The End?

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I began writing athayoganusasanam in January of 2011. I was brimming with excitement and inspiration. I had only been practicing Ashtanga for a few months and I was madly in love! I had recently moved back to my hometown with my new boyfriend. We lived in a beautiful (free!) apartment, a block away from the yoga shala. We had a tiny garden and were walking distance from just about everything we needed. My family lived close by and life was simple and easy. I didn’t have enough work at first and so I started this little blog. It kept me busy and was a wonderful outlet for creativity and for self-reflection.

I had so much to share. I felt deeply compelled to write all the time…about my love of cooking, my travels, my life, my new career in the healing arts, and of course most of all, about yoga – my practice and my teaching of it.

In the course of these three full-to-bursting years, Lila blog has chronicled the span of my early 20s into my late 20s. From a boyfriend, to a fiance to a husband. From teaching eight yoga classes a week down to only one. From a massage therapist to a florist with a huge wedding at the center of it all. From finding a teacher to losing him. From injuring myself to healing myself. From one home in Charlottesville to another in Denver, with two epic trips to India in between, plus countless weeks and weekends gallavanting all around this big old country. And that’s just the start of it!

Over these years, I have been surprised and thrilled by all the friendly support and enthusiastic readership. I’ve picked up a few blog sponsors along the way and contributed my writing to other venues as well. I also have occasionally received harsh criticisms and snarky comments, but that’s the internet, eh?

But let me be honest with you, dear readers, for months now this blog has felt like a heavy ball and chain dragging behind me. I only feel the spark of inspiration to write once every few weeks, if that. And even if I have an idea (like the nine pieces unfinished in my “drafts”), I don’t have the mental energy or time at the end of the workday to actually express my thoughts eloquently. Sigh…

I feel guilty that I don’t write as regularly as I used to and that my pieces are often lacking in pizazz. I also feel bad that the amount of yoga-related content has decreased so much. Although I never intended this to be a blog solely about yoga, it was always the topic that drew in the most readers. I am still an Ashtangi and a Kundalini yogini through and through, but my interest in writing (and reading for that matter) on yoga has diminished to nil.

More than anything, I dislike the amount of time (much of it wasted) that I spend in front of this screen and how it consumes hours that could be much better spent outside, playing with my husband, my friends, and my dog.

Writing a blog has altered the way I experience my daily life in a way that makes me a bit queasy. Instead of processing an emotional challenge brought to light by my yoga practice, or being present enjoying a fun afternoon in the mountains, or cooking spontaneously with vegetable peels thrown pell-mell all over my kitchen counter, I funnel my experiences visually and mentally through the lens of this blog and through social media. I ponder, “Should I try to write down this recipe for a post?”… “Maybe I should have Thad photograph me doing this?”…”How could I write about this personal difficulty without over-sharing too much.”… “What about my practice is inspiring/challenging right now and how can I turn this into something blog-worthy?”…. and on and on.

I want to live my life instead of blog about it. I want to just get on my mat every day and move through my practice without having to force it into being some profound teaching/learning experience. I want to spend my evenings sharing quality time with my loved ones instead of staring at a blank screen wondering what to write or how to attract more readers. I’m interested in being, living, creating, instead of documenting, analyzing and branding.

There are many wonderful bloggers out there, bloggers with so much more to share that I have right now. It’s a huge lovely interweb-world of fancy videos and sleek web design and I’m simply not up for it. Chalk it up to insecurity, but I’ve often doubted myself in this whole game of blogging. See, I am not a health coach, or a master healer, or registered nutritionist or “life coach”, I am not a celebri-yogi or a gifted photographer. I am simply a young woman on a journey.

We only have so much we can give and everything has its season. I guess you could say that I’m experiencing a predicament that all women face…I’m learning (with many bumps along the way) how to find balance in my home-work-family life. I’m discovering that difficult choices must be made in order to stay healthy and happy – questions regarding what to hold on to, what to nourish, what to simply put up with and what to release.

Managing a household, working five days a week, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking healthy meals every day, caring for a pet, loving and supporting my husband while he is in school full-time, nurturing friendships and creative pursuits, writing this blog, dreaming up a new business to launch this year, all on top of a daily hour and a half yoga practice….well, it’s a lot to juggle!

Somedays this balancing act is harder than others, but I know, in my heart of hearts, that I will not/can not disregard my own self-care or sacrifice the activities that bring me joy in my attempts to “do it all”. And so, with this acknowledgement, I’ve had to make a choice about what can stay and what has to go.

After much deliberation and reflection, I am announcing today the closing of Lila blog. I write “The End” with a question mark because I know that nothing is permanent and I certainly do not know what the future will bring. But for now, I will not be writing any more on this platform. I plan to keep the site active online so that past posts are available for readers. The Facebook and Twitter accounts for Lila will be shut down in a few days.

I am not disappearing from the internet all together though. You can still find me on Instagram and on Pinterest. And who knows? Maybe I’ll be back at it again on Lila in a six months or a year. Or perhaps I’ll start a new blog with a whole new focus, maybe something more oriented in my field of business, floral design and styling.

But today, my dear readers, I bid adieu and offer my sincerest gratitude to you and to my gracious sponsors.

Thank you for your readership, your comments, your emails, your friendship and your presence.

The only thing that has kept this little bloggy going for so long has been you.

With oh so much love and many blessings,

Frances

 

 

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Top 13 Posts Of 2013

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Another year is drawing to a close. I am so grateful for your continued support and readership. Lila has grown and shifted over this year, just as I have. Even though I’m not posting as regularly as I once was, new readers are finding their way here and that is an exciting thing for me.

As I review the many posts from 2013, these are the top 13 that sparked commentary and heightened readership in no particular order….

 

1. This Is Why I Practice Yoga

2. Why I LOVE/HATE Pure Barre

3. Kitchari: Healthy and Nourishing Cleansing

4. Why Mysore Style Practice Is So Darn Special

5. Meditation For Prosperity and Abundance

6. I’d Rather Be Bad At Ashtanga Than Good At Something Else

7. On (Not) Losing Weight For My Wedding

8. My Magic Scar-Removing Oil Blend

9. Let’s Talk Yoga Clothes

10. Yoga Is Dangerous

11. Love Letter To My Leotard

12. How To Get Up In The AM Yogi-Style

13. Roller Coaster Of Love: Ashtanga Style

 

I hope you enjoy perusing these posts and I look forward to sharing more thoughts, reflections and photographs with you in the new year.

With Gratitude and Love,

Frances

 

 

image of me via Adonye Jaja

Giving Thanks

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Gratitude is a beautiful practice. It opens the heart, connects people and creates a more accepting and receptive energy that is palpable even on a physical level.

Acknowledging our blessings and giving thanks is something we can do everyday all year long, but there is something special about having a holiday as a collective reminder of this.

My husband and I moved to Denver at Thanksgiving of last year. It has been such a full and vibrant year, replete with challenges, learning opportunities, adjustments and newness.

As I reflect upon this time, I am filled with gratitude and a touch of awe.

For all the friends who offered such loving kindness as we moved away from one town and settled into another one, I give thanks.

For my dearest Thaddeus whose humor, tenderness and sensitivity carries me through my days, I am most grateful. I am constantly learning greater awareness and skills of balance, communication, grace and devotion from you. Our marriage is my greatest teacher. 

I give thanks for my little pup Artemis for her delicious snuggles and her love of play. She helps me to cultivate patience and spend a little more time in the sunshine each day.

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Pain – Practice – Gratitude

The past few days in my Ashtanga Yoga practice I’ve been struck with awe at the returned ease and joyful simplicity in my asanas. Since October I’ve been struggling with a very painful SI joint injury.  There were days when the spasms in my low back were so sharp and debilitating that I could barely make the shapes of any basic pose. It hurt to sit in the car, to stand up, to bend forward, to bend backwards….my back pretty much hurt constantly.

It was really frustrating and discouraging. Sometimes I could surrender to it and find patience and focus on other things. But often that catastrophe mindset would set in and I would begin to lament that my asana practice would never recover, would never be the same, would certainly never improve, that I would be stuck with this pesky pain for the rest of my life! I didn’t trust the practice, I didn’t trust my teachers and I was falling into fear.

But I kept practicing. I took a few extra days off here and there. I stopped trying to do dropbacks or leg behind the head stuff, I moved cautiously and slowly. I worked really hard with my teacher David while I was in India to build strength and to adapt my Second Series poses to bring more stability into my sacrum. Somedays it felt better, somedays it felt worse – there was no linear trajectory of healing with this injury. But I kept practicing….

And over the past few weeks, the pain is less and less noticeable. And now it’s gone, much to my surprise and relief. My practice is moving forward and even with these months of injury, it has improved in many ways. I have a new sense of awareness about my bandhas, the orientation and rotations of my legs in poses and of my own limits and needs in my personal practice.

I could have taken these past 6 months off practice. I could have fallen prey to my fears that the practice is just too hard, too dangerous, too much. But instead, I let the practice, in modified forms, heal me. My body is stronger for the work that I’ve put in during this time of injury. My faith is strengthened as well. My trust in the power of this tradition and this practice has been bolstered by this experience.

For all this I am so grateful.

I am grateful for my teacher David Garrigues for his amazing support and asana mastery.

I am grateful for my teachers Joan and Eric of Ashtanga Yoga Denver for their patience and open hearts.

And I’m so grateful for Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and the lineage of teachers who have shared this profound practice throughout the ages.

Blessings and Love.

Frances

PS – Today is the last day to enter into the Kharma Khare free yoga mat giveaway! DO it!

For Which To Be Grateful.

This has been a year of great growth, learning and joy for me. 

I started this blog and that has brought a lot of fun into my world (that means you!), I got married, celebrated my both of my siblings’ weddings, and traveled to India to practice the yoga that I totally dig, among many other exciting things!

And now we’ve moved to Colorado! Thaddeus and I are on the brink of a grand adventure, starting out our life together in a new home in a new town with new careers. Big stuff.

I am blessed with prosperity, fantastic friends and community and very good health; for all this I am exceedingly thankful.

Right now I am up in Montana with Thad’s dear parents. They have been so kind and welcoming to me since the first day we met. As a family they share such sweetness and love – it’s a wonderful thing to witness.

There is so much in my life for which to be grateful. ♥

In particular, one blessing this year offered me was the chance to heal and deepen my relationships with both of my own parents.

My family, like most, is complicated. My relationship with my father has been strained and confusing ever since I was a little girl.

These past two years living on the East Coast provided me many opportunities to work through some of my karma with him. There was a bad period there when we weren’t speaking at all and I’m not sure either of us believed we would make it through that.

But with lots of patience, personal work and forgiveness, we came out the other side relatively whole, arriving at a place of acceptance of each other.

In fact, three weeks before my wedding, I asked him if he would escort me down the aisle. This was something I never-ever thought would happen. As a sassy feminist teenager I had firmly made up my mind that I would not uphold that tradition (which I believed reeked of patriarchy and symbolized the transfer of property and I certainly didn’t want to be are part of such a thing)!

But, it turns out, what it ended up symbolizing for me was an olive branch – an offering of peace to my father. A symbol that no matter the depth of our past hurt and anger, we could choose to move beyond that and enjoy a simple but potent experience of bonding between a father and a daughter.

My parents have each taught me so much about how to live in the world with appreciation for our many blessings, with grounded intelligence for maneuvering the tricky turns of life and how to stay engaged in community with an always charitable spirit. These are among the many gifts my incredible parents offered me and my siblings.

So, in honor of my beautiful, compassionate, wise and graceful mother

and my generous, kind, strong and very goofy father

I offer you my love and gratitude.

Blessings on your holiday.

Thank you for reading my blog and sharing your experiences with me.

May we make time for gratitude on each and every day.

Love Frances

Our Drive Westward.

It’s October 30th.

My 26th birthday.

It’s been a big year and today I’ve arrived, with my husband of 3 weeks, in Colorado where we will set up shop and make our new life together.

Nerves, excitement, joy, hope – yes, all these are present – but mostly I feel a profound sense that all is right in my little world.

And with that peace, I feel abundant gratitude.

Here are a few snapshots from the drive from VA to CO – with a few stops in Lexington KY and Kansas City, MO in between.

If you can’t tell, I’m loving having an iphone and Instagram (a brand new addition to my life). You can follow me @ FrancesHarjeet.
Blessings and love to all.

Have a very happy Halloween!

F.

Lessons Learned from Teaching at a Small Yoga Studio.

Last week I taught my final Vinyasa yoga class here in Charlottesville at a small center called Studio 206. I had been teaching there for almost 2 years.

This is where I first began teaching Vinyasa classes right after I finished my training in CO. Previously, I’d been teaching Kundalini Yoga off and on for a few years, but learning to teach a new and completely different style of yoga required a lot of courage and patience.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I was given, as a brand-spankin’ new teacher, to walk in fresh and start teaching right off the bat. I learned so much and I know that in these past few years, my skills as a teacher multiplied greatly as a result of working at a small studio such as 206.

Vinyasa yoga is not big and trendy in my little town. This studio only had one Vinyasa class before I arrived, which had been taught for 10 years at the same time by the same teacher with a regular attendance of 6 to 15 students. So, basically I had to start from ground up. Not only did I have to figure out how to teach (because seriously, you can’t learn that in 200 hours) but I also had to build a new class and find my own audience.

I made lots of posters and told everyone I knew. I showed up with obsessively crafted playlists and hand-written, painstakingly developed sequences each week. But most days, I showed up to an empty room. I would hang out for a bit, maybe play with handstanding against the wall, and then I would close up shop and walk home.

Sometimes, just as I was resigning myself to another evening of no-shows, one single person would show up. Often this would be a person who had never practiced yoga before. So, I would give them a private yoga class with all the enthusiasm I could muster.  At the end of the month I would get a paycheck for $6.

This is where the patience comes in. It took months for my classes to build. I tried different time slots, but really it just took perseverence and sticking with it week after week.

Alongside patience, I had to practice lots of non-attachment! Sometimes my numbers would surge and I would have a few consistent students for a month or two, and then those particular students would be gone for months at a time. Working in a college-town, I had to deal with the fluctuations inherent there. If I started getting attached to the number of students, I would inevitably be disappointed when that shifted. I learned quickly that this was not worth it! I learned that it was always best to approach the class with no expectations.

After a whole year of diligently showing up, suddenly I was getting 5, 6, 7 or even 12 people at a class! This was huge, because the numbers at this studio are not big generally. And then…..I went to India for 2 months….. Only to return to empty classes, despite the subs.

After another month plus of no-shows, my class built up again. Younger people now, more familiar with the practice and more enthusiastic. My last class was a hot, sweaty, joyful hour flowing to a Beatles playlist. It was fun! There were 9 students. Four of them were brand-new to me. At the end of the class, one of these students approached me, thanked me and said that this had been one of the best classes she had ever taken and that I was a “really good teacher”.  I was super touched – it felt like the cherry on top of an already great experience.

 

Here are a few lessons I have learned through the ups and downs of teaching at a small studio.

 

Adapt 

 Becoming a great teacher means growing more aware of your students and how best you can serve them. This means, you can’t go into a class blindly with a set sequence and always succeed. It’s critical sometimes to let go of your plan and simply be present to the student body. That might require that you adapt or scrap your “perfect” sequence. Perhaps it means slowing it down. As I new teacher, I started out with set sequences, but I soon learned that I needed to be flexible to the needs and abilities of the students in attendance that day. Eventually, I had enough mini-sequences with variations in my head that I could build a class spontaneously using these tools. These classes were much more appropriate to the students and more fun too.

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Adjust/Correct

I believe it’s important to carefully observe one’s students before doing a lot of adjustments. But once you feel comfortable with them, adjusting and assisting is essential. I had to get over a lot of fear about my own inadequacies to get me to the point where I could slip around the room adjusting people mid-flow and have the confidence that I was actually helping. I often ask permission to adjust before class, but rarely do students refuse. Same thing with corrections – don’t be afraid to actually correct a student’s pose. You are not serving them by letting them do something all wrong (and yes, there is such thing as “wrong” in yoga, hence so many stupid injuries). Students come to class to learn, so don’t just cheer people on and tell them they are perfect the way the are – you need to actually teach! This means doing things that aren’t always fun….like chaturangas on a block  (DG’s student’s know what I mean!).

 

Bring your most positive self. Remember it’s not all about you. Use your stories only to uplift and assist.

Teaching yoga well requires enough self-awareness of you that you actually approach the classroom as a classroom and not a stage. It’s not your show. It’s not your time to entertain people; it’s time for you to serve. Some classes I speak very little other than allignment cues and pose names. Other classes I will talk more about mythology, imagery or philosophy. Sometimes I share anecdotes from my own life and yoga practice. But the words I do speak are carefully chosen to inspire students and encourage them to be curious about their own practice and about the tradition of yoga itself. The one bit of “acting” that does come into play as a yoga teacher, I’ve found, is that sometimes it’s required of you to put on a smile even if you don’t feel like smiling. I’m not advocating being insincere! But really that you approach your teaching with the attitude of service, and that means setting your sh*t to the side so you can be present and not caught up in whatever is personally bugging you that day. Show your students your best side, but still be human and not fake. Find that balance – and to do this – remember that your job as a teacher is to help people grow in positive ways.

 

Mix it up but remember to stick with what works.

It’s fun to try new things and challenging poses. Most students are drawn to Vinyasa because of the go-with-the-flow, try-new-things energetic of it. Proper sequencing is a real skill though, and I find it’s best to keep it simple, especially in the beginning of your career as a teacher. Don’t get distracted by teaching just “fun” or cool-looking poses. It’s so very important for students to learn the basics like triangle, virabhadrasana, chaturanga (critical!), parsvokanasana, dandasana etc., etc., before you start tossing them all sorts of arm balances and splits. Have fun but be smart and teach the foundations first! I always teach strength building and grounding standing poses with optional variations before I have students try more advanced poses. It’s better for a student to learn how to stand and balance properly on one-foot such as in utthita hasta padangustasana than on two hands like bakasana. Keep it simple with as strong focus on breath, bandhas and awareness. This means that when the students reach more challenging poses they will have the foundation to fall back upon for support and assistance.  I  do occasionally throw in a tricky pose for people to play with, but I often preface it with something like “We’re just going to play with this and you have my full permission to fall on your face and laugh.”

 

Encourage stillness.

Vinyasa classes are full of flowing motion and jumping around. This is a beautiful thing, but don’t forget to find stillness. I often (probably because of my Ashtanga practice) instruct my students to hold poses for a count of breaths to find the dynamic stillness there. I like starting the class with stillness in child’s pose and then at the end in seated meditation. I know a lot of students come to yoga for exercise, and that’s great, but I think it’s especially important in our frenetic world to consciously make time and space for stillness. That potent quiet at the end of a yoga class is a powerful space in which to sit and be. It’s important not to rush it, but let the students have that time for integration.

 

Samasthiti actually needs to be taught at every class.

Bandhas, breath and the foundational postures need to be reviewed and elaborated upon at every class…even for repeat or more advanced students. Maybe some students think this is boring, well, tough luck I say. Everyone benefits from being reminded bout proper posture, bandhas, grounding through the legs and energizing the limbs. I always spend a few moments instructing samasthiti after the warm-ups and before Sun Salutations because it seemed to help clear the slate for the students of how they had been walking around all day, it resets the body to get in gear for asana practice.

 

These are just a few tips/lessons I’ve learned. I hope you find this instructive and helpful. I would love to hear what you do that helps you be a better teacher! Or what you as a student love most about the way your favorite instructor teaches.

 

Blessings and LOVE,

Frances

 

PS – Please take a peek at this beautiful offering about love and bhakti on elephant journal by my dear Fiance Yogi.

PPS – Don’t forget to “Like” Lila on Facebook!

 

A Lila Blog GIVEAWAY in GRATITUDE.

HEY YOU!

You are really awesome. Thanks so much for reading my humble little blog and liking my page on Facebook.

I’m very grateful and honored that you choose to spend a few minutes of your day looking at what I have to share.

To thank you and to spread the love, I want to offer a gift to

TWO READERS!

These (randomly-chosen) winners will receive one of our organic cotton and bamboo yoga-inspired T-shirts (you get to choice what design and size)  and a custom bhakti-full Vinyasa yoga playlist CD and of course, my overwhelming gratitude!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To enter into the GIVEAWAY just follow these 3 simple steps.

 

1. LIKE Lila Blog on Facebook if you haven’t already!

2. SHARE one of your favorite Lila posts on your preferred form of social media – whether it’s on your Facebook wall, Twitter or just sending a personal email to one of your friends encouraging him/her to read the post of your choice.

3. POST a comment on this giveaway post to let me know that you’ve liked/shared and want to be included in the giveway.

 

Two winners will be picked in two weeks on Wednesday September 26th.

(The email which you share when you post a comment will be the email that I will use to contact you and let you know that you’ve won, okay?)

 

Thanks for all the love.  And thanks for continuing to spread it!

Blessings!

Radhe Radhe!

Frances P Harjeet.

Celebrating…

In my family, we like to celebrate. We often will take any excuse to do so!

My mother tells this story about when I was a little girl of 3 years.

My siblings and I sat with her at the breakfast table one sunny spring morning. My mother looked out the window and said to us, “Children, it is the most beautiful day!!”

To which I responded with excitement in my funny little voice, “We gonna have ‘hampagne??”

This story could perhaps be indicative of early onset alcoholism, but I prefer to view it as proof that even at a young age I knew that good days call for celebration! By the way, don’t you worry, that “champagne” was just sparkling cider for us kiddos. 🙂

Today is a good day to celebrate because it is my beloved Fiance Yogi’s half-birthday!

Half-birthday, you say? Why, yes, you know, exactly 6 months from your legit birthday! It’s a real thing.

Half-birthdays were celebrated in my childhood home and I still carry on that tradition. I made this pretty clear to FY when we first spent an April together (my half b-day is the 30th). He sort of thought I was joking, but then he got on board and we ended up with a huge half-sheet of expensive marzipan-covered Princess Cake. Whoopsies! That’s what happens when you call the swishest bakery in town and ask for “half a cake”.

Anyways, this is the 3rd July that FY’s half-birthday has rolled by unnoticed, and I’ve decided it’s about time to change that!

So I’m vowing that today is all about showering LOVE on my man. And since this blog is my own little domain, I’m going to do just that right here!

 

A  few reasons why I LOVE Thad –

He’s got some serious ups!

He’s smart and he makes me laugh a lot. He’s curious and likes to do silly tricks.

He loves me with devotion, respect, patience and unwavering dedication.

He is a spiritual warrior, a sharp intellectual and true yogi.

He’s a goofball – he possesses child-like wonder and he loves to have fun and be silly.

He is kind and gentle to animals and children.

He is super tough and wicked strong, but inside he’s a big mushy lovey-dovey.

He is sincere, authentic and honest. He is grounded, humble and confident. He approaches every situation from a place of integrity and equanimity.

He is an adventurer, an explorer of the inner and outer worlds.

He is a hard-core yogi, waking up early and practicing austerities, but he can also soften into those times when it’s just right to slide back in bed, watch Netflix, snuggle up and eat 2nd breakfast!

He is my best friend, my yoga buddy and my life-partner.

He is my rock, my anchor, my angel and my haven.

I love you Thaddeus ❤

Happy Half-Birthday.  You’re worth celebrating everyday!

xo

F

God Bless the Moon.

I have memories of being a little girl taking evening strolls with my mother.  We would look up into the dusk sky, see the moon appearing and say in unison:

“I see the moon and the moon sees me! God Bless the moon and God Bless me!”

Even today, it’s almost an automatic reaction in me to exclaim this silly little rhyme when I see the moon.  Silly, yes, but there is something behind it too.

I love the moon – I love its beauty, its folklore and mysticism, its cycles and how they effect me and my body.  I love the symbolism of the moon and the rhythm it creates in my life as a practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga.  I am grateful for that beautiful moon – whether it’s a mere fingernail sliver, a half-coin or a fully round glowing sphere.

I hope you have a peaceful and restful moon-day. Rest days are a wonderful gift – a time to nourish oneself and spend a little extra time in silence and self-reflection.

Blessings,

Frances

PS – These fanciful photos are by French photographer (how’s that for alliteration?), Laurent Laveder.  I found these images on this blog.  Aren’t they great?

Dear Mum, Thanks.

Dear Mum,

Thanks for the iron and ironing board you bought me a few weeks ago.  I had made it this far to the ripe old age of 25 without one and honestly, I had never planned on buying one, but now that I’ve got it tucked away in my laundry room, I’m glad.  It’s turning out to be quite useful.

Today was a wrinkly day, to say the least.  I spent my whole gimpy yoga practice this morning obsessing over all the caustic, scathing remarks that I wish I could say to this one person.  And when I wasn’t occupied with these imaginary verbal jousts, I was contemplating slashing the tires of some other person present at the shala.  Needless to say, it was a less than positive practice.

I left the shala crying tears of rage, mad at the world and on top of that hating my self for putting on a few pounds this past week, just in time for me to be a bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding. Lame.  It was damn near impossible pulling myself up out of this self-absorbed, pathetic slump and slapping a sweet smile on my face in time to teach my morning Vinyasa class.  But I dug deep into my WASPy reserve of emotional repression and I pulled through.

This afternoon the sun was pouring through my living room windows.  I remembered that I had forgotten to iron FY’s Fabindia vest,  so I set up my brand spanking new ironing board and fancy iron and started slowly smoothing away the wrinkles.  Just like you’ve always told me, ironing is really soothing and meditative.  As I finished clumsily pressing the vest (you might need to give me one more ironing lesson one of these days…) I felt better.  As I folded up the board, I released a deep sigh of relief.  It was a minor accomplishment, this smoothed-out vest, but at least I had managed to make one thing right today.

Some days that’s all you can ask for.

So thank you mummy dearest, you truly are one of my greatest teachers.

I love you,

Frances