Monthly Archives: March 2009

Gratitude

Today is a day to focus on gratitude. Really, every day should be, but I’m lazy and I get tired and I get distracted. Okay, fine….I like to whine. It’s funny that I like to whine so much, but why would I do it  if I didn’t like it so much? Gratitude feels so much better. And, yet…

I can find an infinte number of things to whine about. My latest is my health. I haven’t quite crossed into the Why Me type of diatribe, but I’m not far. And who is responsible for my health? Right. And I find that the biggest things I whine about are the things that are ultimately in my realm of influence. I complain that I don’t get on the mat enough, that I don’t study yoga enough, that I don’t get enough exercise, that I don’t…have enough. 

And even though I honestly believe the universe is abundant and there is enough, that is what I whine about. So mostly, I whine about me. 

In yoga there is a concept, a precept, called Ahimsa. It means do no harm or avoidance of violence. So we’re talking the obvious don’t hit your friends, but we’re also talking the more subtle don’t harm yourself. So honor yourself by taking care of your body, mind and spirit. Eat well, exercise, don’t over-indulge. These are all concepts of Ahimsa. Negative self-talk is a way to harmful. Negative self-talk is damaging and violent. This whining that I do? It’s harmful to me.

Sometimes it feels like the rain is pouring down and I’m traversing a muddy, slippery road.  I can see the damage and the hurt at times, and then it eludes my grasp and I go back to it. Why? Because it’s easy, because on the one hand our society is full of bravado and boasting, but on the other hand we’re a pretty self-deprecating bunch.

And what is the answer to most of what ails us? Gratitude. When I am mindful and grateful for what I  have, what I do, who I am, I can  no longer engage in self-harm. I will remember to curb the negative self-talk and focus on what’s good about being Melissa. I will chose my foods carefully and not over-indulge, I will want to get lots of exercise and fresh air and drink lots of water and generally, take care of me. Because when I’m grateful it’s not just about what’s going well in my life and the world around me. it’s also about being thankful for the difficulties which teach me. It’s about finding a place in my heart for the hard times where I grow and expand spiritually. It’s about embracing those people that sometimes I’d rather avoid.

And further out, it’s about realizing how many people work very hard to make my life as easy as it is. It’s about being mindful of the people who do the back-breaking work to put food on my table and all the women who’ve struggled and come before that make the choices I make in my life okay. It’s about saying thank you to my spouse and kissing my kids and telling them how much I appreciate them.

So Wednesday is now gratitude day. It’s the day I remind myself to think about how I got here and what I’m here for. It’s the day that I remember to say thanks, to give thanks and to offer thanks. Perhaps this small step will blossom and become more of my every day habit. And that kind of action is easy to pay forward. So that when I’m mindful and aware of my blessing I can teach and remind others to do the same.

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So Now I Have Two Projects

I’ll be honest and admit that I haven’t been figuring out much about blogs. I’ve been distracted and we’ve been having this crazy weather. First it’ll be cool, late winter/early spring-like weather, then it will be 70s and I’ll frolic and play wearing my blue and green flip flops everywhere. Then it will get bitterly cold and snow.  At least one of those days I refused to give up the blue and green flip flops. Luckily, I still have my toes.

But now I have a new distraction and a big project. I went to the Dr.’s a few weeks back for a basic check-up. Frankly, I want to go back on the pill because I’m tired of the crazy mood swings and the heavy periods. So the drill is that since I’m a new patient they need lab work on me to make sure it’s okay to put me on the pill. It’s been a number of years since I’ve been on it. And honestly, it’s been a number of years since I’ve been to the doc.

So yesterday I get the dreaded call from the office. My lab work is back. And everything is great. I even had a cholesterol test which I’d never had before. All week I’ve been making promises to the universe about giving up pizza and hamburgers if it will just be okay. It’s great. They are impressed and happy with all my different levels. I do have to go in for some more tests on an unrelated issue, but I’m okay with that. More on that another time. I’m just happy I don’t have to completely give up hamburgers and pizza and I have promised to be more prudent with my eating.

But, there is one thing. We’re a little concerned, she starts…and I gulp and know I was praying to the wrong universe last week. I start making new promises about salads and lean protein. It’s my glucose level. It’s high. It doesn’t really click for a few hours, until I’m back at my doc’s office to pick up some paperwork. Sugar? High? Oh shit. So I ask to sit down and talk and understand the implications. 

I’m not diabetic. Yet. I am in the high range of normal. The very edge of it actually. I ask about the D-word and she tilts her head at me and makes a noise in her throat. And I ask what would be considered diabetic and the number is only eight points above mine. To put this into perspective, the normal range is a 40-point span. I’m three from the top. So we talk about simple carbs-some of my favorite foods, and we talk about exercise and I leave in a bit of a daze.

I go home and google Diabetes and High Glucose Levels and then I get a bit more scared. The numbers that they told me in the Doc’s office are what the American Diabetes Association considers pre-diabetes and there could already be some long-term health effects.

So officially I’m done with my devil-may-care, I-really-am-immortal-right? attitude. I know, I’m late in life to realize I’m not invincible, but I just had this feeling that I’ve really been through enough shit in my life that the universe wouldn’t possibly be so cruel as to throw a health issue in there. AND I’m a yoga therapist. I know better. I know that I really need to drop the baby weight. Can you still call it baby weight when the child in question is now potty-trained? I know that I go for the carbs too easily when I’m busy, distracted, in a bad mood or just because. 

So, now I have two projects. And dearies, this one is going to take precedence. Lucky for you I’m a pretty good multi-tasker. And maybe there are ways that I can combine the two. I dread to say this, but maybe some before and progression shots of the weight loss. I’ll get back to you on this one.

But here is my promise to you and mostly to myself. I’m going to continue to write about this. I’m going to do all the research I can. This is going to be my driving passion for as long as it takes to get my glucose levels back to normal.

I’ve been given a wake-up call. With all the stress of the last few years, being a Mom to two, the move six months ago, etc I have let my health slide. I have focused on everyone but myself and that will stop now. I have always said that the one thing I couldn’t do is give myself a daily shot. I have joked that if I ever got diabetes I was just going to die, because I can not do all the sticking and poking. Be careful what you put out in the universe. The universe listens. And the universe has a sense of humor.

So be prepared to be bored, inspired, tickled and educated. Come along with me for the ride. Whatever your health issue is we can tackle it together. Almost everyone could do a better job of taking care of themselves, of eating better, of getting more sleep and exercise. I’ll tell you mine if you just show up for yours.

New Look

A while ago I promised that I would try new looks. Additionally i’ve been told I need to have photos or points of interest.

I’ve been a little negligent. Although I have a web site and am officially a blogger most of these things baffle me. I’m pretty  much lost when it comes to this type of technology. Oh, who am I kidding. It’s not just this kind of technology. Suddenly, I’m like my mother and am lost at all kinds of technology. I can barely use my cell phone.  Obviously I can make calls, but all the other stuff? Lost to me.

I am in awe of blogs like lesbiandad.com where there are often pictures and they are artful and interesting. Sometimes there is just a photo with a caption.

Some blogs, like uppoppedafox.com, even have photo galleries. Not only are the photos at this blog artful and interesting they are often hysterical. Don’t even get me started on her video.

And AskDrDing.com posts videos and petitions to sign.

Sigh. It seems like such a long way to go.

But I like writing. I love to write. Always have. And even if I’m the only one here to write for, I’m pretty much content. But I know there are at least a few on you out there because I see the numbers that tell me sometimes other people wander their way in.

So I’m inspired to try harder. Here is the beginning of my attempt. I know it looks a little bare, so I need to work on photos, videos and such. I’ll keep plugging away if you let me know what you think.

Blessed by students

I taught today. I teach most days. But today was one of those days that I’m so grateful for what I do. 

Yoga is one of those things that people can talk themselves out of easily. We all know we should do it. It’s good for us. It makes us feel fantastic and yet, as soon as the weather gets nice, or the Olympics are on, or the bar down the street runs a special class size starts to dwindle. I’m sure it happens in spinning class too. 

And it’s through the discipline of yoga that I’ve learned not to take it personally. Okay, there’s also a therapy saying, “It’s not all about you.”  I think the 12-steppers say “You’re just not that important.” Whichever you like, I know it’s not about me. We’re all busy. We’re all crazy busy and we do what we can. Sometimes it’s cook for our kids, sometimes it’s hitting a yoga class. Because, let’s face it, most of us have to make those kind of decisions in our lives. In our every day lives.

So today was one of those days. It’s beautiful out. It snowed on Saturday and was bitterly cold (well, for Kansas) and today it was 60 degrees and I wore my new blue and green flip flops. So I know my students were thinking that a walk with the dog was just as good as yoga. And their kids were whining to go to the park and the dog was giving them that look. And I know that some of the more brave establishments set the outside tables and chairs up. And it would be a lovely day to sit out on the sidewalk and sip a margarita. ‘Cause it’s that kind of day.

So, at five minutes till I had one student walk in. And, luckily, she wasn’t one of those that fears the instructor and decides to leave immediately because she’s the only one there. She plunked right down on her olive green mat and looked at me. So I started class. Slowly, three more students wandered in. Hey! I had a class.

And each person got a little more attention today. And each person worked a little harder today, because I could take the time to really make sure they got it and really make sure they were doing it right. No one smiled during class today. Sometimes they don’t. They often stopped and rested, but they always went back to the pose. I mentally patted them on the back.

And when I got to headstand prep., in my all-levels class-with some weekend warriors, they worked at it. They came out of it, they adjusted and they went back to it! And they were beautiful. Every single one of them. Not because they did it perfectly. Not because they looked like they should be on the cover or Yoga Journal. And not because they’re the best group of yogis I’ve every had. They were beautiful because they were real and they struggled and one said she didn’t like it, but tried it two more times. They laughed gently at themselves and they looked a little lost. They were authentic and honest and real. And that’s beautiful.

At the end of class two people didn’t stay for the full savasana, even though we did viparita karani (legs up the wall), which is a crowd pleaser. Sometimes that makes me sad. I feel like they’re missing the most important pose. Today, it was okay. Today, every single student said Thank You and one told me it was great. 

Now…it happens. It happens when you teach them poses they love. It happens when they ask for something and you provide, but today was different. Today they were there despite the beautiful weather and they worked hard and they did poses they didn’t like and they still thanked me.

And that’s when, for a different, new reason, but for the 4000th time, it hit me. I am so grateful to do what I do. I am so blessed to meet the people who I encounter in the yoga world. We all struggle and we’re all broken, but yogis do it with grace and aplomb and they say thank you for it.

When Your Tween Starts Dating

I have the unlucky distinction of being one of the first, of everyone I know, to have kids. So, that means I battled biting, struggled through potty-training and worried that  my daughter was never going to speak, all by myself, with very little advice.

Well, I always had the Grandmas. Frankly, I probably wouldn’t have used the words battled, worried and struggled if it hadn’t been for the Grandmas in the first place. I never cared that my kid was still wearing diapers at 2 and only said a few words at 2 1/2, because the doctors and experts said it was fine. There’s no expert more expert, however, than a Grandma. So if the Grandmas thought it was strange that my darling, who could sign full sentences, didn’t talk, I would find it slowly start to seep into my nightmares and tossings and turnings.

Now we’re at an age where most of us who are going to,  have had our kids. And my friends all have kids ranging in age from newborns to 8 year olds. I’m the only person I know with a Tween. Yes, I think it deserves capitalization. And not only do I have a Tween, but I have one who is on her third boyfriend this school year. 

And there is no one to give me advice.

I have figured out a few things on my own. I figured out to tell my husband these little developments as they happen so as to avoid a stroke when she hits 16. I figure that clueing him in little by little is going to take the bite out of what’s going to happen. Because, let’s face it, we’re a generation that remembers our youth and hopefully learned from some of our parents’ mistakes, not to mention our own. We know from experience that all teenagers lie. And if for some crazy reason you’re doubting it, let me repeat. ALL teenagers lie.

Lots of teenagers experiment with lots of things; some of them are things that we did and some of them are outside of our understanding. So I’m preparing my husband now, because while all teenagers may lie,  not many of them are good at it. If you’re paying attention you will catch your kid in a lie. And we will catch ours. How do I know? Because we’re already catching her in the little ones.

I think I’m going out of order. I should stop now and say that I have a very,very good kid. She’s great and we’re very lucky. She’s smart and pretty and fairly well-behaved. She’s funny and witty and bright and friendly, but she’s a kid and she’s going through what all the other kids are going through. Puberty.

Being the first girl of a first girl, my precocious daughter has pretty much always been a Tween. While other kids were satisfied with Os and soy milk boxes, my daughter wanted tea sandwiches with the crust trimmed. At three, she called the neighbor on her Fisher Price phone to ask her if she wanted to come over. After a few ah-huhs and nods as she paced around the living room she said “Okay, well I have to go. See you soon. Bring pizza and beer. Goodbye.”

So, needless to say, I’m a little leery of dating. And it’s not that it’s really dating. They don’t go anywhere. I don’t think they actually touch each other, but like I said my daughter has always been the precocious one.

Remember in Juno when the step mom discourages the dad from beating up Paulie Bleeker for knocking up his daughter? Remember how she says, “You know it wasn’t  his idea.”?

It will always be my kid’s idea. Whatever trouble/issue/problem she has in in life, it will always have been her idea. That’s just the kinda kid I have. God love her. 

I so wish someone else were going through this first.

Turning 40

I’m so damned excited about turning 40. I do not understand the friends who were morose when it became 2009, because it’s the year of our demise. Those of us belonging to 1969. Nor do I understand the women who are pretending it’s not even happening. I honestly don’t get it.

I think 20s were fun, but looking back a little redundant, boring and well, I was lost. I did have my 1st child in my 20s, but that might have been a mistake. Had I the foresight of my smarter girlfriends I might have waited and the girl might not be so filled with angst. She’s not fully formed yet, so more on that in the years to come. If we can avoid jail, AA and teenaged pregnancy I’ll rethink my 20s and birthing so young.

30s were much better. I figured some things out. I tried some things. I struggled, but I felt that unlike my 20s generational battle, it was my chosen struggle. I worked through things and at the tail end of it I felt like I learned a lot. I also had my 2nd child, nine years later. Oh, my poor first child. I am so much more patient and forgiving, loving and encouraging with this second one. Although, I was probably more fun the first time around.

So 40s? I’m already sensing a return to my fly-in-the-face of anything unconventional me. I am relishing that I have now earned the right, by the simple fact of my age, to wear what I want, think what I want and act like I want and never, never have to bat an eye. I’m 40, dammit. I can do what I please! (I imagine myself thinking this a lot soon)

I also think 40s have a sexiness that no other age can possibly attain. I’ve got the libido of someone half my age and I know how to use it. I can take your husband, girlfriend, lover, crush in a second so don’t mess with me-well, I like to imagine that’s true, although I would never “take” anyone’s anything. I think it’s all those  194os and 1950s movies I’ve watched recently. It’s a power that is indescribable and perhaps a little too intoxicating.

40 is the decade of power for women, the decade that we shine, that we dash and mash, as my 3-yr-old son would say. This is our time. I don’t think the latter decades are anything but magnificent, but I think they’re different.

Of course, this is still six months off, so let’s sit and chit and chit-chat and I’ll let you know in a few months.