From One Woman to Another

The woman with the deep chesty cough,

She exudes sadness through her tears, even through her sweet smiles.

She throws her head back in abandon as she laughs

For a month she’s felt the raw soreness in her throat as she:

Cough cough cough coughs!

Developing a 6 pack that hurts now.

From a separation, to challenging societal norms, unperturbed by the reactions of her grown children.

I caught it from her, took on her pain,

No judgement,

Without words, a visceral connection.

From one woman to another.

My Dragonfly Life

Listening to the sounds all around me

On this land of coconut trees and blue seas

The insects are humming to their fullest

Making the most of their weeks as beings

Flitting from here to there doing what they should be doing

I am pondering on my own story

As I am fluttering from one place to another

And buzzing around in other people’s wonderings

My dragonfly life seems to be continuing on

Moving away from the mindless bouncing around

Into sweet moments of creativity

We’ll be Butterflies

Sometimes alone

Sitting and watching

The breath recharging

At other times included

Feeling safe and together

Belonging in a sense

Living on this land and it’s dreams

Of pirates and no rules

A paradise of stillness in its views

Forgetting the suffering of the confused

Lost in the intricacies

And the fear of being

First the old then the young

Maybe next lifetime

We’ll be butterflies

Alone Time

A moment alone, a cherished one

So deep is the desire to dive into the cool, yet the tiredness holds her back

Maybe a nap will take care of the fatigue

Her heavy eyes rest in silence,

She listens to the background sounds of the jungle

She does what she can,

She drives from school to football to dance class

Communicates with strangers to set up extra lessons, workshops, and tests

Designs costumes and builds tents fit for princesses

Combs out lice, not once, not twice,

more than thrice!

And now, a bit of alone time is in order

If not, she will collapse,

Possibly relapse

All she knows now, is a bit of alone time is in order!

Exhaling

Into the depths of despair

She plunges head first

Fingertips break through

Not a splash is seen

She confuses fatigue with darkness

She searches for routine, for stability

And up she comes,

Fingers reach for the surface

A gasp of air, a lifting

She looks out at the view

The creativity flows

And back she dives exhaling,

Into the depths of the unknown

Words

It’s all slipping out

Now, all of a sudden

Rolling off my lips

Syllable by syllable

This new expressive form

Of love, of coming through fear,

Of abandon and yearning

Sounds coming to life

Now, all of a sudden

Rolling off my lips

Syllable by syllable

A striking, piercing gaze

Unshaken by doubt

From boredom to creativity

Words become pictures

Now, all of a sudden

Rolling off my lips

Syllable by syllable

Timelessness

Without beginning or end

There is the here and now

The essence of love

Is evident

Even as emotion runs wild

The presence of life

Is immediate

I look into my child’s eye

Where to now?

The unknown space of lightness

Of joy

Of depth in pain

Of surrender

In this timelessness

There is space to ponder

Only

On the here and now

Heavier, but Happier

Getting comfortable with changes in our body can be interesting and can take time. Since I started taking medication almost 2 years ago I have put on more weight than I ever have in the past, except for when I was pregnant.

I remember the period when I moved to Canada to attend university, I put on quite a bit of weight. I lost it with regular exercise and after I met Maher! Things looked just a little bit brighter with him in my life.

Then another time was when I was pregnant and in bed rest with the twins. I put on a whole 30kg and I only got to 7 months of the pregnancy! I wasn’t too nervous about it but I thought I’d never be able to lose all the weight. Having fed the two of them breast milk for 9 months got me most of the way back to my normal weight and size. The rest came off with some regular exercise, healthy eating, and two babies to care for!

But this time something is different. I can’t seem to loose the weight. It never used to be an issue because it always came off on its own without much effort other than the general time and energy I spent on movement and eating well. This time it will take a bit more.

I am over 35 now. There is that “aging phenomenon” to take into consideration as well! My body has changed. So has my resilience to the change.

My sudden weight increase left me feeling uneasy, not so much in the recent past as when it first changed, and when I moved back to Samui after the two months in Bangkok that summer. Everyone on the island around me seemed suddenly much thinner than I was used to!

It’s all relative I suppose.

At first I resisted taking medication, not only because I didn’t believe I needed it- I didn’t believe that I was paranoid, but also due to one of its side effects. Weight gain. But I realized soon enough that I chose my family, my husband and children and in this case I needed to take the medication, at first to save the family, and then later when I realized I was indeed paranoid, to keep myself in check. In balance.

My psychiatrist has mentioned to me that we will start reducing one of the meds in a few months. I look forward to that. Of course with the understanding that if there is a relapse, there is no shame in going back on the meds.

So here I am now, dancing again, back to my milder, gentle yoga practice, not yet teaching.

I did my first performance since being hospitalized just yesterday, with a friend. I resisted performing until now. Partly because I didn’t want to be the center of attention, I didn’t feel very confident with my dance skills, and partly because I was uncomfortable with my new body shape. I’d never performed with the “extra” weight on me.

It turned out beautifully. We were well surrounded and supported. Well received. We enjoyed the practices that led up to the performance as well as the moment itself. I had my days feeling uncomfortable inside of myself, but they were fleeting and not strong enough to overpower me.

I do have the secret wish to lose a few kilos when I reduce my medication, but mostly I am more and more comfortable with who I am regardless of the weight. The dancing is becoming enjoyable, a daily practice that I look forward to. Even better now that I am adding some structure to the sessions.

I feel that I am happy to be out there with my Facebook dance videos, definitely a little bit nervous with the exposure at times, but I am motivated to dance and share, perhaps inspire, as does @nivetha.shree.dancer a beautiful Indian tribal fusion dancer. A few of us are practicing everyday or as often as possible and tagging her in our Instagram posts with #practicewithnivetha. Join us!

So here I am, back at it, heavier, but happier and not concerned about what reaction I get anymore. In fact I never used to dance with my belly showing until the last few months. I used to be shy and insecure about that. So maybe the added weight was needed to allow some grounding, some feminine power to shine through me. Not to say that I am complacent and letting go. I continue to try hard to maintain the weight if I haven’t been able to lose any yet.

It’s not about the perfect weight anymore, it’s more about enjoying the practices, the connections, and the moments.

Thanks for reading!

Yoga and Dance: Back on my Path

Just as I was getting into the momentum of my physical activities over the last few days, yesterday I was rushing around while texting and walking out my front door. Crrrrr. I twisted my ankle and found myself in a squatting position. On the floor in quite a bit of pain.

I hobbled through the day as if nothing had happened, but I felt it of course. Thankfully in the evening Maher got me to soak my foot in a bucketful of icy water. I danced between sessions of soaking my foot in the ice. I am inspired to find new music, to move in different ways.

So I won’t allow myself to sabotage that. That I am back at dancing and inspired.

It’s such a fine line. I went from having nothing to do, bored and lonely, to busy, busy and rushing around, fitting in dance practices, finally back to Muay Thai after a break and a few good runs in, a trip with Maher just the two of us, lunches and shopping with the friends, getting the kids to their activities and volunteering at school.

That extra bit of squeezing things in and not being mindful landed me with a hurt ankle. Here’s to my body telling me to slow down, or at least to be more aware of my space and time!

This happened in October last year as well. Similar situation, from feeling good and strong with my activities, a few too many things going on, to a bad sprain in the same ankle. In fact, it happened while running in the morning, that night Maher had his second stroke. I was grounded for a long period of time. I went off all my activities. It was a blessing in disguise. I had other things to focus on for the next month and a half.

This time I am continuing to dance, if it means just some arm work for a few days, some gentle, slow movement. All the other stronger movement activities will fall off temporarily.

I see the need to strengthen my right ankle. It’s becoming a weakness again as my ankles were when I was a teenager. I repeatedly twisted them while running the roads in Lusaka and Montreal, and also playing squash.

And it was during yoga classes in Beirut, about fifteen years ago, that I noticed my ankles were unstable. I also saw how positive the asana practice was for my balance and stability. I haven’t had any problems with them for years until more recently. Time for more yoga asana in my routines. Slowly to begin with.

Back to yoga and dance now. I am shifting back onto my path. Luckily I can adjust my practices depending on what’s going on.

Just while writing this my daughter is unwell, in and out of sleep, fever and vomiting, so all my plans need some flexibility in this moment.

That’s how it goes!