Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Resistance (to the Practice)

(Caution: Contents may contain graphic thought. These are just my thoughts though. And, I will not be apologetic for the fact that it's a long one again. Read at your own risk.)

Today I met with resistance. Didn't want to go--my mind thinking of ways I could get out of putting on my running shoes. Emotionally I felt sad.

I was happy for another's breakthrough. Happy we could hold hands for a moment, but as I let go back into my world, I felt bereft. Sad.

"Fuck it! Just put 'em on" I tried to convince myself. Finally…dressed, sunscreened, lunch packed, water bottle filled--we're out the door on our way to camp and my summer routine.

MWF I drop Sienna at "camp" at her preschool, a block from the ocean, where I run along the bluffs, do "The Stairs" once or twice, jog back, climb the 5 or so flights up the parking structure to my car, jot down any insights into my journal, head home, shower and write all afternoon until pick up, if there's no other pressing appointment. The other 4 days I'm with her juggling activities and playdates, sneaking in a little writing time if Chris can give me a break, otherwise waiting until her restless head finally surrenders to sleep while I write on my laptop until the wee hours of the night. We've got just 2 1/2 more weeks of camp "coverage" and then break until mid-September when her school starts up again. This is precious time for me. I have no idea how we'll manage it in August.

Three blocks to school, Sienna suddenly announces, "I don't want to go to camp! I want to stay home with you Mommy!" I look back at her expecting to see the alligator tears, instead there are real tears watering her eyes. I guess I'm not the only one with resistance today.

"Oh honey, but today is camp day. You LIKE camp. All your friends are there…and when I come pick you up you never want to leave." I'm trying to sell it.

"No. I don't LIKE camp anymore. I want to be with YOU Mommy."

Normally this would wrench me in two--my motherly guilt, my womanly frustration---inextricably tangled.

"But honey, no. Today is camp day. That is the plan. Mommy has to work. You know Mommies have to work too sometimes." There it is. I was final in my announcement, yet loving in my tone. (Still it's hard to justify my "work" as I toil away in obscurity, the only money exchanging hands is outward for my expenses as the bills pile up.)

"I know, let's think of a way we can make this fun," I offer, "and
I can't hear any whining or crying, ok?, because today is camp day…and tomorrow is Mommy day. I'll come get you as soon as I'm done."

Drop off went pretty well. I head out toward the bluffs and begin my routine. Easy does it. I'm feeling sluggish, disconnected, like there's a ball in my chest. No, more like a haze, a shawl wrapped around my heart, only it isn't comforting, it's un-comfortable.

My thoughts scan about writing as I begin to jog. Maybe I'll take the day off and post a piece I've already been working on, not one from today. I don't have anything to say today…

I tell myself to go slow, take it easy. I turn the tempo way down on my pace. This isn't a race, I remind myself. I do this for me, for my body, for my mind, to connect to the Divine, to tune into God's radio broadcast. OK, I can handle that. Slow, easy. Don't push.

I cross the CA incline, take the curvy path. I can do the straight one after I've earned it on the way back. Here it opens up. There are the row of palms, like sentinels lining the royal view to her majesty, the ocean. Then the special tree, prostrate, gracefully bending, leaning over the path to the sea. Next, the Holy Trinity--three tall palms clustered at the root, their trunks shooting straight for the sky. So high. Ah, made it to the break off point. I did it. I'll walk the rest of the way to cool down and prepare for "The Stairs," 190 steps cut straight into the hillside, as steep as they are high. (or low.)

There are 2 sets of stairs. A friend showed me the other ones. I canter down the narrow ones that turn with landings. Can't lean too far forward or I'll tumble down. Very shallow narrow steps. Barely fit feet. Pretty easy, as it's all down hill.

I walk the block to the other stairs. These are the ones. They're wider, made of wood planks, not concrete, and no turns. Just a straight shot up. This is where people go with their walkmans, their ipods, in groups, with trainers, going sideways, kicking backward…all of it.

I approach the bottom of the stairs to begin my workout, looking for an opening in the traffic to get onboard. Don't want to be too close to the slow folks, but want to respect the really conditioned bodies who do multiple sets. You can tell by how toned they are. I try to give them space.

I gesture my hand for a guy to go ahead, scanning his degree of fitness and tone. He gestures back, as if to say, no, go ahead. We do that back and forth thing. I hesitate.

He says, "I need someone to inspire me." Fine.

"C'mon!" I bark, half pissed, half drill sergeant. Let's go. Let's get this show on the road. And really, I know you just want to look at my ass. Guys have been looking at my lilywhite black ass since junior high. Asshole.

The "c'mon!" was my own command. I take off 2 steps at a time, pushing up the incline, passing dilettantes who have time to chat. I don't look back, but I don't hear him. He is dust.

I bound up the whole set, passing everyone, legs burning, pissed off. Who's gonna inspire ME?! I guess I'll just have to inspire myself. We can't do it for others. We can only do our OWN work, right?

Just to push myself, I take on the first set of stairs again, tiny narrow concrete steps, turning down the steep hillside. Down's not so bad. Less crowded. More shady. Nice. At the bottom, I walk a little to the left to loosen up the burn in my legs. Ah, I discover a secret 3rd set of steps. Hmmm, wonder where those go?

For a moment, I ponder taking the road less traveled. Nah, been doing that all my life. Today, I'm gonna stick to the path.

I walk back and climb up the steep, narrow concrete steps. It's burning. Geez, how many fricken' steps are there? I look down at the little orange marker. It says 15. I know the third number has worn away, so 150? Already? By 175 it gets hard. Then I see 185 and push my way up the last 5 steps to the top. Legs burning, lungs gasping, I did it. Two sets. Yes! Shit.

As I walk the few blocks back to the "bluff path" calming my breath, ready to retrace my path, my mind starts to think about writing. It is open, flowing. Damn. Sure wish I had my journal. It's a conflict: Can't really jog with a laptop, can you? Can't flow like this without my running "practice." Hmmm.

I visualize opening a Word Doc. Lord, grant me the clarity to REMEMBER my thoughts. Then I think, well, my thoughts ARE my writing. I AM writing, just in my head. THIS is my blog. It's the state of my mind, my heart. Today.

But what good are thoughts if they aren't recorded? What good are breakthroughs and insights if no one else gets to benefit from them? I did all that work. I deserve to be documented. HEARD. Bingo.

Back to my Word Doc….in my head, of course. I open it up and choose a font carefully. Times--too conservative, too constricting. Papyrus--I used to use it. Nah, feels like I'm trying too hard. Arial--ah, a good fit. Straight, but with a bit of grace. I like it.

Can't open my internet browser without seeing the headline news on my homepage. Can't get to Bloggerville without seeing some graphic image of another explosion in Lebanon. Another pile of rubble. Poor people.

My dad was born in Beirut, raised in Palestine and parts of Lebanon I'll never know, like the parts I'll never know of him. He left when I was 3 and my mom raised us.

I do know that they're a vulnerable people…gypsies, nomads, drifters. Every 5 years it seems someone is demanding they bend over, then rapes them in the ass. No boundaries, no self-esteem, no identity. They shut up and take it. Or flee. The Armenians (half my heritage), have been fleeing their whole history, taking on other cultures, chameleon-like, just trying to blend in and be safe.

I think of Bush and how he's brainwashing the American people. Dumbing us down. To the point of numbness and apathy. Wake up. Wake the fuck up. Is this the 21st century? Have we given away all our power?

(edit, edit, edit.)

After my political tirade is over, my heart heavy and sad, my legs strong and free, I come to this conclusion:

Conditioning is the shit we take on in order to survive our life.
Conditioning is the shit we take off in order to see our strength revealed.

As I see the fat cells burn away, my lungs stronger, my legs more defined, carriage more centered and present, I know I am growing. I am changing. I am taking control over my life. I am choosing ME. Don't fuck with me. I am feeling my power.

Dancemaster Luigi once hit his chest and said, "This is the rhythm of life. Even if you can't walk, you always have that. It is your center. Feel from the inside out." In french they call it port-des-bras. As you turn your carriage, moving your arms this way or that, you hold your intention and direction clearly. Your presence to the world says, "This is me. Here I am." It's the walk of life. We all have that. Even if it is buried. I'm unburying it.

My little Namasté speedboat anchored in the heart slices through the water, obstacles spraying left or right. I am centered. I am grounded. I am here.


Back to the drawing board on the Barry White track for the dairy company. "The Client" says it isn't catchy or upbeat enough for them. Assholes. Barry White isn't upbeat or catchy, he's deep, dark, and deliciously mid-tempo. Soulful. Besides, can't you hear a hook if it fell on you? But what do I know.

This afternoon we did more of a Motowny 60s groove. We'll see if that's catchy. At least, let it catch us the gig.


Suzy said...

Yow! Mental and physical workout. Conditioning of the mind and body. Intense workouts for both. Remarkable piece Tanya.

jennifer said...

Go girl!

You are amazing, mommy and human and woman!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I love hearing the self-talk of others. Thanks for letting us into your beautiful mind.