sorts of adventures to conquer foes and save the day in our imaginations and I'm sure that's where I got all my practice in how to never be bored. How can you be bored when a lifetime of adventure can happen in your mind in a single afternoon?
My poem is just a snapshot of one imaginary episode that was so easy to conjure as a child. As we grew older our tasks turned from pure imagination to actually drawing out criminal records complete with hand draw finger prints. I remember one particular nefarious "baddie" was called Harry Wartpus and his mugshot was as gruesome as you guessed. My poor mom, we used her good file folders and everything. I really treasure the memories I have of imaginary play. I wonder how else it has shaped me into who I am today?
It's my birthday month! My poem gives the impression that I don't love this month but, really, I do. I will admit find this part of winter starts to cloy somewhat. Luckily the monotony will be chopped up with birthday celebrating. As I wrote today's poem, I had a sense of deja vu that I've written a poem about February in the past. That's the beauty about poems though, even if I had - it wouldn't be the same.
The Superbowl is today. I'm excited for my city to be the host and hope everyone is having good, clean fun. I spent my late morning and afternoon in my final yoga teacher training session - it was magical. Then I came home, cooked dinner, watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with my husband, and now I'm posting my poem about nintendo. Pretty perfect day.
Creative enthusiast, gregarious naturalist, opinionated activist, RYT 200. Amy Kay Czechowicz is completing a poetry challenge for 2018 by posting an original poem daily to this blog!