Thursday, May 24, 2012

Just Like Sherlock Holmes

For the past few months I've been re-reading the works of Arthur Conan Doyle and enjoying Masterpiece's presentations on PBS.  The stories have provided escape from the here and now of life after my dad.

It was my dad who taught me that Holmes dabbled in cocaine;they didn't teach us that part in school.  Sure enough when I read the stories on my own, there it was.  But you know how (if you're lucky) every time you read a story you get something new out of it?  That happened to me this time around.

I was reading Doyle's  The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter (The Strand Magazine, 1904) when I came across this paragraph, of Watson describing Holmes: 
Things had indeed been very slow with us, and I had learned to dread such periods of inaction, for I knew by experience that my companion's brain was so abnormally active that it was dangerous to leave it without material upon which to work.  For years I had gradually weaned him from that drug mania which had threatened once to check his remarkable career.  Now I knew that under ordinary conditions he no longer craved for this artificial stimulus, but I was well aware that the fiend was not dead, but sleeping; and I have known that the sleep was a light one and the waking near when in periods of idleness I have seen the drawn look upon Holmes's ascetic face, and the brooding of his deep-set and inscrutable eyes.

Yep, Sherlock, I know how you feel.  When I'm active and my mind is engaged, it's easy to stay on the straight and narrow.  But when life's greatest adventures are laundry and dirty dishes -- when I'm as restless as a polar bear in a zoo enclosure in July, my habit has been The Adventure of the Salt or Sugar

Now, it doesn't take a Sherlock Holmes to realize the danger in this behavior, but it does take courage to move out of the familiar to take on new challenges, a bit of confidence in one's self and abilities, and a Watson to lend a little support.  As I wrote earlier this week, I'm working on rebuilding my confidence and I've already found a little of it.  I've also got more Watsons than I deserve.  So now it's time for adventure again. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yoga and confidence

Once upon a time it was not at all unusual to find me singing along to the radio (or on my own) or whistling a happy tune.  As a matter of fact, I remember plaguing my poor teacher by demonstrating my whistling abilities while we walked from the gym, across the parking lot, and to the school.  I'm not sure whether that's the same teacher I invited to come to our house for a spaghetti dinner (yep, I liked learning and those who helped me to learn.)

For the past few weeks I've had Julie Andrews singing "I Have Confidence" in my head, but it felt more like a taunt than an anthem because I lost every ounce of confidence I gained last year, the Year of Karin.  Newspaper contest, triathlon, breakwall swim?  Gone, gone, and gone.  I can barely believe I'm the same person who accomplished those tasks. 

But I am the same person, and that stupid song hasn't left me alone; it's like the universe calling me back out of myself.

The universe, in the form of a Friend or two, has been whispering Yoga at me.  I've got a Friend who can now to headstands, and whose devotion to Yoga is inspiring.  Another friend conducts Yoga classes at Shore Cultural Center, and finally last night I made it to a class.

I went in to the class with huge reservations, particularly that there's only so much room to squish one's body, and I was pretty sure I'd never maneuver into the poses.  But trusting the instructor - her support and good humor - I was willing to give it a try.

The peacefulness reached my soul.  And since our room's windows faced the green leafy treetops (highways for squirrels and birds) rather than mirrors, and since I didn't tip over, I'm pretty sure that I accomplished at least a close approximation of the poses. 

I particularly liked the tree and the warrior, both of which are similar to exercises I used in weight training (way back when).  The memory of weight training, of encouragement of past coaches, and the realization that I was trying and doing began to reawaken my confidence.

I'm still afraid of injury and of being mocked, but I've got a start. And I've got the memory of what I can do. And I've got the desire to try and to do.