Dec 27 2010

The company of strangers.

December 27th, 2010

“We are going to ride the streetcar! We are parking the car so we can catch up with it.”

On Lovejoy Avenue, just outside Sammy’s Flowers, I was stopped by a little boy colorfully dressed in waterproof clothes.    His sandy-colored dreadlocks swept  his shoulders with each wisp of breeze .  He was either an articulate three-year-old or a petite four-year-old.   He told me more about his plan.  I shared with him my idea of sometime just riding the streetcar until it stopped and seeing where I ended up.  As I watched him walk off with his family for their Sunday adventure,  I thought of my son at that age.  He is 23 now and lives in Tulsa, the city where he was born, the city where I spent all of my adult life until late 2008.

It was Sunday.  For two hours I had been walking a corner of Portland’s Nob Hill Neighborhood and the northern part of the Pearl District. Oddly enough I was thinking about all the ways to get around as I wore through a bit more shoe rubber.  I’d passed boats, cars, buses, streetcars, trains and lots of walkers and cyclists. The public transportation in my neighborhood is a chief reason the Pearl often places in the top five places to retire.  What other things go into deciding where to live?

A bit of goggling and I found sites with questionnaires to help a reader decide where to live.  Factors to consider included work location, cost of living, climate preference, cultural amenities, outdoor scenery, health care access…  I have tallied up pluses and minuses for both Portland and Tulsa.   There isn’t a clear winner.  My marriage brought me to Oregon.  My business client base is still in Tulsa.  I visit Tulsa monthly and still put full-time effort into staying connected to the community.  On Thanksgiving I passed the morning with an iPhone in one hand, a coffee cup in the other – texting and calling over 70 people – many of whom hail from Tulsa.  That Thursday night I dined with Portland friends.

I grew up living on four different continents and an island in Indonesia.  I don’t know that I need to be with someone to feel connected, especially not in this technical age.  Because I work from home, one thing I know I need throughout the day -as much as oxygen and food – is regular brushes with people, opportunities to smile, chances to exercise.  I meet the eyes of each fellow walker, chat with neighbors on the elevator, at the dog park, in the market…I wave as I pass businesses and store fronts to acknowledge the owner of Green Grocery, the designer at Smash Cut, the associate at Umpqua Bank, the concierge at Park Place… I wave back at people on passing trains.  Each walk is energizing.  Each  lifts my spirits in any kind of weather and collectively they’ve helped me shield some (many) pounds!

As I sat waiting for my Mac to boot up to begin writing this entry, I glanced over my left shoulder through my south window.  A neighbor standing in her living room folding linens,  stopped to wave.  Turning back to my screen I looked up and a 12th floor neighbor on his balcony smiled and nodded.

Making your way on your own can be daunting, exciting, scary, overwhelming and confusing – every day!  When you are ready to choose where and how to live, try to embrace it as an opportunity to find a good fit for you.  Listen to one voice – yours.  Make this your time.

And for fun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FE_9CzLCbkY&feature=player_embedded#!

Always, Trix

Trix

http://web02.bestplaces.net/aarp/ls/


Dec 27 2010

Exhale.

December 26, 2010

Most probably wouldn’t listen to a yoga class CD sitting bound in sardine pose on a packed Southwest Airlines flight between Phoenix and Portland during the holiday season.  Big mistake on their part.  Lifesaver for me.

We had pushed back from the gate only to return; mechanical problems – more delays.  I thought of work- tasks piling up while I flew between Tulsa and Portland on my monthly compute.  I thought of the house sitter who would have walked my two Whippets for the last time as I boarded and then gone off to work for eight hours, unaware of my dilemma.  A new version of Home Alone was surely in the making before I would land in PDX.  Bliss eats books when rattled.  And Leo?  Well, he does three-legged dog to make his statement.  As I imagined what was ahead, the two little boys under three years old seated next to me were warming their vocal chords for a grand aria.

Acquiring a yoga CD was my answer to maintaining my new habit of regular exercise while traveling for over a week each month.  Postal delays got the CD to me just in time for my return flight so there I was, plugged in and listening to a yoga class with my seat in its upright position.

The audio instruction began with breathing – deep, calming, audible breaths.  Even with the instructor announcing his name and the class first, a  giggle welled up in me.  I closed my eyes and concentrated on my breathing, which is too often shallow.  As I continued to listen to the CD  I was led at just the right pace by a confident voice walking me through the process of inhaling to “fill the belly” and “exhaling to empty.” Instruction and encouragement were delivered with a minimum of words. Just listening suggested the  pace gave time to work in each pose, gave time to breathe. Standing poses came next.  Still the focus was on breathing. Nothing was rushed.  I knew, for the first time, I had a chance at a home practice – a practice guided by a voice that seemed to be in the room, reminding me to breath first and foremost and giving enough pointers about the poses that I didn’t need a classmate nearby to follow (or mistakenly compete with).

As the teacher spoke of mind traveling, fantastic voyages and returning focus to the practice my three seatmates demanded attention.   The mom allowed me to hold the 1-year old.  I walked the aisle of the airline.  Together  he and I interacted with other passengers unable to resist the wonder in a 18-month’s eyes.  He was a doll! I enjoy traveling.  The last leg of my recent journey was especially nice.

A few minutes of yoga turned a delay around – letting me be in the moment completely, thoughtfully contributing.

Breath! Take it all in. And get yourself a CD!

Trix

www.bradkeimach.com and on facebook at Beach Yoga with Brad.