Tag Archives: outdoors

Full Moon & Solstice Weekend: Finding Spirit in All Places

A reality has become apparent: Life is beautifully busy at the Salt Spring Center of Yoga.

This isn’t the “hectic busy” of the working parent or the swamped university student. This busy is more like… fullness, and wholeness — the full, plump belly of a satisfied lifestyle. This is the type of busy in which I know I will not have time to write a blog today, because I can’t miss Qi-gong and still want to attend the Yoga Philosophy class. After a long day working the earth under the island sun, the internet is but a distant thought.

I’d love to be writing long rants and discussions about aspects of yoga psychology and such, but in order to balance my time here at the Center, I’d like start smaller little blogs — with lots of pictures. The following are scattered photographic highlights of my last week.

A little buddy who chilled with me for a while under a bush in the meditation garden.

A little buddy who chilled with me for a while under a bush in the meditation garden.

Being outdoors most days brings a plethora of gifts from nature. While working in a flower bed, this medium (3ft) garter snake casually slithered up to see what was going on. He was a mellow snake, allowing me to lay down on my belly with only 40cm or so between our eyes. We hung out for a while. I grabbed my camera and came back, but of course he didn’t enjoy being approached by the mysterious electronic device. Snake energy is radical — very Shiva. It amazes me that these creatures are eternally on their bellies slithering through the dust and the muck, yet I’ve never seen a dirty snake. They are always pure and clean.

The view of Fulford Harbour from the top of Mt. Maxwell, Salt Spring Island.

It hasn’t gotten old yet – every time I see the ocean, I get this trippy sensation: I’m on a freakin’ island! (Obvious prairie origins of author become apparent here.) Something about this place being physically isolated from the mainlaind is awfully romantic. No one can simply wander onto Salt Spring island. There needs to be an intention of some sort: I am going to that piece of land over yonder. Perhaps that factor helps to create the island wide sensation of community I feel here.

A big pile of wood, chopped by the finest artisan wood workers on the island.

A big pile of wood, chopped by the finest artisan wood workers on the island.

Before enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water. Two full days of splitting some gnarly trees — with a full gamut of sledgehammers, sledgeaxes, wedges and axes — was a great exercise in mindfulness. Also great anger therapy. There’s no room for anything but total concentration when swinging a 20lb sledgehammer for a few hours, unless you want to sprain your spine or pop a toe.

A most excellent wood burning sauna.

A most excellent wood burning sauna.

Chop wood, feed stove, heat sauna, enjoy sauna. Working without attachment to the fruits of one’s labour is a key aspect of Karma Yoga, which I dare say I was practicing as I chopped wood a few days ago. However, had I known the wood supply was going to fuel the healing warmth of the sauna, I might have been pretty attached! I capped off my Saturday with a late night sauna. It was glorious. When I emerged to cool down, I was greeted with a massive and luminous full moon.

The massive June full moon lighting up the midnight sky.

The massive June full moon lighting up the midnight sky.

My wee camera had no hope of capturing the majesty of the silhouetted cedars and silver clouds. Use your imagination — we’re at a yoga center on a big island at midnight, staring up at the stars and moon, the internal body warmed by the dry sauna, and cool air tingling the skin…  And then imagine all the other people on the planet reverently enjoying that same moon. Wow. What an incredible way to kick off the summer. Whatever you were doing on the 21st, happy solstice to you. And a happy full moon to you, too. 


Vanabode Selected: The Ford Windstar! Her conversion into a reliable bedroom / lounge / mobile meditation studio begins today.

It appears practically has won out over romance in my latest vehicle purchasing decision. This is probably a very good thing – I really can’t afford to be investing in an antique and whimsical vehicle right now, it’s too risky. In this post, I outline the variety of vans I had been previously considering.

The outcome of this logical decision was the 1998 Ford Windstar.

1998 Ford Windstar

My 1998 Ford Windstar. Sorry to recycle the same picture from earlier – but come on, it’s just a minivan, if you wanna know what it looks like just look at any road for a few minutes and you’ll see one.

I am now a soccer dad.

I decided she’s a girl on the drive home last weekend. And a chubby girl, at that. She used to have air suspension in the rear end until it failed about 5 years ago, at which point the previous owners installed standard shocks and springs. For some reason, they never bothered to disconnect the air compressor. This unhappy compressor is still trying in vain to inflate the suspension system that no longer exists, resulting in a hilarious burping/moaning sound that comes from the back left wheel well every couple minutes or so. It’s the vehicular equivalent of a phantom limb. Poor little thing. More “character” emerging every drive with this baby.

Summer plans are coming up REALLY FAST. It is looking as if I will be leaving Alberta right around May 1st. This gives me exactly two weeks to convert the stock Windstar interior into a swanky bachelor pad on wheels, while also ensuring this beast is mechanically adequate for the next 8 months. There’s nothing like a time crunch to galvanize work effort.

Here’s what needs to get done mechanically on this van (i.e.; the expensive stuff I’d rather not do):

  • Wheel alignment
  • Remove air compressor (Maybe. The gurgling is kind of cute.)
  • New rear shocks
  • Windshield wipers
  • The windshield is cracked. Can I make it last the summer? I hope so, glass is expensive.
  • Inspection (for insurance purposes)

As we speak, she’s getting an inspection and a wheel alignment. My mechanic, Mark, is going to be looking at her while keeping in mind that she’s about to be going on a big adventure. Here’s hoping everything looks beautiful and that he doesn’t miss anything!

Here’s what needs to be done interior-wise (i.e.; the fun and cheap stuff!):

  • Bed! Priority #1.
  • Removable window coverings.
  • Some sort of separator between front and back section.
  • Shelving.
  • Storage solutions.
  • Window mesh (anti-mosquito)
  • Figuring out what the heck to bring on this journey!

This list might seem short, but I’m not going to underestimate the challenge. I have a feeling that I’m going to be spending a decent amount of time and energy on the window coverings. Making the bed frame and finding the comfiest possible mattress set-up will be pretty fun. Lots of stuff to do!

Stay tuned for details. The next couple weeks will be rich with updates as to how things are going. And, of course, she needs a name! What should I keep in mind over the next couple weeks as I prepare this unnamed girl for our big adventure?

*Well, mechanic Mark just phoned – looks as if the suspension has more issues than first anticipated. The rear shocks are actually fine, however, there is a front tie rod and ball joint that are failing and will need replacement. Due to the crazy alignment I’ll have to replace the front tires as well. I expected as much. Colour me optimistic, but for $1100 I still think I’m getting a good value on this van even after factoring in repairs.