Archive | February 2012

twenty twelve: my year of balance


Balancing stones tipping over

It started last summer when I went on a date with a handsome, funny man I call Coach. On our first date, we had so much fun talking and laughing during dinner that we decided to extend the date by walking down a few blocks to the river.

On the way back to our cars, I stepped off the crumbling sidewalk just enough in my too-high-for-klutzy-me wedges to throw me off balance. Halfway to the ground, the most amazing thing happened – Coach caught me! (Nobody has ever caught me before!) After making sure I was okay, (a conversation that went something like this: “Are you ok?” “Yes!” “Are you sure? You were screaming.” “Right, because it hurts when you fall. I know. I fall a lot!”), he immediately segued into humor. (“You know, women usually fall for me. But not on the first date.”)

There’s something to be said for a fella whose reflexes are fast enough to catch a moving target, strong enough to stop her mid-fall, and funny enough to erase her embarrassment and make her laugh!

Over the course of the next few months, I fell a little in love with The Coach. And over the course of the next few months, I fell three more times. The last fall came about a week after Coach decided we shouldn’t see each other anymore.

2012 on balanced stonesAt my next visit with my brilliantly gifted acupuncturist, Dr. Rahmie Valentine, she reminded me that sometimes things happen because God or the universe is trying to get your attention. As I tried to explain how each of the falls occurred, she gently pointed out the how didn’t really matter. Falling is the message.

 

I haven’t fallen since that insightful visit to Rahmie. I have, however, gone on two cruises, visited the Arch and Jesuit Hall at St. Louis University (SLU to the natives) in St. Louis on business, dated a few smart, funny men, gone sailing for the first time and started this blog (and it’s only February!).

Twenty twelve is my year of balance.

Question: How do you find balance in your life? How do you realize when you aren’t balanced? How is God speaking to you?

yoga whispers


Yoga came to me in a whisper.  And it saved my life.

At the yoga studio where I practice, I am the poster girl for “if she can yoga, anyone can.”  My yoga instructor has told me that she’s never seen anyone so completely disconnected from her body.round yogini in loose forward fold

Disconnection was my coping mechanism.  That was my survival method for enduring an unhappy marriage for over twenty years.  My body practically shouted at me, “Pay attention!  You are hurting! Life can be better!” But I was adept at tuning out the shouting.  But one night, lying in bed, I heard a whisper.  Just a whisper.

“You should start doing yoga.”

Yoga?  I was an overweight forty-something.  It would be difficult to find someone less athletic than me.  I spent my childhood curled up with books, hundreds of books – sneaking them out of the house under my shirt when my mother ordered me to play outside.  Thanks to two ear surgeries, my balance is still precarious at best.  But the whisper was persistent.

You should start doing yoga.”

So I did.

I started with easy beginner yoga videos, and within weeks, I was hooked.  Eventually, I got up the nerve to start taking classes at the local yoga studio.  The knowledge and support I received at YogiVeda transformed my practice. The friends I made in yoga class became my support system and my lifeline in the dark days ahead.

Within months, I lost weight, my blood pressure came down, and the hot flashes that were keeping me awake at night (thanks, early menopause!) were under control.  I could touch my toes for the first time in my adult life!  My back pain disappeared.

Within six months, I was ready for my first weekend yoga retreat!  My insightful, beautiful yoga instructor, Carrie Wandall, started the class by giving each of us a piece of paper.  As we meditated for a few minutes, she told us to think about what was toxic in our life, and write it on the piece of paper.  She told us we dedicate our practice to ridding ourselves of whatever was most toxic to us, and symbolically burn all those little pieces of paper at the end of the class.

I obediently sat with my knees crossed and eyes closed, asking myself what was toxic in my life.  The same answer came to me over and over again.

My marriage. 

My marriage is toxic.

My marriage is killing me.

That’s the day I knew my marriage had to end.  It took another year and a half to have the courage to walk away, to ask for the divorce I knew we both needed.  But that was my beginning.

Yoga class showed me what peace felt like.  For years, I memorized Bible verses about peace.  I craved peace in my life, in my home.  But I never knew what peace felt like until I found it laying in Savasana, corpse pose, at the end of yoga classes.    Then, I’d come home and feel that peace being sucked out of me, replaced with my old frenemies, Anxiety and Anger.

Thanks to yoga, today my heart is filled with peace.  My house is filled with peace.   And when my body talks to me, I listen ever so carefully.

What is your body telling you? Is your body shouting at you? Do you listen for the whisper that’s trying to save you?