March 24, 2018

Today I have renewed appreciation for simply being able to move. I am thinking that if writing relieves the memory, then movement sustains it. While moving, a memory flashed through my mind that brought with it a moment of joy.

At my yoga class today, we did a seated posture with a mudra that is meant to support alignment. (I’m sorry I don’t know its name.) It looks like this:

Image result for thumbs up mudra

You make the mudra with both hands.While kneeling and sitting up on blocks you put the bottom of the fists near the hip creases. We sat that way for a few minutes practicing ujjayi breathing (the ocean breath) and sending the breath up and down the spine.

Later, we did a simple chair pose. While in the pose, I remembered the time about 22 years ago when I still had five children at home and I really needed something for ME. I don’t even remember how I got the idea, but I signed up for a T’ai Chi class at the local community center. Lucky for me, the instructor was a young man from Taiwan who had studied with a T’ai Chi Master. He moved with strength and grace I had never seen before. Such smooth, controlled, elegant motions.I felt so good after the first class that I continued to attend classes for a year. Then sadly, he moved on to become a graphic artist. The teacher who came to replace him tried to teach us from a manual. NOT THE SAME!

I remember the inner giggle I felt as I moved and visualized “parting the wild horse’s mane” or “wave arms like clouds.” It takes tremendous practice and concentration to consider the form, the story, and the breath. I did not master it, by any means, but I did grow in my awareness of my body and the happiness of moving it.

One day on my way home from my T’ai Chi class, I stopped in to say hello to my parents. They were in their 70s with accompanying health issues. For mom, it was severe arthritis, and for dad, it was heart disease. I breezed in, still on what my kids later called “mom’s T’ai Chi high.”

“Dad! Did you know that you can lengthen your spine?”

Mama stayed in her chair, but my sweet dad got up and said, “Show me.” I coached him in what I had just learned. While standing, bend the knees as if to sit. Send the tailbone down toward the earth while imagining a marionette string pulling up the head. (That’s how the teacher described it.) My dad and I did this together.

He smiled at me with a twinkle in his eye. I can still the yellow shirt he wore. Something about the movement together was very much like children at play.  We laughed.

“By cracky!” he said.

Oh, I miss him.

March 23, 2018

Friday night, 9:07 p.m., Wife asks husband:

“What should I write about?”

“Write about NCAA basketball.”

“I don’t know enough.”

“. . . . . . .” (something I couldn’t hear clearly)

“What did you say?”

“I said, ‘You know what I mean?”

“No, back up to what you said before that.”

“Uh, I don’t know what the (bleep) I said before that.”

“Oh dear. We’re a mess.”

Getting older. We should probably get our hearing checked.

 

March 22, 2018

A person very dear to me sits next to me with her laptop. We are both writing, but for very different purposes. I’m writing out of the need to leave some worry on the page. Writing here has been working well for me in that regard during this SOL Challenge. I’m so grateful for the supportive writers and readers in this community.

This person next to me is writing an official complaint of harassment against a coworker who has bullied her for 5 years by belittling her, undermining her professionally, and making her the target of endless jokes about her religion, appearance, and relationships. His behavior has recently escalated to include sexual harassment and physical threats, including scaring her with reckless driving in the parking garage where they work. She has finally had enough. I hope HR supports her complaint.

This is a strong person who sits next to me. She has experienced tremendous loss in the last 10 years. Yet she has shown resilience and done the work to heal and grow. How sad is it that another person is determined to bring more hurt and possibly harm? I can’t even comprehend such hate and rage.

In the Bible it says, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” That is a hard task for even the strongest among us to stand up and stare down such darkness. If anyone can, she can.

March 21, 2018

So . . . if you’ve come to see if I was able to let go of outcomes today (see 3/20/18 post), I can report that today I felt peaceful. Looking back over the day, I actually did accomplish a few things, minus the usual dose of self-inflicted pressure. With each task I tried to “be okay,” as if that were the only thing to do today.

  • watched the snow
  • worked on a baby blanket (knitting)
  • did the dishes
  • paid the bills
  • washed a load of clothes
  • read a charming little book, I Work at a Public Library, by Gina Sheridan
  • watched an episode of This is Us

I was even able to keep my intention when my sisters both had their dinners planned by 8:36 a.m. when I received text messages from them. (It’s hard to believe we come from the same family sometimes.) Thinking of dinner at 8:36 a.m. is somehow incomprehensible to me.

It’s funny how letting go of the expectation of using this “gift of time” today to check things off the list increased the pleasure I felt in doing and just being.

March 20, 2018

I’m thinking about our snowday tomorrow. So often, I struggle with unstructured time and making decisions about how to use the “gift of time.” Do I spend it cleaning, reading, knitting, writing, sorting papers, sewing, making trash, napping, watching a movie, or cooking? Historically, I spend a lot of time just watching it snow. Ideally, I’d like to do all of the above, but prioritizing has always been a struggle. So often, I think, “Man, if I had time, I would…”

Over the years, I’ve read books on time management, getting organized, de-cluttering, and self-discipline, but all these have really brought me is a feeling of falling short. I’m not a slouch–I work really hard–but to rhythms that are my own.

A yoga lesson comes to mind in which we learned that letting go of outcomes is a path to freedom and feeling happier. So rather than worry about the outcome of my snowday, I might let go of the massive burden of want-to, like-to, and have-to which all exist outside of the present moment.

I’ll let you know how that goes.

March 19, 2018

Cirrus clouds creep across the twilight sky.
Polar opposites collide.
Snow–

Vernal equinox, notwithstanding.

 

March 18, 2018

While driving down Courthouse Road on my way to church, I thought of the changes 36 years have brought to this old country road. Once lovely farmland and forest, it is now completely developed with huge houses that I can’t imagine anyone can really afford. I remember the happy squeals of my children when we used to pass the last remaining farm with its half-a-dozen Holsteins each Sunday morning.

Today I drove alone, but the sun was bright and the blue sky a welcome relief from so many gray days. I dutifully stopped at the 4-way stop where Sutton crosses Old Courthouse and noticed a young family taking a morning walk.

I glanced up as I pulled forward. A squirrel had started across the electrical wires above the street. About halfway across, that squirrel went rogue and sailed through the air and landed right next to the little boy on the sidewalk. I laughed out loud and imagined his surprise, like mine, “What just happened?” It was as if time stretched for a moment; as if I had witnessed the miracle of flight for the first time.

I couldn’t help but think of Kate diCamillo’s Flora and Ulysses: “Holy unanticipated occurrences!”

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