Listening to My Daughters


I should have listened earlier. My daughters were right.

Ruth, my older daughter, who makes every venture into an art project, said it would be good to prop myself on a yoga bolster when sitting cross-legged to keep my knees and hips at the same height.

I had seen her bolster and had openly coveted it for its beauty,

but was not yet convinced of its functionality.

Last August, I helped Ruth move into her new apartment in the Berkshires.

We began putting away her massive quantity of neatly folded and organized fabrics in the designated craft room.

I might have, just in case, pointed out the fabrics I liked.

On Christmas morning, before I unwrapped a giant, not-round, package, I read the tag. “Mom, there’s hinting, and then there’s downright begging.”

Absolute truth. I have no shame.

My round yoga bolster—I call it my tuffet—is quilted on one side with scenes of joyful animals and birds, delightful trees, and sushi!

The other side glows in shades of purple,

and, hello! Bunny Willows!

Yes, as Ruth knew, I've found it possesses perfect functionality. And it brings me such joy, I regularly simply have to hug it.

I use it every yoga session.

Helen, my younger daughter, like me, has begun her own

daily practice of yoga,

but unlike me, she always listens to calming music. I told her I preferred silence.

So much for what I knew.

Helen also told me she always ends each session in Shavasana, or Corpse Pose.

I had not been, moving instead straight from the flow of postures into meditation.

In January, I took a yoga class at a friend’s house. Peaceful music played in the background. And I found the drifting tones not only relaxing, but also focusing, allowing me to better release nagging thoughts and be more mindful of each movement of my body and breath. In the class, we began quietly, slowly, lying on the ground, breathing. We ended with Shavasana, and I enjoyed how it soothed me into myself.

The class proved Helen right.

And I needed these changes.

Prior to adding these new additions to my practice, I had had a rather desperate start to the new year when my gut seemed to reject almost all foods—after 28 years of continual modification.

Predawn of January 1st found me squatting on my heels, rocking, unable to do anything but cry, repeating Help me over and over again. (Yeah—not exactly a tranquil yoga/meditation session!) I knew I needed answers, and subsequently, with the support of good practitioners, have begun a new diet to heal my gut.

This, by the way, is breakfast. So much for my waffles!

My yoga and meditation practice has taken on a new feel. I begin by lying on my mat, my legs akimbo on my tuffet, my elbows on the floor, one hand placed over my heart, the other on my belly.

We had done this in the class, the instructor suggesting we clear our minds, and ask for one word which might help us that day.

I have marveled each morning how a word or two appears as I lie there, meditative music flowing around me:

Surrender, acceptance, listen, patience, confidence, be me!,

lost (but the lost can be found).

Surrendering to a new diet protocol and its challenges

has helped me find peace with the process.

Be me! made me put my cares away and take myself birding

at Blackwater NWR. Yes, it meant a long drive by myself, being sure I had the right food with me, and exhaustion afterwards.

But it also took me to birds, my necessary fuel.

Lost (but the lost can be found) was especially powerful. Admitting I felt lost on several levels, but acknowledging it would not last; knowing others would be there to help, and that this was just a piece of the journey not the rest of my life, led me further inside where I tend to hide the aspects of myself I’m afraid to bring to the forefront.

I listened to Ruth and Helen, and they have taught me (though I still have not mastered Helen's headstand!). I am better at listening to my body, and am learning how to heal—my gut, my emotional state, my spiritual self.

Jonathan, my love, my chef, my constant companion, has supported me every step of the way. My gratitude to them all overflows.


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