Sunday, September 21, 2008

Charting Personal History

When I compare myself today to the person I was 5 years ago, I hardly recognize my old self. I found myself mentally charting the course of the changes as I worked out on the elliptical machine today. The result was similar to a family tree, oddly enough.

So what was I like 5 years ago? I was a workaholic who had sort of given up on looking and feeling good and had placed my emotions on hold. I always got outstanding performance ratings and large monetary awards, but I was often too busy to even notice what was going on around me. My body was atrophying from lack of exercise. I was simply going through the motions of living. Fortunately I had a stable marriage to a loving husband, but even so I was often in physical pain and not always happy.

Then one of my employees suggested that I try yoga on Capitol Hill. At first I really struggled to get through a 90-minute level-1 class, using blocks and all the props I could find. But it made me feel good and I kept coming back each week. I got my husband interested in yoga and sometimes went more than once a week.

Meanwhile the owners of the yoga studio kept singing the praises of massage. So at age 55 I had my first massage and was instantly hooked.

I decided to try meditation after observing the lovely space devoted to that practice at the place where I received massage.

When I spoke of how much I had enjoyed playing the piano decades before, my massage therapist urged me to take it up again, which I did.

Through her I met Bill, who played my first duet with me, and soon thereafter introduced me to Deborah, the person I play with every week. Bill continues to be our “coach.”

Through my massage therapist I also discovered Blogging. I went from being a person who signed on to my home computer maybe once a week to a crazed Blogger who is compelled to write every day. I came to love my new electronic friends.

But one of the best changes over the last few years was my renewed appreciation of the people around me. I started to let myself get involved in their lives and allowed them to enter my space.

I’m grateful for this chain of people who have helped me on this journey. Was it just by chance that our paths crossed at the right time? Probably, but who ever knows for sure?


Blogger Kristin said...

Life really is a journey and it's fascinating to see this recent history of yours. I like the person I met a few years ago, and I like the woman you are now.

1:01 PM  
Blogger E. said...

Thanks for sharing more of your personal evolution, Barbara. You appear to be blessed with your dear uncle's zest for life and need to thrive.

I too have experienced many changes in the last few years, and while they weren't all positive, my sense of humor and tenacity have kept me going...and I look for ways to say "Thank You" to friends, colleagues and others who touch my life so generously. I am happy to count you among them. Enjoy your day!

2:50 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I met you mid-way! And I'm really glad I did. I would never have discovered Food Matters if it weren't for you. And I love the way you jumped in to help read to the kids at the homeless shelter.

E. -- Humor and tenacity can get you a long way in life. I can see you are primed to write a Blog, where you can put your daily thoughts out there for others to enjoy. I continue to thank Steve for introducing us!

4:19 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

It is good to take frequent looks at ourselves and how we're changing. You seem to be on a good path.

My daughter lent me a book called Faith" by Sharon Salzberg and some of what you say here is an echo of what I've been reading. Try it and see what you think...

6:51 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- I'll look for that book in the library. I would like to think my life will continue to evolve in a positive direction.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

...and through Deborah (although somewhat indirectly) I met you! And I've became somewhat aquainted (only via blog reading) with quite a few of your blogging buddies. This world of bloggers is pretty cool. I don't know how long I'll last because the initial reason for starting to write has just about resolved itself, but I know I'll continue to read. I'm hooked!

8:13 PM  
Anonymous lr said...

Barbara, isn't it amazing how our physical health improves our emotional and social health? Yoga made all the difference, it seems, in broadening your horizons and bringing you joy. What a message you've given all of your readers.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cyndy -- Yes, you are indeed part of this chain of people. Sometimes I think my Blogger friends know more about me than others who have known me for years!

LR -- You are so correct. Our physical, emotional, and social health are all intertwined. I can't claim to be a yoga expert, even after all these years at level 1, but I know how much the practice and its spin-offs have done for me.

9:02 PM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

lovely, thoughtful post...and always so wonderful to learn more about our friends and their journey in life.... onward and upward! I'm grateful that our spheres overlap in the cyberhood!

10:25 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Mouse -- I too am glad our paths crossed. I think it was poetry day, yes?

10:52 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

It is great to be able to look back and see how we've evolved. In the day-to-day crunch of activities there's not always time for the big-picture view. I'm glad you're blogging and I'm glad to have met you!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

I'm sure glad you started blogging! You sound lighter and happier every day! -Kellyann

11:46 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I am so glad that you could grow and extend yourself even mpre since retiring. You are amazing how you fit so much into your life! AND blog every day!

6:12 PM  

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