Wow. Just wow.

What does a “career-challenged” person do when she has free time with no assignments? She certainly doesn’t network or inquire with clients when those upcoming projects might surface or organize her office or update her website or any of a dozen other tasks that make good business sense. Instead, she takes a yoga class.

A hot yoga class to be precise. For the first time.

I’ve been meaning to go; the studio is owned/run by a former colleague of mine I haven’t seen in years. We recently reconnected on LinkedIn, and that renewed my wish to take a class with her. I had talked with my regular yoga instructor about taking a class there together, but this morning, spur of the moment, I decided to do it.

The class kicked my butt — I was the only one there (other people were busy working, no doubt) and she said afterward she “took it easy on me.” (POP — bubble bursting) Wow. I know I’m not in good shape right now, with too little exercise and too many winter pounds weighing me down, but in my regular yoga class, I’m one of the better students. This was so much harder, with 100° heat to boot. I’m whipped.

But that’s not the story. The story is, I got the chance to catch up with my friend after class. What I thought would be a “So, how have you been?” nonversation, turned into so much more.

How she’s been turned out to be that she had a double-mastectomy a couple years ago.The same year she opened her current studio (she had been in a smaller space). Seems she felt a lump in her breast that her doctor told her not to worry about — just a cyst. As it grew, she repeatedly called to say she was having that problem. They told her to lay off caffeine. When she finally sees him and gets a biopsy, she has Stage III cancer. So, double mastectomy and chemo follow. While recuperating from surgery and going through chemo, she of course decides to take more advanced yoga classes; she’s currently writing a book about teaching yoga; her studio offers special events with yoga gurus, concerts, etc., oh, and did I still mention she runs her “regular” business (a graphic design firm) as well?

As she told me the tale of her recent past and gave me a tour of her beautiful space, I was just amazed at all that had transpired in her life — devastating and amazing alike — in just a few years. When she asked me about business and if I was still living in the same place, all I could say was “Business is hanging in there. Slow, like everyone’s. Yes, same place. Still working on our fixer-upper” Seriously, my life now is no different than it was when we were working together. But hers? OMG.

This, on the heels of my “career-challenged” post yesterday, makes me think even more about how some people are so driven to DO things in their life, despite great adversity, and I’m just not. I’m generally quite happy to simply be (and, note to self, not nearly grateful enough to God for the blessings of health and “status quo”). Yes, I might dream of living a more creative life and daydream about possible “fun” jobs, but that’s as far as it goes. I’m in awe, yes, actual awe, of people like my friend. People who just never stop, or let themselves be stopped.

What an eye-opening morning. (Likely to be followed by an ibuprofen-opening evening.) And, God-willing, a blissfully predictable tomorrow.

The beauty [of yoga] is that people often come here
for the stretch and leave with a lot more.

~ Liza Ciano

Advertisements

Back among the living — and loving it.

Nothing like a killer case of the flu to bring new perspectives to life. What started out 2 days before Christmas as an annoying holiday cold, 10 days later had relapsed into what had to be the flu or a very good impersonator. I don’t believe I’ve ever been that ill before — 3 days of pure misery. (Note to self: Get a flu shot next year.)

But today was better — temperature almost back to normal, body aches all but gone, no chills or sweats, corner turned. With fresh meds to see me through the last stages, clean sheets on the bed, another day of rest ahead of me — I feel grateful. Especially when I think of all the people out there for whom pain and illness and simply not being well is a fact of life. Day after day, week after week, month after month. Through no fault of their own, life is a struggle of making it through, trying to stay positive, and never really feeling good. Sure makes a couple of weeks of feeling lousy seem so insignificant. 

It’s one of those wake-up calls we all need now and then: Count Your Blessings. Sitting here in my cozy living room, tapping away on my laptop, surrounded by cheerful Christmas decorations and beautiful lights (it’s Twelfth Night!), I can’t feel anything but incredibly blessed. Remind me of these the next time I complain about silly annoyances or the ups and downs of everyday life: Status quo is quite enough. “Normal” is worth celebrating. Life is good.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
                               ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson