Sunday sadhana

By Sunday, November 27, 2016 0 , , , Permalink 0

Street art in Athens, Greece, credit Kirsten Akens 2016

To me, sadhana is a daily spiritual practice allowing time and space for an individual to turn inward.

As Yogi Bhajan (of the Kundalini yoga tradition) says, “Sadhana is self-enrichment. It is not something which is done to please somebody or to gain something. Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best.”

Sadhana could be taking a walk in nature, doing breath work or yoga asanas on a mat, spending time meditating or chanting, reading and reflecting on a poem, or simply watching the sun rise.

Please accept this post as a possible starting point for your own practice today: a photo from me, and a video from one of my favorite spoken-word artists, Shane Koyczan.

 

Halfway through “42 before 43”

By Monday, October 24, 2016 0 , , Permalink 0

Lucy and Finn Credit Kirsten Akens 2016

Wow. It has been one crazy ride over the past six months. My husband and I decided to purchase a new home and turn our old home into a rental.

Finding our new home was a huge process.

Cleaning up, cleaning out and boxing everything not cleaned up or cleaned out was a huge process.

Moving itself was a huge process, as was painting and prepping the new space (thank goodness for friends who helped with all of these tasks!).

And then there’s been the process of readying the old home for rental — which we are SO close to. I don’t want to jinx it but if all goes as planned, we’ll be on the market in a few days.

And because all of that wasn’t enough, we adopted a new pup from the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region. Finnegan is a one-year-old Boston terrier, and he’s as much trouble as he is adorable. (See above. Lucy’s in the front; Finn, with the floppy ears and long tail, is in the back.) We’re now in dog training classes with him — which if you’ve ever trained a dog, you know is more about training us than him. It’s fun, and exhausting.

All this to say … my list fell by the wayside. Far, far by the wayside. I didn’t travel as much as I’d hoped. I didn’t hike as much as I’d hoped. Heck, I didn’t even think about this list as much as I’d hoped — except wistfully.

But that’s life. And that’s OK. I may not have made it to yoga training (No. 11), or to Best Friends (No. 31), or anywhere near Ouray (Nos. 9 & 10), but I have a pretty awesome new hot tub for soaking beneath the stars in (and drinking bubbly with friends in, see No. 33) and a second warm puppy to snuggle with (when he’s not barking at our new neighbors). I’ve still got six months to go on this list … and there’s always next year.

Per usual, I’ve added italicized notes where I’ve begun or completed an item. And for ease, turned an item green if I have already completed it.

What have you been up to lately when it comes to your bucket list? Let me know in the comments. (And, more importantly, what’s keeping you from moving on them!)

• 42 Before 43 • 

  1. Visit Greece — This is where I was for a couple weeks in May, teaching yoga on a Star Clippers sailing ship and falling in love with all the cats. That was a big and longtime travel bucket-list item checked off!
  2. Watch every episode of MASH — A rollover from last year. My hubby and I are watching together. We got side-tracked with the move, but will be getting back on track once we let go of our HGTV obsession.
  3. Read at least 90 books — Last year I hit 81 so I’ve upped it again. To date, I’ve read 35 books, with three in progress.
  4. Refine Project 333 to my own version of a minimalist closet project — I came home from Greece and spent a heavily jet-lagged day cleaning out my closet again. I’ll blog more about this later, but I’m shifting my process, based on what I’ve learned doing Project 333 for a couple years now. (I did start a new revised cycle on October 1.)
  5. Get will and living will in order — Found a lawyer. Taking the next steps.
  6. Attend a Switchbacks soccer match — Done. Super fun. 
  7. Attend the Santa Fe Opera — Not gonna happen this year.
  8. Do a Georgia O’Keeffe tour around New Mexico (Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, etc.)
  9. Hike to Hanging Lake, as part of a larger summer/fall hiking goal (see No. 10) — Not gonna happen.
  10. Stay at the Beaumont Hotel in Ouray … and hike Blue Lakes while there — We could still make it to the Beaumont, but Blue Lakes is going to have to wait for another year.
  11. Attend Judith Lasater’s Advanced Restorative Yoga teacher training — Not gonna happen as she only teaches this level two course once a year. Hoping to get into the August 2017 session.
  12. Be involved with a stage show (maybe a play, maybe a fashion show) in some way — Done! Modeled for GOCA’s annual art fundraiser Brilliant. It was super fun, aside from the fake eyelash removal, which was kinda painful. #firstfalsiesat42
  13. Choreograph a country line dance (and see if Barb will teach it at Cowboys) — Talked with Barb, my instructor, about this. She’s all in for reviewing my choreography when it’s ready. I’ve picked a song and am working on the choreography.
  14. Attend a Soul Mechanics session at Ormao
  15. Take a birding and/or bird banding class
  16. Take French language lessons
  17. Try surfing
  18. Nurture a green thumb into existence (re: learn how to properly care for my indoor plants)
  19. Learn to make pizza, Roman Villa-style
  20. Learn to bake (not-just-quick) bread
  21. Learn to make my own maraschino cherries (and a fancy cocktail to go with them)
  22. Renew my #newrecipeaweek commitment — Plugging along on this.
  23. Perform at a poetry slam/open mic
  24. Learn to play an entire song on my ukelele
  25. Remember to use reusable bags when grocery shopping — Doing really well with this!
  26. Plan my next trip to France (perhaps running a retreat at Little French Retreat) — Been chatting (again) with my French friend Tamsin about this. Yay!
  27. See the sandhill crane migration in March/April 2017
  28. Go storm chasing
  29. Go on a train trip
  30. Visit a new-to-me national park
  31. Visit Best Friends Animal Society’s sanctuary in Utah — I did attend the Best Friends Annual Conference on behalf of A Voice for Lil Olive earlier this year, and that was pretty cool. And I’ve found a friend to make the trek to Utah with me. It may not happen before April, but next summer for sure.
  32. Snail mail cards to six friends for no reason — Two sent. 
  33. Share a bottle of bubbly with a friend once a month — Geez. You’d think this would be easy, but with the move, it hasn’t been. I had better get on it for the next six months at least!
  34. Play Settlers of Catan with friends
  35. Try out a new hair color (or highlights, or a streak) — Added red highlights. (Honestly, not a super fan. But that’s part of doing new stuff!)
  36. Have a new pair of jeans tailored to fit
  37. Find a new go-to layerable dress that accentuates my fabulousness — I’ve been shopping. And trying on oodles of dresses. Haven’t found the perfect piece yet.
  38. Wear “grown-up” clothes to bed — Haven’t done this every night, but I’ve done a major clean-out of what I’ve often worn as pajamas, and am spending more time thinking about wearing something comfortable and cozy, not just pulling whatever I happen to find in the drawer.
  39. Plan for a fun photo shoot
  40. Launch a new website
  41. Interview at least one of my bucket-list celebrities
  42. Place freelance writing with at least five new publications (a mix of print and online) — I’ve pitched a few new places. Nothing confirmed yet.

(You can read all about my lists, and the former ones, here. And how I did on last year’s list here. Bottom line, I love to try new things, and formalizing the process has helped me do more of them than ever.)

Sunday sadhana

By Sunday, October 23, 2016 0 , , Permalink 0

Credit Kirsten Akens 2016

To me, sadhana is a daily spiritual practice allowing time and space for an individual to turn inward.

As Yogi Bhajan (of the Kundalini yoga tradition) says, “Sadhana is self-enrichment. It is not something which is done to please somebody or to gain something. Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best.”

Sadhana could be taking a walk in nature, doing breath work or yoga asanas on a mat, spending time meditating or chanting, reading and reflecting on a poem, or simply watching the sun rise.

Please accept this post as a possible starting point for your own practice today.

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

— Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”