This morning I renewed my membership to Elephant Journal (I opted for the lifetime membership because, hey, why not? I believe in supporting what I love!) and I came across this excellent article: This is why it’s Time to take Grandma’s China out of the Cabinet.
It made me revisit my thoughts about impermanence. (The thoughts haven’t gone away, they’ve been simmering in the background.)
Up until I first started thinking about impermanence, I was the type of person who would receive a gift of lotion or special soap and not use it – it became a gift to look at, not a gift to be used. Now I can see how ridiculous it was not to make use of the gifts that were given to be used.
I’m not sure if I was trying to create a state of continuity in the interest of consistency (they still look perfect after all this time) or denying the inevitable (whether used or not, they have a definite life span) but I do know that it was about control. Keeping things as they are.
Now, when I use this hand lotion that I received from a student, I delight in the fragrance when I open the bottle, apply the lotion to my hands, and when I catch a hint of the fragrance as I go about my day. That’s being present to the beauty of impermanence and enjoying what is in each moment.
Yesterday I contacted my yoga boss and let her know that my son is starting college and my elderly Mother is deeply concerned about looking after our elderly dog. My Mom is frail – she has rheumatoid arthritis and osteopenia (the precondition for osteoporosis). If Loki, our 16 year-old dog, falls my Mom is not able to lift Loki’s 55 lb body. It has happened that Loki fell and was hurting her legs, but my son was home and helped Loki up.
My son and I had the Big Talk about these being among our last days with Loki and we have agreed that other than the occasional rough patch, Loki lives a happy life. She loves sharing my porridge in the morning, she loves exploring our small yard (except when there’s snow ~ she has never liked the snow), she loves it when the sun shines and her bed is in the sun spot, she loves eating treats, and she loves receiving visitors.
I find it quite beautiful that Loki is in the yin stage of her life. “As that life develops and progresses the energetic stages of youth are yang; whereas the later years are yin as life slows and becomes more deliberate… the quick growth of early childhood is yang within yang and the transition from middle age to old age is yin within yang.”(Source: acupuncture.com)
My yoga boss was very understanding that if my Mom is unable to care for Loki for the extended day on Tuesdays, I will need to go on hiatus from teaching my Yin yoga class at Karma Teachers New West. Best case scenario: everything is fine and my Mom can manage. I’m a planner and I have to lay the groundwork for the best case scenario and the worst case scenario.
Which brings me to the idea of impermanence. Last Summer, when I did my Yin training with Bernie Clark, he talked about how precious impermanent objects are because of their very nature. A rose is precious because it has such a short life span. Animals (human and non-human) are precious because of their limited life spans. My dog is precious because we only have her for her life span, our lives will go on without her. Things like a job are impermanent as well: a person can be declared surplus, or may need to leave.
UPDATE: I will be going on leave from a Karma Teachers New West. The 1hr Yin/Deep Stretch class is a 4hr time commitment (public transit is my sole means of transportation) that I am not able to maintain at this point.