Tag Archives: YogaPractice

A Signature Smoothie

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I began this blog with a dilemma: hating coffee, but, loving coffee shops. And I’ve spent the past one-and-a-half years trying to recreate the sparks of thought, reflection, and creativity that coffee shop ambience inspires within me.

Well now, I’ve found a solution to the first half of my polar quandary. Instead of cups of gourmet coffee with frothy hearts atop their steamy ceilings, I’ve developed a recipe for a Mocha Smoothie.

 

An all-natural, caffeine-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan alternative that satisfies the taste buds while nourishing the body and soul.

I drink it after workouts; post-yoga; in-between meals when cravings try to sneak in.

So, now I have the drink to sip. I just need the human company. The live conversation. The tangible infusion of the senses that only a brick-and-mortar shop can provide. That’s my next challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the moment, though, here’s the recipe:

  • 7 – 8 ounces of Water
  • 20 Raw Almonds + 5 Raw Cashews, soaked overnight and then rinsed
  • 1 tsp Maca Powder
  • 1 T Cocoa Powder (My favorite is Just Like Sugar Cocoa Mix)
  • Handful of Fresh Blueberries
  • 1 Scoop of Vegan Protein Powder, Mocha Flavored (My favorite is Vega)
  • 1/2 Banana – Frozen, Fresh, or Pureed (Yes, as in baby food! It offers a sumptuous, custardy texture.)
  • 8 Frozen Cherries

Place in a single-serving blender in this order. Blend for 30 -45 seconds.

 

And may your cup always be filled to the rim.

 

The Grind

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Mocha Muse has its very own newspaper, The Grind. It may contain a quote, a poem, song lyrics, snippets of overheard conversation or fascinating facts about creativity/life. So, leather sofa in Home Interiorsnuggle into the sofa, unfold the paper and reach for your morning cup of coffee.

Here’s the twenty-sixth issue. . . just click on newspaper to enlarge, then continue to click until text is readable for you!

 

 

 

Thanks to: Mitch Hedberg

I’m Still Learning About My Internal Queue

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Coffee Queue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m realizing that as I write and blog my tiny stories through this process called Life, I have a queue of lifelong infatuations in my head and heart.

I’m crushing on: lichens, moss, barnacles, Spanish moss, flamingos, wisteria, colorfully painted small towns with diagonal parking, ghost towns, ruins, desolation, diners, cafes, coffeehouses, little white churches, Route 66, antique buttons/beads/lace, and yoga.

 

Yogini

Such disparate passions. How do they all connect?

I thought I might learn by blundering my way through a blog. But, after nearly a year, I still have no idea.

And, yet, I do maintain this one stubborn fantasy: Stitching this seemingly unrelated queue together in the form of vignettes and poems, under the rubric of Diagonal Parking.

So, perhaps another year of clumsy musings and awkward rambling will bring a clearer vision of how I want to write down the bones and form the skeleton of my creative fancy.

Meanwhile, close on its heels is another reverie.

I’d ideally like to take a road trip of indefinite length, and spend time in the indulgence of small towns, explore ghost towns and ruins, ride the asphalt of the Mother Road over and over, dine in cafes, park diagonally, hike and meditate among the lichen/moss-splattered rocks, drive the “loneliest road in Nevada” and let desolation sink deeper into my soul, maybe even squawk with a flock of flamingos and dance the Fandango draped in Spanish moss beneath meandering vines of purple wisteria. And whenever I reach water with a pier, sit with the barnacles and study their formations.

At the moment, I have not a clue how to realize this two-part dream. But, I’m going to set up a matrix and release it. And see what unfolds.

And, if nothing does .  .  . well .  .  . I can always get behind the counter, gaze at the black-and-white checkered flooring, and serve the world its mocha java with a steaming smile.

Or, perhaps, do what I do best: sashay down the sidewalk of Main Street, braid myself into a yoga pose, and observe the world passing by .  . . meditating on all the contradictions and eccentricities it and I contain, while invisibly grinning at my self as I persistently search for the Truth, which I keep swearing to God exists and is accessible.

If only inside a rainbow queue of coffee cups.

Edible Good Luck

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Holidays can be very flexible, if we give them permission.

And if a holiday doesn’t get celebrated on its calendar date, well .  .  . nothing is really lost. Its spirit will unfold when the time is ripe. All will remain aligned in this infinitely vast universe whether I forget or remember.

Personally, on New Year’s Eve, I’ve abandoned the ritual of crafting lists of rigid resolutions in favor of sighing into the agility that yoga practice has taught me. Now my importance is: exhaling deeply, contemplating expansively, embracing whimsy.

I’m not a holiday purist.

But I do enjoy New Year’s. And I did neglect to post this on the absolute first day of 2016. What I’m thinking is that the whole weekend is the holiday. It’s been stretched like chewing gum since it fell on a Friday. That makes it extra special.

Now getting around to edibility, what I want to say is that since my younger self dug some pretty deep roots in the Appalachian South, you could say my grey matter is soiled with some superstitious belief that eating a feast of black-eyed peas and collards will start the new year with luck and money.

Some years I remember; some years I blithely forget. I’ve never kept track of either one’s luck factor. So who knows what brought good fortune or poverty in any given year?

This year I semi-remembered. We ate “luck and money” Southwestern style: Spanish Rice, pinto beans, doughy white tortillas, green broccoli.

It may sound aberrant, however, here’s the full Southern blessing:

Rice for riches,

peas for pennies,

collards for dollars,

cornbread for gold.

TRANSLATION:

Rice symbolizes wealth and community.

Black-eyed Peas, because they swell when cooked, represent prosperity.

Collard Greens symbolize dollar bills.

Cornbread, cooked to a rich saffron yellow, looks like bars of gold.

 

My thoughts are this: Sometimes Southern-style white rice is accompanied by pickled beets. So.  .  . since a little bleeding of red is auspicious, because red is for rubies, why not Spanish Tomato-red? It’s a jewel tone.

And Pinto Beans; they swell also. So, prosperity should be well represented.

Broccoli. Lightly steamed. Emerald in color. Shade tree in shape. My father always insisted that money doesn’t grow on trees, but, I refused to fully believe. It’s a forest of glistening emeralds.

Doughy White Tortillas. I think “dough” says it all. Besides, do gold bars really back our currency these days?

Regardless,

To all, Blessings and Good Fortune and Prosperity in this nascent year, whether you eat your luck or disguise it in alternate forms!

And check out #3 on the list of New Year’s Resolutions in the photo above: “Drink Good Coffee.” Mocha Muse Coffee Shop supports this one!

 

 

**Reference Source: Our State, for the Southern New Year’s Blessings and Translation.

The Grind

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Mocha Muse has its very own newspaper, The Grind. It may contain a quote, a poem, song lyrics, snippets of overheard conversation or fascinating facts about creativity/life. So, leather sofa in Home Interiorsnuggle into the sofa, unfold the paper and reach for your morning cup of coffee.

 

 

 

Here’s the sixteenth issue. . . just click on newspaper to enlarge, then continue to click until text is readable for you!

 

The Grind - (7-20-2015) Make Space For Creativity

 

*References: Light and Sound Teachings & UberFacts

 

 

Small Towns, Ghost Towns and Abandonment

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Main street in american townI have long loved small towns, even though, or, perhaps because, I grew up in cities and metropolitan regions.

There is something very nurturing to me about life in a small town. It’s gentler and calmer. And even when small towns lose their people, I love their remnants. A ghost town or a partially-abandoned village coaxes out my maternal instincts. I find myself wanting to adopt them, love them, color them with many shades of grace. Nelson Ghost town

So after my divorce nine years ago, it was perfectly appropriate that I move to a tiny village in the middle of miles and miles of New Mexican prairie. And since the town was abandoned in sections, I felt at-one with it because I’d also been abandoned by love.

For three+ years I lived in The Resting Place, as translated from Spanish, and rebuilt a house, my soul, and my creativity.

In honor of this sacred time of my life, and, primarily in homage to the very special and solitary barn owl who adopted me, I’ve written a short story.

Barn Owl

    A FEATHERED MIRACLE

I’ve been conflicted about barn owls for quite a while.

Why barn owls? Well, they’re beautiful, stealthy, mysterious creatures that allure me. But, one killed my newborn kitten, China Blue, years ago in the backwoods of Virginia. And that left me queasy.

I’ve since changed my heart dramatically.

Let’s fast forward three decades. The year is 2007. I’m suddenly and traumatically divorced. I’m living out on the high plains of New Mexico in a tiny village. I’m hiding out for a spell; for recovery. I’m hiding primarily from men. Because I’m wounded, I want the warmth of women around me. I swear I’ll never date or marry another man. I want only friendship with men – and that’s friendship with no benefits.

During the first year of cloistering, I spent much time rebuilding a house and remodeling my soul. Prayer and meditation and journaling were daily ablutions. I was living in self-imposed isolation and beginning to feel like a saint in a shanty, or, perhaps, a monk minus a monastery. Whenever reclusiveness transformed into desolation, I’d go out for a walk. Commune with nature. Breathe deeply that sacred air of open space.

On one of my wanderings, I walked down the gravel driveway, following the scalloped edges of decorative bricks that outlined a row of Siberian elm trees. When I wasn’t staring at air, I often gazed at the ground. The dirt, as fine as talcum powder, fascinated me. The botanical beauty that survived despite such lean resources awed me. So, in this frame of mind, I was watching my feet crunch grey gravel, when, abruptly, I almost stepped on a large, oval-shaped, tobacco-colored ball. At quick glance, it could have been dog dung; on second inspection, I noticed the smooth, dry coating. Cigar-like in texture.

With a stick, I poked and prodded until the shell fractured and revealed a huddle of tiny bones – even a skull – all the size and shape of a mouse. That’s when I thought: Raptor. So, I looked directly upward, through the elevator shaft of leafy branches, right in the top “V,” and met a pair of eyes staring at me from the soft beauty of an apple-shaped face.

Oscar, Well Camouflaged in His V, with Eyes Shining a Transcendent White Gaze.

Oscar, Well Camouflaged in His V, with Eyes Shining a Transcendent White Gaze.

Oh my goodness, it was a barn owl, perched just ten feet from my house.

Was it a temporary visitation or a permanent resident, I wondered. Having raised a variety of birds in my life, I knew instinctively it was a male, and it felt strangely protective. Almost as though he’d arrived by divine decree.

I inspected the ground each morning for a week, found a daily cluster of “bone-balls,” as I called them, and made contact with staring eyes from above. By this time, I knew he was a permanent installation. I also knew he had a name. We locked eyes and I uttered “Oscar.” He telescoped his head slightly farther forward, in approval or recognition it seemed. We connected.

I had wanted no male interruption, but, Oscar was stunningly gorgeous and calm and faithful. He hunted every night and I inspected his catch every morning. By the quality and quantity of his bounty, I knew he was a great hunter. And he was also solitary. So many other owls around town were coupled, but Oscar wanted to be alone in the “V” of this one particular tree, so he could triangulate me.

Potentially eerie, but, his steadfast presence brought such nobility and peace to my life that I relaxed. I accepted him as a holy gift and a mentor. When my heart was especially troubled, I’d stand at the base of the tree and talk with him. I’d ask him to share his wisdom and guidance. He did so faithfully. After every “conversation,” I’d feel an inner tingling; a quiet little voice that whispered an answer.

This amazing relationship continued to grow. Some of my neighbors noticed me talking to a tree and stopped by to inquire. I’d then introduce Oscar, and, invariably, they’d smile and a new conversation would begin. I actually came to meet humans and develop friendships. Gradually, I loosened my grasp on reclusion. I even had men come and work on my property. Oscar scrutinized each one with grave caution. It was a silent battle of testosterone, and I was intrigued by his perceptiveness. The more macho the man, the more distressed Oscar became.

I knew I could trust Oscar’s instincts, so, when I dared myself to enter the dating game, I carefully watched for his assessments.

One man, who parked his truck and camper in my driveway, received a hailstorm of bone-balls on his vehicles. After two dates, Lee and I decided that friendship was our best option for connection. Oscar ceased pelting.

In 2009, I began dating a man who was brawny and manly, yet very sensitive. A strong balance of male and female energy. Oscar nearly lost his balance trying to stretch out far enough to examine Ron. I could tell Oscar was more interested in this man than any male who’d set foot on my property for any purpose. I asked Ron to step over to the tree and meet my feathered friend. He did so with delight, and Oscar was so serene and sweet toward him. He reacted with gentleness every time Ron came by, and they developed a little bromance.

By October 2009, Ron and I had decided to marry. I had to sell my darling cottage, and I was heartbroken to say goodbye to Oscar. I explained the whole situation, gave him directions to our new home, and asked him to join us after the honeymoon. He listened with deep compassion every day, until I finally had to pack my trousseau, and head to Las Vegas for the wedding.

By this time, I felt my bond with Oscar to be unwavering. I was convinced he’d wait for my return and travel the 30 miles to the new house. I picked out a tall aspen tree in the front courtyard that I thought he’d love. It was right next to the house, and surrounded by fifteen acres of hunting ground. He listened intently, seeming to memorize the flight pattern.

Ron and I returned ten days later from our honeymoon, and my heart sank when I scanned the baring tree and was met only with Oscar’s absence. No fresh bone-balls were at the tree’s base. I watched and searched for weeks, but, he never reappeared. Once settled in the new place, I called him from my heart. But our aspen grove remained owl-less.

Trying to Summon Oscar by Practicing Yoga in the V of a Tree

Trying to Summon Oscar by Practicing Yoga in the V of a Tree

To this day, the mystery of Oscar haunts me with a sweet sadness. I miss his perpetual presence, but, I accept that he fulfilled his divine mission. He coaxed me forth from solitude, and back into the world of dynamic interactions, happiness, and spiritual growth.

He will always be my coach, my confidante, my wisdom-guide, and my messianic miracle.