Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Feeling kinda blah....

So, I took a nap and woke up at nearly noon. I am soooooo tired. My body must really really need to be healing right now. And sometimes when the body is tired and needs healing, the mind goes along for the ride. As such, I have to be honest and admit that Yoga Chickie is feeling a bit "down" right now. I don't know if I should use the word depressed because I don't know if it rises (or, rather, descends) to that level. What I do feel is a deep sense of blah, a deep sense of blue (although that pretty much sucks as a description - how can one actually feel like a color?).

Specifically, I have left my house barely at all in the past 9 days - once to take the kids to the Duane Reade around the corner to buy a birthday card for my older sister-in-law, and once yesterday to cab it down to Yoga Sutra for my class there. I have gotten lots of phone calls and lots of emails an wonderful comments here, but still, I have this sense of isolation. I feel adrift. I feel needy and yet have no desire to pick up the phone and call anyone. I feel cut off from the thing I love doing the most: practicing yoga. I feel somewhat cut off from my children, but more my younger son, Adam (my six year old). It feels like he is withdrawing from me, and I can see why he might think it necessary to do so in order to "protect" himself from getting hurt. This is exactly what he did when I was treated for my breast cancer - he began to rely more and more upon my husband and my nanny. And that is what it feels like he is doing now - probably because he sees that I am not physically up to par, and maybe he even senses unhappiness from me.

Luckily, my current physical condition is something I imposed upon myself, which will improve more and more each day. But right now, I do feel cut off from Adam. Not Brian - who is older and more able to express his feelings and more trusting that nothing really bad is happening - because he was older and more "conscious" when I was actually sick before and then got better.

What else...let's see....I am really having some trouble dealing with the concept that I am now...a housewife. I. Am. A. Housewife. It is CRAZY to say those words - for me to say those words. Back 15 years ago, I was graduating from NYU Law School, and there was NO WAY in hell that I would have ever thought that I would be anything but a kick-ass partner in a major international law firm today, shuttling my kids between the morning and the evening nannies, running on the treadmill in my office (figuratively AND literally, a la Demi Moore in Disclosure). I always envisioned myself the consummate career woman.

The year that I was pregnant with Brian, my now eight-year-old, my firstborn, I was working like a maniac at a law firm called Battle Fowler, which was later subsumed by an even bigger law firm called Paul Hastings. I remember having partners talk to me about what would happen after "the baby" was born, hearing their suggestions about how I could squeeze "the baby" into my career. And it all was quite dizzying, until the day Brian was born. All of a sudden....pfffft. None of the law firm stuff mattered one wit. Battle Fowler who? I couldn't stand the idea of going back there to where I was putting in 70 and 80 hour weeks, and I knew that my value to them was very much dependent upon my incredible stamina. I loved my colleagues there, but I just couldn't face going back to all that. And so I began my slow and gradual descent down the corporate ladder, my put-put-puttering my way onto the mommy track: I took a job in the General Counsel's office of New York Life Insurance Company.

I am not even going to get into how and why that job was so awful. Although, upon reflection I probably should because it has echoes of why I think I have been struggling to find my way as an "uptown" yoga teacher with "downtown" sensibilities. An article in the Christian Science Monitor that I found today while surfing the web, nicely captures the difference between "uptown" and "downtown" when it comes to yoga, although I had been hoping that the chasm would narrow, and that my own teaching could play a part in narrowing honoring traditions, by teaching the Sanskrit names of poses, by reading scriptures and the words of motivational speakers like Pema Chodron andThich Nhat Hanh to my students, by playing devotional (and sometimes "chill") music, by burning incense and treating yoga like something sacred, something different, NOT just a workout, NOT just another way to get a tight butt. In short, I just couldn't bring myself to dumb yoga down, to water it down. But apparently, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. However, that is absolutely not to say that some of my students didn't hunger for that honoring of tradition, for that escape from the sterility of the Upper East Side, if even for an hour or 90 minutes. With me, they got that and they will continue to get that, and as long as I value that aspect of teaching, I will feel good about passing it along.

But wow...did I digress...

So, anyway, let's just put it this way with regard to New York Life: water finds its own level. When I gave birth to Adam, I found an AMAZING, I-thought-this-only-happens-to-other-people job at a law firm called Squadron, Ellenoff. It was a wonderful place, full of brilliant minds and cutting-edge legal work, and amazingly enough, I was able to negotiate a VERY part-time schedule with them, whereby I would work four days a week, from 9:30 to 6:30. Period. No long lawyer hours anymore!!! I began to specialize exclusively in High Tech deals, negotiating the contracts between software developers and companies that needed them, once in a while, doing the high-tech due diligence and drafting on a big acquisition or disposition. I was at Squadron for nearly three happy years when they were acquired by Hogan & Hartson, a HUGE, 900-attorney international lawfirm. The transition was nearly invisible to me. But the high-tech work was slowing down, which caused me some degree of stress. I wondered what the future brought if the e-world was going to hell in a handbasket (it was then 2002).

The answer came in August of 2002 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Or rather, the new questions came. I thought I would go back when I left on leave. I did. I really thought that six weeks later, I would be doing the same job and feeling just fine, maybe wearing a wig, but still the same old Lauren, still the same old lawyer. But six weeks passed, and there was no WAY I was going back anytime soon. I had just started chemo. My hair was going. I was tired, I was scared, I needed to be around my kids, even if when I was around them I pretty much just sat there and did nothing and let my nanny do all the work.

Time went on, my chemo drugs were switched (according to my protocol) halfway through, and I suddenly had the energy to do more, which is how I discovered yoga. And my discovery of yoga was the discovery of a passion, one which I did not want to lose simply because I had to be a ..... And thus I pushed back my return-to-work date a bit more. And a bit more. Until there was no job to go back to at all. My office had even moved from Fifth Avenue to Third Avenue - and I had never even seen my new office. It was time to face facts. Why would I go back to something I didn't want to go back to?

Lots of energy, I had, but my kids were in school, and I couldn't practice yoga ALL day long, so I began working at a Bikram yoga studio...which led to my taking teacher training at Om...which led to my teaching uptown so that I could be near my kids at all times....

And then...there is now.

I feel lost.

I was in midtown yesterday, and I saw women dressed in skirts an high heels. And I passed by my old favorite store, The New York Look. And I saw the dresses hanging in the window - the Cynthia Steffe, the Teen Flow, the Theory - and I longed for the trappings of the old days. But to even say that I felt a pang of longing does not quite express the distress I felt - the urgent need to be a part of something that I am no longer a part of. But I don't want to be tethered to a desk. And the thought of doing any kind of legal work...well....eeeew.

But I am not doing much of ANYTHING right now at all. Not much teaching. NO practicing. And that is, itself, making me CRAZY. I keep reading the Mysore blogs on and feeling distress that I can't be practicing, that I can't even be stretching my spine. And needless to say, there is no relief in walking, and no biking. Certainly no skating. Is it any wonder I feel...blah? I know that I need to be practicing again - to fill my days. I need to be a part of my childrens' school. I need to be working on homework with them. I need to let things develop as far as teaching goes...see what happens when I get back to practicing, see where it all takes me. Can I do that? Can a type-a, borderline control freak, former lawyer turned yoga teacher turned housewife let go and let God?

We shall see........


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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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