Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I don't mind the sun sometimes

A funny thing about Bikram yoga is that they always warn you to let go of your expectations and instead to be curious about the practice.  To let yourself just experience it without judgement.  This is difficult for me.  I have expectations.  I expect to get better, only better.  I expect to be uncomfortable.  I expect to struggle.  On days that I don't get better, I am frustrated.  On days that I do not feel the discomfort or the struggle the way I expect to, I wonder if I am not working hard enough.

The goal is not to think like this.  The goal is to notice, and breathe, and let it go.  Notice and let it go.  I notice that I used to be better at Bikram before the vertigo because then I was fearless about inversion.  In my current practice I regularly come up against a fear that stops me from tipping my head as far back as I know it can go.  It stops me from rolling as far forward as I know I can go.  I notice, and I cannot let it go.  The anticipation of dizziness prevents me from finding my edge.  That is, it prevents me today.  And maybe eventually it will not.


Sunday, July 09, 2017

start now, we'll be done by Easter

I received a call from my credit card company to tell me they suspected my card had been compromised.  We went over the charges together and they were right.  Someone was using my card at Bell Mobility, which is not a company I have ever used.  It's interesting how quickly it was caught - less than 12 hours.  I wonder how they do that.  Surely it has something to do with computers and not humans poring over incoming bills, but my brain couldn't stop conjuring up pictures of a roomful of workers tracking my movements based on my credit card.  "Oh, she's going into the grocery store! She's buying tomato soup for dinner." "She's on her way home.  She just stopped for gas."  "Wait, Bell Mobility?  No!  That can't be her.  Bell isn't on her route home!"


My neck muscles are weak.  This is indubitably from holding my dizzy head as straight as possible for two years to prevent an attack of the spins.  Now that I am using my neck again, allowing my head to move more, it is causing some strange sensations.  I am working to trust my body to be okay with this, to let the sensations enter my awareness, to notice them, to accept them, to let them pass through me.  Not to fight them.  To breathe through them and let them go.  It is a new exercise in self-discipline, and I like this kind of challenge.  By the end of summer I will get back my Ustrasana.


Tuesday, July 04, 2017


Summer is time for projects, and I have done many over the years.  Some gardening.  But painting and tiling, mostly.  (I enjoy these things - except for the weeding.  I now have a blow torch for the weeds, which makes it more tolerable.)  This year I have run out of things to tile, and very nearly run out of things to paint.  The only thing left to paint doesn't want to be painted yet.  I haven't finished thinking about it.

This leaves me with no projects, except one.  The project this summer is... me.

I have finally, finally, finally returned to daily yoga practice properly  - with no stops and starts, with consistency and focus.  And no dizziness.  None.  My apprehension is still there; I think that will take more time and practice.  But that is why it is called practice, and I am ready to practice.  With my dizzy inner ear at last acting normal, I have been able to do full inversions for the first time in two years.

It feels like starting over in some ways.  I can tell I have lost some of my strength, and some of my balance.  And yet .. the muscle memory is there.  It feels like spiritual awe to me when my brain cannot think of the next posture, but my body knows it, twists itself without me asking, to set up the next position, and the next.  Twenty-six of them, and they're all still there.  With practice they will be better.  I breathe in, I breathe out.  My body is doing what I am asking it to do again, and this feels better than anything else I know.

Tonight I went to "pyropilates", a class my yoga membership offers me for free.  I did not know what I was getting into.  Now, in the safety of my living room, I think I did something amazing.  At the time it was mortal suffering.  An hour of intense cardio and pilates in a hot room.  Hot.  I breathed a lot.  I might go back, maybe.  My body is not really a fan of the plank, but maybe that means I should make it plank more often.  It probably means that.


I had coffee with CE this morning.  She crossed the bridge in my direction, which was kind of her.  Toasted her retirement.  And talked about her future plans.  I think she will have a happy retired life.


There have been some tentative steps toward new friendships.  On their part, not mine, because I am cowardly like this.  I find reciprocating these gestures nerve wracking, a bit like dating.  I want to make a good impression without appearing to try too hard.  I want to be myself, but I want to be cool.  I want to be a cooler version of myself, less likely to spill something.  I wonder why I made friends so effortlessly when I was young, and now it feels so deliberate.  Sometimes I tell myself I have everyone I need in my life already.  And sometimes I tell myself to go ahead and crack open my chest and see what pours out - and in.


Friday, June 30, 2017

orphans and atheists not withstanding

This was the last day of work; now summer vacation.

Wrap up.  I gave a big speech before the staff in honour of CE's retirement.  This was somewhat difficult as a.) I do not particularly enjoy delivering speeches - Drama background notwithstanding, I am not a person who especially likes a microphone, b). CE is very special to me and her retirement means I will not see her very often anymore.

However, giving a speech is also cathartic, and I appreciated the opportunity to tell my colleagues how much she meant to me, and how much she (quietly) contributed without them even knowing. The feedback was warm, some in person and some text messages later in the evening.  I appreciated it all, because I am not confident about these kinds of things.  I have no doubt they knew I needed a little feedback.  (The quaver in my voice would have told them so if they were listening.)


The boss is also leaving, and I was invited to participate in that send off, another opportunity I appreciated.  My change in position in the school has resulted in great changes to my relationships with many people.  This is both wonderful and frustrating.  Wonderful to find that people are more human than I thought.  Frustrating that it takes a change in position to earn the right to know so.


CM was lovely.  She gave me her shirt, she gave me some dragons.  She told me my speech was beautiful, she told me some secrets.  Fuck I wish I had gotten to know her before she was leaving.


Monday, June 19, 2017

the evidence shows we are probably not alone

To have a hard conversation with someone you care about is significantly more difficult than to have that conversation with someone about whom you do not.  I teased around the topic with N a few times but could not bring myself to tell him directly that I was going to apply for the position of department leader - because I was assuming he would be hurt.  Today I addressed it directly, but only because the boss sent out the email asking for applicants, and because he was away today, I took the henhouse door and sent him an email instead of talking to him face to face.  It made me recognize that I do care about N, I care about him more than I thought I did.  I do not want to hurt his feelings. (He responded very kindly, telling me it was a good time to apply and that he would support me.  Of course this does not prove he was not hurt by my decision, but I hope he wasn't.  And I hope that I will be able to do as good a job as I want to.)  This is not a fait accompli because the new principal needs to approve my application.  But the outgoing one has offered her endorsement.


I talk about work a lot.  I think about work a lot.  A lot.


Saturday, June 17, 2017


T went home early yesterday, and it troubles me that I did not notice she was struggling to be there.  Or that she had a new haircut and colour.  When she texted to tell me both things, I was surprised by my lack of awareness.  This tells me that I need to slow down and notice.  Efficiency is important to me.  Getting things done is important to me.  And getting things off my desk is important to me.  But so should be noticing, so should be genuine concern, and so should be (buzzword) mindfulness.  Time to slow down and breathe.  Breathe.  And breathe.


The buttercups are taking over the yard, and with the mower broken there is not much we can do about it.  I borrowed a mower last week, but the rain has been relentless and things are growing faster than we can keep up.  Our mower won't be fixed for a couple more weeks, by which time the buttercups may have swallowed the house.  Being swallowed by a buttercup seems like a delightful way to die.  A is for Amy who fell down the stairs, B is for Boris devoured by bears... 


Yesterday I received a rather sharp nudge at the end of the day when my VP asked me if I would be attending a goodbye event for a colleague and I said no, because I wanted to finish my scheduling before going home for the weekend.  She said no, that the schedules would wait until Monday and that I should go and let her buy me a drink.  I did.  I have not had this sort of rapport with administration in the past where one would take interest in my work/life balance or where one would care enough to proffer a bribe.  It is a bit out-on-a-limb-like to consort with the enemy this way, but my revelation this year has been that the enemy is human too, and not so much an enemy as a shepherd; the nipping can feel unpleasant but it is intended to keep us together and safe.  (My view on this has been altered by having an office with a window.)  I drank a Caesar that came with three olives.  I wanted to drink six more of them (I didn't),  and I did not regret leaving the schedules until Monday.