Friday, February 14, 2014

Note to self: no hand cream before yoga

Yesterday ran smooth as glass. At 6:30 a.m. I sailed through every intersection with a green light,  depositing my girls at their respective schools, experienced the same on the path back to the gym, gliding easily through 88 laps in the warm pool and winding down the day 12 hours later having served dinner and held warming conversation with men and women formerly homeless and dealing with mental illness.

Today, in stark contrast, was bumpy. After a rare, fitful sleep (thanks to the smoothness of the day before), I eagerly darted out the back door greeted by sunshine, 30 degrees and the desire to walk to yoga for the first time in weeks. As I stepped into the street, I hit hidden ice and caught myself. Carefully, I traversed the treacherous terrain, crossing somewhere near where I normally do, dictated by the size of iced snow piles built by busy plows. Oops, I almost lost it again on the other side of the road. where sidewalks lay dormant under translucent layers.

Gratefully, I walked in the gym door unaware that my yoga mat, combined with moist hands, would prove almost as deadly as my trek in. When I wasn't sliding in downward dog, the stretches began to unwind the slipping damage. But not as much, I suspected, as the new oblique machine my husband had demonstrated earlier in the week. I couldn't wait to get on it and unwind in the opposite direction of my first stumble, which opened a very old wound.

My spine was just beginning to respond as I switched to the other side and reset the machime. After one turn, a tall, younger, dark-haired man asked if he could help me. Not really, I thought, I'm doing just fine. I must have given him a puzzled look, when he came nearer with his clipboard and began to explain the machine:
"I've only been on it once and want to stretch," I offered.
"This won't stretch you," he replied.
"Yes, it does, just watch, it's just beginning to get into the spot I can never get to," I thought, but didn't say.
He showed me some ways to work the machine and insisted I return to my first side, which he said I hadn't worked. Then, I asked if he were a personal trainer and he answered yes.
I confided that I had slipped on the ice and triggered an old injury. He responded that I wasn't really wearing appropriate boots for ice (are any boots good on ice?) and that I was torquing myself.
Wow, I thought, I really am mucked up. Anything else you'd like to critique? I wanted to scream.
He suggested I do some pelvic lifts and I kew that advice was sound.
I trotted off to the sauna, where there was a bench I could lay on and encountered my yoga teacher and her daughter. I relayed what had just happened. They commiserated and said he was VERY direct. I'll say.
The tilts helped and I caught the trainer's eye was I was leaving to thank him for that tip.
"Where did you do them?" he asked as if he didn't believe me.
"In the sauna."
"There's no room in the sauna, how could you have done them?"
"I'm much shorter than you and I fit," I blurted out, choking back tears and brusquely left.

I consoled myself with coffee and a couple pumps of pumpkin spice at Busken's and attempted to put it all in perspective. Walking home I had felt better. So, he had known what he was telling me. I had a little dialogue with Spirit and was reminded that the message can be more important than the messenger.

I learned that a few summers ago attending a simple and rich Quaker gathering. In the midst of so much peace, I became alarmed when I learned we would worship in the manner of Kenyan Friends, which would be loud, full of singing and little silence. I forced myself to listen and discovered wonderful ministry that spoke straight to my heart from the lips of the evangelizing African. It was a message meant for me that I easily could have missed.

That's why I listened to the trainer and tried to forget his approach. Perhaps God was using this person to help me heal. Like the vignette of the person complaining about a completely annoying day: a late start, traffic jam, forgotten homework, yada, yada, yada when God gently says "But you missed being in the multi-car pile up."

I can just hear my conversation:
Me: "Geez God, why did I have to slip on the ice not once but twice, slide all over my yoga mat and encounter that totally ego-driven trainer?"God: "So your body would be in a position ready to heal from that old injury you keep asking about."

• When a day goes well, how do I express gratitude?
• When it's not so great, how do I see what else may be there?
• What's my rut of always wanting things to go my way?
• When have I been stopped in my tracks and listened even though I didn't like the speaker?
• How does God speak to me through others?

if all my days
were the same

and the way I wanted,
easy and effortless,

who would I be?

Would I even
recognize Spirit?

Listen to this post:

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