Saturday, July 6, 2013
From last year's ridiculous to this year's sublime
Last summer was unrelenting from May until Thanksgiving. It was hot, humid and the air was way more toxic than usual because we had insufficient rain.
Likewise it was unrelenting in terms of stress factors for yours truly. Being stalked was by far the most nerve wracking thing about last summer. I was always looking over my shoulder. It was not pleasant.
There were traumas I chose to undertake, like getting my tattoo, like walking through the Holocaust Museum the very next day. There were inadvertent traumas, too, such as when my clothes mildewed and had to be thrown out. All my clothes. Everything.
It was a hard summer.
Recently I realized that in the midst of the sturm und drang of last summer, I let go of some of my devotional behaviors. I didn't mean to - it just happened. I didn't give up prayer, meditation or ohmming - no - my morning practice is a foundation on which I can rely for whatever form of stability I believe myself to have.
But I let lapse a number of devotional behaviors that bring me great pleasure, that cultivate joie de vivre. An example: I stopped dancing for fun. I didn't do it on purpose. I couldn't muster the energy, or didn't muster the energy. Or I couldn't access the joy that dancing brings to me, so I didn't bother. None of this was conscious. I didn't even notice I had stopped dancing until I attended the Folklife Festival last weekend where I danced my ass off.
Behaviors are habitual, therefore should be examined now and again. I broke the no dancing habit last weekend. I have danced to music for fun every day since then. Yes! This morning I broke the habit of thinking it's too hot to take a really good walk. Yes it was hot but I have developed multiple strategies over the years. I'm not at all averse to pouring a bottle of cold water over my head, when needed, and I'm great at dodging from tree shade pool to tree shade pool.
I know how to duck into an air conditioned museum when I need to cool off a little bit. Somehow last summer with all those Code Orange days, I couldn't take the heat, I couldn't force myself to take the long walks that keep me sane and healthy. But this summer - so far - I can! It's a wonder.
A sweaty walk is a great thing. I forgot, I surely did. Also forgotten until today is the cool glass of water after a summer walk, followed by the cool shower. I forgot about being willing to sweat, in all the trauma of last summer, that important aspect of summer walks slipped out of my mind. I forgot about the cool glass of water, the cool shower, the feeling of happiness and pleasure in being alive and healthy at this moment in time/space.
This summer is a rebirth for me on many levels. I'm dancing, I'm walking and sweating, drinking and bathing in cool water, popping in and out of my favorite locations again. This is a very good sign.
Life is good and I am grateful. Shalom.