Health, self improvement

WHILE THE COFFEE PERKS

WHILE THE COFFEE PERKS

My phone and technology is getting to me. It has been for quite sometime and I fantasize regularly about discontinuing it completely. Before you start throwing your belief systems at me, “You own a business!! How will your son get in touch with you? !!” and the many other memes that have been planted in our brains by Big Tech I am fully aware that the notion of even contemplating this seems unrealistic, even radical these days. But a girl can dream, can’t she?

What I know about all of this technology and I am speaking for me here in my quiet little corner of the world, is that it does not serve my sense of inner connection. I feel at times on the inside like the fuzzy screen on my grandparents old Zenith console when there was nothing on television because it was one in the morning. My insides feel a little sizzly, fragmented, hot, and not in a good way. It is like a disconnect with my spirit and these time sucking instruments I find myself checking regularly for no apparent reason are the culprit. It used to be television that I thought was the great time waster, sitting on the couch watching mindless shows. The Boob Tube we used to call it back when that was the only form of technology that had the potential for the incredible waste of our days. Like George Orwell predicted in 1983, Big Tech is our version of Big Brother as every single movement from the time we wake up until the time we lie down is tracked and recorded. I know I sound like a conspiracy theorist, I am not at all. We consumers have created this condition by our love and zest for new and shiny and all things tech. Our behaviors have changed with the times, like Pavlov’s dog and here we are. As I write this very piece, I am fully aware that my car is running so that I may enter a warm cushy space because of an app on my phone. I am writing on the very technology I complain about. I post on a site that allows an audience for my writing making it much easier to communicate my love of writing to more people than I certainly could if I were typing on one of my 27 newly collected typewriters.

But my insides have not been feeling the calm joyful peace I crave. I miss that feeling that is like a velvet quilt on a cold day with the fire going and a fresh hot cup of tea by my side. When I was visiting my grandfather a few weeks back, we went to temple and as I was singing next to him, he said to me, “You seem to love coming so much, why don’t you attend services at home then?” My reply was quick. “I don’t have anyone to go with and it is kind of a bummer always being solo at synagogue.” But he planted that seed and I realized I haven’t been purposeful in connecting with my spirituality. Deliberate and conscious connection with my higher power is something that always brings me the AHHH I know is necessary to move through my busy life. Why do I step away when it usually brings me such joy? I guess this is the perpetual quest. Like exercise and eating right, saving money, meditating, creating, reading, writing, learning, all these elements that feed my personal soul, I wonder why I step away when they all make me feel so enlightened and happy?

I decided for a change rather than overwhelm myself with some new hard and fast rule that I would most definitely break and then feel like a failure, I would pull out of my box of quotes, ONE DAY AT A TIME. I never really understood this mantra until I applied it to each day, ONE DAY AT A TIME. So last week, I decided to get back to conscious meditating, but without some long term plan where I would start doing meditation classes and offer it to the world resulting in no meditating as usual. Instead I put my coffee on and decided that I was worthy of the time it took to completely brew the pot to sit down cross legged facing a beautiful pastel my brother drew of a sun before he died and close my eyes and just breathe. While the coffee perked. For the entire pot. My coffee pot beeps when it is finished which in the past I considered a silly extra feature, but in this case, it was a helpful reminder that I could stop. I think the whole pot brewing took about seven minutes but it may as well been five hours because I had a really hard time adjusting, sitting cross legged, breathing, staying focused on my breath. It pretty much sucked. But I felt better when I got up, soothed, relaxed. So I did it the next day and it still sucked, my brain was spinning, I couldn’t get a deep breath, my heart felt racy, my hips were tight and I was uncomfortable. But I felt better when the pot beeped again and I got up. So I did it again. And it was easier to breathe deeply, to sit to come back to breath every time my mind spun and took me away from it, and when the pot beeped I stayed put enjoying the velvet vibe. I stretched for a few minutes some downward dog, some cat cows, some rising up and breathing in.

And I felt better. I could take a deep breath. My heart slowed. My mind calmed. And I did it again the next day and the day after. ONE DAY AT A TIME. And I went to temple and sang with my tribe and I felt better. All because I have a coffee pot that beeps. All because my 101 year old grandfather reminded me that my joy is as important as work and that my religion and culture and its freedoms are a gift that I take for granted without even having to say it aloud. And I feel better. And it’s free. Seven minutes of coffee perking, I deserve the time. Technology will be there later, back to my present moment for today anyway.

peace indeed
Health, Women

THE LOCKER ROOM

THE LOCKER ROOM

The first time I seriously went to a gym was about 22. The image in my mind is the varying shapes and sizes of the women in the changing room. Modesty, blatant nakedness absent of inhibitions and in between bodies of women of all ages. The locker room of a gym is where you see the vulnerabilities, the insecurities, the confidences and the beauty of women. It is one of my favorite observatories, but it must be done in a subtle way because the unspoken rule is not to glare, stare or gawk. This is difficult. I find the energy of it all such a study of the interesting ways women are.

When I was this age, just beginning my young adult path, the locker room was a wakeup call of what can happen to our bodies as we get into our older years; at 22 this was about 40. At 22 I remember the little girls who shamelessly walked into the group shower with their little bodies staring at the multitude of bodies and vagina hair. I loved the group shower. There was something so uninhibited about the experience of showering with strangers. As I caught glimpses of the older women, it barely occurred to me that one day I would be standing amongst them crown and cape on knowing that I would be them.

The distinction between youth and age is found in the locker room. The scars and the victories show up there. The abuse and the care show up as well as the histories of significant times in our lives. The warrior wounds and the self-care are evidence of the lives we have lived in the rawness of the light of the locker room. For example, tattoos and their placement on the body usually show the era of a woman. Perhaps their tattoo is on the shoulder or the ankle or the hip, all signs of a life change for a 40 something. Maybe it was a divorce, or a death of someone close. A tattoo in this area is a way to give voice to the pain or the changes that are relevant to the event. Tattoos all over the body are often the 20 somethings where tattoos have become a sport with vigorous competition on quantity, uniqueness and color.

There are the children, innocence abounding, smiling, giggling, gawking, starting to feel their worth of their own appearance as they begin the entrance into the constant comparisons of how they think their little bodies should be.

There are the crones with their saggy breasts and their carbohydrated bellies getting out of the pool in their one piece bathing suits and their bras that are more like soldiers in battle holding up breasts that have fed a multitude of children over the years, the hands that have ironed their husband’s shirts and their fit bodies, despite the sag, of tennis clubs and learning to care for their cardio later in life. I am the young body next to them as I was the young body next to me 25 years past. I cherish this tribal experience that has no spoken word.

Yesterday it happened. The transition in the locker room happened. I was standing naked surrounded by 20 somethings and I realized that it happened. The torch was passed to me as I saw a little girl sneak a peak at my shape. The torch was passed as I watched a 25ish girl get ready for her workout with her tight fit oh so perfect 25 year old body fixing and fidgeting her sassy workout clothes as she looked in the mirror more than twice to make sure the snugness was snug in the right places. She hadn’t had a child yet, hadn’t lost a sibling, or a parent, hadn’t had an extra 27 years of sun exposure or had seen the way her hair color would be changing and deciding what to do about it. She probably never had any type of vagina hair as brazillians had been in her generation the moment the first hair sprouted. She hadn’t yet seen the changes that would happen to her body from the varying diets and food stories living for 52 years brings or the changes in her once perfect and firm breasts from surgical menopause and two lumpectomies. The innocence was affirming. Satisfaction of a life well lived with all of its cuts and scrapes as its teacher affirmed the cape and crown well deserved.

I earned the torch.