life of m

Sustaining the Self and Beyond

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It can’t rain all the time

My sweetie asked me a question the other day. It was a seemingly simple question but one that I had difficulty answering.

Are you happy here in Arizona? he had asked. We have been flirting with the question of where the ideal place might be for us to live.

Huh, I responded. It was more of a grunt than a word. But it was a weighted grunt.

I don’t know, I finally said. I think that sometime in my early twenties I began to think that maybe I was just not the kind of person who could be truly happy.

It isn’t that I am unhappy. It is just that my body and mind seem to struggle with so much.

From the perspective of yoga, I would say that I have learned to tell many stories that keep me in a constant state of dukha: suffering. These stories may be ones I learned from a young age—the stories from my culture, friends, family. They are powerful once learned and not easy to unravel just enough to begin learning new ones.

A dear friend with whom I spent many hours moved to a far off land, and I have hardly heard from them. My heart feels heavy to think about it. Every now and then, I receive a beautiful reminder in my inbox or in the mail. In a recent message, my friend apologize for being out of touch and told me they were just so blissfully happy.

Blissfully happy, I mused. I wonder what that feels like? I have been in such a state of transition for so many years that I cannot say I have as yet entered into a blissful state.

I have experienced moments of bliss and contentment. They are generally connected with movement, nature, and music. These are precious moments, and it isn’t to say that the moments in between are pure suffering. Far from it.

I seem to have chemicals in my mind that stubbornly grasp onto the darker side of life’s emotions. I take anti-depressants to keep their activities and propensity to cause anxiety in balance, but I wish I did not have to.

When I talk about the things I struggle with and the questions I do not yet have answers to, my partner tells me things could perhaps be better, but they are good enough. And he is right. I think happiness lies in acceptance and what is. This does not mean giving up hope that they can be better. I think that life becomes better when we realize how good it already is.

I am surrounded and supported by so much love. I have found my voice and am singing out as much as I can. The sun shines almost every day in my corner of Arizona. And my heart is beating a steady rhythm in my chest.

The fortune I received from Chinese food takeout the other day (I treated myself after spending nearly three hours at the vet and narrowly escaping putting my dog down for a second time in a week’s time) was honest, gentle, and somehow comforting. Note: It was just as honest as the one I received years ago that read “you will be hungry soon; order takeout” but somehow struck a chord more close to my heart than the former one.

It can’t rain all the time. It could be better, but it’s good enough.

Offering to Jizo

Good Saucha


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The importance of tasting our words (aka how to talk to neighbors about their super loud sex)

My neighbors have a really healthy sex life. They have sex at all hours of day and night, more often than even the best of actors could fake it. Loud, theatrical sex, replete with laughter and screaming occurs so frequently that I have started to wonder if either of them works for a living or if perhaps they are filming porn in their home?

My sweetie and I roll our eyes and groan when we hear it. His 18-year-old daughter yells out, “they are at it again!”

Seriously, it is ALL THE TIME!

So we started musing over whether we should say something to them and how. Sex is such a taboo subject in this country of religious, political zealots. We are taught to ignore our hormones and keep the subject of intimacy to hushed tones. While I don’t agree with this cultural propensity, it has succeeded in making it a difficult topic to broach with my own intimate partners, forget about strangers.

To add to the often uncomfortable theatrics, we have a natural theater in the round where we live because we are surrounded by large clusters of granite rock that cause sound to do all kinds of crazy things.

A canyon wren may be singing in the valley that is nearly a quarter mile from our house but sound like it is standing on our porch railing.

This morning’s birdsong seemed like it was coming from the creek across from our house.

When our neighbors walked by with their dogs and coffee mugs in hand, I braced myself to say something. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

It’s ok, I thought. They will likely return by this way. I spent the next several minutes devising possible ways to bring up the subject upon their return.

When finally they walked by, I stood up, walked to our porch railing, and leaned out over it.

So, this might be a bit bold, but I wonder if you might close your windows when you have sex, I called out to them.

Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize you could hear us, the woman said, her hand instinctually lifting to cover her mouth.

Yeah, it’s really loud. We are so happy that you have a healthy sex life, we just don’t really want to listen to it, I said.

Of course. We are still pretty new, she said.

I totally understand! I went on to talk about the granite rock acoustics we enjoyed and how this morning it sounded like they were getting it on in the creek.

They laughed. I laughed.

All was fine.

I remembered the communication a woman shared with me about the affect my musical choice had on her during the Savasana portion of a yoga class earlier in the week. Her words had been directive and caustic. I had felt attacked.

This interchange felt completely different. It was softer, humorous. We all seemed to feel the relief and hilarity of the topic of conversation. There was laughter and apologies and more laughter. And my neighbors thanked me for saying something rather than holding it in and getting angry.

I still wanted to write about it because that it was what I do to help me process and reflect on all the strange happenings of a human life. But this time I can write in a slow, easy rhythm, smiling as I recall the interaction rather than feeling my chest tighten at the memory.

May your own words be sweet before they leave your tongue and those that leave the mouths of others and head in your direction be even sweeter.

Good Saucha to you, dear friends!

http://www.viralthread.com/23-of-the-funniest-notes-asking-neighbours-to-stop-having-sex-so-loud/?utm_rcreplace_39=3220&ts_pid=2

Jizo and Okami


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A guide to Jizo, guardian of travelers and the weak

I rescued a husky, malamute question mark pup just under four months ago from a wonderful Husky rescue in Buckeye, Arizona. When I showed the photo on Facebook to my sweetie, he said “well, this one is the closest yet.” In my heart, which was beating intensely for a canine companion, this translated as “we can adopt this one.”

In comparison to my slowly moving and reflective partner, I am a capricious, squirrel-type character. I make decisions quickly, with my heart. I often ignore my mind and any rational thought. I am all heart and all body. My sweetie likes to wallow and ponder a decision. Once made, he is firm in his choice. I often question whether I made the right choice, even if deep down I knew I did all along. Permission to accept the choice once it has been made can take some time for me.

After asking all day about going down to the rescue, he finally conceded at the last possible moment we could get in the car and arrive at the rescue before closing time on a Saturday. On our way down, he told me we are just going to look at him, not necessarily bring him home. When I thanked him, he responded in a semi-sarcastic tone, thank you for giving me so many opportunities to grow. I rolled my eyes at him, but my heart was full of gratitude and hope.

I didn’t tell him at the time, but I was not at all sure about Okami when I first met him. He was so aloof and just wandered around. There was one short moment where I thought perhaps we could be connected. I was standing on the back patio with my feet about hip with apart. He came over and stuck his head between my legs and stayed there while I caressed the fur on his head and gently ran my fingers through the wisps of crimped fur that stuck out in all directions behind his ears.

What do you think? we asked each other. I don’t know, I said. I am willing to give it a try.

We decided to bring him home. The entire ride home Okami sat on my sweetie’s daughter’s lap in the back seat, his head out the window as much as possible when we opened it while driving at lower speeds.

Before we went to bed, we put him outside on the run where our Husky Blue had preferred to spend most of his time. By midnight, he was howling so intensely that we brought him in. In the morning, we found him curled up on the couch.

Within 36 hours, he was permanently bound to my side. My shadow. Everywhere I went—in the house, at the bookstore where I was working at the time—he walked right behind me.

And it has been that way ever since, which is why now I feel that it is my turn to be his shadow. To watch over him while he is unwell, and to help nurse him back to health.

But it is not an easy task and one where I am thankful for any and all of the assistance and guidance I can get. I have received messages of love and hope and healing from myriad friends and family from around the world. My partner, to whom Okami is powerfully bound, and his daughter both have spent hours loving on him, caressing him, giving him medication and attention.

When I walked into a store in downtown Prescott, Arizona, which is owned by a woman from Tibet, I saw a small, stone statue on the counter.

Who is this? I asked the woman at the counter.

She looked it up and discovered it was Jizo, the Japanese deity for protection of travelers, women and children, and the weak.

I brought him home and place him beside Okami, wherever inside the house he chooses to lie down and outside when we are on the porch.

Here is what I have since learned about Jizo:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2012/03/31/our-lives/a-guide-to-jizo-guardian-of-travelers-and-the-weak/#.VbpM9UJViko

Jizo does not get angry, nor does he ever give up, even when trampled and stepped upon like the earth. He guides us on our travels, gives power to those who are weak (such as children) and to those in dangerous places. His mantra is Om ka ka kabi sanmaei sowaka.

The fact that Jizo is usually carved out of rock is significant. While Jizo statues can be made from a variety of materials (clay, bronze, etc.), he is most popularly carved out of stone. In his book, Glassman describes “the power of stones to engage the human heart.” Stone is a material that has been worshipped and used for protection since ancient times. Stones having spiritual value predates Buddhism.

He is found at boundaries between places both physical and spiritual, between here and there, life and death.

http://www.davidmoreton.com/echoes/shingon4.html

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva (Japanese Jizo Bosatsu): Bodhisattva of the Storehouse of the Earth

Ksitigarbha is shown with the shaven head of a monk. In his right hand he holds a priest’s staff with six metal rings to awaken us from our deluded dreams. In his left hands he holds a mani jewel, representing the treasures that he bestows on all beings.

Ksitigarbha has six forms, each of which is devoted to helping beings in a different realm: hells, hungry ghosts, beasts, deamons, humans, and heavenly beings. Ksitigarbha never gives up, determined to save every single being in each of these realms.

Jizo, as Ksitigarbha is known in Japanese, is the most popular diety in Japan. Small statues of Jizo are placed at roadsides throughout the land, and these are the objects of daily devotion and offerings of food and drink. Jizo is now especially associated with saving the souls of children. Statues of this form of Jizo are often placed at temples, with statues representing children and unborn fetuses kneeling at his feet.

Mantra of Ksitigharba

English

Om Oh wondrous one svaha.

Sanscrit

Om ha-ha-ha vismaye svaha.

Japanese

On kakaka bisanmaei sowaka.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ksitigarbha

When petitions are requested before Jizō, the petitioner ties a rope about the statue. When the wish is granted, the petitioner unties the rope. At the new year, the ropes of the ungranted wishes are cut by the temple priest.

Other resources about Jizo:

http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/jizo-28-benefits.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twdHmEHoQoo

http://www.japanese-buddhism.com/jizo-bosatsu.html

http://www.shingon.org/ritual/daily.html

http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/jizo1.shtml

In the end, all I want is for my wolf pup soulmate to be at peace. My intention and hope is for peace to come while he is still in his body, but my sweetie has told me that he is on his own path. So, I am simply here as a guide and support for whatever his mind, body, and spirit require in this life. And I know that somehow, we will find each other in the next life, whenever, wherever, and however that may be.

On kakaka bisanmaei sowaka.

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Not everyone wants to rise up

I was invited by a yoga teacher in town to attend a yoga class in exchange for performing some music during Savasana at the end of the class. I have done this once before, and it was wonderful.

This time, it felt wonderful in the doing, but it came with an unanticipated opportunity to practice Brahmatcharya—restraint.

The studio space was long and narrow, with well-loved wood flooring, a wall-length mirror, bright blue paint on the walls, and intricately patterned, metal panels on the ceiling. The acoustics were remarkable. I could feel an eery, energetic echoing of my voice bouncing off of every surface as I sang.

As I played, I periodically opened my eyes to look around the room. The teacher sat smiling peacefully in a cross-legged position, her face turned upwards. I could see her body swaying gently to the rhythm of the music. I heard quiet snoring. Otherwise, all was quiet, and people lay still on their mats.

After class, the teacher and some students thanked me for sharing my voice. My heart felt full and peaceful. Just before leaving, an older woman came up to me.

Can I give you some advice? She asked.

Sure, I responded, wondering if I had sang too loud and disturbed her meditation.

The critique she offered was unexpected and astringent.

The first song you played was appropriate for an older audience. The second song was not. I received some particularly bad news this morning. Don’t tell me to find my voice.

Whoa. My head must have jerked back as the words hit my face.

Ok, I thought. Keep your cool. Don’t get your ego involved. This is not about you.

And I responded, I’m sorry the song did not speak to you. I think music does not speak to everyone in the same way, and that is ok. I have played it for Savasana before, and it has been well-received. I played the song for my dog when he was dying, and he got better. Yoga is similar for me. Sometimes, it opens things up and I wind up feeling worse than when I began. I am not going to stop playing this song, but if you are here next time I will make sure not to play it.

Next time, it might not affect me the same way.

Ok, I said. She seemed to have needed to vent something, and I was an easy target, so I listened and let the caustic energy drop between us.

You do have a beautiful voice, she said before leaving.

I followed her out the door and crossed the street to my own car. Getting in, I felt tension in my body. I asked my body what was going on.

Was the tension from being taken by surprise? Was my ego slighted?

No. I didn’t think so. Sure, I was not expecting the feedback, but I thought it was good that the person felt comfortable communicating what she was experiencing.

I met my sweetie for lunch and told him about the interaction.

I think what affected me most was the delivery of the words, I told him. It made me remember to really think about the way I communicate with people, and it reminded me of the Niyama Saucha—purity. One of the women in my yoga class interpreted Saucha with regard to spoken communication as the need to “taste your words before you speak them.” Another mentioned the importance of thinking about the way your words are being heard.

Words can be offered as an invitation for a dialogue or an attack. I have offered both in my life, and I much prefer the way my body feels with the former. This particular feedback was not an invitation for dialogue, though I opened the window nonetheless. It was a shutting down, and it felt like an attack.

Plus, I continued debriefing to my partner, she had no idea what I may have struggled with in my own life, people I may have lost, etc. Maybe, she saw my pigtails and thought I was much younger than I am, and I was an easy target.

My youthful visage inhibits many people from taking me seriously as a scholar, performer, person.

I still feel a bit unnerved as I write, but I recognize that this person may be struggling with something incredibly painful. Now that I have processed it, I feel ready to let it go. And I feel that I want to send a prayer to this person to help her through whatever path she is beginning.

I also feel thankful that music, like yoga, can evoke such powerful emotions. For me, this is a great part of what brings meaning to life, even if it isn’t always what I think of as traditionally pretty.

water wolf


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Breathe on

Do you ever worry that communicating one of your darkest fears may somehow make it come true?

I fear death. I am not sure if I fear my own so much as those of the beings most dear to me. I find the concept both mysterious and disturbing, particularly that it is something we know so precious little about.

In the middle of the night last night, I reached out to feel my wolf dog by the bed. I felt a stillness in his body, and a dark night in January flashed through my mind when a husky exhaled and all was still. I knew somehow that breathe was his last, but I still expected his body to have life in it. When I reached out, it was already stiff. It happened to so quickly, and once it happened, there was no way to change it. How life can change so irrevocably in one short breathe I still do not understand. How is a being alive one moment—warm to the touch, breathing—and then suddenly gone?

No no no no NO. I turned on the light and was instantly by his side, my body filled with dread and a sensation of falling.

I felt his stomach. It was warm. At first, there was nothing. Then came a familiar, gentle rise.

Recognition flooded through me. What I felt beneath my hand was life.

But how fragile it was. Such a slow rise and fall.

I brought him water and an ice pack, which I tucked beneath his armpits. He felt warm to the touch, and my sweetie suggested placing an ice pack under his warm chin as well.

This seemed like the extent of my tangible healing powers. I crawled back under the covers, my entire body tense.

When all was quiet, I pushed back the covers and placed my hand on his abdomen.

Rise.

Fall.

Rise.

Fall.

Whe he began panting, I worried that his temperature was rising.

Can you imagine if I had a human baby? I whispered into the darkness. I would be a mess.

This is his path to follow, came a reassuring voice beside me. You have to let him follow it himself.

Still I could not fall asleep. I would periodically dip my feet below the covers to rest on his back haunches. Somehow, feeling his fur between my toes felt like some kind of promise that he was still alive and would still be so if I rested my eyes for a few hours.

In the morning, I awoke with the sense that I was being watched. Two amber eyes looked back into mine. I got out of bed and replaced the covers. I followed the eyes to the front door, slipped on sandals, and walked out into the morning.

My amber-eyed wolf dog knew the way. I followed him across the porch, down the stairs, and across the way to the creek that runs beside our house.

Once his paws touched the water, he was transformed. Light shone in his eyes. He dipped his muzzle to the water and began to drink. In the water, he was so very alive, so very full of life. My heart lifted. My body, which had only moments before felt heavy and clumsy as it stumbled over the uneven, sandy ground, felt refreshed and buoyant. I could feel a lightness, however fleeting.

I was not ready to allow my heart to completely open. I felt hope, but the many tears that had been shed triggered a silent alarm to take heed.

As I write, the darkness has once again fallen over our little corner of the world. My wolf lies on the floor beside the bed. I stop typing to take careful ?? of his state. His body continues to rise and fall in rolling waves. His breath is quiet, with a periodic deeper inhalation that is reassuring and calming. His head is lifted.

Another deep breath in, and on the exhalation, legs stretch out, paws tensing as they lift off the floor for a moment before settling back down again. His head lowers to the floor. His chest rises and falls.

A few moments later, he lifts his head and begins to pant. I reach my leg over the side of the bed to place my foot on his abdomen. He lowers his head to the floor, and I can feel his body relax, the tension gone once more.

All things must come to pass. This I know. But I am thankful for this continuation of life. And in this moment, I cannot imagination that there is anything else that really matters.

Okami san


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You cannot lose your song

We lost our husky very suddenly this past January. He was fine, then he wasn’t fine for a couple of days, and then he was gone. Just like that. We came home from the vet, and two hours later he became quiet.

I was sitting with Blue when it happened. It was so surreal. I just kept waiting for him to get up, for the light filtering through the window shades to wake me from the bad dream.

But it was not a dream. And there was pain in its wake.

Life is short for people. Life is even shorter for the creatures we bring into our hearts. But we bring them into our fold just the same. Why? I do it because of the way it opens my heart.

Just a few months ago, a wolf dog walked into my life. He became mine and I, his. There was an uncanny kind of connection that was the sort of soul mates, if you believe in that kind of thing. Friends and strangers alike described him as a mythical kind of creature. One of my coworkers told me he was not a dog to her but a person. She expected him to open his mouth and begin speaking.

It is true. He is mythical and seems wise, like an old soul who has been through more than a creature should ever experience in a few short years of life.

He is very sensitive, and humans have not been kind to him in his short life. He has the kind of extreme anxiety that any sentient being would possess who has been abandoned by the beings they most trust to love them unconditionally.

We are very similar, he and I. Fear of abandonment; feeling drawn to those we love. Perhaps, we have met in another life. Perhaps, we will meet again. All I know is that we were meant to meet in this life, however short this life may be.

A few days ago, my wolf dog stopped eating. It has happened before, so I didn’t think too much of it. I mentioned he is sensitive. I brought him to doggie day care for a few hours, and he responded by going into a deep depression and not eating for several days. I brought him to the vet, who put a hydration pouch until the skin behind his head. He looked like the hunchback wolf of notre dame, but he bounced back.

His second bout of depression came after my sweetie returned home from a two week road trip to the Pacific Northwest and back. We couldn’t figure out if he was demonstrating his sadness that his human dad had left or he was pouting because dad had come home and wolf dog no longer had mom’s full attention.

I love my wolf dog unconditionally, and I am doing my best to help ease him into trusting that I will never leave him and will always be there to love him.

Even though I know that life is short and that just because we love someone does not mean they will be able to stick around indefinitely, when I brought home my wolf dog, I had the feeling that we had years ahead of us. He was young, two years old, maybe three, according to an in-depth study of his teeth.

So when he stopped eating for a third time this past weekend, I didn’t think too much of it. I was on a short road trip, and I assumed he was not enjoying the many hours trapped in the car. Maybe, he was car sick and a bit dehydrated. The vet had told me that dogs can get nauseas when they are dehydrated, so I imagined this explained his drooling and melancholia. He still snuggled close to me at night, whether on a tarp beneath the stars or on a foreign bed.

When the vet told me this morning that the most humane thing to do may be to give him a shot, it was as an arrow striking through my heart and shattering it into so many thousands of pieces there would be no hope of finding them all to repair the damage done.

He brought him back for blood work, and I left to bring my sweetie to work.I returned to the room and waited. And waited. It seemed like a long time before the vet returned with results from the blood work. He patiently explained each of the different elements of the test and their results. I saw many acronyms and wish I could borrow my father’s understanding of pathology to have a sense of what he was telling me.

His body was not creating red blood cells. White blood cells had formed bands that were eating things, but it was not certain what they were eating.

I was simply relieved that he was still alive and I would not have to say goodbye just yet.

The day went on in this way, me waiting for a phone call and then listening to different ominous possible futures for my wolf. Between calls, there were tears. First one, then a deluge to follow.

I called the vet to see if I could visit him. I fully expected to be told that it was not possible, but they welcomed me to visit and to talk to the vet. I brought my pillow and a ukulele and crawled into the kennel with my furry love. I sang for him a song of hope in dark times on my ukulele, choking on many of the lines. I told myself that I needed to sing in as strong a voice as possible to be strong for my wolf dog.

He was out of it from pain medication and blood loss, but he picked up his head and rested it in my lap. I gently caressed him, drawing my fingers from the fur on his muzzle up along the slope between his eyes and back across his head and neck. Beneath the touch of my fingers, I felt vibrations from his purr growl. He was so peaceful in response to my touch. I never wanted to leave him.

The vet came to talk with us. We could hardly hear him above the barking and mewing of the other animals, so he opted to come into the kennel and sit next to me. (I really loved this man, he was so real and honest.)

He told my sweetie and me about all the things they were doing and the discussions he was having with the other vets. Apparently, my wolf dog is what is known as a Zebra in medical circles. So often, when doctors see hoof prints, they imagine a Zebra when they are really only seeing a horse. In other words, it is easy to imagine rare conditions when the prognosis is really quite simple, the flu instead to the common cold. In our case, my wolf dog had presented the doctors with an actual Zebra, and they were all stumped.

The vet had told me earlier that morning that last Monday had been his first day.

You’re welcome, I had responded.

In the kennel, I could hear him better but still felt as if in a blur.

His body isn’t producing red blood cells, but he has bands of white blood cells eating things…but what are they eating? We don’t know.

No parasites as yet. No kidney failure or kidney disease. An enlarged spleen but that could be a semblance relative to his low body weight. Much blood loss and anemia. A condition that had been likely building for some time. The fact that he was walking was a good sign. Maybe, we should try antibiotics to stave off more diarrhea and bring down the high levels of what are healthy elements of the gastrointestinal region until they grow beyond their normal range.

Antibiotics. Check. Why not? I was burning through even more of my precious savings, but I didn’t care. He was only three, and we had many more years together. I was so sure of this. I felt it.

I feel it now as I type. I know that he will is going to try to be ok. I feel that he will be. I left my heart with him. He needs it more than I do right now, and it is perhaps why I feel so empty.

I know that technically, we are doing all we can for him. But to be honest, I would feel better if I were sleeping in the kennel with him. He is so very sensitive, and I worry that he will think we have abandoned him. I need him to not give up trying to survive.

When I finally got up to leave, he got up to go with him. I whispered into his ear many times that I was with him always, to hang in there, rest, and allow his body to heal. Did he understand? Did he know that my heart was there with him, even if it looked like I was only leaving my pillow for a familiar scent?

When a being has been abandoned so much in their life, can they really trust a person’s word?

I hope so.

The sun will come out, tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.

So long as you’re breathing, you know, you are still alive.

Yoga in the park


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Give me an F

Yoga in the park III

Today felt like one of those days where nothing goes right. After a few things were off, I just started feeling like the day had its own destiny. This evening, in the land of hindsight, I wonder if things went wrong because I expected them to.

I have felt off this past week. I know that even though the initial mercury in retrograde settled, we are in for about five years of mercury doing its thing.

About a week ago, I began a gentle attempt to ease my body from anti-depressants. It seemed to start all right. I broke my white, oval pill in half each morning. I loved seeing the other half with its jagged edge still sitting in my pill case. I felt empowered and excited for the freedom I imagined I would experience, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Easing off of anti-depressants is something I have tried in the past. In fact, I stopped taking them completely a few years ago, during winter in Alaska while going through a divorce. Again with hindsight, I wonder what I was thinking?

This time, I was hoping that my yoga practice—on and off the mat—would help me to stay grounded and calm. Apparently, my yoga practice may not yet be quite disciplined enough to be up for this task.

A few days went by, and then came the sleepless night—mind buzzing, heart racing. One night was enough, but I did not yet equate my insomnia with the chemical change I had brought on. I have a strong inner squirrel, so a night here and there where I have difficulty sleeping is not unusual.

Yesterday morning, the more intense panic set in. It was the kind of panic where I could seem to catch my breath. I tried yogic breathing on and off throughout the day, but I could not draw enough oxygen into my body to feel restored.

Reluctantly, I walked into the bathroom, opened my pill box, and took out the little jagged-edged half pill. I sighed, placed it on my tongue, picked up a glass of water on the countertop, and swallowed.

I felt sad. I was a failure. I could not understand why my body seemed to require an anti-depressant when there was so much that was wonderful in my life.

I am so very loved, and there are people I love who care for me day in and day out. Why so down, Debbie?

Here is the part where I tell mom and dad not to worry. I really am ok. I am in my body and learning from its subtle nuances. I am thankful to have a life partner who assures me that I am right where I need to be right now and that all is fine.

He is right. If I look back on my day, I can find beauty and joy in between the irritation.

I practiced yoga in the park between two enormous cottonwood trees. Each time I brought my arms to the sky, I looked up in their glorious branches, sunlight filtering through the leaves and reflecting in glitter and gold. I felt the earth beneath my feet and fresh grass between my toes. I felt peaceful. I felt joyful.

I performed at my third open mic in Prescott and was showered with love from friends and strangers. Open mic friends backed me up on bass and drums. I could close my eyes and draw everything out with my voice.

In these moments, I am free; nothing else matters.

Yoga in the park II

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