Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Back in Class

I started teaching online today. 13 students came and they're stayed after for kirtan! It felt pretty good to be back at it.

I considered taking another week off since CK is still off, but I think I made the right choice to start. We still have the afternoon to connect, aside from tomorrow which is a therapy day.

We're both continuing to make progress on various house projects. I feel hopeful that tomorrow's session won't be too destabilizing. I haven't felt as much from Age 6 Sherri the past 2 weeks; there's been a lot happening and she's felt cared for.


Last Class

Today I taught one of my Super Soothe workshops, these focus on a warm up, restorative movement and held shapes, then 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra, a guided meditation. I've offered several of these over the years, especially for the Winter Solstice.

This year it was online. Like everything else. I foresee many online workshops next year, so teaching 2 at the end of this year helps me plan for how to do these better going forward.

Now for a couple of weeks off. CK and I are going to work on taxes, sending out some holiday gifts, delivering some gifts to friends & family in town, and house chores. We're also planning to make art, play games, watch movies, and play with the kitten.

Tomorrow I'm going to suggest we work on a rough daily schedule to give us both some structure. While she's on-call next week and kind of working, she's not expected to do many of the usual tasks that fall to the primary on-call person. We'll both be off for a while together.

I included a "process" shot from a greeting card I'm making for the Reddit card exchange. Showing the way I deconstruct things like advertising postcards to remove elements for my collage.



This morning I found out a friend has COVID. A good friend I've had a relationship with for close to 30 years! A friend who is at high risk for Long COVID fallout, who has a yet to be fully understood heart condition.

A friend who was by for a visit 20 days ago. She's roughly 10 days into it and the most likely contact point was from someone who'd isolated, tested negative, and came down from Seattle to visit after she had seen me. She's very mildly affected, in large part because she's been so diligent about isolating and wearing a mask.

It was a driveway visit and I wore my respirator/mask combo, but it is still the closest exposure I know about. It rather upset my apple cart, as CK says. That's on top of a truly lousy trauma body freakout the night before.

This led to me not being as prepared as I like to be for my Saturday Yoga of Freedom class. I wanted to talk more in depth about Larry Ward, but I just didn't have it in me.

So I talked about all this and less about Larry Ward's work. I still included it and I focused the physical practice on how to care for knees, since a friend who comes regularly has been having a lot of knee pain all week. It was a small group of students, so it worked. We all felt the support of community.

This all helped me, although I've felt significantly tired all day long. We're going to press hard tomorrow to get several things prepared for me to mail on Monday. I'm very aware of how late it is and how much I want to do tomorrow!


Late Night Slides

I'm going to teach another new workshop tomorrow, Yoga for Grief. Since it's new I didn't advertise it much at all beyond putting it on my newsletter. Four really wonderful people have signed up!

I feel both knowledgeable and like a complete fraud. Fairly normal, really. It feels very delicate stepping into this area, but use what I want to be doing!

So I'm up too late because I was checking over the slides I made. Another advantage to being online is having slides instead of a handout! In there morning I'll send a PDF to folks!

Gratuitous kitten in my hoodie shot!


Teach Where You’re At

Last night I unexpectedly got a chance to teach yoga to people in person and it was really a great mood lifter!

I was doing our traditional Thanksgiving week late night grocery trip. This year CK stayed at home, she's only left the house 4 times since March.

I was complimented on how well the folks at the checkout could hear me through my MegaMask combo of a respirator-style mask with protection against aerosols and a cloth mask to filter my exhalations.

I commented that I'm, "Professionally loud!". I explained that as a yoga therapist who works with older adults, many of whom are low hearing, I strive to speak loudly and clearly.

The younger of the two commented that they had wanted to try yoga but were too worried about their back. I said that back's are a specialty because of my personal journey.

Then I taught the two folks helping me how to do "ledge dog", which is a downward facing dog using whatever sturdy ledge is at hand. In this case the checkout stand! Soon I had FOUR people doing it together and groans of relief were heard.

I passed out cards, told folks to sign up online for free videos.

Truly, a joy. The first in-person yoga I've taught since March.

The MegaMask is my featured image. It's a 3M respirator with filters for aerosols, this is what I also use when we have terrible smoke from forest fires. Over it I modified a very basic cloth mask from Athleta. It's been stitched along the bottom to help tighten it up around the 3M mask exhaust vent. This edge is then further taped down to ensure that my exhalation is filtered through a cloth mask. While I'm not ill, this signals to folks that this is what we all do when we care about each other.


Safe to Feel

I received one of those compliments that leaves me bemused and wondering.

In yoga class today we acknowledged the anger, the rage we’re feeling. I stressed that anger is a valid response to an unjust world. I shared what I learned about anger from acupuncture; it’s the energy of spring, the power of the shot to break the shell of the seed.

We acknowledged the way women are taught to stuff down our rage lest we be labeled, “an angry woman”. How much shame comes up around anger.

I was humbled to hear that they are so grateful I have created a safe space for them to feel and express their anger!

I’m someone who feels fearful and ashamed of my anger, but I’m trying to embrace it now. I’m learning to pay attention to what it is trying to tell me.

Obie made a guest appearance today. He’s been very social and extra hungry today.


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.


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.



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.


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.