Saturday, February 8, 2020

New Cleats and Chanting

Last week I took my fifteen-year-old daughter to Dick's Sporting Goods to get new cleats. We'd been trying to find a spare hour to go to the mall in Renton for weeks and finally eked one out on a dreary rainy afternoon, between piano and dinner. It had been a shitty day already. I'd heard ten too many sound bites from Donald Trump on the radio and I was convinced, beyond measure, that his message of selfishness, laziness and stupidity was permeating the brain membranes of sane people everywhere, like the strange force that made people lose their minds in Sandra Bullock's movie Bird Box.

Dick's Sporting Goods is like Costco for sporty stuff. It's huge and echoey and I swear ghosts work there. Whenever I tried to get someone to help us they would miraculously disappear behind a rack or through a door. When I finally found someone and asked where the bathroom was because I just needed a moment to splash water on my hot flashing face, they told me where it was. After walking across the store I found the bathroom but there was a code on the door and the guy hadn't given me the code, so I walked back to try to find another ghost who might have the code. My patience, thin before entering the toxic vortex of vinyl and lycra, was almost non-existent by this point. I kept thinking, "This is the Donald Trump influence. People are selfish and lazy and stupid!"

Among all of the hundreds of boxes of cleats, none organized by size or style or even brand, Lucia finally found a pair in her size for an affordable price. We walked the block back to the register where the clerk told us the shoes would be $103. "The display said $49.99" I told him, feeling very close to punching him like a mob boss might punch an underling in Good Fellas, square in the nose with one sharp "Pop" and he'd be down. We'd just take the shoes and walk slowly to our car. I imagined the whole scene in my mind. But I didn't punch Joshua the clerk. We returned to the cleats and found three pair that might work. We walked back up to have a different clerk scan each of them to make sure they were indeed the price marked. Lucia chose a pair, I paid, and we walked out.

It was still dark. Still raining. I was starving and pumping with adrenaline. When we got in the car Lucia looked at me, very concerned. "Mommy, are you okay?" "I'm fine." I replied. "I'm just glad that's over with." But she could feel it, my rage, my fury. I'm sure to her it felt like I was about to blow. And then who would drive us home?

We drove through the packed parking lot, past the gargantuan store for all things for your pets. Past the half-block store with make ups and creams, past the health club and all the slow-fast food restaurants. When we got to Boeing field, right before Rainier Avenue South, Lucia started chanting. First she chanted Om Namah Shivaya, a chant I used to play when I taught kids' yoga at her school and my studio. I joined in, happy to be putting my energy outside of my seemingly stuck negativity. Lucia moved on to a Chakra balancing chant that I taught her a few years ago when I came home from my first trip to India. We chanted the whole way home, a good half-hour drive. We harmonized. We took turns leading. As we moved geographically away from Dick's Sporting Goods, my mind moved too, into balance, harmony and even joy.

When we drove into the driveway it was still raining. I could hear the dog barking for us to come in. As I pushed the parking brake into place I looked at Lucia, "That was so nice. Thank you." I said to her. "I thought it would calm you down," replied my teenage daughter, smiling, I think with relief that I was no longer insane. How did she know that would help? I'm not sure, but I'm so grateful for her insight on that dark, rainy, politically-depressing night. Thank you Lucia.

Monday, February 3, 2020

In my dreams.

This morning when I woke up I knew that I'd had a very deep sleep, the kind that is often filled with dreams. I lay in bed for a bit to try to get my dreams to come back and when I finally remembered, I became aware that I'd spent the whole night with my Nana. Nana has been dead for almost twenty-five years but when she was alive she was my favorite, and I felt (as did my sisters) that I was her favorite too. I know now in adulthood that what I got from my Nana in childhood was the experience of belonging, of feeling at home, truly, deeply loved for exactly who I was.

In my dream Nana knew her time on earth was coming to an end. She told my sisters and me to take the Christmas tree down and bring it to the basement garbage area of her high rise building. As my sister Katherine and I upended the tree to bring it to the elevator, we could see that the tree still had tons of ornaments that we recognized as sentimental and special. We surreptitiously put the ornaments in our pockets and took the tree down the fourteen floors to the basement. This beginning of my dream made sense to me even though Nana was Jewish and never had a Christmas tree.

When my sister and I got back up to Nana's apartment it seemed that Nana had already passed. Her things were all laid out--- clothes, shoes, jewelry, books. It was like a big, free garage sale. My two sisters and I were wandering around putting things on that Nana had worn. There were other people too who were taking things and trying them on. If they saw me or one of my sisters looking at the item, they would hand it to us and say, "You take it. She was your grandmother." It was civilized and sweet.

When I got out of bed after remembering last night's dream I came downstairs to my desk to write about it and see if more thoughts or feelings came. They did. As I recalled the dream, I also recalled Nana's face, clear as if she were right in front of me, smiling like she did as her three ragamuffin granddaughters came up to 14A ready for a snack or a diet root beer with milk (her specialty). We'd exit into her little lobby and there she'd be, standing with arms wide, smiling big behind her Ray Bans. She'd take us, one by one, into a full, long hug and send us to the kitchen to raid the fridge.

I know that my Nana had a very difficult relationship with many members of her family. Some people found her cold and judgmental. For whatever reason she wasn't this way with my sisters or with me. She gave us a gift, the blessing of feeling deeply loved and accepted for who we were. I don't know enough about how the subconscious works to understand the timing of Nana coming to me in my dreams last night. But I know enough to understand that dreams like this should be listened to and contemplated. I'm taking last night's dream as a reminder to stay true to who I am, to remember that no matter how unmoored I might feel at different times in my life, I can touch back into that memory of Nana-- the warm, smiling eyes and full, long hug.

New Cleats and Chanting

Last week I took my fifteen-year-old daughter to Dick's Sporting Goods to get new cleats. We'd been trying to find a spare hour to...