June 26, 2009

I feel much better now.

Kids are leaving tomorrow, and I am not falling apart at the seams.

My hand is still broken, but I ran six miles today. I have no idea how that happened either other than the putting one foot in front of the other.

No time for yoga today (what with running and taking the kids swimming), but I did lay on my 55 cm ball to stretch things out.

My arthritic fingers are noduled up in full force these past few days – hand surgeon says it relates to the stress of having broken my hand. But I’m alright. My fucking reconstruction is looking worse (to me) every day. But I have a plan.

Maybe all this good cheer is simply the result of having a housekeeper these past two weeks. It’s so much easier to keep at the fingerprints and the dog hair when someone else is doing the bathrooms, the sheets and towels and the vacuuming. That said, I look forward to really polishing this place up this summer and moving the kids toys – all of em – to the newly finished basement. Assuming that it actually is finished one of these days. Right now, the walls, floor, ceiling, lighting, doors, bathroom – all done. What remains is the paint job. Then it’s time to get the place up and running as a full-on recreation room (my yoga room needs nothing but paint of course).

So, someone called me a chicken shit today – an anonymous commenter. Ha. I am so NOT chicken shit just because I choose not to suffer unduly. Not that I owe an explanation. But I felt like giving one anyway.



Modifications, Flexibility, Strength…it’s not about the yoga.

June 25, 2009

So, there I was, all cock-sure and arrogant about being able to cold-turkey rehab myself off of some pychotropics on which I have made myself dependent over a period of more than a decade. For a few days, it was nice. All of the smiles with far less of the irritability that seems to come from the dosage being higher than my current needs. I liked the cold-turkey idea.

But apparently, it did not like me. After watching Transformers (stupidest successful movie ever; yes Megan Fox is hotness personified, but holy Shia Lebouf, where was MY eye candy? And re Megan Fox…hot yes, but I was disturbed and taken out of the moment in the movie when occasionally the camera captured her in the background of the frame, wearing what appeared to be a slack-faced look of utter stupidity that could not have been, and surely was not intended to be, acting. But yes, she is hawt. Like a steam engine hot.), I drove my kids home, put them to bed and suddenly found my eyes watering, leaking salty fluid onto my cheeks. What is this? When was the last time I wept? I couldn’t say. I don’t know if I ever weep, per se, where nothing is really going on, and yet I just start crying.

I am going to miss my kids terribly, that is for sure. But weeping two nights before they leave? Certainly, they are the lights in my life, providing me with seemingly endless entertainment, giggles, engagement in good thought, engagement in strategic planning, filling my heart with pride every single day. Every. Single. Day.

Something was wrong. Clearly. I pondered. I was weeping. If I have been working on ANYTHING these past few years in yoga, in psychoanalysis, in meditation, it has been to try to be GOOD to myself.

Of course, the other side is the valid argument against psychotropics: what is WRONG with some negative emotion? What is wrong with feeling our feelings?

I let the two sides debate it in my head as I alternately enjoyed this novel feeling of feeling deep, unmitigated sadness over the upcoming seven weeks without the joy of my children right here in my house, tears leaking out of my eyes in puddles and streams, while realizing, this isn’t going to help me function tomorrow. Feeling one’s angst is all well and good, and no drug should remove all of it the way I feel my drug of choice has been doing for years. But does one need to weep until their eyes look like they’re bleeding? Does one need to kiss one’s child good night and run out of the room choking down a throat full of mourning? And what if the mourning is way out of proportion to the events being mourned? Isn’t there some level of appropriate affect to be used as a threshold test?

I got on my computer and looked up withdrawal symptoms and half-life for the drug in question. I saw very sane things written, things that resonated about wanting to feel all emotions, even sadness, but not wanting to collapse into non-functionality. I lay in bed and pictured myself today, on my kids’ last day home before camp. And I pictured myself picturing horrible things happening to them, to us. Bus crashes. Car crashes. Food poisoning. Aneurisms. Choking incidents. Things that have no place in a functional mind, with the exception of the occasional pass-through that makes little or no impact. These images, on the other hand, had major impact. I began praying to God, apologizing to God for not believing before. I wanted him to take away the images, which I can only describe as akin to the voices heard in A Beautiful Mind. You KNOW they are wrong. But you can’t make them go away. You CAN ignore them. But I was finding them rushing at me with such velocity that I knew I would remain vigilently in battle mode.

Who wants that?

And so, I went downstairs to where I have been keeping my stash and took a stepped-down dose of my pills. And I passed calmly into sleep, woke up with a spring in my step and am actually able to talk about this today, without shame, without fear, as if I were talking about someone else, as if I were describing a character in a movie.

I look FORWARD to crying real tears again someday when the time is appropriate. Not when I am responding to made up waking-nightmare images that I can’t seem to banish from my head. Not when I am responding to nothing really in particular other than sending my kids off to the exact place they are literally DESPERATE to go.

For now, I am back on this lowered dose, and I consider that to be a modification. Or an exercise in flexibility. To this I will add the strength to structure a step-down program that will be, to the extent it feels healthy, VERY structured, with dates and amounts written and planned in a calendar, and tied to the healing of my broken hand, whose unexpected inherent disappointments has added a layer of pathos to my life, which perhaps makes a cold-turkey withdrawal not right for ME at this time. Maybe it would be right for me at another time, or for someone else at this time. But for me, the same way that I have to face the fact that the arthritis in my wrists is going to keep me from ever having the kind of Full Wheel that I would wish to have (because it just fucking HURTS like a MUTHAFUCKAH to support any portion of my weight on wrists bent at 90 degrees), I have to face that this is not the right time to go cold turkey. Give me a rehab center and a rubber room and a daily group session and my own crisis counselor, and yeah, I could do it. But seeing as I am just living my life here now, I think this modified plan is best.


Getting clean

June 23, 2009

I find it interesting that “clean”, so long (and still) associated with being free from drugs and alcohol, is now a word that describes a way of eating that does not give rise to guilt. More specifically, “clean eating” is another way of saying “virtuous eating” or “not making a pig of myself”. Sure, for some people, it means more avocado, olive oil and tofu, while for others it means more lean meat, red wine and iceberg lettuce. But ultimately, it is used to refer to partaking in foods that are not “bad foods”, whatever they are.

I try never to use the word to refer to food. I do use it to refer to what I have been doing to my house these days, both inside and outside. I prefer clean, uncluttered lines. I prefer closets that could double as rooms, or nooks, as it were. I prefer gardens that are fairly symmetrical and orderly, although definitely NOT formal gardens (although I reserve the right to some day create one).

Today, I cleaned the back porch, which, due to the endless (16 of 18 days, or 17 of 19, can’t remember which) rain in June, has begun to grow its own ecosystem on the floor between the flagstones. Can you say “ew”? I may have gone camping once, and I may enjoy hiking in the woods; I even enjoy digging in the dirt. But unidentified mosses and the like growing on grout just disgusts me to no end. And this, theoretically is my summer yoga studio. The downstairs yoga room is supposed to be my winter studio. It’s just gotten a LOT of use these days, unfortunately.

It was yucky. Bleach galore. And then water galore to dilute the bleach so it doesn’t kill the plants growing along the sides of the porch.

Another horrid side effect of the endless rain? BUGS. Not in my house, but on my plants. Plants that never saw any insect damage before are lacy with holes, the handiwork of hungry bugs brought out by the excessive moisture in the air. I don’t understand the connection. But I have been told that bugs are out in force this spring/summer due to the rain.

I realize this is boring as hell.

I also had my MRI today, to check whether my left implant has ruptured. Yeah, fun. I fell asleep. Pretty impressive, if I do say so myself. I guess I can never claim to be claustrophobic. I am very very very low grade anxious about the results…like what if they see something they weren’t even looking for, if you know what I mean…? But that’s what I thought when I had my head CT to diagnose my deviated septum. So nothing new there.

Anyway, still boring.

So, yeah, speaking of clean, I’ve decided to go cold turkey on some of the meds on which I have been dependant since seven years ago, when I was diagnosed with cancer. Tapering doesn’t work for me. Maybe cold turkey won’t either. But tapering gave me too much to ponder. Too complicated. Cold turkey is much better for me. I think. We shall see. It’s been two days, and so far so good.

Hand-disabled yoga later today.


How to Do Ashtanga

June 19, 2009

I thought THIS was LOL-hilarious on so many levels, including the notion of TELLING your teacher how to put you into the pose. I want to find more Ashtanga how-to’s so I can giggle…and be elitist for just another moment because I kind of miss that now that I have kicked myself out of the cult.

I am in WAY better spirits today, in spite of the rain, which I had better be getting used to seeing as it has shown no signs of stopping any time soon. And here is a goofy, overly maudlin analogy to go with that notion: Today as I was walking around my property, like I do most mornings, I was taking note of the insane growth of many of my shade-loving perennials and shrubs and of how my sun-lovers are kind of stunted for the most part. I was feeling a bit cross about that, when Adam, my 10-year old, brought my attention to the brook that runs along one side of the front yard. He wanted to show me how the water level was the highest he’s ever seen it. What I noticed was that next to the brook was a rogue Hosta – a highly-prized shade-loving perennial that costs good money to purchase in a nursery, and is often a waste of time around here because the deer consider it to be their version of a gourmet mesculun salad. Yet there it was. In the wild. I certainly hadn’t planted it. And it wasn’t there last year. Would it be gilding the lily to note that next to the Hosta was a patch of Lamium? Another perennial that I have never seen available in the wild?

I haven’t decided whether to leave these endlessly-rainy-season prizes where they are or to transplant them to beds where I already have already cultivated some of their kind. But I kind of found myself cheered by the fact that I have that choice now.


Enough with the whining and bitching

June 18, 2009

Some days I just want to do yoga. Especially on days when it is torentially downpouring and being outdoors is impossible. Today was one of those days. And I spent my entire morning, mourning. Bitching, moaning. Negativity. Was so depressed that I went out of the house without noticing that my shirt was on backwards.

Came home, complained some more. Tried to envision a summer with no vinyasa, just asana, and not even any inversions.

And then I just said ENOUGH.

I got on my mat and did 10 modified sun salutations (Inhale arms up, exhale fold forward, inhale look up, exhale fold forward, inhale arms up, exhale samasthiti – second five with utkatasana). Felt great. Then all of Standing – but grabbing opposite elbows in Parsvotanasana, and stabilizing myself against a wall for the two standing balancing poses, and when it came time to do the vinyasa leading to Utkatasana and the Virabadrasanas, I did the following: INhale arms up, EX fold, IN look up, EX step back into a lunge…and then a series of lunges on the one side, leading to Hanumanasana, then the other side, finished with Utkatasana and then sat down for Primary.

In between each pose (not in between sides, at least not today), I did Navasana, then crossed ankles and skootched forward for forearm plank, lowered into sphinx, then pushed back to Virasana. Then got into the next pose. When it came time for Navasana, I did Ardha Navasana in between instead of pressing up. When it came time for Bujapidasana, I got up and did a bound Parsvakonasana, then Tarasana instead of Kurmasana. Didn’t thread through for Garba, but rolled back and forth in Lotus pose, and the rest of Primary was totally doable.

Did an unbound Pasasana (prayer hands), Krounchasana, Salabhasana, then Ustrasana. Then instead of Urdvha Dhanurasana, I pressed up on my forearms. Then I turned around to the wall and did Pincha against the wall (for stability…can’t play with weight bearing on different parts of the hand when wearing a cast!). Then Plow, to Karna Pidasana to the Lotus version of Karna Pidasana to headstand to the Three Seated Finishing poses, minus Uth Pluthi.

And I feel good!!!


I just don’t want to get all sullen about my modifications. I know that this is only temporary, and I just have to remember that…


She was thin, thin, thin.

June 18, 2009

“Ruth Lauer-Manenti, a senior Jivamukti teacher, relayed the story of how she first went to Mysore to practice with Pattabhi Jois. “Sharon Gannon [director and co-founder of Jivamukti] had just come back from Mysore. She was thin, thin, thin. She looked kind of green and she had a dislocated shoulder. She said, Ruth, you gotta go. So I went the next day.”” —- Yoga Nation

I’m not sure I understand the point of this anecdote, which was relayed at the memorial for SKPJ in NYC earlier this week. All I know is that standing where I stand right now, the prospect of a dislocated shoulder, severe weight loss and a green complexion would have me running in the opposite direction.

That said, I am working towards balance in my life. And that means not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Ashtanga has done a lot of good for me. The negatives that I see should not define it for me, and I don’t think they do.


so pretty…so natural…so bye bye

June 17, 2009

Apparently, while I was off somewhere paying attention to really important things like how to get my head up my own ass while backbending and twisting at the same time, I missed the men’s magazine that voted Sarah Jessica Parker the Unsexiest Woman of the Year (or of all time, not sure which).

That sucks. That truly sucks not just for her but for the rest of us when the woman being dissed looked like the photo above.

Is it any wonder that she went ahead and removed her mole and surgically stapped on some skin-colored melons to try to fit into mass media’s idealized version of a hard-bodied stick figure with giant mammaries and feet that were made for walking in red-soled stiletto platforms?

Sigh. It’s not her fault really, exactly. It’s more like she is just trying to get by in this highly demented and mysogynistic world we live in. Sure, we could wish that she could have bucked the trend. But why should we expect that?

Oh, and speaking of boobs…looking into a whole nother procedure. The breaking of the hand has liberated me somewhat…if I can’t do yoga for two months, might as well be recovering from major surgery too….Fingers crossed…this one seems like a good one if I should be so lucky to qualify…