It's been hot and humid for 2 months. I've had to run the AC every night, and I don't care for that sound. Don't like to use that electricity.
Last night was cool and dry. I put a fan in the window and blew air in. I awoke at 3 am cold. Cold! I tried a t-shirt and socks. Still cold. Had to jump up to grab a wool blanket off a high shelf. Tossed it on top of my down comforter. Ahhh.... bliss. Warm blankets in a cold room. Good weather to sleep, perchance to dream.
Oh my. The peaceful, blissful days of summer have passed. I remember those days of yoga, Reiki, garden, sun, and water. I remember fun times with family and friends.
I'm a teacher. It's that time; I'm back at school. I'm overwhelmed with work and To Do lists. Thank goodness I was able to unravel and recharge. I foresee 60 hour work weeks, crises, and interpersonal conflicts: many challenges. Thank goodness I know how to stop. Breathe. Assume an asana. Do self-Reiki. Then get back to work. Thank goodness I love my job. Love my coworkers, bosses, and students. I love to help my students grow into being the awesomest caregiver they can be. I love to talk teaching methods with coworkers, and love to create learning systems.
Right now, I love to sit on my deck. There's a cool dry breeze. The garden is full of color: overall greens with a border of bright yellow. Touches of white and pink. Morning glory vines are twining up an unused lawn chair.
Really over. I'm a teacher. I work 50-60 hours/week during the school year- championing my students, supporting, imparting, and cheering for my students.
I have summers off. Wait, off? Well, except for my 3 part-time summer jobs. Other than that, off. More flexible, anyway. I spent a lot of time at the beach, in the garden, and at yoga class.
It was so hard to get out of the water today. So hard to pack up and leave the sun. The breezes, blue sky, and loons. Novels and magazines. Goodbye sun, goodbye sand, perfect water, freedom, and relaxation.
Everything changes. We must move on. I came home, picked cleaned and cooked green beans. I packed them in five tupperwares, with vinegar and salsa or hummus. Enough for lunch all week.
I was cooking and cleaning this evening. Hey, don't act so surprised. Anyway, was cooking pasta with kale, doing dishes, turning on fans and computers, writing grocery lists and to do lists, patting Fluffy, and emptying the dehumidifier.
Suddenly I noticed a perfumey smell. "Hello? A spirit? Who are you?" It was a new scent. I wondered who it could be, and what they were trying to tell me. "Yes? What is it?"I stopped and checked in with my guides and angel. I tapped into the cosmos.
Nothing. hmmm. Oh well, stir the kale, pat the dog, give her a cheese biscuit (made in Canada, not China), straighten the rug, swipe a couple of dishes, pick an onionskin off the floor. Wait a minute, that smell.
Oh, it's the new dish soap. Not a message from beyond. Not the first time.
I think I read this in Oprah magazine. I've been catching up on a year's worth. I sit at the beach and plop a big glossy on my lap, frequently distracted by seagulls and clouds. Occasionally and fortuitously loons.
Step one. Go out to the garden and pick kale. Notice the morning glories twining around the cedar tree. Admire the brown-eyed susans, a procession of bright yellow. Marvel at the neon zinnias. Look at the green beans, *groan* they need to be picked again. Haven't eaten the last batch and gave some to neighbors. Remember to pick kale.
I picked the tops off of four sturdy plants. Three blue and a green. I planted Blue Russian and curly green.
Back inside, get 2 pans going. One for pasta, one for kale. You know how to cook pasta. Do that. The other- splop liberal olive oil into cast iron skillet. Add chopped garlic (3 sections) and walnuts (a handful).
Pour yourself a glass of chardonnay. It's summer, it's hot, and this is going to be arduous.
Wash the kale. Add red pepper flakes to the skillet. You know how I cut kale? With my kitchen scissors: so easy. I cut it in thin strips, right over the sizzling skillet. I add a splash of fresh spring water. Stir.
That cutting was strenuous, you might need another glass of wine. I prefer a fine boxed wine. Boca is good: no BPA in the lining, so they say.
Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and add to skillet. Might need another splash of water at this point, or what the hey, a splash of chardonnay. Stir. Turn to low and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. I say freshly grated because I tend to abuse parmesan cheese and if I have to pay $4.00 for a tub of the fresh, I use less. Give me a family-sized can of Kraft's, and well, it's a sad story. Is there a support group out there? My name is Meredith and I abuse parmesan cheese.
Back to the recipe. Yeah, it's good to go. Did you work all day, on a Saturday? School is starting and you realize there's no syllabus for your class? No test bank, no lesson plans, and you haven't read the textbook. So you worked all day? Awww, no beach. Wait, then you came home and mowed the lawn? Didn't eat since breakfast? Oh dear, pour yourself one more glass of wine. Turn on public radio, pat the dog, and chill. Supper can wait. It's there and ready, so easy, so delish.
Listening to Bob Dylan, writing blog, trying to sell books. See pics on right? Please click to buy books, if you're in the mood. All profits go towards school expenses for earnest, intelligent, and charming sons.
Loons are our unofficial state bird (official: chickadee). We count, love, and protect them. The usual reaction when a Mainer hears or sees one: we stop, point, and whisper, "A loon." We drop everything and stare; we acknowledge the beauty and elusiveness of some aspects of life and nature.
Yesterday at my park, the pond, an old man roared up on a motorcycle, a young girl behind him. She called him "Uncle." He ran to the pond, yelling, and dove in. He didn't shout when he was underwater. He spent too much time above water. He yelled and sang. The girl followed slowly. She was wearing clothes, but waded into the pond. He talked to her constantly, referencing a range of popular topics. Kind of amusing.
Loons popped up beside them. Three of them, one a youngster. I held my breath- how wonderful, how magical. So close. I could see a white ring around a neck, a glossy black head, the spotted backs. One had a small fish in it's beak, and offered it to the young loon. Lovely.
The old man yelled at them, "Go away!" He reached down, grabbed sand and stones from the lake bed and threw handsful at them, "Git out a here! GO AWAY."
The loons dove and bobbed up farther away, dove and were gone.
The man eventually got out and drove off on his motorcycle, wet niece clinging to his back.
Picked it up at noon: $500 under estimate and a day early. I've never seen the car this clean. No dust on the dashboard. All the windows are sheer: in and out. The floor: no more straw, dog hair, or beach sand. Outside, washed. I think they polished the hub caps. It's like a brand new car.
Runs like Joan Benoit.
Car, really a van. I'm back up high, after the Trans Am. Back in sedate blue after mod a la mode maroon.
I signed up for Internet access two years ago: $20 month. Internet only, no TV, no phone, $20/month. Great. Loved it.
Last year they raised the price by $13/month, up to $33. Got a letter last month saying the price was going up to $44/month. What, up $120/year, every year? No thanks.
I bought a phone with a mobile hot spot. Terminated cable co. account, returned modem: goodbye, cable company. Well, I thought it was goodbye... but they call me on my old phone 15-20 times/ day. The ringer is turned off. I don't answer, I don't respond. I suppose they want me back... *sigh*
... as you do Reiki?" a woman asked yesterday, as I shared Reiki at Seniors Plus. There were about 10 of us practitioners and perhaps 40 elders.
S Plus is a gathering of local elders. They meet in a sterile modern building in an industrial complex. They walk or roll in: curious and expectant.
"What do you think about?" I heard a woman ask. She asked the Reiki practitioner who was sharing with her. I heard the practitioner respond.
"Oh, I think about my grocery list, or what I'm having for dinner," she said.
Really? Not me. I let my thoughts drift. If I think about anything, I think about the client's greatest good. I think about the Reiki symbols and Reiki history. I think about Mikao Usui, Chujiro Hayashi, and Hawayo Takata. I drift. If I notice a thought, then I release it and direct my thoughts to Reiki. I thank my guides and angel. I strive for the greatest good, I focus on light and love, I tune in to joy.
Yesterday I shared Reiki at a local gathering of elders: Seniors Plus.
This was a vibrant and challenging group of energetic elders. Jeffrey Hotchkiss gathered 8? 10? of us Reiki practitioners to assist. There were about 40 in the audience. Jeffrey spoke, and we shared Reiki as he talked and answered questions.
I met a famous dance instructor from a local college. I got very hot as I shared energy. Most recipients dismissed it, expecting something more. Still, good. So good to see and spend time with other Reiki practitioners. Good to spread the message of Reiki.
I sleep til 8, 9, or (shocking) 10. I get up, drink a glass of water, and go to yoga. It's downtown.
I park several blocks away from the studio, in a 2-hour spot. I walk past Oak Hill Apts. There are no oaks and no hill. There are usually several residents out front, sitting on benches or in wheelchairs, oxygen tubing and tanks, smoking, laughing, waiting for some excitement like the UPS man.
I walk through a plaza. There's a fountain, flowering plants in cement rectangles, and, across the plaza, interesting architecture. I walk past a wine store, a courthouse, law offices, and an Indian restaurant. I veer towards the street when I walk past the 12 Hour Club, to avoid the reek of old cigarettes and exhaled alcohol. Cross another street and then I see the sign for my yoga class. Up the worn wooden staircase and I'm in. Yoga: anxiety unravels.
We do extreme yoga. Yesterday the teacher knelt on my glutes to pull on my arms. OW! I said.
"That hurts?" she asked. All the other students moaned with pleasure. Of course I'm different.
"Yes! Oww. Your knees are digging in and it hurts." She moved slightly. It hurt slightly less.
"Grab on," she instructed, as she grabbed my wrists. "Now relax." How could I grab while I was relaxing? How could I relax while her skinny knees dug into my gluteal nerves? How could I do anything but yelp with pain as she cranked my back up into an unnatural arch?
Today she told us to strap up. I couldn't manage so she helped. She strapped my chest like a strait jacket. Then we did yoga. If the strap dug in, she told us, we weren't doing it properly. The strap did not dig in, so I guess I'm ok. She did pull on it a couple of times, but I was still OK. It's good to learn proper form.
After yoga I dashed home to change, then went to share Reiki at the cancer center. A new practitioner joined me. We did one session. The client fell asleep.
Then off for a chop. Annual pre-school haircut. I usually hack at it myself. Let the pro do it today.
Then the pond. Oh, the pond. I love the sun. I love to sit in a beach chair and read. I love to swim. I swam for an hour. The water is clean and cold. Loons pop up. Men fish. Mothers call, "Time to get out of the water!"
Home to Fluffy, the garden, home chores, and public radio. Catch up on emails. Up til midnight. ahh. summer.
Tomorrow is Reiki with Jeffrey Hotchkiss and Laurence Miller. Both are Reiki master/teacher/practitioners. Both are studious, thoughtful, and generous.
We are meeting at a local senior center. Mr Hotchkiss, of EldersBloom, will speak first, and then we will demonstrate Reiki. I hope everyone in the audience will want to try it. Reiki is amazing.
What is it again? It's a gentle, hands-on healing method developed by Mikao Usui around 1920. Practitioner and client come together for a brief session, both relax: energy flows. Everyone feels better.
Reminds me of skiing: end of season the skiers departed, tho conditions were still great.
I go to the pond at the end of the day, at the end of the season. I have the beach to myself. Way down there, a big family. They laugh and splash. He steals a towel, she runs after him: laughing and slapping. He could be 14, her prob 10. They all take turns with several kayaks. Over on the other side of me a couple of teen girls in bikinis, and way over a grandfather and small boy, in front of the lifeguard stand.
Seagulls on either side of me. Lots of them. White ones, spotted browns. They preen, drink, and swim; but mostly they stand and look around. Sometimes they squawk and flap.
I see loons, black heads and graceful necks. They float, dive, bob, and pop.
I like the arc of the beach, the line of dark pines, the blue sky and clean water. I like to look at shapes in the clouds. I read a Hawaiian murder mystery. I get hot and wade into the water. I dive in, like a loon. The water is cold and clear.
Beach nearly deserted, hardly anyone there. On South Beach, just a dozen people. Just the way I like it.
I finished The Alchemist, found it insipid and uninspiring. Read Oprah magazine, I'm up to February 2012. The magazines pile up during the school year and I read them at the beach.
So I swam. The water was cold and smooth, the bottom sandy. Loons popped up to my left, about 20 feet away. I could see the white dots on the black feathers. Wished I had my glasses on. They looked at me, three of them. They dove, and I noted the splay of black tail feathers. I hung out in the water.
They popped up in front of me. We looked at each other. They dove, then popped up to my right. For about 20 minutes I swam with the loons. I swam gently. They popped up beside me. I looked at the people on the beach. They were all busy loading kayaks, adjusting suit straps, or changing position on their towels. No one was looking at the loons. There they were again, to my left. Three of them. Loons.
Finally they popped up far away, back in the deep, headed to the far side of the pond. Goodbye, loons. I packed up. Goodbye pond, goodbye summer.
Stop spending days at yoga class and beach. Stop wandering around the garden: weeding, harvesting, and nibbling. Stop reading and dreaming at the beach.
Going back to work in 10 days. eek. Regular 9 to 5, wait, 8-4:30. So get thee to bed at decent hour. 8, or 7- and get up at 5 and jog 4 miles and do housework before work. Ok, just get up at 7, hose off, and haul your carcass to work, OK?
We discussed gender issues at the Reiki share tonight.
I kept thinking about a Reiki class this week, camp nursing, and past lives.
Reiki class. One woman walked in and said, "Hi. I'm M, K's partner." So, of course, I thought she and K were life-partners. cool. M had a lovely daughter. Congratulated K on lovely daughter. Oh wait, M & K are business partners. oops, what-ev.
Camp nursing. Young people these days experiment, taste, try, search, change, grow. Gender is fluid. Conventional labels do not fit. Chuck labels. Gender is fluid: toss label.
Past lives. I remember, vividly, past lives as male. Currently female. Divisions dissolve. I am both. We are all both, or genderless as souls.
What diff? Why the propensity to distinguish, separate, label, identify... it's fluid. We are all souls striving to become light, to connect, to become One.
As usual, I'm way too busy. A workaholic. Three summer jobs. I was a camp nurse, am teaching a class at the U, and Reiki Reiki Reiki. Reiki classes, shares, team, reports, and volunteering.
So, yoga. Finally back to yoga after none the whole school year.
I'd resisted, but spent the money and joined a local studio: Chill Yoga. I paid a little over $100 and can drop in whenever I want for like 12 classes.
The studio is fresh and clean. New copper pipes line the ceiling. I look at the ceiling a lot. The walls are crisp white, the floor hardwood, newly redone. The teacher constantly gives guidance, she connects with people, and she knows muscles. When she drinks coffee she talks even more, and giggles.
One day in class I felt my ribs unwind. I saw my bones unravel. I relaxed.
Yoga too at camp with Arvind from India. He teaches yoga in India and Maine. Arvind the yogi.
I do asanas in the pond where I swim on hot days. Yoga. Just breathe. Rest. relax...
Life Ideals. So glad to make it there. It's a gorgeous space on the third floor of an old building smack in downtown Lewiston, Maine.
Found a parking spot, lugged my handouts and books up the stairs, I like to run up stairs- great aerobic exercise, and landed there. High ceilings and windows, wood floors, and antique furniture. Lovely.
I set up my books and shuffled through my handouts. People arrived. We talked about Reiki history and ethics. I told some stories. We meditated and did self-Reiki. They were already in pairs, so they shared Reiki with each other. I attuned all who wanted to be attuned. More Reiki light in our world tonight.
There was another Reiki master there. She had nice energy, so I asked her if she would re-attune me. She would; she did. I sat in Gassho, expectant. She stood behind me and I instantly felt her energy. It was sweet and thick; covered me in waves like honey. She attuned me. I attuned the others. I gave each person a sodalite chip and a certificate. I love teaching Reiki.
When I think about my summer, my life... I feel so lucky. I get to share Reiki, it's sunny, my garden is exploding with color and life, and my dog is happy. Did I mention Reiki? yeah.
First the sun-bleached deck, bare and uneven. Beyond, a sea of brilliant yellow brown-eyed daisies. A scattering of white hibiscus, like sheep's wool stuck on a thorny barrier. Red bee balm. Pink and white echinacea. The eye wanders to the summerhouse. Morning glory vines twirl up the oak lattice: blossoms of hot pink and neon blue with white centers and dark accents.
Go past the summerhouse to the vegetable gardens. Pumpkin vines command the lawn. Kale is regal. Green beans proliferate madly. A red lettuce stands six feet tall, offering seeds.Raspberry bushes threaten to take over the neighborhood.
Then the dark grey fence. But look, all the flowers in front of the fence. More brown-eyed daisies, more morning glories, a row of cedar trees, sunflowers, raspberries, and a new pussy willow tree. I didn't mean to leave out the row of Japanese maples. A pleasure for the eye.
After grading papers for 4 hours on Friday, 8 hours on Saturday, 12 hours on Sunday, and 4 hours today: I was ready for a break.
I mowed my front lawn. It was 90 and humid. I live in Maine, so this is hot hot hot. I jumped in my car and went to the pond.
Lawn chair, magazines, and deserted beach = bliss. Ok, the lawn chair is coming undone and half my posterior sags like a woman's face after a stroke. The magazine is the Christmas issue; I'm catching up. No time to read during the school year. Christmas. Reminds me of the annoying commercialism and cloying temporary good cheer of December. Deserted beach is bliss.
I read, swim, and do Reiki & asanas on the beach. Loons start to call frantically. End of season party? Graduation or wedding? They continue to ululate.
A man says, (OK, the beach is nearly, not totally deserted) "There's an eagle! There's a bald eagle over by the loons. That's why they're calling."
I sit up and put on my distance glasses. The sun feels good on my skin. My suit is drying. I look over at the tall maples and pines. I can see three loons on the water and possibly an alien shape in the trees. Oh yes, it flaps. The loons continue to call. The big shape flaps away. Crisis averted, I go back into the water.
Called car mechanic for appointment; car is due for annual inspection. Mechanic is awesome: honest, hardworking, and cool - - retired race car driver. I reminded him about warning lights on dashboard.
"It won't pass inspection with those on," he told me. "You have to take it to the dealer for that."
Went to the dealer. Four guys were standing around. Well, they happened to have an opening, yes, they could take care of my car right now. Two hundred dollars later the lights are off, but they found rust.
Called car mechanic; asked about rust.
"It won't pass inspection with rust," he told me. "You have to take it to a body shop for that." He recommended a local shop.
Went to the auto body shop. They can work on it in 10 days, loan me a loaner, and it's going to cost about $1000. They do inspections.
We hear French everywhere we go. There are lots of French Canadians here, Quebecois mostly. I love hearing the cadence and syllables of the language.
I can speak a tiny bit of French, but I don't even try to understand as I eavesdrop. I listen to the sound and rhythm.
Here at the motel, the men grill, the women sit in the jacuzzi, and the children run around in swimsuits. There are big family groups here. They get up early and head to the beach, come back to the pool in the late afternoon, and stay up late eating steak and drinking beer. Laughing. All the time, talk talk talk in French. It's comforting. Happy sounds, no clue what they are saying. Just happy vacation sounds.
We had perfect beach days: hot and sunny with 3 foot waves. We jumped and twirled in the waves, Amelia and I. We made up a song and sang it over and over, with synchronized dance moves and salty somersaults. We scoffed at the smaller waves and screamed "pineapple" at the larger ones.
Why "pineapple?" you ask.
"You shouldn't scream 'Help!' unless you really mean it," I told Amelia. So we screamed "pineapple!" and "avocado!"
Amelia and I went shopping. I bought her a High School Musical boogie board and a supercute top. She bought herself some feather earrings. She had her ears pierced last year, on her 8th birthday. She wanted a slushy for breakfast. "Maybe tomorrow," I said.
There are lots of Eastern Europeans working in the shops. I recognize the accent from staff at my teen camp. They come here to work because the exchange rate is good. They work hard and are able to work longer into the summer season, as their universities start later in September.
The young lady at the boogie board shop told us she was from Bulgaria. "Do you go to college?" I asked.
"University, yes. I study International Marketing."
The class is comprised of 17 nurses and nursing students. We talked about history, communication, ethics, and intuition. We shared Reiki with each other, and took field trips to two oncology centers and a hospital. They spoke with people with cancer who found relief with Reiki. Some students did presentations. They analyzed Reiki research and wrote reflective journals.
We did attunements outside. There's a pond in a sculpture garden, with long views of fields and trees. Trees shaded some sitting rocks at the edge of the pond. We gathered there. Sunlight and lily pads spotted the water. Turtles did the dead man's float, then dove, then bobbed up again. Koi made orange, black, and white patterns as they floated and darted. Dragonflies zipped above the lily pads. We sat in the quiet.
The attunements yesterday were a select group of three master students. They demonstrated excellence in knowledge, skill, and experience and wrote an extra paper. They studied the master symbols and the attunement process. I quizzed them and we discussed a few issues in greater depth: ethics, energy, and intuition.
I attuned them to Level 3, master/teacher/practitioner. Then each of them attuned another, helping each other to remember the steps. Three more Reiki masters in our world. Reiki light is shining brighter today.