Monday, December 29, 2008

I Did Not Escape Unscathed

There I was, almost a week ago (ha!), writing as though I was some how going to be able to ride out the wave of Christmas and just observe as the boats all around me were bobbing in the swelling sea of emotions and concerns. I must admit, I was impressed that I had made it to the 23rd of December, no less, without an injury, without symptoms of the stress of the season. That was the calm before the storm, my friends, the calm before the storm...

I was on the right track and it appeared that I had what it takes to make it through the holidays without emotional outbursts and displays of intense feeling. However, this was not the year for me. I have lived to tell the tale and that is the redeeming feature of this little story. But that's where the good part ends.

I will not even go into the details of the nightmare that was my Christmas with family because we've all been there, we've all had those scenes, those ways we've been that we regret, things we've said we wish we could take back, and those promises we've made about how it's not going to go like that again. And I can add on a positive note that all of my relationships are intact and I'm on great terms with my family, where really very little of this drama unfolded. I saved most of the good stuff for my partner and our private little hell we call home. And we're also okay and even good. But it wasn't fun or easy, those few days.

One of the things I got for Christmas was one of Anthony de Mello's books, Awareness. I've been listening to him on youtube all morning. It restores my balance, my understanding, my forgiveness for myself and the others around me. His words give me strength to carry on, oh yes they do.

The main thrust of his message is the same thing the Buddha says, who he says is the one that put it the easiest, but that all of the great teachers said basically this...

"The world is full of sorrow. The root of sorrow is desire. The uprooting of sorrow is desirelessness."

And of course, he goes on. But there's the message. If I'm upset it's because it's not going my way and my way is the thing I'm attached to. Just drop it. Okay, okay.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's So Predictable

Christmas time is hard for so many people and having "break downs" around this time are predictable. So while I was at CHEO yesterday (I teach yoga in the eating disorders program) and I saw someone who had graduated from the inpatient program (too sick to go home) to the day program (living at home but come to the hospital to do program and school work) but was back on the inpatient side I did a double-take. "Wait a second, you were in the day program, what are you doing on the inpatient side," was what I thought in my head and then it occurred to me, "it's Christmastime."

During my two minute break between classes I checked in with my former husband about picking Remi up and some other stuff and he was just losing it on the phone. I took a breath and reminded myself, "it's Christmas." I know it's not personal at the moment. Everybody's having a hard time.

When I got upstairs to do the inpatients group right after my little break, I got another surprise of two former eating disorder program graduates who had wound up right back where they started, although one of them said she knew she'd just be there temporarily. "For a tune up," I suggested.

Some weeks ago the hospital called me to tell me they probably wouldn't be needing yoga classes on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve this year - things were pretty quiet and most of the kids would be going home for the holidays. As we agreed yesterday, I'll be back on Wednesday seeing as how when we made that decision, things were different. We didn't know who would wind up being back in the program, needing some support.


As for me, I just know now that things are going to be tougher. There's just more turbulence right now, but the plane's still going on its trip. Or the waves are choppier, or however you want to look at it. But I'm aware that it's happening and it really makes it much more okay. Plus, nothing was going to be as bad as this past November was and I'm over that now, so bring on the Christmas holidays! Bring on family, bring on siblings! Bring on in-laws and former spouses! I'm totally ready. I've got my breath, I've got my witness consciousness, and I think I might have some Bailey's around here someplace...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Last Day of School

It's Remi's last day of school and she's been counting it down for days. "In a couple of days I'll be able to say, 'tomorrow is my last day of school.'" And then last night, "tomorrow is my last day of school." She got up at 6 am this morning. Six o'clock in the morning, that's how excited she was that today is the last day of school. "Today's the last day of school." She was dressed, she made her OWN lunch, and was out the door early. Oh, and happy. Wha?

In my training at Landmark Education I learned that it's not the past that makes you who you are in the present, but rather the future you're living into. I see my daughter do that all the time. When she creates a powerful future for herself, she pulls herself towards it, or perhaps she lets it pull her. She has energy, she moves effortlessly towards her goal. It's something to watch.

I need to create a future of a tidier home today. I'm sitting in a pile of wrapping paper and juice boxes, newspapers and bills, winter boots and puddles on the floor.

I've been reading about people forgoing Christmas this year and not having presents and less stuff and all of that. And I'm so loving buying gifts for my family, especially things they need and have requested. I loved wrapping gifts for my next door neighbours and giving them to them yesterday. I found out this morning they couldn't wait and had to rip open a bit of the paper to see what was inside. (My Little Pony is a huge hit next door.) I have a lot of fun at this time of year. It wasn't always like that, but lately I've really enjoyed finding the right gift and putting some thought into its purchase and wrapping. Remi made soap for everybody and that was fun!

I was thinking of making a cookie cutter that was yoga-related and then doing cookies for everybody in my class but I didn't do that. I guess there's still time, but it's not going to happen. There are always things on my list that don't get done, but at least there are a bunch of things that get crossed off too. It feels good.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Helping out the Economy

I'm doing my best to keep our economy going - both the big companies and the little guys as well.

Today I did a total impulse purchase of what I believe may be the best Christmas present ever so far for my daughter and it wasn't cheap. I bought her cross-country skis - shh, don't tell her yet. And I knew that if I bought her skis, I'd probably buy myself some skis too because she's only 10 and that's too young for me to drop her off and leave her to ski by herself.

I called Tamsin to find out the place to go for skis because I really don't know anything about skis. She suggested I check out Fresh Air, MEC or Trailhead. I ended up going to Fresh Air because. I don't know. Just 'cause.

And I go to the back and ask for some help and of course, wouldn't you know it, I'm the guy's yoga teacher but I don't really notice at first. He said he figured I'd be the best ski try-er on-er his had because my balance must be good, which it was, so at least there was that. He even knew Remi's dad because he's taken classes with him too. So at least he knew that Remi was skinny and had an idea of what kind of skis to get for her. We had to make it up because she wasn't with me because this is all going to be a surprise because she's still suggesting she believes in Santa Claus and I don't want to be the one to blow it.

But c'mon. She's 10. John figures she's just saying she still believes because if she admits she knows then the presents will stop. That's what his niece did at any rate.

So I've got the perfect Santa gift, which in our tradition includes the gift being somewhat major, and it's unwrapped and is the first thing that gets seen on Christmas morning (plus the stocking). I'll tell you more about our traditions later, but for now I've got the situation being that my parents are in Constance Bay and that's far. The skis won't fit in the car with Remi without her knowing about them, which means there has to be a separate trip to my parents without Remi. And I'm not sleeping over (read an earlier post), so someone there will have to be trustworthy enough (and I believe they are) to set up the skis so it looks like a valid Santa gift.

Then what about my skis? Santa gave her those too? At this point she's the only one who gets a Santa gift. Santa all of a sudden starts giving adults presents but just her mom? I don't know. I'll have to make something up.

Anyways my next class starts in just over an hour and we still have a bus strike plus it's rush hour so I've got to give myself at least 45 minutes to do a normally 10 minute drive or I've got to hoof it, which means go in 10 mins. Bye.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tightness in the Fast Lanes

Wow. This combination of OC Transpo Strike Pose with Seasonal Weather Pose (with the variation of Uncleared Roads) all while doing Christmas Shopping Pranayama has me noticing the tightness in my Fast Lanes.

Good thing gas got cheap.

Anyways, I feel bad for people trying to make a living by people coming out to support them - hey wait, that's me too. If people don't come to class I don't get paid, so this is lousy for my Christmas planning too. Nevermind, I'm diversified and have some classes that are flat rate so I don't have to worry about numbers of students, just about getting myself to class, which is definitely something to consider given this new set of circumstances.

But they're just circumstances and I'll be in class, don't you worry.

Good thing I like my new car so I really don't mind spending extra time in it. I have seat warmers too, so it's not that bad ;)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Winter Tires

I did it. I bought winter tires for the car and I actually got them on the car. Whew. In the past with the Echo, I just drove through all seasons on my all season tires. Then I shifted my mentality from surviving to thriving and bought a new car. I have to say I'm slightly back into the surviving mode as everything that has happened since I bought that car has been an economic back slide and "survival mode" is all around me. It's tough to try and be in "thriving mode" at the moment.

But I'm doing it. At first I resisted. When the dealer told me I could get a winter package for 900 bucks that would be tires, rims, and they'd store them for me I told them in my mind to go take a hike. I didn't anticipate the situation with Quebec making winter tires mandatory by next week and how that would impact Ontario tire supplies. I didn't foresee our dollar dropping like crazy, which before had me imagining driving down to the States to buy tires.

So when I called Canadian Tire on Saturday night and found out they had 4 rims that would fit my car but I'd have to get myself to Barrhaven, I put my pedal to the metal and hightailed it to the 'burbs to get me some rims. They banged around in the back for the weekend. I'd heard about some tires that would fit my car on Friday. He thought he could get them. Maybe by Monday or Tuesday.

Today everything went like clockwork as I pulled in on time at my dealer to have the first oil change and inspection (I actually bought a used car as you may recall so the service came quickly). I settled down to wait for the shuttle and then changed my mind. I told them I'd wait for the car rather than sit in a snowstorm on the shuttle. I got back to marking some more Yoga Teacher Training exams when they called my name. My car was ready!

I called my new tire friend to see if he could meet me early and wouldn't you know it? I had winter boots on my car and an oil change before 11 am. I still have a few papers left to mark, they could have taken more time!

Driving today with winter tires feels less like thriving than just plain being responsible. Cars ahead of me were swerving and sliding and I was kicking along throwing up snow behind me as I plowed through the streets of Ottawa. It feels good and safe. I realize that's a state of mind as we never know what's going to happen. Lots of unsafe things happen even when we've taken precautions. But sometimes I have to live by that old saying I use frequently, "trust in God but tie up your camel."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Not Yoga

Okay, so this is definitely not about yoga. I don't think.

Here's a gun specifically meant to be fired by people who are handicapped by arthritis or muscular dystrophy or other things. The article says "it's both a medical device and a firearm," and will conceivably be covered under people's prescription plans because it's being considered a Class 1 Medical Device by the FDA.

Ahmisa means non-violence. I guess this means that now everyone in the United States can practice Himsa if they want to. Forget about the Palm Pilot, here comes the Palm Pistol.

The world really is going to hell in a handbasket. I'd better read yesterday's posting again.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Happiness is Contagious

Yep, it's finally been scientifically verified. How you behave has a significant impact on others around you. And the people around you have an influence on you too. I heard it on the news on Friday - maybe it was an effort on the CBC's part to present some good news for a change - and the gist is that happiness is contagious. You can catch it from someone being happy around you.

What I like about this article is that they get that it implies personal responsibility. The mood you are in has a profound impact on your kids but not just on your kids, it might have an effect on your kids' friends' moods. It impacts not just those you know, but even those you don't.

So being happy could be a discipline that you choose. When you notice you're not happy, choose to be happy. Sort out what needs to be sorted out and take care of what you need to because sometimes being not happy is a signal that something's out of alignment, and then get back into alignment and smile :) It makes a difference.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Keep Your Heart Open

I used to live in a "spiritual community" and I forget sometimes that it's not always like that out in the world. I still keep with me that feeling that I got by living with a group of people practising being conscious, which for me was a positive experience. There was something about being surrounded by good intentions and real experiences of trust and openness that I take for granted in my "normal life" out in the world.

For a while I've been meaning to listen to a bunch of recordings I've hung onto. They're cassette tapes and I've got them in a bag and I resist throwing them out every time I move or do a big cleaning. I recently set up an old stereo that has a tape player as part of it and this morning I listened to an old Kripalu Yoga Teachers talk. It brought back lots of memories as it was recorded as a response to the community about being with struggle, which was happening back in 1994 when things unexpectedly went wild for everybody as it was revealed that the guru had been cheating with money and with women in the community. It was actually much worse than that, but that's the gist.

In this recording, Gayatri read a Bapuji quote about struggle and she sang a song. The quote was long and inspiring and was a reminder that our struggles are there for us to become stronger and that to be born in the Kali Yuga means we're all born as warriors. Our lives from birth to death are made up of struggle and it's through overcoming the struggles that the yogic siddhis appear as results. Basically, what doesn't kill you will make you stronger.

And then she sang an old classic, "Keep Your Heart Open." It was so Kripalu circa early 90's. "Keep your heart open, remember the love, that we are love, and love is all there is..." I sang along...

We do need more love in our society. Yes, it's there, but it wouldn't be overdoing it to bring a little more loving to the surface, to our daily lives.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I've got an "itis"

I've been wanting to deny it but lately it's been biting me hard. In the thumb, in the shoulder, and in the elbow. I have crackberry thumb. I hold tension in my shoulders. I'm sore!

So here I am typing - bad idea. I need to rest it apparently. Rest my whole arm. Yea, right. Years ago I switched my main computer's mouse to the left side because I'd done too much "clicking" on my right side. That solved it.

But this year when I was doing the Thai Massage course I must have injured my thumb and then my computer and berry use didn't let it heal. I've also been doing sun salutations on a carpeted surface and there's a new thick carpet on the riser in the Earth Room at Rama Lotus, which for sure does not help.

My doctor even gave me a prescription for a massage! I have health benefits now, so I figure I'll use 'em. If I can only find time to make an appointment...

Monday, December 1, 2008

At Least November is Over

Whew! I made it out of November! The last day of November turned out to be one of the best days of the year, so I suppose the whole month may have been worth it.

A stressed out yoga teacher isn't what you want I suppose. Although it's all relative. Add that to the list of things Yoga Teachers are or aren't supposed to be. We're definitely never allowed to be stressed right out. We're not allowed to have injuries but if we do we should for sure heal quickly. Our bodies' magic powers are supposed to be able to kick in so we recover super-fast.

I made plans for Christmas yesterday and that feels so good to have out of the way. My partner and my mother both have their birthdays on December 24. (That tripped my daughter up a while back when she was only 8 - "you mean he's 60 something?") Our old dog, Zahra is pregnant and due around then, my parents moved to Constance Bay, and John's family live in Navan. We considered not seeing my parents on Christmas Day but my daughter made it clear that would not work for her. So we worked out a plan that will include a visit out in Constance Bay Christmas Eve - a brilliant sleep over for John's birthday in Kanata - back to Constance Bay to see my daughter at her grandparents' and then head out to Navan for 3pm on Christmas Day.

I'm excited that a) it's planned at all, b) it's planned weeks in advance, c) there were no tears or yelling, d) it includes something special for me and my honey, not just family duties!

Taking a weekend off was so helpful to my creativity and general demeanor. I'm doing that again soon. Sometime later this month!