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Empathy

28 Apr

ImageI sometimes wish that I didn’t feel things so deeply. A few weeks ago, I was on the bus heading downtown. We stopped on Broadway in front of the QFC and a few riders got on the bus. One was an older man, with several bags. He shuffled slowly to the end of one of the seats on the left and in the front, the ones that face inward.

He was most likely homeless, from his unkempt appearance, shaggy beard and bags. He was looking for his pass or transfer when the bus driver began calling out to him in a loud voice. Sir, sir, come here, he said. The would-be passenger muttered that he was putting down his belongings. The bus driver’s voice became louder, he unhooked himself from his seat and continued to call out to the man in a voice that resonated throughout the vehicle.

When they both were in the doorway, the driver asked him to step outside and to get off of the bus. But my things … the man said. We don’t want to go through this again, the bus driver said, not hiding the scolding tone, as if he was talking to a child. I’m trying to keep you out of jail, man, the bus driver said. It was a bit heart-breaking. Even if this man has had jail troubles, did the bus driver really have to yell that out for all to hear on the bus? And I’ve certainly been on the bus before when I wished the driver had not let someone on due to being drunk or high or obnoxious. This was not one of those riders.

The older man swore at the driver as his bags were placed on the sidewalk and prepared to drive away. That’s what I’m talking about, the bus driver said, as if some harsh words at that moment justified the humiliation we all had just witnessed.

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38 to 40 (+1).

10 Mar

Image

I didn’t finish out strong (as planned), but I started anew on day 41 and am doing well as I move beyond the original 40-day commitment.

I went to yoga on day 41, and Steve talked about positive v. negative vibrations. Yes, it sounds a little woo woo, but it also makes a lot of sense.  I’ve found that I can make a difference even in my dreams. It’s easy to dwell on the past, and I’m not saying that I don’t think about things that have happened, but it’s just as easy to decide to dwell on something positive, or shift your mind in that way. Having thoughts about the ex? Well, let’s shift to another topic that is just as easily navigated via dreams. It works. It’s helpful to me even if today, I’m not feeling so much like moving on and away from times that I thought were really happy.

In the 41 + days of late, I hit yoga, did a stair climb and then went back to yoga today. Today, Liz talked about the glass being half empty, or half full and focusing on the half-full and trying to fill it up even more with thoughts of family, friends and other positivity. Sounds kind of like the positive v. negative vibrations, eh?

I’m not sure yet what I’ll aim for tomorrow. The plan had been to do yoga, but it might be nice to do cardio instead. Or I could hit the pool for some laps. My legs are still sore from the stair climb, so a bike ride could be good if the weather cooperates. Daylight savings time means more hours of light in the evening here in the Pacific Northwest and that felt helpful already today.

My thoughts this weekend were with Zoom, a woman I met and worked with in Seattle while spearheading a great event called Chicks Play Hard. Zoom worked at Miller Community Center, and she was so supportive of our event. I worked with her for several years, until she left Miller and moved on to Montlake Community Center.

She told me how she’d take regular trips to Canada with senior citizens to get prescription drugs that they could afford. She was a truly giving and kind soul, from all that I saw. Then, something changed. She is now accused of shooting a Parks & Rec supervisor. When I saw her name pop up via Twitter on Friday, I had an omg kind of moment. Her nephew was quoted in the news, and said that something had changed last July when her home was broken into and her dog was killed. I’m so sorry that she didn’t get the help that she needed, and my thoughts go out to the victim, his family, and to Zoom and her family. Yes, I’m switching gears here from the 40 days but my gosh, what happened on Friday is a reminder of how quickly life can change. Here’s to positivity and working through painful things in life in the best way that we all can.

Day 8 of 40: Turn my world upside down

2 Feb

5 steps to headstand from lulu lemon

90 minutes of yoga, much needed after a busy week and feeling sluggish today.  KT started us off with a form of cleansing. We moved our warmed up hands from below our chin, up our face and over our head, like a veil, she said. We put slight pressure on our eyes (eyes closed), massaged the mandible and loosened up the face.

Inversions – a parallel with life, when things get turned upside down all of a sudden. I’d never thought about a headstand that way before. Lots of core, and some flow. Backbends. Music you could dance to, in a ballet kind of way, which I love. A wonderful class. Much needed – did I already say that?

Tomorrow: Swimming challenge. And, yes, I’ve been talking about that since day 1.

Day 7: A broken shoe still works

2 Feb

Mary Jane missing a part

More walking on the 7th day. And proof on the left that the distance was far enough to cause some damage. My friends Alex and Nathan got married yesterday afternoon. I left work early and despite planning ahead to wear my black patent leather Dansko clogs to the hotel and bringing my higher platform-y Mary Janes, I decided that I could hoof it the whole way from my office (8th & Stewart) to the W Hotel.

I’d recently repaired my old-ish Mary Janes, applying a nice layer of super glue to the sole of one shoe to ensure the platform was secure. It was secure, just not enough to endure a brisk 30-minute walk to the W (made longer because I forgot the W was on 4th and not 1st), including a few steep hills. Sigh.

As luck (?) would have it, both platforms broke off by the time we left the courthouse. The second platform came off in the middle of the street, like a scene from a movie. I was fortunate enough that even without the platforms, the shoes still had a bottom and you couldn’t really tell what had happened. The ruby red with a small bow Franco Sartos would have been a better choice. (Note to self, and do I need to say that when I’m blogging?)

At least 30 minutes of walking in? Yes, definitely. And dancing after dinner at Pink ultra lounge downtown. The DJ didn’t take requests, though he didn’t say that. A pet peeve of mine, especially when celebrating a wedding. We heard that Pink is closing this weekend, actually, and that’s not surprising. The company (wedding party) was fabulous and we had tons of fun as a result. But the bartenders weren’t very friendly or very into customer service. I just hope Alex and Nathan had a great night. I think they did.

Next up: Yoga at Samadhi. 90 minutes of a workout today. Looking forward to it.

Day 4 of 40: Change o’ plans

29 Jan

Tennis shoes, from charmofcharleston.comThwarted with my swimming plan, but that’s OK.  I had a laser treatment today for my face, and hadn’t planned ahead when starting the 40 days that this would interfere with swimming.  Such is life.  Laser treatments and skin care are important to me and are perhaps part of the reason why my own father doesn’t realize my age. In all fairness, I don’t remember his age either.

Swimming was out, and yoga probably wasn’t a great idea. My left knee was aching a bit when I went to bed last night, and I realized that I probably should have iced it after the yoga, stairs, yoga routine on days one to three of 40.

But walking was in. And I needed to go to the store. I felt really cold on the way home, even though it was in the mid-40s today. Could I drive to the store and walk somewhere, and still get at least 30 minutes of exercise in? Probably not, and gosh, how wimpy of me. As one of our researchers would say, it’s all about the right clothing. It doesn’t matter what the weather is. A long-sleeve shirt and fleece jacket with hat did the trick. And gloves. iPod on Father John Misty to reminisce about the awesome concert the other night.

In the end: 40 minutes or so of walking. Groceries procured, lunch ready for tomorrow. And another look at the latest episode of Girls.

Up next: Most likely another walk. I’m meeting friends after work to watch the IU game.

Day 3 of 40: Santosha

28 Jan

90 minutes of yoga at Samadhi with Steve. Backbends on blocks, tilted against the wall. First with the hands (easy enough) and second with the blocks. I felt too shaky and then Steve decided it was better to have the blocks on the floor. We were the guinea pigs and it was an experiment.

Strength moves and core work. Triangle, without putting weight into the hand reaching for the knee, calf or the ground. I felt slightly stronger than even just a few days ago, though I couldn’t do the move with two blocks where I hold my entire body weight up.  Only one foot felt like moving.  Another goal to aim for, in addition to the dancer’s legs.

108 chants of Santosha near the end of class. Contentment, or satisfaction. I felt distracted at certain times, thinking about work or “sorry, I can’t make it” or reluctant ends to a friendship when I should have been breathing into it.  I know it’s part of the process.

Day 4:  Plan of the moment is swimming, which gets back to yesterday’s theme. And also moves from class tonight. Face down on the mat, left arm forward, right leg back and up, look over your left shoulder. Keep swimming.

Advice for Life: From Billy B., Shuttle Driver

2 Nov

In the next 10 years of my life, my age will start affecting me:  Aches and pains will pop up, and friends will start dying.  Billy is, I guess, in his mid- to late 50s, and he talked about being at the point in his life where he’s looking back on his life.  He had just returned from a trip home to Mississippi to visit family and friends.  He spoke about the trip home with such happiness, and was full of smiles.  I asked him if he wanted to move back eventually, and he said “yes.”

He talked about relationships he’s had, and how as we get older, even if it’s difficult, you should try to stay friends with people you’ve dated, even if the relationship didn’t work out.  I’m not really sure how we got on that topic.  He described a recent phone call with a female friend, and how they’d come to an understanding of where things stand with them right now.  “It could come full circle a year from now,” Billy said.

He’s from Biloxi, Mississippi, a place that I visited several times when I was little, with my parents.  I used to love those trips – I remember beignets, the beach, visiting historic places.  I haven’t been back there since I was a kid, but I’d love to return.  I’ve heard that it’s changed, with casinos, even.  And some of those places were trashed due to Katrina and other storms.  Mary Mahoney’s is still there, but I don’t see the seafood place we used to go to on the water.  I also remember going to a plantation and learning about cotton picking, and buying a little sample of cotton still in its shell and taking it home.  Beauvoir may be the one that I’m thinking of, but it looks like (sadly) most of it was destroyed in Katrina.