Monday, February 16, 2009

Mantra Monday: The secret is to begin. (Revisited)

Four to six days a week, you'll find me up and and on my way to practice bright and early in the morning. Systematically over the past nine months, my asana practice has evolved. As I see it, one of the many beauties of the ashtanga system and practicing Mysore style is that as your body grows in strength and flexibility there is more to discover within what you've learned. If you had said to me that in nine months, I would have received pasasana, the first pose of second series this morning, I don't know if I would have believed it possible. Granted, my pasasna did not look anything whatsoever like the link provided, but it was a start.

Over the past couple weeks I've been thinking, there has to be a way to apply this systematic growth of an Ashtanga practice to Art. I have had so many ideas jumbled around in my head, back logged and beginning to slam against the breakwater. I just didn't know where to start. Just welling up inside, like right before I began standing from urdhva dhanurasana.

But how to begin?!

Do I go back to my painting? What about my bass wood? Do I pull out my hammers and torches and begin pounding on metal?

Then I realized, I just needed to look around my apartment, pick something and begin. Like the first sun salutation, I just need to start. Like self-practicing, I just needed to stay with it and work through it. No dawdling making tea, writing emails, baking cookies, or cleaning. Just let it come on its own.

I set up a drafting lamp on my dinner table and pulled out my $2.99 Benny's chess set. A pencil and just kept on sketching pawns. One, two, three - moving the light. I kept myself from using an eraser to allow myself to make "mistakes" and work with them. Soon they smoothed themselves out. I've always had a thing for the Knight. So at some point, I added him to my sketches.

I lost track of all time.

Over 4 hours of sitting.
Sitting with my chess set.
A sketch book.
An HB pencil. A pencil sharpener.
An eraser.
A drafting brush.

Sitting. Drawing. Loving every minute.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 17 & 9 To Go.

For the half-life of that med.
Then in another 26 days, half of that amount will be gone from my system and so on and so forth. By April it should be completely out of my system. Nothing I can do to speed it up.

Things at my doctor's went well - again the best pulmonary function test I've ever had! Of course, he was disappointed that I've been pulled from the treatment because, save for breaking out in hives, I was responding well to it until recently. Details. So I'm just on my standard maintenance medications. There's really not much that can be done save for waiting and watching to see how things progress.

As the Artist and the Mathematician pointed out to me, I'm taking the best care I have of myself, from diet to regular asana practice and to sleep - maybe any "problems" will ultimately be negligible.

So, I'll be logging pretty much my entire life, from practice to what/when I eat/drink, when take my meds and my peakflow and when I sleep. Somehow, I'm sure there's an art project lurking in this self study...

Still every thing remains to be about patience and persistence - funny how all this seem to work.

(Of course that does nothing to mitigate general aggravation and frustration, but at least it makes it a little more palatable.)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mantra Monday: To Sit In Silence.

It was so nice to sleep in today.

November through the end of 2008 was a whirlwind of activity - between changing firms, the holidays, and eeking by to get everything done. Then January came and I continued to dance along. I managed to get a minimum of 45 minutes of asana practice in each day of the month - and somewhere along the line I was given my final pose of the primary series. I traveled to Sarasota, to Boston, to RI, to Charlottesville. Spent time with many friends and family and met some great teachers - I was tired and felt a bit "off," but I was dancing along.

During this time, there was something lurking.

I was having more difficulty than normal with my asthma and various other things that go along with that - all easily explained away by various stresses. The days after moon days I would find myself broken out in hives to varying degrees, more sensitive to various triggers, and on and off prednisone. I went so far as to wonder if there was something going on between the moon and my body. The last Tuesday of January, I woke again to hives and difficulty with my asthma. That morning, I resigned myself to a self practice hopped up on Benedryl. In my finishing postures, I tarried in padmasana, longer than normal.

This was the first time I had truly sat, in stillness, for what seemed like months.

Consciously ignoring the itching and burning at my joints and skin I began to wonder, was it one of my meds? Could it be the medicine that once seemed as though it was my salvation?

I called my doctor as soon as his office opened and he considered the idea. Three days later I was still shooting Benedryl shots and chomping Pepcid to no relief of my hives. I called my doctor again, insistent. There was something wrong. He called the drug manufacturer and their physician terminated my treatment with this medicine.

Tomorrow, I go to my doctor to review my asthma management plan.
It would be mendacious to say that I'm not worried. But in the grand scheme of things, I'll take asthma difficulty over a severe allergic reaction.

What does the future hold?

Time will tell.

At least I'm actually learning how to listen to myself.
You can hear a lot in Silence.