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golden fall light on long beach, my back yard

It is officially fall now, our watery world here on the edge of the ocean is bathed in what I call the “golden light” a filmmaker’s dream, that goldeny glowy light that adds just the perfect softness to everything, makes shadows seem mysterious and brings in the cool, brisk winds from northern climes.  We are in the throes of another season, a time to take stock before plunging into the whirlwind of work, holiday commitments, the back to school alertness and structure post the summer.  A time to realign our health and wellbeing and a time also to celebrate the harvest.

As you know, I’d disappeared from this blog, my online home, for a few months now… it seems trite, but true to say that i didn’t plan that.   But i’ve also finally realized that i can’t continue to feel guilty about it…  My life has been constant movement.  So much so that during this summer, as my mother told me – she visited from India for part of the summer – that I packed up and moved 4 times in the span of 5 weeks, and not just our suitcases, really it felt like we were packing up our on the go house!  That was a little too much travel, especially with a baby.  Our travels this summer took us to eastern Canada, to a small lakeside town of Haliburton, where my partner is originally from.  Here I stand up paddled on the lake, swam with loons and played with my young son at the little duck beach down by the little cottage we called our home for a week.  I also finally got back into the teaching saddle and taught two Ayurveda and Yoga workshops – one at a sweet little studio in the town of Haliburton, called Blue Sky Yoga; and the other at the beautiful eco-chic 889 Yonge studio in Toronto.

Let me tell you it felt so great to present and voice my work, and to a super appreciative audience.  It definitely left me wanting to present and teach more.  All the while during that Ontario trip, I also organized a family reunion, my parents flew in from India to spend time with their little grandson, my brother who recently moved to Toronto (from Hongkong), feted his birthday in true Canadian style (it falls around Canada Day) – with beach-side fires at night, bbqs and a chocolate cake that we whipped up in an evening and my mom-in-law was the benevolent host! 🙂

After that whirlwind Ontario trip, we were in BC, but moved to Vancouver, for three weeks of August – we discovered the really fun neighbourhood of commercial drive and trout lake – and became the trout lake farmer’s market regulars – for three weeks at least, arriving just when the market bell would ring the market open! After a very busy Vancouver stay, that included a lot of Yogue scouting – Vancouver is a green and sustainability mecca – and a 1.5 year  beach side birthday party for baby Ananda, we then drove up the winding Sea to Sky Highway to teach (well, my husband taught, while I assisted) at the first ever Canadian Wanderlust festival.  Such a fantastic, free spirited vibe, with amazing yoga workshops, hoop dancing, chanting and of course music by greats such as MC Yogi and Michael Franti.

Our busy summer was not over yet, post Wanderlust (see more pictures here); we flew down to LA, my mom in tow, to help us with the baby to check out Venice Beach.  You see, we’re testing the southern waters this winter, i.e. we’re moving down to California for 4 months, November through to February.  My husband will be teaching his super inspiring Blissology Flow classes at Exhale, Venice Beach, a yoga studio I absolutely love for it’s authentic vibe, great teachers and community, and I will continue to write, study Ayurveda and natural nutrition and hang with our little boy in the sunshine.  Oh yes, and I plan to surf those sweet point breaks up and down the coast as well.  I am really looking forward to a winter where we won’t have to put him in a rain suit to go outside and play.  I am also eager to be back in a city.  I miss the energy and vibrancy of people around, the diversity you experience in a place that is a confluence of so much, and I am craving practicing yoga in a studio, not just in my living room.

I also had a couple of exciting firsts happen this summer.  I wrote a piece on Yoga Retreats- how to choose the ultimate yoga retreat, and a review of some killer retreat centres in Koh Samui, Thailand; that was published in Conde Nast Traveler magazine, India.  I love this magazine, it’s a great perspective on the exciting awareness building in India in this time – so much great adventure and holistic travel coverage, and I hope to keep contributing to it over the next few months!  Another goal I achieved was hiking up Vancouver’s favourite outdoor stair master the Grouse Grind, with my baby on my back – until the halfway mark – after that it was my husband’s turn.  This baby was an 18 month old toddler at the time and it was definitely all about staying focused and calm to get up, not to mention exhilarating to feel that we could do it.

One thing I didn’t do this summer was run the lululemon Sea Wheeze, a really fun half marathon that lit up Vancouver’s summer streets.  I thought I could do it.  I’ve run a half marathon distance in the past, but this year, with all the bouncing around, i just didn’t get enough long training runs in and didn’t want to push it.  I’m committing to it for 2013 however, so this will be one of those goals that has to get extended.  While deciding not to compete, I really thought long and hard if I was just psyching myself out.  It has been a challenging time, this time of reinvention, of finding a new balance point in life.  I realise that I have been such an anxious mama, it’s been spilling over into so many aspects of my life.  I seem to want to do everything just right, feeding my baby the right food – which to me is really about helping him develop a diverse palate of tastes – being active and healthy, staying connected to my practice and cooking, simple yet prana-filled food and yes, somehow staying on top of work.  It just all got a little overwhelming at times and the anxiety it bred was self-defeating.

I am trying to ask myself the big question, why set such high standards when you can’t maintain them?  Yet, in that classic dance between desire/ambition and contentment, the ease or sukha we look for in a yoga asana, there is so much going on.  My way of dealing with it right now is to discard the guilt, the I’m not doing x, y and z, oh no, and change it to the wow, I am doing a, b and c, isn’t that great?  And building from there.

So yes, I haven’t recently submitted any writing to a creative journal but I have gotten work out there and it has been published.  I didn’t run that half marathon, but i’ve gotten pretty good at navigating my jogging stroller through the windy trail outside my front door for at least an hour and while baby Ananda may not always eat three course meals a la the children in Bringing up Bebe, he does eat a diverse variety of organic and unprocessed, might I say delicious food, that I do take the time to feed him.

Ultimately it’s about savouring the successes and learning from the failures, right?  I attended a lululemon leadership conference this summer – the theme was vulnerability, a la Brenae Brown.  See her Ted Talk that went viral here.  So much of being powerful is being vulnerable, about being able to share yourself honestly with your friends, family and community.  To initiate the conversations that acknowledge that life is challenging and beautiful all at once, something i discover daily in this journey of parenting.

I’ve had so many shifts this summer and what i am craving in the next few months is some rootedness to ground them.  We will be in the same house in LA for 4 months, that seems like such a lovely, long time to me, but I’m sure it will go by in a flash.  I have a pile of some great Yogue-worthy products to tell you about, some giveaways and more.

But mostly, today, I wanted to leave you with an inspirational thought.

It is October 2nd, which is Gandhi Jayanti; (as well as the birthday of three of my dear girlfriends).  The day marks the 145th anniversary of the birth of one of India’s and the world’s most revered peacemakers, one who inspired Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and so many others.  In tribute to Gandhi and his mantra of “Be the Change You want to be in the world” here is a moving rap by M.C. Yogi, to infuse you with some poetry and rhythm in honour of this great soul, a true “Maha” atman.

Happy October 2nd, please write and let me know how you are.