Decompressing: After Alumapalooza

The final day of Alumapalooza: time for everyone to pack up camp and move on down the road. Some people would decompress in the Airstream Terraport (usual that would be us), but we are on a mission to return to Canada asap for the skydiving working season. It’s time to supplement the funds and take our newly minted AFF ratings for a spin :).

So off to Lou & Larry’s for the evening before winding our way back home. Decompression with some Rockband guitar and relaxation, enjoying the sun and friendship of our Ohio friends. Life sure is grand!

I Married Up!

This would be our final morning yoga class of Alumapalooza 2013. With 23 people in attendance (many of whom are returnees from their first-time yoga experience here in our yoga tent this week and from previous years), we felt very privileged to build and share in the community that has grown at this field location each Spring in Jackson Center Ohio, end of May. For three years running, we’ve volunteered our yoga services to the greater Airstream collective, cultivating a sense of yoga solidarity and exploration that didn’t quite exist before in Jackson Center. We have always enjoyed the prospect of returning to the Mothership of Airstream’s birth and revisiting with our Airstream family (once a year gatherings it seems). It’s amazing how an aluminum home can draw such reverence, interest and pride.

I was thrilled to be offering a yogaFLIGHT class for kids with slaDE, once again. But in actuality, it’s more of a giant play session. My husband has such a wondrous knack with teaching children, skilfully weaving an engaging and spellbinding varying story that has us adults enamoured with his style of yoga play. This year, we taught something near and dear to our hearts … the 12 young participants learned how to skydive, from exiting an airplane, teaching them how to ‘steer’ their canopies, to landing with a finesse and flourish. And of course, slaDE took them all for an ‘airplane’ ride afterwards. A few of the children stayed around afterwards to try out some of the more involved yogaFLIGHT moves that we play around with … ‘4 Step’ and ‘Shoulder Stand’. The boys did marvellously! I had to laugh when the one young boy, who was being spotted by our friend Kelly (while I roamed to take photos), exclaimed rather independently: ‘I’ve got this’ ~ translation = “Don’t spot or support me. I want to try this on my own”. 🙂

Antsy Maclean finished off a magnificent day with a rip-roaring spellbinding evening of 3 hours of raw wicked talent, interlaced with many an Airstreaming song. Antsy is definitely a favourite with this rVing crowd :), especially when he sings songs like: ‘I Married Up’.

It being the final farewell evening to spend with friends here at Alumapalooza, we chatted and cuddled, sang and laughed until our weary bodies begged for rest. Oh how I will miss our friends! Until next time, fare thee well ….

Things You Do Not See From Driving The Interstate – Indiana

Precious timesLeaving our amazing and dear friend Barbie June in Illinois (after a few days of hanging just west of Chicago with her), we made our way eastward towards Jackson Center Ohio, home of the Airstream birthplace. Of course, deciding to take the road less travelled offered up many cool opportunities to reflect, sightsee and enjoy the slower pace.

We chose to start a list of the unique things one does not see on the Interstae. I am hoping that this is a trend which we can establish on this blog for each and every state and province that we drive through. Sound like a plan?

Things you don’t see from driving the Interstate in Indiana

  • Amish ladies dressed in red dresses, riding palomino horses
  • blondes mares, manes glistening in the sun faithfully drawing black buggies
  • beady eyed buzzards collecting carrion from the roadside
  • playful ponies dancing with their foals
  • simple farm houses sustaining the moral soul of america
  • towering oaks shading the road
  • family cookouts on memorial day
  • small little white steeple churches
  • placid ponds with swans upon

Dropzone in Indiana

  • cool little airports (without fences and such)
    • Whoa! There’s a dropzone in Fort Wayne Indiana, right along Route 20 (Angola Airport West of US 69)! Skydive Fort Wayne. So we decided to stop and say hello. With perfect weather conditions (no wind), clear skies and a plane just having landed, we were persuaded to make an unplanned 4-way skydive. Well I’ll be …. Prettiest little random mid-west DZ I’ve ever jumped at! We introduced the previous DZ owner, Audrey, to some yogaFLIGHT. Made for a remarkable roadtrip distraction!
  • people gathered around a 100 foot tall bonfire

Birthday Wishes

It’s always kind of interesting to receive digital salutations expressing the ‘Happiest of Birthday’. I prefer a person-to-person connection, but regardless of the forum, I always appreciate the love shown me when people remember and honour this date in history, including the many of my online wishes.

Here is a favourite email felicitation that brings a smile to my face, from my Airstream Forum group. I can’t help but think about why I love the dreamy lifestyle we lead and my lust for all things aluminum:

Happy Birthday from your friends at AirForums; we wish you all the best in the year to come.
May your aluminum be leak free and shiny.
May your tires be round and always properly inflated and
May your days be filled with the exquisite pleasure of new adventures, fabulous destinations and excellent friendship.

Healing Connections

What a day of healing! Physiotherapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Massage Therapy, Tuning Fork Therapy, Friend therapy {spending time with several dear friends before heading south for the winter}, Kombucha therapy. All in all, a very connected day of mind, body and spirit. All healing events in their own way. Some easy to just accept, assimilate and listen to in the lessons. Others, not quite so specific in their nature. But learning to flow through the experiences and being fully present was such a gift. Just beautiful …

Fashionista, I Am Not

Funny thing happened in our temporary transition from Airstream life to apartment nomads …. I forgot a few significant props so necessary for participating in the plethora of Christmas parties available to us this season. I neglected to bring along dress shoes for the lovely skirts and pants outfits I diligently transported at the beginning of November. What’s worse is that I’ve been back to the trailer several times, and didn’t take stock of what I had in the clothing department. I remembered EVERYTHING else, go figure. But our lovely friend Jill offered to lend me her size 9 stillettos for the evening (tres chic this Mamacita!). With a wee bit of experience with platform slinky shoes, I had the crazy notion that my sized 9.5 foot (with size 10 pinky toes) would be like fitting Cinderella’s stepsisters in to the beloved glass slipper of choice. And in the end, I ended up setting a new fashion trend with my new rocker shoes this evening. At least they had a nice 2 inch platform to elevate me ;).

My lesson learned? Never forget the importance of slinky shoes in my life. 🙂 NOT! I refuse to go out and buy something just for the sake of saving face, when I already own several pairs of shoes with heels that I rarely wear. Now is not the time to keep hourding and expanding in my wardrobe! I may make a pit stop at Value Village just in case, and donate any acquisition right back on Monday 😉

Surrounded By Love, Remembering That I Am Not Alone

I found myself fully awake as slaDE made preparations to go to the dropzone to jump this weekend. I’m used to (sort of) my husband’s early morning departures during the week where he quietly readies himself for work at 5am. And if I’m ever-so-lucky, I can remember his sweet gentle kisses in the sleepy haze of my early morning slumber. But this morning at 7am, the striking cold brisk chill in the air woke me up alarmingly fast as I bolted to empty my bladder. Overnight, literally, the weather had changed from a lazy warm Indian Summer’s night to that belying the abrupt onset of a Winter’s morning. Once I hit the freezing grip of the toilet’s caress, I was wide awake. Sigh, so much for sleeping in :). I knew that with the weather forecast of below freezing temperatures and unruly high winds that I wouldn’t want to be skydiving this weekend (plus my back still is going through mini-spasms — not ideal for arching or abrupt off heading openings). I’m a skydiving snob per se, a fair-weather jumper. And yes, I am okay with that. I’ve spent too much time wrapped up like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Guy / Michelin Man in the sky, and from these experiences, I know exactly where my comfort zone lies. Who wants to be questioning whether one can pull a sequence of handles at deployment time because the fingers have frozen, with all sensation pretty much gone, or at least numbed. NO Thank you!! Been there, done that.

With that being said, I chose to wrap myself up, nuzzling deeper in the blankets of our kingsized bed, loving my husband from afar (Skydive Toronto — 2 hrs away from our homebase in Oshawa) in yet another loner weekend in the Airstream. I sometimes wonder if I’m making the right choice. Of not spending that quality time with my husband on his weekends skydiving when I have other tasks to do or reasons to not be at the dropzone. I guess you could call it dz burnout. I’ve always been a bit of a loner. Yet as I sit here, I’m somewhat sad at my decision. Every singular moment that we have together is a pure luxury, regardless of what we’re doing. How could I say no? And in that moment of questioning and melancholy, I found myself wrapped in love. Literally, embraced by the warm wool blanket gifted to us by a girlfriend in Calgary. Three years after the fact, this worn and well-loved bed covering is one of the valuable items in our rV that continuously provides us with unfailingly comfort in the colder climes. And in this sweet moment of awareness, I think of her, and smile. The trend continues, and I think of, with deepening gratitude:

  • my Mother, whose warm fleece hat covers my head in the morning chill
  • my Idaho-based girlfriend whose lovingly crafted sunflower quilt provides us with warmth, sunshine and love in the darkest of nights
  • another skydiving girlfriend whose pyjamas I was wearing, acquired last winter in the midst of her move to an rV lifestyle
  • the complete stranger whom we purchased an Airstream from off of eBay (I think of this man often, silently thanking him for such an amazing home)
  • a dear lovely soul who is suffering from a terrifying illness and injuries that has this person fighting with every bit of their amazing strength and courageousness. It leaves me wondering: what can I offer or do to make life better for them?

And with these heartfelt revelations and remembrances, I realize that I am truly blessed to be surrounded by love, friendship, family and above all else, good health. Even in my solitude, I am never alone. There are always reminders of those who have left forever imprints on my heart. Of those who are experiencing tremendous trials and startling tribulations that leave me breathless.

With this surge in emotion, I am suddenly overwhelmingly quiet. A deep sense of love emanates from within, filling any space where a void may have existed briefly this morning. I am honoured and truly blessed for the friends and family in my life, for the life-partner that comes home to me, to us, unfailing in his love and dedication. With this appreciation, I’m realizing that, next time, I’ll be hard-pressed to not be by my husband’s side, even in the coldest of winters and difficult of days. I want to be his steadfast blanket, supporting and warming him when he needs me most.

Do you have a favourite momento or memory that carries you through the difficult challenging times, when feeling alone, sad and grey; a heart-worthy impression that provides a souvenir hug, enlightening and brightening your day?

Momentum and Mind Mapping

We literally live 10 feet away from our neighbours … our Airstream is parked in their Oshawa Ontario driveway (courtesy shared parking). But with all of us having busy lifestyles, Dawn spoke about never seeing us, regardless of the fact that we are pretty much ‘roommates’ per se. So in order to play ‘catchup’, we had dinner together. What a truly lovely way to spend a gorgeous summer’s evening. Dinner with friends as the warm sultry air wafts in through open patio doors.

It’s been a really interesting few weeks of working on our newly designed yogaFLIGHT website and blog. Coming up with entirely new content (a rough business plan of sorts I guess you could say) has been a challenging experience. Top that with trying to accelerate our social networking presence with yogaFLIGHT and rV There Yet (both on Facebook and Twitter, with appearances on LinkedIn and Google + in the works), and I am pooped!

I find myself stumbling through the days with a bit of chaotic splash and splendour, no concrete plan written on paper, going from instinct and ideas, excited at the cre8tive process as it evolves. As Annie Lennox would say, “at a certain point you can’t really tell whether you have created the momentum or it’s creating you.” Not the best strategy going in to this with no siteplan (aka a graphic representation) or mind map, I admit, but at least its momentum. I’ve been dragging my feet on this project for way too long. I’d say that I am 75% close to our relaunch … just have to put together a gallery and clean up the coding and stuff. I am so very happy that hubby sat down with me and spent a few hours going over the content with a fine-tooth comb! I really look forward to everybody’s input when it’s finally online :).

Enthusiasm is the energy and force that builds literal momentum of the human soul and mind.
~Bryant H. McGil

One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.
~ Michael Korda

So how do you make a mind map?

This article from Anthony Landale from the Illumine Training website lays it out really well. Why paraphrase him when he has it down pat? Go check him out … Thanks Anthony!

  1. Take a blank piece of A4 paper and turn it on its side.
  2. Start in the centre and draw an image that represents the topic you are working on.
  3. The main themes around the central image are like chapter headings.
  4. Draw thick lines which connect the themes to the main image and print one word associated with each of your themes in CAPITALS next to the line.
  5. Start to add another level of thought, using thinner lines, linked to each theme.
  6. These are your associated thoughts. Attach words or images.

Add your personal touch. Make your map artistic, colourful and imaginative. Add humour, exaggeration or absurdity wherever you can. Your brain will delight in getting enjoyment from this process.

Mind mapping is a technique that is proven to help learning, aid memory and is efficient in recording and storing information. Again let us consider note taking as an example. Typically note taking is a laborious process with an output which, let’s face it, is typically forgotten quickly if it is read at all. Why is this so? Because a page of text has almost no variety, no distinguishing features; nothing stands out and the brain goes to sleep.

Acro Yoga Fusion Throwdown, Day 4

Today began with learning a complex and long performance flow created by by Eugene and Jessie. Layer upon layer upon layer of seamless dynamic moves and intricate weaving of acro yoga techniques with a dance and yogic flair. Sutble, fierce, challenging but oh so beautiful. I partnered up with the beautiful and talented Laurence … so competent in fact that she was equally skilled as both flyer and base. Working with me (an inexperienced acro flyer) is an incredible challenge as it is … but Laurence was patient, kind and solid as a base. Although I have dabbled as a base the past four days, I am nowhere close to providing the necessary caliber of stability needed to safely hoist people through such maneuvers as ‘Star’, ‘Around the World’, ‘Ninja Star’, etc. The trick to getting to this level is practice, practice, practice. Wish I had someone more my weight and height to play and experiment with on a regular basis. The afternoon revealed a mini-workshop with Jason Nemer of on the basics of successful handstands. Again, lack of mobility and strength in my shoulders left me wanting for more …. I’m learning that both daily core and shoulder strengthening and building is becoming necessary in this lifestyle of more advanced acro yoga (or what we call yogaFLIGHT). Time to redirect my focus.

The ending of our weekend climaxed with a boy vs girl Creative Process. With a quick 30 minutes to prepare our staged act, we stepped in to ‘the Cypher’ and rocked our performances with giggles and fire … the penultimate throwdown before an informal acro-jam. Personally, I was hoping for more flow practice after the throwdown with Eugene and Jessie. But as with all endings and beginnings, the flow of their structure is what I make of the time and interaction within the context. So perhaps I was expecting more of myself. However, feeling somewhat reticent with my new-found knowledge and skills, I sat back shyly whilst the more experienced acro-yogis soared through delicious flows and experimental flights in their acro-jam. Sometimes just watching can be enough. I am however yearning a deeper connection with an acro community. Time to investigate the Toronto scene whilst we’re in the area for a few months!

The evening was spent cooking and dining with our hosts at ‘Chateau Yogi’. Paul and Bryce had the perfect kitchen and patio space to enjoy a twilight potluck of personalities and stories. Of course, I enjoyed finding the beauty in photographing shadows, light, people and textures.


A Daily Resolution

Settling in to our new home for the summer, today was the beginning of something truly beautiful. An opportunity to practice yoga in a studio space within feet of our doorstep seems almost like a dream. So to make the most of our time here in Oshawa, I’ve made an agreement with myself … upon rising, each and every day, I will practice yoga, in whatever form that may take. Evolution of a daily practice has no time limitations or defined routine. It is whatever may show up for me in that moment. And today, it meant leading my own practise alone and finishing a beautiful one hour session with slaDE by my side. My husband joined me quietly, breathing and stretching in his own cadence and style. It was magic.

Dawn played tour guide around town, showing us the Friday morning farmer’s market along with the major areas of interest that would make life a bit easier and fluid whilst here in the city. A morning stretch in the park by Lake Ontario sealed the perfection of the day!