Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Short list of hotel room/traveling comforts

I'm currently traveling for work and living in a hotel room for 10-ish days, writing this post on my itty bitty phone, so I will keep this simple. The theme of simplicity is right on target with living in a hotel room, and I enjoy that connection.
I may be traveling again soon for work, but for a much longer time, so naturally I am taking notes from this trip. Part of me is nervous about the possibility of being on the road for almost 2 months, given my aching shoulder situation, but the way I see it, my shoulder is going to do what it's going to do, no matter where I am.
So, here is my list of things that make living in a hotel room, working long hours and being away from home not only comfy, but maybe even therapeutic.. I would like to be able to pack all of these things for future work trips.

1) foot therapy ball. (Google it) sooo good on the arches
2) tennis ball for self massage (back/shoulders/hips) against the wall
3) yoga mat- it's so nice to have enough room in my hotel room to just leave it out!
4) wine
5) lavender essential oil. I fling it all over the room or add it to my table side humidifier- (if I've brought it). Can also be used in the bath or as perfume
6) allergy meds- at least for the first couple days. It seems to help my reaction to recirculated air and offensively stoing cleaning products- I have a super sensitive nose
7) vitamins- gotta keep the immune system healthy. Especially important is vitamin D and shoulder meds for anti-inflammation
8) journal. Quiet alone time in a hotel room can lead to much self reflection, list-making, note taking, drawing etc.
9)book to read.
10) organic coconut oil for oil pulling. It's a routine I have developed and it's nice to be able to maintain that. It could also be used on the hair for a deep conditioning treatment, or on skin for a moisturizer.
11) bathing suit for jacuzzi

Extra bonus therapeutic/comfort things aka items I wish I had brought but felt I could do without for a long week. It might be nice to bring these things for a longer trip:
1) bedside mini humidifier
2) heating pad
3) neti pot
4) manicure supplies- polish, remover, file. It's nice to be able to freshen up the nails...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

but wait, there's more...

Last night when I arrived home, there was a birthday package waiting for me.  I checked the return address and was excited that it came from Morgantown, West Virginia, home of my soul-sister, Elizabeth of BlissBlissBliss.  Elizabeth and I have shared a beautiful friendship for 19 years and I could probably write a blog post about the things I have learned from her and ways that she and her family have enriched my life, but that isn't the project for today!  Today's post is inspired by last night's phone conversation and our discussion of homeopathic remedies, yoga and pain management.

As I opened the surprise box, I snapped some photographs and texted them to her, along with my first reactions to her gifts, in an effort to share the experience.  Elizabeth has a knack for gift-giving; everything is chosen and packaged colorfully with such thought and love, and it's always a treat for the senses to receive a gift from her. There is usually a lot of colorful, pretty sparkly goodness and oftentimes good smelling items as well. Included in my present were a couple of personal items, some tea from Elizabeth's own kitchen, and a book by Jack Kornfield from her library.  This was extra special to me.  I opened the book to this page and sent the picture to E.
 It says: 1)In business, reinvest a portion of all you make, keep a portion for your use, save a portion for those in need.
2)Whatever we cultivate in times of ease, we gather as strength for times of change. 
The first quote reminded me that I probably should not shop for a new Fall wardrobe right now and felt kind of like motherly advice and somewhat nagging- ha! Still it is good advice and timely.  The second  really resonated with me and made me smile.  It made me happy for myself that I know how to have a good time and appreciate being in the moment.  I reflected on what I do during "times of ease" and made a connection to sowing seeds for a garden.  It was reassuring.

Sending photos and texting was a fun way to share a moment long distance, but soon we grew tired of typing on tiny keypads and just called each other.  During our conversation, E asked what all I was doing for my shoulder, and I listed some of the remedies/therapies I'd been practicing.  I realized that I forgot to list these in my previous post, so I'm adding them here now.

1) I've been laying on this spiked bolster, made by Lotus, NY. I first saw an ad for a similar product in Yoga Journal a few years ago, but it was a towel/meditation mat covered in these plastic spikes.  The idea is that you lay on it and, as in acupuncture, the nerve endings just below the skin are stimulated, releasing endorphins into the blood, stimulating blood circulation and increasing intake of oxygen.  I LOVE this thing!  It's super weird, and slightly painful upon first contact, but it totally relaxes me when I lean into it.  This pillow has helped my insomnia.  I lay with the bolster running the length of my spine, and have found it to be an  instant sedative.  Sometimes I lay on it under my low back, stimulating the kidneys and digestive organs, and I feel like it helps me to detox.  Sometimes I put it right around my hurt shoulder and I feel like that is helping because it's sending fresh oxygen to those muscles.  But overall, I like this bolster because it feels good and instantaneously clears my mind.

2) Rolling a tennis ball between my back and the wall*
It's remarkable how deeply I can massage my own muscles with almost no effort.  I am saving so much money and blasting out all of the huge knots in my back by standing against the wall, with the tennis ball under my shoulder blades and slowly rolling up and down by bending my knees.  This is a practice I'd like to incorporate into the restorative yoga classes I teach.
*bonus points because I do squats at the same time, multi-tasking getting more exercise into my day!

3) Arnica Gel:  I'm not sure if this is working because on the tube the directions say that it is good for fresh injuries, and mine is old, but I figure it doesn't hurt!

4)Vitamins C, E and Zinc:  I read somewhere online that these vitamins would help to speed the healing of tendons, and strengthen bones.  While I am already taking a multi, fish oil,  liquid vitamin B, and D on the recommendation of my GP (to keep my thyroid in check), I thought I would try to supplement and see if that helps too.

and the 5th item that is helping me to heal is the act of sharing love with good friends, family and animals, whenever I can.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The 40 year old shoulder, aka my excuses for not blogging lately

 A post is long overdue.  During the summer, when I didn't have a "day job" and was focusing on teaching yoga and developing my career, social media upkeep was higher on my priority list.  But now that I'm back at work plus teaching classes, I just haven't had the time.  I guess it's really only been a couple of weeks, but it feels like forever since I've sat with my laptop at the coffee shop and just typed typed typed away.  I miss it.

I got primal on my birthday
There are other contributing factors to my recent dip in devotion to blogging.  One is that I was busy trying to figure out what to do for my 40th birthday.  I am not a person who is disturbed with my own process of aging, in fact, I'm pretty fascinated by it.  I could live without some of the side-effects like memory loss, achey body parts, and changes in skin elasticity, but overall, it doesn't bother me.  I think I'm aging naturally pretty well and I'm thankful for that. However, now that I've crossed that 40 threshold, I have noticed that life feels slightly different.  Like any major life change such as losing a parent, getting married, getting divorced, moving across the country, starting a new career (all of which I have experienced, some more than once), it's one of those happenings that you can't just ignore and pretend hasn't happened.  For better or for worse, things are just kind of different.

 I hadn't really considered this to be a "major" birthday for me until about a month before the day.  I like birthdays, and tend to celebrate for days. Because I didn't feel like this year was a big deal -yet everyone around me seemed to think it was and wanted to talk about it- I felt disconnected from the idea of the event.  Why didn't I have any strong feelings about it? What was there to talk about?  It's a birthday.  I started to feel very introspective. Then, all of a sudden it kind of hit me and I was pretty emotional in the days leading up to August 29th.  It grew to be a big-ish deal in my head. I was thinking about my life and 40 and "am I where I want to be" and "what do I really want out of life" "I'm so lucky to have this and be that" business.  I started thinking about aging and where will I be 20 years from now, and will I be healthy?
Will I be broke?
Will I be single?
Will I still be interested in having sex? (I think I know the answer to that one)
Will I still be in Brooklyn?  If so, will I like it?
morning glory or tiny universe?
Will I have a roommate? be shacked up? be homeless?
Will I have a pet? what about kids?
Will I have a garden?
Will I still be teaching yoga? doing costumes?
Will I have a place in the country?
...and more related questions.  Of course, I won't know the answers until 20 years from now, if I'm still alive and coherent. But it's nice for me to be preoccupied with thoughts about the big picture of my life, to check in with myself again at this stage and to experience the emotions that come up with this kind of self-reflection.  It's also nice to let all of that go.

 For the record, I had a wonderfully decadent birthday celebration in the country with sweet friends.  I ate lots of butter and sweets, drank coffee, booze, played scrabble, drew pictures, cooked, chatted, wandered,  wondered, joked, picked fruit, fed a horse from the palm of my hand, slept in, socialized and more. It was perfect.

drawing of sumac. it's poisonous and powerful
Anyway, another reason I've been dropping the ball on blogging is because I have gone full force crazy time with my effort to heal my rotator cuff injury. I reached a point of supreme annoyance, sadness, frustration, etc. about being in pain.  Though it's not severe, it's chronic and I don't want to live like this anymore so I'm kicking my shoulder's ass and taking it's name.  My wholistic prescription:
1)acupuncture 2X a week
2)lots of epsom salt baths
3)heating pad at night
4)anti-inflammatory meds
5)being more mindful in the ways I use my arm
6)doing my PT stretches
7)doing my PT strengthening exercises
8)doing some yoga daily, but avoiding shoulder
9)taking time to relax by cutting down on my socializing and projects/not over-busying myself.
10)***practicing the art of patience***

All of those things take time too, which takes time away from blogging, unfortunately. 

So far, it seems my shoulder is starting to feel a little better.  I have committed to doing all of these things for at least 6 weeks before I decide it's hopeless and I'll never heal and I hate my rotator cuff forever. I know I'd never really do that, because I have learned not to hate any part of myself and to only love myself (thanks 40!) But sometimes it helps me to toy with the idea of playing out the dramatic option, even though I know I won't do that. So that I can remind myself that I am making good choices....

But for now, I'll focus most of my efforts on #10 while I heal and reflect on my path in this life, today.