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.

 

 

The Wings of Evil

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from Funny Pictures

The flying lowlifes are part of the wasp family. They get riled up about anything at this time of year. Now you know why I love early frosts.

Recovery from Sunday’s nailing continues. The bite is still itchy, swollen and red despite essential oils, Benadryl spray, triple antibiotic ointment, and lots of time spent with my leg resting on an ice pack. Some improvement, yes. The itching is intermittent, but it’s still sore.

I checked with Dr. Google. The good doctor concurred with my choice of home treatments, but suggested adding oral antihistamines (specifically Benadryl, which works wonders but incapacitates me to the point where I believe Jerry Springer) and Advil. That doesn’t, so I took a couple doses of that. Looks like 7-10 days before it clears up.

The swelling’s subsided enough to see where the little mother grabber nailed me not just once, but four or five times. All the welts are along the hem line of my capri pants, the part of my calf that bumps against the edge of the seat as I get in and out of the car. Mindfulness is the order of the day. The next 7-10, to be exact.

So the ice pack, triple antibiotic ointment (it has a topical pain reliever and keeps bacteria at bay), and Advil are my companions of choice. It will get better. In the meantime, I contemplate the irony of all the bugs I get exposed to in the woods where Oakley and I walk. Yes, I get the odd mosquito or fly bite. But this? At a suburban gas station? Go figure.

Oh, well…sigh. Could have been worse. I didn’t go into anaphylactic shock. It wasn’t on my foot or many worse places (some of the pics will induce nightmares, so don’t ask).

I just wish it had been this kind of a Sting:

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not my work…not credited….used in Wikipedia

Creating a Retreat in a Few Easy Steps

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I could live here.  (Image courtesy Old Design Shop)

Would you like to come in? We could sip iced tea and enjoy strawberry shortcake made with biscuits–baking powder, not drop ones–and topped with whipped cream while conversing about books, pets, gardening, and period films. If we disagree, then we would agree to do so and move on to a topic of true importance such as chocolate. Or perhaps have dinner at the pine trestle table served on plain white dishes. Something good and peasant-y, like coq au vin. Of course we would have a crusty loaf and a robust red to go with, or iced tea if you were inclined away from alcohol. Dessert? How does mousse au chocolate sound?

Today seems as good as any to move there. I grow weary of the political vitriol and stories of animal abuse on social media. The campus shooting du jour unfolds as I type this. (Google “UCLA shooting.” I don’t want to give it any more energy.) It is a good day to create a retreat.

“Retreat” usually carries religious/spiritual connotations, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be such. You can create a temporary haven from the outside world fairly easily:

  • Heed the advice of John Prine in his song “Spanish Pipedream”. OK, just turn it off. (yes, this is the John Denver version.)  At the very least, stop watching the news. For tune-age, find internet streams or stations that don’t blast news.
  • Limit time on social media and don’t read comment threads on news sites. Even the threads on NPR are getting trolled and their moderators don’t seem to be doing very much.The amount of ugly out there is overwhelming.
  • This might sound weird, but if you can get your dwelling in order–a little dusting, a bit of decluttering–it might make things a little more restful.
  • Take a few minutes in the morning to read something inspiring. You’ll be in a better frame of mind.

Now, would you like some lemon with your tea?

 

 

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.