Storytelling from on and off the mat
Storytelling from on and off the mat
It was back in 1988 and my second job in Nursing, the start of many. Dr. J was the medical director on the small psychiatric unit that housed adolescents with mainly substance abuse issues. He was a small charismatic, Asian man with a wiry smile. He didn’t think young people went through withdrawal nor did he ascribe to medication as treatment for children. He came from a behavioral perspective.
The unit was set up on a point system. The kids came in on level one with few privileges and left when they climbed to level 4. We searched their bags for contra-band taking most of their belongings that marked their individuality and independence. Their nirvana music, “inappropriate” t-shirts and cigarettes. There was a list of things that we would pull from their bags when they arrived on Level 1. When they got to level 2 they could smoke and when they achieved the upper levels they got to go home for weekend visits and then would eventually leave.
They came from middle and upper middle class families. They were hospitalized for their uncontrollable incorrigible behavior at home. I do remember a few of them distinctly. Anna, Claire, Jason and Mike. They had their own story behind the bravado. Mostly their stories had to do with adoption, divorce or abuse. Once in awhile you’d think that maybe they didn’t fall into any one of these categories but then you’d uncover that indeed they did.
Dr. J wasn’t concerned with coddling or showing pity rather getting them in shape to be in a good enough place to go home someday. He felt that a family approach was also needed to address their problems. There were weekly parent education and therapy groups that he and the head nurse LV and the social worker, Denise conducted. It was reputed that he, a married man and LV, a wife and mother of four children were having a relationship on the side but this cannot be verified. They did seem to disappear at lunchtime with great frequency and hold each other’s gaze a bit too long but I don’t really know and it didn’t matter much to me.
Many things happened in that short year back when I worked there. There was Lindsay’s suicide. the sweet, young mental health aide who was attending school at Brockport to get her master’s in social work degree, someone with a similar story as the kid's. And then, tragically a week after her death, Martha, a nurse’s son took his own life. The only clue him asking his mom why did Linsday choose such a violent way to die?
There was the 18-year old kid who was over 6 feet tall, who terrified us all. The other kids on the unit started to act out when he came to the unit. He was scary, with his white white hair and translucent blue eyes especially made glassy by the strong psychotropic med that he was on that did nothing to dull his frightening energetic presence. His diagnosis was antisocial personality disorder with psychotic features. He bragged to Denise, the social worker that he had murdered someone but they (the police) would never find the body so he couldn’t be held accountable. He had cut the victim up and then burned their body. She believed his story and when she told it to me, I also believed it. His initials were appropriately SS. He was adopted by a fundamentalist Christian family. He despised his mother.
I didn’t stay at the job long because it didn’t pay well. I approached the head of the hospital for a raise after I had completed my first year and when I was told no, I put in my resignation. We had just purchased our first house and money was tight. It was a for profit private hospital. There were perks, there was the morning coffee and the elaborate hot meal at lunch that was free to the staff.
There was Paul P. the motorcycle riding, tattooed man who was also in recovery. He was in his mid thirties, a decade older than me. He taught me about recovery, AA and how sobriety didn’t have shades of gray. It was an all or nothing business. He would talk about giving the kids an attitude adjustment. He worked in tandem with Dr. J to help break the kids down and get to the core of their problem; why they were there so it could be uncovered and healed. I don’t remember any of the kids going into placement when they left the unit. I do remember that a few returned shortly after they left.
There was a young woman named Sue who would eat all kinds of strange and healthy foods (stuff I probably eat today) and had all kinds of testing to uncover her maladies through methods such as kinesiology. I found her health techniques interesting, others found her strange. Then there was Lily, the black LPN and our candid discussions on race and prejudice. How she gave me the best advice that I have ever been given, “People only push you as far as you let them.”
A few months after I started on the unit, Dr. J threw a Christmas party at his and his wife’s home. I vaguely remember his wife being a small woman, deferential to him and I also remember a plaque on the wall with this poem about Risk on it. I stared at it for the longest time, loving its words and meaning. I must have told Dr. J because he later wrote it up and gave it to me. A friend looked it up and found the original writer and also the full version of the poem, Dr J's was missing the last verse.
Inspirational Poem: William Arthur Ward on “Risk”
To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
The pessimist complains about the wind;
The optimist expects it to change;
And the realist adjusts the sails.
William Arthur Ward
A little client of mine came in with a pout on her face that she wasn’t going to go to camp this summer. She was digging in her heels and according to her mom this was something she did often when confronted with change. Change isn’t easy for any of us and for a few it is especially hard. We develop these rote ways of doing things and then patterns set in and we get comfortable. It isn’t easy to challenge the known, but when we do enter into new ways of living we can start to open up our eyes to how life can be fresh. We live through our mind. So in order to change the mind we need to change the way we live.
I sometimes share stories with my clients to help them see another way, as this is how I’ve learned. Through stories. Here’s an unabridged version of the story I shared with her:
When I was 16 I was riding my bike through my hometown. Weaving between stopped traffic at a red light not realizing that the right lane was still moving. I weave in front of a moving car and was hit by it. It was a sturdy black car driven by a nervous man, made more nervous by my bike flying in front of his car. He was at a loss to stop. I wasn’t injured; just the frame of my bike was bent.
I was embarrassed and the driver horrified. He stopped and insisted that we call an ambulance. Mr. Gray had children around my age and his son Peter was in my class. As if this wasn’t awkward enough, Mr. Gray ended up being my math teacher at St. John Fisher College, the summer of my freshman year.
After the bike incident in which I had another run in with cars, I basically stopped riding my bike. I think the feeling of embarrassment was greater than any injury incurred or any sustaining trauma. Walking or running seemed an easier way to avoid future collusions.
But for whatever reason, lately I have decided to try ‘something new’ and have wanted to explore bike riding. I am surrounded by cyclists in Asheville; an outdoor mecca for mountain bikers. So with my new beach bike that I won at an auction that was supposed to have three speeds but only one is working (a missing part to blame) I have ventured out again on a bike after 30 years. I try to choose a time of day when not many cars are on the road. I am going to ease into this. Not only for my benefit but also for the benefit of those on the road. When the sun is up but all is quiet you might find me forming new treads and a new way of being so that I can start to look at life through fresh eyes and let go of some of the past spokes of behavior that weren’t working so well for me in the past.
Its funny how the present can take you to the past. My husband and I were sitting outside, tent camping at Lake James a few days ago staring at each other and into the fire enjoying in the simplicity of being out in nature. Eating leftovers around a campfire as we reflected back to the past. I mentioned how on Shark Tank one of the mega-rich hosts extols the importance when starting out of dressing nicely and how her first business suit was in part responsible for her early success.
We laughed as we recalled the blue suit we purchased for Bill’s interviews that cleaned out our savings 30+ years ago. The suit that we planned on lasting for years but after a few drycleans started to disintegrate. How it was an investment into our future. The first job that Bill had selling copiers. He not only recalls how many he sold (two) but also to who. That first commission job that allowed us to survive for six months before he got his next one. The Pontiac Sunbird we had to sell to pay our rent and how the next better job came just in time as we were out of money.
Our camp fire weekend is over, but I still have waves of memories that are coming forth of that time when we first began. The apartment that seemed ideal but turned out less so after getting a call from the manager asking had we seen any bugs? My naïve response, what kind of bugs to her “never mind,” but the next day I saw my first one. What bothered me most was the smell of the exterminator fumes that would permeate for weeks after they’d spray that didn’t do much as all to keep they away.
My good friend from college who was finishing up her last year visiting me one weekend, putting all kinds of fancy items in the shopping cart not realizing that I didn’t have any money and me thinking, how am I going to be able to afford all of this?
The convenient store I worked at across from the apartment complex, porn magazines behind the counter that I would skim through waiting for customers as I munched on chips and candy. How I would play a game with myself and try to make change without using the register and when I made an error the annoyed look I would get from the customers who were in a hurry.
The WIC coupons I would use at the grocery store in town. I can still remember some of the foods on the list, milk, bread, cheese and Kix cereal. The cloudy days of Syracuse lasting from November through Mother’s Day.
The effervescent nature of our daughter who seemed impervious to our plight. Who in some ways would often compensate for our lack of station with her precocious nature extending her hand out to greet people politely saying, “nice to meet you and how are you today as she listened with a grown up ear.” Always preferring adult conversations to her counter part’s childish one. How I tried so hard to be the best mom, the best wife, the best daughter, daughter in law and student and how it took its toll as I started to lose my sense of ease, trust and joy in life. All that effort-ing was for what I wanted others to see in me rather than who I really was.
I remember well the PET (Parent Effectiveness Training Course) that I took on how to be a better mom and was reading it (maybe even quoting it) one day when my daughter slapped the book out of my hand saying, “Do not parent me out of a book!”
Memories of the first few years when things were difficult; but maybe didn’t have to be if I had just trusted more and had gone with the flow of things. Maybe I needed to go through those trials and struggles to get to where I am now. To learn. It is hard to say if it was necessary, but maybe? However, I know today that I am learning to trust my inner being and in doing so the flow of life seems much easier. The Chinese have a saying that I strive for Wei wu Wei—Doing good work and then trusting in life to take it from there.
Ps I think our favorite part of the camping was making the coffee in a pot similar to this one which turned out perfectly the next morning.
Today I go to Rosie’s early class and there is a tall man who says, “There is no luck. Luck doesn’t exist with the Divine.” Rosie agrees but I wordlessly wonder.
It is hard to pinpoint the year exactly, but lets say it was 1978 and I will call him Scott. He wasn’t a bad looking kid if you didn’t know him better. A towheaded boy with brown eyes and a playful way about him. Gangling and busy is how I would describe my memory of him. He lived in the forgotten part of our suburban town where the subsidized housing was. 'The Pines of Perinton.'
It was morning English class and he sat in front of me. He arrived one day with a vanilla cupcake for the teacher. She wasn’t there yet but the class was filing in and one boy noticed the treat and went to grab it. Scott fought for it, “Hey! That’s for the teacher.” Then it was all out game. The cake went from person to person and the comedy of errors was hard not to laugh at. It was like a show; one that later could have been deemed a tragic comedy. Its all fun and games until someone loses an eye….
The cupcake ended up back on Scott’s desk with a pencil in it and when the teacher walked in and saw him mid air to retaliate she scolded him not the others. My friend, Robin who sat close by and I saw the ridiculous irony of it all and laughed and laughed. It all seemed so funny that day. We tried to tell her that the cupcake had been for her. I don't know if we were able to get the words out. She still wanted to blame Scott. He was the easy one to pick on. We belly laughed so hard that morning I think we even laughed until lunchtime.
The next week when we got to English we heard that Scott had died the night before. It was rumored that he had been found with a gasoline ridden rag over his face on a mattress. Just a week before he was at the center of class with us laughing and now a week later we were crying for him. Robin and I sobbed through lunch. We sobbed so hard we couldn’t stopped. I remember sobbing for weeks. There were no words. There still aren’t any. It is hard to remember the details of his existence except for that fateful time and wonder Where was the Divine for Scott?
I sat with my friend Sarah outside watching her eat crab cakes and French fries yesterday as I sipped on my Chai. She was talking about ADHD and anxiety and the connection between the two and how sometimes she is drinking coffee on a date and then has to go! and how new guys that she is seeing don’t always understand. I said to her that I know what you mean! Sometimes I just have to leave and am not sure why and she laughed and says, “you have taken it all in” (as she looks around) "and there is nothing more for you here and now you have to move on.” Yes, that is it. And I have a story to tell.
It was 2003 and I discovered a new yoga studio on Hilton Head. It was in the upstairs of an office building that always seemed staid the only activity coming from the small studio upstairs. The check in area was just that a little desk at the front with the teacher there to check you in. I am not sure if it was by paper or computer, but I do remember it being quite simple.
The owner taught, as did her sister in law. In one of the classes a guy named Marty was adjusting people in poses. He seemed young and carefree and this made him immediately likeable. Setting up the space with an air of relaxation and ease. He was good at adjusting with firm hands that knew how to work with the body and he could deftly contort you in any pose you wanted. He helped me reach behind for my foot in dancer and magically my body and back seemed to open up.
Marty was non descript except for his smile which was expansive and affixed to his face throughout class. Other than he seemed young and happy there wasn’t much more I remember about him. After that day, I didn't see Marty again at the studio. I would only go back once a year so it wasn’t surprising I didn’t run into him. I did think what ever happened to that guy who seemed so happy and gave such good adjustments? One time several years ago I asked the owner, what ever happened to that guy who used to adjust in your old studio and she smiled in reminiscence and said “who Marty?” He opened up a studio in Beaufort. Beaufort seemed too far away from the Island at the time for a class. I never did make the trip out there.
So more than a decade later I was still wondering about that guy with the ability to adjust when I went to class one weekend. Maybe it wasn’t his adjusting I was yearning for; maybe it was the early days of yoga when everything seemed so much simpler. When yoga wasn’t enrolling for a class on mind/body online and there was just a card to check off. When you would buy a class at a time and not be judged by how fantastic your yoga clothes were and more about your authentic-ness and the quality of your breath. Maybe I longed for when yoga was less of a business and more of a practice. Where you would mingle and talk to the teachers and other students after class and you would genuinely get to know one another. When it seemed less about being hustled to sign up for teacher training programs, workshops or series, or new DVD that just came out. More of a connection and less about feeling that you were in by how much money you spent.
A year or two ago I again asked about that guy who adjusted back at the old studio ‘what’s he up to now?’ and she again got a look of reminiscence on her face and said, "Who Marty? He opened a smoothie shop that is donation only and he is around doing Thai Massage." After class that day my husband and I went to the smoothie shop that he owned and it was pretty incredible because it really was donation only. No gimmicks, no minimum payment, no credit cards, pick out anything on the menu and donate what you like. The girl waiting on us had the same big openhearted smile that Marty had back in 2003.
What I didn’t realize then but do now is what I thought was missing (in yoga) can still be found if I look hard enough for it.
I had a conversation with my dad this afternoon about what happened when I got hit by the car in church when I was two 1/2 years old.
My father’s account “well I was holding your sister (Lynne) who was standing to my left and your hand to my right when a car came flying at me from a perpendicular angle and came across hitting you and you were carried by the car until you were hurled forward into the parking lot. I followed the car with my eyes and watched it pick you up and then drop you before plowing over a woman and her baby. It literally went over them without crushing them (just scratching/scalping the baby’s head) before plowing into about 20 cars and then finally stopping. The guy was an old man who panicked and when he flew forward with his foot on the accelerating he kept going instead of stopping
Your mom was behind me with Tim (who was a baby at the time) watching. She said you lost consciousness but I didn’t think you did. You were left with an open gashes on your left cheek and were taken away by ambulance. It really was a miracle that no one was badly hurt.
The person who hit you was an older man in his 60’s or 70’s. A chauffer for the Otis family (Otis elevators it's a world wide elevator company.) He was driving a limo (Cadillac). Mrs Otis the matriarch of the family was in the car (I think?) and she wasn’t hurt. It was a big car. He panicked and instead of breaking just accelerated forward. You were hospitalized and after staying with you over night in the hospital I remember going home and taking my shirt off. My right shoulder was all black and blue. I guess he hit me too. Everyone who he hit, sued. I don’t think he drove after that.” (That is how I got my first car when Bill and I were married from the money from the lawsuit that had been kept in a trust to pay for the plastic surgery which I ended up never getting.)
For some reason when he told me the story today and the way he told it I got laughing at the thought and sight of it all.
My mom called me a few hours later to give a more detailed and accurate version:
We went to St. Thomas More church that day to the 10a or was it the 11a(?) mass and we sat in the crying room because you and your sister and brother were all little. We left early and walked across the grass b/c at that church you had to cross the grass to get to the parking lot. Do you remember that? (No mom I haven’t been in that church since I was four)
Well anyway, I was walking and carrying Tim who was five months old ahead of Dad who had you and your sister. I then heard what sounded like a plane crash it was so loud and I turned to look and the chauffeur who was waiting outside for Mrs. Otis to come out accidentally accelerated forward when you started to cross the street. I looked back when I heard that terrible noise to see that he had hit your father who was on the ground and you. You were carried forward with the car and then thrown on the ground. He then hit Linda Fumia and her baby. The car went over them practically scalping the baby but the wheels didn’t go over them just the body of the car did. So they were ok. (Did you know her mom?) Yes, she is Vicky Fumia’s sister. I went to school with Vicky. (Mom, did Mrs. Otis live in Rochester?) (Pause) She lived in Pittsford.
He then proceeded to hit 17 cars before stopping. I don’t remember anything after that I went into shock. (That must have been scary for you and dad) I always hated Sunday’s everything seemed to happen on Sunday’s and she proceeds to name all the bad things that happened on Sunday’s including the time that my father lost his index finger when it got caught under the blade of the lawn mower.
(I can imagine why you wouldn’t be a fan of Sundays. I gotta go, Mom. I have to go see one of my mental health clients.)
10 years of snippets from my journals when living in Syracuse, Toledo, Chicago & Philly
Leaving Syracuse, NY
I had thought the group of us would grow old together here in nursing. Best wishes in your new adventures in Ohio. Know you will do well. Love Brenda
You have a gift of knowing people inside themselves. I’m sure you’ll meet many more strong and beautiful women because we are everywhere and you know how to find us.”
Peace + LOVE Mary
“Aloha Nu Loa” I will miss you more than I can articulate. I hold you in my heart. Heather
You have been an integral part of our group of strong and beautiful women. My wish for you is to find a new group of strong and beautiful women Love Sharon
The Journey Continues…
Jan 4 1997 Studying for insurance licensure exam here in Toledo. Nervous. Material is boring and difficult.
1/5/97 Went to church. Got an 86% on the insurance test. It is so cold here in Toledo! Hungry a lot. Listening to Cowboy Junkies. Hard to believe Katie will be in HS next year.
2/16/97 Looks like a move soon to Chicago. I predict in the fall.
4/3/97 Went to look at homes in Chicago.
6/8/97 Last day at work for me. Will miss working at Paramount Healthcare (in Insurance) but glad my last day has finally arrived. Went golfing. My weight is up again. Thought for the day “Letting go and allowing life to occur is often necessary.”
6/10/97 Katie pitched in softball & she did well. Liam played with friend at the game. Our 14th anniversary is tomorrow. “Guilt accomplishes nothing but lost energy.”
6/15/97 Liam tried to say goodbye to his favorite friend Zachary Dunaway but he ignored him. We went to swim at the quarry. It was fun, deep, clear and cold water. We move in four days. “Cold water is invigorating.”
6/27/97 Now in the “Suites hotel” (Embassy Suites) as Liam calls it. Will be living here in temporary housing for awhile. Am vacillating on if I should have taken the Cigna job?
August 1999 I did take the Cigna job (two years ago) and since then have worked out diligently and have dropped my body fat from 30% to under 25. I am a lifetime member at WW.
March 19 1999 Gave up alcohol for lent but drank on St. Paddy’s day with Cindy and Ken (Big mistake!) Still hungover. Went to a spin class
March 22 2001 Katie was in the newspaper for softball. Hard to believe that she is a senior. “Little dynamite in short sleeves on a March day” So proud of her.
March 2001 Today I am going to be calm not rush to the gym for step circuit. Attend body pump and yoga instead. Worry bout $ but am content at home. Loving spending time with the kids. Liam and I will hang out tonight and rented fight club. Hope I will stay up late enough to watch it.
March 2001 Cindy and Ken came to Katie’s game today and Liam brought a friend. Preparing a chocolate cake for his birthday. He’s so excited for Pokemon game.
June 2001 Cindy and Ken are moving to the Northeast. Very, very sad. Getting ready for Katie’s graduation. Imagination Day at Liam’s school. Teaching kickboxing tomorrow. Busy, Busy, Busy.
November 2002 There seems like no better time to start my yoga journal than on a cool, crisp morning drinking coffee with the sun shining in. Last night I went to Penny’s yoga class with friends Mary and Dona. At the end of class I tried to work into scorpion pose from headstand and was able to for a minute. Savasana brought pangs longing for my brothers and I wished deeply that we will all be together as a family sometime soon.
11/9/02 Yoga on my own today. No time to leave as Liam is home. My breathing is ujayi during the practice. I have a cold. As I completed various poses and warmed up I noticed that I was starting to sweat and smell. I wonder if I am releasing toxins.
11/10/02 Today I went to the mall to get Liam a toy with his allowance. I saw a suede jacket that I would like. Vacillated between materialism and non materialism. Didn’t get it. Noticed how much of the time I rush Liam. Get dressed. Come eat. Let’s go. Hurry, hurry, hurry. Am going to work on PATIENCE.
11/13/02 My brother and sister in law’s baby Elena died. The cord was wrapped around her neck. The sadness is oppressive. I hope that I can visit them at Christmas and we can all be together then.
11/14/02 Astanga class today. Vigorous. She stressed breath and alignment. My breath faltered at times . I am now lying on the couch thinking about unconditional love as a fly sits perched on my jeans.
11/17/02 So sad about Elena. Talked to my Dad about it. Sad that she died around his birthday. I ask him what was his favorite birthday present when he was young. He cannot think of one. I remind him of getting his bike. “Oh yeah” “My two wheeler-that was my favorite.” Neither of us seemed surprised that I knew this even though I wasn’t born yet.
11/18/02 Chakra yoga tonight-cannot wait. (The Chakra class had chanting Lum, Lum, Lum moving from position to position with kapalabatti breath. Didn’t feel like it was anything more than a stretch class. Should I lend Penny my chakra book for the next class on the 2nd chakras?)
11/20/02 I went to Tom’s class. Requested “hard” One fellow student said she may leave if “hard and bondage” Another suggests “bondage a good idea” I was in a show off kind of mood and did handstands, headstands and wheels. Mary, Dona and “serene” Rachel looked on. Six minutes of meditation today.
11/26/02 I am teaching at LOA tonight.
12/16/02 Talked to my sister in law. She is so patient with her grief. She is working hard to make it through. Am impressed with her strength and her depth.
1/22/03 Made it through the holidays barely. Time to do some karmic yoga to give back. I have committed to volunteering at the local soup kitchen on Fridays.
1/29/03 Liam has been horrible lately. Maybe because we are leaving him home when we go on the cruise.
2/2 The Yoga Cruise. Celebrating our 20th Anniversary
Standing outside getting ready to board Costa’s Atlantic ship. People milling about with with yoga mats proudly displayed on their shoulders. Bill tucked ours safely in our bags. He seems excited. We are with Carla and Nikki from LA, Angela from Boston and Nicole from Idaho. Have a big cold sore but otherwise everything is wonderful. The room is spacious and nice. I lost $30 on blackjack. Todd Norian’s band Shakti Fusion lead us in chanting this afternoon.
Day 2 Resting in bed before the 845p dinner bell. Trying to be more mindful. This am Sean Corne’s class vinyasa flow called “women empowered” Stumbled on Rodney Yee’s class this afternoon by accident trying to find Beryl Bender Birch’s (BBB) class. New achievement for me today Marichasana C (one side) and crane to headstand back to crane. Also was able to straddle to headstand. It is neat to see “famous” yogis here. Baron Baptiste with his kids. Beryl Bender Birch is smaller than she looks in her books and has a belly. Tom was right, she looks older in person. My cold sore is still hurting and I feel unbalanced. Too much raja, food, stimuli, drinks and excitement. Am trying to calm self but it’s difficult.
Day 3 Had Shiva Rea’s class this am with Bill. Amazed by the teachers and their lack of posturing. Nicole is the most alternative in the group. She was telling us about this “lemonade” cleanse that she does every so often. I wrote it down and am going to give it a try when I get home.
Day 4 Yesterday we were at sea all day. Had Beryl Bender class we listened to her talk about how before class she meditated just looking out at the birds. She also talked about her acceptance that there is no almond milk on the cruise. (When I get home will have to check out Almond Milk.) Charles and Lisa Matkins taught us partner work, which was intense and stressful. Could have caused a divorce. I felt disconnected during the process. Bill became upset and angry afterwards.
Day 5 We went to the waterfalls today and it was beautiful and fun. Nikki loves to go to classes by a teacher named John Friend. This is what she teaches in CA, a practice called Anusara. The Kundalini teacher, Gurmok goes to her classes apparently. With Anusara there is a demo person in each class that stands in the front of the room. She was showing me some of the “loops” and heart opening techniques on the deck during our ‘free time’. It looks like a neat practice but right now not what I am into.
Day 6 Cayman Island where Bill bought me the most beautiful anniversary ring. I love it. Bill, Carla and Nikki sang “Love Shack” last night and had fun. Yesterday we pet the sting Ray. Playful creatures. Tomorrow is our last day. Yogis on the ship are incredibly nice, friendly and beautiful.
Quote by Jason Crandell “The harder you have to work the more you have to balance it with Surrender.” Lisa Matkins “In-to-me-you-c” (Intimacy)
2/22/03 Thinking about the contradictions in the sutras. Embracing them at the same time frustrated by them and their insurmountable depth. In speaking with my mom today I told her that we need America to become more of an isolation state. She said, Yeah, you always hate the benefactor who wags his ass in your face
2/24/03 Erika let me go today from Mandala of Movement. She is losing money on her business. I told her I understand and do maybe she and I both need to be students rather than teachers for awhile?
2/25/03 Starting to learn about 8 limbs of Astanga, yoga sutras which include the yama. Self restraint. Not easy for me to pronounce let alone learn. Well I have at least a lifetime…
3/23/03 BBB divorced her husband. Life is busy. I am teaching 12 yoga class next week. Rachel’s birthday. Looking forward to partying with the Wednesday group. “To know the depth and breath of goodness you need to first delve into the knowledge of sordid darkness.”
3/26/03 Dona got annoyed with me at yoga. Bill thinks b/c I was showing off in front of Tom doing yoga. I was just having fun playing in the wide open space!
4/23/03 It is not just about the Asanas. I need to meditate more lately. Dona, Rachel, Tom and I hung out and had cake and beer. Telling our stories and bonding.
4/27/03 Surprise party at Chris’s last night. Had fun and was out partying until after midnight. Liam and I went to church today. Visiting Ken and Cindy’s in NJ soon. Thinking about the kitchen fire and how devastating it was…
5/6/03 Big fight with Bill. Running a 5k in a few weeks.
5/13/03 Sad to hear that Penny is moving to Myrtle Beach. Think I knew her in another life. She thinks so too. Race and Reiki 1 this weekend. Came in 3rd place so did Judy Leslie. Time 26.11 one minute better than 5 years ago. Weezing heavily at first but re-worked my breath and calmed self down. It was a challenge. Atman was my mantra. Atman---God, God, Atman. After race went to Reiki One training. Loved it. Most fun and interesting training I have been to. Was intuitive and able to pick up stuff on my first participant in her left hip. Bad area for her. I can’t wait to learn more and do some Reiki on my family and friends. Feel like I have already been doing this for a long time. Going out with Erika tonight. Katie is working and Liam and Bill are at a campout. (Elena we love you. Think of you sometimes. You are in my heart.)
5/30/03 Have been practicing some Reiki on family and also Ginny a nurse that I volunteer with at Manna, the soup kitchen. Profound experience with Ginny. Flashes of bright lights. She became very hot. Felt like she was going to faint. Dreams nothing special some about houses-one a drowning in a car-Bill, Liam and I went off the road in a rain storm. (Premonitory dream? In 2015 Liam called us in a panic. He and his girlfriend were in a terrible storm/flash flood in which their car was filling up with water. They needed to pull off the road and make a quick exit. The call went dead before we knew that they were ok. )
7/1/03 Katie’s back in college to be an orientation leader. Her friend Stacy visited this summer and I did Reiki on her and said her life would be less busy and more settled than Katie’s someday. She said I seem happier (in Philly) than I was when we lived in Chicago. Dreaming of snakes lately…poisonous ones.
7/30/03 Penny’s goodbye party. Kim did Reiki on me and Bill was jealous. Eventually would like to go vegetarian, cut down on sugar, alcohol , eat less and be lighter…
8/4/03 Fasting. Don’t like the vegetable juices. I have a HA. Bill is starting to really like yoga too. (I have done scorpion pose without the wall a few times.)
8/8/03 At Phoenix Rising training. My roommate Tobey and I have a lot in common. We joke that we are twins. The third day of the training was intense. Had my own release. Cried, sobbed and laughed. Karin from London told me to set an intention. …
2/3/04 Hard class trying to figure out why I don’t like locust pose. What comes up is pride, suffocation and mild fear, maybe irritation too!
8/31/04 Liam is hanging out at our pool with Liz’s son. In 10 years I will read this and say oh yeah-Liz-I remember her. I will be long gone from here.
6/10/05 Iris, Jack’s new girlfriend tells me my life as it is will change, be different, not bad. I commented that I see bad coming. Yes, just different. How though I think?
6/30/05 At some point you have to go back and finish what you started. Maybe it is 5 years old or maybe it preceded birth but you have to take off the layers and go back to your essence. Maybe that is what mid life is all about?
8/6/05 Originally was going to Stuart’s class but left when I saw that Kilkenny was teaching. Not very yoga-ish of me.
I saw a spot outside the corner of my left eye the other day and worried. A floater that well wasn’t floating but seemed stationary there. I remembered my optometrist’s words from my last visit. “If you see any spots that don’t go away or flashing lights please come in right away.” I called to make an appointment to find out that she was off but her husband would see me.
He reassured me after examining my dilated eye from every angle with a bright light shining at me that my retina was being stretched thin by my nearsightedness, but not to worry it was still intact. He remarked that I should be ok if I avoid head injuries from things like boxing. Ok…and that even though this floater will not disappear I will eventually notice it less and less as my brain will learn to tune it out. Interesting… I lamented to him about my poor vision and asked him did he see anyone with worse vision than mine? He said that he did but that I was also in the top 1% for nearsightedness.
I daydreamed back at that moment to 4th grade when my vision was perfect but I pretended it wasn’t. How I insisted that my mom bring me to her eye doctor to have my eyes examined. One of my friends had just gotten glasses and I thought they looked neat on her and decided that I wanted a similar pair.
My mom wore glasses, the blue cat type that long since went out of style just to come back in recently as retro. Back then she saw an ophthalmologist named Dr. Reznik. A large man with dark hair and spectacles of his own. She believed me when I told her I couldn’t see well as she figured I had inherited her eyes. Eye sight that is, as the shape and color are very different than hers. Her eyes are small and blue and mine big and dark brown.
I can recall sitting in the chair as Dr. Resnik (who later did become my eye doctor a few years later) gave to me test after test that day as I feigned each one as we went along. He seemed to be buying into my fabrications, at least that is what I thought until after the visit when he privately told my mom that if I had the vision I was pretending to have “She’d be walking into walls.”
My mom wasn’t amused that day but did indulge me by buying me a pair of sunglasses that afternoon from Fields Department Store.
I wish today that all I needed was a pair of cheap sunglasses...
(ZZ Top Cheap Sunglasses)