53 hOMes & 25 keys – a moving meditation of remembrance & trying to remember

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If you have a New Years resolution I hope it is still serving you well. If you’d like to resolve to be happier in 2011 (especially if you are on the East Coast and continuously getting hit by snow storms, high winds and ice), I encourage you to try making a list of what you already have had in 2010. I’m not one for resolutions as I’m pretty crappy about sticking to a specific regiment and have trouble even remembering where half of my stuff is as it’s currently stored in 11 different places (3 different countries actually) but this practice seems to stick and the daily remembrance also seems to lead to happiness almost instantly.
Yes, this lack of specific regiment or location might classify one as officially a YogaSlacker- the fact that my car (also my primary storage space \ home) got illegitimately towed by the NYPD the other night confirms it as this seems to be a rite of passage for all of us at YogaSlackers. In fact, there is a warning that we should put out to all of the prospective students attending our first ever YogaSlackers teacher training in May that this title of “YogaSlacker” might not only ensure that your car gets towed, but also lead you to care little about material possessions or where they are stored, forget where you are on certain occasions- especially while driving cross country on the highway, and encourage a nomadic existence of adventure where you will stay many different places in a year and call them all “home”, maybe even “hOMe” if you want to yogic about it. We are YogaSlackers afterall, the “yoga” is essential to our existence and credibility, without it we might just stop teaching, traveling and exploring or get professional salary paying jobs…not likely though.
So back to remembrance, as this talk of professionalism might make us forget. In the spirit of remembrance for 2010 and welcoming 2011 I sat down for several hours and tried to remember all of the “hOMes” I had in 2010. The mindfulness practice shocked me as memories of the obvious ones surfaced right away: my apartment for Jan-March on the farmland of Japan,
Tokyo, JAPAN with some “borrowed” plants
my family homes in Washington D.C. and Arlington MA where I grew up and always return at least once a year and of course, the quaint little Rockaways surf bungalow in NYC. These place came to mind quickly but I knew there was more, way more.

And so I looked back at calendars, flight itineraries and even blogs to try and figure out where, exactly, I had been in 2010, cause frankly I forgot. What came up was a grand tally of 53 unique places stayed over the course of the year. Ranging from beds in 5 star hotels to a hammock on the porch in Puerto Rico, I was amazed at all of the different places, area codes and countries visited, recalling that on some weeks I would actually sleep in 5 different places or area codes.
Bungalow outdoor office @ Rockaways NYC

Whether a blessing or a curse, the ability to sleep just about anywhere is usefull for contorting into all sorts of odd “beds”.

This past year held some records as I recalled spending a night of slumber in the usual suspects of futons, couches, floors, cars and airplanes but then there were also the tents at multiple camp sites (a tent truly is one of the greatest homes), airports, tee-pees, earth ships (Google it), a sauna (not while it was on) and even a bathtub (surprisingly comfortable to sleep in). From the Grand Hyatt to the 2 man tent, home really is where the heart is and what I enjoyed remembering the most was all of the people that I stayed with and the stories, laughs and adventures we had together. To me these memories are worth more then any “space” I could call my own.

And to these homes, and homes for my stuff there are many, many keys…Keys serve as miniature icons and symbolic representation of friendship, generosity and trust. The people who gave me these keys are some of my dearest of friends and people that I not only entrust my stuff to, but also confide in constantly when I feel completely lost in this home-free, nomadic adventure, keeping me on track and reassured in so many ways.

With 25 keys on my key chains I enjoy the practice of going through all of them every now and then (they have actually been subdivided into keys by geographic location as carrying all of them required a suitcase for a handbag). Even more pleasurable was considering the people behind the keys and trying to remember what’s there as everything from bikes and climbing gear to surf boards and shoes are stored in these spaces. I would have one crowded car if it wasn’t for these amazing people, especially my family who always keep my bedroom a bedroom for when I come home.
25 keys can be a burden sometimes as you forget what key goes where and have to spend several minutes in front of doors going through each key, trying to finesse the unlocking magic to open an old door. Labeling would help, but I feel that some of the sentiment and “process” would be lost. In this age of 24 hr a day instant access to information it is almost a lost art to actually
remember. To test this fact- see how many phone numbers you can recall right now…911 doesn’t really count by the way.Maybe the old school key memory game is a practice that will not last forever, and maybe one day I will have a permanent place to call home instead of 53, but in the meantime I have found this practice of remembering and remembrance to be quite useful for keeping my mind in shape and heart grounded. And if you just want to condition your hands for climbing, acrobatics, giving massage or practicing handstands and arm balances, carry a key chain with 25 keys and sift through it regularly using only one hand as you try to find the exact key you need. Advanced students- try with the less dominant hand and eyes closed. Practice and repeat often, add humility and gratitude as needed…

Smile & laugh often, especially when you drop all of the keys and have to start over.
YogaSlackers – slacking for a better world
Yogaslackers – Slacklining for a better world
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