I live a simple life, like most do, but it’s the things I experience that are extraordinary and amazing. These I would like to share with you and hope in doing so, I can bring a little laughter, hope, joy and comfort to yours.
As you are already here, indulge me…read a little, take a breather if it proves too much to swallow at a dose, and do return as often as you need to. One thing I can promise is you’ll be glad you did.
This is the first dose to a full bottle of life’s medication; it’s mostly sweet, with a little sour after taste, but the sweet does linger, trust me.
I have kept a journal for almost twenty years: a cheap alternative to therapeutic healing, if like me, you are always broke and too deep to share stuff with perfect strangers. At the beginning of 2013, I decided to be journal free for a year, see how it feels and I almost succeeded…until my oldest sis, Fran, decided on a new path.
Unlike her usual self, Fran began to act really strange, there was a new spring to her steps. Not used to her being so cheery, I commented on her new disposition to Gert, my older sis. This was when Gert pointed out, that Fran had also been sending her really strange text messages—which were not only weird, but positive and uplifting.
There is nothing wrong with a cheery disposition, except Fran was making us look like downers. We made up our minds to find out what was going on the next time we saw her, which was going to be moments later. We could not believe the jargon that spewed from her…
“I choose happiness!” She boldly declared.
Naturally, Gert and I burst into laughter. She might as well have sung kumbaya, or be at a holistic retreat repeatedly chanting Om. It was hard for us to believe her sunny disposition or was she on drugs? But Fran was too much of a wimp to go that far. “Let’s see just how far this nonsense will last,” I remarked to her. She smiled and shook her head out of pity for me, freak!
A week went by, then two, before it began dawning on us that Fran’s new found happiness craze was kosher, and I must admit it soon began to rub off on us. We realized we were a lot happier spending time with her. Better still, the more time we spent with her, the more her happy disposition further infected us . In no time we joined in chanting, “I choose happiness.”
It took all of five weeks to get us into Fran’s zone and since then, life has taken a new turn for the three of us. Our quest in reclaiming our universal right to bliss and contentment soon led us towards hunger. Yes, hunger!
We hungered for better than we already had and better than what we knew. Folks, we sought out happiness in all its zip codes: we were going to make it our new home whether it liked it or not. We intended to become permanent residents.
This leads us to a new resident of the happiness zip code, Kimmy. In all the years we’ve known her, Kimmy has worked non-stop. Come 2012, Kimmy lost her job and it seemed like the world was coming to an end. This is a woman who has spent her entire life, giving and doing for others. An anesthesiologist by profession, she is a busy bee…an active volunteer, here in the US, and abroad, with foreign missions.
Within a twinkle of an eye, Kimmy’s forever active mind and body was tossed into a sea of absolute calm. For her, a sedentary lifestyle is calm, and calm is chaos. The quiet was killing her! Until her hubby stepped in.
Previously, Kimmy successfully joggled her active work life with her marriage, and couldn’t have been any happier or so she thought. Losing her job was the best present life ever gave her. The first two weeks were tortuous, but Tim, her hubby, surprised her. If Kimmy was happy shuttling between her work commitments and their marriage; she found bliss in the aftermath of having no work. They traveled everywhere possible, went on road-trips and she experienced life with her husband in a way she never was able to do earlier. Her new-found experiences, made Kimmy hungry for more adventure, anything to get her out of Fresno, Texas, every once in a while. Only this time, without work being a hindrance.
It did not take Fran long, before she came up with an adventure that would appeal to Kimmy. Fran was on a mission to
infect influence everyone with happiness. She soon persuades us to run a half marathon with her for charity, especially in the aftermath of the Boston bombing. She wanted us to give the proceeds to a charity, and we all agreed. Kimmy was the most excited, especially since she had run two half marathons in the past.
The race was eight months away, and we were in such lousy shape, we decided to start training early. Four of us, all in our forties, set out on the uncharted road of long distance running. All of us, except Kimmy, were armatures. Now, poor Kimmy had piled on about twenty pounds; courtesy of her hubby, who is one of the best head chefs ever.
We can do it! We all agreed unanimously, after all it’s all about determination right? Well, the very same week, Fran signs us all up for YOGA! On the 23rd of April 2013, we had our very first Yoga class together…go team FORTIES!!!
Folks, yoga is not for wimps! 4:30p.m. on the dot she walks in. A young woman in her mid-twenties; about a hundred and forty pounds and a beautiful hour-glass figure. She smiled, exposing beautiful teeth and bright brown eyes.
“I’m Raquel, it’s nice to meet y’all.” She greeted happily and we all echoed a hello. She gave a brief narrative on Yoga and asked that we simply follow our bodies. Our enthusiasm was consuming and our bodies rearing to go, except for a few folds here and there, in my case.
We spread our mats and Raquel’s soothing voice began.
How do I describe this next phase without coming off as an ass? Okay I’ll sum it up.
Imagine an old rusty bicycle brought out from the garden shed after years of neglect. Now imagine trying to ride it without lubrication.—aarh! Now you get the idea! That’s exactly how it was, a cacophony of moans, groans and gasps soon filled the room. Followed by ouchs, oohs and dear God, what have I gotten myself into?
The sight of our rusty bodies attempting to mold into graceful and elegant poses would have certainly resulted in cardiac arrest from laughter, of any on-looker. I cannot imagine how Raquel managed to keep a straight face, right from the start, watching us bastardize the fluid poses she showed us, only to achieve contortions of a horrific kind.
Raquel soon proved herself to be human after all. All it took was a few more ugly contortions before her youthful exuberance gave way: she joined in our belly full laughter. The laughter was more fun than our horrendous poses. The aches and pains afterwards was an entirely different animal altogether.
The class lasted an hour, and by the end, we became familiar with little words and phrases like downward dog, pyramid, lunge, plank and my very best and favorite: child pose. I will explain these positions and many more, as we go along on this journey’s tale, but I must say it was an experience. “Y’all did really good for the first class,” Raquel praised. Assuring us we would be better by the third class. She was right!
Now, remember this was a pursuit for a better sense of being. Our first desire to completely conquer gloom was still the main goal. But in addition to maintaining better mental and emotional well-being, our physical state of health also became part of our quest as we went along. This is what we would get through Yoga.
This was not a bad day for beginners. My body ached and I was somewhat out of breath, simply because I forgot to breathe sometimes while engaged in a pose. Every pose requires us to continually breathe, but I tend to hold my breath.
On our way home that day, Gert and I got a call from hubby, about an accident at home. It was Jordan, my three-year old nephew, my sister’s baby, and he had a big gash on his head that would not stop bleeding. The call came while we were ten minutes from home; my positive karma and mantra went out the window, shame. Gert on the other hand was remarkable! She calmed me down as I began to stutter and said it was okay…no one’s dead Dotta, so shut the fuck up! Yeah…she swears a lot.
Jordan ran outside to greet us when we pulled up. He was fine! I scooped him into my arms and looked him over, no blood. But there was blood all over the drive way, someone was hurt and evidently, really badly, from all the blood. I ran inside and there I saw the real victim, my neighbor’s kid, Joe.
Hubby was glad to see us arrive. He was busy compressing the wound and had called for an ambulance and was trying to get in touch with Joe’s dad. Joe’s parents were separated.
Gert’s nurse’s instincts immediately took over. Joe looked sleepy, however, she kept him awake by talking to him and covered him with a blanket. The ambulance arrived and she spoke to the paramedics. I was hysterical and crying, at this time. Gert had to scream at me to shut the hell up because I was scaring the kids.
Joe’s dad finally arrived. He inquired from Joe how he was doing. Joe’s reply was the same thing he told me, he was fine, just cold and sleepy. His dad must have asked him a dozen questions, poor man! I can’t even imagine what was going through his mind. Joe at a point became exasperated, “I’m fine papa. It was an accident. I was playing with my friend Ken when it happened. It could have been anyone papa, now stop!” He snapped at his dad.
Not quite long after Joe’s dad arrived, the county sheriff also appeared. Initially he was considering arresting my baby. However, after he spoke with Joe and got the story, he realized it was not malicious at all. This could have happened to anyone, he said. I had to sign the sheriff’s report, accepting financial responsibility.
After everyone left, I hosed down the drive and placed the bloodied towels in the wash. Later when I sat down to take stock of the day’s occurrences, I marveled at how fragile life really is. My son Obi, got a similar gash to his head two months ago. Like Obi, Joe got six stitches and after four hours at the ER, he was allowed home. I pondered on all the amazing moments, and how a slight twist of events almost ruined an absolutely wonderful day.
In the next installment, I will fill you in about the outcome of Joe’s visit to the ER, and why I should be stronger in the face of adversity, and how I learnt a thing or two from babes.
- How to Eat for Better Health (health.usnews.com)