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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Observing The Other Side Of Life

"I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit."
~ Dawna Markova

I don't believe in Death, but in rebirth. Even still I can not help but feel helpless and full of grief when I visit aging relatives, terminally ill family/friends, or attend funerals. In fact, I am afraid of these situations, not because I am afraid of death, but rather afraid of the feeling of helplessness that overwhelms me when I am faced with it.

Yoga teaches us that we are all connected, what I do to/for you, I do to/for myself. I know this to be true for me, but when there is nothing I can do to help and am left with the position to "watch" the aging, illness, dieing, or what have you, I tend to avoid these situations. Avoidance=Guilt as I resist what I am observing.

Today I sit and blog because I am procrastinating having to travel to a funeral for someone on one side of the family and visit my aging Aunt and Grandparents on the other side of the family. To top this off, I'll be seeing a dear friend who's light is almost gone from her eyes due to substance abuse and care-taking of a child who may not live past age 7.

In most situation I am a helper, not an observer. I tend to observe and follow with action.

In the situations above I feel helpless and I become the observer fraught with guilt.

I went to my 1st funeral in Kindergarten for a neighbor named Mr. Purty. I did not understand what that meant, I just knew he was no longer there when I walked over for a visit. Around this same time I found a dead squirrel and I tried to bring it back to life, but could not, so I buried it, just like they did Mr. Purty.

I come from a huge family, so I have since been to many funerals and hospitals and I prefer the ones where they celebrate the life of the person rather than focus on the death. These deaths have all been due to age and I wonder if they lived like the quote above? That is worth celebrating.

I have also had 3 friends die very young from cancer or complications from surgery due to cancer. One was one of my best friends from high-school & Freshman year roommate in collage. I traveled from Dallas to Houston to see this friend in the hospital and finally when she was at home on hospice. I remember clearly sitting with her parents and them planning her funeral while she lay in the next room, while they should have been planning a wedding or some other event for a young twenty-something. I also remember clearly reading the "do not resuscitate" papers on the kitchen counter. I wanted to run away from this. The last thing I did for her was spoon feed her a dream-cicle flavored snow cone (she died two days later). The other two were twins of a friend I consider family. The first twin was actually present when my friend above died. Right after she died he found out he had cancer and died within a few months. I went to see him in the hospital several times too. I will never forget the face of his mother at his funeral or the screams she let out over his coffin. His twin became ill with the same cancer his twin had a couple of years later and then passed from complications of surgery. I had not seen the family in years when I attended the second funeral, but his mother had the same look in her eyes and tremble in her body when she hugged me. The brother of the twins (one of my dearest friends) felt helpless and guilty through each brother's illness. He too struggled with just observing.

So, here I sit reflecting on the many deaths I have witnessed and realize that I have the same feeling at each funeral, whether I knew the person well or not. Is it because I have always believed death to be more of a re-birthing, even when I was raised to think otherwise? If I believe this, then why do I feel the need to move beyond Observer to more of a care-taker position? Why do I embrace guilt as a punishment for my lack of care-taking abilities?

As for aging and my Grandparents and my Aunt, every time I see them I feel sad and helpless. My inner child remembers them differently and wants them back the way they were. My Grandparents helped raise me and my Aunt never had children, so she always treated her nieces and nephews as her own. I adopted her an as an honorary Grandmother years ago. Last time I saw my aunt in the retirement home she said,"Get me out of here!" and then bit me. I left (without her) telling myself I would never go back. I am going back tomorrow and she is in even worse shape now and has since moved to a nursing home. My Grandparents are a whole other story, but when I see them I am happy-sad for lack of a better word. I could help them so much more, but I choose not to. Observer guilt setting in.

In any case, it is time to stop procrastinating while I live a life I can be proud of. I am proud of myself for facing my fears for the next few days and my intention is to be okay with being the observer. I'll do my best.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Choosing Silence

As a whole, we are all much more busy and less focused than ever. We are overstimulated with constant communication. We get upset when we can not get a hold of someone in 3 minutes. ***hold on a text just came in***

We are so busy trying to connect with others that we have ceased connecting with ourselves and in doing so our emotions are no longer stable, but rather in a state of flux. Much like this:

As I was saying, we are constantly multi-tasking in order to connect with others. We can blog, text, email, shop, and listen to the horrible news on the TV all at once. ***hold on, gotta go get some juice for my kiddo***

We have this unyielding need (desire) to work more, volunteer more, buy more, be more (beautiful, social, educated, etc..). ***Oh look, Mike's status on Facebook indicates he is doing absolutely nothing at the moment, but isn't he on Facebook?***

I don't think we know how to do "nothing" anymore. I think it's a problem. This is simply my opinion and nobody asked for it, but for the sake of being too idle, I thought I would muse a bit.

We are simply too busy, yet we keep piling on more!

I have been off of my anxiety medication for six months now and while I live with a constant state of panic, a heaviness in my chest, I am determined to relieve my anxiety as naturally as I can this time. I have put in countless hours of research regarding anxiety and here are the symptoms I have found that I live with almost constantly unless I am teaching or practicing yoga. Truly, these two times are the only times I find peace.

I Experience:

* Feelings of apprehension or dread
* Trouble concentrating
* Feeling tense and jumpy
* Irritability
* Restlessness
* Feeling like my mind has gone blank
* Pounding heart
* Stomach upset
* Shortness of breath
* Muscle tension
* Headaches
* Fatigue

While anxiety is the natural and healthy response to fight or flight, having these sensations constantly indicate I have a problem. While I would love to spend 24 hours a day practicing yoga asana, meditation, or pranayama, I don't think this would bode well in my life as a modern day woman. ***hold on gotta make sure the kids are ready to leave for our 30 errands of the day as soon as I finish this blog***

So, what am I to do?

I am choosing to go silent and make the connection to myself. I have not been listening much to Self and now it is time. Yes, I am volunteering to be in my very own, overly processes head. Alone. I am also researching various silent retreats and hope to be brave enough to attend one in the next year. I have started a 40 Day Journal to record this process. I will not be seeking council from others, but rather, depending on my intuition and trusting I will make the changes needed to return to a more healthy and balanced state of being. The only way I can get there is to stop and listen.

“See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...we need silence to be able to touch souls.” Mother Teresa

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday, How I Love Thee

First of all, I was born on a Thursday. Naturally, this means Thursdays on this planet became that much more special on March 1, 1973.

I had a Vedic Astrologer tell me that Ganesha is my Hindu Deity and that Thursday is the day I should pay my respects to Ganesha. Oddly enough, when I visited India, Ganesha was the only Deity I bowed down to.

The Vedic Astrologer also said that Ganesha's color is orange and that I should wear orange on Thursdays, so I do. I wear Orange every Thursday.
Here is a picture of me, on a Thursday, sporting my favorite orange Prana pants!

I enjoy teaching yoga on Thursdays, so I teach two classes back to back. Never before have I enjoyed teaching back to back classes, but for some reason Thursdays work for me. Also, the classes have a different vibe than any of the others I teach. Maybe it's just me feeling groovy in my orange clothes, sitting on top of my orange yoga rug used only for teaching, with my orange Klean Kanteen close by.

Happy Blissful Thursday, may all of your Thursdays be filled with great joy and an abundance of happiness!

A Thursday quote for you:

“Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining.”
~Jeff Raskin