Thursday, January 29, 2009


As I was returning home after taking my car out for a spin – literally - sliding sideways down the road trying to avoid slamming into oncoming traffic and ever growing mounds of snow banks on either side, it dawned on me. In just a few minutes I too would join the bundled up masses of returnees chipping their way through chunks of ice and snow blocking their driveway to later sink into a hot Epsom salt bath to soothe their aching muscles.

Resigned to my fate I parked in the mall’s parking lot on the other side of my street. Weighed down with shopping bags, I climbed over the snow bank and skated across the road and lo and behold when I rounded the bank at the corner of my drive there I saw a bright shiny gift - an immaculately clear driveway.

I scrambled up the drive and into the house throwing off the bags in the hallway. “Wow! Thanks for shoveling the drive!” I shouted through to my husband sitting on the couch in the living room. You see normally I do the shoveling. Kind of enjoy it really. Except this winter’s snow displacement demands are too much for even me.

“I didn’t. As I was coming around the corner this guy in a bobcat was just backing out of our drive and took off. It was kind of odd actually.” He sounded suspicious.

Then I realized it was the snow plough guy that I’d given the Starbuck’s card to (not my VISA after all – see blogpost yoga plough Jan 19/09), for ours was the only drive to receive such attention. When I explained the situation to him he still thought it odd. But I just smiled.

And, I’m smiling now cus not only did he do this for us last night but again today and not only just for us, all of the neighbours had bright, immaculately clear drives as well.

I don’t know who this anonymous guy is; we barely exchanged a few words the other day but I wish he could know how grateful I am and what a magical gift he’s given me because life can be full of crappy news: the economy’s going down the toilet, the politicians are posturing incompetents, war goes on and on somewhere – it’s really been this way since the dawn of civilization.

But he reminded me that there are small acts of kindness happening everyday. We just don’t hear enough about them. Maybe if we did it would help to change the world. The ripples of gratitude that they create produce a lightness of spirit and a tidal wave of good will towards others. And, that’s big news!

Thanks Bobcat guy whoever you are!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Flypaper of My Mind

My mind is to movie trivia what flypaper is to flies. And I blame my mother for that.

Back in the days when the whole family (parents and children – in our case that meant 7 people in “cinema #1”) gathered together in the flickering glow of the TV’s blue rays to watch THE BIG MOVIE OF THE WEEK or some such program my mother would educate us on the careers, loves and lives of the stars that appeared before us. She might give us some background info about: the film itself – the challenges and process of making it, the original story upon which the film was based, its director or writer, the caterer, the makeup artists, the music etc.

She was the living embodiment of the SPECIAL FEATURES selection on your DVD. Only there was no button to turn on or turn off the program so, while we were focused on watching the movie her running commentary would be heard subtly in the background.

Did you know that Bob Cummings of LOVE THAT BOB fame was a health fanatic who took multiples of multiple vitamins, observed a strict diet and daily exercise regimen? Bet you didn’t.

Or that Charlton Heston was an artist’s model and Burt Lancaster a circus acrobat before becoming movie stars; that Montgomery Clift’s beautiful face was scarred in a horrible car accident and his career was never the same afterwards; or that Allan Ladd was such a tiny little guy that movie sets would appear like virtual irrigation fields the troughs dug so that his leading ladies could walk alongside him and appear smaller than he?

Well…I do.

But Mom is 87 now. Her flypaper is drying up and, the flies are dropping off. When we watch a movie together the sound of her uttering, almost to herself, “He looks familiar. I’ve seen that actor before.” and the sight of her brow furrowing with the effort to reclaim lost memory turns on my SPECIAL FEATURES function. And as once she did for me I now do for her. I fill in all the details. But the flies I lob her way don’t stick and she pushes my play button repeatedly.

I read somewhere that seniours respond best to old movies. The pace is slower and there’s less overlapping dialogue than in contemporary film. But there is one drawback.

They have prompted her to ask a new question. After hearing my commentary, now there’s a pause, a moment in which the realization of her advancing age and mortality rises up. “I wonder if he’s still alive.”

Now, we’re going back to the 50’s, 40’s and even the 30’s. So you can guess what my answer most often is.

“No. No Mom he’s dead.”

“Oh,” she says dejectedly.

Remember her flies aren’t sticking, so after 2 hours or so of this we both get pretty depressed. I’ve even, as my sister-in-law suggested, tried declaring in advance - “Dead. Dead. They’re all dead.” This still didn’t stave off the inevitable repeat question.

I thought perhaps a musical, filled with singing and dancing and wonderful costumes, would solve the problem. Mom loves to sing and will sing along with virtually anything. And what could be better than a movie with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire?

I was right! We sailed through the movie without her pushing my SPECIAL FEATURES button even once. Feeling very self-satisfied I turned to Mom and she said, “They looked familiar those actors.”

“Yes, Mom they’re Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. You remember them.”

“Oh yes” she said cheerily. “I wonder if they’re still alive.”

“No they died quite a while ago.”

“Ummm. Must have been from all that dancing.”

We both cracked up. Some flies stick longer than others.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MYTH BUSTING - Hypnosis 101

So if you read my post CLUCK LIKE A CHICKEN; BARK LIKE A DOG Wed. Jan 21/09 you know that hypnosis is as an altered state of awareness or perception in which:
- The body is relaxed
- The mind is sharply focused
- The mind is receptive to therapeutic suggestion.

You know that when you are in hypnosis:
- You are in control at all times
- You can’t be made to do anything you don’t want to do
- And, that all hypnosis is essentially self-hypnosis.

Seems very clear doesn’t it? But, let’s put it together another way and a mind boggling paradox seems to appear.

Hypnosis is an altered state of awareness in which you are in control at all times.

“Wait a minute”, the flower children amongst you are raising up their hands, “doesn’t being in an altered state imply that you have no control or you go to those wild places in your mind where the brave dare not go (Remember that psychedelic movie Altered States with William Hurt?), or you go somewhere and then re-emerge having no memory of what has transpired but you feel very full and you notice that you’re holding the partially eaten, raw, drumstick of a wild buffalo in your hand?”

No. Remember in hypnosis you are aware and in control. And, the hypnotist is there to keep you on your desired trajectory.

A Consulting Hypnotist (aka Certified Hypnotherapist) is a facilitator. Their voice guides you to experience the magical state of your subconscious mind where imagination and creativity are heightened. Their voice keeps you connected to the here and now. You are aware of their voice and their words though at times your mind might wander.

In a sense you are in 2 places at the same time - participating in the world of the subconscious through imagination; at the same time conscious of the hypnotist’s presence, able to respond to their questions or describe the experience you are having.

“What does it feel like to be in this state?” you ask.

It is an individual experience. Some people feel merely pleasantly relaxed while very aware of the hypnotist’s voice; others see themselves like one would watch a character in a movie; while others are fully immersed in the scene seeing it from an embodied vantage point similar to that of daily reality. The more you do hypnosis the easier it gets and the fuller the experience becomes as you learn to navigate your inner landscape and understand the language of your own unique subconscious mind.

And remember, since you are in control you can choose to come out at any time – just open your eyes. But, chances are you will want to remain in hypnosis to enable yourself to achieve the desired outcome with greater ease than can be achieved by will alone.

“So I come in, sit down and the hypnotist does their thing to me and I’m ready to go?”

Not exactly.

In a typical visit the actual guided “hypnosis” part of the session takes about 20 minutes the rest of the time is spent in discussion, answering questions and exploring the reality of one’s life. A first visit lasts 1 ½ hrs; follow ups are approximately 60 minutes. Surprised?

Since hypnosis works to align the conscious with the subconscious mind towards the same goal we need to understand your conscious mind and the way you perceive the challenges in your life. In speaking your story to a non-judgmental listener the healing, empowering process begins. This is another little known aspect and benefit of hypnotherapy.

Ask yourself how much of your life is spent living out self-limiting beliefs about: yourself, how the world works, behaviour that is expected of you. Are you hypnotized into believing for example, that: money corrupts, that you are heavy because your parents are, that you can do nothing about your life because that is your lot in life…? As we confront these beliefs we are beginning to de-hypnotize ourselves and strip these misinformed notions of their power.

With awareness comes the power of choice. Once aware you are either maintaining the status quo, digging yourself deeper into some undesired experience of life or moving towards the change of your desired outcome. And that can be either a scary prospect or a liberating one – the choice is yours.

“So, here I am de-hypnotized, liberated but feeling a little scared because foundations that I’ve built my life upon are being taken away. What happens next?”

Hypnosis moves us forwards towards our desired outcome.

We replace the old negative program with a new one through the techniques of hypnosis and self-hypnosis. You explore what you want, practical actions needed in order to get it and how it will feel when you get what you want with the hypnotist i.e. I want to get rid of excess weight. I eat consciously and exercise every day. I am fit, healthy and feel full of energy. After you have consciously established the details of the desired outcome the “hypnosis” session begins. The hypnotist talks to you about your goal using your own words, in the present tense, painting a positive, detailed picture. Hearing these messages while relaxed and focused allows your mind to flesh out the experience and make it your own.

“So then it’s done, right?”

The new positive program is installed and will be reinforced each time you follow through with the actions you’ve determined are necessary to help attain your goal. Each action you take is a step towards success and is a reward in itself.

Practicing the daily self-hypnosis techniques that the hypnotist teaches you will enable you to move towards your goal with ease and to live the life of your imagining.

So, now the process begins. Imagine - you are in control and you can’t be made to do anything that you don’t want to do.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

jack of all trades

(cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1986)
click on image to enlarge
Recently during a conversation a co-worker uttered this sentence “I worked at the department store spraying perfume…”
“Wait you were a “spritzer girl” how cool is that!” I exclaimed. She must have thought I was nuts.
Spritzer girl! As a child I marveled at the sight of them, women perfectly turned out in tailored suits, stilettos, coiffed hair, flawless skin and make up. They were the total antithesis of anything I would ever be; I was in awe of them.

We began to talk about odd jobs that we’ve had. Memories of my experiences spilled into my head; I have had a virtual truckload of jobs. So when she suggested that we should make a list that idea just stuck with me, so here it goes:

Production line worker at L.A. Jones & Co. which produced Roux hair care products
Happy Foot Girl – distributing Happy Foot products in Burlington Mall
Submarine sandwich maker – at the CNE
Booth attendant for maple syrup – at the CNE
Salesperson – (revisited a few times - at the CNE, health food store, picture store)
Assistant to Veterinarian in a one person office – take x-rays, front desk, assist in surgery, clean kennels, bathe dogs and cats etc.
*Waitress (revisited this profession many times at coffee shops, diners and a deli)
the only job I’ve been fired from and deservedly so, I was a lousy waitress
Still Room Girl at Jasper Park Lodge
Short order cook
Yoga/meditation teacher
Cleaning lady – working independently
Cashier at a health food store working my way into
Assistant to manager
Warehouse manager
Weight training instructor (Nautilus and free weights)
Artists’ model
Life guard
Teacher of cartooning
House sitter
Bus girl
Artist – paste up, graphic art, calligraphy, murals for kid’s rooms and playhouse
Store manager of a picture store
Aquafit instructor
Inker, painter of animated films
Camera operator for a local newspaper
Researcher - for a labour market data base
Receptionist – (revisited periodically at a Racquetball Club, for a chiropractor, and at a massage and shiatsu therapy centre)
Simulated patient
Construction worker – with my husband’s company doing demolition, painting, tiling, installing flooring, general go-fer
Tarot card reader
Mingled amongst them I studied and practiced the skills of my present occupation as a wellness consultant – the practitioner of healing body/mind/spirit modalities summed up in my profile.

I’m sure you are thinking, “my God this woman can’t hold down a job”.

Or you are asking yourself WHY so many; which is a question that can never really be answered for many reasons such as:
- My response to the question will vary depending on - my vantage point i.e. if I am reflecting from within a situation vs a few years down the road; my attitude about myself and my present situation at the time of reflection – feeling good about it vs not so good.
- Who is asking the question? What is their bias and their attitude towards me i.e. is it one of judgment or compassion.
- The role that: the power of intention; the invitation to participate in the dance of synchronicity and the opportunity of chance; the alignment of the planets; the impact of past life experiences and interlife choices, plays in one’s life if you believe in such things.

So if I am looking for the definitive answer to why then I’ll be wrestling with the question until eternity and will drive myself crazy in the process. But, if I use the why as an exploration of possibility then magically at any given time all my answers may be valid and a richer picture of my life is revealed. Whys such as:

1. This lifestyle supported my passion for art and my yoga habit for as recently as 15 years ago teaching yoga was not done for a living but as a virtual karma yoga practice the pay minimal, the attitude being that the pursuit of financial reimbursement and resulting ego gratification might get in the way of the purity of intention contained in the teachings. So, my earnings from teaching yoga had to be supplemented by other jobs.

2. I have ADD.

3. My choices were inspired by an admiration for George Plimpton’s (aristocrat and literary journalist) idea to step into the shoes of other professions such as playing quarter back for the Detroit Lions, pitching in a National and American League exhibition and, my personal favourite, trying out as an aerialist for a circus for the experience of it. (I am presently an admirer of the Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe who has had more jobs than I and made a real career out of it to boot.)

4. Somebody asked me, “Can you do…?” And I said yes.

A more relevant question than “why?” would be, “What did you gain and learn from it all?” and “did you have some fun along the way?”
And I would answer, “Lots!” and “yup.”

(cartoon copyright 1986 Nance Thacker. All rights reserved.)

Friday, January 23, 2009


Since childhood, dreams have held a fascination for me and have had (and continue to have) a profound impact on the course of my life. I began studying them in earnest through dream group and workshop participation in my 20’s. In 1978 during a 6 month residency at Yasodhara Ashram I studied dream work with Richard Reeves utilizing his methods and those of Swami Radha. I continued the work with Susan Detweiller who utilized Gestalt techniques with our dream group in Victoria, B.C. Other influences are the writings of Robert Moss and shamanic work which provide a less analytical and more organic way of working with dreams.

(A version of the article that follows appeared in THE LIFE CHANGER (Volume 4 Issue 4 – April 25, 2008) e-newsletter of the Ontario Hypnosis Centre )

“Why would you want to remember your dreams”, my sister asked.
“Why do you want to go to Paris”, I answered.

By the time you reach 80 years of age you will have spent 20 of those years in dream and dream related states. Though we all dream, not all of us remember our dreams. It is a skill worth developing because whether you believe your dreams are the product of a bunch of neurons firing off in the brain, something you ate, unresolved emotions from the previous day’s activities or the soul’s experience of nighttime travels into other lifetimes or realities, the stories they tell reveal much about our own unique journey through this life.

In coming together to share our dreams and decipher their messages we are following a tradition shared by many cultures throughout time. The very process of working with our dreams brings more conscious awareness into our daily waking life allowing us to view our actions and the unfolding of our life from a new perspective where fears can be faced and resolved, heart’s desires revealed, and unexpressed aspirations unearthed. By tapping into the rich resources offered up to us each night and acting from the knowledge gained we become more actively engaged and focused in our waking life; more empowered to live our dreams and dream ourselves awake.

Dreams are timid things easily shooed away. Right after REM (rapid eye movement) sleep dream recall is vivid but 5 minutes later fragments can be recalled; 10 minutes later they are virtually lost.

Fortunately for dream workers, during an average night’s sleep we cycle through REM periods approximately every 90 minutes with dream segments lengthening progressively from 10 minute segments to up to 45 minutes by time we awaken; persistent and patient, dreams dreamed in one night often appear as variations on a theme as if they are saying to us “Oh, you didn’t get that how about if I put it this way?”

How can we begin to work with these marvelous creations? Welcome them into your life, assure them that they are valued and will be acknowledged. Confront and release any negative attitudes and fears you have around dreams; they are there to help you discover your heart’s desire and help you realize your full potential. The dream world is a safe realm. My teacher Swami Radha said that dreams never give us more than we can handle because we will not remember those whose time isn’t ripe. Only those aspects that are ready to be revealed will break through to the conscious level.

Our waking life and our dream world interweave and create our life’s experience; a transformation in one realm paves the way for those in the other.

1. Context gives meaning therefore before going to sleep mentally review or journal about the day’s events, ideals, goals, emotions, and what is on your mind.
2. Decrease performance anxiety – even dream fragments will connect us to our unconscious and provide insight.
3. As you drift off repeat the suggestion, “I will remember my dreams when I wake up” and imagine yourself doing so.
4. Have pen, paper and flashlight (for nighttime recording) handy.
5. Upon waking RELAX, be still, and keep your mind from rushing into the day; welcome images, thoughts and feelings.
6. Simply be aware of or write whatever comes to mind.
7. Use your dreams as fuel for contemplation throughout the day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I’ll bet you think that I’m going to talk about Hypnosis, don’t you. And, you would be right. Right and well conditioned to expect a certain result without even thinking about it hmmm kind of how one would respond to hypnotic suggestion. But, let’s back up a bit.

What is hypnosis? Summarizing from the Ontario Hypnosis Centre literature on the subject, hypnosis is an altered state of awareness or perception in which the body is relaxed and the mind is sharply focused and receptive to therapeutic suggestion. In this highly aware state, your mind supports changes in thinking, mood and behaviour at a very deep level by bypassing the conscious mind and accessing the subconscious – where the blueprint for behaviour is formed. You are in control at all times. You can’t be made to do anything you don’t want to do.

That last sentence is very important as many people come to hypnosis full of fear and misconceptions. Let’s dispel these myths by listening in on a typical first visit.

Client comes in full of trepidation noticed by wringing of hands, nervous laughter and eyes darting about the room in search of spinning spirals, pendulums and the like all the while cocking his ear to scan for the possible faint sound of a *theremin in the distance.

“Hi I’m Nance your Consulting Hypnotist,” (What’s a Consulting Hypnotist you are asking yourself as you read this. That is a matter for another post, back to our scenario.) I approach offering a reassuring, warm, welcoming handshake.

Client checks out my hand concerned that it may conceal an item that could lead him into trance and upon finding no such thing strongly grips my hand. “You’re not going to make me cluck like a chicken or bark like a dog are you?”

“No, no not at all unless you want to”. We both laugh, though his weak smile reveals that he is not convinced.

“You see”, I explain “all hypnosis is essentially self-hypnosis and contrary to popular misinformation fueled by false portrayals in the movies, T.V. and popular fictional literature you can’t be made to do anything you don’t want to.”

“Whew, I’m really glad about that because what I really want to do is cluck like a dog if a dog could cluck and bark like a chicken if a chicken could bark.”

Oh, I’m sorry I forgot to mention that the client is my nephew Kyle, an actor who has landed a character voice role in an animated film and is having performance anxiety which has blocked his creative ability to imagine what a dog clucking and a chicken barking would sound like.

“You’ve come to the right place” I assure him. “Hypnosis is excellent for alleviating both performance anxiety and tapping into the subconscious creative mind, that part of the mind that would be able to imagine just what these sounds would be like, bring them back to the surface conscious awareness and enable performance of the clucking dog and barking chicken.”

He beams with confidence in my abilities as a hypnotist; rapport has been achieved and the hypnosis session procedes smoothly and effortlessly. One hour later Kyle virtually dances out of the office elated, practicing his new skills barking like a chicken and clucking like a dog.

And yet another successful outcome has been achieved through the power of hypnosis!

(*weird sounding instrument from popular B sci fi movies of the 50’s)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nance's Word Emporium

I love words. My favourite word of all time is EMPORIUM.

Say it with me now “EMM – POOR – EEE – UMM”.

Isn’t that amazing, don’t you just love how it spills out of your face and how enthusiastically your mouth has to participate in its formation as it gives equal attention to each syllable for the fullness of the word to be sounded? Dave Thomas and Andrea Martin really captured the essence of the word Emporium in their Tex and Edna Boil’s Prairie Warehouse and Curio Emporium commercials on SCTV where it was promised you could see Jojo the worlds’ largest prairie dog or Chuckie the baseball playing chicken “so just come on down to Tex and Edna Boils Prairie Warehouse and Curio Emporium”. You have to see their delivery to appreciate all that an Emporium offers. Emporiums holds promise of wonder, curiousity and fun hence the catchy movie title Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (which I haven’t seen yet).

However emporiums that don’t deliver are D&K’s. My husband and I coined this term when we entered into a store that promised delights inside, but really only delivered junk, and collectibles in mass quantities of the mundane sort found in flea markets. In considering whether a store is worth exploring if one of us utters the word D&K (I know it seems like 3 words, but it is really one) then it is understood that the answer is no. Just the spontaneous uttering of “D&K” as one passes by this or that store communicates volumes and saves a lot of time and debate.

In the mid to late 80’s comedian Rich Hall came up with the term Sniglets, “words that should appear in dictionaries but don’t”. He compiled a book of them. I think it is human nature to make up such words.

A neighbour came over one day to get some advice from my father regarding a serious concern he had about his daughter’s cat. Never having owned a cat before, in his lovely thick Irish accent Pat said with great distress, “I think my cat’s going mad, I’ve got to take her to the vet! She sucks on anything wool and marches on it the whole time. And the spookiest thing is that her eyes seem to roll back in her head and she drools while she does this.”
Dad in a calm manner said, “oh don’t worry she’s just GLUCKING”
“Glucking?” he asked.
“Yes, lots of cats do this. That’s what my kids call it. Just watch her throat and listen to the sound she makes – kind of like gluck, gluck, gluck. Your cat’s not crazy, she’s just glucking.
So now you know where the name comes from.

Cats also display a penchant for LEAPROSY - not to be confused with leprosy. One moment they are lazing around as only cats can and suddenly as if a bee has bitten their butt they jump up and like a creature possessed run around in fits and starts. This usually occurs at about the same time each day or night depending on your cat. In Maya’s case leaprosy hits just after we have gone to bed. She announces it with a brrrritt, brrritt sound (note this is her particular modus opperendai) followed by stampeding through the house, bashing things about along the way eventually pounding her little cat feet up the stairs, leaping onto my bed, running over my body, then catapulting herself (very appropriate for a cat to do) off of it to tear back downstairs again. An episode of leaprosy ends just as quickly as it begins - a sudden stop, and a look comes over their face like you get when you walk into a room and have forgotten just why you came in, followed with consolation bathing (for the cat, not us, though this would be a good idea).

We have a SPLURPING cow. This is a container for milk in the shape of a cow. Friends were visiting with their 2 year old daughter and we decided to have tea and cookies. Tamar, the daughter picked up the cow to pour milk into her cup while we adults were engaged in conversation and, yes you guessed it, the milk went everywhere but in the cup. Her little lower lip began to tremble, tears were welling in her dark brown eyes and Rod said, “Wow, you really splurped didn’t you.” The word sounding just like the event itself cracked her up and made her feel better about herself all at once. Splurp – so close to a burp another funny word.

FOODPA like faux pas expresses some sort of transgression around the presentation or manner of eating food that would be sneered at by the French, that’s a foodpa.

A Shiatsu client of mine was telling me her list of vitamins and remedies. “Yes, and I take vitamin B, ACIFLUFFALUS, calcium and magnesium...”
“Wait,” I put up my hand. “Whoa, go back a bit, “acifluffalus”?
“Yes, you know the stuff you take that promotes good bacteria.”
“Oh, you mean acidophilus.”
“Yes, that’s right…why, what did I say?”
We laughed when I told her. A young stressed mother of two very active boys, she had just that morning been watching SESAME STREET with her sons when there appeared the new character Aloysius Snuffleupagus. We agreed that since acifluffalus is something that the Snuffleupagus gets when he takes acidophilus this was not something that she could have ingested so it was more likely acidophilus that was taking.

And, just a few days ago, my sister while talking about someone she knew who had a circulation problem began to say “blaah” – had a brain fart in the middle - “artery”.
“Oh yes a BLARTERY I” I nodded knowingly without missing a beat.
And Candy continued talking. Then when what I said actually registered she began to smile. See, these new words do that, they delight and we both knew what we were talking about – a blocked artery aka a blartery.

So have an emporium of a day, not a D&K one filled with glucking, leaprotic cats; free of foodpas and splurpings not to mention acifluffalus and blarteries.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Yoga plough

It’s 7:30 a.m. and I awaken uncharacteristically bright and alert, pop out of bed ready to begin my yoga practice, throw on my yoga duds and head downstairs to begin my day filled with positive and optimistic energy. But, as I pass through it, the darkness of the hallway threatens to engulf me in its grey mood. “Quick, open the door,” my inner voice tosses out its command like some kind of life line for me to grab on to.
As I draw back the wooden inner door a lovely winter scene spreads before my eyes and I pause to take in its beauty. A blanket of pure white snow covers everything with stillness: front yards, trees, cars, driveways. Even the mound of ice that resides behind my car ALF W seems benevolent, serene and still though quadrupled in size since I last ploughed my car over it 2 nights ago. The mound’s growth spurt assisted by the saviour and the scourge of the north - the street snow plough, while I lay snug in bed, lost in dreams.
I breathe in a sigh. My intended yoga practice has now transformed into shovelasana.
My breath is steady; my body falls into an easy rhythm – inhale - step, step, dig, bend knees, lift, turn, turn,- exhale - toss, turn - inhale - step, step, dig, bend knees, lift, turn, turn, - exhale- toss, turn…The newly fallen surface layer responds easily to my efforts and the body, mind and spirit are willing. But as minutes pile one upon the other my enthusiasm begins to crumble though the compacted icy mound underneath my shovel does not.
A heaviness of spirit grows, quietly and slowly at first but its momentum compounds like a snowball rolling down hill.
Who is this grumbling, disgruntled person that has taken “my” place? Her whining annoys me, but my forearms are burning with each dig and lift I make; I have to get to the clinic on time and I worry what will greet me when I return tonight. So why shouldn’t I complain? Ah, she has become me!
In the instant of recognition; equanimity’s lightness returns.
Inhale - step, step, dig, bend knees, lift, turn, turn, - exhale- toss, turn – inhale - step, step, dig, bend knees, lift, turn, turn,- exhale- toss, turn…
In the distance rumbles a cheery, bright orange sidewalk plough looking like a child’s dinky toy pushing away advancing banks of snow. And I hear myself wishing somewhat downtrodden as I shovel “I wish he’d come here and clear this mass for me.”
The grumbler inside starts to stir but another more optimistic voice breaks through. “Wait”. I listen as I step, step, dig…
“Wouldn’t it be nice if he’d come and clear this off for me”, somewhat wistful now.
“No, make it even clearer.” Step, step, dig…
“He’s going to come over here and clear this off for me”, the firm assurance of expectation sets in optimism and shoveling gets easier, the snow lighter.
Step, step, dig…The sounds of creaking machinery and a chugging motor break through my reverie. I look up. He motions me away and in a few swipes of his blade the insurmountable obstacle never existed.
I am lighter than air with gratitude!
Excitedly I rush into the house; pull a card out of my purse and speed back out into the winter’s day in time to catch up with him before he heads down the road. “Roll down your window”, I shout. He does and smiles in appreciation as I press into his hand a $10. Starbucks gift card given to me for Christmas…either that or my Visa, I’m not sure which I was just so overtaken with joy and he’s gone now. I’m really hoping it was the Starbucks card as that’ll get him a lot more than my VISA. I think I have to go and meditate as I’m feeling a little stressed right now. No, wait. Maybe I need to look for my wallet. Ummmm.