A Fall Podcast We Listen To All Year

Our family is glued to this one

Have you ever found a book, a show or a story that your family can listen to over and over again? Spooked – by Snap Judgment is one of those for us. The audio production is immersive, the host is brilliant and the narrators are telling their own true stories. (We believe that they are.)

After you listen to an episode, you might not be able to turn out the lights tonight.

Suture/Sutra/Stitch, to Sew

Over the weekend, my kids went to a movie at our local theater. This place is great and they also run a coffee shop. After getting the kids settled into the dark theater seats to watch “Sing,” I plugged my laptop in at a little table near the front counter and focused my attention on the next section in my Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) anatomy module. I studied bones and joints, which was fascinating. I know this course won’t be quick at the rate I’m going, but I’m happy when there is a free and clear hour and a half to study.

Some of my reflections:

I have a fear of learning more, learning enough to speak knowledgably about the body and its movements. Which feels similar to the fear of being an imposter. Every new grain of knowledge informs an experience I’ve had or wondered about in the past. I’m so curious about all of it and my thoughts are feeling excited; so even if I keep all of this knowledge to myself, it is valuable.

Suture – when bones are healing, or plates of the skull form together the parts of bone become stitched with collagen which is the most abundant protein in the body. This is called a suture. Sutra is a Sanskrit word, which means a rule or aphorisms on a specific subject. Patanjali was a sage in ancient India who wrote the Yoga Sutras which

The words suture and sutra share the same root, meaning to stitch or to sew.

And I ask myself how these ideas are related. Am I stitching yoga into my life like a patch or a repair? Or maybe I’m actively sewing a new garment; one tailored to my needs within a framework of yoga’s rules and truths.

Questions that came up during the reading –

  • Why does sitting make our back and legs stiff?
  • Since I work full time at a desk job, how often should I stand up and move around and what types of movement will help me best?
  • What can I learn to help my loved one recover from a knee injury?
  • Why do I get aches and pains in certain areas of my body? Are these areas joints or muscles or connective tissue or bone?

We stimulate bone tissue growth with weight-bearing exercise, impact sports like running, or other forms of putting stress on the bones. This is contrary to what so many people have said about how running is going to hurt my body and do more harm than good. HUH!! But too much too fast without recovery time or variation, can cause injury because it can overwhelm our body’s ability to adapt.

Connective tissues are tied tightly together with muscle and become stronger with use. Connective tissues = ligaments, tendons, fascia. These respond in similar to bones, when loaded and stressed in a progressive way so they become stronger over time.

Finally, everything has started

After years of waiting for the right time, I have started my Yoga Teacher training (YTT). I”m studying online for my 200 hour YTT through YogaRenew

I’m on a journey and I want to share; I want to express my thoughts and feelings. I want to document my insights, wonder, joy, sadness and pain. I want to offer people a way to connect with me on something that has become an increasingly important part of my life in the past 10 years.

And, I have a confession. I feel both fear and curiosity about this training and my hope to become a yoga instructor. I feel fear and curiosity about being vulnerable with a public audience. Maybe the concerns lie in an uncertainty: do people even care? Will there be an unknown soul who resonates with my offerings? Can my journey reach someone who is hoping to learn and grow alongside me? Will my close friends even really care to know my deeper inner reflections? Is part of my fear seating in making new friends and entering a new community, growing outside of my current ones. At this moment, I do trust myself. This is a positive path to walk and my hope is that my curiosity will win out over my fear.

“While some classes flow more than others,…there is always dynamic movement that involves consciously placing the body-breath-mind in a special way. To flow we need form and a stabilizing structure. Like a river flowing from the mountains, the riverbank, the riverbed, and objects along the way channel the flow just as the flow changes the shape and conditions of that with holds it. Sometimes a powerful flow will break the banks, creating a new relationship along a different path in a way that could be a disaster or a blessing depending on what happens. Sometimes the structure is so rigid, like the concrete walls of the Los Angeles River, that the flow is constricted to a point of seeming lifelessness. With time, with evolution, a new balance is always emerging, the flow expressed in a new and wondrous ways.”

From: “Teaching Yoga / Essential Foundations and Techniques” by Mark Stephens, pg. xvii

The author, Mark Stephens, goes on to reflect upon our outer and inner teachers which are both equally important, necessary and different. I love the metaphor of the river and it’s banks, as the external and internal teachers because it resonates my own search for form to flow within. I feel that my mind and body thrive within an environment that has a deeper structure that can be revealed and articulated through study, practice and community.

Vigil Offering

I will never understand, however, I stand.

Here in this moment; one year from the day of the callous murder of George Floyd by the Mpls Police. He was a father, a brother, a human full of beauty and flaws. We gather to name him, hold him and bear witness to his loss. Together, we gather, to name others who have been lost. Lost to the same brutality. To hold them, together.

I ask you to pay attention to your body as we listen tonight, and search it for what is happening there. Name it. Is it rage? Is it the clamp-jawed silence of complicit shame? Fear, defense, remorse or pain? I have noticed all of these within myself in the last year. As I notice them, I name them.

Between the rage, and the silence. I notice the many other ways to show up. With humility, with courage, with vulnerability and love. I show up in joy for protest, song, poetry, and art. Expressions of life. Affirmations of our humanity. I show up to learn. I will name these. And never forget their names.
I’d like to share an excerpt from a chant and meditation named “HELD” which was written by Alexis Pauline Gumbs and put to music by Toshi Reagon. (link to the track “HELD” on bandcamp)

“It would satisfy a deep longing to be part of a practice of singing and communal
listening, held, named, held.

How does a course of grief and loss evolve to share crucial information?
…how are the [people] held, named?

And I think about you, and what you remember. What you keep close for as long as you can. I think about repetition and code, and when we priotize what communication and why. And how we ever learn our names in this mess. And the need that makes us generalize and identify.

If it was me, if it was you. I would say this in the way I could say it. In the too short time, in the high-pitched emergence. Remember this feeling. There is something called love. I would say, remember, there is something called freedom, even if you can’t see it. There is me, calling you in a world I don’t control. There is something called freedom, and you know how to call it, even here in the holding pattern. Even here, in the hold. Remember, remember, you are held, named.”

Black lives matter. George Floyd’s life mattered, it MORE than matters: it was precious and so is his daughter’s life, his brother and sister’s lives. And so is yours. I am here to bear witness and pay respect to George Floyd and his family because I believe that no one is free until we are all free.

I will never understand, however I stand.

Please sign on to support the Movement 4 Black Lives BREATH Act

Please sign this petition to the US Senate to pass the Justice For George Floyd Act


amb’s question: What collars do you need to remove to have your agency? (“Octavia’s Parables, Parable of the Talents, Chapter 7”)

An answer could come from my journal entry last winter.
Dec 22, 2020.

In early June, after our first protest I had a catalyzing experience in downtown Amery on my way home. In the parking lot behind DQ sat the six young men and women who had rolled coal, swerved toward our picket line and yelled at us from their truck’s. The anger and outrage was screaming from their faces. Fed by the energy of the protest, I wanted to lean in conversation and find out why they were so angry with our anti-police brutality demonstration. But I should not have stopped to talk–especially with my kids buckled into their car seats.

Approximately 4 dozen people along with my family had shown up with protest signs near the Amery Free Press around lunch time in June, one week after the George Floyd murder. The mood felt like electric sadness and collective grief. Our protest was peaceful, even quiet. People posted up with a signs that read: “Stop Police Brutality” and “Black Lives Matter” and Justice for George Floyd.” Everyone was masked. I remember that people were timid and didn’t want to bother the Amery Free Press business. They did not want to give the impression that we were protesting the town’s newspaper. So the crowd moved a little ways down main street past the lumber yard and into the gravel parking area where the ATV trail crosses Keller Ave and where the railroad tracks used to be. Some children were there, mine were 4 and 1 years old; my younger one I wore in a backpack carrier. My kids came along on our journey this entire summer and I will never regret that choice. The presence of children, elderly and disabled people did make my husband and I very cautious about our safety in any protest setting.

The chief of police came to talk with us very shortly after our crowd gathered. He was kind and calm, He said that he supported us 1000%. We didn’t talk to him too much beyond that day but he or another officer did sometimes come to watch our subsequent three months of protests. Our group which was sometimes as large as that first 4 dozen people came out every Saturday at 10-1pm to protest and collect mutual aid donations. The police officers sat in their vehicles across main street near the area where the farmer’s market was happening. I want to believe that their presence deterred aggressive behavior from counter-protesters and maybe it did for some. We continued to be targeted by people in large trucks who would see our picket line then go somewhere (home?) remove, their license plates and attach large flags: Trump 2020, the thin blue line, or the serpent “don’t tread on me” to their truck beds. They would return to yell explitives, gun their engines at our protest line reaching high speeds and roll coal or swerve at the line of folks who now numbered enough to spread out along the street from the lumber yard to the fire station. I think on that first day, I saw one truck was pulled over by an officer. If a warning or a ticket was given I do not know.

Back to that first day behind the DQ when I stopped to talk to the angry young people. It was heated, was it a worthless exercise in outrage just like so many arguments that I saw or participated in on social media this year? We went were all set to go home, buckled in and their dad went back to his job separately from us. When I saw the group of counter-protestors near where I had parked, it seemed a good opportunity to have a conversation that would change hearts and minds. I thought that I could stay calm and ask them polite questions. And I did do that, initially. I remember asking “I saw that you guys were kinda ‘against’ the protest and wondered why?” One young man, (the leader?) swore at me immediately, yelling and asked “Why the — are you here?” “Don’t bring that — here.” “That — (Floyd) should have done what the cops asked.” He also added: “I’ve been arrested too. The cops beat me up.”

He was filled with anger and directing at me. His mood rabid and his face red. It occurred to me that I’m probably not much older than his mom. I was speaking politely to him and my young kids were there. Rationally, I should have left. The conversation was doomed. I did try to answer his questions though he cut me off repeatedly and derailed, he was way off the rails. We were not speaking the same conversation or hearing each other. I told him that I grew up in Amery and lived here now, I asked him if he understood what it meant when a police officer killed an unarmed person who is already cuffed, on the ground and not resisting arrest. He answered with another question “Why didn’t I protest when that (—) murdered a kid in the mall of America?” I didn’t know what he was referring to. I was getting upset and loosing my cool, probably started swearing back at him. I can’t remember what else was said but it was not much. He told me I was harassing him. I was about to leave but the six of them jumped out of their truck beds and into the cabs, gunned their engines and blew black smoke at me where I stood on the sidewalk. They drove off, newly outraged with our encounter. I got in my car happy that my kids were physically ok and that I was too. Emotionally, it is still unfolding. My 4 year old asked me “are those guys racists?” And she has asked me that every time we saw a Trump flag or an American flag this year.

George Floyd was murdered on May 25th and I’ve spent rest of this year trying to learn about racism in the US and what my part is in that system What could be my part in the movement for racial justice? I have questions too, just like the angry young man did (not his questions, my own.) Sometimes I’m angry about the tall stacks of injustice in our space. I’m sad when I can’t struggle through the toxicity of whiteness. I’m defensive when it is aimed towards me. I know more now about antiracism and it is an empowering tool. I know more about my own white identity, privilege, white supremacy and its goals. The harm that patriarchy and racial oppression cause will stay invisible unless I understand it, name it and build a community to hold us accountable. And I do deeply feel that the work of abolishing white supremacy is my work. I also think that work can only happen while I am humbling myself to it.

Grateful for a day where I can reflect and have courageous enough see truths as they emerge.
With love,