Veronica's Garden

I originally started this blog to promote my novel, Post Rock Limestone Caryatids. Now I write essays and poetry about everything, including the Flint Hills, healing, parenting, etc. WARNING: emotional content, sometimes intense. Read at own risk of feeling.

Tag: yoga

Sada Hadur Hai

So there was that man in church who spoke
of his daily quiet time. He would meditate
and ask, What direction is my life moving in?
Where is God leading me?
He was a successful businessman
so I thought I’d probably do well to
learn from his advice, but I can’t meditate. My brain
goes wandering off like a bemused toddler.
Similarly, my life has no direction in particular. Nothing
I expected even looks likely.
And that was before I had to take out that car loan
and hustle more massage business to pay for it, before
the dryer died, my hair falling out from that thyroid thing,
the cracked pipe flooding motel room 6.
I still do yoga,
when I can collect myself. It takes a while.
I put on some peaceful yoga music, a Sikh chant: Moh mohia,
[Infatuated with emotional attachment]
janai dur hai. [we think that enlightenment
is a long journey away.] Koho Nanak, [something about a guru]
sada hadur hai.
[but really it’s here, now.]
I sing along. I lose count
of the sun salutations.
I stand on the mat in mountain pose, looking out
the leaky patio doors, wondering what enlightenment
is, and whether it’s something I really want,
anyway. I have too much to do to allow myself
to be distracted by the Eternal. Moh mohia.
My sick thirteen-year-old coughing on the couch.
She doesn’t like the repetition,
but Dilpreet and I know it takes a thousand
times before you really get it. Janai dur hai.
Triangle pose. Breathe. Forward bend. Bridge.
Ten-year-old watching instructions
for how to make a champion paper airplane.
When I get to final savasana, I try to listen to my breath.
An actual corpse wouldn’t cling to the body so.
Would melt into the floor. Would not notice
that paper airplane flying overhead.
Listen to the breath.
Coughing on the couch. Moh mohia. There’s so much
distraction and noise, I can’t even hear my breath.
And in this moment I see that God is leading me to write poetry.
All this noise, it’s not distraction, it’s the It, it’s the All, it’s the
What it all is. I am to be a poet, navigator of
incomprehensible juxtapositions. Surfer
on the waves of ego, emotion, and event. Witness and scribe
of this body, this being, this
Sada hadur hai.

Fall Dancing

Moh mohia janai dur hai.
Kaho Nanak sada hadur hai.

Sikh mantra

And there are also times of unexpected joy.
It’s always there, here, as in the leaves
that fall spontaneously in stillness
and sunlight, turning over and over.
They are their own shadows.
Joy in the breath and the sound of the breath
and the movement of the body.
Joy in bending down and reaching up.
Joy leaking through the cracks
in the mindless repetition of ancient patterns
you love without understanding.
In every season, exquisite joy
that moves in you, dances you, if
you let it. Do. Dance though the mind
has other plans. You can still count
sun salutations, and dance in between,
though the body be heavy with humanity.
There won’t be dancing later, in that place
you secretly long for.

Sun through window Nov 17-3

Blue Jay, Cyanocitta cristata

It’s been quite a busy summer. I’m a personal assistant to two children, which is a job I never thought I’d be competent to perform. Early in the season, I bought a Passion Planner so I could keep it all together. I love how the planner has a place to write the focus of each week, though too many weeks all I can think of to focus on is simply getting through the week.

I had ambitious goals for this summer. I was going to do a project every month. June’s project was renovating the spa, but that has dragged on much longer than I’d hoped, and I’m thinking about coming to a stopping point and moving on to the July goal, which is to publish a story which has been waiting for a book cover for several months, and to do some more original writing. Not to mention getting caught up on both my blogs, and promote them more actively. But even scaling back my goals doesn’t get me through the days. This week I’m going with one Girl Scout troop on an overnight trip, and planning, organizing and supervising a full day event for the other troop. In between, a dear friend who lives far away will be in the midwest, and bless her, she’s going to take a day to come out to the sticks just to see us.

Keeping on top of it all is a constant challenge. I’ve tried coffee, but the extra energy seems to come with even greater propensity to flit randomly from one task to another, so I’m not sure there’s a net improvement. A little yoga and meditation are perhaps more beneficial. I saw on facebook or somewhere that some famous yogi said that everyone should meditate for at least ten minutes per day, unless one doesn’t have time, in which case, twenty minutes. So I am making the effort to prove that ten is enough for me.

Today I was doing my usual practice: after a little yoga, I cool down and end in corpse pose (savasana), in which I listen to my breath, attempting to take a full breath in and out without a thought. There’s always a thought, though, but for some reason I always think the next breath will go better, so I try again. Sometimes I do get almost to the end of the inhalation before a thought comes. Today somewhere in the middle I heard a voice asking, “Been in the dungeon?” Oh no, I haven’t been—wait a minute, who’s been in the dungeon? Who put you there, and why? It was Mariah, the little waif/saboteur with whom I had meant to make friends. But today she says I put her in the dungeon because I wanted to prove that I was in control.

Before I could figure out what to do with that, I heard a ruckus in the yard. Blue jays are known to be annoyingly loud, and from my observations this summer, I’d say they can be alarmist as well. That crow-like screech is their alarm call, as well as warning to any creature they consider a threat. When the threat is resolved, they make a pretty cuckoo-like signal. The screeching was louder and more urgent than I’d ever heard, even from blue jays, so I looked out the patio door and sure enough, there was Wildy the cat in the tall grass (mowing was one of the things I haven’t had time for this summer) playing with something gray in front of her. Damn! It’s been nearly ten years since we’ve had blue jays, since the year Wildy’s predecessor 23, (may he rest in peace) killed all the babies, one by one, as they flew the nest. I’ve regretted ever since that I didn’t keep him inside that day.

There was no time to lose, so I decided to let my pants lie where I’d left them on the ottoman and ran out in my underwear. Two adults were swooping and screeching all around, and in the middle of it, cat and fledgling were facing each other off. Not waiting to see what would happen next, I grabbed Wildy by the nape and wrapped both my arms around her as I retreated. Inside, we watched from the patio doors while the bird hopped over near the door, mom and dad screeching incessantly. (They can see us through the doors, though they don’t know that fixing the doors so they open and close is another project that hasn’t made it to the top of the list yet.) But I watched long enough to see the juvenile hop on both legs, and stretch and fold both wings, so there’s a pretty good chance the bird was uninjured. Then I closed the curtains to give the poor parents a break.

I might have looked up the symbolism of blue jay earlier in the summer, but a drama such as this is what happens when one ignores the more subtle signals. What does Ted Andrews have to say about blue jay?

“For those to whom the jay comes as a totem, it can reflect lessons in using your own power properly.”

The power comes from both the spiritual and the physical realm, as blue jay moves between worlds. “The main problem will be in dabbling in both worlds, rather than becoming a true master of both. Those with a jay as a totem usually have a tremendous amount of ability, but it can be scattered or it is often not developed any more than is necessary to get by.”

“If the jay has flown into your life, it indicates that you are moving into a time where you can begin to develop the innate royalty that is within you, or simply be a pretender to the throne. It all depends upon you. The jay has no qualms. It will teach you either direction.” Okay, jay friends, I hear the message loud and clear, but damned if I know how to live any better than I am right now.

Dangers Of A Snow Day

It started so innocently, with the kids off school because of heavy snow. It went like this:

Me: I’m going to do some yoga.

Rowan (age 9): I want to do it with you! Can we do sunflower . . . something . . .

Me: Sun salutation. Yes. Start with your feet together . . .

[A while later]

Rowan: Oh, that was hard!

Me: Really? That was the easy version. I used to do the Power Yoga version, it’s a lot harder.

Rowan: Show me!

Me: Um, okay.

[The next day]

Rowan’s back in school today. Normal life returns, but with my muscles reminding me just how many of them get a work out from Power Yoga sun salutation. But oh man what was I thinking?????

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