a san francisco month

Sunrise at High Camp, Squaw Valley — Photo by Emily Mitnick

Four weeks. One month. Time flies. Slowly but surely, I’m getting the hang of this new life. Figuring out what my go-to coffee shop is for when I need to buckle down and work (La Boulangerie), learning that one’s legs actually do feel better with time after trekking up and down the hills (we live in a valley), finding a current favorite farmers market (Alamo Square at Divisidero), understanding the ebb and flow of the mist and fog (I’ve been jokingly telling people that San Francisco sunrise happens around 12 PM in the summer) and realizing that asking for alone time is a completely critical aspect of living with a partner who is around (finally, after all these years!). Yes, maybe I’ve arrived at the new normal, and while the pace will most certainly pick up when Mike and I have full work schedules (I’ve started taking clients, hooray!), I’m enthusiastic about the direction in which we’re headed.

On Sunday, Mike and I returned from a wonderful trip to the mountains. We attended Wanderlust, a yoga festival, in its original location at Squaw Valley, in North Lake Tahoe. For three days, we blissed out to great music, stellar flows (one on a stand-up paddleboard plus one blacklight class gone…wrong, somehow), organic, vegan, fresh sustenance and some camping adventures at 8,200 feet. And did I mention my first time in an aerial tram going 2,000 vertical feet? (Proud to say I did not poop my pants, though it came close on the first haul up the mountain with gusts of 60 mph.) It was a grand time, an inspirational occurrence that stirred my mind, body and spirit and fed my soul with magic that only moments of togetherness can bring, whether meditating in the woods with a stand-up bass player, dancing to the beats of Bob Marley in the middle of a yoga practice with hundreds of others, soaking up the sounds of an acoustic guitar at 8 AM, handstand-ing on a slackline with someone you met only moments before, or grinning ear-to-ear with women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s who have just been braided, glittered and painted to their hearts’ content. That kind of magic.

Even before Wanderlust, I had wanted to create a more consistent sadhana (daily practice). Something more intentional, that would help me to remain committed to this practice of expansion and opening that I’ve been working on for the past few years, as well as able to more readily and easily share this practice with others. I came back from the festival with an oracle deck. One specifically focused on the divine feminine. Each day, I’ve been getting up early, bundling up and sitting for meditation and chanting for bhakti out on our balcony (good moooooorning, San Francisco! Note: this is not a city of early risers compared to DC. Just sayin’. Peace be with all the folks who witness the crazy bedhead lady cockadoodle-doodlin’ to Sita, Rama, Ganesha and the gang.), and reading some cards. Some days the cards resonate, and sometimes they don’t. Either way, they give me something to journal about and think about. And I’m hoping with time that the themes reflected on the cards and their respective rituals will work their way into yoga classes I teach and coaching/consulting sessions I offer. For now, immersion. Then absorption. Then sharing. Patience. Always, patience.

I’m working on soaking up all the present has to offer — because it’s all I, or any of us, really know. For so long I feel like I’ve been waiting in certain regards — and that’s difficult for me to admit, particularly because I identify with being a go-getter, someone who seizes each opportunity with gusto, a woman who doesn’t let even the teeniest blade of grass sprout under her bare feet. Waiting, to me, signifies taking time for granted, like it will always be there. And it won’t be — it is Kali, goddess of transformation who wears a necklace of skulls, time personified as a warrior woman, and she is coming. The here is now and the now is here! All we search for is within us, and if we listen now to what our hearts whisper day in and day out, we’ll be exactly where we want to be, where we should be in the universe. So, the present. As I said, working harder to make it count. Are you? Let me know how it’s going and what you’re doing. Let’s support each other and help each other rise. Janet Stone said something over the weekend — well, she said many things — that was (and were) nothing short of inspirational at Wanderlust. At one point, she quoted Ram Dass, who said, “we’re all just walking each other home.” Then she went on to remind us that no one is above us or below us; we’re all walking together. And when some of us walk ahead, we can be happy for them. When some of us fall behind, we can stop and help them. Because we all end up at the same place. Lifting each other helps us all to rise. It’s as simple as that. Let’s help each other to make today count.

This experience of being and experiencing the “new” once again is far from perfect. I haven’t communicated with my family as much as I would like because the time difference is throwing me off, or met as many people as I had expected I would within the first month of being here. I crave the feeling of knowing and being known to a yoga community. But I have so much faith that these things will come with time. Again, patience. And in the meantime, I am so thankful for the time I’ve gotten to spend with Mike and my sister and a few of my closest friends who just happen to live here. I’m thankful for the hiking and the nature and the excitement that comes with the newness. And I’m thankful to you, reader, for continuing to cast the threads of your web all the way over here with love as you support this journey. Om shanti!