Tuesday, August 28, 2007

August 28, 2007

Dear Friends,

Chris Saudek was with me for a week. We reminisced about old and good times here and in India, about our families and the friends we have made in the Iyengar community for all these years. We went for walks in Central Park and around the upper West Side and thoroughly enjoyed Spring Awakening on Broadway. Chris cooked and we appreciated and stockpiled nutritious food and ideas.

Chris entered a time of organizing and throwing with exuberance! We went into piles of papers that had grown up in the past years. What a relief to get to the bottom of some of these piles and deal with them and allow them to be gone!

The most recent chemo yielded more fatigue, to which I have responded by sleeping a few whole days. Since I often cheat the night of its rest, it seems quite a good thing to cover a few days.

Eating well and keeping my strength up are priorities. Restorative asanas take only initiative and return energy. So the many versions of Supta Baddha Konasana, Viparita Karani, Setu Bandha and, of course, pranayama, meditation and Savasana are on my menu every day.

I laugh or become quieter as I assimilate the poetry and beautifully wrought thoughts from gardening to sparkling shoes you offer. Your ideas and memories blend with mine and spark my imagination. A horse chestnut tree takes me to childhood trips to North Carolina and my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Notes from India, from an old friend in San Diego whose daughter is a cancer survivor, and from Italy bring wonderful memories of Pune, San Diego, and Rapalano with Gabriella and world flung friends. Layered memories and present prayers from our beloved Feathered Pipe Ranch make my heart sing.

So know that whether I am catching up on some extra rest and restorative yoga, spending time at the Institute, visiting my daughter and friends, seeing a movie, or taking a walk, I am taking life as it comes and embracing it.

Much love to all of you near in the close present or emerging from a rich past. Hearing pieces of your lives is a blessing of light and peace and wholeness.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

August 14, 2007

Another week, a week off chemo, flew by! If the response of the fast growing hair cells is evidence, the chemo is definitely working. I trust other fast growing cells, the cancer ones, are responding at the same rate! The cancer markers were definitely down at the last reading and the shedding of my hair is more evidence of things going in the right direction. I have always loved hats and find that scarves work fine. I purchased some extra hair that twice fooled my friend, Elizabeth; maybe it will fool you too.

The time in Ann Arbor was productive. My mother is less and less able to make conversation, but knows me and we know we love each other. She is in a living situation with kind people making life as stimulating and satisfying as it can be for those whose minds fail.

Clearing the things left from my parents extraordinary lifetimes is daunting, but I have been working through the memories and things with care and determination for some time. My friend Elizabeth met me in Ann Arbor and for four days helped me go through several more layers. A potluck dinner for eight wonderful friends at my home capped by singing highlighted our visit.

My friend David arrived at the end of the week to help me by driving me back to New York. We loaded his car with things to save, give to my daughters and dispose of here in New York and headed back. I love car trips. We took scenic highways that showed the true easy beauty of this land. On the way we stopped at the Chautauqua Institute, a beautiful resort area dating from the Victorian era. Eight hundred acres houses an Institute for the visual and performing arts, philosophy and religions in a Victorian town. Performance and meeting spaces punctuate the winding streets and gardens. Victorian homes welcome all comers with wrap around porches, cupolas, and fanciful gingerbread, an abundance of flowers, streaming bicycles, and good will. Winding walking roads, arching trees, and a beautiful lake brought delight at every prospect and turn.

Now I am looking forward to going to the Institute to be with my colleagues and to seeing my daughter and grandson this week...and to starting another round of Chemo this Friday. Chris Saudek will come and stay with me to visit and help.

I am thinking of all my friends at Feathered Pipe Ranch. It causes some pangs not to be there as the week which has anchored my year for so many summers. There is no place on earth I love more than its hallowed earth, hills forests, bringing unexpected sightings of enchanting wildlife. Prayers for me, for all of us, and for the earth are in the Lodge and teepees. Delight is in the air and on the wildflowered walks, ways, and byways.

I love hearing your news, poems, and observations.
And now on with the day!

With love,

Monday, August 6, 2007

Monday August 6, 2007

This week flew by. I continue to feel more and more myself. I decided it was high time to spread my wings a little more today, and did a short Sirsasana before the restorative postures I embrace many times during the day. Yoga practice is educative, restorative, balancing, and in this case was wonderfully thrilling. Now do know that I know how to do, and not do and not to over-do….

I am having so much fun living through your tales of tails and wings and wiggles through the earth. My toes are tapping with the elephants and my own Sensibar can indeed do the samba….as long as I lead.

Now one Central Park tale… I can report that in a posted quiet zone, the robins were spread thickly and evenly across the lawn, listening for worms. Across the path, where there is no prohibition on festivities, birds of all sorts were in the bushes and branches-- swooping, warbling and generally having a high old time welcoming the morning. I kid you not. And I wonder if the Conservancy knows how well the signage works.

Later today I will fly to Ann Arbor to visit my mother and take care of some things in her home. I look forward to getting some necessary things done, walks and seeing at least a few of my many friends in my hometown.

When I get back to New York, I hope to go to the Institute often and use it as my haven and inspiration.

When I think of Puja in Ladekh, the many, many prayers that you are offering from all parts, and the vibrations of an organ playing Bach traveling out to me and to all of humanity, it is no wonder that I am feeling better and better.

I will be off email for a week and enjoying some of the best of the Midwest.

Hearing from so many and knowing you are there for me makes me more eager to see you all and get back in the swing. That is the direction you are pointing and I am headed.

Much love,