Every so often, I come across something I read and think, "I must share this with my peeps." This blog was written by my dear friend and yoga teacher, Kathleen Thompson. I first met Kathleen over 10 years ago at her yoga studio in Mansfield, a small town in rural Pennsylvania, just after the birth of my third child, when I was desperate to hold onto my identity as a woman outside the confines of motherhood. Her yoga classes were not just a welcome escape, they rejuvenated my body and soul, making me a better mother, woman, and healer in the process. I have since come to love and respect Kathleen not only as a yoga teacher but as a community builder, mentor, and friend. She never stops learning and appreciating, figuring out what works and what doesn't work, and then getting rid of the "doesn't work" that holds her back. As such, she spreads joy and smiles wherever she goes, like a Glinda the Good Witch, and looks 20 years younger than her age. She is beautiful and radiant, inside and out.
I am honored to be able to share Kathleen's wise journey with you. Don't miss out on her manifesto (words for us all to live by), or her insightful metaphor at the end; we all need to know how to recharge.
In the week between Christmas and New Years I rented a little apartment in Ithaca, NY. I needed a getaway: from Christmas, from busyness, from tired.
I needed a retreat. But instead of booking myself into a fancy place like Kripalu, I tried a “self-guided” retreat this time, in a nearby city where I know a few, but not many people, and where I could be happily alone.
I cooked up a a batch of kitchari in my home kitchen and brought that to eat, along with a few other staples.
Every day I cooked up the kitchari for lunch with greens I bought at Oasis.
The man at Oasis who checked me out told me this joke one really cold morning:
Q: What do you get when you cross a snowman and a vampire?
I drank a lot of hot water which I heated up an electric kettle I found in the apartment kitchen. But the mugs there didn’t fit my hands so I wandered into Handwork and bought a beautiful handmade mug for my hot water.
The one I bought was made by hands, for hands. It is beautiful and I treasure it. It is currently sitting on the the table beside me. It will forever remind me of this time of great regeneration.
I sat on a small brown couch all day and edited my manuscript.
I slept like shit. (The bed was very mushy.)
Most nights I stayed up very late. (For me.)
I sat on the windowseat and looked out.
I finished The Distraction Addiction.
I started Daring Greatly.
I went to yoga every day.
When you teach yoga every day like I do, it is such a thrill, such an utter indulgence to be led. I got to follow someone’s else’s path every day and it was lovely.
I went to Starbucks. (Not every day, but almost.)
I cruised through the bookstore a few times. I ran into people I know, and like, from home. I ran into people I know, and like, from Ithaca.
All day I worked.
I noticed the way I worked. I noticed that I like alternating between digital and analog; between computer and fountain pen. When I started to stagnate on the computer, I’d pick up the pen and a fresh world would appear. When I felt that world begin to fade, a return to the keypad ignited me again.
And in this way, back and forth, digital to analog, hour after hour, day after day, with breaks only for fresh hot water and to pee, I spent my interlude.
I worked on my manuscript, but I wrote other things, too.
I wrote deep reflections on all the yoga classes I took, for example, pondering what it really means to be a yoga teacher, and how I might become a more effective one.
I wrote my “manifesto” which was deeply inspired by the two books I was reading. My manifesto lists the qualities that I hope to cultivate and manifest in myself and my life from this time going forward. I love this list and feel so happy to have finally articulated it.
I wrote in OmWriter, which is a new writing platform for me. I was inspired to try it from the writer of Distraction Addiction. I really like it a lot. I found it allowed me to go deeper into reflective space than I have ever gone before, and stay in that depth longer.
I severely limited my connections to other people, and to distractions like email and internet. I only went online twice a day: morning and night, and would not have gone on at all if I didn’t have a business.
I thought about installing Freedom but my self-discipline was strong enough and I really didn’t need it. Still, I like knowing that it exists, because I can foresee a time in the future when I will need to utilize it.
I loved living in this small, walkable city. Everything I needed and wanted was less than a 5 minute walk away: yoga, health food store, bookstore, Starbucks, even an indie movie theater. I could walk to Indian food and Thai food, as well as Tapas and Mexican and vegetarian.
On my last day, G came and we went to see the movie Wild. For my final dinner, we chose the tapas restaurant right below my apartment. We drove home in two cars, following each other.
(my apartment was on the 2nd floor, the 2 windows on the left with the white blinds.)
As I drove home I thought about the Prius, and how the battery of that car recharges every time you apply the brakes.
It recharges when it brakes.
What do you know? Me, too.