Morning download, 2.22.19

Yesterday was rough. A dear friend for over 20 years was in the hospital having breast cancer surgery with preparation for reconstruction. We’d had ceremony Wednesday night for support, a gathering of friends to hold her and another friend with a serious health issue in our big collective heart as we move through this difficult part of the journey, walking each other home.

I shared part of that ceremony with three other women, and we laughed a lot. Fishermen’s Friend does that to people. May our laughter contribute to the healing of all.

Dear goddess, bless you for the gift of levity in the face of the unknown.

The surgery was longer than expected — 9 hours. Pauline’s older sister Marie was there at the hospital with her, and I was Marie’s contact person to post progress in the ceremony’s Facebook event for all to see.

Surgery started at 8. By 10:30 am, Marie shared that the sentinel lymph node that was removed and examined was cancer free. Good news. Marie said the surgeons expected her to go to the recovery room about 3-4 pm.

At 5 pm, I’d heard nothing and contacted Marie. Marie texted that Pauline was in recovery but she (Marie) was still waiting for the doctors to come talk to her.

And then, finally, the news came that both surgeons were pleased with the outcome. Whew.

I also did some deep digging and writing yesterday morning to a friend on something he’d challenged me to examine. I love doing that kind of self-examining work, and I needed time to let it cook into coherence.

It takes attention to go within so deeply. I went back to a time when my legs went out from under me, the beginning of not wanting to be here, having learned very young of the existence of unspeakable cruelty in a very personal way. Wrote it, sent it, went out to meet the day.

After my morning obligations were met — and my networking group laughed a lot — again, thank you, dear goddess — I came home and crashed. I needed my own space and stillness to let my earlier self-examination continue to unwind its gifts and flow through me with attentive care.

I lay in a heap of exhausted sorrow and realized this happens when I go there. It depletes me to remember. This is why I don’t do it often and not just for anybody. It’s always for me, really. I could have said no, but I was curious about where my behavior was coming from too.

I cried. My tears felt good and tasted salty.

I didn’t get stuck with the raw bleeding heart sensation. It was there but wasn’t as intense. It’s open and tender today, a bit achy.

It’s vulnerable, revisiting a trauma. Sometimes the truth — or a truth, because when the spiral comes back around, truth will be different, with different insights — is hard fucking won.

I learned something valuable about myself, that I need to push, and sometimes I push against others, and it’s probably not very pleasant to receive. I come across as blaming and misunderstanding, rightly so, on a superficial level. I grasp at an excuse to push. And really, it’s an indicator that I need to set a healthy boundary and perhaps offer a challenge myself.

Where does this behavior come from? I push to get out of the box, the box of being violated, disrespected, dishonored, crushed, silenced, dominated, overpowered, overlooked, robbed of my agency, minimized, underestimated, isolated.

I push to make space for me, to stand on my feet, connected to heaven and earth with the horizontal embrace of humanity as well, life force flowing through me freely.

I am a troubled person too sometimes, and I’m working on it. I’m trying to think of a name for the troubled part of me, because I can, much of the time, come from a healthy place, and when this troubled part comes out, I’m usually aware of it but sometimes not, and I need others to help me see it so I can do my healing work.

I’m learning toward Harriet, because I don’t know anyone named Harriet. “I’m wondering if Harriet would like to say something.” “Hi, Harriet. What are you experiencing now?” “Harriet, what do you need?”

Do you have any other suggestions for a name?

Eventually my energy moved toward equilibrium, and to cheer myself up, I remembered my favorite cartoon, What’s Opera, Doc? I must have watched it half a dozen times. Elmer and Bugs sing Wagner. Elmer is pretty funny, but Bugs is my cartoon hero. He’s brash, witty, unpredictable, a wisecracking carrot-eating trickster — and oh, yeah, he’s Jewish.

Third time: thank you, goddess and Chuck Jones, for the gift of levity.

Then the good news about my dear friend’s surgery.

Feeling so much appreciation for my offspring, my sistren and my brethren, for the ability to process and learn, to dive for a fish and come back up with one in my hands. Today, it’s all good.

Anusara yoga’s revelatory spiral; trailer arriving my first day of massage school

For the past week, I’ve been taking some yoga classes at Castle Hill Fitness, courtesy of a one-week pass I unexpectedly was given back in February. Most of my yoga training has been by Iyengar-certified teachers, and I like that emphasis on alignment because alignment just happens to be one of my major issues in this body, and I can use yoga as an awareness practice instead of just keeping fit.

At Castle Hill, I’ve been taking Anusara classes. If you don’t know, Anusara yoga is an offshoot of Iyengar yoga. Anusara yoga’s founder, John Friend, was a senior Iyengar teacher until he parted ways with B.K.S. Iyengar and created Anusara yoga.

Anusara is not that different from Iyengar yoga. In fact, it’s pretty similar but has Universal Principles of Alignment that everything is based on.

(If you’re interested in seeing a visual aid that groups the types of yoga, click here to see Alison Hinks’ awesome graphic, Kissing Cousins: The Wheel of Yoga. You’ll see that Iyengar and Anusara are right next to each other, way on the opposite site from Ashtanga and power yoga.)

These classes have challenged me in a really good way. My deep lower abs are still a bit sore from classes a week ago, and I’m feeling my shoulders and hips in a different way.

I’ve done Warrior 1 in nearly every class and gotten better at it. It takes a lot of strength and balance for me.

Most exciting, I finally got “the spiral”  that is a signature of Anusara yoga. Got it in my body, that is. Felt a shift. It was a revelation, widening the sacrum area, the back of the second chakra, creating a nice energetic opening.

Since this is a part of my body that has had troubles, it was awesome. How can I incorporate this into my life? 

I don’t know how to maintain it in various poses, so I’ll continue to take Anusara classes. My teacher today, Brigitte, steered me toward the Anusara Teacher Training manual, which I’ve ordered. I’m looking forward very much to reading about the principles of alignment and learning what I can learn from a book while my body learns experientially.

Also, Brigitte is beautiful, with the buffest body of any white-haired woman you’ll ever see. I’m so pleased to take yoga from a teacher with white hair who knows what she’s doing. She read a Mary Oliver poem at the beginning of class today with a message that served the class. I loved that.

Yogis can show the world what it looks like to age with grace.


My trailer should be here Monday morning! I’ve been looking at cork and Marmoleum samples. Decided not to do radiant heated floors until I’ve lived in the trailer through a winter and seen how cold it really gets.  Contacted my handyman Ian and emailed him a list of things to do. Requested that the electricity be turned on — apparently can’t happen until Wednesday…

Still need to research air conditioners. Lot to learn there. Metal skins, condensation, ventilation, and so on…

It just so happens, with all the waiting for the title and then for flood waters to recede over the last few months, that my trailer is arriving on my very first day of massage school! I don’t even know what meaning to assign to that coincidence in the big scheme of things!  On a practical level, I can’t be in two places at once.

I don’t want to miss any of my massage education, but I think I need to be there when the trailer arrives. I’ll email the school and let them know and plan to get there as soon as I can.

Hello, major life changes. Good to see you!