Two Friends, a Promise and Arbitrary Kindnes

I’m drawn to the odd duck. Maybe it’s because, as much as I’d like to believe the opposite is true, I am one.

My friend Forrest is a bit of an odd duck. An odd duck who squeezes as much life out of every single second of existence as he can. It’s as if he’s trying to live as many lifetimes as possible in this one go-around.

Forrest is a green contractor. And he’s just opened a new store, Inhabiture, which features home furnishings created from re-claimed materials. You can visit his website here. But that’s not why I wanted to write about him.

When he was a kid Forrest and his best friend promised to meet each week to discuss their intentions for the following seven days. How they planned to travel through the world. What they needed to see happen in order to move their lives forward. They didn’t always achieve their goals – life has a way of interrupting even the best of intentions – but they kept their promise and continued to touch base every seven days. They remained accountable to one another. And when one found success, they both celebrated. If one hit a patch of rough, they knew where to find support.

And along the way, they came up with an idea – the People’s Revolution for Arbitrary Kindness. As the small print at the bottom of the flier says, “The People’s Revolution for Arbitrary Kindness is a rag-tag band of folks who want to do good for people in need directly, without trying to convert people to any belief. We are all volunteers and have no overhead expenses.”

For several years they’ve collected clothes and blankets, distributing them to the needy on San Francisco’s streets. This year for the first time, cash donations are being accepted and are tax-deductible. Also, for the first time, People’s Revolution are assembling toiletry kits for distribution.

If you want to donate, or would like to volunteer, here’s what you need to know:

  1. Monetary Donations: $100 can provide more than 15 people in need with a toiletry bag of essential goods. Please make checks out to Woodside/Portola Valley Rotary Foundation and mail to Ian Schmidt at Trimergence, 71 Stevenson Place, Suite 1430, San Francisco, California 94105
  2. Slightly Used Clothes and Blankets: Donations should be delivered by November 2nd to Trimergence in San Francisco or Inhabiture Home, 248 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, California
  3. Your Time: Volunteers are needed to assemble toiletry kits and to distribute clothes and kits at 10:00 AM on Saturday, November 3rd. If you’re interested in volunteering you can email Forrest at

Isn’t it amazing what two friends and a simple promise can bring to the world?

The Ugly Business of Yoga and What I Did in My Spare Time

I decided to attend this year’s San Francisco Yoga Journal Conference mostly because Jason Scholder asked if I would help out at his Yoga Market Booth.  Jason is the inventor of the Three Minute Egg – my favorite yoga prop.  And I say that it’s my favorite prop not because Jason is a nice guy – although he is – but because it’s a versatile little piece of mandorla shaped foam.

But I digress.

I decided to attend the Yoga Journal Conference because Jason asked me to help. In exchange I’d be given a free pass to one or two of the classes being offered over the weekend.

Since classes were going to be free, then it just made sense to splurge on the conference rate rooms at the Hyatt.  And so I did.

One big problem.

I have a deep dislike for the business of yoga that only intensifies when I’m in an environment dedicated to the business of yoga.

Still, I could set that aside for ninety minutes of Yin with Sarah Powers and a morning of Yoga Nidra with Richard Miller!  I could drop my attitude and enjoy the gift.  Except both classes were sold out with no hope of my sneaking in.  But what about the other classes?  Yeah.  What about them? I had my heart set on Sarah and Richard. Everything else had a sort of “been there, done that, why bother?” ring to it.

So what’s a girl to do with a paid for hotel room and twenty-four hours to kill?

I floundered.  I checked emails.  Opened the mini-bar and quickly closed it again.  I turned on the television and took off my shoes.  The sun slowly settled as the buzz of a Friday night in San Francisco began to build.

In a reckless moment I considered ordering room service – something I’ve always wanted to do (I’m easily thrilled) but I came to my senses.  I left my room and rode the elevator down to the restaurant on the atrium floor.

Which is where I am now, enjoying a beautiful grilled shrimp and scallop salad with avocado, mango and shaved ginger.  Oh yeah.  And a glass of chardonnay as velvety as amaretto.

Today has changed from being the beginning of an exciting yoga weekend to being the start of a disappointing weekend.  But I can’t let that happen.  So I’m turning it into a writer’s weekend.

When I return to Room 408 I’ll crack the window in order to freshen the stale air that has a fetid base note of sour milk and pull on my jim-jams and wooly socks.  I’ll crawl under the stiff sheets of my king sized bed and do what I never really had a chance to do over the holidays.  Regroup.

Things happen for a reason.  The Universe tricked me into this downtime.  Thanks, Universe.