Thursday, October 28, 2010

Old and New... attachment issues.

I recently received Toyota magazine in my mailbox.  First of all who ever knew that Toyota had it's own magazine, I didn't.  I was intrigued by an article about an old Toyota Celica that this woman had owned for many years and still loved.  This inspired me to write about  my own Toyota experience and of course how it relates to yoga!

My husband and I have two Toyota's.  The first is a 1997 Toyota Rav4 which I bought about a year before we met.  It is white, it is small still has a tape deck.  The clock works sometimes and sometimes not.  When you go over a bump you feel it, and the radio goes on or off depending...  The seat belt doesn't always re-tract but a good tug will make it happen.  I have been in two accidents with her, one that was my fault and one that wasn't.  Her steel construction is amazing and to quote the police officer after I was hit "they don't make 'em like that anymore:  She has been to Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, PEI and back as well as many road trips along the way.  Occasionally she won't start but if you talk to her really nicely and stroke the dash after a few minutes she goes.  She has never, ever let us down and is tried and true.  Truth be told even though she is almost 14 years old and this is old for a car, I love her to death.  You could say I am a little attached.  She holds many, many memories from me from my single days, to married with children days and lots of other memories in between.

We recently had to have the little girl repaired.  She has needed not much in her life.  We replaced the gas tank a few years ago and she has had regular oil changes.  New tires once and breaks once or twice.  This repair was big, she needed brakes, rotors, and a very expensive new clutch.  We struggled with what to do.  We were not ready to get another new car (I'll get to that soon) and repairs are still cheaper than buying something new, another used car would put us into the same boat.  So we bit the bullet and fixed her.  I still love the feel of her when I drive.  Her stick fits perfectly in my hand and the clutch still responds when I need it to.  She is still what I prefer to drive.

On the other hand we have a 2011 Toyota Sienna.  This is our family car.  It fits our three children plus friends.  Has a plug in for the Ipod and a CD player but I still use the radio.  The climate control is amazing and you do feel in control.  The seats stow and go for easy transportation of big shopping trips to the grocery store or Ikea.  It too has been to Newfoundland, PEI and Nova Scotia - not to much else yet.  You don't have to make sure the key is still in the lock to roll up the windows.  It has a remote to lock and unlock the doors.  Tons and tons of cup holders and storage.  You would think that with a new car I would love it, I hate to say it but I don't.

You may say that maybe I'm just not a mini-van person and maybe that's right.  I think there is more.  I like the unpredictability of the Rav4, I love that she's been around the block and I have to listen to her needs.  I think that my car is a reflection of me and with that a reflection of my practice.  Sometimes I just don't drive her as fast as I could because she is older and needs a rest, she has had injuries that affect how she handles.  I certainly wouldn't say that I am older and need a rest, but I do have some injuries that affect how I practice.  I practice ahimsa with my little girl, my Rav, and try not to push her to hard.  We don't take really long car trips (2 hours is about as far as I will go).  Her new clutch is kind of like a repaired injury.  We have repaired one spot but the engine is still old so I need to be careful.

My attachment issues are what gets me.  I never thought I would get attached to a car but I totally am.  Just the thought of her dying and having to trade her in or sell her makes my stomach churn.  I know realistically that we can't keep her forever and that eventually I will have to let Baker's take her away for parts or whatever it is that they do...  but I'm going to hold on as long as I possibly can.  I know that attachment is not the yogic way but I just can't help it.  Is it realistic to replace an entire engine when that finally goes....  maybe I can drive her forever...

Hari Om,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Learning Life's Lessons

Life's lessons are things we often don't pay much attention too.  For example if a person in our life consistently treats us a certain way that we don't like, yet we continue to allow it to happen.  Or if we know that a certain food or drink always makes us feel sick but we still consume them regardless.  Some of us have certain behavior patterns that are either habitual or social that we again know are bad for us but yet we continue to exercise these behaviors.

There are so many teachings around us that can help us learn from others.  The Buddhist teachings, many yogic teachings and biblical teachings and even children's story books.  They will teach us to be kind to ourselves, kind to each other, don't steal, don't lie, don't cheat, don't eat too much, don't take too much and be happy with what you have.  All of these valuable teachings that some of us either ignore or forget.

If we ignore the teachings that have been instilled upon us as children then how can we pay attention to the teachings from our own life's experience.  It is so important to stay present and connected to our experiences.  Reflect either through mediation or physical practice on these experiences and note - was that experience positive or negative?  If I do that same thing again will it always have the same negative or positive outcome.  I know for example that when I meditate regularly I sleep better, I am calmer and can more easily make decisions and have less drama in my life.  When I don't I eat poorly, sleep poorly and feel more stress.

These learned results are packed in so many of our experiences.  If we just took the time to stop, listen and feel we could become more connected with ourselves, with others and with our experiences.  We may learn more about ourselves and others around us.  We could even lead ourselves and others towards more happy experiences.  Especially if we learned from negative experiences and let that behaviour go.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Circle of Life

When I teach savasana or copse pose in class I always remind practitioners to follow with fetal position and that getting up is re-birth.  Our yoga practice in itself can be representative of the circle of life.

I have blogged about my grandmother before so you may know that she has Alzheimer's.  Well she is also 87 and has been having strokes over the last month or so.  Additionally we suspect that she has also had a heart attack.  Since she does have advanced Alzheimer's and is not in great health there is a do not recessitate order should she be close to death.  When that point comes it will be more about keeping her comfortable and less about keeping her alive.

I am watching my grandmother become almost as dependent as my own children where when they were babies.  If my grandfather could see her now it would break his heart.  She was a woman who was married to a military man and that means that she was also married to the military and the way of life.  She raised her children on various army bases across the country, while her husband was either fighting a war in Korea or on military training missions God knows where.  She raised her five children in strange cities, practically a single parent. 

When my mother became pregnant with me at the age of 17 my grandmother and grandfather stepped up.  They allowed my mother and me to live with them and my grandmother became my caregiver.  In essence my second mother.  As a child I had two mothers and referred to both of them as mommy.  How lucky was I to have two women to live with and care for me and support me.  This relationship continued my entire life. 

Now as the eldest of my two mother's slips away first with Alzheimer's and now with her strokes I am not sure what to think.  I am very much at peace with the fact that she is going to die soon.  I have told her over and over how much I love her.  Even now when she is not entirely sure who I am, I still tell her I love her.  Now it is my turn to care for her and keep her comfortable.  I visit as much as I can and I bring my children to see their grand-nan.  She lights up for them sometimes and other times she just sits and stares, I am sure wondering who these children are?

When we look at ahimsa or non-harming, it is right to allow someone to suffer in order to die naturally?  However ending a life would not be practicing asteya or non-stealing as it is not for humans to decide when someone should go.  We all have something to fulfill on this earth.  I am not sure how to practice non-attachment with someone you love so much.  I am ready to let her go, but does this mean I am not attached?  How do we practice saucha - my thoughts about death and dying are not pure.  I like to believe that we all have our time but is it right to allow people to suffer in order to die naturally?  I look at just some of the yamas and niyamas and I am conflicted. 

I have peace in knowing that when she lies down for her final savasana she too will be at peace.  Perhaps this is the Samadhi or the union with bliss that we all look for.  Can we find this in the life we live or is it only during our final relaxation that this occurs?  I am sure that in these questions I ask nothing new. 

I wish, that as a teacher I could guide my grandmother as I guide so many students.  To tell her that she can lie down and relax, close her eyes.  Tell her that she is safe and that everything is going to be all right.  Tell her that she can accept what ever is coming and remind her to let go... her Samadhi is waiting...


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ahhh paint drying

I have recently been on a painting binge.  Last week I decided to paint my dinning room.  I borrow some samples from a friend to paint on the wall.  She has great taste and I liked the samples she had painted on her wall, so I thought... why re-create the wheel.  Alas no, her colour choices were not right for my space.  Off to Home Depot I went, chocolate brown was the quest.  The choices for chocolate brown at Home Depot are endless.  You could spend hours in a chocolate brown frenzy.  I did not have that kind of time, that and I had two children with me.  I purchase three samples at almost $4 each and home I went, samples and brush in hand.

Brown number one was too red it reminded me of PEI sand or the colour of a rusty bike.  The second choice was much to pale, more like a chai latte from Bridgehead.  The third with the name of ganashe was the perfect chocolate brown for my dinning room. 

I used to be a horrible painter so I bought really great tape and vowed to be careful.  Cover the floors, use a ladder and not so thick with the paint.  On the chocolate brown went, it was beautiful.  I felt like I was creating art.  My roller went left to right and up and down and I loved it.  My edges were flawless, my strokes flowed in that moment a great painter was born.  OK back to reality I was just painting my dinning room but the results where better than expected.  I had it done in less than 24 hours.  I replaced my furniture and hung my curtains and pictures.  The room looks awesome and I love it.

Of course the beautiful dinning room was christened that day.  We had some friends over and we drank martini's (really bad ones made by me), some beer and pizza.  We hung out in our dinning room and never left.  When a room is that cozy you hang out in it!

Two days later I found my self at home depot again.  Now my hallway and adjoining family room must be painted.  I've hated the dreadful mint green since we first came to look at the house.  I again bought three samples and used the samples I had.  Alas none of these would be what I chose.  I had lots of chip samples which I started comparing and fussing over.  I finally made friends with and peace with potter's clay.  Again I was up for the marathon painting expedition.  I was again amazing in finishing this room and a half in less than 24 hours.  Did I mention I went to work in between...  The thing with this room is that potter's clay is as boring as clay sounds.  It looks dull and gray.  I am 90% of the time, the person to find the positive but this one is giving me some grief.  It has improved in that I got rid of the horrid mint green, and it looks clean.  It is not a disgusting colour that makes you point and laugh.  Instead it looks drab and I hate it!!!

So now I wonder what would a yogi do?  I have thought positively on the paint, I have been non-attached to the previous colour and was happy to let it go, I am certainly not attached to the new colour.  Maybe I should have practiced more aparigraha and not been grasping for everything all at once.  I could have been happy with the beautiful dinning room that I love.  Been patient and waited for the colour that I loved.  Been present and become one with the mint green?

Or maybe I can just paint over it....

Hari Om