Coming Up Roses

My post yesterday  reflected on the seeking of a story worth telling.

Thanks to all those that chimed in with comments!

In a transparent revealing of my stream of consciousness, I’ll share that this morning’s writing exercise has left me only with thoughts of the roses at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Malibu, California.

Dedicated by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1950, the Bohemian and I visited the temple in May 2012. Beautiful and serene, we soaked in the calm and smelled the roses.



These roses appear in my mind, as a quote from Yogananda is given via the Lake Shrine Temple’s website:

“Come into the silence of solitude, and the vibration there will talk to you through the voice of God.”

I believe God can be found in the fragrant folds of these petals, sharing an infinite supply of stories.


2015-10-22_rose close


The Lessons of Master Blister Beetle

There’s something called a “Blister Beetle,” or “blister bug,” as we refer to them. Officially, Class: Insecta, Order: Coleoptera, Family: Moloidae.

Where we reside, near to open fields and orchards, they thrive. They come in cycles. Times when they swarm, en masse, and then periods when they’ll disappear for months.

They seem to like light sources. They cling to ceilings. And they’ve found some entrance to our abode, where they enjoy crawling on any surface, including the heads and necks of humans.

If you’re creeped out by bugs, then this scenario may already have your skin crawling. But the annoyance of being buzzed near the ear is minor compared to the repercussions, should one panic and swat/splat.

Apparently, the insect’s defense against foes is the secretion of a chemical, that when in contact with human flesh, creates a blister-like burn that can linger for as long as several weeks. I’ve seen a friend suffer from a run-in on her chin. Jeb has had red “burns” on his hand, after having brushed one aside in his sleep.

There’s not much to do about a wandering blister bug if you’re sleeping. None of us are very conscious in our REM state. But in waking reality, there are options in how to interface with this pest.

For those seeking the least amount of suffering, calm is crucial. Panic will equal pain.

In our family, the blister bug has become our Meditation Master. The lessons are simple.

  1. Remain calm
  2. Relax, rather than resist
  3. When confronted, redirect

True meditation masters may forego number three, opting to completely embody the art of non-resistance by simply allowing the blister bug to crawl upon them, uninhibited. Let’s just say, we’re not quite there yet. Rather, we employ number three through various non-violent techniques.

The Bohemian is rather fond of the blowing method, where his evening bedtime reading is often interspersed with swift and audible gusts from his mouth, aimed at lifting them from his skin through force of wind.

I find the “light touch” approach to be quite effective, especially when the bugs are tangling in my hair, or in other areas not accessible to blowing. This assertive, but gentle approach, can remove them without the aggression that would trigger emission of their self-defensive blister juice.

(In fact, I just employed the technique while finishing that last sentence, as one landed near my eye as I typed).

Truthfully, though, I’m not really writing about blister bugs.

What’s really on my mind is a pending journey to the Czech Republic. Jeb, the Bohemian, and I will lift off in a couple of weeks, leaving the shelter of our little abode and venturing into foreign territory.

We are all excited for the adventure. And we each have our quiet uncertainties about what awaits us in the Unknown.

The Bohemian has not been to his homeland in over seventeen years. He has not seen his twin brother, or his sister, in all of this time.

We will stay in a small village, on his family’s farm, where no one speaks English. Despite our studies, Jeb and I only know a smidgen of Czech- a beautiful, but complex, and very foriegn-to-my-ear, Slavic language.

I have been dreaming of a chance to go to Europe for over a decade. Being able to go with the Bohemian as he reunites with his family, is the best cause I can imagine. Having the opportunity to share the experience with my eleven-year old son is truly a gift. Getting to chronicle the journey is something that I hope will bring enjoyment to all.

Still, there will be challenges, and I realize that when traversing through the Unknown, and sifting through the fears that surface, it’s all about the lessons of Master Blister Beetle.

Calm is king.
Resistance is futile.
Go with the Flow.

(Have fun!)

So for the next two weeks it’s preparation mode, as I try to walk my talk.

In the process, I’ll attempt to chronicle my efforts. Avoid swatting. Accept the suchness of things, blister bugs and all.


2015-05-30_blister bug

Beer or Milk for Breakfast

School’s back in session and Jeb and I are finding our way into the routine. This means a drop at the bus stop before 7am and the chance for me to walk Moodah the dog before getting into my own work for the day.

Still dialing in our auto-pilot mode, yesterday was a bit of an oversleep. Jeb loaded in the car with one shoe on and one in hand. We were out of milk and I had not yet had my coffee.

Moodah paced inside the car between front seat and back, not sure where to go in the excitement generated by Jeb’s encouragement, “Just go Mom, we’ll miss the bus…just go.”

We made it to the bus stop just in time for loading. I breathed a sigh of relief and defiantly rearranged morning priorities. Choosing coffee over exercise, I pulled into the parking lot of our local convenience store, which happens to be across the street from the yoga studio where I stopped practicing about six months ago (I’ll spare you my reasoning here).

At 6:45am, the mini mart is full of early-bird shoppers and the yogis will soon begin sun salutations. I tell myself there is no need for non-yoga guilt, but can’t help but feel a slight impulse to slip quickly into the market, unseen.

A van towing sea kayaks pulls up next to the store, and I try to make it inside before the stream of sleepy-eyed tourists in day-glow rash guards stream inside. No such luck. I don’t beat the locals either. When I enter the mini-mart, there is already a line at the register of men buying styrofoam cups filled with coffee and packs of cigarettes.

They do sell organic milk, so I grab the last one on the shelf and take my place in line behind the guy in a t-shirt, jeans and scruffy work boots. The mini-mart is abuzz. People from town recognize each other and talk story between the chip aisles. The touring kayakers wander the shelves looking for anything familiar.

The line moves and the man in front of me puts down on the counter his Spam musubi (it’s kind of like a Spam sushi roll), cup of mini-mart coffee, Bud Light in an extra tall can, and asks for menthol cigarettes. It’s not yet 7am.

Non-yoga guilt is given new perspective.

photo courtesy of Mac Walsh
photo courtesy of Mac Walsh

If I’m completely honest, I would have to admit that when I see my fellow patron’s purchase, a judgment comes to mind. So quickly these thoughts pop into the head. But after I paid for my milk and went towards my car, I realized I was judging myself, as well.

And even if I know I shouldn’t care, I’m thinking that others may be judging me too.

Because, there I am, walking out of the convenience store, going home for coffee instead of doing my morning practice. And in my hand, a half-gallon of (gasp!) dairy product. No bonus points for organic when your yoga instructor’s vegan. I can see those flexible yogi necks shaking heads in disapproval, as they catch a glimpse of me through their steamy windows.

There she is, she used to practice…looks like she fell off the wagon.

Bud Light or milk for breakfast. We all get choices in life’s spectrum.

That morning, I had my reasons for my choosing. Life will have natural consequences for my actions, guaranteed. So, who’s to judge?

In the end, I got my coffee and Moodah and I took an abbreviated walk, where we both soaked in some Vitamin D and fully respirated.

One could say it’s all a yoga, really. Even the early morning mini-mart scene. All the humans doing their do. Actions, reactions. Choices made in every moment.

My greatest practice these days, is to notice.

photo courtesy of Fox Kiyo
photo courtesy of Fox Kiyo