Santa Cruz Good Times

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Apr 19th
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Mind & Body

Blogs - Mind & Body

What is Stealing?

What is Stealing?

Traveling to Manhattan last week, I took my familiar trek to Union Square where I met up with my Jivamukti teacher Dechen Thurman, son of the Tibetan Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman.  Sharon Gannon and David Life, artists who merged as activists and created the Jivamukti yoga schools along the way, founded Jivamukti in 1989.  Jivamukti means liberated living. A Jivamukti is one who is liberated and lives to benefit the lives of others … a tall order. The style is vinyassa flow and incorporates chanting, postures, and concepts of Indian philosophy.  Each month, Sharon and David emphasize a theme, and the theme this month is Asteya, or “non-stealing.”  The concept is this:  When one stops stealing from others, prosperity (material, mental, and spiritual) appears.  Stealing can be defined in its many forms: things, ideas, thunder, parking places.  Sharon Gannon takes the stealing concept even further to support her vegan philosophical theories … for example, confining an animal steals its life and by consuming meat, we steal the life and happiness of billions of animals.
Check out her concept:

Blogs - Mind & Body

Student of Light/Field Trip

Student of Light/Field Trip

Last night, clad in down I traveled with my Foothill Photography Class to Moffett Field in Mountain View for a night shoot.  Here we were, students of light, learning how to find it in the darkness that comes earlier each day at this time of year.  A technical aspect is this: put your camera’s shudder speed on “B,” press your finger on the button and count to 30. How my patience was tried, as I was used to the 1/100th of a second to gratification.  It takes time for the light to reach into the lens, a reminder of my stalled spiritual growth … a reminder to practice patience in the search for light, as the darkness deepens into winter.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

HUNTING and GATHERING, part I

HUNTING and GATHERING, part IThe vast scope of the Hollywood lit vegetables greeted me as I entered this blown out “Health Food Store.”  I remembered those dusty, dank dungeons in the 60’s posing with good intentions, and vastly more supplements than organic wilted lettuce and peppers. These little stores emerged in direct opposition to the supermarket culture with it’s bright branded labels.  Originally associated with hippies and health food “nuts,” the stores are mainstream.  Not that Whole Foods didn’t give the health craze a beautiful sheen, years ago.  It’s just that here, now, in Santa Cruz, our own Westside Health Food Store went “Gigante!”  The food to supplement proportion has switched but the concept is the same.  Healthy Food.  You can even get kombucha, that semi-illegal substance of the yoga crowd, on tap.  This is modern culture. Superb.

New Leaf West Side    1010 Fair Street
Blogs - Mind & Body

Tarot, my trusty arrow …..

Tarot, my trusty arrow …..There it is again, The Tower … the card I seem to draw repeatedly, especially in the last year or so.  The card that reminds me that change is happening all around.  The Tower card points to my awakening … required dismantling all which is artificial or conditioned.  Is this for real? Help!  This is heavy.
These Tarot readings are a frequent activity I turn to for a bit of guidance and validation, however flimsy this oracle may seem to some.  I depend on it.  These images are universal archetypes represented throughout religions and spiritual practices and I vacillate between buying the message full heartedly and discounting it completely. This depends on my mood.
Am I delusional as I choose a card and keep it as an arrow to my day?  Woody Allen says   “we need some delusions to keep us going” and that “the people who successfully delude themselves seem happier than the people who can’t.”
So, I’ll continue with my Tarot and whatever else keeps me in my flow or at least in my delusion.
Blogs - Mind & Body

From Darkness to Light

From Darkness to Light

I have used the dark backdrop for my portraits, especially the yoga portraits, creating a dreamy and dramatic effect, working so well for many years.  These moody shadows have apparently reflected my temperamental state of mind.  Now after an inspiring two-week Cabrillo Photography Workshop, my inspiration flipped.  Lightness and brightness is now my norm.  I wonder how my taste can change so suddenly. Looking at life with light I am seeing differently as I see my subjects in light and possibility as opposed to darker tendencies.  Both are viable, of course, but with the light on the subject directly, somehow clarity evolves.   Stay tuned for more light as the season changes.

Blogs - Mind & Body

Belly to Earth

Belly to EarthI continue to learn from this cat and her ways.  We harness up, attach leash, and stride down the stoop to the shade garden, moist with ferns and gopher dirt.  Karma finds a spot on the ground and, like an elevator, glides to the earth connecting her belly and heart to what seems like a source.  There she sits, eyes halved, purring.  She is a beautiful sight, as she seems to be peaceful and receptive to the energy she easily receives.  Is it this simple? This balance of my intellect and heart is a lifetime of synthesis, although I am heading more for the heart right now.
Blogs - Mind & Body

Stick To It

Stick To It

As I write this post, I currently have a case of the Monday blues. As you probably have noticed, it’s been dreary, with cooler-than-normal weather this summer in the Santa Cruz area, which makes me want to just stay inside, curl up with a cup of tea and stay ... sedentary. Not a good thing to hear from a personal trainer, correct? Well, if you are affected by the weather or even if you are not, sometimes it is hard to get motivated or stay motivated. I am currently pregnant with our second child and while we are very excited, pregnancy is typically hard on my body. And with it being so cold outside, I have no interest in being active while my body hurts. But I must do it. I must get outside, for anything, for my sanity.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

Howling to Hunt

Howling to Hunt

Karma (this blog’s namesake), is starting to lose it with this moving thing.  She’s howling and meowing to get out … to see this wild-like animal go through these stages of struggle has been an alerting glimpse into behavior.

It began with the collar.  After living in the country for ten years, she roamed, howled, and hunted with a familiar freedom and nothing around her neck.  In town now, she need protection from the racing traffic, and I must protect her very life. When her collar was fastened, her gait changed to a low slink, like a weight upon her back.  Adjustment is coming, I know, but I can only imagine what it must be like to feel shackled, trapped.  What happens to people when they lose their freedom to roam, to travel, and to do what we want to do?  It must change the psyche and strip one of a certain creativity.  As an innately creative person, when a “block” exists, I can feel the collar and the helplessness creep in.  My mind goes in circles and the creativity cannot unfold.  It becomes stale and boring.  This collar as metaphor is coming off, I can feel it.  The block is lifting and the adjustment is turning to a blast of original ideas.  I’m ready to soar.  I hope Karma will soon feel the same way.

Blogs - Mind & Body

The Midwestern Health Diet

The Midwestern Health Diet

I grew up in the heart of the Midwest and so did my taste buds.  Church potlucks with scalloped potatoes, tuna casserole, and jello salad were my idea of a good time.  My mom was an excellent (and healthy) cook, but leading the charge in the snack food category was my unreasonably thin father.  He followed the farming tradition of eating a big lunch (called “dinner”) and having a light “supper” or, his preference, none at all.  To this day his favorite meal in the evening consists of popcorn--and I’m talking GALLONS of it—popped, these days, in canola oil with plenty of salt and sliced apples and cheddar cheese neatly arranged on top.  He should be a representative for the Stir Crazy corporation as he has run through probably thirty of their poppers in his lifetime.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

The Original Karma and the Moving Tale

The Original Karma and the Moving Tale

I didn't go out again yesterday, even though I was game to give it another try, but Mom was still jittery from the nasty "almost lost in a hole" incident.  We got a good night's sleep, after Mom took a Valium. At 5:30 a.m. this morning, the garbage behemoths rounded the corner of Jordan Street and just about flipped off my tight pink collar. I shivered under the bed.  This guttural jolt amped my nerves, and thus the day began.

Mom had some water with her vitamins .. note to Mom: don't forget the hair vitamins today.  I know you're bored with taking the fallen hair out of the tiny drain in that wacky tub.  Then came her chai, after waiting a bit too long for the pan to heat on that flimsy stovetop. Stage three of the collar controversy began, especially after Mom cut off the harness with scissors, as I growled and held back my attack instincts because my Mama is the best, just a little misguided right now. So, this morning, Mom decided to take me out on the leash while she fetched her New York Times.  Seeing the paper on the front stoop was nostalgic and familiar for her. I shivered again, in the lovely cool Santa Cruz ocean air, still tense from the garbage trucks.  I could hear their growl in the distance.

I couldn't walk down the steps ... Those growls were still scaring me, and then the head popped ... there "it" was: Killer Cat is how the neighbors refer to this Manx creature.  He found me.  I ran in the house, freaked ... then, after a few moments of shivering, I perched myself at the front studio window ... to be continued

 

 
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