Assessing the past year

I can’t believe that 2014 is over. I still have tons of unfinished business and loose ends to tie up. Plus I didn’t read enough books, clean out my closets, practice enough yoga, spend enough time with family or friends… On the bright side, 2014 was a decent year. I wrote another Lonely Planet Big Island book. I got an iPhone, my first smartphone (why on earth was I such an extreme holdout?). I injured and recovered from a hamstring injury. I replaced a back-wrecking memory foam with a solid zenhaven mattress mattress. Most memorable, I studied at RIMYI and traveled to India, both for the first time, from late July to early September. It was … Continue reading Assessing the past year

Regular practice in de-cluttering, yoga, and being a good aunt

After my thorough New Year’s de-cluttering, I was quite satisfied… for a few days. Then I saw books, notes, pet fur, and fresh debris re-invading my immaculate space. Banishing clutter is not an occasional project—it must be regular practice. I’m reminded of a yoga teacher’s anecdote three years ago, which I cited in Clearing the clutter. When San Francisco yoga teacher Joe Naudzunas‘s truck was totaled, he had to empty it out. It took longer than expected. “Do you clean your car regularly?” he asked. “Or do you let junk accumulate in it? Do you use it as another closet, just … Continue reading Regular practice in de-cluttering, yoga, and being a good aunt

Taking stock of the year

Whether New Year’s Day is a big deal or just another day to you, it probably prods us all to take stock of the past year. Imagine one of those “Major Events of 2012” articles written not about world news, but about your life. What would that list include? Of course, life comprises not only major events, but day-to-day work, relationships, activities, chores, and habits. The stuff we do most of the time. Maybe it’s the little things that really color our years. I keep a list of books I read for fun. In some years, the list is regrettably … Continue reading Taking stock of the year

Time to move on

Clean out closets. Purge paper files. Erase hard drives and recycle old Macs. Dozens of housekeeping tasks have been nagging me for months. Finally, with 2013 breathing down my neck, I’m getting rid of this baggage. It’s been weighing me down. But, while I’m inclined toward neatness and order, discarding stuff is painstaking. Why do I keep things that I don’t need, barely like, or rarely use? Why is it hard to let go? Seriously, why keep two pairs of running tights that never quite fit? CDs downloaded into iTunes? Jewelry once treasured but now not my style? Travel guides … Continue reading Time to move on

Pranayama, sleep, and other New Year’s resolutions

In the late 1990s, I took to yoga asana without a second thought. My body immediately loved it. I initially attended three to five classes weekly. My little apartment, with carpet and cat, wasn’t ideal for home practice, but I eventually appropriated a floor and wall space at the UC Berkeley rec center for my practice. Pranayama is another animal. Stillness, physical or mental, is not second nature to me. I’ve attended classes and done some reading on pranayama over the years. But adding breath work to my current two-hour asana practice simply hasn’t happened. The immaculate expanse of a … Continue reading Pranayama, sleep, and other New Year’s resolutions

All-or-nothing resolutions

He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future. George Orwell My free three-week pass at the mega studio elapsed on Monday. I took 25 classes in 20 days. A limited-time offer is a great motivator, isn’t it? Perhaps resolutions serve the same purpose. Here, the impetus is not a deadline but a vow, to oneself. I rarely make resolutions. If I do, they’re vague (read more novels; don’t lose temper; organize computer files; practice balancing in handstand) and too numerous for effective full frontal attack. Perhaps I’ll try a new tactic this year. Ever … Continue reading All-or-nothing resolutions