The investigating hippie

I have a lot of questions. At times, I sound like a toddler: why this and why that. It’s a thread of curiosity I’ve always had and which I never grew out of. Now that I’m all grown up, my curiosity finds itself in strange situations. For example, some Saturday nights I can be found at the bar with friends. Pressed up against the bar, being jostled by strangers who are dressed to impress and yelling for the bartender, I am marveling at my lime wedge as I squeeze its juice into my rum and coke. Look at this amazing piece of fruit, I’d yell to everyone who didn’t care. Or, I’d swish my drink around with the 50 straws I stole from the bar and see which ones floated to the top, precariously positioning themselves at an angle, dangerously close to falling out of the glass altogether. Why?!? And so begins an investigation post about three questions I had today:

1. Anatomy of a lime.

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To consider the next time you order a Corona: A lime is a citrus fruit. It has three main layers but the one we are most concerned with now is the inner most layer: the endocarp. This is divided into segments called “liths” (think orange slices). Inside each lith is a locule filled with juice vesicles, or “pulp”. From the endocarp, string-like “hairs” extend into the locules, which provide nourishment to the fruit as it develops. So when you are squeezing the lime into your next Corona, know that you are popping those vesicles contained within a locule, releasing tangy juices to compliment your imported beverage.

2. Do butterflies sleep?

– Nope. However, they do have a period of inactivity at night only because its too dark for them to see their other butterfly friends or hunt. They usually hang upside down underneath a leaf by using its tiny little hook feet to latch into the flesh of leaves. In this way, butterflies use less energy than if they were standing upright. Butterflies don’t have eyelids so they just hang out, processing the days activities (metabolically speaking), until the next day rises. Awesome.

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3. What do flies do when they land and what is their purpose?

Purpose: As I conducted my very basic internet research on the purpose of flies, I mostly came across a bunch of people who have such a strong hatred for flies that they have taken to the Internet to write about. So, I decided to come to terms with a fly existing as a manifestation of my consciousness, brought about to test my patience and ahimsa during asana practice. I don’t like it, but that’s that. What’s really awesome is I came across an article about how new research is finding ways we can benefit from mimicking some of the characteristics of the black fly. The black fly has particular mechanisms that enable it to inhibit clotting and inflammation, ensuring it has a free flowing, open injection site to feed from. Gross. But now scientists are working towards understanding this in order to use it for medical advancement, in patients with diseases that are complicated by inflammation but must remain open to blood flow (the opposite of clotting). Super interesting. I forgot to look up what happens when they land; for another day.

I’m in love

I’m in awe of this day of love. The expression of love for those that surround us is a beautiful sentiment to witness and experience. According to my recent class lessons, one of the obstacles of the mind can be two-fold: becoming attached to pleasurable things; another obstacle is aversion, as a result of an experience of pain or anger. Sometimes, especially on Valentines Day, we may be confronted by these two obstacles simultaneously. We associate love with a pleasurable experience from the past and, according to the attachment concept, want to hold on to that pleasurable experience and live it again and again. We may also associate love with a second obstacle of the mind, aversion, when we have experienced a time in which there was a lack of love, when love is associated with pain or anger. Maybe you have experienced both; I know I have. Some Valentine’s Days I am madly in love and love is abundant. I don’t want the day to end (attachment). Other Valentine’s Days are spent at the bar cursing Hallmark and any couples who dare to show even the slightest sign of affection for each other (aversion).

This Valentine’s Day, I am simply observing the love that surrounds me, in all its forms: the smallest smile from a child peaking around his front door to the married women in my class who are celebrating their spouses from a distance. Happy Day of love everyone.

With love,
Ally

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A walk through town

Throughout this mornings yoga and pranayama practice, I watched as the sun began to peak from behind the clouds. It has stormed consistently for the past three days, and I have enjoyed every moment of it. The rain brought with it these gorgeous whips of low laying clouds that crawled over the mountains in waves throughout the day, winding tendrils through the trees and around the mountain temple spires. Breathtaking, really. So after a quick breakfast of fresh fruit and hot lentils (very tasty), I joined a few other classmates in a walk to the local coffee spot. The scenes along the way were fantastic; Rishikesh is a town straight out of a child’s storybook, with big blocks of brightly painted colors and curls of metal staircases and door handles. It’s a magical place, a similar sensation to being in Big Sur. We reached the coffee shop, which was wonderfully full of prayer flags comfy floor cushions, but I could not give up my exploring adventure so I parted ways with the group and continued on my own. A short distance from the coffee shop was a large gated archway, it’s surface chipping away orange and green paint. Not particularly a welcoming entryway, but I went through anyway as I could see a pathway leading through several other similar archways and disappeared into the jungle mountain trees. I passed a donkey, a wedding, a group of school girls, (all heading the opposite direction) and finally found myself alone on the winding path. It took me through an abandoned hospital and then to a towering, rusted iron gate that was locked but which had a small door that was swung open, just big enough to climb through. My adventure continued up a windy cobblestone path with cozy homes on each side, like a scene straight out of The Shire. It was somewhere between here, where the path meandered into a denser forest and was void of any homes, and when the path rejoined the main town again, that I felt overwhelmed with love and gratitude. Love for such a magical place, seemingly bringing into existence everything I’ve always dreamed about. Gratitude for being given this opportunity; that the universe really does know what it is doing and I am always taken care of, even when I cannot see it that way. I am deeply deeply grateful. Even more so, I am happy.

Safe Arrival in Rishikesh + ESPN

Landed from Bangkok at 4pm; home for a few hours to wash and repack; on the road to yoga teacher training in Rishikesh by 10:30. 

Slept most of the drive, which was a bouncy, beeping, mess on wheels. The soundtrack was a local Indian pop station…a fantastic listen, actually. I only regret not knowing how to find those songs again. 

Arrival to bridge that connection to Rishikesh around 3:30 AM where I as met by 3 gentlemen and 2 motorcycles.  The bridge is closed during the night so passage was limited to a 25 min walk in freezing rain or 7 min motorcycle ride. After a hilarious balancing act, all my luggage was piled up like a teetering Jenga tower on one motorcycle and was headed across the bridge.  I hopped on the back of the other ‘cycle and off we went.  Even in the dark, the city looked amazing. Much less crowded than Delhi, much cleaner.  

My room overlooks a mountain range, has wi-fi, private bath, and a TV…the only English channel I have come across is ESPN. I guess I can run, but true to the saying, I cannot hide. 

The best day

I thought I knew happiness but I had no freaking ideeeeeaaaa…today was a whole day of happy; being curious, taking the time to explore, meeting new friends. Today I met a woman who is the head gardener at a beautiful space in L.A. She works at the studio on weekends teaching kids classes and seemed super eager to help get my garden going. She is a deeply rooted energy, you can almost see the connect between her lower back and what grounds her to the Earth. We talked about “planting” earthworms, harvesting honey from the hive in the garden, and the importance of growing your own food. I learned that bees only fly in a straight line, left or right of their hive, when looking for pollinating areas, which made me wonder what happened to the flight path of the bee I stepped on yesterday.

Photo adventure for everything else.

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A brief list of people who should avoid having yard sales…

Hipsters should not have yard sales. They don’t wake up until noon and only make signs on those tiny little index cards, with no arrows, and no exclamation marks.

Gay men should avoid having yard sales simply because they have very strong emotional connections to their belongings. Case in point: this morning I watched as a petite Asian woman who spoke no English bartered the price of a throw pillow and a fuzzy picture frame until Frances, the gay man, broke down in tears, grabbed what was left of his belongings and retreated back inside. Hilarious.

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These people should definitely have a yard sale.