life, meditation, practice, yoga

Balance

Yoga_Lettinggo

 

I love that quote from Rumi. In life that is so true. The holding and the releasing. If we are not aware the balance is gone, how can we change, how can we regain it?

I think about balance a lot, often very literally. One of the main reasons I started yoga was because I have balance issues and I wanted to address them. I’m getting older, old people fall, break hips and die in nursing homes (think I might be awful-ising a bit?)  But it’s true, physical balance is very important, and I didn’t have it.

And still don’t.

That pisses me off. I expected to be way better at balancing than I am after as much yoga as I do. I see a small improvement, but  it’s not enough.  NOT ENOUGH!  I had a conversation with one of my teachers after a class yesterday in which  I had been VERY frustrated with myself. I mentioned the teacher training, how could I do that if I can’t even do a simple, solid, tree pose for fuck’s sake? How embarrassing will it be to be in training and not be able to pop into an easy pose like Crescent, where both feet are still on the ground? I wobble in Triangle pose, waver in Warrior 2. I was really hurting yesterday, or causing myself hurt.

When I take a moment and breathe and look at the big picture, I see remarkable growth. The things I am physically able to do, the strength I have, has improved by leaps and bounds.  I can’t pop up into Crescent, but when I get in it I can hold it. And I can do a tree pose on a good day and a great triangle when I use a block. My teacher reminded me of how far I have come and how ready I am to go deeper, which I appreciated.

The main thing, however, is the way I am  becoming more balanced in life, not physically but emotionally. I am so much more balanced than I have ever been. My yoga and meditation have me emotionally balanced to a degree I cannot remember. EVER.

I am not kidding.

And that kind of balance is priceless, because even if I do fall over and break a hip and go into a nursing home….well, I’ll be able to handle it better. I am more emotionally balanced. My friendships are more balanced, my relationship with my son is more balanced. My relationship with myself is SO much more balanced, and that is what it really comes down  to.

I practice both Yin Yoga, and Yang versions, keeping a balance between to two styles and loving both of them. And I keep a much more balanced grasp on my emotions, they don’t own me like they used to. I am in both a different physical and mental space, and it feels so good. I hold on a lot, but oh how I have been able to let go.

So now,when I fall over in class, I intend to use it as a reminder of how truly balanced I have become.

 

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just for fun, blogging, writing, yoga, TBTH

Grasping At Straws…

Oh Man….

tonight I got nothing. Seriously, I have been trying to get inspired about writing some sort of post and am coming up blank. I am spinning my wheels here. Nothing on the Daring Greatly list is calling me, and the list of 100 questions? I want it to STFU, ya know? I have some posts started but I don’t FEEL like finishing them (you can start imagining a whiny voice at any point now…..)

I feel great, have had a great day…slept in, meeting with sponsee, 11th step yoga tonight, there’s nothing wrong. I am just counting this post as filler…I am not in the mood.

Anne Lamott talks about sitting down and writing anyway in Bird By Bird, as does Natalie Goldberg in Writing Down The Bones. They talk about being uninspired and going throughout the motions and letting it be ok.

So I am letting it be ok that I have nothing much to say here. I downloaded 3 new books: Gone Girl, Wild and Atul Gawande’s new book Being Mortal. Of course I started Gone Girl first, even though I went on Amazon to get Being Mortal. That’s kind of where my head is I guess, inane escapist mode….lets not tackle the heavy lifting when there is a good yarn to get lost in (I am assuming it’s a good yarn, I’ve been told it is).

That’s a metaphor for me right now, I think. This week would, in the past, be WAY heavy lifting, and instead I am enjoying it as a good yarn.  I look at my calendar and see a lot of yoga, no grief groups to facilitate, fun Thanksgiving plans and an invitation to a party on Saturday. Of course, Friday will find me, as usual, in line at Walmart at 2 am…..

*shiver*…seriously? Just kidding!

I’m planning on a lot of netflix and reading and, hopefully, decent writing this week. But for now?  Butt in chair, fulfill the blog-a day commitment.

While Anne Lamott talks about “shitty first drafts”, I am busy delivering a shitty FINAL draft.

Hopefully it will be better tomorrow (no promises!).

I will leave you with this thought…..
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(That sentiment makes ME happy!)

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Daring Greatly Challenge, food, free, gratitude, just for fun, sobriety, TBTH

TBTH

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#8….Time connecting with a friend

Tonite is strategic in my TBTH plans. Actually inviting people over and feeding them. And letting them bring offerings; a salad, pies, bread, booze…

I am disappointed that 2 of my friends can’t make it at the last minute, but the reason is good (and not so good, but they are fine). Besides my disappointment the only issue will be that I have MORE too much food, because…not an entertainer. It always seems better to have more rather than less, no?

I am calm and looking forward to the evening though. The house is clean, the soup is on and I basically just have to get dressed. I admit I hear Tom’s voice from the past “jesus! pour yourself a glass of (insert whatever I was drinking that evening) and relax”! That is how we rolled. He LOVED entertaining; I did too but was so anxious about it.  Letting go of my anxiety  without alcoholic support is a wonderful feeling .

So I will come back here after the party is over and say what I know: it was fun and wonderful and the best part was connecting with my old friends. Because that is the greatest joy, right? All that matters anymore.

 

And I am back, midnight. Kitchen cleaned, face washed, sipping my tea.

Truly? For me it was a PERFECT evening! I hope my friends felt the same. I am feeling really grateful right about now…..

 

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gratitude, life, meditation, open, practice, quotes, stories, yoga

Another YES

“There are times when I have no idea
what comes next & it’s the thing I’ve
come to love most about being alive:
leaning in to hear the invitation
of each day & feeling my whole
body melt when I say
yes, yes, yes.”

Brian Andreas

 

I LOVE that!

Of course I would, I am all about the yes ( and  the bass, no treble).

This was there in my inbox, ready to pounce on me this morning as I drank my tea and readied for the day.

It’s interesting to me that I have been working on a post about Yin Yoga, which is a style of yoga I am completely enamored with. And the basic tenants of the style are to first, find your edge in a pose; that point where there is no pain but there IS sensation. Then, as you breathe, you lean into the pose, waiting for an invitation to go deeper, which almost always comes for me. And, finally, you hold for time.

This story of Brian’s reminded me so much of that. The whole idea of not knowing what the pose will bring, yet being willing to lean in and say yes to a deeper experience, no matter if it’s wonderful or uncomfortable. Just like life.

We get out of bed and it’s a crap-shoot, am I right?  What happens next, and next? Sure we have plans and ideas, but if we really let go, lean in, life can and will, surprise the hell out of us on a regular basis.

I never used to like that about life. My life was so small and contained and I needed to know what was going to happen next or I would be filled with  fear. I see that I was like that my whole life, using isolation, eating, drinking…..whatever I could to escape the notion that I couldn’t control anything. YEARS of that! At this point I am so grateful to finally have found a better way.

I was talking to a friend and mentioned how surprised I am  that at this late stage in my life I have found something new to be in love with.  I was referring to yoga in the particular, but in the bigger sense I am referring to life itself. I have not been in love with life for a  very long time, and , don’t get me wrong, I still can argue with it with the best of them. But this idea of acceptance, of leaning in and allowing life to happen, saying yes, is a new and welcome idea.

I intend to keep playing the edge and letting myself soften into the deeper experiences of life. As far as holding for time? Well, I have some left  and plan on leaning in, both literally and metaphorically, to the yes.

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gratitude, life, person, sobriety, stories

A Gift

http://www.alexandrafranzen.com/2013/04/18/100-questions-to-inspire-rapid-self-discovery/

 

100 questions?!

I love it, especially tonite.

I have been cleaning and making a playlist for my party on Saturday night and I am getting tired. I suddenly remembered  I hadn’t written a post for today yet (I am, obviously, writing this Thursday night).

But this is a good one, no? LOTS of idea for writing when  you are stuck and have made a ridiculous commitment to a post a day (who, me?) . I actually have a few started, however they need more work than I am willing to give them right now.

So here’s my post, with and GIFT to you attached….you didn’t know there’d be prized did you?

100 ideas for blogs. TADA!!!

I will quickly answer the question about meeting one of my heroes.

I call Anne Lamott one of my gurus and that is absolutely true. I quoted her in yesterday’s post, and have certainly done so before. I have read every book she has ever written and will admit that, while I slavishly adore every piece of non-fiction she has written, I’m a  little “not so much” about her fiction. Whatever. She is amazing to me on so many levels. I have read her books for years,  but had to re-read them all (for the whatever-eth time) after I got sober and there was so much help for me there.

Anyway…during her tour for Stitches she came to the L.A. Central Library in conversation with Father Gregory Boyle (another local hero of mine!). I went with a friend and it was pretty awesome to hear her talk about her writing and everything under the sun. Afterwards she  stayed to autograph books and my friend and I got in line. At the end. ON PURPOSE…hoping to have a word.

When we got to her we were literally the last two people, and there was relief on her face. Of course, I could not help myself and began to talk. About how much I loved her, how inspiring she was to me, how I’ve read all of her books how I am sober too and she was sweet. I was walking away when I remembered the latest and greatest lesson I had learned from her…WAIT (which stands for Why Am I Talking). I had finally shut up around my son and life was getting so much better, and I told her that.

She thanked me and commiserated for  a moment, and then handed me a red tootsie roll pop (she’s pretty famous for being helpless around them). As I wrote this I am looking at the pop. It sits in the bowl I use for pens on my desk, and reminds me every day that I can change, and do hard things, I can live through grief and I can write just as badly as I want to or need to and all will be ok in the end. Because…grace.

 

Ok, phew. Done!

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gratitude, grief, life, music, person, TBTH, tom

Amazing Grace

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” – Anne Lamott

That is one of my very favorite quotes, ever, from Anne’s book Travelling Mercies.

Today it was singing in my head, because I was confounded and amused and lifted by grace all day.

After my yoga class I headed out to Northridge, where my house had been, to the local branch of CitiBank.  The branch housed, for the last 23 years, my safe deposit box. It’s held a lot of different things over the years, pink slips and passports;  marriage,birth,and death certificates; house deeds and loan papers, re-fi and equity papers; copies of insurances, contracts and  wills….you get the idea. All the signposts of a life. Travel, home, kid, work, life and death.

It hasn’t held anything of much importance the last few years, certainly nothing that a  small fire-proof safe in my closet couldn’t handle.  I kept renewing it though; I just didn’t want to let it go.

Something that you aren’t prepared for when someone dies is how they don’t just die, BAM!, and over. There is so much work to do. Years of it. And each thing you tackle is significant because death is truly a series of little deaths, a slow disappearing.  So today when I went to close the safe deposit box  I had to pull on my big girl panties and face that music once again. Another little death, another piece of Tom disappearing from my life. This is almost 9 years in. I still have one more big thing looming…I can’t think about that right now.

Anyway, I went to yoga first, and that was helpful. It gave me a chance to breathe into whatever kind of pain I might face, not anticipating it but preparing for it, if that makes sense. A good friend of mine’s ex-husband died 3 days ago and so I offered my practice for her, for her grief as well as mine.

When I left I called my dear friend who lives in that area to see if we could have lunch. I didn’t tell her why, anytime I am unexpectedly in the area I would call her. And  I was really working to stay in the now, to not anticipate any feelings I might have, although clearly I was being led to take care of myself. By who/what?  Grace, already at work.

I spent 15 minutes at the bank, retrieving what was in the box and signing some papers. When I got in my car I felt it though, that familiar tickle in the throat, tightening of the chest, and tears welled up. Another little loss. As I headed to my friends  I put on some music, but instead of the channel I meant to turn on  I heard…..Showtunes! I suddenly  remembered that Sirius was giving me 2 free weeks for Thanksgiving, and the button I had mistakenly hit was for the “all show tunes all the time (I-am -a- big- nerd)” channel. And it was playing a song from a musical that Tom always wanted , but never was able to, produce. Grace. *Wink*

When I arrived at my friends I didn’t mention anything. I felt ok, a little shaky but ok. And not only did she feed me fabulous home-made soup but she gave me an out of the blue gift, some beautiful earrings.  A present! More grace! Instead of a feeling of loss, a reminder of how much I have.

I had some essential oils for another friend, so I suggested tea and we met at a sweet little place called Rumi Cafe (yes, named after that Rumi). We talked, and again I didn’t mention the box. I felt ok. I was happy to be there with her and have a chai latte and feel the grace that comes in just being with someone you care about.

Then it was the grocery stores I needed to hit for my get-together on Saturday (it’s all done except for the cleaning, I even polished silver! TBTH!) and headed home.

I had been enjoying the show tunes all day and just as I pulled into my garage a new song started, a lovely and sad song written by Stephen Sondheim. I only heard the first few lines before the garage, which is underground, cut my radio off. It’s from A Little Night Music and begins “Every day a little death….”

I started laughing, because what else?

And that was it. There was no maudlin weeping today, no angry railing at the gods, it was just one more little thing, one more little disappearance in a long course of them. And the song capped it, reminded me that it has always been so, and will continue to be and, so. The whole day was so filled with joy and grace that a few minutes of feeling not so good was fine, because “grace meets us where we are but doesn’t leave us where it found us”, right?

Today Grace met me at the bank and deposited me, at the end of the day, happy and full of love in my new normal, accepting and so very grateful for every second of it, of all my life before and my beautiful life now.

Amazing Grace.

 

 

 

 

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