The Peace in the Pose

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My arms started to wobble as I held in plank.

Calls at 9:30 bode unwell any day, but especially on a Friday night. 

The teacher made some adjustments, guiding my arms and feet with touches about the weight of a nickel.

It was Eldest Sister on Hubby’s side. Are you coming to Arizona? No; why? Second Sister had to have colon cancer surgery.

“Find the peace in the pose,” said my teacher.

“Oh, no. How is she?” 

Once aligned, my body, although surprised, settled into position. One, two, there breaths. Lower to the bamboo floor, lying parallel to the spaces between the boards.

Something had gone horribly wrong. Sepsis developed. A respirator breathed for Second, breathed while the life-giving fluids and antibiotics dripped into her veins in a fight against the infection. 

Push up to baby cobra, then step back into downward dog. Balance on hands and feet, butt towards the ceiling, thighs pointing to the back wall. Look down. Amazed that I tracked Oakley’s fur onto the mat.

The teacher made some feathery adjustments. Again, my body settled into position. The muscles engaged while staying relaxed. My brain appreciated the fresh blood flowing into it. “Find the peace in the pose,” she reminded me again.

Another call. Second Sister had been taken off the respirator, but was unresponsive. The doctor remained unhelpful. One day, acting as if she’ll get better; might take a year, but she’ll get better. Next day, asking if they’d thought about funeral arrangements. 

Walk hands back to my feet. Dear Mystery, do I need a pedicure.

Hubby went to Michigan to work on his mom’s house. Dropped by to see Eldest and her husband. Eldest Brother in law had been living with stage four lung cancer for eighteen months. The most recent check up showed that the cancer had jumped the chemo fence and started taking up camp in other parts of his body. Try something different? Or put the emphasis on comfort for whatever time is left? They will look at options with the care team. We wait. 

Bless my sturdy, stalwart feet. Stand up in tadasana, mountain pose, thighs inwardly rotated, hands in prayer position at heart center. A few more stretches to mobilize the hips, then hug knees to chest, exhale into savasana to close out the class.

Roll onto my side. “Take just another moment to thank your body.” I did. Deep, sincere thanks that she hasn’t retaliated for all the unwise food choices and spotty exercise by giving me cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.

There hadn’t been any word from Detroit or Arizona, but that meant nothing. We wait. 

Teacher and I parted for the evening with a hug. I stepped out into late summer twilight, looking at the gold-tinted pouring over the houses and trees on the west side of her cul-de-sac.

Sadness, yes. Nothing to be done except wait, and pray, and go about our life in the meantime as we wait the long wait to see how these stories play out. But somehow in the middle of the chaos and sorrow, there would be an island of peace.

 

 

Practicing Radical Acceptance: The Monday Edition

Letting go of fighting reality and accepting that it is what it is…that’s the definition of radical acceptance. It doesn’t mean that you have to like the situation. It just means that you accept it without judgement, feel your anger, sorrow, and make peace with the situation so that you don’t waste energy with forcing change for the unchangeable.  You breathe, half-smile, and keep going. 

Today’s lessons:

  • I can’t do anything about the situation that my friend whom I wrote about yesterday is in without stirring up legal or karmic trouble for myself. I acknowledge that I am p.o.’d about the whole deal, but can’t do anything about it.
  • My sister-in-law is in the hospital due to a reaction from a drug given during a routine screening procedure. I can’t change how her body reacted, nor can I slug the doctor, tempting as it is. I can choose not to under go that screening myself, and will get some incense going for her later. 
  • The daily hour of walking is enough exercise for Oakley, but not so much for me. His Pyr lineage means that he gets along with less exercise than Orion did. Pyrs were bred to watch over flocks from elevated places such as rocks or even trees. Brittanys were bred to flush and retrieve game. Until the last couple of weeks of his life, Orion could easily drag me around our local state park for two hours a day, digging holes in the back yard and reading the riot act to the feral cats in between. A half hour nap and he was ready to go again. 

So today, I accepted that I can’t change my friend’s situation, nor my sister-in-law’s illness. Even though Oaks does have a few drops of Brittany in there, he has the heart and soul of his Pyr ancestors. I accepted that, and will refrain from stressing and guilt tripping myself about his lack of interest in long walks.

I worked out to a Bollywood-style dance video, then walked Oaks for about half an hour. We’ll walk if the weather cooperates a little later. But we are both a lot happier tonight.