It's just now a little after ten PM and I'm finally grabbing a little bite to eat after a kids' yoga class and a quick run on the treadmill to warm up on this cold winter's night. Don't get me wrong...I'm not complaining at all. It's been a good day. More than that - it's been a great one.
I was up early to set up the yoga room for tonight's group, then went over to my friend's where I'm pet sitting to spend one more morning with her charming trio of cats. After a few errands, I got home, grabbed some lunch, then enjoyed some time with my friend (and fabulous editor), Joyce. She arrived at one o'clock and before we knew it, it was nearly five -- time to teach my darling group of yoga girls!
I love my vocation...but more than that, I love what it brings to my life. Since the new year began, I've been running full throttle with a variety of activities, a full plate of wonderful work that allows me to feel fulfilled in ways I never have before. I said to Joyce, "I haven't been this busy in years...and I love every single minute."
When I taught first grade, I always wrote an agenda of the day's activities on the board in the morning, and the calendar keeper was in charge of erasing each task when it was completed. This eliminated the chance of twenty-five six-year-olds repeatedly asking, "What's next, Miss Ingersoll?" All I had to do was nod toward the board and say, "You tell me." It was a great way to encourage them to read and keep track of our progress on their own. Many of them eventually wrote the agenda in their journals so they could check off the items if they happened to finish faster or needed a bit more time to edit their papers.
But some days don't need an agenda, just a willingness to simply take each moment as it arrives. Take yesterday for instance. In the midst of each task, each class or errand, I marveled in how enjoyable it was to drive around town. Wait in line. Ask for help. And more than once, retrace my steps and do something again. (Mercury is retrograde after all.)
So here's a list of what's typical for a work day in an atypical life like mine:
1. The day began with an advanced yoga class in which my students are beginning preparatory poses for headstand. It's not a pose I teach as a group, and to be honest, I don't do it very often myself, preferring to practice keeping my feet on the ground. Yet it's been a real pleasure to watch the slow and steady progress my students have made this year. Many of them are surprised by how plank and updog are not as challenging as they once were...and they owe it all to all the core work we've been doing for the past three years. Still, a couple of students realized that their bodies just don't need to practice dolphin pose and I can completely understand. "Your body is your best teacher," I tell them. "And it always tells the truth." That's an ongoing, never-ending lesson I'm still learning.
2. Next a friend stopped by to pick up a copy of my memoir and we got to chatting about the Hearts of Space program on WGTE radio. Kim turned me on to the Paul Winter's Winter Solstice Celebration last year and since then, I've tried to tune in as often as possible. This past week's Hearts of Space featured ambient music including a piece by one of my favorite artists, Chuck Wild. I went looking for a stack of my CD's so Kim could sample his work, and while I didn't find what I was looking for, she went home with several selections from Loreena McKennitt and Nicholas Gunn. If you've not heard their music, by all means, google them now.
3. On to pet sitting where Gus, the wonder cat, left me a surprise in the middle of the hardwood floor. At first I thought, Oh, how cute...he got out a toy to play with. Upon closer inspection, I said out loud, "Oh crap! That ain't no toy!" After a speedy funeral I disposed of the dead mouse and spent a quiet hour in the sun room doing some research while Stella, Gus' darling sister, joined me for some quiet time.
4. Then it was off to Target to return what I had thought was a pedestal heater which turned out to be a pedestal fan. (I had already returned a smaller space heater to Home Depot twice this week due to reasons I won't go into here.) The nice guy behind the customer service desk laughed when I explained my error. "Well, it was in the same display as the heaters," he smiled. "So it was an honest mistake." Ten minutes later while I was standing in a long line during a rush of business, the same guy walked over and said, "I can help you at my desk." I was in and out in less than a minute.
5. That was a good thing because I was driving around on fumes. The next stop was the gas station where I had to go into the service center not once, but twice to make sure I could use the bonus fuel points I've been saving since Thanksgiving. (Did I mention Mercury is retrograde?) The lady behind the counter was clear, concise, and kind...my three favorite attributes when conversing with sales clerks. In no time I was back at the pump and when my receipt popped out of the machine, imagine my surprise at seeing I was able to fill up my Civic for only $1.07!
6. With my car ready and raring to go, I drove to Meijer where I ordered cover prints to put on the books that arrived naked last month. I'm making lemonade out of those lemons and while they don't look like the real deal, they'll do. While waiting for my photos, I browsed around and chatted with some really nice people (I swear the best time to shop is between 10 and 2). On the way out I spotted a jasmine plant in the floral department. Inhaling its delicate fragrance was like a shot in the arm while I wait for spring planting.
7. On to the Indian food store where the owner knows me not by name, but as the Patra Lady. I stop in every month or so to stock up on this tasty meal as it's a staple these days when I don't feel like cooking, but want a healthy choice that's filling and nutritious. Toledoans, check out Reddy Foods at Central and McCord. You can find a heap of patra in the freezer section. Well, to be honest after my purchase, there's only a small pile left, so get it while you can.
8. Next I headed home where I balanced my checkbook and wrapped some of my books that customers are giving as gifts. The phone rang and to my surprise it was someone who was able to connect me with a female Holocaust survivor in the area. We chatted about the research I'm doing and plans for my novel, then scheduled an interview for next month. It's no coincidence that her story parallels the one I've been outlining for almost a year and I feel very blessed to be able to meet her soon.
9. Then it was off to the library to pick up more research books and drop off a box of ice cream that has been lurking in my freezer since last summer. The expiration date isn't for a long while so I donated it to a good cause...'cause all the library folks at Sanger are incredibly wonderful. (And wouldn't you know, while I was there, another Chuck Wild CD found it's way into my hands!)
10. Back to home base where I headed upstairs to warm up the studio and light some candles. Man I need some yoga right now, I thought. What a joy to teach what I need to learn and practice. Four lovely ladies arrived a while later and we all enjoyed our session together, particularly a peaceful relaxation time at the end.
11. After they left, I took a long, hot shower, slipped into some fleece pajamas, brewed a pot of tea, and knit a handwarmer for my pal, Doris. I'm so thankful to be able to pick up my needles again, as knitting is my favorite way to unwind and close the circle of a very busy, but productive day. It's even better when making something warm and wooly for someone I dearly love.
Looking at my calendar for the next month or so, I know I'm in for more of the same and that's just fine with me. Kahlil Gibran wrote, Work is love made visible. Now more than ever, I understand what that truly means. For I'm never happier than when I can move through the day and know that I've touched the lives of others...and have allowed them to touch my own.
To be able to make manifest that which I love in every moment, in every task is creating a wonderful life indeed.