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Tingsha Fairies

What would you wish for?

“Mommy,” Twelve is in the backseat, “it sounds like two fairies are duking it out in the trunk.”

I laugh, “Oh, it’s probably my tingsha. I had them out separately from my yoga mat bag today. They’re chiming with each bump on the road.” I strain to listen. She hears them; I don’t.tingsha

“No,” her will for whimsy makes me happy, “I’m pretty sure it’s two fairies duking it out.”

“Should I stop the car and break up their fight?”

“If you do, maybe they’ll grant you wishes. Two fairies, so six wishes. What would you wish for Mama?”

“Six, huh, that’s an awful lot of wishes.”

“And you can’t share them.” Twelve is so generous, “they’re all for you.” This from the child who’s liable to hand me a twenty when she owes me twelve and say, “keep the change and buy yourself a chai.”

I take a deep breath.

“Okay …”

  1. I wish my book would be published and would be optioned for a lucrative movie deal.

“Wanna go to Hollywood with me?” I am checking for her reaction. “Wait, is that one wish or two?” I don’t want to seem greedy.

“Nope,” she rules. “That’s just one.”

Wow. I still have five to go. I am surprised I can’t just rattle off wishes—I’m taking this whole thing very seriously.

  1. Okay, I wish for a roof and new windows for our house. And new carpet. And new paint.

Later I’ll wonder why I didn’t wish for the addition I’ve always I thought would make my house a pearl. Or why didn’t I wish for the mortgage to be paid off? Or why didn’t I wish for a castle in Scotland, a beach house in Delaware, and a getaway in British Columbia? I’m in practical place today and that practicality merely compounds with wishes three and four.

  1. I’d like new tires for this car. Really good safe-in-all-weather ones. And …
  2. I’d like to do whatever the PT Cruiser needs so it keeps running well for a long time.

She doesn’t remark about these wishes, just waits, hands folded in her lap, looking at the back of my head expectantly from the back seat. I’m stretching now (even though later I’ll think of lots more wishes, like full-ride scholarships to great colleges for both kids—then realize that she would have said those weren’t for me, but of course they are).

  1. I’d like to lose thirty pounds.

This frequently chatty, tangentially minded child barely blinks after this one. She always tells me I look perfect. Now it’s out there and we drive for a few blocks in silence.

“And the sixth,” she says calmly from the backseat, “let me guess, world peace?”

I laugh because she knows me so well. Then I surprise us both:

  1. World Understanding. I wish for world understanding.

In response to the tilt of her head, questioning without asking, I say, “I think maybe understanding needs to come before peace. And maybe we’ll never get entirely to peace, but understanding could go along way to smoothing out a lot of bad situations.”

I pull up in front of her dance studio and she gathers her bag and pointe shoes. “Good wishes, Mama.” She bounces out of the car and waves. “Bye, love you.”

“Love you, too,” I call after her retreating back.

As I drive toward the yoga studio, I sort over my wishes and ponder. One through five are all about me; but, I give myself a break, they’re all about ways to help me be a better me. They are also all within my power to accomplish if I really set my focus and make them my goals. Are these my actual goals? The first one is, to be sure. The others are about living well, pieces of a whole picture that I want to move toward.

I think about how I can do what I want to when I’m not overwhelmed. Overwhelmed, I go toward my worst weaknesses, sliding into bad eating habits, sleeping poorly, not exercising, and spending money thoughtlessly. When I’m not overwhelmed, I’m upbeat, powerful, happy. I’m also content, even without six wishes; I have the strength and determination to take small steps toward fixing the inevitable problems that are a part of every day living. I have patience, knowing maybe even not one thing can be entirely accomplished and put behind me in one move.

And world understanding? I can’t wish that to happen by myself. What I can do is my part. If I figure out how to be my best self, if I teach my children how and live by example, if I learn how to hold tight to center even when the overwhelming wheel spins, then I can look up once in a while from the day-to-day worries. I can reach out to try to understand one other person, one situation, one issue. I can lift the energetic vibration I cast out and know there’s a ripple effect, not unlike the lasting vibration the tingshas make when they ring, purposefully at the end of practice or surprisingly in the trunk of my car.

I used to say that if everyone in the world stretched their hamstrings every day, we’d have world peace. Knowing more about yoga and the body now, I currently believe it’s the quadriceps. Get me the world’s leaders in a room, put ‘em all on yoga mats, and let’s stretch those quads. Boom. World Peace. Until I can teach UN Yoga, I’ll keep working on my little corner of the world. This very day I’m joyfully teaching at the Summer Writing Festival in Iowa City. Thanks for joining me for the journey under the full thunder moon, xoR


Timed Travel

Why Spain?

My daughter, Eleven, makes and sells Garnet Granola. Packaged in brown craft paper bags with labels listing the contents, the granola sells well at the yoga studio. It’s like an on-going bake sale, an entrepreneurial enterprise I encourage because eleven-year-olds can’t find much work and she wants to earn money. The granola, adapted from a recipe I first encountered pregnant with her and staying in an inn in Eason, Pennsylvania, is studded with nuts and dried cherry and cranberry garnets. It’s delicious. Her client base has been encouraging and a few have asked, “What’s she raising money for?”

The newest batch of Garnet Granola and the granola company's CEO.

The newest batch of Garnet Granola and the granola company’s CEO.

“We’re saving for a trip to Spain.”

Mostly this elicits stories from well-traveled yogis who have trotted many regions of the globe, but last week someone asked, “Why Spain?” There isn’t really a short answer, I want to tell her; it’s this:

The first apartment in Barcelona was a deep green cave, rooms end-to-end with next to no natural light. We only stayed there a few weeks, and then we moved to a sunny place where I had a little room all my own. I wore a tartan skirt to school and stood on the corner of the street every morning playing cat’s cradle with my mother until the van marked Uniroyal in red letters pulled up and drove me to school. I feel like we sat on tires loose in the back, but as I fashion the snapshots of memory into something like a narrative, I don’t really know if the tire part is the story as it was or the story as I want to tell it.

I was eight years old, in third grade in an English-speaking private school in Spain. My father was on sabbatical, working on a novel and getting in touch with his inner Hemingway. The rest of us went along for the adventure. My brother adjusted the best, opting to stay through the end of high school, coming home summers and long holiday breaks. For me Spain was not a good fit—I missed my cat, my friends, my Iowa life. Maybe as a result of never settling in, I have very few solid memories of the time in Spain, a time that was meant to be a whole school year but ending early for my mother and me—we returned to the Iowa farm in January.

What I do remember intrigues me and I like to take the memories out and examine them. I can remember the markets and shopping to make paella. I can remember the vendors who sold tiny figurines for Christmas crèches. I can remember some of the extraordinary Gaudi architecture, sandcastles in bright colors dotting the city. I have an image of the beach in Sitges, a memory of wearing an orange wool poncho and clogs, and I can still taste the charred artichokes that came out of a huge fireplace grill in the restaurant high on a hill where we dined several times. As I remember one item, one smell, one flash, I am gratified when another follows. And even though I know I did not want to be living in that foreign world, the memories are not unhappy ones.

Although my earliest exposure to a foreign language was this immersion, I can manage basics in both French and Italian but speak next to no Spanish. Living there, I got practiced enough at saying, “No hablo español” that Spanish speakers didn’t always believe me and would jabber rapid-fire in my direction. As an adult, I’m disappointed I don’t know Spanish. So I am delighted that Eleven and Fourteen have each been studying Spanish since they were six. This summer they’re off to Spanish language camp, where they can immerse in language and learning. But next summer we’re heading to Spain, or at least I really, really hope we are.

I’ll turn fifty in August 2015, and two years ago when my junior high friends were visiting for a few days, we talked about how we should celebrate fifty together. One woman lives with her family in Marseilles, another in Washington, DC. The fourth comrade is in Hong Kong—Spain seemed like a natural choice. We put a pin in the conversation—let’s try, we said.

Then Fourteen came home last year talking about a school trip that would take him to Spain and France this June. He pondered it, the expense, the realities of being far, far from home. When Fourteen was born, I started setting aside a dollar a day for him. After a couple of months, I put him in his stroller and off we wheeled to the bank where I opened a savings account in his name. Every month I made a deposit and I started to do the same when Eleven arrived. Eventually those savings accounts were turned into CDs with the idea that the money would fund that school trip or similar big-ticket luxury item. So here was the opportunity.

When he realized the Spain trip overlapped with the very much closer Simpson Jazz Camp in Indianola, IA, he hesitated: “I don’t want to miss Jazz camp. I got so much out of it.” I was a little puzzled—six days of trumpet versus seventeen in Europe, but I simply said, “You know, I’d really like it if your first European experience was with me.”

“I want to go to Europe first with you too,” the words tumbled.

“You, Eleven, me. Let’s all three go to Spain together when I turn fifty.”

And just like that the dream trip to Spain became a real goal. We wish to spend a week or so traveling and a week sitting still, ideally in a house somewhere, a grand rendezvous with my friends and their families. I look forward to making new memories with my peeps and wonder if anything I see, hear, smell, eat or experience will refresh my memories of the country where I once lived.

I’m dropping change in jars and we’re saving the profits from Eleven’s growing granola business, any extra bit tucked away. Given the choice between a night out and cooking one more family meal, I’m trying to take the less expensive route so that this dream trip with my darlings can really happen. Thanks, as always, for tuning in! Namaste & much love & happy new March (spring soon!) moon, Rxo

The Door to Everywhere

The Door to Everywhere

What will my visualization be for this year?

A few years ago I would have been panicked when January First arrived before I’d had opportunity to evaluate my world and make New Year’s Resolutions. That’s no longer a problem and not simply because I’ve given up resolutions in favor of visualizations. It’s no longer a problem because I now see the time from the Solstice to the Chinese New Year as a period of transition, an easing through the end of one period and the beginning of new energies.

This year, as happens once every nineteen years, the first of January was also a new moon. The new moon is an auspicious time for beginning anew. This January will lengthen under two new moons, and not just any two new moons, two supermoons.

Supermoons, my friends at Earth & Sky explain patiently, are the moments when the moon in its orbit is closest to the earth. There will be three full supermoons this year in June, July and August, and two new supermoons, both in January. The scientific name is perigee new or full moon, with perigee meaning “near earth.” To the gentle observer, supermoons look really big and close and, as with all moons, that’s true wherever on our planet you are.

In wonderful contrast, the full moon this month, falling on January 15, will be a micro moon, as far away in its orbit as it can be.

Bringing the question back to earth, what shall be done with this whoosh of new beginnings energy?

I’m just starting to see. Of course, there are the standards: lose-weight-exercise-more-eat-better-save-money-cultivate-less-stress-be-an-attentive-mommy-shrewd-business-owner-happy-yogini. I might add that sleeping regular hours would help immeasurably. Each of these is a given alongside writing more and worrying less. Still I know better than to make resolutions around basic quality of life improvements most of us can embrace.

Last’s year’s visualization was an open door. Most days I drew the icon in the steam on my shower door before I stepped through into the towel waiting on the other side. That my shower door swings both ways is a perfect metaphor for the door I visualized—sometimes it opened to the way home, sometimes into my business, sometimes into the world.

Doors ended up being a very big part of 2013: in January, I financed my house in my own name, so for the very first time I now own some 54 interior and exterior doors and doorways, including garage, pantry, and closets. A short while later I added a four-door car to my fleet, making Eleven and Fourteen more independent as they leap from the car to head off to the bus, dance, or Taekwondo.

Some interesting personal and professional doors opened for me as well, but the one that is most significant for me came along sometime in mid-December. It started with a very real need to invent a door—an interior door that could be closed to cats but open at the same time. I considered a basic screen door, but at least one of my cats climbs screens and would ruin a screen door in record time. The problem lies in wanting to keep the cats out of my bedroom—there is a mysterious spot on the carpet only in my room where they seem to feel they need to pee—but wanting cool air in summer and warm air in winter to circulate through the door. With the solid door closed, my room rarely gets above 60 degrees in winter and is often colder.

I found metal cutouts at Menards, on sale in the garden department and thought—if I could build a door, I could use those as panels. Then I thought of my friend David, a creative carpenter, and challenged him to the task.

I also asked him if he could solve a problem with my oven, and he gave me the name of a talented electrician. As is so often the case, I had a laundry list of small chores for an electrician, so we met and went through the list and he gave me a most reasonable estimate and we set a date for the work.

It’s no surprise that the one item on the list that wasn’t truly a repair, but rather an opportunity to fix a gross mistake in the original wiring of my house, had to do with doors. Both three-way switches for the dining room light were behind dining room doors. That meant to turn the lights on or off or to access the dimmer, you had to walk all the way into the dining room, swing the door away from the wall, and activate the switch. The talented electrician moved the switches to the stairwells that hug either side of the dining room, and now the lights can be accessed without hassle. It’s one of those things that has bugged me since the day I moved in here (nine—gasp—years ago), and now every time I need to turn on or off a light, it is with both ease and the total delight of having fixed something that was all wrong.

The novelty of the accessible switches hasn’t worn off one morning when we are hustling out the door to the bus and the world beckoning beyond. I reach over Eleven, sprawled on the stairs to put on her shoes, to click the switch for the dining room light off and smile to myself, “I made that happen. I did that.” Surveying the out-the-door-to-the-day scene in front of me, I find the thought expanding, “I am doing this, all of it.” I look up at my new door, a piece of art that makes me smile every time I see it, and the feeling deepens, “I can do this …  yes, not always perfectly, but I can do this. I can do precisely what I’m doing.” Peeps in tow, I walk through the door to contentment, ready for the everywhere that lies beyond.

The micro full moon rises over us tomorrow, 1.15. I hope you are warm and enjoying cozy winter activities. Part II of this post, along soon, aims to answer the question about my visualization for 2014. See you soon, with much love, Rxo

ps. I’m so enamored of my new door, I can’t stop adding pictures of it. It’s hard to photograph well, but it’s beautiful!

Electronic Gift

What do you want for your birthday?

Honestly, I can’t imagine any better gift than this column, a gorgeous response to my July post entitled “Dear Abbie.”

With love and happy dances under the full August moon … see you when I’m 48. Namaste, Rxo

The Art of Possibility

So, you are now a yoga studio owner?

In Gayle’s 9 a.m. Thursday morning Vinyasa class the volume within and without was building. Gayle plays stirring music, some traditional yoga music, some surprises. I might find my fingers drumming along to Bobbi McFerrin singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” in a hip-opener or interrupt the steady flow of inhale and exhale singing out loud to “Brighter than the Sun.” Plenty of the music isn’t so familiar; Gayle’s practice is guaranteed to pull me in, heat me up, and wring me out.

A Vinyasa practice links breath to movement and usually features any number of demanding poses, and repetitions of four-pointed staff pose (Chataranga Dandasana), upward-facing dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) and downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). These three poses work the shoulders in a way that until recently my shoulder had been unwilling to accommodate. For the last month or so, I’ve been moving into a more demanding flow and experiencing the rich rewards associated with hard work.

We were really warm Thursday morning and Gayle called for three-legged downward facing dog. Right legs lifted behind us all around the room and Gayle asked us to draw our right knees in tight to our chests, coiled like panthers about to spring. “Place your knee between your hands, back toes walk back, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, one-legged pigeon pose.” Pigeon is a hip-opening pose, the front leg traditionally bent so that the shin rests parallel to the front edge of the yoga mat, the back leg extending all the way back, toes untucked. If you melt your heart forward, it becomes almost restorative and certainly is easier to hold. I lifted my heart instead. Next I lifted my back foot, reaching back for it with my left hand. The foot nestled in the crook of my elbow and I breathed into the sweet quadriceps stretch. Then I surprised myself. I tried something I had never tried before. Releasing the handhold, I squeezed my foot in toward my back with my hamstring, I turned my hand over, found my foot again, and grasped the slippery big toe with my hand, rotating my elbow toward the ceiling. The next move was to lift up through my core, extend my heart upward and ease my head back toward my foot. For the first time ever, I could feel my hair with my foot. I squeezed everything a little more and grazed my head with my toe. It was awkward and wobbly, but I brought my head to my foot in full Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or Crown Pigeon. The experiment was similarly, inelegantly successful on the left side.

Some poses I work for and at forty-seven, I can move my body into positions that weren’t remotely possible at thirty-seven or even twenty-seven. But closing the energy circuit in pigeon, bringing that foot to my head—it’s not a pose I’ve been pondering, looking for or working toward. It’s not a bucket-list pose like handstand or crow; it wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye. And I was so surprised that I didn’t  fully register what had happened until later in the day, teaching again, doing a fully propped version of pigeon with my restorative class. I tentatively drew my back leg up and regarded  the miles of space between foot and head—it hardly seemed possible they had come together earlier that same day.

Closing the space between my head and my foot, with a little help from the wall

Closing the space between my head and my foot, with a little help from the wall

I’ve been talking about possibilities all week in class. Springtime, even our wet, cold, late spring this year, is a moment all about possibilities. But contrary to the new energy of spring around us, it’s our very human nature to set limits, lower expectations, and cut things out all together. One morning before class three different yoga students came by my desk and our separate conversations ended with the same mantra, “never say ‘never,’” I told each of them.

One woman is new to yoga, recently retired. She’s enjoying the practice and brings a delighted energy to the studio. In light of a question she asked about the body, I said, “you’ll learn all of that when you go through yoga teacher training.” It was a gentle nudge, not because I think she should teach yoga but because her question showed the kind of intense curiosity that makes a good teacher. She laughed, hard. “I’m never going to be a yoga instructor.”

The next conversation happened with a woman who worked hard for some time to get into headstand and now performs the pose regularly and easily. When I suggested handstand next, she said, “No way, never.”

The third woman stopped by the desk to tell me she had missed class the week before for a medical appointment. She’s old enough, now, that her doctor is telling her she no longer has to have certain tests—she’s had her last colonoscopy, her last pap test. With a sly wink she whispered, “unless I have sex again.” In her regular voice she quickly added, “but that’s not going to happen.”

Asking the women to sit tall at the start of our practice together, I made them laugh when I mentioned the impossible trio: becoming a yoga instructor as a post-retirement job, handstand, and sex after 70. And then I asked them to close their eyes and ask why those seem like funny ideas instead of real possibilities.

Sixteen years ago I left my first professional full time job at Suffolk County Community College on Long Island. I reconnected recently with one of my former office mates, and it was he who asked, with some surprise, about my status as a yoga studio owner. “It surprises me, too,” I told him. Then again, ten years ago putting my foot on my head in pigeon, living in Des Moines, IA, owning a yoga studio, and keeping a blog weren’t even remote inklings in my imagination.

What about ten years from now? I might imagine what I think I’ll be doing; I can set and act upon long-term goals; I can count on certain realities. What I can’t do, what none of us can do, is truly see the future. Nor can we predict the full range of possibilities in that future—the delights, disappointments, frustrations, and surprises, the spontaneous performance of stunts we weren’t even trying for, the relief we’ll feel when efforts toward something we thought we wanted don’t pan out. But if we sit with life knowing that it IS limitless, if we truly excise never from our vocabulary, then we get to live fully and openly in possibility.

The new moon has given way to the full pink moon, brightening the sky overnight. The cold spring seems finally to be opening to the possibilities of warmer temperatures, budding trees and blooming flowers. May the loveliness of spring open each of us a little more. xoR

Overneath It All 2012

What happens when a robin breaks her wing?

The chiropractor told me on my first visit that my shoulder is “acute.” The tightness and stress in my neck, rhomboids, and all manner of tiny muscles that feed into the inners workings of my shoulder plus overuse just before Thanksgiving caused tear-inducing pain. I think of myself as a pain wimp, but according to my doc the shoulder pain I’ve been living with on and off since February would have sent a lot of people over the edge long ago.

Maybe it’s my yoga practice. A couple of years ago I was in a workshop with Doug Swenson and he was answering a question from a participant. She said something like, “I can’t do it on that side, that’s my bad leg.” Doug, small, wiry and strong, shot back, “Then, that’s your teacher leg.”

Our aches and pains do teach us volumes, about what it is to be human and fragile and temporary. That they are object lessons in the making doesn’t make them easier to bear. The pain is one thing; the blues that go with them are quite another.

It’s been a year of aches and pains for me, most of them emotional or energetic. This current shoulder pain aside, my problems are first world problems. In the plus column, I am fed and clothed, I have a roof and a job (well, several), my children are happy, learning and thriving.

Still, pondering the year here at Overneath It All and thinking about writing a review post that might just sound a little like a holiday letter, I sat one recent morning and considered the highs and lows of the year. My word cloud of the 100 most-repeated words in my blog is revealing. I’ve written a lot about my children, about writing, about yoga. No surprise there. I’ve written, apparently, the word “like” many, many times, although I wonder about this because I’m not, like, you know, given to Valley-girl speak. That the word “writing” sits at the foot of it all, a solid foundation, makes my eyes grow wide and I smile. I’ve also written quite a bit about Menards, apparently, and my bank statements confirm I go there to spend money second only to Trader Joe’s on Tuesday mornings.

"Writing," my foundation and what I reach for. It, too, is overneath it all.

“Writing,” my foundation and what I reach for. It, too, is overneath it all.

I feel as though the cloud is incomplete. It doesn’t include the amazing friendships I’ve forged and deepened this year. It doesn’t make mention of a single martini, although I’ve enjoyed more than a few. It doesn’t update the ongoing stories blog posts have touched upon, nor does it project harbingers of what comes next. But it’s a picture of some of it, a snapshot, a place to begin.

At the end of December 2011, I wrote about my visualizations for 2012: This year I’ll be visualizing that published book, more yoga, more writing, happy, growing, engaged children, and yes, more martinis or cups of tea or delicious bites of chocolate, so long as there are friends to enjoy them with. I realized a part or all of these visualizations, although I’ve made less progress on my book than I’d like. And the “growing” part, if you read my last post about Thirteen you already know, has hit a bit of a roadblock. But excellent doctors are working on that. In April I wrote about wishes, specifically the wish for more time. In May I mentioned the garden, rich with sweet snap pea plants. That garden delivered many peas but little else as first weeds and then unbelievable heat took over this summer. I wrote more than once about my car—somehow it continues to chug forward and hold together in spite of itself (knock wood). I mentioned a list of things to do, written when I was five years younger than I am now. One of the undone items I took to heart this fall, and I’m 17 pounds lighter than I was when I wrote that entry. I wrote about the new kittens who are thriving and keep the house alive well past bedtime. For the full blue moon in August, I wrote a line that—and this was a first—a reader actually, kindly, quoted back to me: Breath by breath I rescue myself.

That’s some of what I’ve done this year. I’ve also cried, screamed to release pent-up frustrations while driving, downloaded an inordinate amount of emotional crap to friends who were kind enough to listen, and thumped my pillow more than a few times. I’ve dovetailed alternately between feeling like I was failing whatever test the Universe was hurling my way and feeling like I couldn’t get a break.

And then, the same week that Ten was on stage dancing the Nutcracker role she was destined for, the Party Girl wearing a green dress, I found myself with a sick child (Thirteen), a broken wing and jury duty.

But instead of making everything worse, somehow sitting in a room with a group of randomly selected strangers offered the onset of healing. Like a lingering body pain that teaches us to surrender, rest, and release superhuman expectations of ourselves, jury duty—where this time I did not serve—reminded me to let go, accept what is, and be a little more patient. My reward included completing my civic duty with little overall interruption to my parenting duties and clarity.

The metaphor isn’t hard. We shoulder the world, stand shoulder to shoulder with friends, cry on someone’s shoulder. Shoulder pain refers emotional stresses, burdens in our lives we somehow can’t address or resolve. My shoulder has hurt all through this year and its challenges. It got precipitously worse when I overused it physically, but that corresponded with a particularly heavy moment in my heart. It’s getting better, slowly, with physical care from my talented chiropractor. But I won’t pretend for a moment that it isn’t getting better because when I walked out of jury duty after the second day, I recognized the gift of space—I have space to move, space to manage my own schedule and thoughts, space to parent in, space in my heart, and progressively more space in my shoulder joint. My studio is a welcoming space where I love to work and people arrive every day to further their practice. My home is an evolving space that offers shelter and solace. My yoga creates interior space, my words connective space, my friendships loving space. And 2013? It’s the space of a whole new year, one where I shift beyond the need for rescue and into a larger frontier.

Happy Holidays and thank you for spending this year with Thirteen & Ten & poses & prose & me—I’m giving myself a mini-break from posting. See you around the new moon in January 2013. Much, much, much, much love, Rxo

Wish List

Do you tell anyone what you’re wishing for?

When I was little, I had a white ceramic piggy bank. For a long time I was puzzled by the words emblazoned on the side: For My Convertible. Truth be told, I loved that piggy bank solely because it was encrusted with faux plastic jewels. Two tiny keys were glued atop the pig’s head. I never knew where the bank came from; the plug for the bottom was lost. I sealed it with tape and wadded up paper and occasionally deposited coins in the wide slot in the center of the pig’s back. Mostly, though, I tried to chip those jewels off, certain that they must be the items of value, not the coins within or the mysterious convertible I was saving for.

I did not know that a convertible was a car until long after the piggy bank was broken. And it was only when I started wishing for a convertible of my own that I finally understood what those tiny keys represented and what the slogan meant. Had the bank still existed then, I certainly would have deposited all of my loose change within.

Today I could have a tidy army of “for my … ” piggy banks lined up. My wish lists both at home and for the studio are remarkably long. It’s not that I’m seeking to acquire a lot of shiny toys—quite the contrary, I’m wishing for necessities like refinished wood floors and new carpets and a battery-powered lawn mower for home. For work a refrigerator and a filing cabinet would be able assistants in my daily responsibilities. These are just a few of the priorities.

Twelve, who will turn into Thirteen in just a few days, was Three when I was pregnant with his sister. At three he was fascinated by throwing pennies into fountains. Although most of my change went into a jar at home set aside for vacations, I would save a few pennies for him to toss with glee into the water, watching them swirl to the bottom. As the due date for his sister grew closer, he started to wish out loud when he tossed the coins in the water: “I wish my sister would come.”

My superstitious self wanted to warn him—don’t share your wish or it won’t come true. Wasn’t that what I had learned? After blowing out the candles on the cake or seeing the first star, didn’t you make your wish quietly to yourself and then smile with your secret, never breathing a word of it out loud? But he was three and what he was wishing for was going to happen, one way or another. And I found myself loving the freedom with which he tossed those coins and wished aloud.

Maybe there are different types of wishes, some of them secrets even perhaps from ourselves. Secret longings may best be whispered under the breath, but these are supernova wishes, the stuff of fantasies. What about the wishes that could come true? Rather than keep them quiet, is there truth to the theory that you need to put it out there in order to realize your hopes and dreams? Perhaps it isn’t be careful what you wish for, but take care with how you wish for something to come true.

Beyond a fridge, for the studio I’m wishing for a Roomba, maybe two. A luxury? I don’t know. I love the idea of tiny bots zooming around the yoga studio cleaning it when I’m not there. My daughter, Nine, loves Hex Bugs, those battery-powered toys that behave like bugs, turning and skittering away when they encounter a wall, getting locked together when they smack into one another. I think of the Roomba as being a similar critter, but one that would earn its keep by vacuuming up the lint and dust and real bug detritus that inevitably litter the studio floor.

It’s my responsibility to clean that floor and the rest of Radiant Om Yoga along with it. I tell myself it’ll take two hours midday Thursdays, but the truth is it’s more like three and a half hours and often I need to split the tasks out over several days. I have 2800 square feet to clean, high and low, and while none of it is strenuous or untenable, I can’t help but think there’re other things I could be doing instead.

Is it boring to wish for cleaning devices, working appliances and shiny floors? Like Almost-Thirteen, I wished hard for his and his sister’s arrivals. I wished, too, for a studio home of my own. These were big wishes, complicated by the requirements of real life and the hard work that goes into bringing a dream into being. They are, however, wishes that came true and I am grateful for them every single day.

It was easier, the year I turned 41, to buy my first convertible. It’s every bit as much fun as I hoped it would be, and since it’s my only car and it has a bad habit of needing expensive repairs, on my grand wish list is my next convertible. Although broken parts and dust bunnies can’t exactly be wished away, most of the items on my wish list revolve around organized clean spaces, with new or replaced parts so that home and work are more comfortable or more pleasant and less chaotic. So, yeah, I wish for a Roomba because it would hoover up the dust bunnies and save me a few steps. When things are neat and clean and organized, and better still when things become neat and clean and organized because there’s a system or the right tool in place for the job, life’s chaos backs off just a little bit. And when the chaos backs off, there’s room for my mind and my heart to roam. That is at the center of all of my wishes right now—making less chaos and more time.

Here’s a wish I’m not afraid to share: I wish for more time. What would I do with free time? Well, catch up on sleep, a little, read more, work on my writing, and enjoy time with friends and family, sure. But more than anything I like the idea of taking a walk or staring out of a window and figuring out what I may be yearning for—the next big, big, big wish, the next thing that’s going to take hard work and a little luck and clear vision—just what are those supernova wishes?

The new moon shines on April as our changeable spring continues. In honor of Earth Day,

The organized tools I use to keep Radiant Om Yoga, well, radiant.

I’m wondering why they don’t make a Roomba for lawns … hoping all of your wishes come true, xoR

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