Training for the run and Yoga is killing me; I’m beginning to think I must be insane to think I can do this. Fran got us training four days a week. We do three miles, then four miles on alternate days. This is Houston folks! It’s oven hot and humid and my skin is cooking in the sun.
I start complaining about my skin becoming dehydrated and not getting any better with extra moisturizer. Gert looked at me as if I was from outer space, pointing to my belly, she exclaimed.
“Don’t you see the effect of everything on you, Dotta? Look, your belly is actually going down!”
No way, I thought, but she was right. I took a quick look at myself in the passenger window of my parked car, as we waited for Kimmy and Fran to join us at Eldridge Park. Again, I took a longer, closer look.
She is right! OMG! She’s right! It usually takes me a year to notice or agree that I’m losing weight. I say a year because by the following year when I’m looking at the previous years’ photographs of myself, it becomes glaring and irrefutable to me—this moment being an exception.
It was only three weeks into yoga and my body was already changing. Feeling excited, a new burst of energy took over me. I moved over to Gert and asked her to feel the tummy.
“It’s getting taut! Can you believe it?” I blurted out.
At that moment, Kimmy and Fran pulled up beside us. They joined us and soon found out the reason for the excitement. We all confirmed that our bodies were toning better. It was unanimous that the yoga and training for the race, was not a bad idea after all. Better still, if we could achieve excellent results in a short space of time, come the period for the race, we would be smoking hot.
Spurred on, we ran for an hour and five minutes. Afterwards we gathered by our parked cars and said goodbye until we met for yoga later in the day.
Much later, on our way to the office, we are in Gert’s car cruising down Beechnut until her 450GL started bouncing and jerking like those low-rider cars on MTV that hop and bounce. I was more alarmed than Gert. All I could think of was the cost of trying to fix this, and why God had to allow this happen now. It doesn’t take much before I open the book of lamentations. I guess with my level of worrying, Gert had nothing left to worry about. We headed straight to Mercedes-Benz of Sugarland to see if they could fit her in, and of course get a loaner.
I sat in the lobby of the dealership, while Gert sorted out things. I was hoping the loaner would be as comfortable as her Beast, and my mind went to the class we are about to have in a little while. I wondered what surprises our ever colorful teacher would have for us…I was really looking forward to the class.
Gert joins me some twenty minutes later and we went out to an ML. This was lower than her car. The complaints started free-flowing once again. Sue me for enjoying being high up and loving luxury. It did not take long before my big sis commands my Toyota owning ass to get in the car and shut up, lol. You really can’t blame a girl for having good taste can you?
The drive was quick and we were soon in the office about to begin another glorious day in the home health industry. Work here is good…we are among friends and family. Our office manager Penny was already in and after our usual banter, we all headed into our different offices to tackle what the day had in store for us. Today being Tuesday, my workload is routine. I tackle paper work and try to respond to correspondence from the State and case workers.
My line of work exposes me to the many heart wrenching situations, Many of which are almost impossible to deal with, but I still have to get the job done. Penny often has to give me a reality check, to help me keep things moving along. She says I’m a bleeding heart, which is no good in this line of work.
“You gonna let these cases drown you Dotta…you ain’t any good to anybody dead or in hospital!” Penny is a realist; always the voice of reason when I find myself overly embracing the liberal side of life.
Today is like any other: files piled up and in trying to contact the State, like most times, I’m put on hold for ten to twenty minutes, only for their automated system to eventually hang up on me and I start the call over again. Nothing new…or so I thought, until Fran arrived, heralded by her cheery greetings. She just got back from the accountants and announced that we are being audited by Uncle Sam.
“Oh no! Why?”
I shrieked and ran out to the main reception, as did Gert and we both stopped dead in our tracks. Fran was grinning like an idiot!
Penny just smiled and shook her head as Fran began to speak. “And why not? It’s not the end of the world ladies, come on! Just like the year before last, they’ll do their thing and see we got no beef with them, and they’ll move on. Why act like it’s the end of life?”
Gert and I looked at each other and resigned to agree. Fran was right. Two years ago, Uncle Sam came calling, and after four long weeks of agonizing terror, the accountant announced they had departed as they came, empty-handed.
This woman, our sister was really showing us in so many ways how much her perception of life had changed. I felt shame like I did with Joe’s incident. When would I learn? Where was this new-found calm and faith I claimed to have found?
We all returned to work and later ordered Mexican for lunch. Before I had the chance to finish my meal, my phone started ringing and my personal privacy is lost. It’s the kids. After fielding a few questions about what else they can have for lunch, instead of what’s available and can someone go to the mall, I put my cell on silent and begin to wish Raquel would get here a little earlier.
The calls gave me a little headache, and as a migraine sufferer, I begin to feel an aura. Meditation would help right now. It was five minutes past four. Raquel would not be here till four thirty. I went ahead and changed anyway. Stretched out on my mat in the darkened room, I began to meditate. Five minutes into it, my breathing was relaxed and I began the visualizing techniques Raquel taught us last week. It was working …almost like magic.
Okay, meditation is great. It’s beyond great, it’s fantastic. There’s only one problem here folks; these meditation and relaxation techniques do more than relax me…the positioning amplifies every bit of pain, because the source or location of the pain becomes more apparent. This is a good and bad thing all at once. The bad bit is if like me, you are still meandering your way through this stream of consciousness, concentration becomes problematic.
Raquel’s voice soon pierced through my mind, returning me back to the reality of my surroundings. Kimmy walked in shortly afterwards and class began.
“Today’s focus is on breathing ladies…so let’s start on our backs!” Raquel announced, as she lit some candles and quietly played an instrumental of Sade’s Sweetest Taboo from her HTC.
She explained one of the proper ways to breathe in yoga: this time, we had to take in from the nostrils and open our mouths to puff it all out. We repeated this for another minute, until she instructed us to find a wall and sit with legs out. Slowly, her gentle voice led us through another two minutes of Fire breaths, before we assumed the table top position—that’s on all fours: hands and knees.
We inhaled as we dipped our backs in, and looked up, holding for a breath, this is known as the cow. Next, we arched our backs upwards, as we looked down and exhale, this is called the Cat. We repeated this several times, until we came to Downward dog. Here, we stretch the legs, twist from left to right, lifting on alternate toes and finally standing full to the salutations again.
Today Raquel is a little faster, and more intense. But like the beauty it is, yoga makes no demand on anyone. You simply follow the speed of your heart and go at your personal pace. This is important to observe, making sure the breathing always leads you. During the salutations, I still felt the pains I acknowledged earlier, and find myself struggling to keep up. Raquel noticed and came to me. She put some oil on her palms and massaged my temple and encouraged me in a low tone to breathe into my pain. It’s your body talking to you Ms. Dotta, she said, listen and move on.
It’s easier said than done, I thought sarcastically, but still adhere to her bidding. We each continued on our individual quest to gaining freedom and class flowed. Salutations done and all now back on our backs, Raquel decided we needed some core work, so we began with the bridge. This is where my personal challenge comes in, because my right knee is out of its socket. I can swear to that!
At this point, I gave up and took a child’s pose. I waited out the rest of the class. In the Vanasanah, Raquel reflected on the week ahead and talked about strength. We are only as strong as we believe in our minds. The strength she referred to is not the physical, but mental and spiritual strength; the type of strength that would cripple a two-hundred and fifty pound sumo wrestler, against a ninety pound Yogi, with a free and accommodating spirit.
“Pain remains if we give it room to live”, she declared beckoning on me and I sit down facing her. “This is a poignant moment for all of us. We are women of faith, believers in the brotherhood of life and it’s ever evolving pace to those willing to embrace change.”
Raquel’s Yogi Philosophy is no mystery to us, she speaks a different language but we share similar thoughts and understanding. I know her talk is not of pretending my pain does not exists, but one of acknowledging it, then rising towards finding a healing for myself, rather than dwelling on the sorrow of pain.
As she said goodbye, I smiled and responded to her bidding, “As we acknowledge the pain of today, let’s remember tomorrow will bring a different wind our way, Namaste.”
“Namate.” we echo.
- I Choose Happiness: Diary Entry 1 (dottaraphels.wordpress.com)
- I Choose Happiness: Diary Entry 2 (dottaraphels.wordpress.com)
- I Choose Happiness: Diary Entry 3 (dottaraphels.wordpress.com)