One of my greatest joys over the last couple of months has been leading or co-leading tours at our Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art where I'm now a docent. A competition was held for designs for playhouses representing countries that were favorites of the Cheeks, the family who established this country estate. I haven't led a playhouse tour, but took eighteen 9-12th graders for a tour of our sculpture trail yesterday and had a great time! Sunday I'm leading a garden tour for visitors who want to brave the heat and see the gardens. I'll take them to the Japanese Garden, as it's a favorite and cooler there. Adults who join walk-up tours are usually from out of town and enjoyable, but it's the youngsters that I most enjoy taking through various parts of the gardens--particularly those who have never been to Cheekwood and might never come again. Sharing what I so enjoy gives me such pleasure!
Last evening I participated in a Yoga workshop designed to provide self-love. A younger woman at the Episcopal Chapel on Vanderbilt campus convened the group, made up primarily of young moms and young single women. I was much the senior participant and energized by the younger energy in the room!
I found spots in my body that are not energized, balance that needed work and ways of moving that are not part of my Pilates or Tai Chi routines. I also found that I still don't like putting my body in awkward or difficult positions and holding them. I did feel safe, but wanted it to be okay to move out of the positions that didn't feel comfortable rather than to hold and breath into them. The leader wanted us to adjust (a little) as needed but maintain the integrity of the pose, which was necessary, I suppose, to provide the breath cleaning that was her goal. I was happy when we went into traditional meditation for a few minutes, glad to turn to something I knew how to do! I'm going to ask her what value I missed in holding the uncomfortable poses--as I simply wished them to be over.
As part of a paired share, we expressed feelings in body poses rather than words--interesting, and the one piece I might use in another workshop when I find a way to schedule one. It wasn't a deep experience for me last night, but his morning see the body pose connections to my childhood trauma. I feel good that it wasn't threatening but the poses felt forced and that to continue as part of the group, I could not deviate. I'll meditate on how my desires to be the starter of programs or groups comes out of my fear that the rules set by others will be abusive or even unethical. How does this fit in with my liberal views of Christianity? There is much to muse and learn from this workshop experience that is only coming to light as I write.
I'll end with a few photos from my recent time in the Smoky Mountains, including a shot of grandson Will, who drove up from Knoxville to hike with me one day. It was a joyful time! As lovely as those mountains are, they won't move the Rockies out of the number one spot in my heart!
The hut is one where folks on the Appalachian Trail sleep or rest, and the trail photo is from the 4 miles of the AT that I hiked alone. Will stands in front of flame azaleas on Andrews Bald where we also saw the pink rhododendron. The white ones were all over the park.
After the Smokies, I visited a friend from the Israel trip in
Atlanta where we toured the Hindu Temple shown here, and
met a group of finely dressed folks heading for a wedding!
Chattanooga was my final stop on that 770-mile trip, and I enjoyed visiting with old friends and a whirlwind tour of much that is new there!
My next post will hopefully come from the Pearl Mist cruise ship as good friend Peter (ONLY friend!) and I cruise the Great Lakes. If not then, I'll be hiking the Rockies the end of July through mid-August! Have a wonder-filled summer!