You are currently browsing barefoot wendy’s articles.

 

this summer of heat and humidity, of not enough rain and so many beach walks. this summer of fear and anxiety, of projects and reading and breathing and crazy sleeps. it is not far from a wrap.

with fingers crossed and heart wide open, i move into fall programming and class offerings.

gentle yoga classes shall resume, held in the upton room at west royalty community centre on mondays and fridays (as per the schedule below) from 10:30 – 11:30. 

gentle yoga offers a lovely way to move your body for good health, longevity, and injury protection. breathwork and mindfulness, moving with intention, and dedicating time to honour the beautiful mess you are is included in each class. no previous yoga experience is required. getting up and down from the floor is required.

as per covid protocols, there will be no drop ins and all participants must be pre-registered.

it is necessary that you bring your own yoga mat, strap (yoga strap, neck tie, robe belt, something that will serve), and blanket/towel. if you have one or two yoga blocks, feel free to bring them along for pose modifications.

the fall schedule runs in three 8-class sessions.  registration and payment will be accepted for only current/upcoming session. 

please email me at 3oryoki@gmail.com to register and to receive the more detailed covid protocols we will be following.

 

YOGA SCHEDULE

SESSION 1         Monday               Friday

Sept.                    14                        18

                            21                        25

sept/oct               28                         2

                            5                           9

SESSION 2

oct                                                   16

                             19                        23

                             26                        30

nov                       2                           6

                             9

SESSION 3

nov                     16

                            23

                            30

dec                                                   4

                             7                          11

                             14                        18

 

CLASS COSTS

8 classes =  $68

4 classes =  $36

one off/add on classes = $10 each

the importance of breathing need hardly be stressed. it provides the oxygen for the metabolic processes; literally it supports the fires of life. but breath as “pneuma” is also the spirit or soul. we live in an ocean of air like fish in a body of water. by our breathing we are attuned to our atmosphere. if we inhibit our breathing we isolate ourselves from the medium in which we exist. in all oriental and mystic philosophies, the breath holds the secret to the highest bliss. that is why breathing is the dominant factor in the practice of yoga.           ~ alexander lowen

 

my body requested a slow, easy, short run today. i honoured the wisdom of my bones and sinews and moved unhurriedly across the landscape of the morning.  attentive, at first, to the sensations in my feet and ankles, my knees and hips and shoulders, the pattern with which my feet landed and lifted.  then shifting my awareness to my breath, bringing a sweet steady rhythm to the exchange between what is inside my body and what is outside.

marblecloud

the morning was cloud-filled; breathtaking formations sweeping across my heart and the sky.  a magick of cooling water vapour gathering on salt and dust in the air. beauty in the basic.

wheatthe earth, the fields, the sky, the trees, me. all smelling so loudly beneath the cloudy cloche. loamy, terpenic, grassy, grainy, astringent, sweet, petrichoric.  corn stalks pushed up to waist height and green wheat serenely stationary in the early air, potato fields densely green and awaiting blossoms. black flies a baby’s breath halo around my head.

immersed and indistinguishable from all that exists, at once vital and insignificant to all that is.  my self simply an energy, a vibration, in a sea of energy. prana. chi. life force. however you tend to think of it.  all energies needed to make the whole work, all vibrational frequencies of equal importance and necessary parts to the whole. the whole of it all. the one.

cloud

 

you and i are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.  ~ alan watts

this morning a friend posted this quote on her facebook wall:

jesus never asked anyone to form a church, ordain priests, develop elaborate rituals and institutional cultures, and splinter into denominations. his two great requests were that we ‘love one another as i have loved you’ and that we share bread and wine together as an open channel of that interabiding love.

cynthia bourgeault

first off, i googled ‘interabiding’ as it was not a word with which i was familiar. i do love the creation of words and phrases which more accurately express a concept for which we do not currently have language.

then i googled the author of the quote, curious about the context in which it was first said. and there began a wee journey to basic goodness.

i came upon an article about social distancing and julian of norwich by justin coutts on his blog in search of a new eden and was captivated by the opening paragraphs.

i was totally ignorant of anchorism and any knowledge of those who practiced it. a form of spiritual mysticism, the consecration of an anchorite (also referred to as anchoress or anchoret) involved a sort of living death ritual, reminding me of buddhist meditation practice of maranasati used to experience the nature of death. the anchorite then lived a life of extreme in a small cell-like room, referred to as an ‘anchorhold, on the side of the church/cathedral. here the anchorite lived as if dead to the world.

death. so fascinating. so relevant to each of us from the moment of our first breath. each of us unable to sustain ourselves on this earth without causing death. the nature of living is the nature of death. oh, but this is simply a digression.

today, i was more caught in julian of norwich’s thoughts around goodness and was swept up by the words coutts used to encapsulate the clarity of julian’s self-inquiry:

…she was able to see the cosmic truth that “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things of shall be well”.

by turning inward julian found god’s goodness, god’s love for all of humanity, and all of creation. out of the midst of suffering she was able to see the truth that god is in all things and loves all things and that goodness is the foundation even of those things which seem evil to us

personally, i have always had a problem with the notion of evil, with the existence of evil. we can stray — easily, deeply, horrifically — away from our basic goodness, we can bury it almost to the point of obliteration by some of our human proclivities, through our untended traumas, by way of thought and action lacking skillfulness. but are we not, always and forever, existing from a bedrock of basic goodness?

and i loved that as i read and scrolled through to the bottom of coutts’ thoughts, he had shared a youtube video of mirabai starr talking with michael petrow about julian of norwich and the current pandemic within which we now live. i had recently begun reading starr’s memoir caravan of no despair, where she bravely and openly shares the spiritual journey that began for her the day her daughter died in a car accident.

today, my day is filled with the feminine divine. julian of norwich who shared her revelation that god is feminine. green tara, the feminine buddha, watching me type from her place on my home shrine, mirabai starr sharing so much goodness.

my thoughts here today, cursory and not very well formed or chased. just a day where they can drift across my self, the synchronicities opening me. so welcome.

 

as an endnote: when i mentioned to my partner some of this trip down the rabbit hole he told me one of his colleagues’ scholarly research was on anchorites. catherine innes-parker, who i did not know well, passed unexpectedly last fall, but i shall know her better when i read anchoritism in the middle ages: texts and traditions.

115928509_1068189260242716_440431194216168819_nrunning over the last couple of weeks has been an undulating unfolding of flora.  rusty clover blossoms now in the shadows of stately queen anne’s lace, ditches lined with brown-eyed susans and bright white mallows.  wild rose bushes in various stages of disarray.  clouds of st. john’s wort, the spikey reaches of mullein, the darlingness of fleabane. stripey pink morning glories nestled in hot summer entanglements. it has been a splendorous orgy for the eyes and nose.

a week ago i changed my running route. it is the time of summer when my usual and preferred route passes through the path of the great migration of wee slugs.

the colour of the linen scarf my great aunt drew around her neck on dressy occasions, these wee creatures are soft bodied and on the move. favouring moving camp in the dampness of a heavy dew or after an overnight rain, they cross the road from one farm field to another in a grass-is-greener crisscross flash mob fashion.  the four tire ruts in the road are dotted dark with the demise of the unlucky multitudes and when the sun rises high enough many more become itsy bitsy toasted crunchies.

110684638_599583477652653_414808882364606361_nlanding on these wee beings in bare feet is a most unpleasant sensation; their demise underfoot saddens and nauseates me.  at some point, their migration becomes so populated that my timewarp running pattern cannot save them, or me. so, i head out eastbound and return westbound instead of the reverse.

today i wonder if i have a stress fracture in my right foot or ankle.

 

she always loved the things

that the rest of the world forgot

snails and slugs and the broken flowers.

i think that’s why she loved me,

i was another broken thing,

that the world had left behind

~ atticus

 

 

 

 

107047860_226862958296130_684358468428431952_ni checked this morning’s temperature and decided long pants and long sleeves might be in order for the run.  halfway down the driveway, in the still close air, it became quite clear that i was well overdressed for my distance run.

a shift in intention.  a short run would be a lovely run. as i set out, at a pace faster than i would normally — c’mon, what’s up with that legs?? — another shift in intention: to push myself on a short fast run.

and, it felt good. using my breath to regulate my heart rate, downregulating on the uphill, upregulating on the more level bits, i stayed at a pace that i could maintain.

my speed is around a humble 8 km/h. it is what i can generate and it serves my body and brain well.

as i run, though, i am aware that all is in motion.  the earth, on its early summer tilt, is twirling on its axis at about 1700 km/h, or .5 km/second, and orbiting the sun at about 30 km/s.  the sun, moving in its elliptical orbit around a galactic centre, travels at about 220 km/s and our galaxy, the milky way, is moving at a speed of about 2.1 million km/h.

it is an amazing thing, that we can imagine ourselves as solid and stationary, and yet we are literally hurtling through space toward the great attractor.  we are but a speck on a speck at the edge of a galaxy, also a speck in the space of all that is.

75429317_600625027546033_1098563309383310718_nit took about 13.8 billion years of confluences for me to run this morning. this run, indeed, a miracle. a modest, quiet miracle of motion at .002 km/s.

i do not know how fast that horsefly buzzing around my head was traveling.

all that is important is this one moment in movement. make the moment important, vital, and worth living. do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.  ~ martha graham

 

*my apologies for any errors in my astronomical knowledge

106296159_598401851100672_891954685164863832_nwe have all lived amidst a wellspring of uncertainty, perhaps finding fear and darkness at the source, perhaps finding opportunity. i have traversed all the points along and beyond this lockdown acquifer choosing largely to create and live my own covideology.

the shutdown in my part of the world was sudden and extensive.  i taught my usual 3 classes on friday — adult fitness, gentle yoga, kettlebell group training — and arrived home to the email that it was shut down, as was my work with private training clients.

i spent the first two weeks prepping for the return to work. i am not sure what i was thinking, but it had not set in that this might be a longer stint than just a couple of weeks. and, it has been.  and continues to be. and the short-term future remains unknown.

after that first two weeks, i created the list of the more extensive home and yard projects that needed or wanted doing that we had not had time for. as i write this, 14 weeks later, i rest content that i have tackled none of them.

on the other hand, i have delved into many online opportunities, taking courses in the neuroscience of behaviour change, functional aging, functional programming for female clients, targeted mobility training, foundational mace and mace flow, indian club swinging, energetic alignment & intuitive sequencing, living the 8 limbs of yoga, living from a place of surrender, the flight of the swans: buddhism in north america, and a few others.  i love to learn and these weeks have been a gift for those of us who have some sort of internet connection and are lifelong students.

i have also found a workout groove which, prior to this break, had become sketchy due to my work schedule and caregiving responsibilities.  if you’ve looked at the blog before, you will notice that i have been running with quite a bit of consistency for a few months now, slowly building my weekly distances and using the running experience as metaphor for some of the personal work that has been tumbling through me.

steelsummeri also picked up some virtual studio training with Flow Shala at the end of march and have been having a good deal of fun-bathed-in-sweat learning to work with the steel mace.

 

 

 

i love uncertainty, the feeling of being lost. when you’re lost, you’re free.~ marty   rubin

 

 

tuesrun

running into a void; running as void

104701746_629725940964667_5216301799963580231_non weekend past, i headed out for a leisurely run.  i roll my eyes when i say that; there is nothing in my experience that feels ‘leisurely’ when i move in a running sort of fashion. the morning was one in a series of lovely days we’ve been blessed with.

from the moment i shifted from the walk down the laneway to the run, my body felt good. i felt light, i was light.  the touch of my bare feet on the asphalt was but a whisper, a kiss, in the thich nhat hanh spirit.

it was a slow run, meant to simply move me along the surface, the gentle arc of the earth moving beneath me, with no effort to run fast/er or further. yet, before i realized it, i was past my intended turnaround point, adding my every 7 to 10 day 10% increase in distance a few days early.

just before my turnaround point, an oil delivery truck pulled into a laneway ahead of me and then, a kilometre into my return distance, the truck passed me in a boisterous whir and whoosh of engine calls and slipstream.  as it climbed the hill ahead of me i noticed what was agreeable in this stentorian beast and how the qualities of its calls changed as it climbed the hill, peaked,  and disappeared from sight.  once out of my sight, the call of the wild fuel truck lingered, fading, fading, fading. i could imagine it moving along the roadway and i became curious as to how long i could hear its song.

there came a moment when i could no longer be sure if it was still within earshot or simply lost to me.  beyond that moment was nothing. nothingness. emptiness. sunyata.

tuesdayrunamplification

a few days later i headed out into the oppressive heat and humidity which had been visiting our part of the world for a few days at that point.  each day collecting itself with a heat warning wrapped in a humidex number.   i love heat, but not so much high humidity.

damp before i ran a step, each stride was an effort, an exercise in squishing all my internal moisture out through every single pore of my body.  small rivulets collected and spilt forth from the back of my hairline, the bend in my elbows grew ever increasingly damp, my eyes stung with the salty fills from my brow, smudging the lenses of my glasses, my headband saturated.

my world became a soggy soft-focused sudoric steamy stretch of scenery through which i tried to breathe and move.

i thought about the sunbeams gathering in the droplets which hung so heavy in the air.  each tiny collection an opalescent prism, bending the rays of the sun into more intense heat, acting like ocean spray on barely clad beach goers.  the brightness of these flashpoints causing me to keep my gaze mostly downwards.

if these vehicles of humidity could do so much to amplify the heat and light of the sun, i began to wonder if they could do the same for the diffusion of odour particles moving freely through the air.  surely they could, for on this day i was profoundly aware of the smells. there no was wind to carry them, but there were these moisture beads — fragrance beads — to serve as conveyance.  the dung spread on farm fields, the oily diesel of passing trucks, the sheep manure, the sulphurous remnants of skunk adventures settling acrid in my mouth.

short runnings in my mind

todayrunon this day, a short, faster run in anticipation of 7 hours of a steel mace vinyasa conditioning course later in the day.

the humidity has taken a dip and there is a slight reprieve in the heat. it is warm, but not hot.  i set out at a pace faster than i normally do and settle my breath into the rhythm of this demand over the first half kilometre.  and mind falls into a quiet place and senses awaken.

after the first half of the run, when i turn into the glory of the sun on my face, i must push myself to maintain this faster pace.  it is my first run of the year where i find i fall into mindgames to make it happen, counting light standards, noting distance markers, reeling myself home as i count down.  the to-me-a-hill looks to subdue me and i know i must give in to that or do myself in, though my effort remains stronger, even here.  before i peak, i am panting and feeling a familiar tightness in my chest and shoulders. all the signs that i am working my edge.

it takes me longer to resettle the pattern of breath, stride, heartbeat after the not-hill, but it is do-able and again mind falls into a quiet place. ah, but only for a bit.

in the space of the run, that place between quiet/empty and fighting my winds, a new zone opens; a territory that has found the safety and gentle temerity to exist.  bits of my life begin to burble, breaking the surface of my mind in soft ways, lacking the turbulence of just weeks ago. it is okay.

postrunwhen we walk like (we are rushing), we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. we have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth… be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.

― thich nhat hanh

 

dad, john cameron chappell, may 2003each year, father’s day is a bit differently nuanced for me, especially in these recent years of living with mom and her shifting memories of him, their relationship, our family.  the man she remembers, or perhaps more accurately re-members, bears a kernel of resemblance to the man i recall growing up with, but the stories she tells have evolved, or devolved, dramatically in recent years. in some ways, her alzheimer’s dementia has done more to remove him from my life than it has removed her.

now, i totally get that memories are not reality. they are interpretations and so change over time.  i notice this quite regularly for mine. as i come to understand or reframe an event in my past, my memory of it changes. or maybe it is the emotional charge of the memory that changes, causing shifts in details. and memories differ from person to person, even when those people are all in the same room at the same time. have you had one of those conversations with a sibling? like, were we even raised in the same home??

all those memes that proclaim ‘people change, memories do not’ are simply nonsense.  memories might be precious, they might be horrific, they might be mundane, but they are also watery, opalescent, runny.

in general, dad was a modest and humble sort of person.  he was outspoken and direct and was never known to beat around the bush on anything.  he had a good sense of fun and a pointed sense of humour and this was never in short supply.  he never, in my memory, did anything for show, nor did he appreciate flash and show in others, and he did not suffer fools.  he also had a generous spirit and a gentle heart, though there were clearly times when he would allow his beliefs in what he ought to do over ride what his heart felt.  he was sexist, and behaved as would a gentleman of his era – both chivalrous and quick to point out the merits of sexist roles.  he loved all of us, even when that was difficult or painful.  he loved his wife.  he offered gruff, sometimes harsh, corrections and was given to despair when we fell into waywardness. he had a strong sense of family loyalty and obligation.

while mom loved him, in the ways she knew how, she did not see strength of character in his modesty and within days — moments? — of his death, she began a radical new storyline for her (our) life. these creations of her longing were so easy for me to live with when they were not a regular part of my life.  this changed when she came to live with us almost 3 years ago, and her new updated version of life was ever present.  early on, she would try to co-opt me into her re-creations and i, not fully understanding that i was responding to her-with-dementia and not just her, fully resisted. i no longer recognized him in her memories, though i saw so much of what she wanted to be in this construction of a whole new history.  it gave her a whole new present.

yet, it is really very little of her-with-dementia that is the composer of this brave new past.  my confusion was simply with my role. really, the rewrite is just her, as she has always been, but uncensored by the realities of others. as my partner pointed out much earlier in this way of being/living with her, the dementia has simply distilled her into a much more concentrated version of herself.

it has been part of a difficult and ongoing journey for me to leave these interpretations – often pure fabrication – be, to not be bothered by the dad in my heart no longer being the dad of our shared history.

see? here i am, talking about it. still. and i know i am not yet finished.

so, today, on this father’s day, i take a moment to be grateful he did not live to see her into her life with dementia; he would not have coped well with it.  and i am thankful for the bits of him-in-me that i like which balance out some of the bits of her-in-me i do not.  i allow myself to soften into my own memories and accept that some of the choices i made were right and reasonable responses of a girl, a child, living in a chaotic life circumstance where little was as it seemed and so much was the opposite of the official narrative. i can begin to release some of this now.  i am sure dad would be okay with me finding my way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

82929340_311380163361141_6770225153890194971_n

a beautiful low ceilinged sky this morning, the cloud cover undulating in dove, oyster, and field mouse grays. it is quiet. birds sing softly amidst the green cloaking of the thickets, where the deciduous are fully unfurled and stately in their leafy glory.  apple blossoms have long since passed, their petals no longer gathering in the shadows of 84126340_347802479520342_2843262775589787673_n (1)crumbling roadside asphalt.  in their stead, lupins are in evidence, brightly purpling the ditches, patiently waiting for the mallows to emerge and ferns stand as short forests, like hedgerows along the highway.  fields of dandelions gone to seed sway in the light easterly breeze, billowy stands of feasts for goldfinches.

my run today is also quiet. a quiet mind, but a heart active with the emotive reactions to this gentle landscape of which i am simply a small part.  emotions, like tidal movements, washing up on the shores of my heart, frothy foamy, then falling away with a tickly trickly effervescence.  no need, today, to hold on to any of them nor need to push them away. they simply arise, peak, and dissipate, in ebbing and waning cycles as my feet, too, patter a steady metre.

foot fall, heart beat, breath.

83597235_978759325904297_5349842838776021323_n

having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at.

~pema chodron

 

lilac

usually there are just the three of us at our evening dinner. we sit around a small table my paternal grandfather made, a prototype for a large contract he had with a local psychiatric hospital back in the 1950’s. it is the same table my father, in his later years, placed at the end of the sofa in the living room where he read the newspaper, watched tv, or practiced dates and numbers when his stroke removed them from his memory banks.

i sit across from mom, udo to my left and her right.  a window is behind me and sometimes mom bobs and weaves to gaze at the farm field beyond.

over the past year, i have been unable to make eye contact with her as she eats, the half-chewed mouthfuls clinging to her protruding tongue as she puts yet more in there.  udo, for a while, was concerned she was having serious swallowing issues, but she has simply developed the habit of putting three fork fulls of food in her mouth, always sampling some of everything on her plate, before she completes the chewing and finally swallows.  it is okay that she does this, but watching while i also eat does little for my appetite and so i avert my gaze.

we – udo and i – try to keep up a generic sort of pattering conversation at meal time, trying to keep it accessible to her.  for the most part, she simply puts her head down and attends to her plate.  there are occasions, however, when she participates in the conversation or is triggered by something in the conversation to relay one or more of her stories.

there is a repertoire of these stories and they are somewhat akin to memories leavened with neurological cracklings and poppings of dementia; memories with holes and gaps, sometimes left to hang without connections, sometimes filled in with random ingredients from the pantry of her mind.

frequently these days, our evening meal conversation includes daily events related to the black lives matter upswell of protest.  invariably, these topics touch a specific memory in her from her last year in high school. last evening was no different, though the story spun a bit into other nuggets of her school life.

she, looking at me:  you remember Central School.

central1

me, hesitating:  Central School

she: yes, up in back. you must have gone there too.

me:  um, um …

she, looking a bit confused:  you are not one of mumma’s children

me: no, i am not

she:  who is your mother?

me, still hesitantly:  you are. you are my mother.

she, furrowed browed and quizzically:  i can’t be your mother

me, after a short silence:  do you know my name?

she does not respond but continues to look confused and disbelieving

me:  my name is wendy.  i am your third child.

she, again with a space for thought:  you must have lived with us in sydney river.

me:  yes, i did.

she, tentatively offering a questionstatement:  claudia was the only other girl

me:  yes.

and then she went silent, closing in a bit on herself, and turned her attention to the slice of strawberry rhubarb pie in front of her. and i returned to my slice, closing in on myself a bit too.

i am not always aware of who i am in these conversations.  sometimes i am wendy, her daughter, though that label exists without context, without memory of that relationship.  other times it is clear i am her sister and still other times i am unsure – am i a cousin, a childhood neighbour or friend?  but, even after a couple of years of this, i am always caught unawares by these turns in conversation, when it becomes clear that we are not clear. neither of us.

class schedule

Archives

tweeting