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Like an old friend or even a lover you have taken a break from, but with whom you must have some unfinished business – that’s how I feel about Proposition 8. The majority voter-backed constitutional amendment declares that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. The majority of the money that funded the ads and the campaign came from Mormons, though Mormons are less than two percent of the state’s population.  The church’s influence in the political process (members didn’t donate in force until their leaders strongly urged them to)  was the final straw for me. I resigned from the Mormon church. I blogged about it. I did my part – for a while – and let go and moved on. I changed my blog (from A Series of Small Failures to I Am Blossoming) and shifted my energy to focus on yoga and other aspects of life, more in the present and less hanging onto the past.

Yet here we are, going on two years later, and California, my home state, is still torn about whether to legalize same-sex marriage. Yesterday’s closing arguments in the trial in San Francisco kept me riveted as people live- tweeted and blogged. Perfect timing, as I had a chance to watch 8: The Mormon Proposition last night. And I’m interviewing Reed Cowan, one of the filmmakers, tonight.

I may have set this issue aside for a while, but I still care. And Proposition 8 is still in effect. (Closing your eyes and pretending something’s not there doesn’t make it go away!) Yesterday, the attorney defending the proposition, Charles Cooper, proposed undoing the 18,000 marriages that took place in the brief window when same sex marriage was legal in California. That includes the marriage of one of my best friends. I want to do whatever I can to move this emotionally-charged conversation forward. Yet I live in Salt Lake City. Most of my immediate family are Mormons. Many of the people I work with (and like and respect) are Mormons.

As I was wondering whether I should just keep my mouth shut, I saw this post on Facebook. It’s from the Dalai Lama:

“If you develop a pure and sincere motivation, if you are motivated by a wish to help on the basis of kindness, compassion, and respect, then you can carry on any kind of work, in any field, and function more effectively.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this question: What do you care enough about to fight for? Honestly, this is somewhat of a crusade. But I want to address it with kindness, compassion, and respect. After all, the heart of this issue is really love and family.

Have you seen The Mormon Proposition? Do you want to? If you could talk to the filmmakers, what would you want to know? I would love to get questions from both sides – from those who support same-sex marriage and those who don’t, from Mormons and non-Mormons.

This issue isn’t going away. Based on the closing arguments yesterday, I think the court will overturn Prop. 8. And it will get appealed to the supreme court.

Shift

Where we met

It doesn’t get easier, this business of learning a friend has died. The last time I communicated with Felicia, she posted something on my Facebook wall. I had said “happy birthday, beautiful woman!” on her wall. She wrote back that she wasn’t feeling well, due to chemo. I never wrote back. Sucks to hear she died.

Felicia came to my yoga classes when she had the strength. She had a fierce energy. While feeling sad today, I decided to reframe the way I looked at her death. Yes, I am sad she died. But then I thought how grateful I am to have known her and shared her energy.

I went to a yoga class and lost it in savasana. The teacher played “Fields of Gold” during savasana. “You’ll remember me when the west wind blows across the fields of barley.” There’s a version that goes “you’ll remember me when the west wind moves among the fields of the islands,” so appropriate, because her memory is woven into Puerto Rico: the caribbean sea, tropical trees — palms, flamboyans, mangoes and bananas, yoga to the sound of the ocean.

She so wanted to live. She sold her house to try an experimental treatment in Germany. It seemed to be working. Cancer is such a bitch.

I wish I could be there for her memorial service. I’m grateful to have known her.

Haiti

Thanks to @elephantjournal, who posted these poems from Haiti.  Just wanted to share one:

YO DI

Yo di
san kretyen
enrichi
late

Si sete vre
Si sete vret
mezanmi

ala diri
pitmi
ak mayi

ki ta genyen
la peyi
D’Ayiti

They say

human blood
enriches
soil

If that were true
If that were true
my friends

how rice
millet
and corn

would thrive
in
Haiti

Here’s the link for the rest: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/01/poems-from-haiti-translated-by-merete-mueller-with-dominique-herard/

twitter circa 1899

I found this Universal Dictionary of the English Language, published 1899, at the same estate sale where I found the pink and orange shell lamps.

Awesome. This dictionary has *every* word in the english language! “Orthography, pronunciation, meaning, use, origin and development of every word.” Plus it’s profusely illustrated.

Wanted to look up Internet, but I only have volume IV (RHE.-Z) But Twitter!

twit’-ter, *twit-er, *twitre, v.i. & t. [A freq. from a base twit, and so = to keep on saying twit: twit is a weakened form of twat, which appears in twattle, the older form of twaddle (p.v.); cf Ger zwitschern=to twitter; Dut. kwetteren; Dan. quiddre; Sw. quittra=to chirp, to twitter.]

A. Intransitive:

1. to utter a succession of short, tremulous, intermitted notes; to chirp. “The swallow twittering on the straw-built shed.” Gray: Elegy

*2. To have a tremulous motion of the nerves; to be agitated.

*3. To make the sound of a half-suppressed laugh; to titter.How the fool bridles! How she twitters at him.” Beaum. & Flet: Pilgrim, iii 6.

B. Trans.: To utter in tremulous, intermitted notes.  “The linnet twittered out his parting song.” Cowper: Anti-Thelyphthora.

twit’-ter (1) s. [Engl. twit; -er] One who twits, taunts, or upbraids.

twit’-ter (2) s. [TWITTER, v.]

1. A small, intermitted, tremulous noise or series of chirpings, as the sound made by a swallow.

2. A slight trembling of the nerves; slight nervous excitement or agitation; tremulousness. “Cut whole giants into fritters./ To put them into amorous twitters.” Butler: Hudibras, iii. 1.

Kinda begs the question: What is twattle?

twat’-tle (1), v.i.&t [TWADDLE.]

A. Intrans.: To talk much and sillily; to prate, to twaddle. “The apostle Paul finds fault with a certain sort of women who were prattlers, which would go from house to house, twattling, and babbling out frothy speech that was good for nothing.” — Whateley: Redemption of Time, p. 15. (1634.)

It’s making me laugh yet also annoying me that men are never twats.

Inspiration goes to Sarah Tomson Beyer (Flowmotionstyle.com)
Mumtaz : Bombay Dub Orchestra : The Rough Guide To Indian Lounge
Fleur blanche : Orsten : Hotel Costes X
Ganesha : Wah! : Love Holding Love
Hare Krisna (feat. Seu Jorge) : Thievery Corporation : Radio Retaliation
Ma Chant (Kali) : Wah! : Love Holding Love
Rock In A Heart Space : Krishna Das : All One
Say Hey (I Love You) [feat. Cherine Anderson] : Michael Franti & Spearhead
Monsoon Malabar : Bombay Dub Orchestra
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1 : The Flaming Lips : Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
It’s Summertime : The Flaming Lips : Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
A Universe To Come : Tulku : Chill Out In Paris II
Más y Más : Pacifika : Asunción
Chiquita : Pacifika : Asunción
Krishna Dub Remix (feat. Sharon Gannon) : M.C. Yogi : Elephant Power
By Thy Grace : Snatam Kaur : Grace

What we lose

Reflections – past and present blurring

I got a Christmas card this week from the mother of my boyfriend Scott who died 27 years ago.

She sends cards every year. Until this past year, the cards were heartwarming, humorous tales of the past twelve months – Republican Women’s Club meetings, fishing trips with her husband, dinner parties … unspoken was the nagging reminder that Scott wasn’t part of any of it. Or part of my life.

This year, however, her husband died. After he retired from a career that included living in Lebanon (where people liked to touch the young Scott’s blond hair for good luck), she and her husband were constant companions. Decades together, and now she is single, finding her path:

“Dear friends,

I’m still adjusting to widowhood.

At times I’m like a babe in the wood,

Seeing wild things behind every tree,

And searching for paths to harmony

(Couldn’t find a pear tree, let alone a partridge)”

When Scott asked me to marry him, I was only 19. I was in my freshman year at BYU (where most of the women there had gone to find a husband – something that shocked me). I was just awakening to the world (living in a different state!). So despite being in love with him, I was torn. I wondered what else was out there. Bottom line: I didn’t want to get married yet, so I said no. Or was it pure fear? Fear of the unknown? My refusal led to his decision to go on a Mormon mission to Kentucky, where he died.

Of course it was all my fault, I thought – I had introduced him to the church. If I hadn’t said no to the proposal, he wouldn’t have gone, and maybe he wouldn’t have died. Once he left, though, we wrote to each other, and despite my brief engagement to someone else (that BYU influence is the only excuse I can come up with), I was convinced that all was well and that Scott and I would get married when he returned. When he died, my first thought was that I wanted to die. I have a journal full of sad prayers asking God to take me, if it was his will. It wasn’t, though I begged. Instead, I took the money I was saving to go backpacking through Europe and I went on a mission too, thinking I would finish what he started. Missions are a great way of avoiding life – and grief. And the church’s doctrine was such a comfort. I thought that by “serving the Lord” (and doing all the other right stuff) I would be worthy to be with him once I did pass over to where he was. People just don’t know better, I think, when they tell you things like “he was too good for this world.” Which implies that those left behind (you) are somehow inferior.

“Ignorance was bliss when Glen was home.

I’m learning now what I should have known.

At making things work, he was adept.

With complex concepts, I’m still inept.

(Trying to program the thermostat leaves me cold.)”

His mom felt inept on her own. I, on the other hand, was independent. Sort of. I met someone on my mission and fell in love, but by the time D proposed (five years later) I was jaded. I did say yes, and wore that ring for a while – until I caught him cheating and moved to San Francisco to put enough space between us to move on.

Looking back, I realize that I was afraid of letting anyone else ever get that close again. No one else could ever be as amazing as Scott. D wasn’t, and that was proof. So after D, even if someone were, I wouldn’t have allowed him to be. No way was I going to risk that kind of loss again. No fucking way. Okay, well, I did risk it again. More heartache.

This seems to be a theme in my life. Failed relationships, and moving. To San Francisco, to New York, to Puerto Rico…

Now that I’m in Utah, I want to stay and deal, rather than moving on. Receiving her card reminded me of everything I have lost. When I learned Glen had died, it awoke all that grief, and I did reach out to her for the first time in years. Her printed poem and letter ended with a hand-written note: “Hope all is well with you – Thank you again for your caring words about Glen.”

Stupid, how after Glen died, I mourned for the inlaws I never had. For the children I never had. Yet, my losses seem so insignificant compared to hers.

Loss appears again:

One of these beautiful beings is now an angel

And again:

What is dear will always remain

Sending love and compassion to everyone who has lost, and found a way to move on.

a #yogadork tale

are you a #yogadork?

My #yogadork tank came, just in time for the second workshop with Simon Park @flowyogaslc yesterday. I love it – it’s long, almost like a minidress.

Simon started us with some tai chi energy cultivation. Less than five minutes into class, in the middle of a sentence, he stopped and said, “I love your shirt! How many of you are yogadorks?” Lots of hands went up.

Just a suggestion though: I think they run a little big. After hours of intense asana, including working toward jumping into handstand, and gracefully jumping back into chaturanga from handstand (ha!) we were all drenched. The last half hour or so we paired up for some assisted stretching, a la Thai yoga. Deepening baddha konasana by grounding our partners’ thighs, practically flying in ardha chandrasana (with a hand clasping a foot behind our backs, and our partners supporting us in a beautiful backbendy opening there), and then lifting from bakasana to handstand. The combination of a loose shirt getting even bigger through sweat ended in a bit of, uh, flashing Simon and my partner. It’s all in the yogadork family, I guess.

So, try your shirt maybe one size smaller than you think.:)

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