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underwater yoga by megan is me on flickrLearning to Swim

 

My lovely grandparents-in-law (is that a possible moniker?) allowed me to come over to their lovely backyard pool today, dogs in tow.  I was in desperate need of a geographic change after a week spent organizing, unboxing, and lugging everything and anything I own around the new house.  I was exhausted and testy; the dogs were spastic and antsy.  We needed a day of rest.  It was lovely.  Truly.

 

My husband’s grandparents are sweet, endearing people; his grandmother made me a plate of cheese, grapes, and crackers and his grandfather gave me dog care advice then they quickly retreated indoors to escape the heat and, I am certain, my over energized pups. 

 

The change of scenery was a starting point, a was finally absorbing some of the rich Florida sun and imbibing vibrant blue skies speckled with tufts of white but what really took me to another realm was the pool.  I have been what my mother lovingly titled “a fish” since I was old enough to walk and paddle through the shallow end of one public pool or another. 

 

I love the water.  I love to swim.  More than anything I adore the feeling of rocketing through deep waters, completely submerged, reaching for the rough cement floor, hearing nothing but the sound of limbs pushing through chlorine aqua and my own heartbeat.  It dives me into a silent internal peace that is akin to what I feel in the practice of yoga.  I feel in tune and rhythm with my body; swimming is like an aquatic dance of the body working in synchronicity with itself to create powerful motion.  Swimming to me is like flying; it makes me feel like I am transformed into something beyond human, something greater than myself. 

 

Yoga gives me a sense similar to that.  I feel in tune and a part of my surroundings in the water; the water and I are part of a large collective organism, working together.  With yoga I feel the fluidity of myself and the air around me, the ground below me; it holds me up and propels me from one pose to the next.  The two practices to me are moving arts and they take me to somewhere beyond me as an independent being. 

 

But I digress.  The day was just what was prescribed for all.  It was a feast for my senses and sun therapy to boot.  I read Julie & Julia (still avoiding reading my required texts for yoga school and beginning to feel the anxiety of a procrastinating delinquent) as I waded in the shallow end, putting it down every so often to swim laps back and forth from shallow to deep water. 

 

My big dog, Guinness, stalked  my every move like he was a hungry lion and I aquatic prey.  He followed every stroke and stared at me intently as I dove under and emerged again half way down the pool, longing to jump in but fearful to dive as he is still learning to swim.  The little one, Gaia, splashed and jumped in, swimming for her toy and then paddling frantically to the pool stairs.  She is definitely the bolder of the two of them, although their appearances deceptively mislead everyone into assuming the reverse. 

 

Completion of the day leaves me sufficiently tanned and satiated by the natural gifts of Florida life; the dogs are sufficiently exhausted and collapsed on their respective doggie beds.  I am also feeling acclimated and rejuvenated enough to brave my first Floridian yoga class tomorrow.  I am going to pick one of the few local studios and just dive in, having no option as of yet for home yoga as my husband, I have discovered, is holding my mat hostage in the great chilly north. 

 

So I revel in the new aquatic opportunities, both oceanic and chlorine-full, of this great warm state.  I am adjusting to the idea of year round warmth, year round sun, and year round access to cool waters to both lose and find myself in, in the best way: mind, body, soul.  Yoga & swimming–I could get used to this place.

 

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)

it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.

 

e.e. cummings

 

*Found this program Yoga Afloat online that is a certification to become a teacher of water yoga; specifically created by the inventor for her chronic pain illness, something I know well and a lovely concept.  I believe I am going to explore this aquatic yoga hybrid some more.*

Florida Family Vacation by skookum on flickr“florida family vacation” by skookum on flickr

 

My new home has afforded me three lizard encounters thus far.  The first was a bit intimate as there is a shower lizard that may or may not live in the shower drain that likes to languish and leer whilst I shower–he’s all eyes that one.  The second encounter was of the morbid kind as I picked up a box off of my ikea buffet in the entry area of the house to find a  black lizard who must have been unlucky enough to have been wedged under the box.  Soon after I lifted the box, made a pitiable squeal of surprise, and called my sister over, the poor thing went to lizard heaven (presumably full of bushy palms and a neverending supply of tiny insects for consumption) and we had to, eek, flush him down the toilet.  I can only hope the shower lizard did not have to encounter him on his way down. 

 

The third lizard was in our spare bedroom/doggie cage room and he was just meandering across the bottom of the wall–I think even the lizards move at a slower pace in Florida.  Needless to say I am on lizard alert, not sure where the next one will appear.  It is both an endearing and equally unnerving element of my new home environment.   I love lizards, I really do but I never expected to share the inside of my home with them, at least barring a beach bungalow life in Thailand or Nicaragua (two favorite vacation spots of mine which have geckos and lizards on every wall of every room). 

 

The amphibian element is only one piece of my adjustment to life in the Sunshine State.  The unprovoked acts of friendliness are another element and I have to recalibrate my Jersey-induced public prickliness to a more sunny and unsuspicious disposition.  A woman was standing behind me on line at Home Goods last night and asked where I was going to put the lovely lamp I was purchasing.  I jolted upright and fumbled, confused, for a reply.  After an awkwardly long pause, and her beginning to eye me curiously, I finally answered quickly that I would be using it in my entryway and walked out of the store hoping I had feigned-Florida well enough.  I can recall this piece of transition from my move to Colorado years  back and I know it takes some time but I have confidence that soon I will smile not flinch when someone speaks to me unprovoked and kindly in public arenas. 

 

Another transition piece that I have yet to get fully accustomed to is my newly hairless pooch.  Yes, I have shaved my little dog to a fully naked but not quite profane state.  She has transformed from looking like a miniature beagle with a pug/squirrel tail to looking something like a mini Jack Russel Terrier with a possum tail (see below).  I found very quickly that Florida is just too hot a state for a long haired tiny dog.  She was panting like crazy and shedding like mad with such a fury that three days into the move I decided that the hair just had to go.  She seems somewhat confused but overall pleased with her new do, or lack of a “do”. 

 

Hairless Doggie

 

On the whole we are a household a bit confused and fumbling.  Last night the bed was me plus two dogs and thank god we got the king-sized bed before the move as it was cramped even with all the space.  All three of us were twitchy and hyperalert the whole night long, jolting up at every strange noise.  Around 2 a.m. the rumbling thunder came in with force and was so close and roaring I could feel it in my gut.  A family divided by space and states I find myself languishing a bit in my own solitude as I fumble through the nuances and confusions of new geography alone.  At least, I think to myself, I have the dogs and the lizards to keep me company. 

 

In the quiet of an empty house, as I find myself more and more talking in full conversations with my dogs, pausing and intuiting their replies before I continue on with the dialogue, I know these are the moments in which quiet contemplation and a focus on inner calm is the most necessary.  I know that these are the times for which I prescribe such measures for my clients; in periods of uncertainty, restlessness, sadness, fear, and general discontentedness.  Just breathe, I tell them and then I progress forward in teaching them how.  I know I must remember these tools for myself and I must focus on self-care. 

 

Just breathe.  I will repeat this mantra and work for inner meditative peace and search with a bit of urgency for my yoga mat that I know is packed somewhere in the few remaining boxes.  I yearn desperately for the peace of fluidity in silence and breath.  And if I don’t find that stinking mat by tomorrow I’ll just have to go find a new one.  Perhaps even find a local class with my fun new iphone “YogaNow” application.  It is what I purchased it for; when I was fumbling, lost and confused…in search of a collective namaste kind of moment.  I think that time is soon nearing.

  

Smile, breathe and go slowly.                                         Thich Nhat Hanh

 

ocean colour scene #3 by macca on flickr

“ocean colour scene #3” by macca on flickr

July 2020
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