I return bearing gifts

Buttermint tea packet, spicy chocolate bark and rupi kaur poem
2019 Goodies for Yogis

One of my more popular posts on this site is a story I wrote about assembling the gifts I created for my students, that year. They usually land around the holidays but just like the holiday cards that Steve and I sometimes send, the arrival of these bundles drifted into February. This year, it was just as fun selecting the 2+ treats (cooling minty tea and spicy tahini bark) and a poem (thank you, rupi kaur: I love your books!), then getting a little crafty with the bundles.

This event and photo are as good a reason as any to resume posts to this website: thank you for hanging with me. And by “hanging” I mean I understand it’s been nearly 6 months that I’ve left you, my readers, hanging. Even before that August post, I’d not been at it as regularly as before. This past year or two have been different. I’d love to say it was completely by design, but it wasn’t. Or, at least, it wasn’t by my design: the main activator was not having regular work: I had more time and also a more open mind to consider what would be the best use of my time. Job-hunting and a re-imagining of Working Me, were of course high on the list.

What’s changed, aside from my less regular writing, here?

Writing, in other places

  • I’ve been doing a monthly yoga newsletter. For one year, this month! If you’re curious, you can check it out and even sign up, here.
  • I’m still doing Toastmasters. In fact, with two different clubs! Not quite weekly with both, though. It’s possible that some of my writing energy and time that normally would go into this blog is now going into a speech, every few weeks, instead.

Working, Growing

  • I was mostly job-free for 14 months! That ended last April, and I’ve been enjoying the user experience research and design experience that Medtronic has allowed me during this contract. I’m grateful for the opportunity and hoping it continues!
  • The “job-free” situation didn’t apply to my yoga teaching, which continued at my two-class per week commitment. Additionally, in October I completed a 20-month advanced certification course. I’m still trying to determine what this means, aside from the gradual evolution and improvement in the classes I teach, alignment and in a few other ways, and in my expanded network of yoga teachers and advocates. I’m hoping in the next year to teach a workshop and possibly also cut my first yoga instruction video. I do know that it means I continue to want to learn more.

Moving Less. Moving Differently?

  • There’s at least one reason I enjoyed not having full-time work for a year: I got more fit. I was getting more regular movement and exercise in each day. It included working out (midday, midweek trail runs or bike rides) but also, more importantly, various house errands done by foot or by bike. As much as I’m enjoying the experience, my return to an 8-hour workday, or maybe the way I’m playing it, just isn’t conducive to a healthy amount of movement, every day.
  • The icy streets and trails have encouraged a running hiatus for me: I’ve re-joined the rock climbing gym and that’s been my main movement, a few times each week. It’s plenty climbing but it’s not enough movement throughout each day – so I’m looking for a solution while waiting for longer, brighter days to return so I can get outside for short walks, frequently.

Consuming Books

  • I’m reading a lot more. Mostly because I joined a book club, a little over a year ago. I remember, in my 20s, wanting to read more, but struggling to find time to read a book, ever. Holding down various jobs, trying to keep a daily (and exhausting) exercise regimen, actively dating and also a commitment to a rugby, and then climbing, life: these didn’t leave much time for reading. I ended up rationalizing it with this: I can read in retirement. The thing is, reading is a transportive and restorative activity. And I learn from books! I learn things I need to know now. So: I’m reading 2-3 books per month, on the average.
  • I’m so glad I joined a book club. I learn even more when I talk with other women who have recently read the book. And these women! Smart, affirming, full of heart and generally amazing.
  • My latest favorite books: Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage. and Mario Giordano’s Aunti Poldi and the Sicilian Lions.

Drawing More

octopus drawing in crayon
Ski in rain? Or stay put with paper, crayons, beer and inspiration from a book about cephalopods?
  • A year ago my new year’s resolution was to do more creating. It did not manifest in my completion of a knitted pair of socks, as hoped. But it did result in journals whose pages get filled each week! Filled with musings on books, speech ideas, now and then a Bullet Journal-style log of a week’s plans or gratitudes, and above all: drawings on each. Above: evidence that I’ve gotten more confident in my illustrative skills. The 2-3 beers that afternoon helped, but the octo wasn’t the only recognizable figure, on the table paper by the end of that rainy afternoon in the Methow Valley.

And so: some growth, this past year. Let it continue! Thank you.