Kripalu on a Wednesday

Ballooning my lungs with rest and wonder,
I Woke up bathing in sunlight on a Berkshire April morning,
a gray dove and my mother’s snoring cooing me into consciousness.
we snuggled against the cinderblock walls
instead of our husbands,
burritoed into our heavy cotton blankets
and listened to the world come alive-
birdsong and mowers beneath the window,
footfall in the hallways
steam heavy with essential oils,
oozing from the showers
as we sipped tea white and green and redbush
still in bed
selecting leggings and flipflops as appropriate llunch attire

meeting women who have drawn and dared
in and out of the dining hall
who fear change but love adventure
and sense The energy in people,
The good in the universe and the potential in strangers
Who know The artist in us all,
and free to fail or fly.
The unalterable cycle of creation and destruction
and imagination and courage
And men who cry and notice things
About themselves and dare to talk about it
And flutter their lips in Ujjayi
Or enter the swami’s sanctuary with meta spirit
And respect for both science and art
Suppressing the desire that inflames the mind and tickles the ribs
In mutual respect and silence
For just a little while.

Third eye open and body humming
With an expansive choir of om,
A wide kneed childs pose tethered my belly to the earth,
Emptying me of expectation
lengthening my spine
and creating space for twists and torques;
Cultivating Prana with intentions –
courage and patience-
Slo mo vinyasa,
Sexing me
to an orgasm of self-knowledge
I am;
I can;

Breath is food;
my body a map of rivers, ranges, divides-
muscle, blood and bone woven beneath this fragile flesh-
cartographer’s delight ,
divine miracle;
an infinitely developing creation,
nourished by love and trust.


Lessons in Lennox

Saint Helens meditation meadow

The nearly naked Trees were talking
Hugged by whips of forsythia and daffodil flutes,
Spring’s front-line soldiers,
and I could almost smell the worms
in this meditation meadow
where the perfume of warm rain on asphalt greets
Berkshire wild compost in motion-
The Unbottled Fertility of an April morning-
Laced with paisley conversation
Between mother and daughter
Meandering and looping like peeper-hemmed oxbows
And their long liquid lashes
Then shifting left to obey
A GPS-mandated U-turn
Toward the highway
Where the pattern morphed
and sped toward revelation and connection-
words dipping and spilling and bubbling
boiling from the lips and confusing the earth,
with its willingness to receive-
any angle of the sun,sobbing of the skies, or human attempt to love.

Mom at courage meditation stone


Kitchen Tips from Kripalu

How to box grate a lemon zest
and teach garlic to breathe,
erasing the evidence in the stainless steel sink
Before remembering the tomatoes roasting in the oven
and the sweating allium in the saucepan;
never pay for a single sprig of dill at the grocery
when you can steal it;
Cashews, nutritional yeast, salt and garlic powder
transform into parmesan;
don’t bother to dice if you’re going to blend;
that the universal recipe rule
is the one never committed to paper-
you can always add more
but you can never take away-
Which is the opposite of how we often love


The Ithaca Revelation

retreating from retreat
nourished and still
Sitting at the café
Counting down the heartbeats
Until the train whistles
And the ties lead back to you
Warm in bed,
cat tangled in your legs
Pillows littering the emptiness
Where my body should be
Will be
In just a few more hours

One hand on belly, one palm to heart
One intention
To return to Penelope
After such internal exploration
Discovering that home is sanctuary
And you are home


Sacred Space

Dear Readers,

My secretary has become my sacred space. When I refer to my secretary, I’m really talking about the antique desk that has been handed down to me through three generations. It is actually called a secretary’s desk or escritoire, but we always called it “the secretary”. It is a tall piece of furniture with several wide drawers and a hinged top that can be pulled down as a writing surface. Atop that is a set of bookshelves with glass doors. Within the hinged area, there are cubbies and mini drawers for keeping writing supplies like stationary, envelopes, stamps, address books, pens and pencils. It affords me a great sense of organization.
I keep paperclips, staples and stapler, tape, rubber bands, slates and styli for hand writing braille, Sharpees, and such in mine. The glass enclosed bookcase houses my antique books, my great grandmother’s miniature pitcher collection and a few other sentimental trinkets, including my Grammy’s ashes in a delicate little porcelain tea pot with a blue and white floral pattern on it. My mother inspired the organization and content of the drawers; all our wrapping paper, gift bags, colored tissue paper, ribbons and scissors live there throughout my childhood. But the top drawer is filled with various other blindness related items I sometimes find useful like braille playing cards, my color identifier, my braille labeler and dimotape, cords and chargers to my sundry adaptive electronics, and a set of tactile dice.

My grandfather, Poppie, acquired the secretary many years ago. A real estate broker and entrepreneur, he had a way of manifesting unusual treasures and bestowing them on his family. When my mom grew up and settled into our first (and only) house, he bequeathed it to her, where it sat in our “TV room” throughout my childhood. It was always an exciting moment when I was instructed to get “blank” out of the secretary for her . It was dark and beautiful, smelled musty and warm. The glass bookcase had a skeleton key to lock its treasures within it. Funny though- that key has always just sat in the lock for any old thief to turn. Even now! The glass is beveled and seemed magical to me as a girl.

I just love my secretary. When I decided last year that it was high time for me to have a roomof my own in our house, the secretary was the first thing I claimed for my sacred space. Each of my children had a room of their own. My husband had an entire library. I noticed that everywhere I tried to set up shop to be alone with my thoughts, other people and their stuff seemed to invade. Sure, I guess I could say the kitchen was mine; I love to cook and create in there. But if that was my room, why couldn’t I keep the sink free of people’s dirty dishes, counters clear of clutter, and floor free of discarded shoes? The Wedgewood blue front parlor called to me. It’s ornately plastered ceiling and walls were fanciful and unique. The color was cheery and energizing. The sunlight streams in on sunny mornings (not as common as I’d like them to be in this region) and fill the room with warmth and creativity. It felt a bit bold and selfish, but it was exactly what I needed at that point in my life- my very own imagination workshop. With only some grumbling from the kids and husband, we cleared out the miscellany and moved in the antique couch Grammy had found for me in NH, adorning it with throw pillows. I filled the armoire with knitting supplies, beep baseball paraphernalia, and teaching accessories. . Great grandmother Mommy Peg’s marble coffee table abuts the couch and hosts an ornate antique lamp and a bowl of porcelain Wedgewood spheres. During the cold months, the wicker planter full of cacti and various houseplants abide the cold until they can be returned to their homes on the front porch. Call it what you will- an office, the blue room, a parlor, a word garden, a result of a mid-life temper tantrum; it is all mine, it feeds my creativity, and its focal point is my secretary.

That desk was the delivery room for this very blog. Sitting at it one sunny winter morning, reflecting on the many people I have interacted with over the years for whom I feel especially grateful, the seed for this forum to express my thoughts suddenly germinated. The words seemed to stream from my fingertips as our cat nudged my calves and blueberry scented steam wafted from my tea cup. Each morning now, I descend the stairs and enter my sanctuary, pulling down the hinged shelf on which my laptop sits. The words and ideas tumble out and my soul fills with purpose and gratitude for the many gifts in my life and my opportunity and space to share them with you.

So, on this Administrative Professionals’ Day (formerly known as Secretaries’ Day), this is my homage to my sacred space. The drawers, shelves, and cubbies are as full of memories, inspiration, generosity, imagination, and possibilities as they are with actual writing junk!



Inspired by…

By a creek in Cataraugus County

The land tickles words from my fingertips
And I wonder if water can travel any way but honestly;
If loneliness gnaws her shores in winter and sucks her sheets into twine in summer;
Whether she feels enough after the jaws of March relent
and if resentment towards her passengers is possible during pregnancy ,
So tethered to God as she seems.

Can she hear the notes and lyrics of her friction with the earth
The stones and hulls of maker and man?
Maybe only at night,
When hers is the soloist’s voice?
But when would there even be time to listen
With all the business of the journey
To wherever she is going?

After having the time of his life horseback riding on a Boy Scout trip to Filmont with our older son, I decided to encourage my husband to continue riding. So, for Christmas that year, I presented him with a weekend away at the R and R Dude Ranch in Otto, NY. It was exactly what he had dreamed of and just what we both needed. Smack dab in the middle of nowhere, we spent three days luxuriating in nature and discovering the wonder and beauty of horses. A no-frills ranch, it was a place to get dirty, play hard, and unwind. After the day of trail riding and hiking, we’d relax on the porch of our private cabin and marvel at the natural beauty around us. Nature has always been a muse for me. Listening to the power and language of the water as it rushed by our cabin, this poem sprang from my fingertips.