yoga


Writing

Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Typically, I have resolved nothing, which isn’t to say I didn’t think about it. I just got busy, ran out of time and suddenly the deadline passed me by. Resolving after a new year begins simply isn’t protocol and probably is against the rules.

Freed then from the burden of resolutions, I can now take my time while plotting the new year. What I need to do. What l should do. What I’d like to do. What would simply be fun to do. Why some things probably aren’t worth doing. Just really give it all a good long think.

Could take the rest of the month.

In the meantime … purging … because we have a bathroom and dining room to gut and rebuild.

And by “we”, I mean Rob. Goodness knows that during the gutting process, my hyper immune system means that all I am good for is humping drywall and other debris to the truck bed and nothing more. That work is dusty enough.

The rebuild is his territory alone and not just because he is a bit of a fuss-budget about things being just so. Between the Virgoness and the engineer-ness, there isn’t a hope that I could – even with supervision – do anything that wouldn’t make him too anxious to leave me alone with the task.

So I will be responsible for cleaning out spaces in advance and providing support aka food, drink and reminding him to take breaks, which have become my specialties. I am also first aid.

As I won’t be teaching yoga as much as I thought I would in the next weeks, I hope to instead suss out a real writing project for the year.

Yes, the year.

This writing a book in a month thing is nonsense. Mostly, you get crap.

I haven’t picked a topic.

I hear that the world could use decent porn. And no, I don’t consider 50 Shades of Shamefully Promoting the Hapless Female Who Finds True Love Through Submission to an Abusive, Stalkerish Asshole, “decent porn”.

But Rob is really much better writing erotica than I am. If he doesn’t decide to teach chemistry at the community college when he retires, I think he should write porn. We’d be rich.

Maybe I should writing a dating book for the widowed?

LMAO.

Just kidding.

No, actually I have a couple of ideas but I am keeping them to myself. In fact, aside from this blog post, I doubt highly I will be discussing my project again until a first draft is done.

One thing is certain. I am beginning my training to complete the additional hours of yoga training I want to get my 500 Hour Certification in the province. Applied. Was Accepted. Will begin courses next weekend.

It will take a while. Two years? Perhaps a bit more or a bit less. But that is resolved.

The rest? There is no rush. February is still a ways off.


2007

Image via Wikipedia

Because I was a teacher, I’ve never really gone off the school calendar. My year begins when school resumes in late August. I have longer weekends nearly every month and life is regularly interrupted by early out days, oddly placed vacations and the occasional night duty.

So when everyone else (and by that I mean normal adults with real jobs) were heading back to work after January 1st, I was still in “off” mode because Dee had another week of Christmas vacation to go.

Today, however, she is back to school and Rob is back to work and I am officially beginning 2012 with a schedule of my own, which includes 3 nights of teaching yoga, one night of soccer, one late afternoon running of the child to her own yoga class and two yoga classes of my own to attend. Monday thru Friday is beyond packed and the margin for error or the unexpected is slim to none.

But you still have the weekends, I hear you thinking. A long one at that. This is true. Aside from soccer practice on Saturday mornings, the weekends are blissfully free of obligation. Happy Year of the Dragon to me.

The only thing I have not settled on is my writing focus, but that’s hardly new. I am leaning towards going back to fiction and the memoir. I like Abel’s idea for a theme for the latter and my e-copy of Game of Thrones has made me nostalgic for fantasy. Some of the first good fiction I wrote was fantasy because that’s primarily what I was reading at the time.

I will say that I have lost the fire for freelance. The class I took in the fall was a good experience. I learned a lot. I discovered, however, that I still dislike journalism. Essays and opinion pieces suit me much better. And, I am still burnt out on activist political posting. The world has become such a sad, dirty place in terms of politics and issues that I think it’s bad for my soul and not all that good for karma to immerse myself in that kind of writing at this time. I don’t need the extra negativity. I have family for that.

I have a couple more things to say about widowhood, dating and remarriage though but I am still running them around the track in my mind’s eye.

Last thing on the agenda is organization. It’s past time for the next great purge and there are a few legal things that need to be taken care of in addition to the fact that the house is screaming for all things to find a place and just stay there – no more musical chairs.

Did I just make resolutions? Good gods!


I taught yoga one-footed today. An early morning renovation related accident rendered me lame with no time to find a sub for the noon drop-in class I had promised to sub.

Hatha Yoga Video Tree Pose - VrksasanaIt’s not difficult to teach an entire yoga class without leaving the floor, but as it was a strength class, I felt obligated to get them to their feet and few a string of standing postures. Ralph Macchio does a better crane than I do. Or at least he did. I have no idea what kind of shape the guy is in today though I seem to recall hearing he managed a decent showing on DWTS (Dancing with the Stars).

Between limping, a runny nose and hacking up the occasional piece of lung, the class was a great success. I am lucky in that I have my teaching instinct to fall back. Even if I am less than stellar, I have a way of pulling things off that has more to do with years in the classroom than my actual yogi skills and knowledge.

The week flew by, its usual crammed too full self. I’ve been enjoying NaBloPoMo and even my turtle slow approach to NaNoWritMo. Writing for myself is still fun and it is good to know this.

I’ve neglected my social media, which isn’t a bad thing. Twitter seems to function better when I don’t watch the pot too closely but Google+ is creeping me out because it feels like Match.com with all the questionable male followers my feed is attracting. I’ve blocked a lot of them, but still it would be nice if someone could design an app to screen and drop-kick based on a pre-set list of criteria:

  • not from a 3rd world country
  • at least a couple posts in English, so I see it’s not spam or porn
  • definitely no faceless people
  • and those looking for white Canadian women need not plus me

I am wearying of stumping for votes for the Top Canadian Mom blogs list, and I imagine you are too. Incredibly, there is another 13 days of voting to go. Sigh. Thanks to those who have voted, continue to vote and who have even convinced their family, friends and even their old high school friends on Facebook to vote as well. I cling to the top five, but there is a very determined Mommy reviewer nipping on my heels and periodically climbing up my back to sit on top of me. So, keep those votes coming because if every single one of you who reads this actually votes? I might gain enough of a lead to quit asking for votes. Just saying … along with my thanks.

Fall officially ended with an arctic blast today. The child wore a winter coat for the first time today. She’s thoroughly winterized, so it has to be winter if she is bundled. No snow as much as WeatherNet threatens us with it. With the chilled temps comes the one year anniversary of THE reno. Last year at this time, Rob began knocking down walls and gutting the front half of the main floor. Tonight he will nearly finish the kitchen as he lays the last of the tile in the new fabulous kitchen. He says we will have a more than just a functional living room by Christmas but I am sure we have some relatives who haven’t yet had a crisis they need us to drop everything to help them with – so I remain skeptical.

And that’s it. Aside from the lingering flu that I need about 11 hours of straight shut-eye to finish off and I won’t be getting it tonight. Soccer practice in the AM, you know. But next week is Fall Break. No alarms. No school buses being revved up beneath our bedroom window and no buses to catch. It’s the simple things.


Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip? 

Lose Yourself by Eminem

Not quite the scenario I’ve been presented with but an apt lyrical representation in some ways.

The studio where I study and teach shuts its door at the end of the month. My friend and teacher, Jade, has chosen to step away and spend more time with her children and seek saner employment opportunities. She offered those of us who teach there the opportunity to take the studio over, and regretfully, I passed.

Timing is one of those serendipitous things. It introduced Rob and I to each other and brought Dee and I to Canada. It has afforded me with writing opportunities and yoga study and teaching opportunities that someone with my background shouldn’t likely have had. But it didn’t show up for this one.

I love the studio. It’s compact, elegant and well-situated. Sitting above a used bookstore (yes, the one I toyed briefly with buying) and sandwiched between a seedy pub and a liquor store, it fits the stereotypical ideal of city yoga studios everywhere. How often have you run across yoga springing forth from the seedy remains of crumbling downtowns like saplings stubbornly taking root in the cracks of sidewalks.

Even as strip malls and newer shopping plazas spring up on the other side of the highway, the town is determined to lure folks back to the former city center with a massive overhaul, repaving the streets, putting in wider sidewalks and creating a pedestrian plaza just a block away. The area improves with each year and there are signs that small businesses, at any rate, have taken notice and are moving into the empty retail slots at a heartening pace though not all have succeeded.

So location? The studio has that covered.

The rent, though I didn’t ask, is probably reasonable based in the information I acquired when I was checking out the bookstore.

And there is a need and a student base, but I am not naive about either. The former fluctuates with the weather, and the latter is a personality thing. Jade has a loyal following but it wouldn’t necessarily switch allegiance. When you are the product in a sense, you can’t “sell” that along with the physical aspects of your business.

Why not then?

Because any type of “fitness” oriented business is subject to the time constraints of those who use it. Shift work rules around here, so early mornings and evenings are prime time. I have a husband and child who expect me about in the early morning and evenings to accommodate them. As it is, teaching just three nights a week this past nine months has been strain enough. If I were to add more?

Rob’s enthusiasm factors as well and he couldn’t offer much when I told him about the studio.

“You’re not thinking about doing it, are you?”

He is my most ardent supporter, but he can be forgiven his self-interest. My working hinders more than it helps our bottom-line and that was never more evident than when we filed our Canadian taxes this year. And my not being around in the evenings shifts the burden of Dee’s activities to him alone in terms of carting her about and cheerleader duty.

One of the reasons behind Jade’s decision was the fact that she was missing hockey games and that precious four hours from the time kids get home from school until they are tucked in for the night. I know that many two income families live quite happily in the nano-bits snatched in the before and after school allotments. They pack everything that doesn’t conveniently fit into the week into a 48 hour weekend, but as I remember that life – it takes a toll.

And then there are the crucial factors. I don’t know anything about running a business, and freelancing more seriously this last year has taught me that the rules, which govern me from afar, are more complex and onerous than I knew.

Finally, I don’t know that I am ready to “be the teacher”. Sure, I teach yoga, but under the umbrella of the studio, which affords me credibility. I am unsure that I possess the experience and knowledge – or radiate the gravitas –  that one needs to in order to “be the studio owner” – to be THE teacher.

Regardless, it’s hard to let this one slip even though I know that there are good reasons for doing so.


Dana hace Yoga en la Playa

Image by leo.prie.to via Flickr

And not with each other.

Two distance healings, a trip to the dentist and many back rubs from my ever patient and saintly husband later, I ventured back to yoga class. There is a warm yin at noon on Fridays, and I arrived early to secure my spot by the heat lamp (must.buy. heat lamp.) where I snuggled into the Maduka Lite mat, as my new and far comfier heavy weight mat made my shoulders flinch under their own power, and prepared to “let go”.

Yin is not quite restorative yoga. Restorative is about relaxing, a far more difficult thing than people imagine and part of what makes it a harder sell than physically punishing practices like Ashtanga, but yin is about space. Finding a depth in a pose that allows the body to fill in until full expression is gradually found. Despite the props, there is not a lot of ease or comfort about it.

During one of the final poses before savasana, Jade, my teacher, read to us from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjail by Sri Swami Satchidananda, Sutra 33 which discusses the four keys that open our lives to serenity and happiness.

We studied this sutra and Satchidananda’s observations during teacher training last year. Essentially, there are four kinds people and having the “keys” necessary for interacting with them puts one of the path to a serene mind which in turn promotes happiness.

Patanjali, the universe bless him, wrote this:

By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.

And Satchidananda reminds his readers that Patanjali was not describing some long ago world but one nearly identical to ours today because what people want and need at their core hasn’t changed. He reminds us to be happy for those who are happy in their lives because our jealousy or ill-wishes towards them will only harm us in the end. He entreats us to show compassion for those who struggle regardless of their reaction because in being kind we do ourselves a good too. He asks us to be “delighted” in the virtuous, see them for the shining examples that they are and try to imitate them for our own sake.

And then he discusses the wicked.

By wicked Satchidananda isn’t necessarily referring to the Adolfs and Wall Street swindlers of the world. He is talking about those we encounter in our daily lives who seek to pull us down because we are content and they are not. They are notches lower than the unhappy who though they may lash out truly do so without malicious intent. The wicked seek to hurt because they hurt and view our non-hurting and any advice we might give as an insult to them and their pain.

Jade went on to read the story of the Monkey and the Sparrow, which I believe I have shared before but it’s a wonderful teaching tale and it relates directly to something I recently forgot and was sharply reminded to recall.

One rainy day a monkey was sitting on a tree branch getting completely soaked. Opposite of the monkey on another branch was a sparrow sitting in a hanging nest, staying warm and dry. The sparrow saw the monkey getting drenched from the rain, and points out that even though he only has a small beak and no hands like the monkey, that he built the nice nest (home) expecting the rain. He also points out that Darwin said the monkey was the forefather of human beings, so why hasn’t he used his brain to build himself a house? The monkey made a terrible face, and yelled at the sparrow for advising and teasing him, and then tore the sparrow’s home to pieces. The sparrow was left to fly out and get drenched in the rain.

There are four keys needed in life to deal with the four types of people. Friendliness, compassion, gladness and disregard. If we are friendly to the happy, compassionate to the unhappy or sad, glad for the righteous/good and disregard the wicked, serenity of mind is ours and with that happiness.

Lately, I have been commenting on a blog written by a writer who was widowed but is long since remarried. Though he blogs about many things, he would occasionally write about his widowhood and this prompted women who are dating or married to widowers to email him with their questions regarding their relationships. In response, he began to answer their questions with a post every Wednesday.

I have replied and mainly just shared my story and opinions in an advice-free manner. Sharing from a personal perspective without judgment or placing oneself as an expert is the safest route when the medium is the written word. Mostly because people in general are such poor readers it is easy to be misunderstood.

The topic last week was on second chances. Widowers who’d established relationships. Pledged love, fidelity and a future, and then pulled the old “it’s not you: it’s me. I need more time to grieve.” It’s really no different from the divorced guy who suddenly realizes that his ex and their marriage have made him rethink commitment and not in a positive way. Or the never married guy who’s been “so hurt in the past” that he can’t bring himself to commit – even though if he could commit to anyone, it would be you.

Men who are … douchebags … um … wicked are so, regardless.

I threw in a sanitized version of my opinion along with my own story about readiness and moving on.

The end. Except not.

A widower found the blog. Even though the Wednesday posts are clearly marked and have nothing to do with being widowed personally, he felt maligned because it wasn’t promoting grief in a way that worked for him, so he came in swinging.

Mostly at the blogger but a bit at me. Probably because the blogger and I are remarried widowed, who are clearly in the “loss happens, you cope and then you move on”camp. The widower is new-ish and still very much invested in the idea put forth by the grief “industry” that promotes self-help, processes, journeys, and the idea that grief is never-ending. Which isn’t true but you can’t tell that to someone still in the thick of it. Time and distance move us all away from the idea that we will hurt like bastards forever. It’s not the grief but the rebuilding that convinces people to cling to that notion. Mourning is less work than moving on.

Had I not bothered to reply. All would have been well. But I made the mistake of explaining*, which is advice by another name and voila – a flaming hot comment thread.

And then I got irritated because the gentleman pulled out the tired “denial” thing to explain my inability to admit how right he was.

Denial. Irony abounds.

But thankfully, Patanjali has set me straight via yin class. All praise Yoga! Thank you, Swami Satchidananda!

*When you make the mistake of explaining, the other person will see it as defensive and begin deconstructing your explanation line by line, giving themselves the advantage of pulling things out of context and spinning it. At this point, you’ve been played and should walk away. A sad/unhappy person won’t bother to do this by the way, but a wicked one will.

UPDATE: The angry Widower wrote a scathing blog piece attacking the “industry” that is building up around the women who date widowed or GOW’s, as they call themselves. They have blogs and message boards and websites, which are almost identical in the defensive, selfish stance that widowed take. They share the misguided belief that grief is some sort of mental breakdown rather than a normal human experience. They just come at it from opposite angles. Both groups? Could use a bit of reality dosing, but it won’t happen because they group together and reinforce each other. Interestingly, a blogger/self-help writer was the target of the Angry Widower and she was quite unkind (snarky really) in her assessment of him when she found out and wrote this reply. I tried to leave a comment to the effect that she was misrepresenting grief and that men who play games do so for reasons that cross all types (widowed, divorced, and never-marrieds) because the reality is that widowers who love women – marry them and those who don’t act like douchebags until the women in question wake up, respect themselves and find someone better. She deleted my comment. As on the widow blogs, I don’t fit with the promoted view that grief is a syndrome in need of 12 steps. The irony is, of course, that these two groups are just the same and the people who cater to the delusion aren’t all that dissimilar either.


Creepy Old Navy mannequins "in person"

Image by Daniel Greene via Flickr

Before I lose internet … again … a wee update.

The kitchen/great room renovation hums along. The entire front half of the downstairs is gutted and closed off with plastic sheeting that reminds me of those movies where virulent epidemics are sweeping à la apocalypse and everyone is wearing hazmat.

I spent over four hours yesterday pulling nails left behind after Rob and I yanked the old hardwood up by its 60-year-old roots. The dust was killer, and it occurred to me as it puffed up and settled again that the particles contain remnants of everyone who’s ever lived in this house. Skin flakes, hair follicles, disintegrated food and dirty debris from all over creation of people who had no idea that their imprints on the floor were more than just passing, easily mopped up or swept away.

Life to ashes and dust, man, remember that.

Dee bore up under the crushing boredom of a school vacation minus the vacation until Friday, so partly because Rob was worn to a nub and I was itchy to do something other than provide spotty physical labor and teach yoga, we went shopping Sunday afternoon.

Rob would rather hump plaster to the dump like Atlas than shop. Particularly at Old Navy, which is where we went. Because we had coupon and but also because I like it.

“Did you not see the level of clientele?” he asked.

“Low rent,” I agreed, “but that’s because the clothes are cheap.”

“And gaudy and meant to be replaced often due more to the poor, made-by-Chinese-school-children quality than anything else.”

And because I resemble that remark a bit, I paused, but I can’t justify spending tons of money on clothing anymore. Sturdy may mean it never wears out, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t tire of it and want something new or bright? In which case I am stuck with wearable clothing and though I do periodic closet sweeps, I don’t do garage sales more than once a year and there is a limit to my need to give my stuff away – even though that is a guilty pleasure of mine.

I also like their yoga-ish duds. As I am over Lululemon, I am in constant quest mode for the most comfy yoga pants – and no, sadly, I have yet to find them – but I did find these awesome walking capris at Old Navy for HALF-PRICE.

Suffice to say, with coupon we spent on four long sleeve shirts, two capris and a comfy fleece jammie bottom, the same amount of money that one pair of Lululemon pants would have cost. Added bonus is not contributing to a company that doesn’t have plus-wear (and by “+” I mean anything over a size 12 and I loathe companies that feed the sizism monster).

Then we went to the bookstore and BOUGHT BOOKS!!

Love browsing a bookseller on a Sunday afternoon. Heaven. And one consumer unnecessary that I sorely miss.

The awesome thing about shopping, when you rarely do anymore, is how awesome it really is.

Winter arrived today. It’s visited here and there since early October, but I think it will be staying now.

Oh, and Rob’s mother will be getting married in less than a month. No surprise – to me – but Rob is still incredibly ambivalent and the older girls have yet to publicly comment. A December wedding though does free up June again for Edie and Silver though when I mentioned that to her, she just stammered and blushed.

The wedding moving up is more to do with the groom being an American. Rob and I faced the same dilemma when Dee and I moved up here. We planned a September wedding to mollify Rob’s family a bit because a year would have passed since Shelley’s death. The year thing is a big fat hairy deal to a lot of people. However, being an émigré makes marriage a thing that can’t be put off to please one’s sense of timing. Governments get growly about foreigners taking up residence without cause – in their eyes – and paperwork. There are oodles of papers and stamps and approvals and other such nonsense.

So it is for my future father-in-law. He must be legal and the quickest path is to get the marriage thing taken care of upfront.

It’s not romantic. It’s hard on the extended family. But really? All that matters is that they are together and happy.

“I don’t know what to say, ” Rob confessed in the aftermath of a phone conversation with his mom.

“You can’t say anything, ” I said, “because you don’t have a leg to stand on.”

“Payback is a bitch,” he agreed.


my android apps menu #5

Image by laihiu via Flickr

My boss called today. Yes, I have a boss. I know it seems like I’m living this Life of Reilly up on the prairie, but I am employed. I am hired in a manner of speaking though it is so different from my previous existence as a public school teacher that when I come up for air, now and again, I blink a lot. That spotlight I try to hide from is bright.

Cee conducts these random phone updates with the bloggers at Care2 to take our enthusiasm temperatures, I think. Mine’s been flagging a bit. Partly because I know that in order to be a success as a pseudo commentator on current events and life in general I need to lay fingers on the keyboard more often and far more furiously than I do now. And, I need to check my scruples at my office door. Blogging for the masses – the hordes that feed the advertisers – means inciting them to comment.

You might have noted that I closed comments on my Jennifer Petkov piece due to a persistent commenter. I don’t feel the need to engage in that way and this is a personal blog at any rate, but it’s highly reminiscent of the type of response I’ve inspired at Care2 from time to time. My karma prefers to be less sullied but my ego is entirely game. Let the tug of war begin.

So, on the one hand there is the very real possibility of making my mark in the world of op-ed and on the other hand there is coming back in my next life as an invertebrate.

Okay, it’s not that black and white. Probably.

Mostly this is coming down to time. Which is precious even if it’s nothing more than sitting in the office with Rob in the evening sharing thoughts about items on our Google Readers.

However, I don’t have as much time as I did.

My other boss emailed me today. Yes, two bosses though Jade’s in a gray area. She’s my teacher. I like to think of her as a friend. And she lets me teach at her studio.

Jade’s off on a yoga cruise soon. The studio was supposed to close because Rob and I had planned a vacation for that week, but we’ve decided to demolish the wall between our living and dining rooms and reno instead – seriously, and I will explain that another day – so I am suddenly around and she asked if I will cover classes for those who have memberships.

Teaching yoga is feast or famine. I am busy beyond comprehension until Christmas and then …? I don’t know.

Here’s the thing. My old life was scripted from the outside. Order was imposed on me by a schedule not of my making. Not a bad thing because being a Sagittarius, I tend towards free flow and formless when left to my own devices.

Now, life needs order.

Why?

Because I am not – never have been – okay with just being good. At anything. I need to be awesome. Ego. Yes, I am well aware.

But, I can be awesome. I know this.

I am ruined though by twenty years of being scheduled. I wish I had shunned teaching for writing earlier. Maybe I would have a better handle on scheduling myself?

Both hands are required. Cee gave me license to write at will for any channel I want at Care2. Go nuts. There’s a career in there somewhere.

Jade is trusting me an awful lot to find my yoga feet, take root and bloom. There’s a future there too.

Are they compatible? I think so, but it’s a matter of blocking time and not losing sight of Rob, the girls and the other people who are far more important than anything else.

Life was easier when I didn’t have to think about where I should be at a given time. When it was all decided for me.

But I recall, vaguely, wishing for this freedom. Must. Control. Blind. Wishing. And possibly break down and get a Blackberry or an Android.