Working from home in the mornings

This morning I got a call from a client I hadn’t seen in a while, wondering if she could get an appointment for bodywork sooner rather than later because she had been experiencing the misery of muscle spasms.

She lives somewhere in south Austin, and I live in Manchaca, and depending on how far south someone lives, it can be more convenient to come to my trailer rather than drive to my downtown studio.  Continue reading

Two years of blogging, and happy first birthday, wellbodymindheartspirit!

Two years ago today, I posted my first blog post on this blog. Back then, this blog was called The Zafu Report. After the first year, I expanded its mission and changed the name to The Well: bodymindheartspirit. The blog has evolved as I have evolved, and it’s been a great journey of learning by doing.

I am grateful to WordPress for providing templates and widgets that make it look good and take the skill and decision-making that goes with that out of my hands, freeing me up to write.

I thought I’d celebrate by listing the most viewed posts and thanking all of you who have connected. This, by the way, is the 503rd post I’ve published, and the blog has now received 26,847 views with 156 followers. My biggest lesson: persistence pays off.

  1. Home Page has gotten 4,493 views. Of course, the home page changes with each new post, so if you click a link that takes you to the blog, Home Page is where you land.
  2. Update on my Spartan trailer has received 1,844 views and the second most comments. A lot of people using search engines to find information about Spartan trailers end up here. (“spartan trailer,” “spartan trailer for sale,” “spartan carousel,” and “spartan trailers” are among the top 10 search engine terms to steer viewers to this blog.) I feel kind of badly for them because this is not a blog about Spartans. I happen to have purchased, transported, remodeled, and moved into a Spartan Carousel in the past year, and it’s definitely part of my lifestyle redesign to a more sustainable, less stressful way of life. In that way, it fits into my main topic of wellness, and after some internal debate, I decided to post about it here. Some Spartan-appreciating readers have lingered, commented, and/or checked out vintage campers.com or trailerchix.com, and I’ve made a few new friends whose interests jive with mine in a broader way. This particular post was added in April 2011 when I had purchased the trailer but was still awaiting title and delivery.
  3. Trauma releasing exercises has gotten 1,132 views. This post in May 2010 was written when I first revealed that I’d been experimenting with them. I’ve written a lot of posts since then about both trauma releasing exercises and shaking medicine, but this one has gotten the most views, mostly via search engines, because of the simple title.
  4. More yoga tattoos! has been viewed 566 times. That post actually links to Alison Hinks’ blog post of yoga tattoos. She’s awesome with the visuals! The internet must have many users who are hungry for tattoos relating to Asian spirituality, since “yoga tattoos,” “yoga tattoo,” and “buddha tattoo” are also among the top 10 search terms that landed viewers here. I have a yoga tattoo myself, a small OM.
  5. About me is actually a page, not a post. It’s received 500 views. I actually revise that page every so often because how I describe myself changes and will continue to change. Good for you for coming back. This page has gotten a few comments, too.
  6. Comparing trauma release and shaking medicine videos has gotten 336 views, and I’m pleased to have posted it. My exploration of these healing modalities included locating videos of each online and sharing. Curious viewers can see each modality in action.
  7. Book review: Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson is the next most viewed blog post, at 326 views. I enjoyed reading this book and writing this review. I especially liked the appendix to the book that lists supplements for optimal brain health, written by Rick Hanson’s wife, an acupuncturist. I wrote about that in Buddha’s Brain: Supplements for brain health (236 views). I take them.
  8. The left brain right brain crossover has received 322 views. That seems surprising for an anatomy topic, but I guess a lot of curious brain geeks out there are wondering about this too. I got a few comments, and it was reassuring that one reader told me, “just to let you know that you could study this for years and it would still remain an enigma. such is the complexity of the human brain – even at a macroscopic level!”
  9. Spartan Carousel has arrived! got 319 views. That was posted in late June of 2011, the day after it arrived from southeast Washington.  It has some photos, and it’s received more comments than any other post. Thank you for sharing my joyous relief at its arrival!
  10. The tenth most viewed post is Fantastic prehistoric cave art movie, posted May 17, 2011, with 307 views. I loved that film by Werner Erhardt. This post was written before I saw the movie. It included online research I did in advance of seeing it. Okay, I know I’m geeky like that! My actual review, Movie review: The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, was the 20th most viewed blog post.

So there you have it, the most viewed posts in two years of blogging. Thank you for reading.

And…my trailer now has sliding glass doors!

If you’ve been keeping up with progress on my Spartan Carousel trailer, when I bought it in February, it had a set of non-original sliding glass doors at the entry-way. They were too small to fill the space, and a previous owner had put a piece of particle board in the gap to fill up the space.

You can see them in the photos to the right.

The aluminum frames for the original doors were inside the trailer when I got it. Unfortunately, through some miscommunication, a helper that my handyman had hired to help him did not know that the frames were original, unique, and valuable, and he discarded them, thinking they were junk, before we got around to working on that particular problem. Just trying to help, you know.

I felt sad about the loss, but what could I do? Forgive, because he really didn’t know any better, and move on. Ian let him know it was a mistake to assume he could discard anything, and he was properly abashed and worked really hard after that.

I’ve been using the back door to get in and out this whole time, since late June.

This past week, Ian found a pair of wide sliding glass doors at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. They seemed to be a little bit too wide for the door frame in my trailer, which is riveted into the metal frame and shell and can’t be adjusted without huge expensive work being done.

He asked me if I wanted to take a risk for $60 that he could make the doors work. Heck yeah! If they didn’t work, we would have learned something, and I could redonate them as a charitable deduction.

Between measuring and re-measuring, consulting with the pros at Binswanger Glass (who could have cut the frame but not the safety glass), and trips to The Home Depot for the right kind of rollers, Ian got the doors in. They fit almost perfectly and are completely functional!

The latch is in the right place. There’s a little bit of overlap (half an inch) where the doors meet in the center, and with weatherstripping, it’s good enough. I can live with that. The only problem remaining is figuring out what needs to happen so that the doors can be locked and unlocked from the outside.

To have new custom doors made and installed would have cost about $2,000. This solution cost under $350, with most of that being labor. Ian is now a magician in my book who can do just about anything!

The photo shows the mixed border I planted with purslane and greens, the pots of aloe and basil, the solar lights, and the stand of ligustrum that was here when I moved in and seems planted catty-wampus to me. They aren’t native, so I didn’t water them during the worst of the drought, and one is dying. I’d like to eventually do some more pleasing landscaping with native plants out front.

So now about half of my living room walls is windows. I’m still working on getting window coverings. I have a call into Budget Blinds — big thanks to Katie Ford for that referral.

And an entry deck will be built soon!

So, progress. Yay!

Being blessed

I feel a little guilty for not posting much recently. All is well! I am loving my life in so many ways, let me begin to count them.

I love being a massage therapy student, learning, practicing, integrating. I’m friends with several massage therapists and bodyworkers. It is so cool to hang out and talk shop with them now!

It’s wonderful to work on my friends, too. Even when I’m massaging them along with a video, I thank them for their patience, because every time I practice, I integrate more. My hands are becoming antennas!

Today it occurred to me that my trailer is like a really fun playhouse for a grownup. I didn’t have a playhouse when I was a little girl, and I’m enjoying the heck out of living in this trailer. My visitors yesterday, Katie and her dad, Don, noticed that it is just my size, and it does feel spacious enough to me at 5′ 1″ tall. Living here makes me smile. 

I’m still working on window covering decisions/installation and the sliding glass door/front deck entrance. I’m also testing 5 kinds of weatherstripping before settling on the best and longest-lasting. That’ll be a weekend chore to get done before the first cold front.

I was looking online today at chimeneas, imagining how awesome will it be, when it gets cold, to sit in my living room and watch a fire burning in a chimenea on my deck without the mess of having firewood, ash, or smoke inside. Looking forward to that fire trance…

The kale, chard, and collards I planted in September have grown large enough to start eating. The two inches of rain in Austin a couple of weekends ago was awesome. Plants love rainwater so much more than tap water.

There’s a mockingbird who lives near me who sings his heart out every day. I’m training my cat Mango to be an inside cat because he doesn’t behave well sometimes when I let him out. The monarchs are passing through.

I spent time last week updating my resume and making sure the same version appears on STCaustin.com, monster.com, LinkedIn, and so on. In other words, I got serious about sending a clear, consistent message out. The next morning, I got a call from a recruiter about a part-time technical writing job (very rare) at a really good company. I interviewed first (first or last are the best slots). By no means do I have the job, but it’s incredibly heartening to put my intent out there and get such a positive result so promptly. This has happened before. It’s almost scary.

I danced this morning at Ecstatic Dance of Austin. After several years of being away from dance, earlier this year I discovered this new group, whose energy feels clean, spacious, and not overshadowed by personalities competing for dominance. I feel that the bodywork, energy work, and awareness work I’ve been doing really shows up when I dance for over an hour with presence, pleasure, and skill.

My friend and fellow dancer Lakshmi Jackman says:

There is a shortcut to ecstasy. It’s called dancing.

Amen, sister!

I am feeling so grateful, lucky, and blessed to be connecting with some awesome people. New friends, old friends, family. People are showing me their awesomeness all the time now. Stunning, amazing awesomeness!

Is it because I’m in school learning how to do work I love?

Is it because the world is my mirror, and my happiness is being reflected back to me?

Is it because I’m finally getting the hang of managing my own life with skill?

Have I become more powerful than I believe I am?

I don’t know, but I am definitely feeling in love with my life.

Dare I wish for a couple of private yoga students? I love teaching, especially beginners, and miss it.

So that’s the news from Lake … hmm. Lake Well-Being. Thanks for reading. Blessings to you too.

Spartan Carousel: new photos and widget

A lot of people find this blog because they’re searching for Spartan trailer information. People have also requested photos of my Carousel.

Today I took a bunch of photos that show the work done so far and what still remains to be done. I posted the photos on Flickr and added a new widget to this blog that links to my Flickr photostream.

The widget only holds 10 photos, so if you want to see all of the 42 photos I took today, click “More Photos” at the bottom of the widget to view them on Flickr. I believe you have to have a Flickr account to do that.

This link should also take you there: http://flic.kr/ps/Se5ts

Comments welcome, here or on Flickr!

By the way, I’m open for business teaching yoga to 1-4 students at a time in my trailer or your south or central Austin home and also starting my relaxation coaching practice!

Massage, brainwaves, NLP, work, yoga, women in prison, Gurdjieffian book group, trailer, and more

Life is going pretty well. Knock wood, right?

I’m doing well in massage school. Got in some great practice on three people outside of school this past Wednesday, ahead of Thursday’s practical exam. I have a major written test next week and then a week off. It’s hard to believe that I’m about halfway through!

Tomorrow it will be three months since I finished brainwave optimization. I am glad I did it. I feel more centered, my memory is better, and so is my focus. It’s been worth the expense, and I can still go back for individual sessions if I feel the need. It’s been helpful with juggling school/trailer/moving/remodeling/working and so on.

I’m looking forward to doing some gamma wave enhancement when my trainer Gigi Turner at NeuroBeginnings is ready and I have time.

Also, I can have a drink now! You are warned not to drink alcohol during the training and for three months afterward. Kinda makes me wonder what alcohol actually does to the brain. Any drinking I do will be very light — my alcohol tolerance is low.

I did an NLP session with a friend today and picked up a freelance writing/editing job for her website! This is my second recent website writing job. I love doing this for people who have created and are running their small businesses that make the world a better, healthier place, people who are living their passions. I’m looking for more work like that.

I posted my technical writing resume on Monster.com a couple of weeks ago. I’m looking to work 20 hours a week at most, flex-time and telecommuting preferred. Meanwhile, I’m open to doing freelance writing and editing, as well as more yoga and NLP coaching.

I’d love to teach yoga out of my trailer to individuals or small groups (up to 4 max). I’m putting this out there so if you know anyone in South Austin who’d like a small class with more personal attention, you can refer them to me.

I’m considering teaching a donation-only class on Saturday mornings until the weather gets cold. I plan to check out Searight Park in my neighborhood as a possible location. I have Sun Salutations on my mind!

I’ve been attending a weekly class in Anusara yoga at Castle Hill taught by Brigitte Edery or Liz Belile, both great teachers who stimulate and challenge the mind and body. It’s a natural segue from my Iyengar-based training. Love the attention to awareness.

Next week I’m going with Keith Fail into the state prison in Lockhart to teach some basic NLP to women in prison, as part of Truth Be Told‘s Exploring Creativity program. We’ll teach triple description — first, second, and third position, like first, second, and third person in English class, only applying it to your real life. Perceptual flexibility is a fabulous skill to teach, and I’m looking forward to it.

I’m participating in a book group, reading Life in the Labyrinth, by E.J. Gold. This is my first foray into the Gurdjieffian lineage, not counting my longtime interest in the Enneagram. The group has been meeting for a while, and I’m honored to have been invited. We take turns reading aloud, covering a chapter a week, and enjoying some stimulating discussion.

I’ve signed up for a one-day workshop at Lauterstein-Conway later this month on cranio-sacral massage. I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I received CST every month for 2-3 years from Nina Davis. It is a fascinating branch on the massage family tree.

Week after next, I’m trading two hours of Swedish massage, with all the extras, for a two-hour lomi lomi (Hawaiian style) massage with James Moore. Really looking forward to that! I haven’t had a lomi lomi massage yet but have read about the Hawaiian healers who have kept this art alive.

Last, the trailer. I’m working on finding the best weatherstripping for the aluminum jalousie windows — something that will last that I can buy in bulk for the 48 windows, which have had the old, melted weatherstripping painstakingly removed.

Then, I hope to replace the nonworking sliding glass doors at the entry with something that works and build an entry deck. I’ve been using the back door to come and go.

Oh, and I must share this! August 2011 was the hottest month in the hottest year on record in Austin. It was also my first full month of having AC in the trailer. Friends have been telling me about their outrageous electric bills — as much as $400.

My AC ran nearly all day every day in August. I worried about my bill being outrageous.

The August bill was $100. Whew! Jon Esquivel at Austin Star Services did a good job getting a good unit in this trailer. For that I am grateful.

Other tasks coming up include plumbing and wiring my shed for a washer and dryer, getting some good window coverings and installing them, and planting more trees and a fall garden with some edible landscaping.

I am really, really loving my life now and the direction it’s going. It’s scary to make a big change in direction like I did, and it is working out well. Knock wood!

Now living in my Spartan trailer!

It’s Tuesday morning, and my class at massage school is covering Ethics this morning and Body Mobilization Techniques III this afternoon.

I will not be there this morning and maybe not in the afternoon. I’ve been fighting a sore throat since Sunday night and decided to take at least half a day to rest and let my immune system work. Drinking water with lemon and warm throat coat tea, and gargling with salt water, will help.

So will meditation, a little slow yoga (surya namaskar as usual and today a shoulder stand) and maybe even going back to sleep.

Love using that hypnagogic state of falling asleep to support healing. I could also use “the visor.”

I’m pretty sure that the extra stress of remodeling and moving while going to massage school three days a week, seeing my granddaughter off to live with her dad for this school year, and a freelance writing job have taxed my resources. Not that I didn’t want to fully be there with all I’ve got for any bit of it!

It’s just a lot. I have compassion for myself.

I am so grateful to my friends (Colleen, Sherrol, Thomas, Barbara, Noah) who have volunteered to take a car- or truck-load of stuff from the House of Change or my storage unit to my trailer. It’s made moving nearly painless.

But the moving isn’t complete yet — still have a shelf unit and a couple of tables to move here, antique furniture to move to my daughter’s storage unit, and a big file cabinet to move to the House of Change — but I want to be done moving this week. Just need two more truck loads for the big stuff, and the move will be DONE.

It feels great to be living in the trailer. (It needs a name. Hmm. Maybe I’ll do a poll on this blog, but not today.)

Mango stayed up Saturday night exploring the trailer while I slept. Yesterday I went to class, leaving him here with my handyman Ian and his helper. When I got home after dark, Mango escaped. I was concerned but decided not to get too worried. He came back after an hour. Relieved.

I think he’s going to love this place!

Work remains — baseboards, hanging lights, arranging furniture, recycling boxes. When I moved out of my house, I couldn’t visualize what would fit in this trailer. Now that I’m here, I see that I kept too much stuff.  I’ll be selling, giving away, and donating the stuff that doesn’t fit.

I need to buy or make a bookshelf to fit a certain space.

I need to replace the replacement sliding glass doors at the entry with something that’s functional — before the refrigerator I ordered gets here in the next two weeks, because it won’t fit through the back door.

And then there’s a deck for the new front entry. Floor level in this trailer is about 3.5 feet above the ground.

I need a part-time job to offset these expenses…

Okay, that’s enough of my never-ending To Do list!

I’m living in my Spartan Carousel trailer, in a sweet little hidden trailer park, living the life changes I imagined and manifested less than a year ago.

Hallelujah.

Trailer photos: bathroom and floors

Stopped by my trailer after class today. Wow, the bathroom is nearly done, and much of the cork flooring has been laid! A couple of friends stopped by to check it out, too. It’s fun to show it off.

Here are the latest photos. You see the new vanity and birch paneling in the bathroom (I want to replace all the old paneling with this eventually, reinsulating as I go), the marmoleum floor in the bathroom (and my foot), the cushy gorgeous cork flooring and register and yellow wall in the living room, the tub surround that Ian put in, and the connections for 3 hanging light fixtures over the counter in the kitchen.

I’m thinking about some green glass pendant lights I saw at Lowe’s. Check back for future photos — I may change my mind.

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Trailer remodeling photos

I took these photos yesterday. You can see the stacks of boxes holding the cork flooring, the newly painted walls and cabinets, the new heating and air conditioning system and dual-flush toilet in background, and the general chaos of remodeling.

Out of that chaos will emerge a pleasant home to live in and visit.

Hard to believe that I will be living in my trailer in a week! (If all goes well —  send up prayers, please!)

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Trailer update

Lots going on… written and practical exams at massage school yesterday. I did okay, maybe better than okay. My skills are improving. I’m doing one or more outside massages a week.

In the trailer, I’m painting the dark paneling a buttery yellow and the kitchen cabinets a lovely dark green, and those colors are looking really good together. Need to find new cabinet knobs since some are missing — maybe I’ll have uppers and lowers different. I really liked the original (?) knobs but can’t find any to match.

Ian finished the new tub surround and installed birch paneling on the bathroom walls yesterday. I kept the pink bathtub.

Once he got the tub set up, he discovered that the tub drain leaks underneath the trailer, so he’ll have to open up the metal bottom to access and fix it. This is the fourth or fifth leak he’s fixed.

Today he put down the vapor barrier, underlayment, and marmoleum tiles on the bathroom floor.

Still to come: installing the vanity and trim. The bathroom will be almost completely redone and will be much nicer than I found it.

I hope to move in next week after the bathroom is finished, new cork flooring is laid, and I get a new refrigerator. I’m so looking forward to spending my first night in my trailer! I took a little nap today in the bedroom after Ian and his helper left, lying on a yoga blanket on the floor. It felt really good.

The trailer has needed more work than I anticipated, which translates to me needing to get a job. I’m going to look for part-time work. I’m in school three days a week and need to work around that. A part-time technical writer job would be ideal, especially if I can telecommute.