Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Random Thoughts of the Day

So I guess my employer isn't ALL bad.  A bit naive and unfocused, perhaps.  But not all bad.  Last week, I attended Session 3 of a 3-session "learning and development" series.  Things with those titles have always turned out to be deadly dull.  Not so with this one.  At one point, we discussed stress management and job burnout.  I thought I knew about job burnout....that it occurred when someone had been working at the same place doing the same thing for years.  I didn't realize that the symptoms could build and span more than one employer.  Disillusionment was a major symptom, plus total withdrawal from friends and family -among other symptoms.  As I stared at this list on the power point presentation, it hit me right between the eyes - this was me two years ago at my peak of whatever it was that I hadn't been able to put a name to.  Finally, it all made sense.

I was thrown to the curb by an employer of 19 years who, when I was hired, had been referred to as "Mother Marine" because people who were hired there tended to be lifers -  me and people who I had viewed as my second family.   My new job turned out to be an unsatisfactory substitute.  I was withdrawn from my family.  My husband and I were barely civil.  Job burnout.  There it was staring me in the face.  Is it ironic that I was in a session being run by the very sub-par employer that had failed to measure up to my lofty standards?  Perhaps this place isn't so bad after all.  Today they brought in someone to help us with stress on the job.  She has a website entitled "laugh".  She is hysterically funny.   And I think she helped us - a lot.  So while I feel like the future of my department is still somewhat questionable (yes, here we go again), at least it feels like someone might actually care.  I clawed my way out of that job burnout (with a lot of help that came along at just the right time), and even if something happens to my current job, I feel so much more empowered than I did three and a half years ago when this all started.

The only thing I need to keep myself from doing is getting emotionally attached to the people I work with and the notion that this place was my savior when I seemed to be hopelessly unemployed.  This is what got me in trouble before, I think.  This job is not my life.  These people are not my life.  My life needs to be what happens when I'm not there.  Is this even possible?  I don't know if it's in my nature to be detached.  I seem to have a long history of getting way too attached to people who ultimately let me down.  I guess I have this subconscious need for .... not sure how to put this into words.... validation, I guess.  Someone for whom I am a #1 priority.    Shouldn't my husband be this person?  Yes, he should and he is, but this never seems to be enough.  I just don't think he really "gets" me sometimes.  I love him more than life, but I just want to spend time with someone who gets me.  When I look back, I guess I've been looking for this my whole life.  I didn't find it at work, didn't find it with my family.  I guess the hubby is still a work in progress.  I won't give up on him yet.   I suppose I have a lot more living to do, employers to work for, experiences to have - before I pack it in.  According to the laugh academy lady, I'm a Tigger.... and Tiggers  bounce, bounce, bounce...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Another yoga class in the books.  This time, 60 minutes in a 90 degree room, followed by a 30 minute meditation period.  I almost skipped out on the meditation.  I have this awful fear of falling asleep in public.

There's no delicate way to describe my issue with this..... I snore.....loud.   When they fixed my deviated septum 13 years ago (13 years ago... really... ?  I remember watching the Nagano Olympics at 2:00AM because I couldn't sleep with those tubes stuffed up my nose to high heaven.... but I digress), I thought my snoring issues would stop.  When I got down to 135 pounds by running 15 miles a week 9 years ago, I thought my snoring issues would stop.  Wrong on both counts.  The only thing that stopped me from snoring was that medieval device known as the C-PAP machine.  Of course, part of the reason that I didn't snore was that I couldn't fall asleep, on my back, with this crazy mask strapped to my face.  So much for that.

So, anyway, I tried this meditation class.  By this time, if I was going to humiliate myself, I figured I would have done so already...numerous times.   The idea is to sit cross-legged or lay in corpse pose (love that name) and focus totally on my deeeeep breathing for 30 minutes.  The mind should be completely cleared.  If a thought enters the mind, you are supposed to "acknowledge it and move on...".    I'm guessing that my husband would say that it should be easy for me to maintain an empty mind for 30 minutes.....<har, har... insert laughter here>. 9:00PM after a busy day, this is not easy.  Easier if you've just finished the 60 minute class.....   But, once I cleared my mind and focused on breath, I found myself in a strange state of calm.  I did NOT fall asleep... I hope....  Yes, this I will definitely do again.   Soooo amazingly relaxing!   I love this studio and the instructors.   Each one brings something different and useful to the class.  Thank you to whatever force it was that decided that the old Remington building in North Tonawanda should be the next hot place for trendy businesses.   Hmmm... that might actually be my husband, on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas....  <sigh>... the Lord works in mysterious ways...

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I sit here feeling somewhat satisfied with myself, as I have just completed my second yoga class in three days.  This class was entitled "FLOW" in an 80 degree room.  So I'm thinking that this is probably the easiest class they offer.  Wrong again.  This was much more like the DVDs in my TV cabinet, the "flow" part means that we flow from one pose to another for an hour and 15 minutes straight without stopping.  I guess I was deceived by the relative coolness of the 80 degrees.  I really liked the class.  Afterward, the instructor told me that the best thing to do is to alternate between HOT, WARM and FLOW classes..... ah, yes, the wisdom of yoga.

It's amazing how philosophical you become after sweating profusely while twisting your body into various geometric shapes - in a room with upwards of 10-15 other people, mostly women.  I have developed a theory that women over the age of 40 really get the short end of the stick in this country.  It is so easy to buy into the idea that physical beauty and youth are what really define us as being "beautiful".  For all of us who are "of a certain age", it is much easier to settle for the idea that beauty is something to be referred to in the past tense than to go through the mental gymnastics that would invariably be involved with the dreaded "self-assessment".  Perhaps it is that residual Puritanical mindset that forces us to adopt this humble and self-deprecating view of ourselves.  I'm as guilty as the next person - I know it.  I could produce a list of my physical flaws that would be as long as your leg.

 I know for a fact that I see and interact with many women who are my age and older who I have grown to view as beautiful.   What I have come to realize is that it is our life experiences and how we allow them to affect us that transform us from one type of beauty into another.   For instance, someone may have this or that physical limitation because of..... whatever.... past surgeries, metabolic changes, degenerating this or that.  How this person choses to approach her physical limitations and how she allows her life experiences to shape her attitude is what will define her beauty - not  the arch of her eyebrow or the firmness of her jawline or the perkiness of her.....(fill in the blank).

The frustrating thing is that these beautiful women have mostly all bought into the conventional wisdom that equates youth with beauty.  They are essentially incapable of seeing themselves as even "attractive", let alone "beautiful", just as the anorexic looks in the mirror and sees someone who is fat.   There is certainly nothing wrong with admiring the physical beauty of younger women  -our daughters and their friends (who, ironically, have their own set of body image issues).   But let's not kid ourselves that their beauty and our beauty are one in the same.   Perhaps it should be mandatory for all women "of a certain age" to take yoga classes and visit (and participate in) an clothing optional beach.  Sometimes you have to come face to face with the notion that everyone is capable of their own full potential, and reaching for that potential is a beautiful thing and is the real definition of beauty.

I've decided that one of my goals in life will not only be to tell these women who are of a certain age that they are beautiful, but to also begin to believe it of myself.  It will not be easy to erase 40-plus years of self-depecating, puritanical humility - nor will it be easy when I have Madison Avenue's definition of attractiveness pushed in my face at every turn.   But .... only when we ladies all embrace our real worth and really view our whole selves (inside and outside together as one) can the collective mindset of our world be changed.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


The one-word title will suffice.  Yoga.  What is it about yoga?  My TV cabinet is crammed with yoga videos and DVDs.  Problem is, doing the same tapes over and over in your living room is.... what's that word........ oh yeah...BORING!!  Imagine my delight when a yoga studio opens up five minutes from my house.  Not just any studio.... the evolation yoga studio, featuring Bikhram yoga.  This is yoga in a hot room.  Fascinating.

So, off I trot, to the 60-minute session in an 80 degree room.  It was challenging and I was indeed warm.  Of course, I could not be satisfied with this for very long.  Oh no, not me... I decide to go for the gusto.   The HOT class.  That's right - 90 minutes in a 105 degree room.   Swell.  Tonight, about 20 minutes in, I thought I saw my life flash before my eyes.  Standing poses..... sweat pouring from every pore in my body, I was positive that I was about to throw up or pass out.   Finally the logical side of my brain took over and said  "DUMMY!!  STOP AND BREATHE!!"  So I did, and believe me, it wasn't like I was the only one. Let's see...yes, ok... grab my heel from behind with my hand twisted in an unnatural position...then pull my leg up behind me while bending forward with my other arm pointed at the sky... in(of course) the 105 degree room.  I'm supposed to be focusing on my face, and ONLY my face, in the mirror in front of me.  It's hard to miss - it's that odd, purple-colored, bulging-eyed thing on the front of my head which, for some reason, looks way too big for my body...  this must be some sort of voodoo room.

So, the upshoot of this "experience" is that the outdoor air felt so incredible when I left that I almost didn't mind that a certain husband was late picking me up.  I sat on a bench by the canal and let it waft over me.  Nirvana.   Plus, these are the only times in my life when a cold shower is actually pleasurable.  Go figure.  Now I sit and recall the class, and I am feeling calm yet energized, like I am totally in control of my destiny.  It's amazing.  After all of that, I will definitely do it again.  Maybe next time I'll make it through 90 minutes without the bobble head hallucination.