Sunday, March 31, 2013

365 Inspirations—90: Cherry Blossoms

"Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit."—Khalil Gibran

The cherry blossoms are in FULL BLOOM at the University of Washington. There's been so much sun in WA since we got back from Hawaii that it's almost overwhelming. Not a cloud in the sky at 4:05pm!

So, after a vigorous yoga class, we drove down to the University and had some Thai food and then walked over to the campus and saw the gorgeous cherry blossoms.

Everyone was out and about and enjoying the beautiful weather and flowers.



My husband has really bad allergies in spring. I think he's allergic to grass. He didn't have them until he came to the USA.

Even though he loved seeing the flowers, we couldn't stay too long due to the grass and other pollen that is out and about this time of year.

For some reason, he wasn't allergic to any flowers in Hawaii. He was allergy-free. It just may be the place we settle down someday.

For now, we are enjoying all the beauty in Washington and all this nice weather. Things truly transform when the sun comes out, don't you think?


Is it spring where you are? Have you had a chance to get outside and enjoy it?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

365 Inspirations—89: Bright Sun and Low Tide Beach Walking

"The land was not the arctic waste commonly envisioned, but a fertile paradise; Puget Sound, said one rhapsodic report, was 'the Mediterranean of the Northwest'"— David Lavender 

Today we went down to Richmond Beach in Shoreline and the tide was so far out that we could walk on these amazing sandbars. Normally the walk is quite short on this beach due to high tide, but today it seemed like we could walk forever if we wanted to.



We saw barefoot prints in the sand and seagull prints too.




The Olympic Mountains seemed HUGE. It felt like we could reach out and touch them.



Today I felt like Hawaii had followed us to Seattle. It is on days like today that I reconsider my thoughts about moving.

There is absolutely no place like Seattle or Washington State when it is sunny. The air is so fresh and mixed with the smell of salt water and seaweed. The sights, sounds and smells were overwhelming today. We even saw an eagle take flight over our head.



I'm so happy we ventured out today and got to walk in the bright sun at low tide. It was a beautiful day for beach walking!


Have you gone beach walking lately?

Friday, March 29, 2013

365 Inspirations—88: Full Moon and Movie Night

"There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."—George Carlin


It's after midnight and the full moon is huge. Yoon and I went to see Stephanie Meyers's new movie called The Host. It wasn't the best movie I've ever seen but it had some interesting concepts about humans and aliens.

I did not read the book. Perhaps I should now. It's a sci-fi sort of night out. I feel I'm still not back from my trip and for some reason blogger is composing in a very strange font. We'll see what happens when I push publish.

I'm on inspiration 88. I may only go to 100. I'm still debating this. It's been hard being online every single day. I did it for one year before, but I'm feeling different about it this time.

 While on vacation on The Big Island, it was very hard to keep up with this blog. The energy of the island was so pure and I wanted to be completely immersed in where I was without the use of technology. I don't know. Maybe I'm changing? Maybe I'm ready to write my next book or change where I live. It's one of those mysterious nights. It will all change tomorrow. Good night everyone. Hope you got to see the moon.

 Question for you today: Do you think the moon affects people's moods?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

365 Inspirations—87: Video of Yoon's Yoga Bliss Retreat on the Big Island of Hawaii

"Your dream is real."—Seong Yoon Lee

My inspiration today is this video I created because I was inspired to do so. It took me a very long time, but I think it captures everything we experienced on our retreat on the Big Island of Hawaii. I hope to see you at our next one! Enjoy the video and let me know what you think!


video

Have you ever created a video before for friends?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

365 Inspirations—86: Beauty in Nothingness

"I want to live in communion with nature. I want to hear her calls and her messages. I want to listen deeply. For there, I believe, all the answers lie."—Katherine Jenkins

Beauty can be found everywhere in Hawaii. Everywhere you look there are palm trees and flowering trees like hibiscus and plumeria. Where we stayed in Kapoho, the trees and leaves towered over us on many roads. It felt like we were in the jungle. Nature out there is vibrating and pulsating.

But in the Volcano National Park, you can see the starkness of nature. You can see how the lava flow took everything with it and how it took millions of years for just one plant or insect to make its appearance again. Still, on many parts of The Big Island, that nothingness is there.

I think this is the beauty of the island. It has primordial feel. You start to understand how the world began. There's wind, earth, fire and water. All the natural elements mingling together to give new life.

On the Big Island, I understood so much more. I realized that humans, with all there gadgets and technology, have perhaps lost touch with where we came from and how we came here. That perhaps we aren't the most intelligent beings.

On the Big Island, I saw locals communicate with dolphins and swim with them. I saw that they had a connection to the wildlife and the emptiness there. They were all interconnected.

Have we lost this?

I've never felt more alive than I have on this island. Even though I live in Washington State, which is known for its nature, mountains and trees, it also has an urban sprawl like all other cities.

In most cities, everything is created for the comfort of humans with not much thought about how nature plays a part in it all.

Seeing this red flower blooming brightly in the blackness of the crater in Hawaii brought me back to a time before humans. A time when the earth lived in harmony with all that was around it.

There was a time when humans communicated with this nature, when life was centered around it.

I want to live in communion with nature. I want to hear her calls and her messages. I want to listen deeply. For there, I believe, all the answers lie.

Do you commune with nature often? Where do you do this and how do you feel?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

365 Inspirations—85: The Geo-Thermal Hot Pool, Big Island, HI


"Look into nature, and then you will understand everything better."—Albert Einstein

We are on the plane heading to Oakland, CA where we will stay a night before we head on to Seattle. We had an amazing trip on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was really hard for me to leave. I feel like the Big Island really fits my personality and it’s a place I would consider living.

Of course, I also said that about Sedona, AZ where we also had a yoga retreat. Every place we go seems like a place I’d love to live. 

One of our nightly rituals was to soak in the Geo-Thermal Hot Pool on the Hilo side of the Big Island of Hawaii.

After hiking, doing yoga or other strenuous exercise, this pool was just what the doctor ordered and very unique to the Big Island. I do not know of any other Hawaiian island that has this kind of pool.

It is warm, but not super hot like hot springs. I’d say the water is around 85 to 90 degrees. It’s just perfect. It’s like sitting in a bath at home. The water is so soft. 

It’s a salt-water hot pool because the water comes in from the ocean and is heated geo-thermally by the hot volcano rocks. I’m sure there are lots of natural mineral deposits.

It was such a relaxing end to our day for our group. You could also snorkel in the hot pond, but we found out an even better place to snorkel within walking distance of our house. I’d never seen so many kinds of coral and fish. These were also pools that were protected from the rough ocean, but they weren’t as hot as the hot pool.

Kapoho, where we stayed with our yoga group was the perfect place. It had so many unique features and I experienced so many new things. 

Some of the highlights besides the hot pond were walking on Pele, an active volcano, snorkeling in coral reef pools with amazing fish right near our house, beautiful canopies of all sorts of jungle-looking trees on our trips to different sights, the sunrise every morning near our house, whales breeching right in front of my eyes while watching the sunrise, doing yoga and swimming with dolphins on a black sand beach.

Most of all, I can’t forget the bonding experience with our group. The time we spent together was the most precious time. I’m sure we will all remember it fondly.

What was the best part of a trip you recently took?


Monday, March 25, 2013

365 Inspirations—84: Black Sand Beach Yoga and Swimming with Spinner Dolphins

"The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that and to wonder at it."—Jacques Yves Cousteau

Today, our last full day on the island, we headed off to a black sand beach that is a popular place for swimming with spinner dolphins. Most of the people were local there so it had a very laid back feel.

When we arrived, we put our stuff down on the beach and rested a bit and then did a bit of yoga on the beach with our group. It seemed like the locals had the same idea. It was 8:00AM and lots of people were down on the beach doing yoga.

I decided to grab a water noodle and go for a swim. While I was out there, everyone was pointing to my right and then right before my eyes a spinner dolphin emerged out of the water and put on a show for me. Soon many people were in the water.

There must have been dozens of dolphins out there in pods. People grabbed snorkeling gear and swam with them under the water.

My husband Yoon floated by on a noodle and he had a mask and snorkel on. He let me put it on and I put my face down under the water and saw dozens of them swimming right under my legs! I have never seen dolphins under the water and to see so many of them at once right up close was amazing!

Above the water, the dolphins continued to put on a show. They jumped, back flipped, spun around, and flapped their tales. It was great fun and I felt really close to them.

I love being so immersed with nature here in Kapoho. This is not the tourist side, so it feels really wild. It 's been so wonderful to be so close to whales and dolphins and really feel the energy of that experience.

I will definitely be back!



When was a time you felt very close to nature? How did it feel?

365 Inspirations—83: Sharing

“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.”—Charlotte Brontë 

It's been so great being in Hawaii with the group of people we are with. We share everything here: cooking, cleaning, creating plans for the day, etc. Yoon teaches yoga classes and I held a workshop tonight on writing and collaging.

We are a mini community way off in the middle of nowhere in Kapoho near the coast on The Big  Island of Hawaii.

I've gotten so much from this group and it's really been quite the exchange.

It's very different a regular trip or vacation. Our purpose is to tune into ourselves and also to tune in to each other as a group.

Sharing things with a group allows you to offer yourself. Practicing yoga and spending time together bring so much joy and happiness.

Tonight's collaging session made me very happy to be with such wonderful people.

This is a trip I'm sure all of us will not forget.



Do you find happiness from sharing with a community of people?


Saturday, March 23, 2013

365 Inspirations—82: Walking on Pele, an Active Volcano


"Pele is the goddess of fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes. She is a popular figure in many stories of ancient Hawaii."—Wikepedia

Last night at around 10pm, a group of us decided to head out into the night with flashlights and not much more than a map and the clothes on our backs. We wanted to walk on a lava field formed by Kīlauea Volcano, an active volcano on The Big Island of Hawaii, in order to see hot lava flow into the sea.

The goddess who is said to live in the Volcano is called Pele.

She was calling us. I was hesitant.

How would we find her? It's not easy to access her burning, molten rock at night without a guide, but the group was determined.

As we were driving down a dark red, dirt road, I could smell the gases of the volcano. We drove down a forbidden access road with signs everywhere that said No Public Access or Road Closed, but we kept going, ignoring all these signs.

Pele was calling and no sign was going to stop us.

Houses started appearing along the desolate road. They had been built right over the lava. We paid one of the owners of a house to park and off we went in to the darkness.

In the distance we saw the huge flames of the fire. We walked over uneven, crunchy lava rock in the direction of this fire. Here's what it looked like below our feet:



It was tough terrain and very hard to see. It was how I imagined walking on the moon would be like.

Nothing but us for miles and no clear path in the dark!

Were we crazy? What if met with active lava? What if we fell in a crevasse? I didn't even bring a flashlight. Fortunately, someone in our group gave me one, but the batteries were dying fast.

 I was wearing very thin sneakers and socks, my yoga pants and my pajama top (since I decided at the last minute to go), we were hardly outfitted for an expedition over smoking lava rock to the fire falling off the volcano into the sea.

It was a clear night and the almost-full moon was bright. The contrast of the light of the moon over the blackness of the lava rock was striking. Even more striking was the fire in the distance.

I suggested we walk towards the ocean and watch the fire falling into the sea. It just seemed too dangerous to walk right up the fire and I felt the rocks were getting hot under my feet. Here's what Pele's fire looked like through my iPhone:



One adventurous member of our group, James, walked ahead to see how close we could get. He came back to tell us it was too hot.

We opted to watch the fire from the lava rock sea cliff.

We all sat in a circle the uneven lava at the edge of a sea cliff. The waves were so huge, at times they splashed up and over this cliff. In our sitting circle, we meditated on the lava spewing out along the waters edge in the distance. We sat like that for quite some time.

The road home was just as rough. We also realized that while it was pretty easy to find where we were going (just walk towards the fire), it wasn't so easy to find our way back.

There were no clear trails out there and we hadn't taken a clear path.

We walked along the waters edge and eventually came to a house and decided to take a red-dirt path between the lava back towards what we hoped was our car.

But looks were deceiving in the dark and we got genuinely lost and by now it was almost 1:30AM. We were getting delirious and we were tired. We ended up walking an extra mile out of our way and finally, realizing that we weren't going to make it with our heads, I did something that surprised me.

I prayed to Pele, the volcano goddess we were walking on. I asked her to show us the way.

I let everything go and let the moon fill me up. I let the smells and the sights engulf me. I walked in silence. I looked up at the sky and saw a huge cloud aura around the moon. I felt I was in another world.

I let go.

I felt my breath. I didn't try anymore.

And we arrived.

Driving home, we ended up on a coastal road. Wild boar stopped us, their beady eyes peering out from Tarzan trees. The trees seemed alive. We were in the wild.

I'm not sure how we made it home really, but all I can say is I will never forget that night.

Have you gone on a crazy adventure that you'll never forget?


Friday, March 22, 2013

365 Inspirations—81: Gardens

"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden."—Thomas Jefferson

Hilo is a place that bursting with life in the garden area. It's hard to contain all the sights and sounds of this place. It's overwhelming at times.

My husband is conducting a yoga retreat on the Big Island of Hawaii. We are in Hilo, Hawaii. Our place is located close to all these amazing thermal snorkeling pools. They are very warm and perfect for swimming!

This afternoon we visited the Botanical Gardens in Hilo. In the 70s, a couple bought a large plot of land that was wild and a bit trashy and, over the course of several years, groomed it into an outstanding botanical park right on the ocean.

Some of the plants simply didn't seem real to me. I felt like I was in a Sci Fi movie walking through the park. Hilo has a primal feeling. It feels like how the earth must have been before humans were introduced.





The gardens here have inspired me to do some gardening myself when I return home, but for now I'm going to enjoy all the sights and sounds of this place!

Do you have a green thumb? Do you like to garden?

365 Inspirations—80: The Big Island

"Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace."—Paul Theroux

This evening we all walked down the street, through a tree tunnel and out onto pumice rocks and geo thermal pools with the roaring ocean in the distance. We sat down on the hot rocks and meditated in the moonlight. Suddenly I felt the entire moon fill me up. There was a circle around the moon, like a big aura and the stars were so clear.

We are out here in the middle of the ocean on The Big Island of Hawaii. Everything is lava rock in Kona, but Hilo is bursting with life—a rebirth if you will. Everything is humming and buzzing and growing. I feel like we are nestled in a great big jungle. Our house is like a tree house and life is pulsating here. The sights and sounds are overwhelming and heavenly all at the same time.

We've forgotten what day it is, what time it is, what month it is...we've forgotten about plans. We follow the flow. This place does something to you. Makes you stop and breathe and rest and tune in.

The Big Island is calling me. It's telling me to stay for a while. It's telling me it has some stories to share. And I want to listen...........



Is there a place that calls to you?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

365 Inspirations—79: Plumeria

"Plumeria flowers represent spring and new life. They are also associated with beginning or birth of something. This flower has a special meaning in the Hawaiian culture as it symbolizes everything good in it. It also stands for paragon or flawlessness."—from Buzzle.com

I'm in Kona and the smell of Plumeria and other tropical flowers are everywhere! No Internet here now, so I'll type more when I find Internet! Typing a blog post on an iPhone is hard....more soon!

What is your favorite flower?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

365 Inspirations—78: Genuinely Organized by Karen Cafarella

"You don't have to spend hours to get organized. A little goes a long way."—Karen Cafarella

I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting author Karen Cafarella in person. She read my book Lessons from the Monk I Married and we've been in contact through my blog. She even hosted Yoon and I at her lovely home in Phoenix last October when we were en route to Sedona, AZ for a Yoon's Yoga Bliss Retreat.

We had such a lovely visit! She even knitted us scarves! While chatting in her living room over snacks and drinks, I learned that Karen is also an author of a book and workbook about getting organized called Genuinely Organized: A Simple Guide to a Clutter Free Life. As I sit here at my desk, which is cluttered beyond belief, I wish I could channel Karen or that she'd magically appear to help me out. Karen sometimes makes house calls in her area to help people de-clutter. For now, I'm going to start with her book and workbook. Organization has never been my strong point, but I'd like to make changes. Here's my interview with Karen:


1. Have you always been an organized person? If not, when did you start to become interested in organizing? 

 I look back at my childhood and remember how I used to organize my Barbie's clothes as well as my closet and dresser drawers, so I guess I have always been an organized person!


2. Do you think organizational skills are something we learn or something we are born with? 

 I think anyone can be organized.  You don't have to be born with that gene..ha, ha.  It just takes a little practice to make it feel more "normal" than something that is a struggle.

3. I know you have worked with people professionally by helping them get organized. How do you approach a person's mess and disorganization and not make that person feel overwhelmed? 

 The most important thing for me is to make them feel comfortable.  I always let my clients know that they can keep everything they have, I am just there to organize them.  Since I am not making anyone get rid of anything they feel comfortable and usually fill up my 4Runner with the stuff they want to donate.  

4. Do you think a disorganized person can learn to be organized? How long will it take ^_^!?  

I don't believe anyone is disorganized.  Everyone just has their own way of doing things.  I don't have a right way or wrong way of getting organized because we all have different ideas of how we want our home or work place.  As far as how long it will take, it is really up to you.  If I am helping a client, I only work with them maximum 4 hours in a day.  I find they get exhausted after that and then I come back the next day or week depending on what needs to be done.  

5. To be honest, I'm not an organized person. Where do you recommend I start organizing things and how often each day do I need to organize? 

 I would recommend you start with a closet.  If you want to organize your whole house you need to start slowly and for just a small amount of time.  The key is when you start with your closet you don't move on to anything else until that closet is done.  Also, as you clean out, put the stuff you want to donate into the car.  This way it is out of sight and when you pass a donation center you can just drop it off.  Again, really it is up to you how much time you spend.  It really depends on how busy you are each day.  I have found that most people,  once they start and see the results, can't wait to continue.

6. How do I keep up being organized and not slip off the wagon?

 Everyone slips off the wagon!! But don't chastise yourself for it.  Just get back into it.  After you have gotten your area, whether it be your home or office organized; to keep it up you should look at the whole area every few months.  Some of us obsessed organizing types do it much more often...ha, ha.  

7. As soon as I clean or organize something, everything gets cluttered again. How can I solve this problem? 
You have to look at what is getting cluttered again.  Is it the kitchen counter top?  What type of items are you putting on there.  Is it the bedroom? Is it clothes everywhere?  Make notice for a few days what is cluttering up the space and deal with it a little at a time until it becomes a habit.  For instance, if it is the mail, when you pick the mail up go through it right then and there.  Discard what isn't needed and place what is needed at your desk or wherever you do your bills.  

8. What prompted you to write Genuinely Organized: A Simple Guide to a Clutter Free Life?

 I love to organize and wanted to share what I had found helped people over the years.  I kept it very short because I feel no one who wants to get organized wants to read 100 pages or more on how to get organized.  I wanted it to be short and to the point  with tips to help get people started.

9. What do you hope your readers will get from both your book and workbook? 

 I hope with the book, people will see that you don't have to spend hours (unless of course you want to) to get organized.  A little goes a long way.  In the workbook,  I hope for it to be used as a guide and people will see how easy it truly is to get organized.

10. Any suggestions on how to keep on top of things when one is very busy?

  I think I keep repeating myself but it is so worth repeating, just do a little a day.  A drawer, a closet, the countertop.  You don't have to tackle it all at one time. When you try to do too much it is overwhelming.

11. Do you have any final comments?  

Keep it simple!  Thank you so much Katherine for inviting me to do this interview.  

Thanks for being here Karen! Now off I go to get ORGANIZED!

Karen and I at her house last October

Karen Cafarella lives and organizes in Phoenix, AZ.  She has written about organizing for her community paper and has spoken at women's groups.  Her other passion is yoga. Her books are available on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Genuinely-Organized-Simple-Guide-Clutter/dp/1438269390



And a questions now for my readers....

Are you an organized person?

Monday, March 18, 2013

365 Inspirations—77: Packing my BRIGHT PINK suitcase

"If I'd known how much packing I'd have to do, I'd have run again."—Harry S. Truman

Not ALL bags look alike.

I shouldn't have any trouble spotting my mine, it's BRIGHT PINK! Don't ask what inspired me to buy this glowing thing. The handle fell off my last one, so I got this one recently. It's a hard-case Samsonite carry-on. It should do the trick!

Just finished entering grades and doing lots of last minute running around before our trip.  I went to the bank, drugstore and post office. Now I have to get ready to go to school to proctor a test from 7:30-9:40pm! It's going to be a VERY LATE night AND we have to get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to get on a bus, the link rail and then our flight to Hawaii.

I still haven't really packed!

Well, I've sort of packed, but it's not in any organized fashion. I'm sure I'll forget something, but there are always stores, right?

Anyway, got to go get organized now.

P.S.—Tomorrow I have a very special author who will be appearing here to talk about her new book and tips related to it. I think you'll all like it. It goes well with the season. I'll give you a hint: THINK spring cleaning! Don't miss out. Stop by here tomorrow to learn more!

AND THERE WILL BE MORE BLOGGING COMING SOON FROM THE LAND OF ALOHA........STAY TUNED....




Do you often feel rushed before you go on a trip? Do you pack several days before or the last minute?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

365 Inspirations—76: Turning it OFF

"Take an hour a day and turn that thing off."—Eric Schmidt, Google Executive

Writing every single day makes me realize how CONNECTED I am and sometimes I want to just TURN IT OFF.

So today, that's what I'm going to do. It's a challenge to keep blogging every day, but my inspiration today is that at 6pm, I'm going to turn off all my TECHNOLOGY and take a BREAK.

Thanks for coming here and for reading!

There will be more great posts and interviews coming up in the very near future and after Tuesday I'll be blogging from the land of Aloha! Something to look forward to!

So my question for you today is this:

Have you ever taken a BREAK from all technology? How long was your break?


Saturday, March 16, 2013

365 Inspirations—75: One Stack of Files Down


"To the teacher weighed down with paperwork, I say: you've been messed around too often. You came into teaching to spend your time teaching...not filling in forms."—William Hague
Okay, my inspiration tonight is that I got one stack (one class) of students files done on a SATURDAY night! I've already graded all the tests, but now doing student files. The load of paperwork seems endless and I'm not really sure how I will get it all done by Tuesday, but one stack is officially done and that's about all I'm going to do tonight.

Sometimes very small things are inspirations, like getting through some work that you'd really just rather not do. I'm very good at avoiding work, so the fact that I worked on a Saturday night is something!

Almost there friends! I'm slowly chipping away at this pile that I seem to be under at the moment. It happens at the end of every quarter, but this particular quarter there is more to do because I'm teaching more classes.

Anyhoo, I'm going to go now and read a book, take a bath, relax and enjoy the rest of my Saturday!

Have you ever worked on a weekend? When you have work you don't want to do, do you procrastinate?

Friday, March 15, 2013

365 Inspirations—74: Doing Something NEW

"If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good."—Dr. Seuss

I chopped off all my hair and got bangs.  I wanted to do something completely different. Perhaps it's a mid-life crisis?? I also got a manicure (the first one in my entire life) and a pedicure (the second one in my entire life). It's a stage I'm going through.

I'm feeling the need to change my life in a BIG WAY. I don't know what that is all about Alfie?

I still have so much school work to do before I leave on Tuesday, but I need a break!

I think I've already checked out. I'm on vacation in my mind even though I am not technically done.

My husband just pulled a movie out from his backpack. He got it from the Seattle Public Library. It's an Irish movie called  A Shine of Rainbows. I'll let you know how it goes. Guess we need to go get some movie snacks!

I hope you all have a wonderful Friday night!

Here's my new haircut:



Have you tried anything new lately?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

365 Inspirations—73: New Yoga/Writing Retreat at The Yoga Lodge on Whidbey Island

Upper deck at The Yoga Lodge on Whidbey Island
"Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul."—Marcus Aurelius

On Tuesday we head to Hawaii with a bunch of yogis for a yoga retreat led by my husband in Hilo for about a week! The retreat is sold out. I'm very excited about this one, but I wanted to let you all know about another retreat we will have in the summer.

Last year my husband and I co-led a yoga/writing/collaging retreat to a sold out group at the Yoga Lodge on Whidbey Island, WA. We got such wonderful feedback about the retreat that we are doing it again this year!

Summer is the absolute best time to visit Washington State. It's warm and usually SUNNY. Last year we had several people fly in from out of state and before and after the retreat, guests took the opportunity to explore Washington a little more. One went kayaking and others rented a car and toured the wonderful San Juan Islands. It's the best time of the year for hiking and camping too.

The Yoga Lodge is nestled in a forest. It's a little oasis of peace with a wood-burning sauna, fire pit, yoga room, beautiful dining hall and lodging facilities and food prepared by a local chef on the island!

I'm including some info and photos about the retreat below. It WILL fill up quickly, so be sure to reserve your spot soon at info@yoonsyogabliss.com

Eating organic vegetarian food in dining hall with participants


Organic, vegetarian food prepared by a chef on the island


Yoga everyday in the yoga room

Collaging Workshop at the Yoga Lodge
Here's some info about the retreat from my husband's website;


Open Your Heart and Live an Authentic Life
 Join Katherine Jenkins, author of Lessons from the Monk I Married and former Buddhist monk Seong Yoon Lee, owner of Yoon's Yoga Bliss http://www.yoonsyogabliss.com/ for a very unique yoga/writing/collaging retreat! We will use yoga, writing, and collaging as tools to guide the individual to his/her unique purpose and talents. Each person has so much to offer this world once they have opened their hearts and minds.
Where: The Yoga Lodge on Whidbey Island, WA
When: Friday, August 9-Sunday, August, 11 2013
Schedule

Friday

3 - 4pm Arrival/Check-In
4:30 - 6:30pm Opening and Yoon’s Vinyasa Flow
6:30 - 8pm Dinner
8 - 9pm Workshop with Yoon
9 - 9:30pm Sauna (optional)

Saturday

7:00 - 8:30am Morning Yoga
8:30 - 10:00am Breakfast and Resting
10:30-11:50am Workshop with Katherine Jenkins
12:00 – 1:30pm Lunch
1:30 - 5pm Free Time to Write
5 – 6:30pm Yoga
6:30 – 7:30pm Dinner
8 – 9:30pm : Meditation and Collaging
 9:30pm: Sauna (optional)

Sunday

7:00 - 8:30am Morning Yoga
8:30 - 10:00am Breakfast
10:00 - 11:30am Meditation and Sharing Circle
11:30 - 12:30pm Closing/Distribution of Sack Lunches for Your Journey Home

 Fee: The lodge accommodates 11 and the retreat is limited to 20 people. Fees include all yoga and workshops, mostly organic vegetarian meals, sauna, and shared accommodations/bath.
$500.00(shared room for the lodge) $550.00 (after 4/20)
$420.00(campers),$450.00 (after 4/20)
 $350.00 (for off site)
To register, contact info@yoonsyogabliss.com

This is going to be a fantastic opportunity and I so hope you can make it! And now my questions for you...
Have you ever participated in a retreat? What was the best part about it?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

365 Inspirations—72: A Dozen Red Roses

"Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul."—Henry Ward Beecher 

Today I received an unexpected surprise which made my entire day worth it.

I sat down at 12:30pm and only left my chair about three times in 6 hours. I was checking a monster test for my class that was at 7:30pm tonight. There was no stopping other than to eat and use the bathroom. I had to get the whole thing done.

During test time, all other things fall by the wayside. Bill paying, responding to e-mails and texts, cleaning house, laundry, errands, promises—these are all on hold until I can get through the quarter. I apologize to anyone I haven't gotten back to.

I'm surprised I made it to my blog tonight. I was also surprised when my students presented me with twelve beautiful, long-stemmed, red roses. It was completely unexpected, but it made my entire night.

It had been a long, tedious day and I was a bit dizzy when I got to class. I had to hand back tests and let students know whether or not they passed the class. It wasn't the best party atmosphere, but my students were so kind.

Some of them brought homemade food and snacks. Even though there is still so much work to do until I'm really done, we were able to enjoy a little bit.

This particular class was so big, it was hard for me to give students individual attention during the quarter. I did have a great volunteer named Tony in my class which made it easier for me to get to everyone.

So after I handed out all the tests and did a bit of paperwork with the students, I finally got to sit down and chat with students individually and take a few photos.


As I was driving home, my entire car smelled of roses. It was a sweet, fresh smell and it made me very happy. It doesn't take much to make my day, but my students really took me by surprise today. I really appreciate their thoughtfulness.

Thank you so much!

Have you ever received a surprise or gift from someone that took you by surprise? Have you ever given a surprise or gift that took someone else by surprise?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

365 Inspiration—71: Happy Endings

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”—Frank Herbert

Well, I'm almost to the end of a quarter at school. We had registration and a party in my Tuesday/Thursday evening class. Everyone brought food and snacks to share. It was a great quarter again with wonderful students. I promised my students I'd put pictures up on my blog and some of them are excited to check it out.

I wish I had more days with the students. Meeting only two nights a week isn't quite enough time for them to get all the information. We had a good time in class and they all tried their best and that's the most important thing.

It's not easy to live in another country, learn the language, get a job, and survive. Many of my evening students have one or two jobs and have to come to class after they've worked all day. They come because they know English is important for them and will help them in their life here.


I'm thankful that I get to teach such great students and I often learn just as much from them! Thanks again for a wonderful quarter. I'm off now to go grade 35 tests for my Monday/Wednesday evening class. I need to get them done by 7pm tomorrow night, so I better get going!

Have you had any happy endings lately?

Monday, March 11, 2013

365 Lessons—70: Celebrating One Year

Photo of my book in Elliott Bay Book Company Window in Seattle

“Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.”—Unknown
The best thing about keeping a blog is that it keeps track of where I have been and what I've been doing in my life. This helps me. Right now I'm teaching a full load of classes and getting ready to go on a yoga retreat to Hawaii over spring break with my husband and several yogis from nearby and as far away as Australia! It's really exciting. My husband will be leading the retreat.

Last year at this time I was gearing up for the launch of my very first memoir. It launched on April 3, 2012. On March 9, 2012, I received my book in the mail. I can't believe that was a YEAR ago! Time flies. I think I'm ready to start working seriously on my next one. It's hard when I teach full time. I hope to free up some time to write seriously either this summer or in the fall.

I want to keep my momentum up and I want to keep writing. That is really where my passion is. I also love blogging.

So I'd like to share with you that moment here once again. Here's my post about receiving my book in the mail!

On Monday, my publicist e-mailed me to let me know that she was holding a copy of my book in her hands! She said, "It's beautiful" and let me know that she'd be mailing off a copy that day. Well, as you know from the previous post, patience isn't my strong point. So what did I do? I checked the mailbox....everyday. It didn't arrive until Friday. 

Unlike a baby, a book comes in the mail or from a bookstore (although those might have been stories children were told about how they came into to this world as well...like the stork story). Mine came in the mail way ahead of the April 3rd pub. date! Which means that if you ordered a copy of my book online, you might be getting your book(s) sooner rather than later! Hooray!

To write a book is one thing, but to hold the finished product in your hands is sort of indescribable and a bit surreal. It certainly made my day! Thanks to all of you who have purchased a copy and I hope you get yours soon!

Is there a moment in your life that you are proud of? Do you celebrate it and remember it?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

365 Inspirations—69: Still Blogging

"You simply have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Put blinders on and plow right ahead."—George Lucas

 I guess my inspiration today is that I made it here at 11:11pm. It's been a challenge. It's the end of the quarter and I have over 60+ tests to grade. I can't wrap my head around all that I have to do in about ONE WEEK before I leave for Hawaii for a yoga retreat with my husband. More about that later.

So my inspiration today is that I'm here. I'm still blogging. That is inspiration enough.

I'd like to say that I have something amazing and phenomenal for you to read about today. I'd like to say that I was able to read all of your blogs and comment on them. The truth is, coming here tonight with one hour left in the day is about as inspirational as it is going to get. The fact that somehow I'm still blogging and have made it 69 days is remarkable in itself.

I'm still here and blogging, that IS the inspiration.

My hands are pressing keys right now. I'm typing and words are coming out. I'm writing, I'm blogging....I'm doing it.

The thing is, life isn't always phenomenal and amazing—or even that inspiring at times. Still, I try to find something that inspires me each day, even if it seems small.

I am going to try to take it moment by moment and I will get through this week. I will keep going and I will keep blogging here through it all!

Thanks for reading and commenting and please bear with me. This is what life is all about. It's about keeping at it, even through the tough, busy times. It's about sticking with things, even when you feel you are on the brink of throwing in the towel and running off somewhere never to be heard from again.

I'm still here. That's all I can say tonight.

Thanks for sticking with me friends!

Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel on something you've been doing because it just seems too hard? How did you keep going?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

365 Inspirations—68: Sleeping in the Sun

"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth."—Buddha

The weather has been warm and sunny in Seattle. When we see the sun around here—that mysterious orb in the sky—we want to be out with it.

Today Yoon and I had the day off, so we both woke up late. We had breakfast at around 9AM, relaxed a bit and then headed out to Richmond Beach, a beautiful spot near our house. People were out with dogs, kids, picnic lunches, frisbees, balls, beach stuff—it was crowded!

We found a spot away from the crowds and both of us fell asleep. For a moment I swear it felt like I was in the tropics. It felt so good to be in the sand with my head on a log listening to the sound of waves. I just melted into it.

I fell into one of those deep sleeps where you wake up and don't know where you are. I was happy to discover that I was on the beach.

I climbed up on a log and Yoon took a few pictures.


 I also got a shot of him resting on the log. He looks like he's in perfect peace in the picture above.

We had Thai food for lunch and then went to see Oz the Great and Powerful in 3D. It wasn't the best movie I've seen this year, but it was entertaining.

Now we are back at home and resting again! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Is it typically sunny where you live? How do you like to spend a sunny, weekend afternoon?

Friday, March 8, 2013

365 Inspirations—67: Meeting My Writing Group

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success."—Henry Ford

Today I went downtown to a friend's house for my monthly meeting with my writing group. I carpooled with another friend. The three of us have been writing together for several years now. They are also my co-workers at the college where I teach ESL. All three of us are ESL teachers.

Whenever we get together, I feel so much energy. We always meet at a member's house and we always prepare food and eat a meal together. Today's meeting place was in my friend and co-worker's beautiful apartment in downtown Seattle with an amazing sunset view of the city and Puget Sound from the living room and city views throughout the rest of the place.



The first thing we did when we arrived was take pictures from her floor to ceiling windows. After that, we had some appetizers and drinks and chatted a bit. Our friend with the downtown apartment prepared a delicious turkey loaf, sweet potato salad and asparagus. We brought salads to accompany the meal and I made little chocolate cakes for dessert.

We are all collaborating on a book. I can't go into details about the book yet, but when it's closer to completion, I'll write about it here. The book is something that spontaneously happened from our meetings and now there is great energy behind it. Whenever we get together, we review what we have written and collaborate more. It's been such a fun process. Here a picture of us collaborating with our laptops:

I'm so happy I met with them today and we have another date on the calendar for next month and some assignments and research to do before we meet again! It's been so fun to work on this project together.

Do you have any clubs or groups that you meet with regularly? How often do you meet?