Archives for posts with tag: wellbeing

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i had a really beautiful moment last saturday as i was walking down the street to go teach a yoga class. i was on 8th street, a corridor of shops and restaurants, and as i approached the corner, i saw a husband and wife and their very young daughter. she was maybe 2. dressed in her fuzzy petal pink leggings, a cropped soft wool coat, and the most impossibly tiny and stylish shoes. but the beauty of this image was that this tiny girl was stopped on the sidewalk, dancing. music was being piped out onto the street from the restaurant and she was peering into the air wondering where this music was coming from, and moving, bouncing, stomping, rocking and waving her arms. she was entranced and utterly engaged and unselfconscious.

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so as wonderful as this scene was, the thing i loved the most was that her parents were letting her dance. they were not pulling on her arms and trying to hurry her to the destination, which is all too often the case. “no, we don’t have time for you to look at cars, or smell flowers, or pet dogs, or touch the rough wood, or the smooth wrought iron, or the warm stones or the cold water, or dance. we need to get to point B. NOW!” the only time in our lives when we are constantly delighted with the world around us and we are forever being pulled away from it’s magic. her parents did not do this. but smiled and laughed and danced with her. no hurry to move on. i stopped as i approached them and told them how they had made my day, and i told her to never stop dancing and being delighted by the world around her.

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i am a pretty magically engaged person in the world around me, but lately have felt that i have been forgetting that. missing that. this was such a sweet reminder of the magic that is always there. to listen for the music and dance like no one was watching you.

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as i went to teach class, i shared this story and asked that we find our playfulness and curiosity in our yoga. we do yoga because it feels good. because we want to delight in our bodies and in our senses, not because it is a punishment that has been foisted upon us. we need to remember that. each and every day. find the joy in your life and reacquaint yourself with your inner tiny dancer.

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“just like a white winged dove sings a song it sounds like she’s singing…whoo, whoo, whoo….”  I do my very best stevie nicks impersonation and baby dove seems very impressed. maybe not, but then she’s not speaking since she’s just a baby, so who knows what she really thinks….she is at my mercy.

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I just love an audience, and babies are a captive one, so it works well for everyone. as you may remember I have mondays with dove, and this last time my daughter lily was with me as well. lily and I love to sing together, and we do every chance we get, so we were excited to share our sweet singing skills with dove. we sang many different songs, but our rendition of “bohemian rhapsody” complete with me doing guitar solo sound effects, might be my favorite number. good times.

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I had missed a couple of weeks of dove time, due to travel, packing, etc, and so I was amazed to see how much she had grown and changed. babies are like stop motion photography in how quickly they shift. I remember putting lily down for a nap and going in an hour later and her not looking at all like the baby I laid down before. as if a changeling had been left in her place. total morphing. she slept in a laundry basket next to our bed for the first couple of weeks ( I did not have a basket made of reeds and rushes, so the next best thing…) one night she was screaming bloody murder and when I reached down to pick her up, I discovered that she was wedged in head to toe and couldn’t move in the basket. she had outgrown it that fast. yesterday it was fine. today not.

I have been observing as of late that our human lives  are bookended in these polar opposite accelerations. babies growing up by leaps and bounds, in a visible way, on a daily basis. then we hit a place where it seems like we just stay the same and are impervious to any outside change and the future seems far away and aging seems like an impossibility. and then all of the sudden, the stop motion picks up again. every time I look in the mirror, I see another line, a new potential jowl, a spider vein, an age spot. my supple skin has a grainy texture that no amount of water consumed can plump up.

I feel strong and supple and fit and sexy, (actually more so than ever before) but when I catch a glimpse in the mirror it doesn’t line up. there is a middle aged woman looking back at me. well past middle aged. I am 51 and seriously doubt I will live to be 100.

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I know we are supposed to believe that we are all the same and that any idea that you are different or special signals the early warning signs of being a sociopath, but we are not all the same. every one is different and special and uniquely themselves, but even within that context some people gravitate to be part of a collective herd. I just never have. it has never been the case and keeps becoming more defined as I get older. getting older by the minute. the aarp crowd, no offense, but you are not my people…

sometimes I wonder how much has been fast forwarded by the cancer dance of the last two years. chemo ravages you, literally from the inside out and then just the experience of making your way through a cancer diagnosis forever changes you. but I feel an interesting mixture of deep strength and peace as well as a poignant poise in my life. it is happening now, and now, and now, and right now….and can I bring all of me to each moment.

I always knew I only would have one child. only wanted one child. very clear on that. after lily was born in was even more pronounced. the very idea of having another child felt like I was being unfaithful to her. how could I possibly take away any time from her for another? so because of that, there was this incredible heightened poignancy to everything in her life. “ this is the first and last time I will ever experience this moment as a mother.” over and over again. the thrill and the sad ache of knowing it would never be again.

our lives are like that too, we just don’t really understand that, until something catastrophic comes into play. then you really get that this is not a dress rehearsal. so instead of striving for perfection and planning your ideal future, go for sheer whole heartedness. not wreckless abandon, but fully engaged involvement with what feels impeccably true and right. right now and right now and right now. and know that those things will change, because they always do. the only thing you can ever count on is change and that is a hard one to swallow at times. you want so desperately to be able to depend on something, on someone.  the basket fit yesterday, today it does not… we want so much more guarantee than that, and there is none.

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the clock is ticking…live. live beautifully. drink in the day.

”tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – mary oliver-

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the morning of the race was sunny and beautiful and i felt better about doing it. sort of like i was an investigative reporter behind the lines…i rode my bike through town and along the greenbelt to the event area. amazing. 12,000 people were there. a sea of pink and white. how, i have to say that i am not a “group” kind of person. i don’t like clubs or team sports or sororities or anything that involves matching t-shirts and ball caps. i got there 3 minutes before the race was starting. got to registration, declined the t-shirt, but actually did need a hat…damn, had to break my “no group hats” rule…sigh… i declined a number as well, i just wanted to be a rogue free agent walker, do the 5k course and be part of the experience. i went by myself. walking by myself seemed fitting somehow.

although, not for long. i immediately ran into a friend i had not seen in a couple of years and we walked the course and caught up. as we walked i was struck by the festive nature of the event. music blaring, people in costume, musicians singing, a team of hot guys in running tights, no shirts and pink tutus, babies in strollers, people in wheel chairs. everyone smiling, laughing, dancing, talking, celebrating. living. virtually everyone sported a sign, t-shirt or poster bearing the names of those in their lives who had been touched or taken by cancer. it was staggering. one degree of separation these days. stories that made me feel so incredibly lucky. 

after about 4k, i bid my friend farewell, crossed the median and made my way back alone in the crowd. got on my bike and pedaled down to the farmer’s market. breathing deeply of the cool air along the shady river path, a sweet contrast to the 90 degree day it was shaping up to be. in the end i was very glad that i went. i will continue to seek my wellness, my health, my balance and choose this life. it is a really good one. 

 

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first of all, let me explain that the full text on this billboard is “I race for life”, but I love how all I caught of it as I drove by, was, “or life”. of course. what’s the alternative….?

yes, that is me. big, bald and badass. I was sent an email asking if I would want to participate in this photo shoot for “the race for the cure”, the susan g. komen event to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. I said that I would, and it proved to be a very interesting experience for many reasons.

I met a great woman at the shoot, who she and I have become friends. honestly, meeting mary lu now seems like the primary reason I did the shoot and just did not know it at the time.

it is an interesting phenomenon though that being involved in any sort of “cancer” awareness, survivorship, support situation, is the time I most feel like I might actually be a human land mine that could detonate at any time. the time I feel that maybe things are not quite as great as I think they are. in my day to day existence, I never think of myself as having been sick, or a survivor. I had cancer and now I do not. moving on. profoundly changed and ever vigilant, (that subtle fear always just below the surface)  but moving forward. new life. new time. live now. yet in the medical world there is a sense of always needing to remind you that even though we have the highest hopes, we are sure you are just fine, but…never forget you are sick. 

when I was In the hospital after my first chemo, ramped up and raging on steroids with a fever of 103, one of the myriad nurses came into my room and asked me what kind of cancer I had and then asked, “how long have you been sick?”  I remember being stunned into silence for a moment (rare for me, I know) thinking, I’m not sick. I have a fever and am in the hospital because of the drugs and treatment I am on, but I am not sick, I just am dealing with cancer for the time being, thank you very much. 

I have a lovely woman who is a yoga student of mine and friend who is an osteopath, and her entire focus is, where is the wellness in the body? let’s attend to the wellness and get the body in balance. this is a radical difference from “how long have you been sick?”

so because of this difference of focus, I was not entirely sure I wanted to be involved in actually doing the “race for the cure.” “racing for your life” “killing cancer” “beating the odds”. did I really want to be surrounded with thousands of people who saw themselves as sick and were afraid? I felt obligated, as I was their primary poster girl, but was having big reservations…

 

  to be continued…

 

 

Contact. Wanted to share this woman’s writings on dance. Love this. Remember we dance this Saturday night….in love and light, Jodeen

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by some interesting happenstance I ended up participating in a photo shoot for the susan g. komen event, race for the cure, a race that raises money for breast cancer research and screenings. I met a really lovely woman, mary lou, who was paired up with me in some photos. we sparked so gigantically when we met, you would have thought we were long lost sisters. I think meeting her is the reason that I did the photo shoot. we actually ended up being on the cover of the race brochure. anyway, last night was a get together with all of us who participated in the shoot. an opportunity to meet and talk to the others.

it was a small group, 10, plus friends and the staff. some fruit, cheese and cracker snacks, lemonade. I went around and talked to all of the women, and marveled at the stories they shared. two sisters who were diagnosed with cancer a month apart and were doing treatment together. they had lost their grandmother to cancer and their mother was a survivor. a woman of 28. a woman who was going thru chemo first to shrink the tumor then to have surgery. a woman 3 years out from treatment who had recently discovered there may be something happening in her bones right now. everyone on a different chemo  cocktail, a different duration, a different reaction. but all of us sharing the deeply lined faces, and overly shiny eyes, with exhaustion and fear lurking just below the surface. our bodies our battlefields.

during the evening, several women’s names were mentioned, followed by, “she’s not with us anymore.” the cold water in the face reminder that we had not broken an arm that would mend or had an appendix removed. this was a wild card game of chance we were dealt. no rules at all.

before I went there that night I received the letter in the mail from the hospital : “the results from your mammogram show no signs of cancer.”  exhale. big exhale.  and again I was struck by the fact that this was a letter I was to receive over and over in my life, always holding my breath as I opened the envelope. my reaction an odd mixture of huge relief and then a tinge of fear..not now. no sign of cancer right now

obviously a place I cannot hang out in, waiting for something to show up, but also realizing that your life matrix has been screwed with. you will never know for sure, so all you can do is believe that right now you are fine. you are cancer free.  and right now, and right now, and right now…