Happy Sunday lovely humans.
I greet you as such assuming you are, indeed, all human. Sometimes I do wonder. Let me know!
On Friday it was my birthday. Friday the 13th. Very lucky indeed. Do you believe in the concept of luck? A while back a read a book called the Luck Archives that was really fascinating. It was born after an artist named Mark Menjivar found 4 four-leaf clovers pressed between the pages of a really old book called 1000 Facts Worth Knowing whilst browsing through an antique bookshop. Menjivar found this discovery so very beguiling that he was inspired to take on a deep exploration into the concept of luck through the lenses of belief systems, culture, superstition, and tradition in people’s lives… it’s a brilliant book. Lots of pictures too, if you’re not so keen on words (although if you’re reading a blog post I guess words are ok with you. Which is good. Reading is good!)
I digress. My birthday! I enjoyed my day. My kids made me breakfast in bed (I had to get back in to bed to facilitate this particular tradition as I had a class to go to at 6am!) My breakfast appeared to be a burger, which was a little odd, especially as fruit and/or porridge is my go to breakfast food, but I am so grateful for their effort. I taught a very glorious class, I had cake, I saw friends and family as I shivered in my porch and them on my drive (lockdown birthday’s version of a party) and was gifted some lovely things.
I sat at the end of the day with this little pile of gifts from my loved ones and it actually made me laugh out loud. I’m 38 years old. I am a mum of 3. ‘I am’ all kinds of things that you could label me with. And most of those labels, I believe, would not naturally align themselves with what those closest to me chose to buy me for my birthday.
Gifts included, but were not limited to:
– a model of a human brain (I really really love this) which is made of wood and is weighty enough to act as a burglar basher if the opportunity ever presents itself.
– a candle shaped like a baby’s head.
– a perplex necklace of a large human heart.
– a candle shaped like a creepy black hand.
– earrings that are made from small, usable tambourines
– a large teapot shaped like a toucan.
Basically, this is all just pure joy to me. So I feel very lucky, very grateful, and, yes, a bit of a weirdo. But good weird. Me weird. That’s the important bit.
My Yoga Week
The new class timetable is working really well for me and I am enjoying building up this little community of yogis in my online classes.
This week my classes continue at the same three times:
Wednesday morning @ 10am
Thursday evening @ 7pm
Friday morning @ 10am.
If you haven’t already used it then I have a code for a free online class that you can enter at the checkout. The code is ‘FINDSTILLNESS’.
This week I plan to explore the concept of neuroplasticity – my topic of the moment because brains are AMAZING.
As a student on the mat I did 9 classes over the last 7 days. It’s never enough for me. No less than 7 of these classes were with Carolyn Cowan. Carolyn is so incredibly masterful at leading us to kindness, stillness, and gentleness that I do take up every opportunity I can to get to her classes and workshops. If you haven’t explored Carolyn’s offerings yet you really really should. You will find loads and loads of stuff on her website. Starting soon are the 6am Christmas core classes which are going to be absolutely phenomenal for not only our stomach muscles, but more for our sense of self as we walk in to Covid Christmas. The horror! The joy!
Death: A Graveside Companion
Every so often I stumble across a writer whose work I will quickly and eagerly devour in, what some may call, a rather obsessive way (still working on my obsessive mind! A work in progress). Right now I am finding myself beguiled by the work of Joanna Ebenstein, whose book, Anatomica, I wrote about last week.
After many hours enjoying the images and words of that offering, and the many interesting research missions it began to send me down, I not only found myself spending huge amounts of time on her Morbid Anatomy Blog (wow, SO MUCH content!) but also ordering another book. Death, A Graveside Companion. Perhaps not your average coffee table book, this beautiful tomb includes 1000 macabre illustrations. I am still in the grips of its pages but this is such a wonderful book.
Many people are frightened of death and, much like are mission to try and understand life through the study and creation of art around the physical body, many have sought to understand death, too, through art and ritual.
The book is organised into themed chapters: The Art of Dying, Examining the Dead, Memorialising the Dead, The Personification of Death, Symbolising Death, Death as Amusement, and The Dead After Life. The chapters open with really beautiful and well written articles by curators, academics, and journalists and the words are followed by hundreds of images that really are a feast of the eyes in showing the huge variety of death-related imagery and artifacts that exist. It’s mind blowing. I’m only up to chapter 5, Symbolising Death, in which I have found myself quite peculiarly drawn to the concept of hair work commemorations – memorial artworks crafted using the hair of dead loved ones. Just so so so interesting.
Here’s a link to the book if you want to check it out.
I have a lot of (boring) jobs to do today in my house. But I will do so holding on to how grateful I feel, not only for my new brain, but also for being here. Being alive! It’s a very wonderful thing.
Leave comments, get in touch. Book a class! I’d love to see you on the mat this week.
With all the love
2 thoughts on “A Brand New Brain, Teapot Toucans, The Hair of Dead Loved Ones Woven in To Art and, of course, A LOT of Yoga: What I Have Been Up To This Week”
Good birthday presents, Sara-Jayne! I liked reading your blog. I think I’m reading too many books at once at the moment, but agree that facing mortality by reading about death is a good idea – I’ll hang on to the reference for that book. And am about to book for the Thursday class.
Thank you Diana. Too many books at once is a habit I get in to too! It’s a wonderful book that I am reading though. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Sending love.