I’m supposed to keep my head in a neutral position, pull my core tight, lengthen my spine, and focus on the breath in my body. my shoulders feel tired. My legs are shaking. Sweat is trickling down from my bunched up hair and itching on its slow path along my nose and neck. Everyone around me is in some version of this pose.
I have yet to emulate the strength and grace of our instructor and I don’t care that the 86 year old woman to my left manages to gracefully and perspirationlessly hold this position perfectly, any more than the woman struggling to keep steady on her knees to my right cares about my toes managing to hold me up. That’s the beauty of this class. It’s so mindfully based, each person flows along where their own body takes them. I can (and do) modify the hell out of each track based on what my body is able and willing to do in that moment.
I love this practice as much as I feel frustration at my limits. It’s good for me. It encourages me to look for a way forward. Any way forward. As long as I can move, I will move forward and breathe.
I am beyond thankful that neither God nor the devil seems to want me just yet. I still have so much to do and I’d like to leave things better than I found them before torturing souls with my wit for all eternity. I could certainly use more time to work on my bit.
This morning’s commute took a sharp turn from the expected when the car began to shake a little. I held tightly to steady what felt like the car being buffeted by a strong wind but the steering wheel stopped working with my wheels and the car began to violently swerve from left to right with a mind of its own, across lanes of fast moving early morning traffic.
The car swerved so violently that I found myself and the car spinning crazily in circles, around and around through swerving cars all the way from the right lane to the left lane and back to the right lane with three blown apart tires, finally coming to a stop at the top of an on ramp.
More terrifying cars at high speeds coming at me, desperately careening around my car. I felt panic wrapping my chest, my entire body contracted in anticipation of an impact that miraculously didn’t come. The power cut out entirely and I sat crying and trying to breathe.
Police arrived almost on top of me and set up a safe barrier from other cars until an emergency tow truck could get to us. My husband doubled back from his own commute to tuck me safely into his truck and bring me home where after being deposited into bed and piled with dogs and warm blankets I slept for the rest of the day.
I have no idea what happened. What could have caused so much to go so wrong and to be able to walk away from that scene. For everyone on the road this morning to have been able to pass by unhurt. I only know that I am grateful. Shaken and weary but deeply grateful. I’m doubling down and rolling up my sleeves to pay it forward and make sure that when it is my time to drive the afterlife closertocrazy, I will have left this one better somehow, some way.
After saying “oh calm down it can’t be all that bad, I gave birth to bigger things without so much whining” for almost a year, I took the kid for a consult. Her wisdom teeth are growing in sideways. Bone impacted. “She’s basically stuck in a constant state of teething” said the dentist.
The look that child gave me across the room should have dropped me on the spot. Thank GOD I have a base level of immunity to kill stares after five kids. The teeth get ripped out in two weeks.
I told the doctor ”That will be the first day that child will have been quiet since the day before she was born”.
I sat in confusion in the 30 degree chill of my car as it idled, staring uncomprehendingly at the crowds of unhinged, stressed-out, wild haired people running in all directions with carts piled high.
There was shouting, and crying. Someone was attempting to drag an overloaded shopping cart through slushy clumps of snow, angrily cursing the too-tiny wheels now locked in place in the mess and refusing to budge.
Harried employees, looking like they haven’t slept in days, were waving flyers and calling out to the crowds like stockbrokers on the floor of the exchange. Customers grabbed them and ran in every direction.
Madness. It was madness.
I came for two things. Routine items, really. Nothing that couldn’t wait, just on my way home from work and the thought crossed my mind “Oh! I should run in quickly and grab them since I’m driving by!”
I could not make my work weary mind wrap around the vision of madness before me. I was on back to back shifts for eight days. I was worn out and turned around, no longer in touch with the world beyond my unit.
Inside children were hopping and begging and yanking on adult sized arms, pointing futilely at things while the adult being manhandled continued resolutely towards things like socks and hats and cotton balls, to the agony of the children hanging on.
The place looked like it had been and was still in the process of being ransacked or robbed. I stared mutely. A wave of panic rising inside as clusters of crazed shoppers swelled around me and swept me down an aisle I had no intention of going to.
I clutched my bag to my chest and tried to breathe deeply and slowly. A strangers hand landed on my shoulder and pulled me back into a main aisle, patting my shoulder and saying “Almost didn’t make it! Where’s your stuff? Are you gonna take the short cut through yarn and get in the TV line, or are you headed for jewelry?” He was gone just as fast as he’s appeared, yelling into his phone to someone I presume was his child “YOUR SMALLER AMD FASTER, GO UNDER THE RACK AND GET IN LINE!!”
I staggered backwards, looking from side to side at the carnage and then ran to the exit as fast as I could. Black Friday. It was BLACK FRIDAY. It was HERE. I was HERE. My worst nightmares all coalesced into this dark, dark place, SO dark it’s called “BLACK FRIDAY.”
I ran. I ran as fast as I could back to my car, threw it into drive and peeled out before the Salvation Army Santa could ring the next bell.
I am curiously contemplating the child across from me, carefully pulling glops of purple glue with pincher fingers from a plastic tube the size of his thumb, and painstakingly transferring it to seemingly random spots on the paper before him.
The process is fascinating and very little of the glue glop makes it in the original amount to its intended mark. Each finger, the sleeve of his shirt, the edge of the table all inherit a bit along the way.
It’s a wonder any glue makes it to the paper at all.
And then there are the feathers. Brightly and unnaturally colored feathers are carefully piled next to his paper.
Between each painful glue extraction and transfer, this sticky fingered child picks up a feather and pulls the fluffy bits off of the quill until he has tiny pile. This pile is half the size it ought to be. The other half of the fluffy stuff has become attached to various parts of this child’s fingers, forearm, belly, and the table.
There are random fluffs floating around us too, since noticing the now feather fluff covered hands, this child waves them furiously about in a vain attempt to shake them off.
The glue perseveres.
He is slowly taring and feathering himself.
It strikes me that this is exactly my mood. I’m in a bit of a blue mood and everything that enters the orbit of my mind, every unwelcome thought and worrisome moment becomes glued to my brain.
No matter how much I try to shake it off, I only seem to succeed in spreading it further like the fluff now sticking to my eyelashes from my small friends last frantic feathered hand waves.
I have been working with my little friend on mindfulness. Encouraging him to take his time and focus only on the thing before him, this allows the body time to cool down and elevated emotions time to ease.
He is certainly mastering this process as evidenced by the sheer concentration and pleasure on his face as his thickly glue and feather fluff encased fingers attempt a methodical placement of the remaining fluff to his picture.
But here I sit beside him, carelessly waving bits of feathers away from my face, admiring his work, yet unable to quiet my own brain, to convince my own emotions to ease.
I’m in a blue mood. Mindfully so. Watching this small person, a riot of color and rather sticky, and I’m thinking how perfectly he seems to depict my mood. All glue and feathers and loud thoughts and quiet bits of sadness, sticking to everything no matter how enthusiastically I try to shake them off.
Today is a blue day and some days are just going to be like that and that’s ok. So my picture will be a bit messy. I’ll be ok.
Laying in wait. Waiting for my body to catch up with my spirit. It’s frustrating to feel helpless to your body’s need to rest and heal. Your brain ticks down the hours and days and feels like it’s time to be able to do whatever it feels the urge to do. A voice inside pushes and nudges and whispers and I cave and crawl out.
A little at a time is fine, it’s good to press just a little. Movement has always been my friend, keeping my mind occupied and pain pushed back into a box in the corner. I promise myself I will just do one thing and then lay low.
But it has only been three days since the injections, and I have never been good at stopping. I have never been balanced or metered in my approach to quick/little/easy tasks, frequently stoping only because I collapse in fatigue, or more likely because I have been caught in the act by my family and marched back to bed.
It’s rainy and grey outside of my window. Inside in this soft bed I am struggling to keep my eyes open, surrounded by warm, adoring pups curled close to my body. Their rhythmic and relaxed breathing, their complete and easy surrender to a day of slumber make me smile and I feel my own self surrender too.