Sunday, February 24, 2013
Yoga teachers often deliver a little homily as a theme for the class. Sometimes it’s based on a personal experience, sometimes on a current event, sometimes on a seasonal topic. On Monday, my teacher dedicated the class to Obama, pointing out that the qualities to which we aspire in yoga are the very same required for able governance: steadiness (in staying the course), strength (of conviction), flexibility (in making necessary compromises).
Last night our hostess made the claim that in every couple, one person lives in denial and the other in reality. She made the claim specifically in reference to awareness of lice and bedbugs, but I believe it’s true in general. In my relationship, I am the one who lives in the real world, Other the one who lives in a fantasy of well-being. For him, the choice of subway seat is governed by proximity, not the hygiene of who sat there last. A ringing phone is just a ringing phone, at worst the announcement a robo-call, not a harbinger of catastrophic news. A clanking radiator is just a noise, not a signal of boiler breakdown.
He sleeps well. Guess how I sleep.
Friday, February 22, 2013
For decades, I’ve held a kind of moral advantage in my relationship with Other. He snored. I didn’t. It wasn’t pretty some nights. I shushed, poked, even kicked him. In the mornings, I was sometimes resentful and he was penitent.
Lately, though, there’s been a leveling out of the playing field. For a variety of reasons, I now have to sleep on my back for at least a portion of the night. And guess what: I snore too then.
Other has been remarkably good-humored about it. He says things like, “Boy, you really knocked the dust out of the rafters last night!” “Why didn’t you wake me up or roll me over?” I ask. “I knew you were tired,” he says.
It’s sort of infuriating, because I’ve had years of sleep loss from his snoring, and his sleep disruption is only recent. But I have to acknowledge that he now holds the high ground.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Every once in a while, I have a yoga class in which I’m thinking the whole time, “I feel fabulous!” My “om” vibrates thrillingly with everyone else’s. The stretches feel deliciously elastic. Muscle-firming feels genuinely strengthening. I can stand on one leg forever in Tree. The inward-rotation-this and outward-rotation-that are second nature. I can actually feel the white light rising up my spinal column. For an hour and a half I am 100% present and ecstatic.
But those are the days when I probably didn’t need yoga anyway. It’s days like yesterday—when raising my arms above my head made them ache, when good pain felt like bad pain, when I hated every minute of every pose and couldn’t wait for the whole thing to be over—that yoga is most crucial.
Because the thing is, even with a class like yesterday’s, when I felt bad going in and bad throughout, I walk out feeling better: physically relaxed, emotionally calmer, and often with renewed courage to face the world.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
I don’t often watch a movie twice, but I was stuck on a plane with nothing to do and I still had Take This Waltz on my iPod. I love it when characters dispense home truths in naturalistic dialogue, encapsulating the whole movie, as when the drunken Geraldine tells Margo, who has left her husband for a sexy neighbor, “You think everything can be worked out if you just make the right move … I don’t agree … Life has a gap in it. It just does. You don’t go crazy trying to fill it like some lunatic.” Or as when Margo’s ex-husband Lou rejects an overture from Margo: “Some things you do in life—they stick.”
Monday, February 4, 2013
Being a home aide is a difficult job—requiring the skills of servant and saint. I had to fetch something from the file cabinet in the room where my parents’ home aide sleeps, and caught a poignant tableau. Laid out on the aide’s pillow was a Holy Bible and a stash of candy bars.
Friday, February 1, 2013
Under stress, I tend to get superstitious, looking for signs and signals. Right now I’m in the throes of making a decision that seems momentous to me. Yesterday I woke up to find a pigeon carcass on the deck. It seemed to have fallen from the heavens. What does it mean?