Archives for posts with tag: peace

Sunday morning was bittersweet as it was our last day at Hope Springs Institute, but we were excited about the activities Lotus Flower Studio had planned for us.  The day started off in the Spirit House for pranayama and meditation around the fire.  I mostly reflected on how simple all of this seems here at Hope Springs and whether or not I will be able to incorporate these techniques in my daily life.

Breakfast was amazing.  In fact, all the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners at Hope Springs were amazing.  I was thrilled that they were able to handle my crazy diet without it causing any problems.  In fact, the gluten free options tended to go as quickly if not quicker than the regular options.  It was amazing to have someone take care of you like that.  I’m still not used to having to make my own meals and it’s been a few days.  I was thrilled that Hope Springs has their own cook book ($20.00) so once I feel like cooking again I can recreate the meals I enjoyed there.

After breakfast we went on a hike, this time through the meadows and we got to see more butterflies and the clear blue sky.  I could get used to going on long walks after every meal.

I started not feeling great so I thought I would rest a while and took the time everyone was in the final yoga session to get completely packed and even felt ok enough after a while to venture to Spirit House since I think this is the place I will miss the most.  My sister came along later and we had fun recapping the whole experience.

After lunch, we had a raffle and I won a yoga strap and Beth gave me her eye pillow that she won because she says she can fall asleep anywhere at any time under any circumstances.

It was tough leaving such an amazing place and I’m really hoping to go back someday when I need another recharge.  (Umm, like this weekend maybe…)

For some reason, my mom and sister didn’t want to get up early for the morning yoga and pranayama practice so I went by myself and enjoyed the cool morning air and sun salutations.

After breakfast, we went on a hike to explore Hope Spring Institute‘s 100 acres of undisturbed nature trails.  I loved walking in the early morning before I would normally be done drinking coffee and thinking about what to do that day.

Later that morning, we assembled in the yoga studio to learn about how Pilates came to be and practiced some of the moves before seeing a Pilates Reformer in action for the first time.  It was very neat looking but I was a little afraid of it.  After lunch, we had some time to do whatever we wanted but we all had some scheduled appointments.  One was for a reflexology session with Donna Miller of Natural Balance Reflexology, LLC.  The other was for a session on the Reformer, which ended up being a very fun workout.

After free time, we got back into the yoga studio for a yoga session aimed at teaching us ways to grow our practice at home.  It was really helpful because we talked about ways to keep working toward your goal poses little by little.  I secretly have always wanted to be able to do full pigeon and I didn’t ever think of it as being particularly achievable until after this session.

Flowing right from the yoga, we got set on our mats for Yoga Nidra, which is the deepest relaxation I’ve ever had.  I didn’t want to leave the studio, even for dinner.

After dinner, we walked the labyrinth, which was the most enlightening experience considering I didn’t think I was going to get anything out of it whatsoever.  We all really came to the same conclusions even though we were all walking it separately.

My favorite part of Saturday came at the very end when we had a campfire in the woods (don’t worry, there was a clearing).  We had a drum circle, made s’mores, and looked at the stars.  I saw constellations I hadn’t seen since taking Astronomy in high school (and then the stars were in the planetarium, not in real life).  The best part was that there was a meteor shower that night and we saw so many shooting stars.  I think I’ve found my new happy place to imagine when life gets rough.

My mom, sister, and I just got back from an amazing wellness retreat weekend hosted by Lotus Flower Studio.  It was so relaxing and wonderful and packed with great things that I decided to make it a 3 part series on my blog to make sure I don’t miss anything. (Sorry the pictures are blurry!  I don’t know sometimes how to get my iPhone to behave.)

We started out on Friday around 2:00 pm and headed south to Peebles, Ohio where Hope Springs Institute is located.  We got there a little before 5:30 and were so happy with our rooms.  We had the opportunity to share a suite in the farmhouse because we were the only group of three.  That meant we each got our own room and a separate bathroom we didn’t have to share with anyone but the three of us.  We even had a little living room to hang out in and do a little extra yoga.  What made the farmhouse so great to my mom, sister, and me was that it looked and smelled just like my great grandmother’s house in Missouri.  It felt like we were transported back in time to the summer vacations spent in the country.

Right after orientation and dinner, we walked to Spirit House to meditate and talk about the weekend ahead.  The country air is so fresh and there is nothing to interrupt the calm and quiet except for the hum of bees and chirping of crickets and crackling of the fire.

Friday was the evening we started learning about Yin Yoga, which incorporates a lot of the postures from Hatha yoga and stretches the time to hold the posture by several minutes.  So instead of holding a posture for a quick minute or two, you might be keeping it going for 5-20 minutes depending.  It was pretty neat to learn about a new style of yoga and I plan on using that at home since the routine wouldn’t have to have a lot of different postures involved.

We watched a movie called Titans of Yoga, which is about yoga teachers and why they started doing yoga in the first place.  We ate popcorn and drank tea and when the movie was over we went back to our rooms to relax and rest up for a very full Saturday.

I’ve started taking a pilates class at Lotus Flower Studio and it’s been a lot of fun for me.  I originally wanted to take a yoga class but with nothing fitting into my schedule anywhere I looked, I went for the next best thing – pilates.  I normally would have steered clear because I had had bad experiences with pilates in the past, but at Lotus Flower, it’s a lot more relaxing and my instructor encourages us to just try everything even if we might look awkward or have more challenges than some of the more experienced pilates students in the room.  I never expected to have fun in pilates but this is a great class and I’m happy I found it.

Lotus Flower Studio (located inside At Peace Massage & Wellness)
8605 North Dixie Drive
Suite D
Dayton, OH  45414
(937) 307-9353

“Be strong, be brave, be true.  Endure.”

– Advice told by Abdulrahman Zeitoun to author Dave Eggers, Zeitoun

I just started and finished an amazing book about Hurricane Katrina called Zeitoun by Dave Eggers.  I have to admit, I thought it was going to be the story of one family’s struggle to rebuild after the storm but it was way, way more.  While staying behind to protect his many properties, Zeitoun becomes incarcerated unjustly and there the reader becomes privy to unbelievable breaches in civil rights on our own soil.  Reading this book, I was frequently frustrated to tears, enraged, and in disbelief.  I actually checked the spine label that the library placed on the book several times while reading to make sure it was in fact non fiction.

The Dayton Metro Library chose Zeitoun as their selection for the Big Read this year and I think everyone should pick it up.  The writing is never preachy, only delivering facts and the impressions of the people who lived through the storm, its aftermath, and hysteria.  Zeitoun was honored with the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

Don’t have time to read a book?  Just watch this video of the Zeitoun’s discussing their ordeal.

One Sunday afternoon, my husband and I decided to visit the Dayton International Peace Museum.  With a pamphlet and a map, you meander at your own pace through the historic mansion, stopping at each exhibit for as long as you’d like.  The most moving exhibit to me was on the top floor and involved the bombing of Hiroshima.  Along with the gruesome images and startling facts were the paper cranes of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes – a story very dear to my heart after reading it many times in elementary school.  Sadako is a girl born in Japan who is diagnosed with leukemia and decides to try to improve her chance of survival by folding 1,000 origami cranes but sadly can only complete 644 before succumbing to the disease.  In Girl Scouts and in the gifted program at my elementary school, we worked to complete the remaining 356 cranes and in the process it helped us to understand the devastating and long-term impact of war.

If I were a teacher, I would insist on taking a field trip to the Dayton International Peace Museum.  There are about 3,000,000 opportunities to learn about something new, not to mention the overarching lesson to all of the exhibits – war solves nothing, war achieves nothing, but war destroys nearly everything.

Dayton International Peace Museum
208 W. Monument Ave.
Dayton, OH  45402

“A third reason why we should love our enemies is that love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.  We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy by getting rid of enmity.  By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up.  Love transforms with redemptive power.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

This wonderful quote appeared in my newsfeed on facebook from the Dayton International Peace Museum.  We should all take some time today to contemplate what a wonderful influence Martin Luther King, Jr. has had on our society.  He had the courage to speak while others saw the same injustice and said nothing.

When you are having Christmas morning for your family, what’s the worst a pretty bad thing to happen?  You could get sick!  Like me!!1!  So in lieu of any actual content, here are some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken with my iphone from the past few weeks prepping for Christmas and working.  Someone pass the Mucinex-DayQuil-laced egg nog, please and thank you.  Also, Merry Christmas to the Christians, Catholics, and festive atheists, Happy Hanukkah to the Jewish people, Blessed Yule to the pagans, Happy Kwanzaa to the African Americans, and have a great non-celebratory coincidental family gathering to the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Yes, I think that about covers everyone… oh and Happy Festivus for the rest of us.  Anyways, no matter what you believe or why you’re celebrating or not celebrating, I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful and peaceful holiday season.

John Bryan State Park

In an effort to soak up every last pretty moment of autumn, recently my mom, sister, and I took part in the Pace for Peace 5K benefiting the Family Violence Prevention Center of Greene County.  I loved that we had a reason to get outside in the fresh air at John Bryan State Park (and the breakfast at Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs afterward didn’t hurt).  Even though we achieved a better time, we unfortunately came in last place. 

To congratulate ourselves for a job well done, we went shopping and I bought a beautiful rice bowl from Yellow Springs Pottery.

Me, Husband, & Julia!

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”

-Milan Kundera