Monday, April 28, 2008

Another rainy Monday

It's Monday. I'm working at the relatively quiet coffee house in town. There are a few stragglers from an AA meeting, a couple of unemployed (or self-employed? like me?) middle-aged men hanging out. I like it. The radio music is thoughtful and pleasant without being sickeningly sweet or elevator-ish. I have enough room for all my stuff. I feel like I'm out in the world without actually having to "engage" with anyone. This is when I like freelancing.

But that said I'm going to an interview with a major franchise so I can get a crummy minimum wage job that will give me the opportunity to buy health insurance at a reasonable price. Will they hire me? It's ludicrous. I've seen some of the people who work at these places. They don't even smile. I can smile at people and be nice and do my work. How much more do they need to know?

Sitting here and listening to people, it seems like so many of them are so certain. They make statements with certainty. I wonder what it's like to always feel so sure of yourself. I'm sure of myself about many things, but so much mystery remains.

I got to see my daughter yesterday. When I first see her it's like a pogo stick under my heart, I feel so happy. I love her so much and she's so beautiful and smart and talented. She's also very sensitive (like me I guess). I would like to put a bubble around her, but it's too late for that. She's already been attacked once (in Tucson) and mugged once (in Philly), not to mention the pain and heartaches that come with just regular living and dealing with other people.

It was a nice visit. I took her to her train in Providence. As we entered the downtown area she said. "Providence is interesting. A college town with gangsters and dirty politicians..."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Springing forward

It's spring but the depression has been dogging me on and off, although this week I feel better. There have been many financial clouds over me lately, and the loneliness is crowding me too. I take walks on the waterfront and find that there are already tourists proudly parading their dogs and babies on the sidewalks. They are usually with someone else. But I am feeling better, and I have to say it has a lot to do with yoga.

Also I went to hear Snatam Kaur this weekend at Kripalu in Lenox. Despite the fact it was only her, Guruganesha, and a random drummer, the concert was awesome. I was in the second row, right at her feet. That kind of radiance that she has just spreads, and everyone just feels better. I met a woman, Dona, who seems to be into Buddhism among other things, and her friends, Jeb, who has Parkinsons, and Shenandoah, who does hula hooping for a living (!) and another friend who was some sort of healer, Judy. Dona let me sit with them up front, since her friend had a disability. It was great.

The next day I took R out to breakfast. It was a short visit. I mentioned having a budget to plan his spending and he said we can talk about that later. I'm learning that means "never." I sure do give him his space, but that is how we were brought up. We always gave R his space.

Drove home in the middle of the day--beautiful over the Mohawk Trail which is now looking much more springlike. Had to fill my car up with gas and it went over $50. This is too much, this economy. Not good for us poor slobs.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pulling out of depression/anxiety

Well, I intend to pull out... I realized over the past couple of days that I'm experiencing a feeling I haven't had for some time. It's a tightness in the back of my throat, and a feeling that I could start crying at any moment. I find myself thinking back to times when (in retrospect it seems) I was happy or content. I remember thinking "I have a nice life." Not always, but I did used to think this. I try not to dwell on loss, but I am dwelling on the future these days. I got a mailing from Rosie's Place, a shelter for women in Boston. The letter told of a 76-year-old woman who ended up out on the street. (She was a teacher, retired, and got very sick. Her pension ran out. It can happen to anyone was the gist of the letter.) Do I think I'll be out on the street? Not immediately. But I am well aware of the homeless men in town who walk past the row of houses where I live and stop by all the garbage bins, checking for cans or bottles. This morning a man, bearded with funky, 70s style sunglasses on, was empty handed. Later today I saw him on another street with a bag that was pretty well filled.

But anyway, to the point of all this. I'm going to yoga class tonight with my wonderful first teacher, Anne (Prabhjot is her spiritual name). I fully expect the class to offer some healing. Something about doing Kundalini yoga, especially in a group, really uplifts me. Yogi Bhajan, the dude who brought this yoga to the West from India and began teaching teachers, would have said that the yoga teacher is a forklift. You have to lift up your students, he said. Your students should be 10 times better than you. I am a teacher, too, and I struggle with sparsely attended classes, but I still feel it's important for me to be there and uplift my few students.

I've been talking to God a lot lately too. For a long time I would cringe at even hearing someone else say the word "God." I guess it seemed linked with fanatic extreme, fundamentalist types to me. Lately I feel as if I'm moving toward my god, like a salmon inexorably swimming upstream, or migrating birds or butterflies. It's like this need to come home to something.

I'm hoping my god-directedness and keeping up with Kundalini yoga will help pull me out of these sinking feelings. I can't afford a shrink or anti-depressants right now. That is a luxury for the few, I'm beginning to realize.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Financial anxiety

I've been out of work for over a year. A year and three or four months now. I'm not the only one, I know that. I do freelancing to survive, although last year at least there was some help from unemployment insurance. Last week I met with my tax lady. She's a genius, but I'm still going to have to pay big bucks this year. I'm kind of getting into that mode of anxiety, will I make it? Can I make it? I'm planning on living on a very small amount of money per month, unless I can get other work. The whole healthcare issue is another thing. I've been sending out resumes right and left and trying to apply for local "stupid jobs." They are stupid in that no one can possibly live on the pay (minimum wage or a little more.) But I need the healthcare the stupid jobs can offer me. However, even the stupid jobs aren't hiring me. The job I applied for that would have been a $5,000 cut in pay in December turned me down.

I really need to do a lot of yoga to fight off this financial anxiety. A good, easy and doable exercise is just standing up, putting your arms out horizontally and moving them like a seesaw as you inhale one side up, exhale the other side up. The arms have to stay in a straight line from each other. The breath should be deep and full. A couple of minutes of the exercise will relieve anxiety.

Sat Nam (Truth is my identity.)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Skinny is as skinny does?

I'm on and off obsessing about weight. I just don't want to be as fat as I am, which is definitely overweight but still at the point where I can look at other women my age or younger and think, "I'm not that bad, yet!"

So the fact that I think that makes me wonder how my skinnier friends look at me. Do they make a moral judgment on people who are heavier? I tend to assume so, but maybe that's just me being paranoid. I know when I see someone with bigger rolls than mine I say (inwardly) "But for the grace of god..." It's not that I eat that much--of course every overweight person says that. And as I have aged (in my 50s) I notice that everything sticks to my body like it never did before. I think I eat pretty healthy, although I do like sweets--honey in my tea and brown sugar in my oatmeal and a cup or so of ice cream at night or a few chocolate chips. But all in all I do eat pretty healthy. I'm staying away from meats except for occasional fish and I honestly don't eat that much bread. I hardly ever eat chips. Well, there is the popcorn thing... when I take myself to a matinee that popcorn smell is so seductive. I have to have it.

So anyway, I feel armored against my skinny friends. I told one of them that I was doing the President's Challenge. It's this free thing where you sign up on the web and just log your activity every week. You are supposed to do at least one half hour of exercise for five days a week. I thought that was pretty manageable, and so I signed up. I find that I end up doing more than the half hour, too. So that's a good thing. But getting back to my skinny friend--she told me to keep it up. Am I being too Woody Allenish if I read into that, she's thinking I'm a blimp and I better do something? Of course this is a woman who ate nothing but black garbanzo beans for 40 days in an extreme cleanse. So there is a whole other level there.

Anyway, I would like to get skinnier. I would ultimately like to lose 20 pounds to reach my "happy weight." I may have to bite the bullet and join Weight Watchers. It has worked for others I've seen and the one time I tried it with my husband I was successful (of course I had his moral support or fear of disapproval if I cheated.) But for now I'm three weeks into the President's Challenge and I haven't lost an ounce. I feel better about exercising, it's becoming more of a habit, something I need to fit into my day. But clearly the food has to be looked at.

I don't usually count my yoga as exercise, even though you can count it. I have been doing yoga every day, at least 15 minutes if not 45 minutes a day, and so I'm mainly just counting the stuff I do at the gym and the walking. We'll see...