yoga dorc

life and times of a modern day yogini (named dorcas)

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writing declaration.

No step is too small.  There is only now.

On my ‘life goals’ list from 2004 is to write a book.

Words stream through my head at all times. In there (my mind), they are beautiful, fluid, meaningful.  But my hands are always full, never free to pen them down.

I’m torn.  I practice letting go.  Letting go of the words, the sentences, the stories. Having faith they will come back when the time is right. Having faith that perhaps they will be even better then.  But passion is hard to put off.  It does not take kindly to being second place. It is not reasonable and logical.

So I will begin.  Again.  And again if need be.  I will let go of perfection and just write. The fragments, the incomplete stories, the random.  I will trust that, indeed, they will come together into something we call a book.  And if not, I will at least have written.



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the birthday series, part 2

(1/2 started, old entry – practicing leaving things incomplete is HARD)

DSC_3407Birthday season comes to a close on a sweet note.  Jonah’s birthday rounds out our burst of summer birthdays.  And of course, it all started with him.  He’s the one that made me a mother.  Seven years ago today.  So much has changed in those years.

I certainly didn’t set out to raise a family.  Just to have a baby.  Then another. Then another.  But now all of the sudden, I realize I am fully engulfed in the very full time IMG_7449experience of RAISING A FAMILY.  Once upon a time, I had a career in real estate.  And before you actually buy a house, someone sits down with you and goes over a 30 page contract of what you are getting into.  Then you do inspection after inspection.  Then you go to settlement and do more paperwork, that an attorney explains.  And even still you have a chance to get out of it for 2 or 3 days after that.  Where is the RAISING A FAMILY CONTRACT?!  The explanation that your autonomy and independence will be temporarily confiscated, given back to you only for mere moments.  That your ability to have a complete conversation with another adult without interruption will be rare, if ever.  That your dependence on yourself will not be enough.  That grocery shopping, food prep, daily logistics and laundry will now consume most of your thoughts and your life. And that you will most certainly be changed (for better or worse).

20 things that have changed since I became a mother:

  1. I cook. I actually cook. I put at least 12 nutritious meals on the table every week for 5 people.
  2. I realize I can’t do this (life) by myself. I used to be entirely self sufficent and proud of it.  Now I am proud to ask for or hire help.
  3. There is nothing you can buy me that would top a good, full nights sleep. Nothing.
  4. I used to love accumulating stuff, now I’m obsessed with getting rid of it all.
  5. A good girlfriend is gold. Especially one that loves your kids, or can even just watch them.
  6. Good paid help is worth paying for.
  7. I’m less afraid. There are moments when I feel actualized. Powerful. Empowered by my family.
  8. I’m more afraid. Nothing trumps the fear of losing your child.
  9. I appreciate my body. Wow. Function, stamina and safety, all built in.
  10. I don’t take autonomy for granted. 2 hours alone is what 2 weeks used to be. Saaaweeet.
  11. I have a real yoga practice.
  12. I drive a minivan. (it pains me greatly to even write that)
  13. I realize that I am resentful. I used to just be
  14. I tell people I love them.
  15. My cup size.
  16. I don’t control my emotions. I feel them.
  17. I let other people take responsibility for their own experience of life.
  18. I make homemade ghee every week.
  19. I don’t eat junkfood.
  20. I love myself. And now I can love my neighbor.
just pre jonah, june 2008

just pre jonah, june 2008

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i quit

i quit sugarIts been over a year since I quit sugar.  I didn’t even know it was a thing until I heard a bunch of Aussie’s talking about new cookbooks and bumped into Sara Wilson on Instagram. Apparently, its all the rage right now.   After a popular New York Times best seller, I quit sugar,  and an 8 week program that A LOT of people have tried, quitting sugar is making its way mainstream.  And of course, its surrounded by drama and controversy.  Its bad, its good. Sara Wilson doesn’t know what she’s talking about, etc. etc.

Its no secret that white, refined sugar has been classified as a poison because it has been depleted of its life forces, vitamins and minerals.  And high fructose corn syrup gets a fair bit of bad press now too.  And more than ever, obesity has been linked to the effects of refined sugar in our diets.

But I’m no expert. I can only speak for myself.

Do i feel good? Yes.

Did I lose weight? Yes. Weight I didn’t even know I had to lose.

Do I ever get bloated anymore? Nope.

Is it hard? No, its actually not.

Do I have cravings?  Sometimes.  For these moments, I learned how to make pretty awesome chocolate.

Do my kids eat sugar? Yes. 80/20 rule with them.

But lets be clear. Saying I quit sugar could be misleading. Sucrose is table sugar. Glucose is in our blood and our energy source, fructose is what you find in fruits that is metabolized differently. For about 6 months, I wiped it all out of my diet. including fructose and natural sweeteners (  After that, I added the good stuff back in, but never the junk.  Nowadays, I eat loads of fruit and carry a vile of maple syrup around with me for that occasional cup of coffee I have.

My dad said I should never quit, but in this case, I think its a win.


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The birthday series. part 1

DSC_3404Rosemary reminds me of my summer babies.

We have a HUGE, overgrown, can’t-be-killed rosemary bush just outside our home in Frederick.  It has been driven over, week wacked and survived horrible winters. But remarkably, every June & July it is THRIVING.  Plump, fragrant and unaffected by nonstop snipping for this and that.

For some strange and unknown reason, the morning after all three home births of Jonah, Ivy and Paloma, A would bring to my bedside, with arms outstretched like an offering, a wooden bowl with things to smell – a sprig of rosemary, a rose, and a few mint leaves. Perhaps, an intuitive invitation to stop, and smell the roses. It is a remarkable, perfect moment.

And so when I think of ivy, I think of many things, but rosemary is one of them. I often invite her to rub her hands in it or take a sniff.

DSC_0062It was five years ago this morning that she made her precise arrival.  It was her due date.  June 4th 2010.  23 month old fat cheeked Jonah was fast asleep in his big boy bed in the room next door. I had just stepped into the birth pool to help ease labor, but the water became far too hot with the heat of the summer and the intensity of my contractions. The midwife and A silently, with flashlights, at 2am in the morning, ran mixing bowls of cold water from the bathroom to the pool to help chill the water.

It was totally ineffective.

I hung off the edge of the birth pool, heavy arms dangling to the floor.  Not wanting to be in or out.  Not knowing if I should sit, stand, kneel or puke, sweat dripping in my eyes.

And then it happened.  A  strong push came out of nowhere and I felt her come all the way down.  I was so thrilled that it might be over that I groaned and added to the push with all my might.

But no.

I slumped back on the side of the pool and felt her slide all-the-way-back-up inside. “F—UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-K” I frustrated-ly moaned.

It’s so hard to collect yourself during labor, to regain composure, to surrender to the fact that you have NO IDEA how long this is going to take.   But I went back inside myself and waited.

Thankfully, she didn’t keep me long at all.  The next push, her head popped right out under water.  The midwife shined her light on her big open eyes as she unwrapped the cord from her neck and gave me the go ahead to push her the rest of the way out.

I announced that she was a boy. When I pulled her face to mine, all I could see was Jonah’s expression.  But indeed, SHE was a SHE.

She loves to reenact the story. She curls up against my belly. I tap into the deepest, guttural, birthing groan I can muster and she descends.  She ‘pops’ her head out, looks around, then wiggles the rest of the way off my bed where she pretends to be slippery and newborn-ish.  Sometimes, she goes into my closet and pretends that is my uterus.  Once she has instructed me to call the midwife, then push her out, she slides the closet door open and emerges.


I knew it the moment she was born.  In fact I knew it when I was pregnant that she was a fierce one.  I always felt scared, on edge and tipped from my usual steadiness.

IMG_2088Ivy.  Ivy Elizabeth McWilliams.  Her face.  Her square jaw.  Her penetrating ice blue pitta eyes. I’ve gotten to know her now but she continues to carry a veil of mystery about her.  She shows up exactly as she is, which is not always predictable.

She cannot fake anything.  Unless of course she is playing pretend.  Then she can fake everything.  One hour she’s assertive, charming, engaging, funny, mature and adamant.  The next she is tipping over furniture on her way to thrash around in her bed with brown blanket screaming profanities and threats.IMG_7301

I love her.  She is wild and wonderful.  She loves adventure and lives with passion and power.  When she loves me, she loves me so hard it hurts.  We both cry, tears of love streaming down our faces.  And then she looks at me and tells me to stop crying because its making her cry more.  When she hates me, she throws shit, scratches, squeezes and screams DIRECTLY IN MY FACE WHILE STARING IN MY EYES.  “If you don’t get me some warm milk RIGHT NOW, I’m going to get ANGRIER and start scratching you.”

But I am trained for this.  Once she was out of my belly, I regained my steadiness.  She pushes my buttons like NOONE, but nonchalance is my specialty.   I tell her I love her and give her some space to realize that she has mistaken her love for hate.  In fact, she just reminded me tonight as we sat together drawing –  “When I say I hate you, I really don’t mean it.  But my body makes me say it.  Its like I’m going to throw up if I can’t say it.  But I actually love you.”

Happy 5th birthday my awesome one.  Warm glass of milk, sprig of rosemary and a dash of adventure coming right up.




My man is away on work travel in Fiji and everything is breaking.  I can’t get the car in gear. The kids broke the key off trying to open the mailbox, Paloma broke the laptop I use all the time, the kitchen sink clogged and I had to do some plumbing, the washer overflowed, all the IT is problematic, my Iphone is still dead from its trip down the toilet, AND I’m sick for the first time since I’ve been here.  I’m tattered and worn.


holdin hands5x7pResentful, I sat down to email A a ‘honey’ do list of all the broken things to prepare him when he comes home and I realized it was 3-6-5.  March 6, 2005, A and I got married in a small, surprise ceremony with 22 friends and close family.  Ten years ago, today I was dressed in a white gown, riding in a very fast limo with my BF – running late to the tiny, cold, candlelit stone chapel on south mountain.  My grandmother awaited in her finest fur coat and orange lipstick.  Friends helped sprinkle rose pedals, light candles and tweak the propane heater we rented.  Both my brothers were miraculously in the same place at the same time and my dad had just been told he was to walk me down the aisle in 10 minutes.

As the memory quickly flashes across my mind, it all catches me by surprise.   Snapped out of my own self pity and sore throat, I noticed too that I was listening to Krista Tippets interview with Thich Nath Hahn On Being.  Compassion, gratitude and forgiveness are hallmarks of the monk’s philosophy on living. Mine too. In theory anyway.

And so, I scratched the honey-do list for this one.

Thanks A, 10 Things I’m Grateful For On our Anniversary

1) Thanks for a great love story.  My first and only true love. From our first non verbal notice of each other in chemistry class in 1995 to falling in love over Bauer skate boxes, jujitsu lessons behind the ice rink and all night conversations in the VW Jetta.  It was unconventional and magical.  I can only hope our daughters have such a beautiful and charmed experience in their life.

IMG_09752) Thanks for your persistence with my family.  Daddy Ty and brothers Rudy and Willy aren’t an easy group to sway. after years of painful, awkward encounters, you still persisted, unaffected by their rejection.  And now, our strong bonds will affect future generations. I deeply cherish this.

IMG_31423) Thanks for you patience with me.  Undeterred by my absolute, stubborn unwillingness to hike the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal with you, you waited, albeit annoyed, until I came around. You always push and persist, not letting me give into my own fears. Always giving me the time I need to say yes and never throwing it back in my face.

4) Thanks for being an awesome birth partner.  Moments we will always hold as high marks in our IMG_0994adventure together.  I have never valued your presence more than during those hours our babies made their way into our world.  I have never surrendered so deeply to the unknown or felt so supported, encouraged and respected by you. (except in the beginning when we always get in a big fight because I want to be alone and you want to be with me).

IMG_62805) Thanks for being an extrovert.  You, single-handedly, bring balance to me and to our family.  You take us out, bring us adventure, keep us social and demand we LIVE life instead of DO DISHES all weekend.

6) Thanks for the 30 second snuggle.  The secret to long-lasting relationships. Really, its only 30 seconds.

7) Thanks for being interesting.  You keep yourself fresh, informed, up to date on all kinds of stuff.  You can spew off random facts and cool stories and teach the kids, or me, about anything we ask.  You are curious, clever and forward moving. Stagnation and boredom are not in your life.  I love this.

8) Thanks for holding up the mirror and holding me accountable for my faulty perception of myself. Although this is the most painful aspect of a relationship, it is the one I ultimately value the most.  I grow and evolve and improve because of you.

9) Thanks for breaking my heart a few times.  It may sound weird, but I know I have loved deeply and madly and lost.  I have learned a great deal from my suffering and it gives me empathy and insight into all other forms of suffering.  It teaches me forgiveness and humility and the opportunity to be vulnerable over and over again.

10) Thanks for taking care of yourself.  You have self-respect.  You set a good example of how to stay happy and balanced for me and our children.   And it doesn’t hurt that you still look as handsome as ever to me.  And with much better shoes.

Happy Anniversary my love.  1995-2015.  Lets go for 20 more.




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just say yes

DSC_3325She’s a mother of four grown kids.  A triathlete turned yogi.  An adventurer and lover of the open road.  And she’s my guest in New Caledonia!

As if the full life she has lived already is not enough, she has sold her belongings and taken a one way ticket to places she has never been.

For the past 10 days, every time I ask her.  ” do you want to go …” she says YES.

Now, that is inspiration.

“love the life you live.
live the life you love.”
Bob Marley

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point breakI always wanted to be that chick on Point Break.  The one that shimmied her jean shorts up her wet and sand covered legs, tossed her bikini on the floor of her MG and rushed off to work. Her name was “Tyler” (Lori Petty). I must have watched that movie a hundred times, always imagining my escape from Frederick, Maryland to Encinitas California. All I knew was that I would surf.  And by default I would have long white hair, tan skin and strong legs.

That was NINETEEN NINETY ONE.  Patrick Swayze was hot and Keanu Reaves had a big future. I was 13 years old. Turns out a lot can happen in 20+ years.  Patrick Swayze lost his battle with Pancreatic Cancer,  Encinitas has been named one of the World’s 20 Best Surf Towns by National Geographic and is home to some of the most premier yoga and wellness centers in the world, including The Chopra Center for Wellbeing (which is nestled in the LaCosta resort where my mom worked in her 20’s.)  Keanu Reeves is 50 and well, I tried surfing at Moonlight Beach in the late 90’s, got pounded against the rocks and left my dream there.

IMG_2232So I laughed out load today when Lori Petty came to mind as I shimmied my own shorts up my sticky legs. In a rush to pick up the kids, I slung my wet bikini on the floor and raced around to the drivers side.  The image of “Tyler” hit me.  I may not be 18, or in Encinitas, but here I am – living at the beach. There were certainly no kids (or even a man) in my dreams and  ‘water walking‘ with my pregnant friend is hardly the surfer I thought I might be.  But sure enough, I’m here. And its time to carpe-fucking-diem.

It may seem a bit late to be coming to this realization, as we have been here for nearly a year.  I’ve spent the better part of the past 12 months absorbed with life in Frederick or thinking I was living somewhere between my kitchen sink and the clothesline. I’ve seen the outside world here, instagram-ed it and adored it, but not lived in it.  Silly me.

As the one year mark hits and reflections run rampant, I realize I have no time to waste.

I think about leaving New Caledonia every single day.  Ironically, it keeps me present.  WhenIMG_0094[1] I pull the driveway gate closed, I imagine what it will be like to say goodbye to our house.  When I drive along the coast on my way to meet A for lunch I pretend it’s the last time I’ll take in the beautiful kite sails and the turquoise waters.

Its my way of appreciating what is right beneath my nose.  Maybe its a mind trick, but when I do pull away from the house for the last time, I don’t want to leave here with one regret.  I don’t want to look back on a cold winter day in November from my kitchen in Frederick and think – why didn’t I go to the beach every damn day?  That would be pretty stupid.  And so, I’ve made myself a promise to go to the beach – everyday. Besides, one must cool off daily in the heat of the south pacific.

IMG_2592What presence I have lacked this year (despite all my mindfulness practicing), the kids have indeed made up for.  They have walked down the street everyday in their blue school shirts, worked hard and rocked an entire grade of school in French.  People always tell you that kids pick up language so fast, but to see is to believe!  I’m so impressed and inspired with the human capacity (as children anyway) to adapt. Neither of them knew any French when they started and now they both understand their teachers and speak French with their classmates. Jonah is quite motivated to really improve his language skills and wants to learn Spanish now too (and then russian after that).  Ivy uses her skills as needed, or when no one is obviously listening you’ll catch her signing some French tunes.  I’ve hired them to teach me.  Never too young to get a job.  And never too old to learn a new language.

And now its summer!  Jonah has wasted no time mastering swimming. I suppose IMG_2513
‘mastered’ is not quite the right word, but he has turned a corner is really comfortable underwater, swimming from one end of the pool to the other, snorkeling and he now wants to windsurf like his Dada.  Perhaps the presence of the exciting PWA (Professional Windsurfing Association) World Cup Championships here in Noumea in November was inspiration too.  In other events, he got his yellow belt in jujitsu and lost his first tooth (where is my baby?).

IMG_2088Ivy is growing up too.  Its been an emotional year with her and there has been a lot of screaming and utter defiance.  She is assertive as hell and clear as can be. She is amazingly strong, powerful and clever. She loves me passionately or hates me intensely.  I just assure her that I love her either way (which she hates).

But she is learning to feel things deeply but also channel and direct herself.  She misses Nana and Gma a lot. Our three week whirlwind trip home in October reminded us all of the deep love that is there for us with family and friends and it stirred up raw emotion left forgotten in our hurried departure.  Now Ivy tells me very emphatically that next time she goes to Frederick she is not leaving again. But within a few minutes, she’ll ask what our next adventure will be.  Suddenly, she realizes that with refusing to leave Frederick again, she will never see her best, best friend Lydia againIMG_1604.  She’s beginning to get it.  Our predicament.

The predicament of having two homes far far apart, two sets of friends and living a transient, temporary life.  It is not something I have spelled out for them or really discussed, but I don’t have to. So many of the great friends we’ve made in Noumea will be gone by the end of the year.  Poof.  Gone.  Off to Switzerland, Australia, back to America.  And the questions begin to be asked. Where is Keighlan?  Why isn’t she coming back?  When is Nana coming? I found Jonah outside in the rocking chair one day, worried that everyone was leaving because they didn’t like him. (ouch).

It’s a great teaching opportunity, but a tough one too.  Life, by nature, is impermanent andimperenance change is inevitable, but we manage to convince ourselves otherwise by creating the perception of security.  I’m not sure if learning this young will make it harder or easier to experience healthy relationships.  It starts to feel easier to close your heart, to NOT get too close to people, as you know they will be leaving.

And so, for all the beauty, success and excitement, it sure has been an INTENSE year.  We hurdled a BIG move in 2014, a lot of transition, a new language (not me), a few big trips back to the states and all while still having a baby.

But the sweetest baby ever.  She’s grown from an easy, sweet six month old to an easy, sweet
and funny little-big-girl.  Paloma and I still have a little ‘nuggle’ fest every morning while she has her one remaining drink of mamma’s milk. I can’t let it go.  She’s my baby and watching her toddle around the house, put cell phones in toilets and raid the kitchen cabinets almost IMG_2489always brings me joy.

Paloma is my mini me. I smile, she smiles. I make a silly face, she repeats.  I walk around the house talking on the phone, she picks up a phone and imitates me in baby gibberish.  I go sit on the potty, she wants to sit on the potty.  She bring me a colander and chants “beans, beans, beans” when she wants me to make her some beans (because I always rinse them in the colander).  Instead of “yes,” she sings a lovely little “Ouiiiiii”  that sounds like “wheeeeee” in response to a question.  Or she shakes her head emphatically no – back and forth, back and forth, hair flying, cheesy smile.

I’m pretty sure A comes home at lunch just to see her.   They chase each other around and have a squish and a tickle (or a ‘nuggle’).  Both seem pretty pleased with the arrangement.  It must be delightful to commute just 5 minutes for a warm lunch + baby giggles + homemade chocolate.  I’m not sure I’m making this miserable enough for him to want to move back to Frederick anytime soon.   Four hours of commuting in a commuter van on route 270 in the winter with no hope of a lunch date with Paloma would make me think twice.

IMG_0501[1]Beyond always taking a proper lunch break, A has wasted no time diving into South Pacific beach life.  If he had the Point Break dream, he’s hit the jackpot too.  He has been living it up since he got here Dec 4 last year.  Always demonstrating his great ability to have perspective on what is important;  dishes, laundry and tidying the house will never crowd out adventure, leisure or a learning opportunity.  And so he’s working his IT magic by day, windsurfing at lunch a few days a week and keeping his jujitsu skills up by night.  His SPC work team is gaining recognition and they assisted in hosting the controversial French President Francois Hollande on his visit to Noumea in November.  As a natural leader, he has taken on the role of staff representative with some-important-after-hours-work-group, despite my raised eyebrow. But he makes sure I get my yoga nights too while he does the dinner/bedtime shift which often includes the kids listening to ‘This American Life’ (NPR).  We make a good team when we can appreciate each others strengths. Which, let’s be clear, seems to be more rare than common.  Currently, we are having a standoff about getting an above ground pool for the summer.  I think we all know who is going to win (not me).

While he may win that game, I make the food.  Life could get very boring and meager for A.  Not IMG_3992that I would ever hold a grunge against him for a decade or anything:-).  But I will limit his meals to healthy ones. Well, in particular, no sugar, no yeast and pitta pacifying.  I noticed we were all eating an extreme amount of white bread baguettes and chocolate croissants (remember, its French territory here) so I upped the ante on Jonah’s no junk food diet back in August. And although, no one else is really participating with any fervor except me, they won’t find any junk food lying around when their blood sugar crashes.

digestion sessionsThey might find it boring and disappointing, but I find it fascinating -food, nutrition and digestion that is.  In the absence of opportunity for trips to Kripalu and teacher trainings, I’ve discovered incredible online education and inspiration. The latest is the Digestion Sessions.  19 talks from doctors and experts practitioners on how and why good digestion is the key to health. Some of the data is controversial about specific things like gluten intolerance, but the overwhelming evidence supports the need for a healthy human microbiome to ward off disease.  I could discuss this for hours and fortunately I’ve gained a new nerdy friend who loves it too (until she moves back to Sydney in just a few weeks so she can begin studying Chinese Medicine).

I wonder if the next friend to blow into my life will be a smoking, drinking, dorito-eating partier to balance me out. I think it is possible to get too uptight about being ‘conscious’ and mindful and lately I’ve noticed how hard I’m working, all day, everyday just to maintain, what I think, are the basics.  Perhaps its the end of the school year, the rising temperatures or the fact that my regular babysitter/cleaner is on vacation for a while. Suddenly, re-using all glass jars, limiting screen time for the kids, meditation and yoga everyday, not wasting food, composting, getting the right amount of vitamin D, consciously communicating, oh-my-god-the-list-goes-on-and-on, is just over the top.  I might need to smoke a cigarette, scream at my kids and eat a whole container of ice cream to balance myself out. The truth is, its become clear to me that there is not enough time in the day to be good at everything. (insert DUH).  As a good friend just said, “I’m just not on my A game anymore since I’ve had 2 kids!”  MEE TOO.  Something has to give.  William Shakspere (and my wise husband) might just be right:  “Expectations are the root of all heartache.”

Unrealistic expectations is a broader theme for me to examine. Beyond conscious living, taking care of myself and mindful mothering, thereIMG_4761[1] is ‘my real job’ that gets sandwiched between drop off, naptimes and pickup, and now that its summer, I’m not sure where to squeeze it in.  I love my work. I love business and I love running Sol Yoga.  But the studio sure has weathered a rough year, perhaps our most challenging ever on many levels.  In reviewing it from this year-end perch, it is all beginning to make much more sense. Remote leadership diminishes intimacy and we are in the business of connected-ness. Since the months before I left until now, we have all been in a transitional shit storm.  I am grateful for the dedication of everyone involved and the practice of yoga because it has not been easy.  But, we have once again, beat our marks from previous years, hired great staff and are beginning to see the edge of the storm. Fortunately, as a pitta, I welcome the challenge it brings, but might need to soften my expectations 🙂

Letting go is also another continuous, predominant theme in life this year.  My contribution is limited with Sol Yoga, my days are full with the bounty of motherhood and I’m a million miles away from sustaining relationships.  It makes for really weird, sometimes even hard days. Which seems inexcusable when I look around and see the beauty and realize with so much gratitude just how blessed I am. But I’m pretty human. I miss seeing my mom with my kids. I miss good, deep friendships and I miss feeling truly integrated in a community.  It’s always hard to be away from people and places that have parts of your heart, even if it there is a beautiful beach nearby.

We were not here for the holidays last year.  And I’ll tell you what.  That is pretty weird too. The calendar says December 21, but ALL external indicators tell me it is June or July.  I rallied a few girl friends for lunch for the summer solstice – my favorite holiday in the entire year.  For a moment I longed to be popping into Sol Yoga to practice with some of my old-time buddies, but then I remembered that it’s not the summer solstice at all in Frederick!! It’s the shortest, darkest, often very cold, day of the year.  Instead, five moms (sans kids) sat at a beach-side restaurant wiping sweat from our upper lip and fanning our faces with the menu and offering a baby blessing to my 33 week prego friend Zita. I’ll take that 🙂

All this weirdness can also be spun as liberating too. The absorption into family life, the dissolving of the my ego and the sense of anonymity, the lack of seasons and tradition all leave me feeling undefined and curious about the layers beneath the external.

Fittingly, my mother slipped me a copy of the Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow IMG_3438Lindbergh. I always knew it was my mothers favorite book and now, as a mother, I know why.  It validates so much.

“For to be a woman is to have interests and duties, raying out in all directions from the central mother-core, likes spokes from the hub of a wheel. The pattern of our lives is essentially circular.  We must be open to all points of the compass; husband, children, friends, home, community, stretched out, exposed, sensitive like a spiders web to each breeze that blows, to each call that comes. How difficult for us then, to achieve a balance in the midst of these contradictory tensions, and yet, how necessary for the proper functioning of our lives.”

She goes on to say, “The problem is not merely one of Woman and Career, Woman and the Home, Women and Independence.  It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel. What is the answer? There is no easy answer. I only have clues, shells from the sea. “

Perhaps I did not make it to California when I was 18 because I didn’t need the gifts the Encinitas sea offers.  I did not have yoga yet.  I did not have children. I did not have a husband.  I was not stretched out, exposed and sensitive. In fact, I was tough, certain and closed. Dreams often come to fruition not when we want them to, but when the timing is right.

And so, this hot Christmas and onward for the summer, my intention is to be here now.   To indulge my superficial inner desires and embody the skinny surfer chick from a movie (avec trois enfants).   To take on the carefree quality of summer.  To rock a tiny bikini, tan my strong legs and shimmy into my Billabong shorts with wet salty hair.  This is my chance.  Hopefully Jonah, Ivy and Paloma won’t mind straggling along for the summer ride.  Junk food and TV allowed.