Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) - Anatomical studies of the shoulder, between 1510 and 1511
Great image by Danny Quirk, who’s a medical illustrator and artist. In teaching body rolling, I’ve begun to feel this way, that I’m peeling (painlessly) away the skin and looking at the muscles and structure beneath. I’m sure lots of body practitioners do this (all of them?) but it’s still somewhat new to me, information and imagery sinking in bit by bit.
In the sideline roll, I try to explain the network of muscles that lies across the rib cage. When we put the ball here, we’re grabbing the muscles and pushing them to the front of the body, then the back, so that the muscles begin to float across the rib cage — because for most of us, they get stuck to one another, to muscles and tissue around them, and even to the bones — and that, of course, makes the expansion of the rib cage on inhalation a little more labored.
It’s dramatic, for most people, how good they feel after Yamuna’s sideline roll. It’s one of my favorites.
Yoga Journal 33
4 April 2013, Thursday
Next up, my mom. That seems to be the case, anyway. Anything can happen at any time, right?
Mom has been feeling bad for about a month now, and while she’s 84, and low energy and lying low has been her thing for years, she kind of took a nose dive in the last month. A leaky valve in her heart is now coupled with congestive heart failure. And there are numbers involved (that I can’t remember pertain to what; it’s not blood pressure) that are really grim. As in, “if she’s still with us in six months…” grim. The quote there refers to her being a candidate for a defibrillator, but I’m not so sure she’ll go for that. As she says, she’s ready to go be with the Lord.
I haven’t processed all of this yet, just kinda breathing through it.
A few years ago, I started calling my mom every day. I mean, she’s 84, so of course my time left with her is drawing to a close, and I decided that even though we’d had a strained relationship from high school through college, and much of my early adulthood, I didn’t want that to be the case anymore. At the heart of our relationship is, well, our hearts. My mom’s an incredibly loving and generous person. And when you let go of all the stupid stuff you might argue about, that’s all that matters anyway. So that’s where we got to and that’s where we’ve been.
To hear her declining so rapidly over the last few weeks has been rough. She was encouraging us through the whole transition with Dale and of course praying for us, having her prayer group join in as well. But she progressively had less energy on the phone. And just the night before last, I told Kyle I thought she’d given up.
Oddly, the news yesterday perked her up. But my sister also said I’d probably been catching her at low points of the day, because Mom doesn’t seem to have given up to her. When I spoke to Mom this morning she felt better; the meds are working. There’s nothing to improve the quality of her heart right now, but the fluid that was around it and in her lungs is dissipating, and she’s got a little more energy.
So that was encouraging.
The plan is to head up to see her after the Canopy show, and just spend some one-on-one time with her.
As Mom says, her prognosis — which is that her heart could stop any moment, or she could last another six months, or even a year or two — is really no different from the rest of us. She has a point.
I guess that means live every moment fully.
That’s always so much harder than it sounds though, isn’t it?
Yoga Journal 32
28 March 2013 Thursday
Yesterday was the full moon, and Dale’s memorial service.
We were honored when, after joining Annie for an AKAL chant (31 minutes) last week, she asked us to sit with her and Dale’s family. And so we did. Friends said after the service it was just the kind of event Dale would’ve loved. Which made us both happy and sad.
There are people in the world who just seem different from the rest of us. It’s in things like their words and the way they present them, the twinkle in their eyes — as was the case for Dale in spades — and the real presence they have when they listen to you. Maybe it’s that they make *us* feel special by being this way — as though they recognize us on a deeper level, and see something we weren’t sure anyone else noticed. It’s hard to say what the qualities are specifically, but these were the things that were shared about Dale repeatedly, by men and women who stood up to share. Even Dale’s first boss in Atlanta, where he worked as a social work counselor many, many years ago, came to pay his respects, and when he shared, he got choked up. Clearly Dale had touched his life, even, as he said, “before he got big.”
So we listened, and I cried a lot. Kyle didn’t and wondered why, but we all grieve differently, I told him. He’s done most of his at home, and I think the sadness just sits with him every day.
The service was led by Christy Gray, lovely and intimate — she’s like a shamanistic grandmother whose realness just makes you want to hang around her — and wonder that people like her exist among us. Dale was like that too. Dale’s longtime friend Arvin Scott played pan drum, and Annie’s teachers, Gurusahay and Mukta Khalsa led five chants of “Akal,” which means “undying,” speaking to the spirit beyond the body; from our vantage it didn’t seem to make anyone uncomfortable. The room filled with the sound, and it was beautiful. Then Carl Lindberg closed with Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and in the row behind us, as I had to close my eyes for the tears to flow, I could hear Dale’s nieces and nephews weeping — little ones who no doubt held him dear. As all of us did.
It’s hard to say if the service made us feel better.
Among other cool and interesting stories Kyle holds close about Dale, he remembers one about Dale’s pilgrimage to Machu Pichu years ago and, in this most sacred of places, how he watched a full moon rise over the mountains. It was a magical, spiritual experience he carried with him the rest of his life.
Through Dale, we will too.