A belated thank you for all of the support and compassion after my last letter about quitting smoking.
Many of you wrote and shared your own stories of quitting, offering compassion and tenderness. Some of you didn’t see what the big deal was about pot. A few have asked how it’s going.
The first three days were easy. I had full days of clients, get togethers with friends, and no cravings or urges. On the fourth day I was looking forward to returning to my beloved yoga studio, but I woke up with a twinge in my lower back. I freaked, remembering my 5 month bout with sciatica three years ago. My body was so tight that the only thing I knew to do was smoke to relax. I was able to breathe, and cry and notice what I was bracing against.
And instead of beating myself up for smoking, I was kind and compassionate, allowing myself to try a different way.
I have always been an all or nothing person. A few months ago I announced I was closing my Mac business after 30 years. No more weekly tips, no more working with clients, no more videos. Nothing. When I stepped back from the decision, I realized that there are some aspects of the work that I do still enjoy. That I can still do work that brings me and my clients joy, but I don’t have to do everything. And what I do still want to do, I can enjoy in moderation.
And so I gave myself permission to try this idea of moderation with smoking. And it’s working. I’m still smoking, but not all day every day. And again, I’ve been using the high time to go deep into all the emotions that are stirring, and realizing some new truths that I’d been too afraid to face before.
And then last week my dad ended up in the hospital, due to a very low heart rate. He’s 86 with stage 4 kidney disease. After not seeing him for 9 months, he seemed the same when I saw him at the beginning of the month. But last week he was short of breath, very tired, and wobbly when he walked.
Seeing him in that weakened state was very emotional, especially since I am not a very good caregiver. But Marika is. She has graciously taken over the role of talking with doctors, explaining things to my dad, and helping me cope with the changes. My dad finally agreed to get a pacemaker, and that has given him more energy and stability. Yes, he still has serious kidney issues, but for now, we are grateful that he has returned to his previous state of independence.
We were supposed to head north this past weekend, but we’ve postponed our departure, and will stay in Phoenix for a few days to settle him into life at home again, and make sure he’s able to take care of himself. If all goes well, we’ll drive him over to his lady friend’s house in Sun City West, where he plans to spend the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, we found someone to take over the yard irrigation, had a company smog a huge bee colony in the dead fig tree in the back yard, and a tree removal company will come next week to finish the job. And the gardener is back on a regular schedule.
There are a hundred other things we need to do, and start thinking about, and it can quickly feel overwhelming. But so far I’ve been able to reel us both back to right here, right now, and focus on the tasks that are right in front of us.
I continue to be so grateful for the ease and grace with which all of this is unfolding: My dad is being taken care of, Marika is leading the caretaking team, doing her best kind of work, and I am feeling grounded and comfortable in my role as scheduler, list-maker and project manager.
We can stay at this campground for however long we need, and there was no problem with delaying our camp hosting commitment. And the weather has cooled into the seventies and eighties, so I can be outside, walking and breathing my way through all of this.
If all goes well, we’ll head up to Northern Arizona for our two-month camp hosting gig at Fool Hollow Lake in Show Low on Friday. I am so ready to be in the trees, by the lake, with a simple working life, cool temperatures and lots of time to just breathe and be.
Thanks for being there, reading this. I feel the connection, and the support, and the love.