Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Little Things

CK fixed the kitty light she gave me for Christmas. It was supposed to be rechargeable, but it didn’t work right. She took it apart and figured out how to make it run off a camera battery. It lasts for a couple of months of use in the Yoga room at night.

Two weeks of isolation is working so far. We’re both well and still getting along. I’m down and anxious, but not collapsing. Slow, steady, and physically distant wins the race?

My back pain has been higher today. I think part of it is anxiety. Part of it might well playing around with different yoga movement and gardening.

I connected with friends and made art today. I played video games, reminding myself that I enjoy the Switch. I made a satisfying meal despite really not wanting to cook.

This is how we endure.


Victory Garden

We woke up early to go to the hardware store. There were a few bumps, but we got a seed starting station set up downstairs. We moved the old garage-based setup downstairs to the utility room. This puts it right of the veggie garden.

CK helped me get one big bed and a small bed ready to plant. We picked up just a few starts and put them into the beds today. Sugar Snap Peas, kale, collards, Walla Walla onions, and a full plant all went in before the rain comes in.

We're not the only people thinking of Victory Gardens this year, it is a reasonable activity to turn to at times such as the extraordinary ones we're in now. It is something we can do together, it gets us outside on the fresh air, and in the end we have fresh flowers and vegetables to enjoy ourselves and share.

All that and I’m ready to try a class tomorrow!


Some Days Are Like That

Today felt off. It was my day to feel down, unproductive, and useless. My anxiety was high and a nap in the afternoon didn’t help. In fact, I woke up more anxious and fretting about dinner.

This is the new normal. This strange new world of rising rates of infection and death. Monitoring for fever. Seclusion for safety.

Almost daily I’ve reflected how grateful I am my Mother’s dead. I remember her fighting me about washing her hands, snidely calling me, “Howard Hughes” and accusing me of being a germphobe. I literally shudder to even consider trying to get her to step it up more!

We got more of the beds cleared and have planned an early trip to the hardware store. Our apathy about the garden has been cast off. Creating a victory garden is something we can enjoy together.



CK has been even less enthused about food than usual, it’s the anxiety. That’s really the catch all answer to most things. It’s the anxiety. Oregon has a lot of extra uncertainty because we’re even more screwed in the testing department.

In response, I made an effort today to get a few more groceries before the expected “shelters in place” order. The pickup order didn’t go smoothly, I was late for a virtual tea. I saw a dear friend at the store and we had to be distant. Then I discovered the thing I tried to get CK in the pickup order wasn’t quite followed.

A student left a voicemail when I was in the store asking me to call back. I realized I was afraid of hearing someone had died. Realizing that is what is very likely coming for each of us; hearing terrible need of loss.

I found out that MSCC is closed until April 28, at the earliest. I’ll be paid the hours I should have worked through April 1, then I’ll be laid off, making me eligible for unemployment. I shouldn’t be surprised if it extends, possibly to June.

It all left me feeling rather down.

Then I called the student back. All is mostly well. It’s been a week since Yoga in Chairs, she and her husband are missing it and can’t remember the movements we do. Her husband began attending this winter after a stroke and the class has really supported his recovery.

A week without class is starting to show. Although he’s still physically stronger, but his other healing isn’t doing s as well. The many neuro-protective exercises I add to the class have been a big boost. It wasn’t until the classes abruptly stopped that they realized just how much I’m helping!

I reassured her that online classes were coming and I do online sessions if they want to come up with a sequence just for them. When she apologized for being so overwhelmed sounding I reminded her that we’re living in unprecedented times, overwhelm is part of the scenery here.

I am feeling proud of my work. I’m feeling despair that the only answer to this pandemic is to isolate. I miss my students.



I’m closer to online yoga and I connected via email with students today. I’m feeling sad without the connection to my students and the staff at MSCC.

I’m anxious, but I think it’s reasonable. We’re living in frightening times, my anxiety is shared widely.

I found myself getting anxious at the computer this afternoon. I finally made myself stop and I went outside with the dogs. I cleared out two raised beds, not even waiting to find my gloves.

Digging my hands into the earth and smelling the freshness of the dirt, the sharpness of the weedy cress that’s invading, helped me at least feel as though my sad, anxious energy is moving again. I just focused on the movement of my hands and thought about carrots, radishes, and fresh greens.


So it Goes

Today has been harder.

Anxious Brain got all wound up seeing peers already offering online classes, on top of the anxiety of these terrifying times. I'm making a space that will work well, which brings up shame for having any chaotic stress in the house at all, which brings up worries about money with everything shutting down, which brings up money shame, which makes Anxiety Brain certain I'm Not Doing Enough!

That’s my Tuesday. This is the state of Anxiety Brain and there’s very little reasoning with it, just have to soothe and wait it out. It is just whether it’s at today despite recording 2 videos, creating, and scheduling a newsletter yesterday, doing several chores, and figuring out how to move prescriptions to the mail-order pharmacy today. Despite several emails from students grateful for my newsletter.

Anxiety Brain is a jerk, mostly.

I contemplated takeout and was overcome with fear of sick people being obliged to make because they don't have healthcare and capitalism is built upon misery.

So we've learned that fear might be the best motivator for not getting takeout in favor of cooking the food you already have in there house.

In good news: my wife loves having me home to play Magic with her at lunchtime, plus my making lunch. I’ve received really touching messages from people who are missing me teaching as much as I am!


Brave New World

Day one of teaching hiatus: I put too much on my to-do list, normal for me. Got the most important thing done, newsletter goes out tomorrow!

I had a video chat with a dear friend. We discussed how to take social distant walks together. The dogs making a barrier?

I texted many dear people to let them know I'm thinking of them.

Letting our Brave New World unfold. I'm so grateful my wife's a software engineer for a very stable company.


Hunkering Down

Staying in all weekend isn’t that unusual for us. Tomorrow is when it starts to feel weird for me. CK gets back to remote work, but I’ve got nothing!

She helped me make a schedule for tomorrow. Trying to have some movement practice, chores, making a newsletter & video, and starting to make the Yoga Room be set up for video.

I made a chart for us to track temperature. While we don’t feel we’ve been exposed, I especially have been out around people. Considering staying put at least a week, then perhaps groceries and prescription meds.

What times we live in. Between time change and pandemic my sleep isn’t what it was!

My orchid from Grocery Outlet doesn’t care. It’s been in the process of making this first bloom since last year. This first flower is almost fully open.



The first day of not really going anywhere. We’re discussing a plan for monitoring for any sign of fever. Noting holes in my long stock up of long-storing food items.

I woke up early, needing to pee, and was surprised at the brightness of the room in the predawn. Then I noticed the snow.

I returned to my warm bed, in a house with a furnace programmed to come on when we rise and well stocked with food and medicines, and thought about the houseless women who sit just inside the community center I teach at. They keep not-quite warm, dry, and safe. There are toilets.

Yesterday the centers and libraries all closed. Warming shelters closed for the spring. Where did people go?

My Mother and I were briefly houseless when I was four after she was fired from her job. She blamed me for it. We went to live with my aunt and her two kids. My Mother also was in a car accident during this time which extended our time there.

It was a terrifying time in which I learned that no one in my family was on my side. None of the adults, therefore neither of my cousins by extension. I gained tremendous shame around money, a terror of being without a home, and a fear of “rocking the boat”.

This experience is one I’m currently integrating in therapy. I’m wondering if I’ll be going to my session on Tuesday. I don’t want to take a break, I want to keep taking care of it and getting past the way it undermines everything I think about money.

I’d meant to text more people and connect over teleconferencing with friends. Instead I tried not to fret too much, nor read a lot of news.


Social Distancing

Today I told the students who came out to my two Friday classes that I wanted them to stay home, to restrict contact, and to avoid the community center. It broke my heart a little.

A few hours later Portland Parks & Rec announced that all community centers were closed through March 31st. At least.

I’m worried about the houseless citizens who use the center to shelter and shower.

I depend on teaching to keep my energy balanced!

I practiced bowing gassho to people today.

I ran the last errands. We’re staying low, hunkering down except for essentials like prescriptions.

Let's all learn how to better connect without getting closer than 3-6 feet from one another. I told students to use this time to learn how to use tech for connecting. I'm going to bed making good on my talk of practice videos and mighty even try to live stream.

What strange days.