Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Self Help

Yesterday was a day mostly about ME, spent with 4 people for whom I have a tremendous amount of admiration. My only regret was that I went to bed at midnight and had to get up at 6:00, when it was still dark outside, leaving me somewhat sleep-deprived.

At 7:00 I joined Gordon for an hour of silent meditation in the yoga studio on Capitol Hill. He is an old pro at meditation, having done it for over 20 years. We do two 30-minute sits in silence interspersed by a 5-minute walking meditation. I was totally unconscious of what was going on outside as the trash trucks came and people rushed off to start their busy day. I had the sensation of being slightly cold, but otherwise felt myself drifting off to someplace calm and serene during the two sits. Gordon jokingly noted that at the end that calm, serene place was called sleep. I never thought I could sleep sitting up!

After lunch I headed back to town for a massage with Liz at Results the Gym. The nice thing about receiving massage here is that you get to sit in the whirlpool first. Every time I see Liz I realize that she is one of the most naturally beautiful women I have ever seen. Her father is the king of some island in the South Pacific and she radiates the best qualities of Polynesia. What most amazed me was that she picked up our conversation right where we had left off – when we were struggling with having an adult child living at home and my right salivary gland was causing me discomfort. I clarified that the first problem has been at least temporarily resolved and the second one still persists. After a full-body massage, she worked on the right side of my face, trying to loosen whatever it is that seems to be blocking my salivary gland. At the end I suddenly realized I had once again fallen asleep, something that has never happened to me in a massage. I’m usually so tuned in to whatever area is being worked on. I wondered what I had missed, but felt totally warm and wonderful as I dressed.

The highlight of my day was an hour of music with my friend and teacher Bill. We’re working on the Andante from Bottesini’s Double Bass Concerto. This is music that is so beautiful you can almost taste it. Whereas you play Bach in a fairly strict tempo, Bottesini begs for changes in tempo and dynamics make the piece. We spent the entire hour on this 4-page piece, dissecting each section to identify the various themes and to decide how we wanted to play it. Playing music with someone else means you can’t always have it your way! By the time we were wrapping up, the sound of the oboe drifted down the stairs. Bill and his wife both play for the NSO, so a lot of practicing takes place in their house. Before I left I borrowed the music for the other two movements of the concerto, figuring that if the andante was this beautiful the other two wouldn’t be half bad.

I walked down the street to my 6:15 yoga class with Leyla, buoyed by my music lesson, but feeling tired from a long day. I was happy to hear her say the last part of the 90-minute class would be a guided meditation. The theme of the class was compassion for yourself. This meant accepting your version of each pose and not asking your body to go further than it wanted to. The guided meditation at the end as we went into yoga nidra was the perfect way to end my busy day. But by the end I was once again asleep.

It’s seldom that I pack so many self-focused activities into one day, but yesterday was my day to celebrate myself and it felt good, even as I snoozed.


Blogger Richard said...

Sounds tranquil.

We can all use more tranquility in our lives.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Richard -- For most of us, tranquility is something that doesn't come easily!

4:50 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

meditation, massage, music - a perfect three M day!

5:12 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

As I sit here reading this I wonder what happened to the woman who was so anxious about how she was EVER going to fill her days of retirement.
You put the rest of us lazy schlubs to shame with all that you do.
Maybe I should retire so that I can do more.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- Yeah, 3 M's and a Y!

Gewels -- I was never really concerned about finding things to do. I'm still searching for something that has more of a predictable pattern. I've seldom ever had a day quite like yesterday.

Ultimately I want to do something that makes a difference for the world. Until I find it, there are plenty of good things to occupy my time.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

I love "treatments." A day of multiple treatments is even better!

Liz's dad is an advisor to the king of Tonga.

Do you feel better today after all your treatments?

8:36 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Reya -- Yesterday I was still tired and catching up from such a busy Monday. Today I can sit around in my PJs as long as I want and it feels good. Sometimes I think the effects of a treatment of any kind take a while to settle in.

10:09 AM  

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