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“Breath, dreams, silence, invincible calm, you triumph.”
― Paul Valéry

Current mantra: to triumph, which, i guess, is more bright than to survive. Triumph: the evolution and the less solemn, more gregarious relative of survival. Also remembering and forgetting to practice asana, take nothing personally, be open and permeable, steady. To be cooking up invincible calm, and to love, like the verb. Just those things today and then again tomorrow.
Also Swiffering the floors.
So the usual, all of it.

This picture was in nyc.


FullSizeRender (2).jpgThe winnipeg rivers are not yet fully frozen.  We’re on the edge, holding our breaths, rolling the dice.
What’s the point of winter, if not to feel at the mercy/in awe of nature as it wilds its way through the city, anyway?  (Except to be reminded that nothing is predictable, even winter, even in winnipeg, even though you love it.)


humble .

DSC_4532.JPGI’ll tell you the most comforting qualities for me: humility and steadiness, together.  Winnipeg has them both.  Many people do.  I strive to, but fall short/am still practicing, frequently:)

Today, when i awoke, a little off-kilter from all of the unpredictable, loosely-spun holidaze and craving some ritualistic daily grind.  I put on my sturdiest boots and two scarves and walked into the heart of downtown winnipeg with my little orange friend, and we walked and walked and coffeed and walked and got grittiness on our feet and enjoyed the clean prairie sky that you can breathe even in the most densely-buildinged parts in this humble, little city.  I felt surrounded/held/thank-goodnessful for the smallness/strength of quiet brick, big sky.

Walked home, heavy boots/happy.  These are not opposites for me, but don’t they sound like they are?


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This really beautiful day happened today.
It started out all normal-winter, but unprairiely warm for the second day in december.  The sky was empty, like it always is at this time in the year, except for the naked branches reaching everywhere, and the air was clear and crisp.  On a stormless day, you can see everything and forever in the mid-morning in winter.

Halfway through my walk, the empty sky glazed over and the air got thick and there was fog in my eyes practically and if fog had a smell it would have filled up everything, but it doesn’t, and my sense of smell is what picks things up first for me, so the glaze and the thickness caught me incredibly off-guard.  It enchanted me too.  There is nothing so beautiful as a surprise foggy day.

I have nothing to report except for all the normal fog-inspired feelings and reactions:

+watching little orange Portman run into it happily and unquestioningly and feeling happy to know her
+remembering how beautiful it is to walk into the thick weirdness of low-visibility; to feel dizzied by it, but curious and smiley
+being taught so many millions of times and laughing about the forgetting about how, of course, the places that are least clear are also most magical
+trust, always

The other neat thing was that i had a class to go and teach in an industrial kind of area with big, clanking buildings and unused train tracks that wind into other buildings and little sprouts of trees growing sparsely.  I had a spare ten minutes when i got there (which never happens), so instead of going right in, i crossed the street into the creepy, beautiful fog, and yielded.

probity and an eclipse


I have nothing in particular to report except maybe that that moon was pretty neat last night.

And that trying to be good is important.  And by trying to be good i mean acting in a way that aligns with what the heart knows is true.
And that that takes work because first you have to check what your heart says and then you have to check if you are aligning with it and then you have to not be lazy.
Do you know this word?  I just learned it.  Isn’t it strong and sturdy? -the quality of having strong moral principles; honesty, decency.   I would pitch my apple wagon to that word any day.  The neatest part is its root in the french word ‘prouver.’  To prove.
Like probity isn’t just integrity.  It’s being proven to have integrity.  Like integrity doesn’t exist unless it’s been tested.

Integrity is illuminated by challenge.

The moon this weekend.  Masked and mysterious and covered in the shadow of the earth.
I feel happy about all of the people who walked to the end of their sidewalks to stand forever with fellow humans/strangers and stare at the moon.  Where did they get that patience?  Or are they waiting for something wild to happen?; the moon and its redness and the eclipse, these things have often whispered of the end of the world haven’t they?  My friend said: why don’t we all stare at the moon more often; i feel like i know it better today?  I think that’s a good question.

Still.  I don’t believe in the end of the world.
I am being shown how to believe in the hard work of living daily and well and in taking tiny steps to live a life and to have it be one that i can sleep at night about.

Slow, steady, eclipse-illuminated hard work of really livin.
I love this life.

How is your heart?

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For me, the most beautiful things in this world are the ones that are concealed.  I like straight up pretty, too, but when i’m honest with myself, I love the work.  I connect with things while discovering them.  Does everyone?
I don’t want anything for free.

A friend recently sent me a little article about Bob Johnston (who produced Dylan and Johnny Cash!) that called art ‘the concealment of art.’ (It said a lot of other things too, but that’s for another story.)

Art is the concealment of art.
This riddle turned my brain inside out.  So I took it into my body instead and there it started to unravel and unwind.  (I still don’t know what it means, but it felt like something good.)

Is it that the most beautiful or feeling-invoking or thought-provoking things are wild and undelivered?

That art and life are most beautiful in funny, strange packaging that is ours to unwrap blindfolded, upside-down, backwards, with our feet?

I think so.

There are so many things that are better when you have to work for them:
A child, warming up to a new experience slowly, tentative at first, and then bursting in.
Apprivoisement (from the Le Petit Prince; the idea that something is just like every other something until you develop an intimacy with it and then it’s yours forever.)
Writing a story and not knowing what will come.
Detective work, my favourite game when I was a little-and now.
Tapping into, until you hear it a little more loudly, clearly, bravely, that voice in you that knows everything there is to know.
All the gods and all the mysteries of this wide universe.
Love, in all of its wretched, beautiful forms.

These are acts of faith; the exploration it takes by a certain brave heart to allow the unmasking of life.
So the other day, i asked that voice in my little heart that knows the answers a Big Question.
My habit is to waffle around between head and heart, never lingering anywhere long enough to actually get anything uncovered, except maybe some surface level fears and cravings and other red herrings.
But this day, i planted myself into the ground, and asked and wondered and willingly held the concealment in my heart until, after a terribly long time, it began its untangling of itself from the untruths and the half-truths and became just beautiful, honest.  I looked up to discover the most enchanting blue feather, right where it shouldn’t have been, with no blue birds in sight.
Just kidding; nothing got unconcealed, no conclusions were handed over, but i really liked the concealment, so perhaps answers came anyway.


Heart tree: addendum


I’m not leaping to any conclusions or anything, but based empirical evidence it appears that sometimes when you cut down a heart tree, cull it right down to its roots, it becomes a fertile breeding place for new growth.

I’m just telling you what I saw.



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nothing much to report except these mundane and precious details of day-to-day life:
it’s spring; i live in a treehouse again.  green is everywhere you look.  except above, of course, which is pure sky.
restorative yoga- yes.  doing things gently-yes.  N.B. settle down/chill out.
there’s a tree-heart at coronation park.
i said yes! to teach at a yoga festival, because i’m a joiner sometimes, but almost never.
learning, learning, clumsy fumbling, learning.
and a few lucky breaks including a spot on portman being nothing after all, an ache in my body fixing itself, small communities, and love.

what’s new with you?


“put some honey and sea water by your bed.
acknowledge, that your being needs sweetness and cleansing,
that it is sore.
that you are, soft.”
-orishas (nayyirah waheed)

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I know.
Photos of yoga mats, feet, dogs, food.
They’re all boring.

But i’m in the market for a little boring.
Or maybe it’s Summer speaking.  Or the fact that this has been a period of big, hard labour.

I’ve been spending a lot of time Getting Shit Done and Making Lists and Thinking about the Lists and about Getting Shit Done. As fast and efficiently as i can.  Always.  It’s fun too, but equilibrium is where it’s at.
At the end of my days, I suspect that I will think happily of the times when I hung around with muddy feet, the taste of honey, and laughed my heart out.
My tendencies of late to quickly get shit done and make lists really are a craw in the side of the laughing and muddy feet.  And joy. Soften up the edges a little, man.

And so i got a baby pink yoga mat.  And a soft smile.
Accompanying the yoga mat and the soft smile are other things like quietness, opening, waiting, willingness and being sensitive.  They didn’t even advertise those!  This mat is so much better than the old green one.

One of the yoga students talked to me about leisure on Saturday after class.
She says that she suspects in the next ten years, exercise will become kind of eighties, and that leisure will be the next big thing. Here’s hoping. I’m going to make a little prayer for it and start now. From the pink mat.



Is there anything so merciful as a simple ending?

A natural, (by which i mean simple, by which i mean unjarring, unresisted, supported, painless, held and timely) death is a thing of beauty.

My grandmother, Bill Coe’s mother, has just passed away.

I don’t normally use that term, passed away, because that’s not usually how people go.
But she, a century old and in good health, did.
She was a hundred and I respected her for her longevity and her consistency.  She had, years ago, resolved to live longer than her aunt who had lived til she was ninety-nine.
Her stubbornness courses through my veins.

She was so good at correspondence and Scrabble and being oversensitive and predictable.  On Sundays she went to church.  I used to think she mostly liked the community there, but now I see it was the sturdiness of it.  Crisp, wool clothing.  I like to think it was partly the ritual that took her there.
When she was only in her eighties, she used to go on frequent adventures alone.   Big trips even.  These haven’t happened since her nineties began so i’ve forgotten all about them until now, and it’s a nice remembering.  There was always ivory soap at her house.  She was very sensitive, in skin and in sentiment and this sensitivity often caught me off my guard.
She would go to the gardens at the legislative grounds when she didn’t have a garden of her own and would do the weeding there.  I think they gave her some honorary award for her work even.  She was only ninety-three then.

If you know the rest of my family and their complete and utter disregard for stability, you would see that these are hefty compliments that i am throwing around: stable, predictable, consistent are a pretty big deal.

I didn’t realize she was that tough, but you don’t go around living for a century without some pretty powerful heartiness.  I am thankful that this kind of woman was the root system set down in my family because I sense that that is where the feeling of sturdiness despite other malfunctions in a bloodline comes from, at least in part.

The roots remain.

What i’ve been especially feeling about lately, is that if we just do our work, like really take the opportunity to do the work we’re offered this life, have some fun, be steady in ourselves, take some rest, let our guts guide us, feel the sunshine on our faces, be in winter when it’s winter, summer, spring, be in fall, hold onto nothing, but be fully in the thick of it, observe nature, be quiet and still and solitary, be among people, listen, that is to say: be,

that we fall into our place among things.

We die when we’re meant to die and we live when we’re meant to live.

I like not having to question this.

The other morning, a Canada goose, very freshly returned from his winter trip, sat up on top of that billboard at the forks that towers humongously over the wooden foot bridge, the one that lets you walk across the Assiniboine River and feels so good underfoot.
He honked his heart out, was looking for someone.  My heart breaks for lone geese, lone anything.  I don’t even like to leave one fork in the cutlery tray.  I know.

From the billboard mural, a hand reaches up out of the paint to touch him, assuring him of his place in things.
Seeing the beauty of that moment, his loud lonesomeness; the sound of longing, and this big picture of his belonging whelmed me.
Instinct brought him here.  Instinct would carry him back to his companions.  Or it would find him a new tribe.  He would find his place in the family of things.

I don’t know what this has to do with my grandmother’s passing, but it has something to do with it.  Maybe that sometimes nature feels actually natural and painless at the same time.  Maybe that there is a family of things that we all belong to in our different, weird way.  And maybe that things will shake out just right (whatever that means), painlessly, effortlessly, when we listen to the tiny but substantial echoes that call to us from that low, hollow place in our guts.

For the words below, recorded long ago, the context forgotten, and for the cycle of life that is so unshakeably evident and huge and holding, and for a strong woman who lived and died well…

For these things and all of the others in the family of things, my heart is humble and thankful today.

“If we listen to the world, and let it act on us without either-or judgements and ideas,
then we can learn to comprehend each flash of pleasure as a tone in the infinite harmony.
The orchestra of the world plays the familiar melodies again and again,
and the old folks stand around and tap their feet while the young ones dance.”

-Thaddeus Golas

little triumphs

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(This isn’t my home, but it looks cute and I think it would definitely do, in a pinch.)

You gotta
Sit down funny face
Oh, let your laughter fill the room

Light up your golden smile
Take away all your misery and gloom
Oh, let your laughter fill the room
Oh, let your laughter fill the room

-Van Morrison, of course

There’s this new moon happening.  

Have you noticed?  The sky is a little extra dark and maybe your feet feel a little more deeply fixed onto (into, even) the earth, without that vexatious lunar pull tugging on your coat about something, and things might feel a little extra introspective.  (Even more than usual?!  Is that possible?)

The astrologers say that this time around, we’re meant to pause and honour ourselves for our triumphs, no matter how big or little.
McPhee says to be proud of your success.
I’ve never been quite sure about astrology, though I don’t claim to be much of a skeptic about any kind of magic either.  (Sorry for calling astrology magic.)  And McPhee is usually onto something.

Besides which, the human urge to do more, get more, be better, bigger, smarter, kinder, and otherwise all around more evolved is so exhausting after awhile, not to mention kind of sending the message of not-enoughness if the urge is constant, I would imagine.

Enough is enough.
Enough now.

As you stand there, under the giant dark sky of this empty moon, with your feet and legs like roots anchoring you into yourself, a self that is complete and fully developed and enough, look at your triumph square in the heart, and tell me that you remember that you are great.

I tried it.  It felt weird.  And simple.  And my goodness, it was a relief to pause in that still point for awhile.

My triumph, my friend:
I made a home.
After years of feeling sort of self-imposedly homeless.  Or at least just not at-home.
I shared a home.
And then I made myself another one.

And it doesn’t matter about any of the homes before that one, and it doesn’t matter if the barn burnt down, and it doesn’t matter if everyone left the home yelling their heads off at each other, and it doesn’t matter if the furniture gets sold or disintegrates into the ground, or i have it or you have it and or if some guy picked it up off the boulevard.
I made a home and I let myself feel at home there.  The feeling of home was had and now I’ll never forget it again.

First aside:
Remember that part in Garden State when Zach Braff says: “Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.”  I like that.  I don’t think he’s right though.

The last time I had a home which had a soul that started to look like us, one of us disappeared, and it was so hard to look at the place that reflected back the soul that was no longer here, so I emptied the place out into a giant BFI, regretfully, admittedly; it would have been nice to have a little something to remember things by.

It’s important to distinguish:
This isn’t a place of sequestering.
That is some kind of prison.  I’ve lived there too.

Home is a different business altogether.
It is made of tradition, and love, and breakfast, sitting at a table in your comfiests, and it lives and breathes and it’s got hope in it, i think.
It’s a place to come to at the end of the day and set your bag down, and your day down, and sigh, and be yourself and be yourself, sometimes exhausted, sometimes empty, and often happy if you’re lucky.  (And you are.  Lucky.)

And it’s a place where you let go of your edges and your laughter fills the room, or tears do, (really livin!), and the laughter and the tears mix in with some memories held in the walls and your breath which happens while you sleep or while you fold some laundry or cook applesauce from your very own apples if you are lucky enough to have some, and the place itself starts to have a soul that looks like yours.  This is magic.

I think home is the feeling of letting your heart feel safe.  (Family might be the people that hold this space for you.  Family is another post.) My success is that I let my heart feel safe enough to build a home.

I don’t know what it is actually, but I know it when I feel it, and i’m so incredibly thankful that I had one, and I wish it well, no hard feelings, home is where your heart is anyway, and my heart’s right here.

As another aside, my other triumph is listening to the Buddha (or whoever really said it) and letting go of things that are no longer meant for me.
A triumph in progress.
I love this place,

Biggest love to you, triumphant human.

ps.  Last aside.  This great (!) Van Morrison song used to be the song with which i christened (or smudged or puja’d?) spaces (and road trips and mix tapes and the drive to the grocery store and friendships.)  I hadn’t listened to it lately, until now, under this cold, dark moon, with friends and laughter that fills the room.
Give it a listen.  Do it.  You won’t be sorry.

Wait, now in case you don’t go over there and listen to van morrison belt it out,

here’s my favourite part:
(It’s all of them.)

Virgo Clowns
by Van Morrison

Let us free you from the pain
Let us see you smile again
Let us unlock all the chains
You’re broken-hearted

Let us help you to forget
Let us help you unlock it
It’s not nearly time to quit
You’ve only started

You gotta
Sit down funny face
Oh, let your laughter fill the room

Light up your golden smile
Take away all your misery and gloom
Oh, let your laughter fill the room
Oh, let your laughter fill the room

Let us shake you by the hand
Let us help you understand
Take your head out of the sand
And shake it free now

Let us help you to go on
We are here to lean upon
Now you know exactly just who
You want to be now

Come on
Sit down funny face
Oh. let your laughter (yeah)
Let your laughter fill the room

Light up your golden smile
Take away all your misery and gloom
Oh, let your laughter fill the room
Oh, let your laughter fill the room

(Instrumental, mandolin & bass clarinet)

Let us lift you up on high
See the twinkle in your eye
Raise you up into the sky
And say it’s easy

Hey let the trumpets ring it
Oh, let the angels sing it
Let your pretty feet go dancing
Let your worn out mind go prancing

And sit down, oh funny face
Oh, let your laughter fill the room

Light up your golden smile
Take away all your misery and gloom
Oh, let your laughter fill the room, come on
Let your laughter fill the room

Let your laughter fill the room
Let your laughter fill the room
Let it fill the room