Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bow to the Instructor Within

Or, I have begun my practice

Last Saturday, I went with my girlfriend to my first Yoga class. It was much more challenging than I thought it would be. I am accustomed to a hard workout in a noisy overbright gym: 40 minutes of cardio, then another 30 or so with the weights. Hard work, burning muscles and a whole lot of sweat! I never did enjoy aerobics class, I prefer the solitary workout.

I must admit, I went into the class a little intimidated. I needn't have been. First of all, the environment itself is just soothing. Soft light, unobtrusive music, gentle voice of the instructor. Oh, and bare feet and candlelight! It is about flow, breathing, balance and a still mind. And I was able to do it! I made the poses, mostly, and held them. It isn't at all easy! My muscles, especially my quads, were screaming, sweat was pouring off of me. I did have a couple of sore muscles a day or two later, but not too many.

I love how yoga is considered a practice, an ongoing experience. Seems a very good metaphor for life. If we keep working at it, we will attain a deeper understanding of it. We will be better able to move from one pose to another, move through life with greater fluidity. We will learn from others the basics, we will learn for ourselves what is comfortable, we will come to understand how to live within ourselves, yet constantly reach deeper. While limbs are reaching outward, the mind focuses inward: Balance.

At the end of the session, the room dimly lit, we returned to our lotus position, held our hands together in prayer, lifted our hearts to our prayer. We were positioned around the room, backs to the wall. We were to bow, not only to the instructor, but the instructor in each one of our classmates for what they offer, and bow to the instructor within. That's what got me. We were to honor ourselves as we honor our instructor. May we always remember to continue the practice, and bow to the instructor within.


Friday, May 25, 2007

I Am Charlie's Daughter

Or, Damn, I Miss My Dad...

I sat watching Gray's Anatomy last night enjoying a glass of wine. I knew it was a rerun, but no matter, I missed most of the season anyway. In this episode, George O'Malley's father died. It was a wrenching episode. Made all the more so by Christina welcoming George to the club--exclusive to only those whose father has died. George says that he doesn't know how to exist in a world where his father doesn't. Christina replies yeah, that doesn't get any easier, or something along those lines.

My father died in November 2003 of cancer. He was away from me most of my life due to divorce and bitter rancor. When he died, it was as if a part of me died. I was completely unprepared for the depth of my grief, how long it would persist, and how profoundly it would affect my life.

I still miss him terribly. I hate what Vietnam did to him. I hate that he is dead. I hate how he died. I hate that I didn't get to say good bye. I hate that we took tomorrows for granted, even though we knew he was sick. I love that he introduced me to big red Bordeaux wines. I love the way he said "Love my girl" at the end of every conversation. I love hearing his mild drawl in my mind's ear. I love that he loved my husband. I grieve that my son doesn't know him.

Upon his death, my father left me a tremendous gift: a very large extended family. Were it not for his brothers and sisters and all my cousins who welcomed be back to the family that I had been so long without, I think I would have been lost. I finally could be among people who looked like ME, who were of a similar character. It was the most affirming experience of my life. While I wish life had been different, that my family wasn't so fractured for so damned long, I can't spend too much time in that place. It would tarnish what I have now, and be a gross injustice to my father.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Rebecca Time

Since I have turned 40 (see prior post for more) I have definitely taken better care of myself! So far, I have lost about 70 pounds. I haven't worn clothes this size in 15 or more years! I am very proud of myself. I am also very grateful to my husband and all my friends who have been a source of tremendous support and patience during this process. It cannot have been easy for them to put up with me at times.

I still have much more work to do. The physical care seems to have been the easy part--a focal point that has allowed me to be successful in one (very important) area of my life, and let some of the other issues slide to the background. Since my goal weight is in sight, it is time for some reshuffling of priorities.

It has been a hard year, in some respects. Friendships have been sorely tested. I am unsure where I stand at any given time. But I think that is mostly my fault. Or maybe not. I feel like both sides are walking on egg shells, and we have either been unwilling or unable to get to the bottom of it. Maybe I am just too damned hard to be around, but I would like to hear that so I can be sure. Would give me something more concrete to go on rather then this nebulous feeling of unease. Maybe I will just give some more thought to what it might be like to be around me.


My Love and My Lover

I have known both men for 19 years now. When I married my love nearly 17 years ago, I never imagined I'd ever again have carnal knowledge of my lover, much less with my husband's permission. For the past 9 years or so, I have enjoyed my lover on only a few cherished occasions. I do mental cartwheels in anticipation of our next encounter. We don't see each other enough for his body to not be undiscovered territory every time. What a delicious feeling! There are rules for our encounters: My husband must always be present, we may never cuckold him. Both my paramour and I have too much love and respect for him to violate these rules.

Maybe it is just the out-of-boundness that is so exciting, but I don't think so. My lover and I share a genuine affection, and absolute enjoyment of each others bodies. But he does give me to know on occasion that this is sex--base and for pleasure to be sure, but sex only rules apply. There are moments this stark realization makes me cringe: Am I a slut? Is this wrong? Does he think poorly of me, or think me loose? He is the only person I know who can access the submissive in me, but doesn't always. We can talk about sex, our sex, with no shame at all, and there is never a moment outside of the bedroom that I feel unvalued, or not respected.

I think the issue is largely in my own head. I love sex, but have a very difficult time with my sexuality. My husband has tried valiantly to get me to open up for years by taking a very direct approach to something I only tangentially acknowledge. For years I had horrible self image issues, and still do, just different ones. Add to that a near puritanical, shame based inability to outright own my sexuality, and you have a potent mixture of desire and reticence.


Baseball Season

This year, my nearly 11 year old son is playing baseball. He has been looking forward to it since February, and we were happy to sign him up. He goes to practice, plays when he isn't feeling all that great, and played a game after being drilled in the face by a ball. He is still too sensitive--prone to tears when striking out, and long sulks if a game is lost. But still he goes back. Tries again. That is the biggest difference in him since he turned 10--he is much more willing, and sometimes determined, to try again rather than give up. His coaches have shown him great patience and given encouragement. His teammates have also been supportive.

We are definitely gonna do this again next year!!