Resurrecting my blog: inspiration from a cactus

I had high hopes to continue blogging during my Hawaii trip. Dream on. Lonely Planet assignments swallow me whole and, when I’m in Hilo, spending time with my parents is also top priority.

In my Hawaii life (a parallel universe to my other life in Canada), sitting for hours at a computer seems incongruous. Even my sacrosanct asana practice has shrunk to a minimum, making way for people and places rarely seen.

My blog readership is surely dwindling. Posts are the lifeblood of blogs, and I’ve ceased posting, despite a myriad of free-floating ideas.

Can resurrect my blog by flooding it with posts in December or in the New Year? I’m reminded of my tabletop basil plant, which droops when I forget to water it. I guiltily soak the soil and, within an hour, it’s perky and rehydrated. Can my blog similarly come back to life?

My mom’s cactus

When she was a little girl, my mom got a cactus smaller than her fist. Over the decades, it grew into this specimen, almost a foot tall! Underneath its inch-long thorns, the cactus was unmistakably green and monstrously healthy.

About two years ago, the cactus resembled a wizened oldster. Its smooth green skin was rough and brown; its spiky top was a bald patch. Its decline disturbed me; I associated the cactus’ vitality with my mom’s.

When I returned home this year, I wandered into the backyard. “Where’s Mom’s cactus?” I asked.

“Look for it,” my mom said. “You’re going to be surprised!”

They had moved the cactus from its prior spot; my mom, ever maternal, thought it posed a danger to kids (or clumsy adults). I spied it under the overhang of an orchid hothouse.

“Oh!” I laughed. “When did this happen?” It had grown another part on top. It was thriving, not in its old way, but in a new way.

In its new location, the cactus was half covered, half exposed, to Hilo rain (a prodigious 100+ annual inches). “Shouldn’t it be under cover?” I asked. “A cactus shouldn’t get too much water, right?”

“Look how happy it is!” my mom said. My parents are the ones with green thumbs, so who am I to question their plant care? The cactus did look happy. Buoyantly so. And it gave me hope.



  1. Wow, that’s amazing. I live in AZ, and certainly cacti here do not get a lot of rain, but they get it in droves, and they must store it. That’s what they do – they reserve their water, knowing that there will be months without it. Talk about bringing new life; the desert is the epitome of life existing where it never should. I have seen fences made from Ocotillo cacti (they have long spines, so they make perfect fences), and during the spring, the fences grow leaves. The fence “posts” are not planted, but they are desert plant life, and it will create life in any new situation. It’s beautiful. I’m glad the cactus helped you find new life. 🙂


  2. There is something about your mom’s cactus that makes me think about identity and assumptions. We (the big We) put people into identity boxes and make assumptions about what they can and cannot do, what they like and dislike, etc. But if we, especially as yoga teachers, encourage people to look past their comfort zones and try new situations (whether a new pose, a new practice, a new whatever). This is part of what is wonderful about practicing yoga – you begin to see yourself in a whole new way. Maybe we are all cacti who need a little more water and just didn’t know it.


  3. That’s the beauty of subscribing (and having subscribers!). You might be gone for a bit, but then you pop back up in my list of things to read for the morning and I say, “Lovely, there she is again!” 🙂


  4. I, too, have let my blog lapse. But I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing for now.

    Stopping blogging for a while lets you throw yourself more wholly into living and experiencing new things. Once you gather up those experiences, then naturally comes time for reflection and writing. Right?

    Two, people are flooded by information (especially blogs & tweets) these days. Perhaps if all of us took extra time for thoughtful posts (and to allow space for the free-floating ideas you mention), instead of feeling that we had to keep up with a self-determined pace of blogging (whether it’s once a month or week, or more often), we’d be able to achieve a better quality-to-quantity ratio online?

    And as others have pointed out, when you have blog subscribers, they always come back as you start posting again. So take your time, no rush. Your readers, including me, are always here!


  5. YogaSpy, I’ve let my blog lapse a bit recently too, as I’ve been in the process of moving my yoga studio (yes, again!), which always sounds like it should be easy but in reality, is an enormous project. I can’t wait for you to see our new space next time you are in the SF Bay Area. And in the meantime, I’m thinking of you, a bit jealously, in Hawaii!

    Last time we moved the studio, three years ago, it completely decimated my practice for several months. I was determined not to have that happen again this time, and I’ve largely succeeded, though I’ve had to scale back a bit the last couple of weeks, as time is short to get everything done by 1/1/11, when, come what may, we will be up and running in the new space. Fingers crossed that there will be heat — I’m on my way to troubleshoot with PG&E now.

    I hope to be blogging about all of this next week, including a new sequence that I practiced this morning. In the meantime, it’s great to see you in the blogosphere whenever you have time to post. Ebbs and flows are part of practice, and part of blogging…


  6. Very inspirational story. Thanks for sharing. There are so many life-changing events that come to pass as the years go by. Mostly, we don’t expect the good things to happen because sometimes we lead ourselves to believe the worst. Just like with your mom’s cactus. But anyway, it’s good to know you’re back. Looking forward to reading more of your stories.


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