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Not forgotten

6 Apr

I get annoyed when I ask somebody how they are and they say, “Busy. So busy!” as if that validates their importance in the world. And now – gulp – I kind of get it.

Life is abundant, full and I am surrounded by a lot of love and things I (mostly) enjoy doing.

Let’s see. There was this little girl:

Who has grown into this:

Yes, very wolf-like! I'm loving her.

Then there’s been braces and lots of trips to the dentist:

Second place in Pinewood Derby, thanks to Grandpa Jim and the i-car:

And the fashionista (who dresses herself – notice the many layers) is now reading fluently. I love it when they read fluently – no excuses for not reading the chore chart anymore:

I cannot be responsible for things I leave undone when the weather is shining – it’s out of my control. If it’s sunshiney in March, I will be outside:

In January came Teacher Training. You learn a lot more when you teach instead of take. You also can’t flake on your homework or not show up:

The mystery of how to organically remove grubs from the vegetable garden soil in time to plant veggies. Two rounds of nematodes haven’t worked:

And lemon tree leaves that are curling:

Loads of laundry. Did I mention LOADS? Aren’t we lucky to have such – um – abundance?:

The studio, the teachers, the Karma Club, the bank deposits, mopping, typing and emails. I am forever grateful to be doing what I love:

March brought a trip to Tybee Island, Georgia to retreat with friends. More on that later – happy birthday to me!:

Not enough of this:

Or this:

And certainly, no blogging.

I’ve decided that it’s time to practice what I preach and SLOW down. Since there’s nothing left to say “No” to (I’m very good at that), and nobody left to delegate to, it means some things will not get done. I’m OK with that, I think. I hope you are too!



22 Jun

Years ago, I read an article in the local paper about a woman who had run a marathon. She was a senior and if I remember correctly, she was in her 80’s. The race officiators extended the time limit of the race because she was determined to finish. The interview she gave the paper included a quote from her that I think of almost daily. She said, “Nothing could be easier than putting one foot in front of the other.”

I almost canceled the nature retreat I was leading yesterday. Only a few people had signd up, and I knew that preparing for it was going to be time consuming – and time is the one resource I just don’t have right now. I had already spent 3 hiking days looking for a good open, safe spot for the yoga portion of the retreat and couldn’t find anything that wasn’t crowded, full of poison oak, or hot and sunny. A little voice inside of me though, told me to hold it anyway. Then, my doctor told me to as well.

You know you’re not making things up when you explain where you’re at to your GP and she nods along and looks like she wants to give you a hug. My doctor was a great listener and I was reassured that she wasn’t just a meds only kind of doctor. We talked about where I was with my depression, and she said that the therapy, the yoga, the meditation, the stress-management was going along just as she would suggest. So here I am once more,  back on meds for a while.

Why is it so hard to talk about? So hard admit? I know where I’m at – I’ve been here before and I want to nip this in the bud before I digress too far. I’m not embarrassed to ask for help, or admit that I need it. Still, it would be dishonest not to admit that there’s a little part of me that feels like, “is there anything I can master? I’ve done this before, why am I back here? Why isn’t all of the management working?” There is definitely a part of me that is disappointed in myself for not being more of an optimist. And somewhere lurking down deep is the thought that I am supposed to be the teacher. Even though my conscious mind knows I am the eternal student, the tangible ego-ic world is quick to remind me that I should be the master. After all, I’ve helped many people through this before. I’ve managed my state of mind without medication for several years now.

I know how ridiculous that sounds. I know that I am one of the most positive people on the planet  most of the time. The big truth for me though, is that everything really is impermanent, and for me it’s humbling to note that nothing is more impermanent than my own state of mind.

I’m dealing with the internal and I’ve become pretty good at that. Dealing with the external was something I’ve learned to manage through boundaries and saying NO to doing too much. So here I am realizing that if I want to keep my life as dream-filled as it is, I have to do more than is ideal for me personally. That means that there is a lot more stimulus going on both externally and internally, more than I can keep up with.  Being mindful and accepting is really helping.

I say it to my students so much it’s become a joke. “Suffering is optional”. So this time around, as I notice that it’s really hard to make it through a day without yelling at someone, composing myself and apologizing, or I’m just not sleeping because I’m anxiously running over all of the things that need to be done, or I’ve just lost that desire to do anything – I know it’s time for help. I’m not going to suffer this time until my family is suffering with me. So, I’m trying a new medication called Pristiq. (I’m very skeptical of the name… terrible name!) As with most depression meds, there is an adjustment period. So for the next couple of weeks I’m dealing with a bit of nausea, being tired, and shaky hand syndrone. Kind of like being pregnant again. But, it’s all good – I feel like I’m climbing out of the hole again except this time it’s not scarry or overwhelming. It’s just is what it is.

Yesterday, the retreat was amazing, simply amazing. The six of us rolled out our mats on a wide stretch of cleared and packed trail. We were next to a creek-bed and huge trees wove overhead providing shade. I spoke as little as possible so that rather than worrying on form, we could move organically into our own natural expression of being. The birds chirped, the breeze sung through the branches of the trees, our drishti was a leaf, the spiders crawled around our mats and our feet rooted right down into the earth. Sirsasana (headstand) and Urdhva Dhanurasana (backbend) gave me a liberating new view of my world upside down with blue skies peaking though the branches of the big oaks. Those sirsana feet were reminded to reach up into the clouds just like the trees. It was downright magical.

Nobody cared that we had to shift plans slightly or that we started out a bit late. We all shared food and climbed through the beautiful foothills and canyons of Mt. Diablo, really enjoying a real connection with each other. I enjoyed listening to my friends and getting to know them better.  For a whole morning, I forgot how tired I was, and how I couldn’t keep myself from shaking during yoga and how I almost wanted to throw up, or about what I needed to do next or where I needed to be on time.  I felt so grateful to live in such a gorgeous world. We climbed up the last steep hill and it was so effortless for me.

Climbing out of this hole of anxiety and depression feels good.  There’s no fear or despair this time, just acceptance of where I’m at. Nothing is easier than just putting one foot ahead of the other.

Foiled Again

5 Nov

I love daylight savings in the fall. I’ve been waiting to fall back for weeks now. My grand master plan (insert evil laugh here) is to wear the kids out by day, keep them up late and have them sleep in according to the new clock. This plan then allows me to stay on the old time, easily waking an hour early to have a quiet hour to myself to meditate or practice yoga.

It’s 5:45am at the Gallagher house and I’m starting to rouse on my own, before the alarm clock. Yay! The plan is working. I roll over and smile inside – man I’m good. The next thing I hear is my seven-year old “whisper-yelling”.  Now in my tiny little house, if one person is rustling, whispering, or breathing too loudly, we’re all awake. Eeek. As it turns out, Kieran was stealing a pillow from his big brother. Yep, while he’s asleep. Nope, it didn’t go over very well. It was a big commotion and I had to drag Kieran into the closet so I could have a dharma talk with him about loving-kindness without waking the house.

Sigh. The master plan was foiled again.

I take safety pins and pin Kieran to his mattress by his pajamas – oh wait, I’m going into fantasy mode again – I mean, I tucked Kieran into my bed and went downstairs to start my meditation. Once again it seemed like a beautiful day.

Thud, thud, thud. That’s the sound of Kieran coming down my stairs. Let me tell you a bit about son #2. My Kieran doesn’t do anything quietly. He doesn’t do anything slowly. Everything is a competition. He’s the number two child. That’s his job.

On to plan B… let’s put this kid into meditation. I do meditation with the kids occasionally, so Kieran knew what to do. I gave him my mala beads to help him focus and set the timer for seven minutes – one minute for every year old he is. I gave him a little mantra to repeat for each bead, “I can use my voice wisely”. He was really excited about it. I explained that getting around the set of mala beads one breath at a time usually takes about 15 minutes, so he might just get around the beads half way and that’s just fine. After working in the kitchen for about two minutes, I heard Kieran yell “YES! Mom I already got around the beads one time!” Every couple of minutes he would squeal with delight at how fast he was able to accomplish this goal of his. At the end of the seven minutes he came to me and was so proud that he flew through his meditation so quickly! Well, his loud voice woke the other kids so our day began much earlier than planned.

Foiled again.

It’s so obvious to see that my little man had no clue why he was sitting in meditation. To him it was a chore that he could accomplish by going faster and being efficient. He certainly wasn’t paying attention to his mantra. But I have to admit that minutes earlier in my own meditation I actually caught myself thinking, “Wow. I’m meditating so much better today than yesterday.”

Foiled again.