Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yoga

The part I didn't write to the below portion is my feelings about inadequacy. The following article is about my inability to do something that I try to do, something I've practiced for years - yoga - and I still can rarely complete a pose. I have some embarrassment about that. I'm accustomed to being accomplished, to being able to do "anything that I set my mind to do". How many times was I told that in the past? You can do it! Just do it! Anything is possible!

Sadly, it's not true. I couldn't get my visa approved. I couldn't make the system work for me. I couldn't pass their test. I don't even know what their test was.

So, here is my veiled attempt to make lemonade from lemons. I missed out on an opportunity. Perhaps it wasn't my opportunity to begin with. Perhaps it was just a pipe dream. But I have an abaya in my closet - the over dress and the scarf. I have 3 hair holders. I have half a dozen new ankle length skirts.

My bubble was burst. But as always, I have a new bubble... stay tuned for it.




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Many years ago, I fell and found my ankle swelling bigger and bigger and BIGGER! I went to the doctor and after x-rays and exams, he tells me that it's just sprained, and take these meds, and don't walk, etc. As I was leaving, he off-handedly said, "when did you break it?" When did I break it? "I've never broken it," I tell him. "Sure, you have. Here and here. You can see it clearly on the x-ray." And there it was - a bump, a zigzag, a non-smooth place on my bones where in fact I had broken my ankle and never been treated for it. This same scenario played out several times in my adult life. Finally, a doctor said to me,"It's no wonder you have pain. You didn't get treated for your scrapes."

I heard somewhere that yoga would help me with my pain, would be a good way to relax, would help the pain in my back, so I tried it. After two weeks, the back pain was gone, but the pain in other parts of my body began to creak out of me as I let go of muscles that had been tight for years in response to all the modifications I did to reverse the pain I felt.

For over ten years, I've been practicing yoga. A long time, ten years. Some months I do it more than others. The last year, I practiced almost not at all. But I keep going. In class last night I had a realization - there were maybe half a dozen poses that I could accurately do. Seriously, a half a dozen. After ten years of yoga, I was still miserably unaccomplished.

But it is in yoga, that we learn to honor our bodies, to quiet our minds, to live with a body / mind / spirit melange that we don't often have in other areas of our lives. Well, I don't have anyway. So in my failure to strike the exact pose, I am still a success. It is in the honoring of the body, living in the moment, and quieting the mind that I succeed. No, I will never be a yoga guru. I will never hold myself up on one foot or put a foot behind my head or any of the other intricate moves that others can do.

But, this I know. Each time I practice yoga, I release new fears and pain. I live in the moment and love myself. Yoga is the one place that I know of where the practice is more important than the perfection. Perhaps my own failure in other aspects of my life would be well served by integrating a little yogic thought.

Namaste

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Joy of Man


“Come visit me,” he whispered. “I could kidnap you, make you walk the beaches with me, torture you with great dinners and wonderful conversation. You could bring your angst and allow the time away to make it go...It’s amazing what time away can do.”

He is the friend of a friend, a man who handles things. He solves problems and fixes difficulties. With an invisible finesse, he took the weight off my shoulders and dispersed it to … where? I don't know. But I know it was peaceful to be with him. I know I could breathe with him.

The wind blew through my hair as we walked along the beach, and he listened as I spoke my rusty Spanish to the Mexican waiter who asked for my phone number. He checked in with me when I drove to the next town over, making sure I knew how to get where I was going, and he patiently waited as I answered the age old woman’s question. What should I wear?

Sitting across from this man, I realized how precious are men in my life. The touch of a man can quiet the most profound fears and can soothe the fiercest worry if we allow it. And in that moment, it became visceral that this will not be an option for me in a very short time. Soon I will not be able to talk or flirt with a man. Soon I will be discouraged from even looking at men. My eyes lingered over his face, the lines a testament to his serious ways and his raucous joy. Touching his hand, I knew I’d rarely get this chance again for the next year, and I enjoyed it. I felt the impending abstinence acutely; I lived boldly in the moment. I couldn’t get enough of touching him, looking at him. There was no satiation. It was not enough. Nothing was enough. Truly, I felt like a woman with a man who was that - a man. It was deliciously juicy.

As our time came to end, I cuddled up close to him, feeling his heart beating against his chest, smelling his masculine scent, and listening to the deep rumble of his voice as he soothed my worries. It was a good week. Too quick, too short, but still good. He woke me up.

And you know what? He was right. It’s amazing what time away can do.