Life In Progress

I will not confuse my career with my life.

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Wake me when it’s over

Shelling peas, and plenty of them. Tucked them into the ground the day before we are forecast for a pistol-whipping of a spring storm here in upper New England. Florida and the Carolinas have had their lashings and are gladly sending this monster up the coast.

The news stations have all trotted out their oh-so-exciting repetitive “Storm! Team!” intro music and the cancellations banners are endlessly scrolling all the called off school days, dance studio classes, scout meetings and bean suppers. I imagine the grocery stores are hellish mad houses this evening with everybody stocking up on milk, bread, toilet paper and beer even while they rock to the ubiquitous piped-in music of the mid-70s.

I’m weary of wearing my fleece headband. Inside the house. Tired of shoveling snow and sipping hot tea and flaky, chapped hands. It’s been a long winter. I’m ready to trade all that for insect repellant, sunscreen and a cold beer in a cozy.

Bring. Spring.



When in doubt

Making everyone happy is nearly impossible; that’s a well-known fact. But lately, it has seemed even less likely that I will make myself happy. I feel fussy. I blurt out hurtful words, then apologize. My rhythm feels slightly off. Stuff goes wrong (like it does for everyone else, I know…) and I could just use a break. I want to feel at ease, graceful. Cooperating with gravity instead of fighting every step of the day.

An event that occurred today gave me such a strong rush of frustration from head to toe that I knew that if I were successful in communicating how knotted up I felt inside, I would be forever banished from polite society. My reaction gave me a sensory memory of being a small child not getting her way. I recalled the above snapshot of me as a toddler and searched my hard drive for it — voila! Yep, the look on my face in that photo about sums it up for how I felt at one point a few hours ago.

The younger me in the photo was probably just thirsty. Maybe it was getting close to nap time or I might simply have needed to pee. Certainly nothing earth-shattering was rocking my world — then, or this afternoon. My experience today was one more display in a line of lessons illustrating why I should choose my reactions maturely, more carefully. True, I can’t control, (nor should I try,) what makes its way into my consciousness. I need to apply my meditation experience more consciously in my off-the-yoga-mat life: increase my ability in social settings to merely witness thoughts and emotions without judgement. In other words, Rebecca, when in doubt, just keep your mouth shut.

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Cutting edge

The edge of spring in inland southern Maine:  Caustic salty dust devils flare up as cars fly by the end of the driveway; mud cakes our tires, marking our comings and goings onto the roadway and parking lot mountains of melting filthy snow take up fewer and fewer spaces each day at shopping centers. Before spring truly begins, mud season must be acknowledged.

Still mostly covered with snow, patches of the yard are appearing. Finally. It was over 60° even on the shady front porch this afternoon. Our rusty saw blade tables and maple stump seating areas will soon be available again for Beer:30.

Bring. Spring.


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My dreams are not pretty. Once I finally fall asleep, I’m assured to wake within a few hours with a dream. Sleeping is a portal to my night job: I’m racking up uncomfortable and precarious experiences while my body restores itself, (I hope.) Laboring and working out issues such as those in my dreams would be impossible to accomplish in one incarnation.

Extremely vivid dreams of our house and surrounding environs are most commonly on my night docket. The night before last, I dreamed my husband Will and I were in the kitchen tasting cold Indian food that we planned to heat up and consume the next night. Will started washing up the saucepan in the dark and I flicked the light on for him. It was 8:15 p.m.  I went upstairs to get ready to turn in early. Every light in every bedroom was ON. I tromped from room to room turning lights off and wondering, annoyed, if Will realized he had left all these lights on. As I left the back bedroom and entered the hallway, I bumped right into Will’s back. He was just standing there in the hallway, staring forward, facing the same direction that I was pointed. I knew it couldn’t be him because he was washing dishes downstairs. I got frightened and tried to scream. I awoke with a pounding heart, making a horrible croaking sound and our cat, Chitra, was looking at me with concern.

So completely chilled by that dream that, other than retelling it, I haven’t attempted to figure it out. Not sure I want to know. (Which, of course, means another display of whatever it means is in coming attractions…)

Themes of traveling, packing suitcases, searching for my hotel room and being in strange cities are also among my most frequent dream topics. Funny, that, because I’m anchored pretty strongly to home at present and don’t travel frequently. And when I do travel, I am savvy about my surroundings and in command of my suitcase and belongings —I most definitely do not wander about in a fog like I do in my dreams.

In a cupboard, there are several journals filled with over 25 years of my sleeping dreams, day dreams, nightmares and sketches. When I flip through these books and read a dream at random, it zaps me back in time to when that dream occurred and the aura surrounding it. A dream that has stuck with me for my entire life is a fever dream/nightmare from when I was a small child with pneumonia: In the dream, I knew I had to die but wanted to wait for my mother to return home. Someone pushed back a stone sarcophagus lid to a cobwebbed and crumbling tomb and I cowered and shivered to realize I had to GO into that place.

It’s getting late. Time to get ready for … work.

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The green fang

Chitra has a craving. Greens. Magic elixir for the indoor-dwelling feline’s digestive health. The sorry container of wheat grass she’d been grazing on has all but died back. She would sniff it and make a weak attempt to chew on the sparse blades, but her heart just wasn’t in it.

This morning, after scolding her for repeatedly attempting to reach the attractive stringy ends of the ponytail palm houseplant, (stashed on top of the tallest cupboard in the kitchen,) I remembered the pot of grass wintering over in the breezeway with some other plants. Brilliant.

I immediately retrieved the sacred vessel of grass and presented it to her in the sunny dining room. Soon, there were sounds of scissoring teeth, gnashing and tearing, as she chomped happily on the greens.

Funny, last fall, she rejected this very pot of thin-bladed lawn grass. Maybe it wasn’t as satisfying to gnaw as was the pot of tender, thick-bladed grass that had sprouted from straw I used to mulch the squash bed. Fortunately, it seems this pot will now handily appease her insatiable green fang.

Soon, I will thaw the frozen bag of potting soil sitting in the barn and sow some wheat grass seeds. This auxiliary pot of grass won’t last long.

I also need to start checking around the house for the, er, rewards of her consumption of copious amounts of this magical emetic material.

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A study in contrasts

All manner of nervous busy-mind worries embrace me tightly. Rain has dissolved the features of all my lovely snow creatures. I mourn them. They brought me so much joy. There is that long list of unfinished projects I envisioned working on during the winter months. I wonder where my time went. My personal yoga practice seems to have stalled: I find myself distracted and uncertain almost immediately when I hit the mat. At least I do hit the mat, but the usual rewarding bliss just hasn’t been there this week.

Tomorrow promises an unusual range of activities. Jury duty selection begins promptly at 8 a.m. at the Court House in Portland. Uncertainty and discomfort surrounds my concept of the task. Will this take the entire day? I envision a cattle-call environment with a big “hurry up and wait” aspect to it. If I’m selected to serve, how much time will it gobble up? Will I be exposed to nasty details of a realm of people about whom I’d rather remain oblivious? The more I allow my mind to tick through questions and objections, the whinier I start to feel. The shallower my breath comes. I’m uncomfortable.

Gratefully, my focus flickers to the yoga class I will teach tomorrow at 5:30 in Falmouth, at the end of what I expect to be a stressful day. I’m told by the regular teacher for this class I’m subbing that these students don’t even want to progress to standing asana, typically. A relaxing and non-pressured class culture such as this beckons my focus across the rough expanse of the day tomorrow. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. My class outline and music are prepared. Yoga mat, speakers, iPod and yoga clothes to change into are tucked in tote bags and ready to go.

For the rest of today? Sip tea. Breathe air. Bring my focus back to here, back to now.

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Letting go

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Baguette dough tucked into the oven to rise, we clipped on our snow shoes and visited the goat barn for Beer:30. Along the way, I visited and documented the sad deterioration of my snow friends from this past week.

Ironically, the snow is perfect right now for sculpting. But it will be in the 50s here tomorrow, then a deluge tomorrow night. So all I can do is let go.

The turkeys can no longer walk on the crust with impunity. Watching them break through with every awkward step, I commiserate. Their generously scattered shit is being revealed rather ungraciously in the yard. Soon, they’ll be scratching in the fresh mud for cracked corn and making spectacles of themselves with their entertaining mating ritual.

And so the end of winter commences, giving way to …mud season. (You thought, maybe spring?)