Sometimes, you find yourself in magical places.

This past weekend, I did yoga on a beach along a bay, on a deck overlooking a river, and in the middle of a granite “Council Ring” at the center of at a 30-acre wooded sculpture garden. (Yep, that’s my recently pedicured foot, on a yoga mat next to a granite block that was helpful to my warrior practice.)

There were some attempts at fancy moves over the weekend.

But mainly, it was about checking in with myself, and good people, and nature.

There were late night scrabble games and novels from our host read in chaise lounges.  We went back for seconds and thirds of Brenda’s fabulous cooking (quinoa-stuffed peppers, eggplant au gratin, goat cheese pizza), napped in well-placed hammocks, and generally unplugged. Well, not completely:  we stargazed with the help of an ipad app to help us identify satellites and constellations.

Connecting happens in all sorts of ways — we connect to each other, to the essence of the water and the woods, to the energy that moves our bodies and stills our minds, to the healing energy that travels through our hands into the food we cook or the sore shoulders of someone we  love with a gentle touch.

Thanks to Daniel Hickman of Silk Road Yoga for his friendship and connecting me with richness in every form this weekend — and taking all the photos you see here.  Brenda and John Mantz are generous, creative, and soulful hosts extraordinaire  — and I am looking forward to being back in their home to facilitate a writing (or maybe yoga & writing) retreat in the fall.

For a taste of yoga & writing, if you’re in Washington, DC, I’m leading a yoga and writing session on Friday June 10th from 8-10 pm at Quiet Mind Yoga in Columbia Heights. I can pretty much guarantee a good time.

For a longer foray into writing and healing of all sorts, come to the International Women’s Writing Guild 34th Annual Summer Conference, to be held at Yale from June 24th-July 1st. (Just so you can all say “Yael @ Yale!!”). More than 40 workshops each day, including my own “Pen & Pose.”

Tonight, I’m leading an intro to Reiki. For those of you readers who would like to learn Reiki 1 this summer or fall, please send me a note as I’m putting classes together now and I would love to have you.

In other good news, if you’re in DC and a night owl, next week you can listen to me read poems and ramble about I don’t know what on WHUR’s Spoken Word @ Joe’s Place. The show will air on June 15-16th, 2011 at midnight.

I also got word today that my “Love Poem to Insomnia” has been accepted in an upcoming anthology of “non-sappy” love poems by the very awesome community-focused Jacar Press. (In fact, the poem, which I won’t publish here until after it appears in the anthology was written in southern Maryland while I was a poet-in-residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and staying in a haunted house. Love comes in many forms!)

I’ll leave you with a poem I read about another fantastic time I had in southern Maryland, when I got lost wandering in the woods by myself. Connection saved me as much then as it did this weekend.

Be excellent! Yael

To Losing Your Way
Praise solitude in unfamiliar terrain.
Praise wooded Sunday walks.
Praise new bays and ancient shells from a far-gone sea.
Praise the groves which harbor mislaid souls.
Praise herons’ fear of humans who are too close.
Praise the swans calmly nesting in cattails.
Praise blue skies and red-tail hawks who have seen it all.
Praise swampy marshlands into whose embrace you sink.

15,000 years ago hunters in France drew pictures
of animals, track lines to depict migratory patterns.

Praise your own migration.
Praise feeling that you have never been as fully awake.
Praise knowing that the trees ahead are never lost.
Praise chaos theory and its poetic strange attractors.
Praise the hope of attracting a way out.

And so: praise the new cell tower!
Praise the potential of constant connection.
Praise the EMS call center 35 miles away.
Praise the young man who remembers sleepaway
in this state park, and who follows your every move
with Global Positioning Systems and atomic clocks.

For that matter, praise the 24 medium earth orbit satellites!
Praise this technology though they help soldiers
locate “objectives” in the dark
and Big Brother can always find you,
even when your phone is powered off.

Pleasure-seeking circuits are found in the hypothalamus.
They fire up during the search for food, cool down while we eat.

So: why not? Praise the journey!
Praise the 36 minutes you spent with this man
until the road came into view.
Praise the temperature that dropped only after you got out.
Praise the Killian’s Red that brought the rush down.

Praise trying to find yourself
and admitting total disorientation.
Praise reaching out.
Praise anonymous charity.

Praise being still and alone,
and also praise being okay
with sometimes being told
which way to go.

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