Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Night Flick

If you haven't heard the scuttlebutt on Enlighten Up! yet, here it is: It's great; go see it. Director Kate Churchill is a Boston gal, whom I've known for years. We previously taught yoga at the same studio in Cambridge, MA. She's taken a very thorough and thought-provoking look at the practice and subsequent explosion in popularity of yoga, through the eyes of a beginner- protagonist Nick Rosen (that's him in the shades). The result is a smart, fun, Indie flick that is sure to get your weekend started on the right foot.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Friday, I'm in Love: Sleep & National Spelling Bee

I'm a tad sleep deprived, so I'll be practicing what I preach tonight and shutting down early in the name of reestablishing some balance. In the meantime, I am completely and utterly enamored with the National Spelling Bee. Each year, this televised convergence of the country's topnotch young spellers sneaks up on me, and each year, I'm elated. How life-affirming that children still know how to spell! Surely, there's a video game or iPhone application to do it for them, right? Psittacosis? Gyascutus? Senryu? Say what? OK, I'm nearing delirium; time for bed. But just one more thing . . . A particularly slight, bespectacled boy just took the stage, and S.O. summed up the scene thus:

I love these little dudes. He's a f*ing assassin.

Standout spelling and a good night's sleep. Does it get better? Wait, it just might. Check out this clip of a speller from a couple years ago, who faints and still manages to come to and spell his work correctly. Brilliant.

Zen and the Art of Swimsuit Season

The prospect of wearing a swimsuit in public can be daunting, though the fluorescent lighting often associated with trying one on in a private fitting room is often no less anxiety inducing. Rather than hit the tanning bed or show up drunk for your next shopping trip in hopes of baking away your skin's pallor or beer-goggling at yourself in the mirror, perhaps you might try a more holistic approach? Here are a few healthful tips to look and feel your best when wearing less this summer.

Eat sensibly. For most people, this tidbit is obvious; however, there's less consensus out there regarding the meaning of "sensibly" than one might hope. To that end, allow me to share the following simple equation: Crazy cleanses, diets that recommend burgers and bacon (minus the bun) over fruit salad, and starvation tactics of any kind= STUPID. You must avoid them like the swine flu. They harm your body, mind, and spirit. If you want your body to look and feel fabulous, treat it accordingly with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

Guzzle water. Water is your friend. Buy a Sigg bottle; tote it around, and sip from it all day long. This habit will help flush toxins from your system and reduce the likelihood that you will overeat on account of being thirsty as opposed to hungry (you'd be shocked at how often people confuse the two). Furthermore, most beverages are filled with empty calories. If you're trying to lose weight, eat your calories; don't drink them.

Burn calories on the sly. If the colder months caused you to acquire some added, um, insulation, you'll find it easier to shed pounds and subsequently layers of clothing by sneaking in impromptu calorie blasts throughout your day (particularly if regular workouts are scarce). The I-Don't-Like-To-Workout Workout has some helpful tips, such as taking more opportunities to walk during the day and "becoming your own infomercial" at night while watching TV.

Scrutinize Your Suit. Looking your best is never solely about a number on the scale or the size on the tag of your bikini or board shorts. Exuding confidence trumps your measurements every time. Find a swimsuit that fits well and appeals to your personal style, and you'll feel better about baring it all. If your suit is too small, too big, faded beyond recognition, or sorely outdated, scour the Internet and magazines for designs that work for you; then, venture out to find the perfect suit by trying on a bunch. Plenty of magazines and style blogs outline which suits fit certain body types, like this pointed tip from People magazine, "Finding the right pattern for you is all about proportion. Bigger flowers flatter smaller bodies and vice versa" (May 2009), so scope out your resources. For gals who don't dig the prospect of a bikini, you're in luck! Cutaway suits and "monokinis" are huge right now. (Below, Volcom Cosmic Screen One-Piece and Nikster Eco Monokini).

Guys, pay close attention to the fabric of your shorts, and make sure they fit well.

Accessorize Strategically. Attempts to camouflage your figure with baggy T-shirts or over-sized beach towels usually send one message: "I am trying to camouflage my figure because I don't feel comfortable with it." Instead, try stylish sarongs, loose-fitting tunics, and relaxed button-down shirts. In addition to accent items that streamline your figure, you also have a plethora of fun summer options that draw attention away from, say, your tuckus and place the emphasis on your exceptional taste. A fabulous unisex option is the fedora. Wide-brimmed hats, head scarves, bangle bracelets, beaded necklaces, and embellished sandals provide om gals with an added flourish of fashion when desired.

Prepare a Picnic. Whether it's Fenway franks, monstrous frozen margaritas, tortilla chips slathered with guacamole, or the infamous ice cream truck, we all have a summer indulgence (or two, or ten) that wrecks havoc on our nutrition program. Of course, you should savor the tastes of the season; however, the bulk of your diet should be made up of healthy foods that you prepare at home. It's the easiest way to ensure that you're making smart choices. To that end, make sure you don't become stranded on a beach with your only lunch option coming from the snack bar fryer. If you're packing your bathing suit for a weekend jaunt, take along some healthy snacks as well. Trail mixes, Kashi bars and cereals, and mini cans of V-8 all pack well, take up minimal space, and provide healthful alternatives to vending machines, snack bars, and fast food. Remember, looking good in a swimsuit is an ongoing affair, not a two-week pledge to diet followed by a summer of stuffing your face.

Sleep It Off. More sunlight means longer days, which can also lead to later nights and less sleep. However, studies show that getting enough sleep is essential to our overall health and may even be a key factor in losing weight, particularly in women. Check out Sleep More, Weigh Less on

Practice Ahimsa Toward Your Body. Ahimsa or "nonviolence" is one of the fundamental tenets of yoga philosophy. While the most obvious interpretation is that we should not engage in acts of violence against others, the broader application of the term suggests that we should do no harm- to ourselves or others. This practice does not only relate to physical acts of violence but also hurtful thoughts or words. Thinking negatively about your body harms you; it's that simple. Therefore, it's important during swimsuit season and all year long to regularly recall all the amazing feats your body accomplishes everyday. Mentally say "thank you" to your physical being for the ability to walk with a graceful gait, swim to the farthest buoy out at sea, pick up a heavy toddler, or help a pal move into a new apartment. Focusing on the functions of your body will enhance its form. You'll stand taller, breath deeper, and smile bigger because you'll realize that your body doesn't just look good, it helps you live a good life, which is never more evident then when you are lounging beach or poolside, with sand between your toes, fresh air in your lungs, and the sun warming your exposed skin.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tune In Tomorrow: Om Gal on the Radio

Tune in to WBIX 1060 AM in Boston  from 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., tomorrow, to catch me chatting with radio host Frankie Boyer on her healthy lifestyle show.  We'll cover a few wellness related topics, such as getting in shape for summer and keeping stress in check.  To listen online during the show, click here.  After the show, post a comment or send an email if you have feedback.  I'd love to hear from you.  

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday, I'm in Love: Yoga, Yogurt, Apple

My Apple computer and I have a bond that runs deep. We've been together for nearly fours years, which makes him a dinosaur in Apple years (yes, it's a "he," and he has a name). Nevertheless, I see no reason for an upgrade. This computer changed my life, and I don't mean that lightly, but that's a topic for another day. For today, per our new, little Friday tradition, I'm in love with three things, the first of which is indeed Apple related. Last night, I attended my weekly One-to-One session at the store on Boylston Street. In short, I paid a reasonable fee and now have access to an Apple expert one hour, per week, for a year, to learn anything my little heart desires. Tonight, I flirted with iWeb, and so far, I like what I see. Plans for a second date are imminent.

As you know, I'm a new fan of Pinkberry frozen yogurt following my most recent trip to NYC. As a result, I've been out of luck back in Boston, as the healthy chain has yet to open a franchise location here. There's a smattering of purveyors selling similar yogurt treats, such as Berry Lime and BoYo, but none near me, so I was elated to discover a new flavor of Haagen Dazs at the grocer last weekend, Tart Natural Low Fat Frozen Yogurt. While the texture doesn't quite match the divine standards of Pinkberry, the taste is pretty perfect. Rumor has it I'll be having a summer fling with this flavor.

Finally, my post-marathon hips want to send a love letter to a great variation on half-pigeon. Lately, I have been doing lots of this pose with the help of my foam roller. Essentially, I sit on the foam roller and use it to leverage my shin away from my body. By adding the use of the roller to this familiar pose, the asana becomes almost medicinal in nature. I've been using to help rehab a sore right hip following the Boston Marathon last month.

Have a tasty tip of your own to share? Spread the love by posting a comment.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Age of Enlightenment?

I always wanted to be older. It started when I was 4 or 5, living across the street from two kindhearted grandparents, “Meme” and “Pepe,” and being in awe with their youngest grandson, Roger. Whenever Roger would visit during the summer and wherever he roamed on a given day, I could be found following close behind. He was so agile and fast at 10-years-old that I often resorted to pursuing him from my Big Wheel. Someday, I thought, I’d be able to keep up with Roger. I would climb trees like him, laugh loudly at my own jokes, and be allowed to cross the street without supervision.

Nowadays, I regularly cross the street without supervision, but for the first time, I’m not so keen on getting older.

Even after college, I can recall feeling the perceived burden of being too young. My earliest career pursuits included teaching high school English to at-risk youth. Some of my students started school late, moved from foreign countries and thus needed time for their English to catch up before settling in the appropriate grade, or were held back one or more times. One of my students was 19; I was only 23. I never came clean when my students asked me how old I was. I feared it would immediately undermine my authority.

Once while on a field trip at Massachusetts Maritime Academy (the alma mater of Captain Richard Phillips, who recently escaped the Somali pirates), my students received a private tour of the school’s massive training vessel by Captain Tom Bushy, followed by a question and answer period. They were permitted to ask him anything—about the school, the ship, his world travels, navigation and more. Surely, this would be a moment for them to shine as inquisitive teenagers, eager to broaden their horizons. Do you know what they asked him first?

“How old are you?”

“I’m 52 years old,” answered the bemused and forthright captain.

“Finally!” the student responded, “Someone who’s HONEST about their age.” The admittedly humorous slight was then punctuated by a sidelong stare in my direction.

Point taken.

In my other role as a yoga teacher, too, I was wary of being viewed as inexperienced or unworldly when I first began teaching in the early 2000s. While I had more experience than many of my contemporaries in Boston (I started practicing yoga at 16 and teaching at 20) and I’d traveled the world; including a visit to India, the birthplace of yoga; I was often still judged by my appearance alone. Could someone so young impart wisdom on students who were often much older was the implied question. I believed so but guarded any references to my age nonetheless (and I definitely kept my affinity for bubblegum pop music by the likes of Britney Spears and J-Lo under wraps).

My, how times have changed! Britney’s once galactic career seems like a lifetime ago, and J-Lo of the P. Diddy days when she performed countless duets with Ja Rule (yup, I owned the CD, and, speaking of which, where the heck did Ja Rule go?) is now the glowing mother of twins—and a triathlete to boot!

What happened between “Oops, I Did It Again” and Oops, Britney forgot her underwear again? Simple. Time passed. Recently, I realized as much and decided that maybe it was time for Mother Nature to slow down a wee bit, particularly between now and August, when, without supervision, I’ll cross the street of my 20s to the unknown territory of my 30s.

Alas, Mother Nature rebuffs any attempts at manipulation, from any of us (except, perhaps, Madonna), so I’m marching closer to 30 each day. Most of the time, I’m cool with it. “Your 30s are for kicking ass,” my friend, Pedro, has been known to say. (He turned 40 last year and sufficiently kicked ass last decade). My mom, who delighted at turning 50 so that she could jump into the next age group in road races, ensuring that she would place higher in the standings, adored her 30s. She still raves about them. With role models like these, I should be thrilled, right?

On the other hand, I recently attended the birthday party of a friend’s younger sibling who turned 25 (which was a terrible year for me, in case anyone is wondering) and he shared the following insight, “I’m just thankful I still have four years until my life is over.” [Insert your own personal level of ire, here].

So there it is. When I was four, I wanted to be 10. When I was 23, I wanted to be 29. Now, I’m 29, and I’m content to hunker down and stay for a while. I can't help feeling like my accomplishments aren't up to the standards of turning 30. Shouldn't I run another marathon, write a book, launch a business, or work on my handstands? At the very least, I could learn to whistle using my fingers. (I've always wanted to know how to do that).

I know it’s perfectly safe, but I’m just not ready to cross this street yet.

What’s your favorite age? If you could remain any age, which one would it be and why? To which birthday did/do you look forward most? Which caused the most anxiety?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday, I'm in Love: Making Love in the Kitchen

You can bet with a blog title like Making Love in the Kitchen, Meghan Telpner's approach to healthy cooking contains heaps more fun than your typical healthy cooking site. Perhaps the cheeky name grabs your attention, but the holistic approach to nutrition and creative recipes keep you there. Some people need to be wooed into eating healthy; Meghan understands this but makes no superficial promises that eating her vegan raw chocolate pudding will make you look like Angelina Jolie. Instead, she cooks up countless How-To videos in which she seems to be having so much fun in her kitchen that you can't wait to do the same in yours. To her, the overall wellness of her nutrition clients and readers is far more important than the size of their waistlines. She's also super knowledgeable and sweetened to perfection- without ever being cloying or artificial. For all this, I love her site, and I'm pretty sure you will too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Haven't Done Enough With My Life Either

Thank God, I'm not the only one . . . This witty sound byte from our President occurred during his commencement address at Arizona State University yesterday. Perhaps you heard about the recent snub from the university's president, wherein he claimed his school would not be presenting Barack Obama with an honorary degree- typically a formality in these situations, bestowed upon a speaker who has achieved the top level in his or her respective field- because our President had not yet accomplished enough in his lifetime (downright laughable, right?). In other news, Oprah just received a degree from Duke University last week. Congratulations, O. However, if you start rooting for Duke alum and Orlando Magic star J.J. Redick, we're gonna have words, mkay? (Go Celtics!).

I share this clip for a few reasons:

1.) It's entertaining.
2.) It's a brilliant example of one person acknowledging that he is way more than his job, particularly to his spouse.
3.) It's a great example of karma. People were irate about ASU's blunder (including yours truly); however, the President diffused the controversy and illustrated that character trumps job titles, degrees, and labels every time.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Way of Love Is Not

The way of love is not
a subtle argument.

The door there
is devastation.

Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
How do they learn it?

They fall, and falling,
they're given wings.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday I'm in Love: Mom

You know the drill by now. Each Friday, I spotlight something or someone that I love to pieces. On the Friday before Mother's Day, it stands to reason that "Om-Mama" should get top honors. I won't bore you by enumerating all the reasons I love my Mom, but her influence on this blog is undeniable, so I'll share just a few relevant highlights.

My mom was Eco-chic before it was actually chic, known for her crafty DIY projects made from recycled goods; her green thumb, which aims to grow more of her groceries in the backyard each year; her penchant for vintage clothing; and her early adoption of composting at home- a practice that's all the rage these days- she's been doing it for decades. I've long since stopped apologizing to house guests when my mom gives them the death stare if nary a banana peel ends up in the trashcan as opposed to the compost pile, where it can decompose and transform into precious, nutrient-rich fertilizer. All this bodes well for, since I don't have to scramble to become acquainted with the green movement to share valuable Eco-friendly tips here; Mom made it a way of life for our house long ago.

If this all sounds a bit too predictable, as in I inherited my yogi-hippie vibe from my mother, that's not altogether accurate. My mom would cringe at the thought of being called a hippie. Not because she dislikes nature-loving groovy folks but simply because she's beyond labels- and she fundamentally disagrees with their choices in footwear. (She will cringe when she discovers that I have been coveting this swanky pair of Birkenstocks of late). My mom's never done a day of yoga in her life. She hated the phase I went through in high school when I rarely washed or combed my hair or shaved my legs. She cannot stand the sight of tofu or even yogurt, and she swears the only time she ate either was when she was pregnant with me. Go figure.

Nevertheless, I draw inspiration from her personal approach to finding balance. "Playing in the dirt," as she refers to her gardening exploits, is her meditation, along with taking long walks on the beach in our Cape hometown- collecting shells and rocks and appreciating every step of nature along the way- and, now, running. On her impressive list of accomplishments as an entrepreneur and community leader, the fact that my mom became a runner at the age of 47 should not be understated. After watching so many of my track meets over the years, as I sprinted, hurdled, and long-jumped past, she caught the bug, right? Nope. While my mom heartily supported my athletic endeavors growing up, I don't think she ever really understood them. As a woman raised in a country where women do NOT run unless being chased and certainly do not sweat profusely in public, she never really had a desire to lace up a pair of running shoes and, for most of her life, would rather be caught knee-deep in manure than on a treadmill at the gym.

So, what prompted this foray into running at nearly 50 years old? Her competitive spirit, of course, along with her deep-rooted need to help others. She made a bet with a chef at my parents' restaurant. He had acquired a few too many unhealthy habits one year, so she tapped into the alpha-male psyche like the master persuader that she is by challenging him to beat her in the Falmouth Road Race that summer. It was her own crafty plot to help someone else do something meaningful. Now, it should be noted that the Falmouth Road Race is 7.2 miles long, in the blistering heat of August, along with a field of 10,000 other runners, many of a serious, elite, and even Olympic level. Pretty brazen, right? The woman didn't even own a pair of running shoes.

The chef, too, would have to overhaul his life to tackle the race: no more smoking, more attention paid to his weight, which had been steadily creeping upwards for years, fewer booze-filled late nights, and, of course, he would need to- you know- actually start jogging. One foot in front of the other, until arriving at a healthier, happier finish line.

So, that's my mom. Generous, compassionate, competitive, a bit eccentric, unabashedly authentic, motivated, and motivating. That's why I love her.

Please feel free to share a few thoughts about your mom or any mom that inspires you by posting a comment here. Also, what do you think about those Birkenstocks. Should I buy them?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Day With The Dalai Lama

Following the Dalai Lama's visit to Boston this weekend, the media's coverage of the event, a two-part lecture held at Gillette Stadium, was largely relegated to posts regarding the above photo, wherein His Holiness donned a New England Patriots hat during the afternoon session. I can't say that I blame them; it was pretty fantastic. The hat, of course, was a gift from Patriots team owner Robert Kraft, who happened to be sitting with his wife Myra, just a few feet away from me, so I snapped a shot of him too.

Nevertheless, there's much more to be said about the Dalai Lama's visit to Boston beyond the fact that he rocked a Pats hat. Yet before enumerating the day's highlights, it probably makes sense to quickly recap who this man is. (Perhaps to provide some additional background information, making the first association in people's minds, upon hearing his name, something other than, say, an infamous Caddyshack clip, which several pals emailed me last week). Sigh.

The Dalai Lama describes himself as a "simple Buddhist monk," but he is also Tibet's head of state and spiritual leader in exile. He has been in exile since 1959 (the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1949). On Saturday, he spoke of visiting a soup kitchen recently, describing it as an experience that he enjoyed. He relayed feelings of comfort and familiarity with the people in the shelter because, to hear him tell it, he too has been homeless, in a way, for the past 50 years. While he now lives in India, the Dalai Lama's home unquestionably remains Tibet, a country still under Chinese rule. Throughout his lifetime (he is now 73 years old), the Dalai Lama has steadfastly dedicated himself to cultivating peace around the world.

In fact, the Dalai Lama joined the monastic tradition at the age of 6. A Buddhist Doogie Howser of sorts, you ask?

Not exactly. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was more than a precocious 6-year-old; he is recognized as being the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, who was the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama before him and so on down the line. Each Dalai Lama is viewed as a manifestation of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Let me break this down further: He's as close to a living manifestation of Buddha as you can get.

A college professor of mine met His Holiness once and shared the experience with our Buddhism in India, Nepal, & Tibet class. I can still vividly remember how her face changed and brightened as she recalled the encounter. Perhaps it was then that I became enthralled with the idea that I might share space with the Dalai Lama too one day.

Of course, it would have to be relatively soon, I thought. This man, the 14th, already looked pretty old, particularly relative to myself, a 20-year-old college student. If I missed my opportunity in his lifetime, I'd have to wait until the next Dalai Lama was discovered- a toddler no doubt, like his predecessors- and it would be decades before he acquired the knowledge and life experience of this Dalai Lama.

On Saturday, May 2, 2009, I took my seat on the turf of Gillette Stadium, for the first of two lectures by the Dalai Lama. I would be in the presence of this pivotal figure in history and an inspiring person in my life for several hours. The morning session covered the Four Noble Truths, followed by a break, during which the 15,000 attendees browsed the new shopping and entertainment complex of Patriot Place and enjoyed a Tibetan market; featuring clothing, jewelry, and other artifacts; as well as educational exhibits such as a replica of a traditional Tibetan home, the opportunity to have your name written in Tibetan, and the ability to dress in traditional Tibetan garb for a unique photo opportunity.

As you can imagine, it's one thing to study the Four Noble Truths (the essential tenets of Buddhism) on your own or even in a college-level course; it's quite another to have them illuminated by the Dalai Lama, in person. Just in case you're wondering or your knowledge of Buddhist texts is rusty, here they are:

1.) Dukkha: Suffering exists.

2). Samudaya: The root cause of suffering is "thirst" or as His Holiness often referenced "grasping."

3.) Nirodha: Suffering can cease; liberation from suffering exists.

4.) Magga: The Path, often referred to as the Middle Path, is the way to cease suffering.

Put simply by the Dalai Lama, "90% of all negativeness is mental." In other words: Know that suffering and impermanence exist. Understand that your attachment or thirst for things to remain constant is misaligned with the essential state (i.e. truth) of the universe. Observe that you can liberate yourself from this cycle of dissatisfaction by choosing a different, truer, more moderate path . . .

Then, it got very windy in the stadium, and the world's most famous monk became cold.
So, he implored us, in his charming, direct, albeit broken English, "If you have hat, I think you put on now," which reminded me a lot of my Portuguese grandmother, as she would be inclined to say the same thing, in similarly broken English, with equal and genuine concern. He wasn't referencing the aforementioned, amply-covered Patriots hat, and this remark surely wouldn't make the papers the following day, but it made everyone in the audience smile or chuckle that morning. We felt, in some small way, that the Dalai Lama, viewed as the living incarnation of the bodhisattva of compassion, was looking out for us.

That is the magic of seeing this man in person. The compassion is palpable. No gesture is too small or tossed away. No laugh is conjured up for show. He does not seek to impress. He exudes peace and love but makes no demonstration of either. His language is simple and direct. He is simultaneously of this Earth- vulnerable to cold and wind, sun and heat (we had all four that day, as if to further illustrate the impermanent nature of all things)- and other-worldly. There is no perceivable filter between who he is and what he does. If he is cold, he pauses to drape his robes more snugly around his body. If the sun glared in his eyes, he readjusted the Patriots hat or rifled through his few material possessions to find tinted eyeglasses; he did this slowly, as if he we were not there watching. He states matters simply without oversimplifying or being sanctimonious. When asked, "What's the one, single thing that we can all do to promote peace, he exclaimed, "I don't know! Things are too complex; there's no single thing."

What a relief! What liberation! There is no easy fix, no magic bullet, no virtuous antidote. We're all in this together, and everything that we do affects everything else. When asked how he might advise young people today, he did advocate for greater self-inquiry and reflection, instead of constantly distracting ourselves through sensory stimulators, such as TV, cell phones, music, etc. Take a peek; he even pantomimes iPod ear buds.

He was also quite frank about what makes him different, particularly in the afternoon session, with its focus on The Path to Peace and Happiness. "My calm mind makes me different," he remarked plainly. He copped that he does not have any healing powers, else he would have avoided the gal bladder surgery he underwent last year. At this, he laughs. He's thoroughly entertained by this fact. In this regard, he is no different from us, a human being just like all the other 6 billion human beings with which he shares the planet, equally incapable of cheating sickness or suffering as the rest.

In fact, this is just how he summed up the afternoon's memorable public talk, "Everyone has [the] desire to have [a] happy life. [We are the] same . . . 100%. Same."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Om Gal vs. Heartbreak

While I toil away on a more comprehensive post about spending Saturday in the presence of the Dalai Lama, I thought you might get a chuckle at my expense from the following video clip. Remember how I posted a few, fun Marathon Monday shots (mostly before the race when I was lucid and showered) and told you that the grisly race photos would follow?

I've surpassed photos with a video, shot by my brother at mile 21 of the Boston Marathon (right in Boston College territory- you can see Mary Ann's in the background at one point) and outdone grisly with post-Heartbreak Hill, delusional, and downright scary-looking. Someone cracked about whether I'd blog during the race, and I certainly wasn't planning on it, but after my showdown with the Newton hills (they won, by the way), I would've done anything to distract myself from the sheer agony I was feeling.

So when Reece produced a video camera as he jumped into the fray to run the last 4 miles with me, I didn't object. Instead, I took it as an opportunity to send readers of a little message.

Thanks to Reece for his handy camera-work on the go. He also had a knack for getting all the nice B.C. gals to cheer for me (once they realized he was a supporter as opposed to a really relaxed, not very sweaty runner, who looked as if he'd just had two mimosas and jumped in at Cleveland Circle). Oh wait, he DID just have two mimosas and jump in at Cleveland Circle.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Dalai Lama at Gillette Stadium Today

I took a total of 17 and 1/2 pages of notes as the Dalai Lama spoke at Gillette Stadium today. I attended both lectures, sitting, riveted, in the 3rd row. I snapped pictures; I shared the event with friends. I tried to burn the whole sensory experience into my memory as the minutes and hours passed. Still, I'll be hard-pressed to adequately capture the day in words. Instead, I thought I'd show you one of my favorite moments.

More than 10,000 people experienced the presence of His Holiness in Boston today, making it a memorable event for many. Yet, I wonder what we'll recall more: his engaging, direct, and compassionate words or his warm, authentic, and incomparably peaceful presence?

Notice how quiet the audio of the following clip is. As the Dalai Lama prepares to leave the stage, the crowd watches in awe. The stadium is so silent that you can hear the snapping of cell phone cameras in the background.