Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Summer of Abundance*

No explanation needed.

First, some quack etymology. Abundance. What a good word. Split it apart, and you get a-bun-dance. You know that Raffi song? The one that goes, "All I really need/Is a song in my heart/Food in my belly/Love in my family"? I've found myself singing that a lot lately. I think he knew what happiness was, and I think I'm finding out. I have a song in my heart. I make it up as I go along, and I'm singing it with a lot of gusto. I don't really know what it's about, or why I'm singing it, but for now it's enough that it's there. I can hear it, and I know other people can too. Sometimes I can't contain it, and my song just radiates out from me. The food in my belly part? Just read the garden blog. 'Nuff said. My family was up a few weeks ago, and there's definitely love there. It helps you to feel more loving when you only see each other once in a while :) But I can feel the love, and I know it's always there, and it's something I can take refuge in when I need to.

Me and my sistah.

And I also have a family of friends up here in Waterloo, made up of people who come and go. The strands that bind us are elastic, they can stretch across long distances and periods of time, and snap back surprisingly fast. I have an abundance of joie de vivre, food and love. So I see the word abundance somewhat along the lines of the Raffi song. If I had a bun (a delicious multigrain one that I baked myself with sesame seeds on top, ooh, and maybe some real butter)and a dance (be it a swing dance with a charming partner or one of those dances that happen at home when no one else is around and you crank up the Shania Twain really loud), I would be happy. A bun and a dance would be abundance. What else do you need?

Tricia and I riding the cannon at Fort George.

My life this summer has been abundant in so many ways. So much so, in fact, that today has been my designated rest day - no social engagements, no yoga or dance. I've only left the house to run to the grocery store for essentials (an orange and soy milk) and to lie on the grass reading my book. I've turned down a date and watching a movie with a friend. What have I done? A lot of baking, sleeping and reading. And blogging. I find that I need these days once in a while. My life is so amazing that I have to take a break from living it and step back and appreciate it. Isn't that a wonderful reason to take a day off?

I love the beach and I love Sarah. What could be better?

So, to slightly plagiarize Elizabeth Barrett Browning, how is my life abundant? Let me count the ways:

I don't even remember the occasion for this gathering of food and friends. I don't really think there needs to be a reason.

1. Yoga
The name of this post came from a yoga class I went to on Thursday with my dear friend and favorite yoga teacher Leena. She teaches a style of yoga called Anusara, and one of the major distinguishing factors of Anusara yoga is that each class involves a theme. Leena's reflections were about the abundance of summer heat that we've finally started getting here in KW, and about the abundance of summer produce that I've already raved about in the garden blog (so I'll spare you here). Our intention for the class was to open up to and embrace all of the abundance that we are receiving. I feel like this is a very apt description of my life this summer, which has been abundant to the point of being overwhelming at times. I have an unlimited summer pass to the studio where Leena teaches, and so I've been going to yoga classes up to 4 or 5 times a week (usually more like 2 or 3). It's lovely. Yoga is such a grounding activity for me, one that stretches and strengthens my body and my mind. It's been good to be so immersed in it.

2. Gardening
I'll say it again: Read the garden blog!

I've discovered a love of my life this summer: gardening. I already know I want to have a garden next summer. Gardening makes me feel like I'm part of a large and fast flowing cycle of energy, one that involves the sun, the earth, the air, plants, animals and other people. It's invigorating.

Mmmm fresh food.

3. Dancing
Another love of my life that I've discovered this summer has been dancing, specifically swing. I was always that girl who watched Dirty Dancing and wished desperately that I could dance. And now I can! I wrote a post earlier this summer on swing dancing, but my relationship with it has evolved since then. I've gotten to the stage where I sometimes feel like it's taking over my life. Other dancers assure me that this is normal, but honestly, as much as I like dancing, I like the rest of my life too! Let me elaborate: Last weekend was the Kitchener Blues Festival. Friday I helped with a swing demonstration, went dancing at a bar, and attended a late night blues party. Saturday I went to the dance at a studio in Kitchener, complete with live band and great dance partners. Sunday I was at the festival with a friend, just taking in the ambiance (I didn't actually dance, although I chatted with swing people). Monday I went to the usual swing night at Caesar Martini's. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I was at a balboa workshop with Nico and Sandrine, two great dancers from Toulouse, France. That's SEVEN days in a row of being with the swing crowd! See what I mean? I'm not saying I didn't love every minute of it, just that the rapidity with which it takes over my time is quite astonishing. There is definitely an abundance of swing dancing.

Balboa workshop - I'm in the green shirt (and the sexy heels). Guest photographer: David Trinh

4. Boys
My life these summer months has been a little bit like a soap opera. Honestly, I can entertain my girlfriends for an hour with just my stories of male attention. That kind of sounds like I'm bragging, but it's true, and I swear, I'm not consciously doing anything to attract said attention (I deign to speak for my unconscious). I think it comes from spending so much time in bars swing dancing. I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of my friends who introduced me to swing dancing. They quickly point out that they have been dancing for two years and have not encountered anything like what I've encountered in the past two months. This is true. At times this attention can be awkward or even creepy, but mostly it is flattering, and in certain cases very much anticipated.

5. Friends
I have been spending so much time with my friends this summer that when some of them move away in a few weeks (you know who you are, Sarah Connors!), I know I'm going to go through withdrawal. But that time is not yet upon us, so I choose not to think about it. And besides, in a few weeks I myself will be moving into Butternut Manor, where there will be an abundance of good friends, good food, and good times to be had. I love my friends - the ones whose bums I can test for freshness, the ones who fix my bike lights time and time again, the ones who steal my maple syrup and give me clothes, the ones who ask me to dance over and over again, the ones I don't see much but when I do we have amazing heart-to-hearts, the ones who love me despite my ditching them to go stargazing with boys, the ones who say such ridiculous things to me that the only response I can come up with is, "I love you." You all know who you are.

An early joint birthday party just calls for ice cream cake.

And, apparently, a lap dance from Tricia.

6. Work
I also feel like I have an abundance of work, even though it's really only supposed to be about 30 hours a week. I like my three jobs. Although it takes an abundance of planning to keep them all straight, I don't get bored. At the beginning of this summer, I had too much free time and not enough work, and that doesn't make for an abundant life. Somehow I need the work to remind me how sweet all the rest of it is (and to finance my abundant life!). I need structure and routine, which work provides for me. I'm very grateful for the work I have, because I know people who don't have any.

I have loved this summer. I have thrived in it. Like everyone, change is not something that I immediately welcome. My life is fabulous, why can't it just stay this way? But fall is coming, along with school, and moving to a new place, and being surrounded by new people. I'm pretty sure it will be good. But for now, I'm not thinking too hard about it. I'm going to make the most of the summer abundance that's left (especially after this rest day)!
*Those of you who also follow the groovy roots kw blog will notice that I have kind of plagiarized. I say: who cares? I'm plagiarizing myself, and anyway, there's no copyright on the words summer and abundance - not until Monsanto decides that Summer Abundance would be the perfect name for its new GM soybean.


  1. Awww Mimi, what a lovely post! I whole heartedly agree that this summer has been wonderful :) and of course I will miss you sooooo much when I leave :( But never fear, I will be back to visit as often as I can :D

  2. Thanks for that post mims! I have been having a hard time appreciating life right now, even though I know it a wonderful blessing, thus reading your blog made me smile, feel loved, and realize how lucky we really are! thanks for sharing, inspiring joy!