Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.

25Oct/200

Neighborly

I finally took the neighbors up on their offer of a glass of wine and conversation outside. Masks were worn, aside from sips. It was nice and I'm glad we connected more. I made sure they knew we were both around in the event of an emergency, especially now.

I didn't make it under the weighted blanket, but I'm doing ok.

It's very cold, getting our first frost tonight. CK and I got the hoses put on the shed and hurriedly picked anything in the garden worth picking. I've got a stack of greenish tomatoes in the kitchen window, I'm hoping they'll ripen.

24Oct/200

My Brain, the Jerk

I'm having an night where I feel like I didn't really accomplish much and that's why I couldn't easily think of a title for this post. I had a similar moment trying to figure out what to make my comic about.

It's false, I did a bunch today.

I did the usual morning stuff, plus fed Obie first at 5:40. I prepared and taught a Yoga of Freedom class, got us lunch, made art, played my game, read my book, put up some Autumn decorations, made tasty dinner, hung out with CK, made a comic.

A pretty full day. My Inner Jerk is at it again. Fatigue and anxiety are the most likely culprits of this mind state, I know that. Despite trying to rest, I feel more anxiety about it.

Tomorrow I'm going to make a point to spend some quality time in the hammock or under the weighted blanket. Maybe both! There will also be kitten planning since Ursa has had a growth spurt and will be coming home next week!

23Oct/200

Basic Unemployment Benefits

I got home from physical therapy to find a letter from the State Employment Department letting me know if exhausted the basic State benefits. It has been months since I've worked, but still, the reality hits.

I'll look at the other benefits being offered. I feel even more urgency to finish the budget combined with dread at determining how much I need each month to pay for needs, therapy & floats, and some pleasures, art supply blind boxes mostly.

My physical therapist found that my lower back was likely the cause of hip pain that was causing me pain lying on my side! She also worked more on my jaw; we speculated that all the ringing in my ears and the infection might have kicked off the increased pain, leading to increased sensitivity, triggering somatic flashbacks. It's complicated, the body remembers what the brain could not process.

22Oct/200

Debate Nope

We gave the debate about 7 minutes. Apparently the muting was only on the first statement? We then turned on The Vow, a documentary about a cult turned multi-level marketing scheme with sex abuse and human trafficking.

Our ballots were accepted for counting today, we're definitely not undecided. Still, we usually watch the debates, it's what we have done together for several years.

It's just too horrible. There are too many people who want to believe what the GOP is saying is true. It doesn't matter that so much of what they say is demonstrably false, their voters want it to be true, so it is. There's no logic to it, no sense.

This has been feeding my existential dread today.

21Oct/200

Democratic Process

Dropped our ballots off at the library today. In the book return, which feels pretty weird, but it is clearly marked as a real drop-off spot. Waiting on a text to see that it's arrived to be counted.

Picked up another round of food for the freezer. We're certainly set if we're snowed in or civil war begins.

I'm only half kidding. Not even half. I'm dreading election day and the days in between it and the inauguration, and that's if Biden wins. If Trump wins, I believe my reducing stuff will kick into high gear so we're ready to leave when we get any kind of go-ahead.

Managed to kick the footstool and bruise a toe and break a nail on another. Not my best moment; I'd rushed away from putting slippers on and was walking around in my stocking feet.

20Oct/200

Voting and Other Acts of Self Care

Smoke cleared and just as my allergies recovered from that, Autumn arrived with its associated increase in mold allergens and all the tress are dropping leaves. I've had something of a permanent headache for several days to go with my increased sneezing.

Despite being exhausted, I've not been getting to be until nearly 1am most nights. I developed night owl tendencies in early childhood and they reassert dominance in my life pretty quickly and I've never been able to become an "early bird" kind of person.

I feel conflicted about napping during the day. The small, more legitimate concern, is that I'll throw off my ability to go to sleep later. The inaccurate, but larger worry is that I'm not getting enough done.

There's a long list of yard things that need doing. There's a long list of home repairs. There's the task of sorting and reducing stuff. There's paperwork to follow up on. There's stuff to mail out. There's day-to-day chores to keep the house pleasant. There's overdue chores we can't quite seem to get to.

All of that hangs there and I feel like I'm a terrible person for needing so much rest. Then it all burbles up at 2300 and I try to think of how many chores I can get done before my brain allows me to go to bed.

Which is why I finally took a nap for much of the afternoon. My headache felt better. The feeling of crushing dread was slightly reduced by laying under the weighted blanket for a couple of hours. I made us school lunch dinner with salads and homemade lemon tahini salad dressing, that was the fancy bit.

This meant I had the energy to sit down with CK tonight and vote. I love that we really sit down together and raise questions together, go read things and make sure we understand them together. She's even been making an estimate on the potential financial impact of any property tax related measures. I'll go drop them off in person tomorrow, despite it being early enough to mail them in.

19Oct/200

Holding Space

This morning, when I asked my yoga class if anyone had a gratitude or a celebration to share, a student responded, "I have a sadness to share."

She then shared that she's not seen her granddaughter since last Thanksgiving. She is coming to realize that she will be alone for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.

I offered to set up times for my students to use Zoom, and facilitate, a discussion about "Reimagining the Holidays". People can share ideas on how to still have meaningful connection, particularly with winter coming.

More importantly, I'm going to start holding a Yoga for Grief session. Not sure if this will be monthly or bi-monthly, but it's apparent there is a need for this. I have been sending people to my teacher, who's been offering work on grief for a while now, but this is one of those times where I finally realize that my students want me to hold the space for them. They know me, they are more comfortable being in these vulnerable places with me.

It was hard this morning, then regrouping everyone back to Yoga in Chairs. I realize how much of what I do is holding space. More and more, the biggest part of my work is holding the space and making it safe for people to be vulnerable together.

In semi-related news, my voice is still mostly gone and I couldn't lead chanting today. I must remember to only scream cathartically for a minute or two, not five. No matter how good it feels.

It occurs to me that "a good scream" is my version of "having a good cry". Crying ends up with me so congested I can't breath and my head is pounding. It never feels like a good release. That's even without getting into all the assorted trauma I have around being punished for crying.

However, a good scream, that I can get behind! It really does feel cathartic and cleansing. I just need to find a way to do it without losing my voice since I really need it for the holding space thing!

Comic tomorrow, forgot to photograph it again.

18Oct/200

Lost Voice

All day today my voice has been hoarse and faint. I worried a little.

Whole having a long soak with epsom salt I recalled indulging my desire to scream while driving home from a the local shop.

It started because of a policy at the shop to increase security against burglary that decreases health safety.

That first scream about all of it, COVID, the ghoulish mismanagement of the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, white terrorist militia, the mayoral race here, the presidential election, and feeling hopeless about the election changing anything...

The first scream of rage and grief felt so good I let out several more on the way home. Mostly incoherent screaming, a few rounds of screaming, "NO!", and swearing.

It felt good and didn't hurt at all. I came in, made tasty dinner, and watched TV with CK.

Today my voice is shot. At least it isn't a virus!

17Oct/200

Social

Today CK and I had a short visit with friends and a slightly longer visit with our friend who is fostering kittens. It was the first time CK has left the house to see people socially since March.

She is also smitten with the kittens. She feels it's hard to resist getting two tabby brothers, but we'll stick with the one that already flopped on me.

Amidst all the sadness and anger, I'm grateful for a sunny afternoon with kittens.

16Oct/200

Making Time

Today a friend reached out to share the news that her Father had died. It wasn't expected news, but as he's been having a series of health issues for several months, and he was in his 90s, it isn't entirely unexpected.

The thing about loss is that it doesn't matter if it was expected or not, it's still grief. Our grief to integrate, or not.

I was grateful to have very little planned today that couldn't be done later. This meant I was available for a phone call. Then after completing the short errand I'd planned, I was able to join my friend for a chestnut foraging trip over to SE Portland.

We all wore masks and I took our car. Our first stop, the planned stop, was a bust, but we got a tip from another friend and headed over near Laurelhurst Park where we all found several.

Before leaving CK started to tell me to give our friend an extra hug. Then grimaced, because COVID has made that not safe.

I recall working with someone during my internship, they had recently lost their husband of many years and I was offering gentle, passive yoga movement. At then end, as my hands rested over her shoulders lightly, she covered my hands with her own and said to me, "Grief craves touch."

As I talk with people about grief in these times I'm so struck by this loss of touch. It leaves me grateful to find ways to connect outside and socially distant, which at least answers some of the need of connection grief seems to want.