It’s ironic that when my life radically transforms, I find writing the last thing I want to do.
It’s true I’ve had the most bizarre computer problems for the past month a half (exactly my hiatus from this blog) — I won’t bore you with details — but I’ve benefited greatly by having good souls in my life with extra technology on their hands.
I even skipped a few weeks of my daily gratitude/acknowledgment list, which has been a steady three-year practice.
What is there to say when shift happens?
In less than a month, I went to Europe to celebrate another year around the sun and (much more importantly) see if I was sure about moving forward in a relationship with someone I met in my 20s, lost touch with for 17 years, and have been falling for despite an ocean between us thanks to marvelous modern inventions (read: the internet and online video calling). (I’m not pulling a Gore here: when we met, I had an intranet email account that I largely used with other American University faculty and students. To get the gig monitoring elections in Peru, where we met, I actually had to call someone using a landline, and follow up by faxing in my résumé.)
I guess getting engaged counts for forward motion.
In large part, my daily life feels very much the same as it always has, with some tweaks. He’s still in Rome, and will be for at least the next few months. My cat Claribel continues to be my sole bedside companion, and I don’t have to close the bathroom door when I poop. But instead of skyping a couple times each week, it’s pretty much become as regular as showering. Every time I open a closet door, I wonder what I can give away to make more room for him. And, though I’m not a diamond girl, I just had my mother’s engagement ring refitted and am wearing it, in spite of what I think of the mining industry.
As ironies abound, I got the ring made smaller in the same place where I had taken it to be appraised several years back. I was on my way to Southeast Asia for a month. A nonprofit client for whom I did a complete rewrite of their website decided that paying me wasn’t an organizational priority. I figured my mother would be in favor of my traveling and, had she been alive, would have been willing to loan me the money.
It turns out the ring has a few nicks on it, so financially it wasn’t worth hocking. Honestly, I would have sold it anyway, but the lady at the store insisted otherwise, and there was something about her tone that made me feel guilty. I promptly returned it to my dresser drawer and forgot about it until just last week. When I took it in to see how much it would cost to size, the man helping me told me the universe — and my dead mother — clearly wanted me to have the ring. Kind of yogic, no?
While the day-to-day remains much as it was Before Rome, there’s a fair share of planning already. We’ve started the process of getting him here on a fiance visa, which would mean getting married within 90 days of his arrival. He’s starting to review his medical textbooks so that he can begin prepping for the US Medical Licensing Exams. We’re starting to share visions around the kind of integrative health practice/wellness center we’d like to open together, and whether it’s something we’ll do in the States or Peru, by ourselves or in community with other practitioners. I’m avoiding thinking about a wedding, because I’m not a wedding girl and would just as soon elope. (Avoiding counts as planning, according to Buddhists, scholars and yours truly, especially when everyone asks you whether you’ve set a date, and/or has offered you their home.)
When I really think about it, choosing to study yoga therapy (and more recently polarity therapy) was a sign that I was ready to commit to this relationship, and the change it will bring to my life, even before my Roman Holiday.
Still, something life-transfiguring happened there. Almost every day now, I get a loving note from him, which is often the first thing I read when I wake up. When we speak, he oozes sweetness. It’s amazing how not used to this level of kindness and supportiveness and respect and getting-me-ness I am. Looking around at how many of my friends have or are contemplating divorce, I suspect this sounds familiar to many of us.
Despite the concrete proof I now have that my life is on track, and ain’t it crazy how right on my instincts have been, and how glad am I that things in the past worked out as they did, it’s been interesting to observe that my tendency toward craziness is still plentiful.
Yesterday, there was a minor home-related issue that came up. In the grand scale of things, I’d categorize it as an unfortunate nuisance, hardly a crisis. A half hour walk to teach a yoga class and four drops of rescue remedy later, I was fine, of course. And yet, I got totally worked up, at least internally: I could literally feel the adrenaline rush and subsequent bathing of my insides.
How fascinating, I mused, that I can have so many rituals of self-care, and feel so connected to all the love and positive possibility in my life, and still get worked up.
I’m old enough to know that my craziness never is mine alone, and this is how so many of us feel despite our stated beliefs about the big picture and everything’s gonna be alright.
Two weeks ago, I was present during the passing of a beautiful activist who has been sick for some time now and who slipped away in the embrace of a group of her friends, caressing her forehead and softly singing and blessing and laying their hands on her. Though I’ve dealt a lot with death in my life, this was the first time I was with someone as they physically transitioned.
In my yoga class the next evening, I shared a bit about her, the experience of death, and how even though I don’t believe in death, I find myself forgetting my core beliefs, what’s really important in this world, and manage to complain about small things, not infrequently. Usually, people in that class twitch and moan as if they have small rodents running around their yoga pants. That night, you could have heard a pin drop in the next room. We all have a crazy person living inside our minds.
So in this time of personal transition, even though it’s beyond good, I’m going to make sure to keep some things stable. I’m back to my daily list of giving thanks and time on the cushion and the mat. (This morning, I was grateful for the extra inspiration an online yoga sequence can bring.) I’ve been practicing polarity therapy on willing guinea pigs, and enjoying being one for a gifted Ayuvedic bodywork practitioner. Tomorrow night, I teach another Pen & Pose workshop, this time focusing on the third chakra (hence the title “The Eternal Flame”). I’m been looking into ways to increase my yoga teaching and therapy and energy healing practice, and beginning to make some headway. (Your suggestions are always appreciated!)
At the same time, I’m upping my game. I know it’s not about any of the practices per se. Long-time yoga teacher, psychologist and physical therapist Judith Hanson Lasater reminds us: “The techniques, the asanas, are not the yoga. The residue that the techniques leave is the yoga. When we begin to look deeply at our speech, our posture, our breath, our thoughts, our choices, or our values, and observe those with compassion and a certain distance, we are changed forever.” (Read the full interview here.)
May the residue of your own goodness make you stick to your delight-bringing practices, and may your Thanksgiving be full of thanks and deliciousness.
See you soon, I promise!
When I was away in the Low Country for our yearly week golf vacation with friends, I took my amethyst crystal biomat with me and put it on the floor next to my bed. Every morning after tea, I went to the biomat and placed my yoga mat on top, turned up the heat and began my morning yoga to see where it would take me. It felt so good to do this every morning. It felt so good to set the intention to do it and then to do it!
Thanks to you Yael for being a teacher that says its not the pose, its you and the mat and finding your self in the pose and what that brings up. Then I would write! What a gift your teaching has been and knowing you through yoga and writing. I hope your Pen & Pose classes continue in the New Year. I know mine will!