Taking Time for Tea
Saturday, October 05, 2013
My friend and I have an annual date to have afternoon tea at the Windsor Arms in Downtown Toronto every September. It forces us to take a time out in September one of the busiest months for people whose lives revolve around the school year.
September - where have you gone? I think I had my nose to the grindstone and I'm feeling the effects of it.
I've added a few new healthy habits to my regime. I am using magnesium oil as a topical. It's a mineral many are deficient in and it has a list as long as my arm of things it addresses - many of which are on my 'hit' list - so I decided to try it. One thing it can help with is sleeping and I think I can say it is helping me a little with this. I've dodged a few bullets (more about that a little later) and I've attended to some important businesses. Having a 50% workload deduction doesn't necessarily mean I have doubled my time. I sometimes wonder if it wouldn't have been easier to continue on without saying a word and just taking time off as I needed to (but it didn't seem fair to students who would have had to contend with random substitutes) ... in part, it has meant there is added stress in my life that I hadn't foreseen. I have had to see so many doctors and have had to ask t them to write letters of support and I have had to attend meetings to hear whether or not the letters were good enough and to be asked very personal questions in front of strangers taking notes. It has meant no longer flying under the wire and having people I don't know approach me to ask if I am retiring soon. It has meant answering questions from colleagues that are awkward. It has meant watching colleagues swoop in to try to take my place where I have to respond and let them know, I have not been taken out of the role. It has also meant that I am being pleasantly surprised by some people who have come forward with no agenda to lend me a hand. It has forced me to take time to assess my own changing needs and reassess them so I feel confident I am making good choices. It has forced me to find positives in places I would never have looked. That I am left knowing it has brought me valuable new information I wouldn't have run across had I not taken this road causes me to feel very grateful.
At the end of September I had to stop and smell red roses (tea reference - get it - if you do, raise your cuppa! Cheers. Life could be worse)!
Now for that bullet I dodged. On Thursday evening I attended a Yin Meditation yoga class. We were to begin class by setting a conscious intention and then we were asked to let it go and begin instead to pay attention to what was about to unfold. We were to pay attention to both our bodies and our minds - to watch where our thoughts took us. Yin Meditation poses are largely seated and lying down - full stretching poses that you lean into and take to your 'edge'. They are held for at least 5 minutes while your body finds it's deepest place in the pose. There are props we can use to help and believe me I am using all the props. At the end of class, just before the final resting pose is taken, we are asked to revisit our original intention and to pay attention to what we have observed and to take what we have learned off the mat and into our real lives until next class. I intended to use the class to bring my body into as pain-free a state as I could manage. Instead what happened was I found many of the poses challenging and painful. I observed myself and was proud to see that I didn't give up (though I considered it). I did stop in the middle of many of them and I backed up to readjust - then I persisted through the poses after finding the most comfortable yet challenging position.
As I walked the mile back to where I had parked my car, I was thinking about work and the stresses I have been under - all of it a result of a life-changing car accident I was in back in 1997 that still haunts me. I had just stepped up onto the curb after crossing the street when a car drove up onto the sidewalk behind me and crashed through the metal fence along the sidewalk. I turned to see what was happening and watched a beautiful black limo come to a dead stop as it hit a huge tree. I moved towards it to see if I could help the driver, it began to back up and pick up speed. It jerked forward and backwards and continued hitting fence posts in an attempt to escape through the hole it had created coming in but it wasn't able to fine tune it's aim. Lucky me.
One of the City's biggest liquor stores was on the other side of the intersection where I had just crossed. I put 2 + 2 together and quickly began to run. I ran to the end of the park towards a guard with a walkie talkie and pointed out what was happening. The car started towards us, then stopped and headed nose-first through another part of the fence and was off down the busy downtown street. I left it in the guard's hands to make the 911 call.
Later when I was going over what had happened, I began to see how lucky I was. I was lucky I was not hit. I was lucky to be left with a story to tell about how the accident was behind me. I am going with an idea and using it as a metaphor going forward.
The accident is behind me now. I can move on.