Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Evening breezes cool
my skin, refresh day’s worn air
with night’s clean new breath.
I spend so much time doing. It seems like I am busy all day from the minute I roll out of bed in the morning until I roll back in at night. It’s not like I’m extremely physically active or work at a job that requires more than an eight hour day. It’s quite amazing how a day of reading and researching can suck away the daylight hours. And then one has to take time to feed and clean oneself as well.
I was always a clumsy and uncoordinated child, the last chosen for any sport event. I was never encouraged to participate because I was so bad at it. After my first dance class, the dance teacher told my mother I wasn’t worth her time or Mom’s money, though who knows what may have happened had she taken the time to teach me. My brain would say go one way and the body would go another, or the ankles would twist under and there I’d be, in the wrong place and likely in the wrong position. I’ve never really been “comfortable in my skin”. My body feels odd to me: I can feel food as it travels through my digestive system; I have to concentrate to see beyond the tiny capillary purkinje trees in my eyes (I also see my pulse in my eyes); I have a low pain/comfort annoyance tolerance; I can hear my blood moving in my arteries and veins almost as loudly as my tinnitus; my brain thinks of the weirdest things. I can’t stand clothing of any kind that binds me like a sausage or makes me sweat or has any little poky things. Hair in my face makes me want to rip it out except that would hurt, then I get terribly annoyed at having to constantly brush it out of my way. My body odor ranges from sour to moldy, even with daily showers. Yes, uncomfortable in my skin.
Because my favorite activities include reading, writing, researching, and movie viewing, I have to take time to put physical movement into my daily schedule. For people who live in the mind the need for movement is last on the list, but so important to the body/mind connection. I did yoga for many years in my 20s with great success, until a bump in life happened and I stopped. If you do yoga now, don’t stop. Ever. I keep trying to go back to it and find so many challenges now which I might not have lost had I continued the practice, like the ability to get down onto and back up from the floor, the ability to lie on my stomach, and the ability to roll over from back to side without pain.
I walked every day for the last 12 years. I had worked my way up to about three miles and after I figured out how important my shoes were to how much my hips hurt, the walks became quite a source of joy. I was out in the fresh air, enjoying all manner of weather and lighting, breathing the flower fragrances and freshly mowed grass (fortunate enough to not be allergic), indulging my insatiable nosiness by watching the neighbors’ gardens grow. Life was good.
Eight years ago I began swimming once a week after an issue with vertebral bone spurs and numbness in my arms in an attempt to avoid the surgery they offered as the only alternative. I started with three times a week and within a month the numbness was gone, so I cut back to once a week, walking the other days. Swimming was the highlight of my week, a sweet warm embrace of water and aerobics in a quiet public pool followed by a soak in the hot tub. Swimming plus walking equaled life was better.
And then. Last September something happened with my back. I’ve seen my doctor, been through some pain medicine (ineffective, with side effects), physical therapy (exercise only goes so far), and started walking with a cane to prevent falling when the random pain hits as it does unexpectedly several times throughout the day. I walk with a cane now only because I have fallen and I don’t like to fall. Walking became an unpredictable event often fraught with pain episodes. Whatever is happening remains undiagnosed. Life was sliding downhill.
But you can’t just give up moving. Not until that last day.
Swimming pool to the rescue. I became a three day a week user. There are worse things to be addicted to. The hours in the warm embrace of pool water is giving me movement, not entirely pain-free, but I want to think it is helping me keep what I am still able to do as far as muscles and joints. I am not ready to sit down and stop yet. The downside is absorbing all that chlorine and fluoride through my skin. Yes, if you swim in fluoridated water you absorb it in your skin. The price I pay for pain moderated movement.
And don’t I sound whiny? What I can’t do anymore, making excuses, spewing research, complaining. I wanted to grow old gracefully but there is nothing graceful about pain.
And yet. I work in a public place. I swim at a public pool. I see all kinds of bodies, and abilities, and conveyances: veterans in all manner of disrepair, special needs kids from the mainstream programs, adults damaged from birth or injury or life, busloads of elders from the assisted living senior center in every stage of aging and ability. Every one of them working as hard as they can to walk or push a walker, or manipulate an electric chair, or move themselves in the water. To their very last breath.
There but for the grace of God. I may not be doing it gracefully but I’m doing it to my very last breath. I’ll kick, and scream, and rant and rave, and say the truth when I know it. I’ll work this crazy uncomfortable skin until it doesn’t work any more.
But for at least thirty minutes every day, I stop. Well, mostly. I go outside and sit in my favorite outdoor chair. I have my little notebook and my purple pen. I position myself so I can see the road. And with my eye on the neighborhood, I let my mind drift. I try not to think about my mortgage, my bills, my employment, the work that needs to be done on my house and in my house, my wacky relationships, the only vehicle we have trying to burn up some undefined somewhere in the engine, retirement looming with no change in the bills, when I will ever experience refreshing and restorative sleep again, and what the hell I’m going to wear to my nephew’s wedding, in other words all the things that weigh upon my mind. I can’t seem to shut my mind off but I sit there fidgeting (pain relief means moving), thinking about water, the sky, trees and plants, birds, air and wind. Lately I’ve been jotting down a few of those thoughts on the little diary page on which I’ve been recording my sociological neighborhood observations.
It’s as close as I get to relaxing in this body. I sit. I don’t get up and water the plants that need it, or prune the wild grape vine, or clean the table I’m sitting next to. I listen. I breathe. I feel the air on my skin or through my clothes. I be. I be what I am: a human being, not a human doing, or a human thinking, or a human planning. I drift into thoughts of swimming with dolphins, riding horses like the wind, running with the grace of a gazelle, gliding through the air on widely spread wings, of floating on clouds. And I wonder what it would be like to be comfortable in my skin.
As I sit here writing, doing, fidgeting, my uncomfortable skin would like to share words with you as an exit to today’s muse. Words to inspire, to light, to contemplate, to meditate upon. Words to help to stop doing and experience being. Words you can feel with your skin. Here’s a little poem by Charles Bukowski (1920-1994).
a song with no end
when Whitman wrote, “I sing the body electric”
I know what he
I know what he
to be completely alive every moment
in spite of the inevitable.
we can’t cheat death but we can make it
work so hard
that when it does take
it will have known a victory just as
Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – it thrills me to catch critters in action going about their business, on golden yellow and deep orange coreopsis, pale pink mallow, and heirloom baby pink roses; a river of trailing pink petunias; and my favorite simple yellow roses.
Currently Reading – Report For Murder (1987, mystery fiction) by Val McDermid; The Little Free Library Book (2015, sociology) by Margaret Aldrich; Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation (2014, science) by Bill Nye. Yes, concurrently. Check out my re-vitalized From Me 2 U Book Review page.
This week I have been grateful for:
- Having the day off work after some dental work, again. Dental work is so invasive and taxing for my body, it’s nice to have the choice to rest after.
- June Dairy Month. As if I need an excuse for fresh milk and cream, yellow butter from grass fed cows, cheese, ice cream. Yum.
- Still being able to walk.
- Still being able to work.
- The vehicle still working.
- Lovely warm weather.
- $1.99 solar blankets, hung over our east window to keep the sun shaded out, instead if an expensive mounted wall canopy.
- Climate control of the house through curtains, and opening and closing doors and windows, with the help of some fans, so using little electricity.
- Having goals. Always nice to have something to look forward to.
- My evening meditations.
- The poem shared with me from a friend, shared with you above.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.
Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch