Monthly Archives: April 2014

When Angels Hear Your Call

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I have to set this up before I get into it.

I paid to attend a “communicate with your angels” workshop last Saturday, 4/5. A like-minded friend came along (I drove, she bought Starbucks and lunch — I definitely got the best end of the deal).

I had high hopes; that was my first mistake. We are all mortal. Even Archangels (which these event organizers don’t recognize, and had I known that at first [I should’ve asked, my second mistake] I likely wouldn’t have gone) were mortal first.

First, the logistical screw-ups regarding the entire experience:

  • When we arrived at the sprawling suburban-D.C. church where the event was held, there were no signs indicating where the workshop was.
  • There was no “room 32” as designated on the reminder flyer (that was emailed to me) as I desperately looked for on my smartphone after traversing the open and expansive main level. The online info in the link above doesn’t even mention a room. One of the main organizers of this event still wants to hang on to the notion that room 32 and 35 were the same room (details numerologists and kindergarteners would take serious issue with), despite the physical fact that I could not ever find the numeral 32 outside any door.
  • When we arrived at “room 35” (we were the first to arrive) we weren’t sure it was where we were supposed to be because despite the fact that the people on the flyer and the website looked identical to the people in the room, they didn’t welcome us in, ever. They didn’t introduce themselves until the workshop began and that was a group welcome. In fact, our reception was quite frosty. My friend who is more sensitive than I am said she would’ve left the building if I weren’t with her. Let me clarify: I’m sensitive, I just wasn’t as easily intimidated in that situation. 
  • The organizers of the event never asked us our names, nor did they provide name tags (we were all openly referred to (and thus disregarded) as “her”, “not you, her” or “the woman in the pink sweater” or “you!” (this went on ALLLL six hours). Yecch.
  • Registration included a 35-page workbook but apparently not the availability of a pen. Those of us who didn’t bring one, weren’t offered one. Ever. Yet, we were encouraged to write lots of things on the blank lines in the workbook as well as content shared on a chalkboard. I guess, we were supposed to use  our finger styluses. My finger stylus works on my iPad but not actual paper. Luckily, I had a pen with me. And a notebook, into which I furiously wrote notes which were superfluous because the content I was scribbling was included in the workbook…. but no one told us that until about 90-minutes later. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t know, because had I not been taking notes, I’d have no proof of the reason why I am writing this post (later).
  • One of the “angel guidance coaches” was purportedly clairaudient. We had to move from room to room twice (so three different rooms total). The first time happened because he couldn’t hear his guidance. Admittedly, there was a symphonic concert underway right above our room and the tune-ups reminded me of “Rear Window” scenes, but once they got going, it was quite pleasurable, but I’m not a clairaudient, clairvoyant or clarinet. The second move happened because we weren’t granted permission to use that room were kicked out. The third room sucked. Just saying’… but I was out of gas by that point, really.
  • We broke for lunch, that wasn’t mentioned on the flyer, nor were any places to eat in the vicinity; so if you were totally new to Bethesda, MD, you were hosed unless you asked around or had some form of smartphone genie to help you out.
  • The event flyer states: 10-5pm. We folded at 4:15, but not before hearing about 20 minutes’ worth of content about other exciting ways to invest your money and irretrievable time in their … business and help to fund their recent trip to Puerto Rico. similar pursuits.

I think that’s it, from a logistical standpoint. I am certain that these issues can be overcome by the organizers for any events going forward and I am even more hopeful that people will be called by name and not be barked at.

Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.
–Michelangelo

I was literally running on fumes at 4:00. I couldn’t take anymore. From the transitions from room to room to room, to the continual stream of content from the more aggressive and assertive (my read: desperate) of personalities and the fact that my head needed to be put back on my neck, I was out.

Oh? You want to know about my head falling off? Ok. If you must…

It fell off somewhere around the first hour, when the following phrase by, an angel coach, to my astonishment was bespoken thus,

“When you pray for other people, you are building a bridge to their troubles.”

I have wrested with this concept for several days. It has brought me much consternation, regardless of the completely amateurish logistical treatment of this event. (You get what you pay for, I guess.)

That sentence has furrowed my brow, upset my stomach, distracted my mind, and had me questioning my faith. It had me floored.

Look, I think a lot. I know this about myself.

The other night, when I was dealing with this, I consulted my Archangel Oracle Cards (some people use tarot, I consult my faith’s Big Guns — they are comforting and lovely to look at), I pulled three cards: All is Well, Life Review and Creative Writing. I didn’t understand the second one so much until just now. I realize that I had looked into all this angel workshop stuff because I was sad about my mom’s death and was feeling lost without her and was also wondering how to move forward on a project. I figured why not try it? Angels are nice… 

When my head fell off, I couldn’t speak or ask anything because my head didn’t bring my voice box with it; it was just my head. My ears couldn’t hear any further bullshit content from the coaches because my ears were severed from my spinal cord. My brain could still process, but not send any sensations to my body.

In short, I was a mess.

I spoke to my friend, whom I brought to the event about her impressions. She was bothered by it as well.

I brought it up to the organizer of the event; she didn’t touch it. She did however, go back and forth with me, like a volley, about how I was supposedly offended by the near-constant references to and treatment of  material I considered at times boastful, irrelevant and contradictory. To each her own. She understood and accepted my unsolicited litany of logistical concerns; I still can’t get over the names thing (more later). I didn’t bother mentioning the lack of writing utensils.

I don’t mean to poop on this event completely. There were some worthwhile and profound personal moments for me and I am grateful for them. That said, I won’t ever attend anything they do again. Its folksy tone and lack of warmth really got to me. After a while, it just felt like a string of buckshot appeals to “help [them] raise [their] income vibrational level.”

Names.

We all have them. In some esoteric and mystical religions, they are considered intimately tied to our essence, spirit or very existence on this planet. When we pray, we want to know the name, if possible, of the person we are praying for (bridge to their troubles or not).

About not bothering to ask names: the suburban mom in me says, “It was just an oversight. This event was planned months in advance; despite the fact they do this all the time, they just forgot the name tags…pass the salt, sweetie.”

The skeptical / conspiratorial writer in me says, “It was a clever way to create uniformity, to strip people down to a nameless / identity-less and hence, dilute-able existence to create need for attention and ‘face time’ in an effort to later control and influence them. Nothing starts a dominant / submissive relationship like ignoring people and diminishing them. It’s what all insecure leaders do who want to dominate their followers; just ask Bikram Choudoury.” That only the leaders went by their names and NOT ONCE was anyone publicly asked their name bugs the heck out of me. It reeeeeeally chaps my hide.

As a yoga teacher human being, the moment students anyone walks into my awareness, I greet them with a warm, sincere smile and say “Hello, ” followed by their name. If I don’t know their name, I introduce myself, that usually does the trick and starts what’s called a “conversation.”

Is all this cool and disconnection par for the course with these guys? Who knows. Do I care? Not at all. I’ll never go back.

Bridge to their troubles.

I … I am just utterly lost on this. Looking back on it, I laugh, out loud about it. I scoff it and I mock it. I pretend it’s a country song with my kids and I play my kazoo with it; I pretend it’s the title of a long-lost Clint Eastwood spy flick. As I said, I wrested with this for a few days.

The suburban mom in me says, “He didn’t mean it that way. He meant it as a way to be careful of confusing the energies, that certainly you can pray for someone, just be discerning about how much of your own energy you expend in it. Remember to include yourself in your efforts… wipe your face, dear.”

The skeptical / conspiratorial writer in me says, “Oh, screw that. He meant every syllable. It was meant as a way to be predatory. He’s looking to build a tribe. He was looking for, feeling out the group for the weak links. The ones who would wonder, or agree and ask later, ‘tell me more about that, how I should reserve my prayer and energy for myself, how I should mind my own business, get to know myself first and think of myself first, before I possibly waste my auric energy with the folly of benevolence, kindness, empathy and concern for others, you folksy, clever, wise, flip, charismatic and tall man…'” (bats eyelashes.)

After six days, I was still so vexed by this premise, the not praying / bridge thing, that I posted my concerns about it on my Facebook page. I asked about whether anyone had ever heard of the concept. I have atheist, agnostic, Jewish, Christian, devout, lapsed, faithful and still seeking, and faithful and rock solid friends.

Of those who replied, many joined me in my confusion. Many offered support for my challenge with it. Many likely recognized that I was caught in a not-so-little crisis. The overwhelming responses were that prayer for another is an act of the most pure detached love and encouragement one can offer another human being. We pray for people we don’t know. We pray for people we know well. We pray when there is nothing we can do about anything. When my mother died, I felt SUCH love and support, the power of the prayer was undeniable. What? When a public tragedy happens, do we just not pray for the people whose lives have been irreparably changed? Where is the love?! Where is the light?! Where is the “power of consciousness that made us all who we are as souls with bodies on this journey on earth” they endlessly spoke of? I sit befuddled.

So this angst sat with me almost all morning.

Sometimes the Best Cathedral is No Cathedral.

Often I feel most centered and in tune with Nature and God when I’m outside. It was on my walk up to my youngest (10) son’s school where I volunteer weekly as a Socratic Seminar co-leader when the weight from this issue began to lighten. Just thinking about our project, it being the last day before spring break and the game I had in store for them all after the end of the project brought my mind to happier thoughts.

I am seldom disappointed by the energy and wisdom of these bright little beings who are so eager to try a new way to think of things. I looked at their sunny faces as they sat on the hill outside our school garden and listened to me talk about the second half of our class project, “Be Like Monet,” wherein we are proposing that the children design and draw their own plants, a bit of a play on the back story of Monet’s waterlilies series in Giverny. (For a long time, white was the only waterlily color; then a scientist made a frost-resistant version that had red, pink and white in it… hence the singular white lily and the grouping of colorful lilies in some of the paintings.) My co-leader and I were so inspired by that story, that we encouraged the children to “Be Like Monet.” The first week, they wrote down their plants’ qualities using only words. The second week, today, they had to draw those plants without words.

One of the kids wanted to know the Latin word for “healing.” I Googled it. “Sanitas” I told her. “Then that will be the name of my plant…” she said as she skipped back to her work.

“There is no such thing as a mistake! You are Mini Monets! Do this! You are geniuses!” I shouted and they were off. Then we worked with the Hoberman sphere I’m obsessed with in teaching children yoga, and then we played “Simon Says.” I was with children, the smartest and clearest souls on earth.

I walked around and looked at their work, encouraged them to take their papers to the asphalt walk to play with its texture and see how it created “pebbles” when they ran their crayons over it. Then we moved to some wooden benches, and the grain appeared. Then suddenly, the fog lifted. It was if my prayers were heard, or the appeals by my friends who opened themselves to the conversation and the real angels, the ones who use horns, the ones with huge wings, the ones I “met” when I went to Holy Angels Elementary School, heard me.

I thought, “Holy canoli. What he said was totally creeeepy and controlling! It felt eerily close to white-washing. If one of these little kiddies out here had troubles, heck yeah I’d pray! Think of myself first? Where’s the connection to spirit, to benevolence, to love?! What’s the point of not sharing a tear or a laugh or lightening a fear in order to *maybe* be of service to someone in need? Where is the HUMANITY? What’s with all the fear in this guy? Is his inadequacy so desperate that he has to spread fear instead of love??” He reminded me of Dick Cheney. Totally defensive. Building walls instead of bridges… These are the thoughts that came flooding at me. I felt renewed, grounded and sane again.

Methinks the man doth protest too much.

I realized, also, that if I followed this non-praying proposal, that I am following that man; that he becomes my spiritual leader and by virtue of doing such a silly thing, I am giving away my personal power.  If I did what he said, I am letting him think for me. I am turning over all my basic knowledge, and the stuff I came into this world with (and according to him): divine light, love, energy and spirit, to HIM. I am basically surrendering my spiritual management to them. For this man, someone who openly rejected the concept of “religion” it all sounds a little too close to it.

A secure spiritualist will never tell what you Should or Shouldn’t do — in fact these people insist that your angels will never tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. But he’s going to go ahead and advocate against praying for other people lest you eventually sully yourself. I wish these people could hear themselves. It’s like an irony stew. (It all reminds me of that Brady Bunch when Bobby got sooty rescuing a cat from an abandoned house’s chimney and then he tried to wash his suit and the washing machine overloaded with suds… I digress.)

Clarity came to me like a sonic boom in my head. The (sonic) boomerang effect occurred. Not only did I stop feeling lost but I emerged stronger in my faith than ever. I was found.

I want to thank that man, his partner, and their twisted logic, cosmic buffoonery and doublespeak for returning me to myself, to my center, to my base and to my faith. I was hanging on one of Saturn’s icy rings until I decided to stop suffering internally and reach out for help. Thanks to them, my friend and I are closer than ever. We have to catch our breath now from the deep, gut-busting, tear-shedding laughter we share when talking about the event and the character-rich opportunities the workshop provided. As a writer, I am very grateful.

“You will get to know the real you…” they promised in their literature. I did, and I am unshaken.

Thank you.

 

 

Missives From the Mat #10 — Yoga with Children

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My mind is relaxing today; it’s trying to catch up with all the yoga I’ve practiced and taught recently.

I have been teaching children yoga and I have been teaching adults yoga.

The teaching of little kids, k-2, which I thought would be harder because kids are so wiggly and everything, is turning out to be not only easier but terrifically rewarding.

I enjoy teaching adults too, of course, because they have a reason to be there; they are choosing to be there. They are on a journey to something, and that’s private to them and I dig that.

The kids? Their parents signed them up. Their parents thought it would be good for them. The kids let it all hang out. They are just ON. They are open, nonjudgmental, true, totally in the moment, curious and delightfully spontaneous. They hug you because they feel like it. They squeal with enthusiasm because they feel like it. They giggle when you say “butt.” I can’t imagine what they’ll do if I say “fanny.”

What am I noticing? My journey thus in teaching both adults and children is teaching me.

With adults, it’s all about connecting the feeling of the breath with and within the movement. That is what we say is yoga; that when we notice the connection of the feeling of the breath within the movement, we are noticing something about ourselves… what we allow ourselves to notice and what we save for later because we’re just not there yet. And of that allowing? It is a conscious allowance, meaning we are aware of the choice to allow or is it more subtle? (Is your brain spinning yet? Shake it off. Come back to me….)

With kids, I don’t bother with the concepts and esoterica of “what are you feeling?” or “connect that movement with your breath.” They look at me as they should: like I’m nuts: What do you mean connect my breath with my movement? “If I couldn’t breathe, I wouldn’t move,” one of them wisely said to me.

Yeah.

Lesson plans. Teaching. Imparting. Leading. Following.

I am a creative person; I can create a lesson on the fly. Teaching the children reminds me that doing so is as natural to me as sipping water from a cup.

I will readily admit I have been/am petrified when I teach adults. In the beginning, I was all Adam Sandler, “They’re all gonna laugh at you!” about it. That was a confluence of ego, fear, ego, ego, ego annnnnnnd ego. I wanted to be NEW! I wanted to be EXCITING! I wanted to be SPECIAL! I focused on being Not The Previous Teacher! instead of just being me. It’s getting better. I’m finding my groove.

With the kids, I thought, “How can I make this interesting?” I devised a strategy of the most amazing concept ever: remember what it’s like to be a little kid. Everything is awesome (one way or another) when you’re a kid.

“What does exhale mean?” one of them asked on day one. NnnnNnnnnn. She was totally right. What the what does a little kid know from exhale? I went back to my early days as a mother with my first son when he had croup and how my cousin, a doctor, whom I’d called eight states away in almost the middle of the night with total fear and panic in my voice said to me, in possibly the calmest voice ever, “sssssstaaaaay caalllllllllmmm, Mollllll and heeeeee WILL callllllm with yooooooou. Get him to breathe in through his nose and out his mouth. Eventually, he will relax and his throat will calm too. …”

I visualized my instruction and “smell the flowers, blow the bubbles” instantly came to mind. That was our mantra, before I even knew it, I had a mantra for life.

My cousin continued, “Get him into the heated shower mist and then out in the cool night air or open your freezer for him to inhale after you both calm down.”

I did as my calm cousin instructed and Thing 1 did as I told him, and we all got through six or seven years and bouts of croup thanks to that mantra.

“When in doubt, breathe it out.” -Me

Subtly teaching kids the gorgeous gift of conscious breath

So I bought a Hoberman Sphere. Have you seen one of those? They’re fantastic and the kids and I use it to demonstrate breath and breathing. I haven’t asked them yet, “have you noticed how calm we all are when we concentrate on breathing along with the growth and the shrinkage of the sphere?” I want them to enjoy the sensation they create in themselves without preaching yet. It will come, but not yet. We have about six more weeks before we depart for summer.

So right now, these days, these lessons, we are sharing the sphere. First I show them. I demonstrate the expansion and the contraction. I ask them to do their best to follow the growth and diminishment of the sphere. They’re little kids. They have little lungs. They watch — Ooooo! How they watch! They are intense, and competitive and SO eager to learn. I expand the sphere, I see their eyes get big and their chests expand. I hold the sphere expanded and they wait. I slowly close the sphere and they mimic it. I pause, they pause. When I release the sphere, they take in a few breaths and smile or just stay neutral.

So we all take turns. Each child opens and closes the sphere at his or her pace and design. We all participate, we all follow along and each time, each breath, each experience we all get a little calmer. But I say nothing. I don’t need to. Not yet. Body memory is so much smarter than the brain. Don’t sully this somatic experience with intellect, I tell myself. Don’t “teach.” Don’t need to impart. Let your ego ride this out. Learn from them, from all of it, instead. I hear my parents growling impatiently (yet understandingly) at one another while listening to Wagner or Rachmaninoff or Brahms when the other one couldn’t help but impart some observation during a crescendo or other rapturous moment in the music.

Man plans; kids laugh

While I have organization and an overall plan, I do let the kids run the show a little bit. I remind myself and if I don’t, they will remind me that kids at this age, appropriately, are very self-absorbed. Yesterday, several of them were all about their upcoming spring break trips to see grandparents in Florida. So, as we did last week, we boarded a “flight” to see family. (Last week we went to NYC. Landing at LaGuardia was a real pain.)

It’s such a kick in the pants. I used to do this when my kids were very young when we would wait in the car for someone else.

I was the control tower; I cupped my hand over my mouth and announced the runway clear for take-off. Their eyes LIT UP. They COULDN’T believe what was going on. I was ACTUALLY sounding like I was coming out of a speaker. I watched and smiled deeply inside and outside. We all giggled a little. I continued, prompting “Captain Bipsy” (fake name) to fly us out.

Bipsy was a pilot. She cupped her mouth as I did, giggled a bit and then she flew that plane over the rest of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and then landed somewhere near Disneyland, of course. She beamed like a lighthouse. Full of shine and confidence.

The children who were visiting the Sunshine State asked us to close our eyes and they each shared three things they saw when they landed. Another kiddo flew us back home and we had a bumpy but very safe landing as we flew in to our respective airports. During all this the children were either in and out of locust pose or balancing on one leg with their arms outstretched or in child’s pose because they don’t like to fly. (Who can blame them, really?) We chartered our flights because we don’t want to mess with all that TSA nonsense. 😉

I do other things with them, we play “red-light / green-light” and I call a pose. Or sometimes an animal puppet I have calls a pose. They love the puppets I bring. They, as we all do, love to be heard and to be seen. Their positive behavior is affirmed with a little “peck” on the cheek or forehead by the puppet-me at the end of svasana; the special guest puppet can’t “wake” them if they’re not still and resting; so they naturally settle down, no matter how difficult and exciting because of the building, intense and absolutely comical anticipation waiting for that peck. When they do settle,they are rewarded by a loving and gentle contact with the puppet.

I still do this with my kids. My almost 16-year-old physically crinkles up with anticipation when I have a puppet or teddy bear who’s determined to say hello and crack his cool, teenage exterior. I recall my mother doing that with my 6’5″ brother when he was 40. It worked even then… My mom was like that: a child at heart. I think on the other hand, I was born at 42 sometimes because we were so often at odds. I regret that I was that way; I feel I’m recapturing it, my youth, as I work with these beautiful children who allow me to share an hour with them each week.

I don’t normally dedicate posts. But I want to dedicate this post to my beautiful Children’s Yoga teachers Shakta Khalsa, Kartar Khalsa, Lisa Brodrick, Jyoti Bajaj, Mary Beth Quick; and my grown-up yoga teachers Kelly J, Vicki C, Annette H, and Dianne F who passed the adult classes torch to me; those people out there who told me to keep going, keep at it and just do this thing: Shana E, Terri L M, Terri S-M, Laura L, my husband and my kids and to my dogs, who show me how to do the best Down Dogs ever. This whole thing happened to me because I attracted it; I wanted to be of service to people who were ready to receive it. I put it out there, that I was ready to give it… and I am humbled by the answer.

Thank you.

What to Love About Spring

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I saw my first bumblebee of 2014 this morning.

I will try to avoid writing at length about the atypically cold and severe weather we experienced this past winter because it’s not only pointless, I want it to be a distant memory. I won’t mention that only 10 days ago it snowed.

Did I say that?

Here’s what I love about spring:

sunsets. sure, you can see them in winter; but you can't stand and look at them for too long in the winter. it's COLD! and usually at sunset time, you're fixing to leave for home or you've just had lunch.

sunsets. sure, you can see them in winter; but you can’t stand and look at them for too long in the winter. it’s COLD! and usually at sunset time, you’re fixing to leave for home or you’ve just had lunch.

 

kids getting out! marauding youth. these kids hadn't been on a mob board run in months.

kids getting out! marauding youth. these kids hadn’t been on a mob board run in months.

 

 

daffodils, tulips, bulbs -- of all variety, forcing their way  through dead oak leaves: spearing a hole in the leave and pushing through anyway. if they can do this year after year after year ... after sleeping for months, what's to stop us from making our way too? channel your inner daffodil: LIVE!

daffodils, tulips, bulbs — of all variety, their leaves forcing their way through dead oak leaves: spearing a hole in the leaves and pushing through anyway. if they can do this year after year after year … after sleeping for months in the frozen ground, what’s to stop us from making our way too? channel your inner daffodil: LIVE!

 

I adore winter. It lets us rest and gear up for spring. I’m so glad winter is over and that spring is finally here.

 

Thank you.

There’s A Gift in this Somewhere… I Need to Be Wrapped in Caution Tape

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I don’t know where to start.

I put on make-up this morning after I dried my hair and put on a top with buttons and pants with a zipper.

About twenty minutes after that I got a call from my husband, “You can cook that chicken for dinner or something; I read that re-freezing meats won’t be unsafe, but it might affect their flavor, so we don’t need to worry about food safety.”

Wha—?

Someone left the freezer open. Suppress nausea. 

I woke this morning from a rather crazy dream, likely induced by the eight sessions of yoga I have either taught or attended in the last five days. In all of those, I’ve only had the gift of svasana, final relaxation pose, thrice. And of those three times, I’d say I truly let go …. oh, not at all.

In the dream, I stepped outside my childhood home to an evening late-season snow flurry; about four inches had accumulated and it was a collection of glorious frozen fluff. Just like the last time it snowed as such here, I was making a snow angel, in my house clothes, because I knew it would likely be the last downy fall in months, if not years.

In the dream, a pack of marauding pubescent boys, with their straight-brim baseball hats, enormous unlaced high-top shoes that reminded me of puppy feet, skinny jeans, hoodies and tshirts emblazoned with a lá mode and self-aggrandizing slogans were pimp-rolling (apologies to Tom Wolfe) my way. I’m not sure what my issue was with this band of boys, but I wasn’t threatened. I was feeling more defiant than they thought they were. I was ready to raise the bar on their perceived bad-assness. I was ready to wait and see.

Then I woke up to the sound of my alarm, a song by a Scandinavian band called “Jonsi & Alex” which plays primarily atmospheric music. I was completely disoriented. I think the song was “Howl.”

The pack of youth is clearly one of my sons. He’s testing me and his father a lot these days. I won’t go into it because it’s his story to tell and hopefully overcome, but let’s just say that he loves expensive sneakers and doesn’t know who he is yet. I can’t blame him for the latter because I’m not sure who I am and certainly I love shoes as well, but I wondered, at times like these after I changed back into shapeless clothing and my old slippers and put my freshly washed and blown-out hair into a pony tail so I could gut from the freezer about 100 pounds of bagels, waffles, english muffins, vegetables, fruit, NO!!! NOT THE ICE CREAM SANDWICHES!!!, orange juice, pink lemonade, raviolis, tortellinis, sweet potato fries, quesadillas… you name it. I wondered about a lot of things.

The freezer looked like crime scene. I needed caution tape wrapped around me because I was unhinged. Bag after bag after bag. I missed my husband who is at his desk during this moment because I know we would’ve had a fun time; we would’ve made lemonade instead of grousing about throwing it out.

I was thinking of a post Wednesday, “Where’s My Svasana?” because I’d taught yoga four times by that point and had only had experienced my own coached “lie down” twice. I laughed at the idea of that post this morning, nay, ten minutes ago when I was wiping down the blood bath of my freezer. I am sure I was exposed to salmonella, streptococcus, botulism, ptomaine, influenza and who knows what the what all the while as I wiped down the juices blood of the meats I was discarding. There is one truth to this that I suppose is a convenience: it gave me an excuse to unload some food we’d forgotten about or had simply disliked. Probably about $250 worth. Ten sessions of therapy… or fifteen Gap t-shirts.

My cats were crying, “feed me! feed me! the juice on the carpet (yecch) is not enough but it is a huge stimulus to our digestive system. if you don’t feed us, we will go live with the neighbors again….” So I robotically said, “Namafuckingste” (that’s not Sanskrit) to the cats and let the kibble go >tink tink tink tinktinktinktinktinktink< into the shiny steel bowls.

When events like these happen, you are in a Moment of Truth. My Moment says, chides, hisses, “Was it worth it? That yoga certificate? Feeling IN THE MOMENT right now? Was it worth it? That degree in English and writing? Was it worth it? Those babies you had….?”

No one tells you this ugly secret about parenting: IT’S FUCKING HARD.

Screw the pregnancy, screw the labor, screw the body shape distortion and what the fuck happened to me moments. The lack of sleep. The issues with their health. Behaviors that creep up in yourself, parts of you you never thought were there. Screw it all. That’s the easy part. Parenting shows you your True Nature. It gloats over your weaknesses as it challenges your strengths. Kids? They’re not the culprits. They’re not to blame. It’s us… those of us who’ve never actually grown up. Who still like to blame. Who don’t like the feelings we feel when our kids neeeeeeeeeeeeeed us. Because they’re supposed to.

Currently, there’s a wash of writers who want to blame all their shit on their kids. They can’t get a moment alone, so they blame it on their kids. It’s not the kids. It’s us. It’s the parents. It’s like this: my puppy Charlie. He’s great. He’s huge now, about 40# going on a likely and final 70#. I’m good with that. But he’s a dog, number one. And he’s a dog, number two. When he goes after a sock, a shoe, a jacket, a cat, a pillow, a blanket, a towel, a piece of paper, the newspaper, the garbage, Murphy … is he to blame?

When my kids go after each other, when they leave the freezer door ajar after making a smoothie, when they leave the back door unlocked, when they leave a brand new bike out front over night, when they don’t do their homework, when they trade the shoes you bought them for another pair with some kid at school you don’t know and whose family you’ve never met and your kid doesn’t even have a class with this child and he brings them home and says to you plain as day, “Dad bought me these….” or “Dad said I could …” whose “fault” is that? It’s not my puppy’s, I can tell you that. It’s the job of the parent and of the dog owner to make things right. To train the dog to stay away from the things he shouldn’t have. To ask first. And it’s the job of the parent to UNDERSTAND that KIDS ARE NEEDY. They can’t help it.

I’m grossed out by it all, the rash of parents who act as if they’ve figured it all out; that they deserve a trophy for staying sober or washing their kids’ hair.  I know: I’m 117 years old and I have lost my sense of humor. I need to lighten up because exploiting my children’s natural behavior for my gain and popularity is what all the cool kids are doing.

I don’t care. I was never friends with The Bloggess or anyone else who writes tripe like that. I’ll just go on, in my bubble bath of obscurity, with my arms coated in freezer detritus.

And trying to start a business? Teaching yoga, which isn’t easy, especially for all-levels classes because you have no clue as to anyone’s abilities… so you write these lesson plans that might be too aggressive or too easy and you take too long and you wonder if you’re being effective? Some students look at you with blank stares. I guess I do too with my teachers. But they write checks and they come back and they say thank you and they tell you it was great and they enjoyed it… so there’s that. People don’t pay for shit that sucks.

Somewhere along the line, I learned to doubt myself to the point where I think everything I do is not enough. Somewhere along the line, I was told or inspired or encouraged to push myself to the razor’s edge and hang on to that singular fringe, like Sandra Bullock in “Gravity” only to wonder… if I let go… I know I won’t go spinning, because I feel like I already am. But really…

(c) WarnerBros 2013.

(c) WarnerBros 2013.

I learned that my best was always beatable. Try harder. Work harder. It’s deeper than work; it’s about survival. It’s about Mom; my mom who died last year. My mom who was so hard to reach. But that’s ancient history, right? And I’m a fully actualized adult. This freezer thing and all my crap is cake. NnnnNnNNnnnnn.

So I make notes after the classes to remind myself of what I forgot. To improve for the next class. Maybe one day it will just flow out of me and I won’t need lists and yoga cards and apps and stuff; that I will intuitively know how to teach a class.

 

. . . . . .

Somewhere in the weave of that dream I had, the freezer debacle, parenting, and the yoga teaching doubts was an epiphany: these are nice problems to have. As I posted on Facebook this morning just before diving in to coat myself in Fla-vor-ice drippings, pea juice, apple-chicken sausage whatnot, stir-fry sauce and who knows, I am certain that there are a couple billion people out there who would love to have this problem: a freezer with food. A freezer. Food.

As I shoved the bag of partially frozen ground beef into the back of the freezer praying to the Hamburger Helper gods that they have a concoction and blend of preservatives and spices which will make that meat palatable and digestible, I decided I am feeling invisible. That’s a yucky feeling. It taps all sorts of stuff deeeeeeeeeeeep inside me. But instead of pushing it aside, I’m going to have to sit with it.

I’m going to do something I’ve not usually done, which is NOT be all Pollyanna about it, even though it’s the truth, I’m not going to pat myself on the back for changing my perception about this, because the truth is I’m fucking exhausted.

I get that shit like this happens. I just could’ve used a break is all. This is the first time I’ve sat down to write for writing’s sake in a while. It’s the first time I’ve sat to do something for myself in about two weeks. I hope I entertained. I hope you learned something. I know I did.

Here comes the trash truck.

Thank you.