Thursday, September 10, 2009


Yesterday was the boys' first day of school, and I had planned to post something about it, but I didn't bring the camera to school and they're both sort of "over" me taking their picture and this year, since they're boys and I have a bit of a double standard, they weren't wearing new clothes (Oliver had on too-tight orange shorts and a Beatles Yellow Submarine tee-shirt, and Henry wore green shorts with a blue Vol-Com tee-shirt.). They didn't even have new shoes on. Times are tough (something that I haven't blogged about and I'm refusing to).

Anyway, this post isn't going to be about the first day of school. It's about a morning much like any other, except that it's tinged with excitement and not drudgery. A day much like all the other school days but because these include Sophie, are perhaps different than most. Sophie had her usual big bout of seizures when she woke up, and Henry had to sit by her for part of the time so that I could cook eggs and toast. He sat by her, keeping her safe until she really started to move off the bed and then he called me and I left the eggs in the pan and ran into her room. There's not much to do during these bouts, not much to do but keep reciting Lord Have Mercy, Christ Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy, Christ Have Mercy, or Sat Nam, Sat Nam, Sata Nama, Sata Nama or The Lord is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want, or look deep into Sophie's eyes when they aren't staring to the right with a frenzied expression, that she must stop, please stop, tell your brain to stop. I veer around from desperation to a Stepford-like calm. I wonder, fleetingly, if there's a protocol to this, how to behave, what to think, how to move on, how to accept the situation.  I hold her arms and smooth the hair on her forehead. I never stop believing and hoping that perhaps I CAN heal her by touch so I put all my intention toward her and will the seizures to STOP. And then I berate myself for trying to control what is clearly not controllable, an impossible dialectic that is only occasionally bordered by real tears. And then it does stop. And Sophie sits up and hums. And I get up, my heart pounding (and start thinking about how that litttle stressful episode is worth another pound or two if chronic stress causes weight gain) and I go to the kitchen and shake the scrambled eggs onto toast, just the way Oliver likes them and turn over  an egg, easy, just like Henry likes them.

All of this leads me to my very first kundalini yoga class in some months. I was there, today, after I dropped the boys off at school and The Husband (who came back from work where he had been since 6 am) took Sophie to her school. I lay on my sheepskin on top of my mat and did the poses and the breath came back to me as if no time had passed. I felt a residual strength in my core that surprised me and the floating away of my anxiety that surprised me even more. And in the middle of a meditation, as I breathed in and out and thought through the thoughts and watched them go by, I saw as if a word were a substance, floating in front of my eye, my third eye, actually, STRENGTH.. And in that moment I knew without words that I am strong and that earlier in the morning, I was strong. And all the other mornings and even the middle of the nights were the same. And that was the way to be. Just strong. And I must be gloriously strong because tears fell from my eyes it felt so simple. Being with Sophie in the morning like I am, even on the days when I want to shout and cry and gnash my teeth, I am strong. I can't tell you why this seemed like a breakthrough, but when I saw it I felt strong. Pure. Clean.

Yoga is an amazing thing (even if you're embarrassed by its hipness).


  1. Elizabeth, I find myself here sitting and breathing and crying for the simple beauty you found in self and the depth of it, too. Absol-freaken-lutely gorgeous!

  2. Sweet Strong Woman. That was a huge breakthrough- to know your strength. I have cried through yoga class before myself. Release of the heart into tears.
    So simple, so profound.
    You are one of the brightest lights in my sky.

  3. Yes, you are strong - very strong. And your strength seems to flow from, and with, the well of love that is your core. When you are in yoga, perhaps you touch awareness of that core more freely.

    I felt the same way during Katie's cancer treatment as you describe during Sophie's seizures: that, as I rode out the horrors with her, the power of love could heal her, ease her pain, comfort her. Though it didn't CURE her disease, perhaps it did provide some healing, as it seems to do for you AND Sophie. I pray that the peace & love as you found in yoga will continue and grow within you.

  4. i am sending you strength!!-- You are an amazing woman!

  5. It is the knowing in your core that lightens the weight that bore down on your heart.
    Beautiful wiser you.

  6. Yes, YOU ARE STRONG indeed. Bless you, and your family. Nothing lasts forever, even our children's seizures, even though at the time they seem as if they do.

  7. When you describe how you feel during Sophie's seizures, it absolutely resonates with my experience when "E" was having psychotic episodes. It's almost as if being in your own trance (reciting, cooking eggs by rote, etc.) while they are in theirs carries you through the moment.

    You are, indeed, a strong woman by all accounts. I believe in my core that your presence with Sophie helps her on so many levels.

  8. This is one of my all-time favorite blog posts, Elizabeth. I feel the desperation and the hopefulness and above all your strength. You are amazing.

  9. I'm amazed at what yoga unleashes, and I am in awe of your strength.



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