Tag Archives: Yoga

Near Year’s End: An Accounting

Indira Ganesan, Sunrise from Cessna, 2013

Indira Ganesan, Sunrise from Cessna, 2013

A quick, unstylish, and somewhat ungrammatical run-down of my past year:

2013 began with dancing in a roomful of relatives on New Year’s Eve to gangnam style.

A new job at Emerson brought me four classes and fifty-five students, a three hour commute, and more fun than I could have predicted.

I began to visit the local animal shelter and became a “pet socializer” which meant I played with kittens two hours a day a few times a week.

This led to fostering a family of four  kittens and  a mama cat. I dived head-first into a sea of cat-related websites, debating food choices and toys, scratchers and treats. I found an über stylish cat waste option that was not in my horizon, but acquired three mod litterboxes that fullfilled my designer dreams. Three kittens got adopted, and one and her mom are at home with me.

Mourning my yoga practice and sangha, I attended a three-day yoga weekend workshop hoping to kickstart my practice.  The sum of my non-workshop days of actually practicing yoga equalled, let’s say, seven. It is extraordinarily easy not to practice. This makes me sad, obviously.

I planted my second garden with a few new specimen’s: jupiter’s beard; delphiniums; and three small roses from the deeply discounted section of my local garden center.

What I am really supposed to be doing is working on a new novel. I came up with five possible titles to, all variations on the word “garden.” It is a sequel to the one that is out, because I cannot bear to part with the characters just yet. .

I applied for three grants, and three jobs. My third year at the FAWC residency has begun, making me wonder where I will live next autumn. This line of thought inevitably makes me wonder why I don’t abscond to Paris; why I don’t have a degree from Oxford; and why my new books are not stocked in bookstores.

The fall brought unexpected sorrow with the passing of a dear friend, and an aunt and uncle.

Soon after, I hit a deer in an accident that has me anticipating accidents everywhere on the road. My Emerson students were so sympathetic that they prevented me from being a wreck.

In an effort to change the energy, I cut my hair. It did not leave me looking French.

Random House became Random House/Penguin and asked for haiku written for City Harvest. I contributed nine, stopping when they quickly reached their goal of 2K.

The best part of the year was seeing As Sweet As Honey with a gorgeous cover. An edition in India soon appeared, and this fall, Vintage brought out not only the paperback but reissued my last novel, Inheritance, as well. I gave eighteen readings in eighteen cities in eleven months, and can do eighteen more.

Thank you, readers, for reading this blog, and posting comments. May the new year be joyeous.

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Inclusiveness, Yoga, & Color, Part I [revised]

Indira Ganesan, Acceptance, 2013

Indira Ganesan, Acceptance, 2013

I have spent six days away at two different events. The first was a three-day yoga workshop taught by my teacher, Richard Freeman, and the second was a seminar on inclusive pedagogical practices for college courses. Both required a certain courage to attend, more required stamina, and attentiveness. Both were exhausting and marvelous and revealing. To go straight from three days of thoughtful spiritually guided yoga to three days of intellectual rigor is a cultural shock. One was integration of body and heart and mind, while the other is mind and heart alone, with rigorous conversation.

If I could, I would attend yoga four days a week with my teacher, if not six. A course on inclusivity is a different animal, but if a rest were built-in to the offering, it too would be a welcome practice. In reality, yoga and inclusivity are both life-long, daily practices.

Still, at one point in the seminar, when we were asked to write some of our reflections down, I wanted the presenters to hand out color markers and blank pieces of paper so we could visually illustrate our thoughts. As I continued with the exercise, I wondered what that meant, and doodled a little surreptitiously, but the answer is clear: one aches for creative intervention in multi-disciplines. One wants crayons and charcoals.

To work with themes diversity is hard work; acknowledging the biases, the small internalizations of privilege and lack, and work towards change requires time. How would Ntozake Shange put it? Being a woman of color IS NEVER redundant in a world of academia. There are simply not enough of us, yet. The problem is often the teachers of color are asked to teach color, a situation that can cause weariness. [This is a rewrite of my original post because I did not make sense on the page of what I wanted to say. Thank you, Sandra, for pointing me in the right direction. ] What Shange had her character in her play For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf really said was “I cldn’t stand being colored and sorry at the same time–it seems so redundant in the modern world.”One wants at some point to stretch the mind [out from under the norm] with finger paint, activate the imagination, and let out a large, loud sigh.

I find I am as always when I involve myself in discussions of diversity in academics to be interested, alert, and far too revealing. A professor by natures protects herself so she can be who she also is outside the class. I tend to cultivate a reserve that can lead if I am not careful to sadness. What one wants to do is integrate oneself, and also get the work of inclusion and, say, creative writing in class, done.

On the way back to the Cape, I braked hard for a fox running across the highway, and watched it run to safety in the woods. Spring colors at twilight were on full misty display, the dunes, flowers and water saturated and rich. Imagine peach, yellow-gold, greens and blues in a hundred hues placed next to one another, forming something ethereal and real. Inclusive. Yogic. More, always.

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