Shaking Hands


MonaLisaHands-lgThe time is 12:36 p.m. and I’ve already had one hell of a day. In the best possible way.

David was crying at 9 a.m. because he couldn’t draw a hand or foot very well. I showed him a picture of the Mona Lisa because some people say her fingers look odd.

“See D,” I said, “even DaVinci had problem areas.”

David, on the other hand (ha!), felt that Mona Lisa’s digits were perfect. So I told him that sometimes we just have to be sad until we can muster the strength to try again. We are that much better for enduring the difficulty.

At 9:30 a.m., apropos of nothing, I asked Allan, who was reading the newspaper,  if he thought I was insane.

“No,” he said.

I sighed.

“I don’t think you are insane, Nancy, I know it.”

“Because everyone is insane, right?”

“No, you are your own special kind.” He shrugged, like this was no big deal and went back to the news of the world at large.

I guess it’s true. Being your own kind of insane is so much better than trying NOT to be insane or being another person’s kind of insane. Those latter scenarios are just plain crazy.

Han-River-Cruise-lights-1At 10:30, as my yoga class at Laughing River studio began, I positioned my mat to be able to see the Winooski River through the window. I thought about how, in a little over two weeks, I will be staring at the Han River–one of the sights in Seoul that reliably gave me comfort.

As we moved through various initial poses, I let my mind ebb and flow.

Mountain posture. Murder.

Sun salutation. Suicide.

Upward dog. Cancer.

Downward dog. Drowning.

Plank. Alzheimer’s disease.

Yes, in yoga class, I was thinking about how I have witnessed (up close and in person) all of these ways in which life can end. My friend in Seoul was murdered. My stepbrother died by suicide. My stepfather died from cancer. I saw a child drown in Indonesia. My father succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease, like his father before him.

Of course I am insane. Rightly so.

As the yoga instructor led us into a difficult inverted position, my arms began to shake. I suppose other people’s arms were shaking, too, because the teacher blurted out something extraordinary. Something I had never heard uttered in 10 years, albeit off and on again, of yoga.

Observe the sacred shakiness.

Of course we are supposed to shake. That posture was hard. Life is hard. Shaking in response to hardship honors the difficulty of what you are trying to achieve.

Being your own kind of insane is sacred too. If those events in my life didn’t change me in some way then that would be crazy! You can’t bear witness to murder, suicide, cancer, drowning and dementia as if nothing ever happened. a2358421887_10

Over the last few days, my feelings about returning to Seoul have left me particularly shaky and seem to be fueled by all previous periods of extreme shakiness.

I sense the Sea of Lonely welling up in me. The worst of all possible feelings. Like I’m a small solitary buoy being bashed about in a cold, dark ocean of death. My most sacred shakiness.

But once this fear runs its course, I will be brave again. With steady hands that endured a period of shakiness. The best kind for drawing, being drawn…and Seoul searching.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Allan says:

    As an innocent yet truly involved bystander in all of this I am lead to follow a philosophy of another great love of mine, Bob, who very often quoted the following two sayings:
    “Sometimes you eat the bear …sometimes the bear eats you!” and,
    “Giggle and give in!”
    Now some intellectuals may find these trite and casually recited for their humor, but I on several occasions found comfort in their meaning and solice while repeating them to myself.
    I would think that you my love might want to choose a phrase of your own invention to use in times of need (your need).
    I would not begin to suggest any but only hope that you would come up with something as original as you are capable of…that sounds like a challenge now doesn’t it?

  2. Allan says:

    “Led” to follow….

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