Gratitude for my daily yoga discipline! And a ticket to Antigone tonight.

 

Today my slacker self didn’t want to do my 10-15 minute yoga practice before breakfast. The lazy and disconnected Katherine wanted the upper hand. Well-rehearsed excuses trooped on stage for a hearing, begging for my attention. “You’re doing fine, you can skip today, it’s Sunday…etc.” WHY BOTHER??

And I had even started mixing up the asanas so I wouldn’t get bogged down in a stale routine, even though I try to attend to each new breath and sensation through every pose. Monkey mind was doing its utmost to trump best intentions and wallow in the emotional high/low of yesterday’s lovely meeting with, and farewell to, a very good friend I don’t want to leave when I go away on January 1 for a few months. Yoga practice forces me into the present and forbids wallowing!

Fortunately, the habit of discipline trumped the desire to weep, so I turned on the amazing Arabic Christmas Carol (Byzantine Hymn of the Nativity)

and began with some slow, attentive sun salutations. Shoulderstand, plough, and fish pose to the reading from gorgeous Colossians 3:14-17 “Clothe yourselves in compassion…which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” Deep in breath, long attentive exhale. I can do this, I can get through the next few hours as light breaks into the long fresh cut in my heart (thanks Rumi!).

I usually do my yoga practice listening to the British Jesuit’s recording of the previous day’s Pray as You Go episode (http://pray-as-you-go.org/home/). I find I can breathe the readings deeper into my cells hearing them again after praying with them the day before. Eagle pose, left leg trembling with the strain of holding my crouched body…listening to the readings from St.Stephen’s Day.

eagle-pose-lo

The narrator tells us in her annoying, breathy voice: “Jesus promises us the Spirit as a powerful ally; through the Spirit God will be able to speak through us. Is there a time coming when you feel the need of that same help?” Yes, my spirit snaps back, duh!… I need help writing my book.

My publishers gave me an extension until February for my book “Palliative care and political theory: honouring and healing the body politic”. Most of it is written, but the hard part is wrestling it into shape and writing a coherent and inspiring introduction, which is what I’m doing now. The Holy Spirit will be a class act assistant.

As I finish with Triangle on both sides (left ribs still sticking together!), I bow and give namaste to the snowy dawn, feeling stronger, more resolved, less flaky and emotional, grateful that the discipline kicked in to align me with whatever this day calls on me to contribute.

And a miracle cameth! My friend Agi called to say she had found one last ticket to the sold out dance performance of Antigone tonight at the Palace of Arts, in the very back row, half price! It’s the Carl Orff score, Yvette Bozsik Company performance, so bound to be magnificent. My Hungarian was not up to the checkout process, so she did it for me and I have the ticket for tonight. Quelle reward for discipline! How wonderful to have friends who go the extra mile for you! Now I’ll tramp out in the snow to the Yemeni printers who are actually open on Sunday off Jokai Ter.

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kpettus

I am a political theorist, oblate in the Order of St.Benedict, and advocate for universal rational access to essential controlled medicines for pain and palliative care in the lower and middle income countries. I work a lot in Vienna at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, and in Geneva at the World Health Organisation, and the Human Rights Council representing the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care. Right now I am full time caregiver to my sister Ruth, who has brain cancer and lives in Baltimore. I am also writing a Catholic Caregiver's blog to document the experience.

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