Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Cancel Thanksgiving

I forgot creamer when I went to the store to order CK's turkey. It felt like a failure.

I thought I'd run to another market, but CK said she'd rather I hold off making that trip until I need things next week for Thanksgiving next week.

Fred Meyer stores, Kroger, have the same careless, "Don't confront non-mask wearing customers" policy that lead me to stop shopping at Natural Grocers. It is so heartless to the employees and customers.

COVID rates hit a new record daily. People still want their fucking Thanksgiving.

I'm so angry I thought about screaming again but I haven't learned how to without losing my voice. I actually cried for a few minutes because I couldn't even think about making art.

After some art studio organization so I can set up the gift from a friend tomorrow, I felt able to make a comic about feeling so sad and angry today. I get 2 of 3 chores I myself done and told the Inner Jerk to, "Fuck Off!", because it isn't the end of the world if there's wrinkles in the laundry.

The kitten rides my shoulders! While folding laundry! He also flops into my hand or up against my body with tiny, happy squeaks, and goes to sleep.

I'm not sure how this will work if he grows into a big kitty, but it's pretty delightful now. Kittens definitely help the moments where I feel the losses of 2020 so keenly.


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.


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!


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.


Ballots Ho!

Our ballots arrived in the mail today. We plan to fill them out and turn them in this weekend.

Thinking about the election riles up my anxiety.

We coming to terms with Thanksgiving in isolation. Back in March I think I had some hope that we'd all celebrate together by late. By June I'd lost that hope, but it's sinking in now that it's only weeks out.

Our big hope now is finding pumpkin pie we can each eat. Separate pies. I'm still sad that Back to Eden Bakery is gone due to COVID. So many delicious Thanksgiving celebrations with pies from them.

More napping today. Therapy, stayed up way too late and the bulldog needed a 2am potty.

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Respite for Obie

Getting Obie back on the digestive medication relieved his distress. I also started giving him the pet CBD more often, plus a single drop of human grade a few times a day. This combination of keeping him more comfortable, so less meowing incessantly.

The past two days have felt so hard, liked I'm pushing through quicksand to get anything done. Surprisingly, we ended the weekend with all the clothing laundry caught up, the kitchen clean, and 2/3 of the floors upstairs done. CK hung shelves in the den today.

I'm trying hard to keep moving. When I'm not moving, I'm focusing on my breath, the feeling of the Earth beneath me. I'm not staying in the fear and despair, but it is work and I'm tired.

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Too Much

Obie has been crying for 2 days. Following me and meowing with ravenous hunger. Today he was doing it pretty much all day long despite trying to give him a little did every hour. Tonight we finally got him back on the medicine for gastrointestinal distress and gave him a drop of human grade CBD since the animal one didn't seem to soothe his agitation at all.

He's laying calmly for the first time all day. He went back into the yoga room while I did dishes. I think he's worn out from agitation.

Today the smoke finally cleared and the rain arrived in a flurry of lighting in the early morning hours. I was awoken by the bright flashes lighting up the bedroom, worrying about the tinder dry trees.

When thunder caught up the rain fell heavily for a while. The dogs and CK all woke up too, for a while we had Bertie in the bed shivering because he's afraid of storms.

In the afternoon CK shared the news that Ruth Bader Ginsberg had died. GOP ghoul, Mitch McConnell, immediately began politicizing filling her place on the Supreme Court.

Then CK shared a significant roadblock for plans we're trying to get underway. A COVID roadblock. I know we'll figure what to do.

All of that hit me so hard this afternoon. All of today after months of COVID changes, a week of being sealed up inside our house, and the past years of the Trump adminstration. I closed myself in the bedroom and just cried until my asthma kicked up and made me cough.

We celebrated the sound of rain and the joy of fresh air flowing in through all the open windows.


Another Day, Another Disaster

Parts of Oregon burned overnight. More burned, continues to burn. Places I went as a kid, places I had family or friends, places I went to with friends, a place I started my yoga therapy journey.

Places I love.

Unlike the Eagle Creek Fire 3 years ago, which devastated a beloved wilderness area, these fires are taking out small towns, hot springs, lodges and homes.

A friend shared with me today that a place she’d just sent me photos of, the home of friends’ she’s visited for over 20 years, is gone.

On a call with my yoga community and we talked about the load people are dealing with. In Portland that load is:

Ghouls in Charge of COVID Response/Country
Election/Post-election Chaos
Protests Against Police Violence (100+ days)
Fire Season Burning Away Oregon/West Coast

Then we have our cat dying.

Thankfully WE are growing closer and stronger together.


Obie vs. Pills

Obie got his first pill Thursday night, the over that's to help him stop vomiting. It was a pretty easy experience.

This morning I attempted the first steroid dose this morning. They are bitter and it didn't go smoothly. I got it in him, booty he also scratched me and drew blood in 6-7 places!

Bless AF who saw my tweets and offered up interim gel capsules to put bitter pills into and a pill popper tool. I choose to combine both his second doses of steroid and stomach pills into one capsule. Rather than give him 3 pulls daily.

I also wrapped him up. He still managed to bite me, no short sleeves for this job, but I got the pill into him more quickly.

We'll see how he does with the whole procedure and if the medication helps. The stomach one we're hopeful about, her hasn't thrown up in a few days.


So Much Grief

My memory of feeling worthless, not valued enough to be kept safe, is different in that it doesn’t directly involve my Mother. Instead it involves witnessing the caregiver I was left with abusing her children. I was accustomed to physical abuse within my family and was terrified this woman would come after n me next.

Something about this particular memory awakens profound grief. Combined with all the grief I feel about COVID, businesses I love closing, Black Lives Protestors being continually brutalized by police, the corrupt GOP, and our cat having cancer.

It leaves me feeling so tender, with tears right at the surface. This is a state I find painfully vulnerable, I do not have a friendly relationship with tears, still. It says something that I’m able to say that rather than “I hate crying”!

I said to students Tuesday that grief is so big at times, but e we keep working with it until it’s like a small, precious stone we set on the altar. We ultimately each create our internal Room of Grief where each precious stone lives.

I like this, I want to write more about it, but this beginning bit, when it’s all so much at once and so big, how to hold space for that? That’s the part I want to be better at.