Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.

21Aug/200

Impending Birthday

I realized that in one week I'll be 51. I'm taking a few days off and we're going to try to truly staycation for my birthday, not try to pack it with household tasks.

I've felt pretty spent today, I'm not helped by falling into some of our low shrubs at 4:45 this morning trying to stop Bertie from foraging for apples during an urgent potty break. I also walked into spider webs, so my early morning hours were not ideal.

While my emotions were not running along to weeping at every turn today, I still am feeling a lot of grief for the state of the world right now. Between the disaster of this presidency continues to unfold daily in new ghoulishness, and the pandemic that doesn't seem to be slowing down because people are still largely ignoring safety precautions, I'm feeling despair.

This also means our tenth wedding anniversary is just around the corner. We're picking out a new greenhouse to mark the occasion. We found out that the 10th anniversary is the Aluminum Anniversary and the greenhouse frame is made from it. I want to get or have us make a plaque for it.

I'm trying to focus on ideas I have to make our staycation anniversary special and how grateful I am to be here. I found out we can get all of the dog and cat food, aside from the special food Obie eats from the vet, delivered to the house for free. Finding more ways to keep me out of stores.

I'm also going to reduce my Saturday classes, the Yoga of Freedom, to 2 weekends a month starting next month. Facilitating social justice discussing for white people online, plus yoga and presenting a new voice each class as a theme, turns out to be really tiring. Doing this will make it so there's one weekend each month where I don't have any planned facilitation or teaching of any kind.

15Jul/200

Goodbye Yoga Props

When I got my teaching certificate I had a dream of becoming a "yoga studio on demand". I could show up anywhere within driving distance and set up a class with props for 10.

After leaving tech I expanded my inventory. I made a capital investment to purchase bolsters, two types, and more straps. More I could offer Restorative Yoga anywhere.

For a while it was great. I rented dance studios and made them yoga studios for small classes. When those dwindled to the point I was paying to put them on and no one would show up, I stopped.

They props lived in the van, four large Rubbermaid cases and one big suitcase to hold them all, until we needed it. Then they moved to the garage.

Now there's COVID. I won't be teaching in person anywhere for a long time. The props were taking up space now.

Today I sold them a huge discount to the Om Thrive Foundation. The Foundation supports survivors of domestic violence and was created by an amazing Black woman, Day Bibb. The bolsters, blocks, and blankets will be packaged up to be delivered to participants in the program.

I was so happy dropping them off today that I nearly cried.

Getting straps, which can be triggering to domestic abuse survivors (I absolute get this), to students and friends. Ditto for mats.

5Jul/200

Freedom

Some things my students named this morning when I asked them to share what freedom meant to them:

  • Choices
  • Love
  • Inclusive/Including & Responsibility
  • Movement
  • Breathe
  • Good sense to live a life of service to others
  • Lightness, ease, & abundance

I then asked them to notice how related all these things are. Then we considered how each thing on the list is not a fixed point.

If we stop attending to our abundance we no longer have abundance.

In this way we began to unpack the wise words of Angela Davis, that freedom is a constant struggle.

I spent much of the rest of the day trying not to feel enraged at every shriek of group laughter from the neighbor's. It's 01:05 and I just heard another firework.

I loathe the Fourth of July with a passion this year especially.

4Jun/200

Growth Opportunity

I find myself in the role of helping white Boomer women understand they cannot help but be racist sometimes. We are steeped in hundreds of years of it, living in a country built in it. Oregon itself was founded as a white paradise with laws in place prohibiting Black people from settling here.

I find it a little astonishing to be here. Teaching my Mother's peers how to be better than she was willing to be. Six years ago I'd never have imagined this.

Grateful my back isn't hurting as much today. I took a nap when I realized that I was feeling down on myself and worthless, plus unable to even concentrate on a video game!

Grocery shopping manages to be tedious still, trying to get what you want all in over go is nearly impossible. Learning to make do and be creative anchor meals now and more.

8May/200

Seventy-five Thousand

75,477 people have died. This number is low since the CDC website is showing the Thursday tally at end of day Friday.

The lack of mourning and outcry feels increasingly wrong. This is why I'm making art every other day to show this growing number. I can't look away.

I have a friend, another yoga therapist, who had been been contacted by the Contact Tracing network that's been created in Oregon. She had a terrible virus on February, she's been in close contact with three folks who've tested positive. She'd tested negative, but that batch has had several false negatives.

I practiced saying out loud to her that I wouldn't be going back to in person teaching until a virus is available. I don't feel it's ethical to encourage my students to gather in groups. I'd rather keep getting them online!

30Mar/200

Ups and Downs

Had some unexpected, positive news today. Something that connects to the work I’ve been doing to promote my Aging into Vitality practice, an invitation to connect with a professional, medical group for “Lifestyle Medicine”!

I also had 14 people, at least, come to online chair yoga today! I upgraded to the pro account and we now have plenty of time for people to say hello and connect. I’m excited to get this all going despite being fixated about how I look on camera.

These things helped keep my mood up, and I’m so grateful as it is hard not to get down. Between thoughts of my Mother & family and watching the infection & death rates climb, it can feel heavy. After doing some cleaning I finally took a short nap with the dogs on the sofa, I can’t make it through most days without a nap.

Am I doing enough to protect us? Am I keeping well or collapsing? I worry about this most times I take a nap. What will the new normal be?

25Mar/200

Highs and Lows

I held a Yoga in Chairs today and 14 people came! The online teaching thing is working! This filled me with energy and gratitude!

By bedtime the weight of the rising infection and death rates rising, set against the backdrop of politicians demanding that we get back to work, siphoned off the morning’s energy and took more on top of that.

I felt exhausted all afternoon. Lunch depleted me. I made the effort to make up a slightly different version of tofu salad and didn’t enjoy it. Food felt hard today.

A student got hit by a fraud attack, falling for a PayPal-themed social engineering after paying me online. People can be so terrible.

I finished making a card for a kid who just had her birthday Monday and was really bummed put that everything got cancelled. That helped as I felt increasingly sad all day, I’ll mail it tomorrow, maybe along with another handmade postcard.

24Mar/200

Online Teacher

Yesterday I tried a mini class and there were a lot of bumps. Today I did another one, four students came, and people paid me!!

I’ve felt so behind my peers getting to this point, needing to manage my anxiety and prioritize my family. I’m so grateful CK’s job is secure in all this crises; I didn’t have to scramble and could take a week to become an online teacher.

There’s still some fine tuning, better directions for my students, but I’m so grateful to be at this point! I’m getting yoga and community to people again.

The weirdness that comes up for me around financial success, that’s my normal and why I’m an exception for in-person therapy right now.

20Mar/200

Bittersweet

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.

18Mar/200

Celebrating & Mourning Resilience

This whole pandemic thing is making my anxiety unhappy. I’m really grateful for dogs, they bring joy to us every day. It wasn’t an easy day and I was extra happy to hang out in the sunshine in our yard with them this afternoon.

I've worked so hard the past several years to get my nervous system out of the state were I can'tsleep because I'm sure it isn't safe. My hypervigilance is flared up, telling me that it has been right all this time, the world isn’t safe!

I went to therapy in person. SAFE/EMDR cannot be done remotely. It really isn't safe. While therapists ate being encouraged to use an online tool, they are allowed to make exceptions for folks who have “complex cases”.

Like mine. Yay, I’m Complex. I get to keep working on my trauma history that drowns me in shame, especially where it interacts with money. I’m really relieved I have this option even if it is a mixed bag.

I’m so angry. I’ve spent the past five years reinventing and healing myself after tech burnout/Mom breakdown. I was just getting going and now I’m stopped. I got our yoga room more organized today so I can start doing online classes. More reinventing. It isn’t wasted, but it is exhausting and sad.

My therapist was thrilled to hear that I had already asked CK to help me out with my sudden loss of job. I’m already aware how much teaching helps me manage my mental health.

We worked a little on the current memory. It revealed some details that left me celebrating how resilient I was, and am. How I found my own ways to soothe myself, I had to since my Mother was unable to set an example of this. I began finding creative ways to isolate and soothe from my terrifying family at such a young age.

I was such a bad ass, compassionate, peaceful little kid.

I’m integrating the rage I feel because I had to become that kid. I love her and I’m amazed at her, again and again. Between my family and the 70s/80s, no one was looking out for her.