St. Swartz: Week of Firsts

stswartz_granolafirst1sts #1: Someday beginning of June, clearing out my pantry I found an unopened bushel of oats. I purchased this fancy organic rubbish ages ago with the grand plan of eating cooked breakfasts. Checking over the packet for a cookie recipe I instead found one for granola. Ha, my first 1st just rolled into my lap. I already had extra virgin coconut oil and some crazy expensive raw organic honey. I purchased raw almonds and sunflower seeds, mixed up the lot with some cinnamon and baked it for about 10 minutes. It smelled amazing. And I’ve been enjoying it over yoghurt and berries for breakfast. Not bad.

1sts #2: Some days after granola making.
stswartz_pottedherbs_firstI’ve always wanted to have fresh herbs growing in my habitat but haven’t ever jumped around ’til now. I’ve neglected my potted garden of late, and haven’t made any new plant life purchases for well over a year. I had the pots, and headed to the Exchange nursery for herbs and soil. Where, to my delight, I found on the clearance shelf basil and rosemary. I also purchased some lemon thyme – because it was pretty and smelled good – I’ve no idea what to do with lemon thyme – and lastly, some peppermint.

stswartz_cleanhound_firstYes, it’s a modest start but I’m pretty damn pleased with myself. And I remembered how much I love rooting around in the dirt. I got so stuck in I also repotted and cleaned up my ornamentals, and hosed off my stoep and picked up the dog poop. A happy coincidence was the pet section kissing the nursery where I found some rosemary mint puppy shampoo! Scrubbing down the pooch is a great way to clean up the dirt manicure. Dog clean, garden spruced, so, time for a cocktail outside checking out my labors.

stswartz_malanecklace_first1sts #3: A friend reminded me of a promised gift of a mala necklace. I, up until this day had yet to complete one that I was pleased enough with to give away. In fact I was so disappointed with the lot of it, I’d put it all away with a ‘someday I’ll revisit this’ intention. My friend’s prodding had me muttering and dragging my tail back to the bead store for inspiration. On my return home I went straight to work and knotted until completion, and I made myself tie up the guru bead and tassel all right there in that afternoon. I am happy to announce my friend will receive a pretty fine mala. WHAT WHAT!!

stswartz_shellseaglassmobile_first1sts #4: Having this mala to mail to my friend had me pausing to remember yet another unfinished project I had sitting out on my workbench. For the same damn friend! I’d begun to make her a sea glass and shell mobile last November. I haven’t touched my dremel or drill all year long.
While this is not a true first, I am claiming it, as this 1sts project got me back out to my work bench.
So there.

1sts #5: I put aside my car keys for an entire day and made a plan that wherever I had to go I would cycle or walk. And I promised myself I wouldn’t just remain at home!

I biked to yoga and home. I cycled to the shops where I treated myself to an iced americano- my sister had me hooked- and then did some grocery shopping- light, very light grocery shopping.

And home again. Good thing my travel range is about 3 miles, otherwise I’d have had to figure out the bus schedule! Biking is loads of fun. New scapes to check out, ducks to dodge and plenty of squashed frogs-eiw.

stswartz_silver_smithing_first1sts #6: There is a great bead shop here in Kailua where all I’d been shopping there for- until recently- were drill bits for drilling shell and glass. They offer jewelry making classes year round, and I’d been picking up their class schedules and perusing them for a number of years. Knowing my time here was winding down I signed up for 4! Fused silver bracelet, simple soldered bangles, wired wrapping and mala. I discovered I love working with fire and metals. I discovered a love for semi precious stones and beads. I discovered this is not a cheap hobby and now charge my friends for the earrings they want made! Bam!

1sts #7: This last 1st was one that happened years ago that I feel has impacted my life in a huge way – taking a yoga class at the Aloha Yoga Kula in Kailua. Up until that day I’d only ever done yoga from DVDs in my home, the YMCA or base gym. I had an idea that there was a far richer experience out there if I had the courage to check it out.
It was daunting, I looked online at different studios and checked out teacher’s bios. I was intimidated. The only way my tail got to that studio was desperation. My beloved base gym teacher was leaving the island. I had to find a new place. I hesitantly slunk into the Kula and settled in – copying what everyone else did. This was unlike the gym – it was quiet, dim, and had a vibe that was immediately calming. Martin Doluz was my first teacher there and in savasana that very first day he read Hafiz:

The sky
Is a suspended blue ocean
The stars are the fish that swim.
The planets are the white whales I sometimes
Hitch a ride
The sun and all light
Have forever fused themselves into my heart
And upon my
There is only one rule on this Wild Playground.
Have fun, my dear; my dear, have fun,
In the Beloved’s divine

I choked back tears on my mat, I was home. This was it. My yoga journey brought me here. I have practiced yoga at this studio for 4 years now. I got my yoga teachers training there too. I have had a multitude of firsts practicing yoga. And every class, every breath, every pose is a first.


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