This Isn’t Baseball. This Is September.

Baseball is a wonderful game. Win or lose, it makes me happy. But, it can be especially stressful this time of year. Losing stinks in September.

I admitted to my friend Jay that a game earlier this week stressed me out so much I started to cry (just a little bit). He reminded me, “There is no crying in baseball.” My response: “This isn’t baseball. This is September.”

Just a few games left to go in the regular season. The Baltimore Orioles are hanging on … still in the running for the post-season. Just barely.

But, they need to win their next few games or their season will be over just as October begins.

If my team is going to lose a game, I ask just four things of them …

1) Don’t get no-hit.

2) Don’t get shut out.

3) Don’t get hurt.

4) Don’t take all night to lose.

They violated Rule #4 last night/this morning – taking 18 innings and nearly seven hours to lose to the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the longest game in Orioles’ history. Sigh.

After long games, Orioles Manager Buck Showalter will always say, “Sleep fast.”

Because there’s another game today. Another chance to win.

esta miguel2

Orioles Pitcher Miguel Gonzalez — starts today against Tampa Bay. Go Miguel!
photo credit: me!

It’s not over yet. Gotta find a new lucky shirt to wear (I’ve squeezed all the luck out of my few trusty favorites.)

And, I’ll sleep in November.

Bears Don’t Hibernate. Neither Does Baseball.

My husband informs me that bears in Virginia do not hibernate in Winter.  He works at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, so he oughta know. 

It’s a sad day when bears let you down.

I have relied on the wisdom of hibernating bears when encouraging my Yoga students to quiet their practice in winter and in honoring my own circadian life rhythms. 

Bears hibernate in winter, I figured, because they are smarter than we are.  They know the value of rest.  They know that cold, dark winter days demand that they slow down and refuel.  These resting bears became a powerful role model for how we all should care for ourselves in winter … carbo-pack and hibernate.

Now, I find out that this hibernation thing is a big bear hoax.

This bear cub was in the Wildlife Center of Virginia's care. Wide awake ... no hibernating for him.

This bear cub was in the Wildlife Center of Virginia’s care in 2012.  Wide awake. Thanks to WCV for this photo.

As long as Virginia bears find the weather comfortable and ample trash cans to paw through, they’ll just amble through their winter like the rest of us.  Still, they hunker down in ugly weather.  So, while they may not hibernate, they do know the value of slowing down. So, hibernation aside, I guess they’re still smarter than we humans.

I was looking forward to a bit of baseball hibernation this winter. 

162 games is a long regular season.  It’s a reliable, irrefutable fact.  Eighty-two basketball games in an NBA season.  Sixteen NFL games a season.  These are, apparently, games for the short-winded and the short-attention spanned.   

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“Cricket. Cricket. Cricket.”

More reflections from my “Day with the Dalai Lama”

While His Holiness the Dalai Lama refreshes mind, body, and spirit with the nightly “good sleep” he recommends for all of us, he has a friend in India who, instead, watches television well into the night.

As His Holiness impresses on us how healing, revitalizing, and important a good night’s sleep is, he widens his eyes and laughs and laughs as he describes his friend who enjoys a good cricket match on TV.

“I prefer to sleep, not look at cricket,” the Dalai Lama says. “He can watch cricket all night.”

“Cricket. Cricket. Cricket.”

An average cricket match, by the way, can run about six hours a day – with matches lasting three to five days.  Those lengthy cricket matches are known for their utterly civilized breaks and tea times. No cheap 7th-inning stretch for these fellas.

By comparison, the average baseball game in America runs about three hours (unless you are the Baltimore Orioles, in which case, you could very well go on for 12 or 14 or 18 innings … and rival cricket hours, except no tea time.)

So, I’m wondering … how did His Holiness know that I watch way too much baseball?

Does he know that some games this season kept me up well past midnight?

Does he know that last Sunday’s hours-long rain delay in Baltimore meant I slogged through the next day with less than three hours sleep?

Does he know that a season of baseball is 162 games? That the Orioles (and your favorite team) will play some 500 hours a year (even more if they go to the post-season)? That’s a lot of baseball.

His Holiness doesn’t know my deep dark baseball-watching secret. Well, if he reads this blog, I guess he does now. But, I’m pretty sure he’s sleeping, not blogging.

Oh, sure maybe you don’t watch baseball (or cricket). But, maybe you have your own kind of baseball that keeps you up … reading, or knitting, or worrying, or work, or … reading blogs. 

I think many of us have our own cricket.

Many of my massage clients come in to their appointments tired. They tell me they might fall asleep on the table. Some tell me that the little nap they catch during their session is the best sleep they’ve gotten in awhile.

Some of my Yoga students fall asleep in class during relaxation. They drop right off. And, snore.

We are a sleep-deprived culture. And, we all know it. And, yet, many of us don’t make the changes we need to improve our sleep. (And, by “many of us,” I, of course, mean me … and  maybe some of you, but mostly me.)

So how much sleep is enough? “Eight, nine hours, I think, is good for health,” the Dalai Lama says. Ayurveda and Yoga, which call adequate sleep absolutely essential to healing, suggest seven or eight. Basically, everybody agrees that somewhere between six and nine would be great. My cat Stevie highly recommends 18.

Writing this has made me tired.

Oh, wait, Giants-Cardinals game is about to start.

I’ll sleep in November.

Stevie takes the Dalai Lama’s good sleep advice to heart.

Read Part One of my “Day With The Dalai Lama” … click here.

“I Feel Very Happy.”

When the Dalai Lama stands before you and says, “I feel very happy,” you believe him.  And, you wonder, why, oh why, can’t I capture just a bit of that simple, sweet happiness? A completely pure contentment that is based on nothing more than, well, being happy.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama reminds you that happiness doesn’t come from acquiring stuff – either material things, or relationships, or experiences. It just comes from the belief that being happy is, basically, the right thing to do.

Being a good, decent, compassionate person is the key to inner peace … and happiness.


Then he smiles slyly at you. Because he knows it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds. But, he smiles because he believes that you might at least give it a try.

The Dalai Lama was in Charlottesville, Virginia today – just an hour or so away from us. He spoke at two interesting and inspiring events and we got to go to both. I guess you could say I hung out with the Dalai Lama today. How cool is that?

When you’re in the presence of such a loving and genuine spiritual leader, you can’t help but feel blessed to be in the same space.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking – oh, hey! Did you see that, did you?? He looked right at me and blessed me … me … me.  I know he did. I know it. He picked me out of this crowded pavilion, held my eyes, and smiled. 

Did he look right at me? If I was sure he had, you can bet I would have mentioned it much earlier. Doesn’t matter, though. I felt the loving kindness of his presence. We all did, I think.

It’s the sign of a blessed person who can convey that sense of intimacy and kindness in such a crowded and anonymous place.

The Dalai Lama requests that he not be photographed during his events. I honored that request. His empty chair, however, didn’t mind.

I took lots of notes … I’ll share more soon.

But, I’ll pick out just one message from his talks for now. And, because I have learned the lesson of kindness, compassion, and fairness from His Holiness today, I’ll also let my Husband/Editor choose his favorite lesson, too.

From Me: “A healthy mind is an important factor for a healthy body.” 

It is our state of mind – our peace of mind – that cultivates inner peace and happiness. And, a healthy mind, nourished by happiness and mindfulness, can bring physical health as well. This is such a valuable reminder. A negative attitude can bring illness – even modern science has proven this connection.   A positive attitude can heal.

From My Husband: His Holiness was asked how he maintains his good health at age 77 while keeping a very full, busy travel and event schedule. His Holiness rested his cheek against his hands and closed his eyes. “Good sleep,” he said.

So the message from His Holiness the Dalai Lama that I share with you today is this – stay positive, get good rest.


P.S. Just for the record … I did not – did NOT – check the score of the Giants-Reds game until His Holiness had left the stage and the pavilion had begun to clear. But, goodness … Grand Slam, Buster Posey!

P.S.S. That thing about getting good sleep? Definitely. As soon as these late ballgames are over. Promise.


In Part 2 of “My Day With The Dalai Lama” report, His Holiness exposes my baseball-watching habits, recommends some “good sleep,” and inspires my cat Stevie. Click here.