Meanings, meditations, and modifications

The report from the most recent MRI on my right knee is filled with words I don’t understand — and not just because they’re German. ‘Subluxation’ is the same in English and auf Deutsche. ‘Chondral degeneration’ and ‘joint effusion’ are pretty close. ‘Arthrose’ translates neatly to ‘osteoarthritis.’ And meniscus is readily understandable with a ‘k’ instead of a ‘c.’

The meaning of the medical terminology is opaque in either language. The effects on my life, however, are obvious — and leave me wondering about what osteoarthritis and a host of complications mean for meditating.

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The 22nd

The current term of my creative writing programme is all about poetry. Lots of reading, critiquing, analysing, and, of course, writing. We’re being asked to write about things that move us deeply. And to share work from published writers (who I think of as ‘real‘ poets) that inspire us.

The first poem I wrote this term is about saying goodbye to Sofie. She comes to mind so clearly on the 22nd of each month: the date of her death (in February) as well as the date of her birth (in December).

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What I’ve learnt in ten years of teaching yoga

A woman in a red tank top with arms above her head and palms together in a yoga-like posture
My very first yoga photo shoot

I wish I could say that I’ve perfected the art of teaching over the last decade, but I’m still learning. And I question a lot of what I thought knew over the years.

As I’ve become more settled in who I am as a teacher, I’ve veered away from the one-size-fits all approach of most (if not all) Hatha yoga teacher trainings. I infrequently use the Sanskrit names for postures or talk about chakras. I’m less rigid about sequencing and frequently switch up the flow I’d planned based on student needs in the moment. I’m more comfortable teaching on the fly, but also more dedicated to prepping classes.

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How we knew

Almost exactly three years ago, a friend posted on social media about the trauma of saying goodbye to Roxy, his faithful companion of 12 years. He and his wife candidly outlined their struggles and Roxy’s, demonstrating their compassion and caring, and providing a window into the hardship of choosing to euthanise a beloved family member. 

I benefited so much from their insight; it made me want to share our experience with letting Sofie go. I’ve written another post about not being ready to let her go that deals with more of the emotional stuff; this one is all about the decision.

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We weren’t ready to let her go

Taking Sofie to the vet just over two weeks ago, we knew there was a possibility that we wouldn’t be bringing her home again. Intellectually we could tell that this world was becoming too much for her old bones, but our minds and our hearts weren’t syncing. 

Emotionally, we weren’t prepared to not have Sofie in our lives. We still aren’t.

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An ode to rosacea

Note the red streak down my forehead and the bright flashes on my nose, cheeks, and chin in this un-filtered, un-colour-corrected photo taken mid-cardio

As long as I can remember, my skin has been prone to redness. Exercise turns my face into a blotchy tomato. Cold and wind burnish my skin to a ruddy shine. Even washing my face, no matter how gently, leaves it pink. And there’s a good reason I apply SPF 50 daily—UV rays and I are not friends!

I’ve dealt with acne and/or rosacea (dermatologists can’t agree which is the underlying issue) most of my adult life and have tried just about everything to fix it. Cutting out dairy. Limiting processed sugar. Applying expensive creams. Buying celeb-endorsed treatment systems (Proactiv was both ineffective and bleached my pillowcases). Using prescription ointments. Attempting hormonal intervention (so thankful to be off the pill!). Taking antibiotics… then different antibiotics… and even more kinds of antibiotics. And now retinoids, which at least deliver moderate improvement.

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Poetry by memory

Earlier this week my mum mentioned that it would have been her father’s 104th birthday. It shocked me to realise how long ago he passed away… more than a decade and a half. Despite not having many memories of my younger years (I’m told I had a happy childhood and the photos certainly support that!), I’ve retained strong impressions of my grampa. They’re mostly fleeting images or smells or a remembered turn of phrase or tone of voice; often comforting and rarely complete. And sometimes those memories arise at strange times.

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