A snippet from the years with Dr. Holistic Health

July 16, 2014
On my second date with Dr. Holistic Health (we’ll call him Ben), I galloped right past every red flag—for the first date had seemed to solidify everything I wanted to see. The first time he came to visit me in my little cabin in Ojai, he brought along his son, Alex, and daughter, Erica, ages ten and eight, which only further endeared him to me. Not only was this alternative doctor rich, successful, and movie-star-handsome, he was a loving, caring dad!
                      They arrived in a white convertible, windblown and laughing, on a warm Saturday afternoon. The kids hopped out and, after some brief introductions while looking dad’s potential new girlfriend up and down, wasted no time in running around the yard, checking out the rope swing, and making a hands-on inspection of my tiny two-room hovel. They noticed the sprouts growing in jars on my kitchen counter, the juicer with scrubbed carrots lined up and ready to go (I knew they’d be sold on me if I let them make fresh carrot and apple juice), my futon bed on the floor, and the green metal freestanding fireplace contraption.”How does the smoke get out?” they wanted to know.Strangest of all to their young eyes accustomed to a world of privilege was my clothesline with a row of yoga shorts, tops, and tights pinned with wooden clothes pins (Alex took one apart to see how it worked).Near the clothesline, they spotted a wooden rack on which some towels were drying. “What’s that, Dad?” they asked. After “Dad” laughingly explained that Suza dried her clothes in the sun, they solemnly asked, “You mean she doesn’t have a dryer?”And, most amazing of all, there was no TV. I later found out that on the drive home the kids had been very concerned. After some discussion between themselves, they cautiously told him, “Dad, we don’t know how to tell you this, but Suza is VERY poor . . . ” Ben joked to me that, to his children, in contrast to their three-story spread with a pool and four cars in the garage, visiting Suza in Ojai was like going to a Third World country. At least I did have a flush toilet and running water . . .

On this foggy morning, I thought about all that while I was shoving a table toward a window and setting up another box fan to blow the cool morning air into the house.

I want to be fully present while I’m straightening up the yoga room, washing last night’s dishes, taking out the trash, cleaning up the dog poop . . . But as the days fly by, I have to ask myself, “Where is this all going? Am I just a bag of bones and memories?”

Maybe this is all whirling in my head even more than usual, as I just finished reading Dying to Be Me, in which the author describes her near-death experience when she all at once saw everything that had ever happened to her. So why not while still alive? Everywhere I look, I see my own past—the stages of life that I’ve moved through—and my own potential future.

For all intents and purposes, I’m now in the nun stage of life. The days of dating doctors who sniff “nose candy” and drop Ecstasy in my orange juice are behind me. It’s my turn to step back and observe, and to learn from those who are still on the sex-and-romance merry-go-round. I joke about donning some kind of maroon robe; it would probably be good for my business. According to the yogic tradition, at this age I’m done with my householder child-raising and wifely duties, and I can now disappear into the forest. If there were a monastery that welcomed dogs, where I could earn my keep teaching yoga and peeling potatoes, I’d gladly move in and take a break from worldly responsibilities.

But I wouldn’t take any vows of poverty or chastity. I always like the option of changing my mind.

* * *
Photo by Ruth Miller: Supported Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani), a gentle inversion that teaches us to let go and also how to revive ourselves. This is sublime yoga medicine for the beginning and end of the day. It aids the return of blood from the legs to the heart and the circulation of lymph fluid throughout the body. It helps relieve stress headaches, stabilizes blood pressure, and feels wonderful for the internal organs. Above all, with steady practice it gives us a taste of divine rest.

Photo: On my second date with Dr. Holistic Health (we'll call him Ben), I galloped right past every red flag—for the first date had seemed to solidify everything I wanted to see. The first time he came to visit me in my little cabin in Ojai, he brought along his son, Alex, and daughter, Erica, ages ten and eight, which only further endeared him to me. Not only was this alternative doctor rich, successful, and movie-star-handsome, he was a loving, caring dad! </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>On a warm Saturday afternoon, they arrived windblown and laughing in a white convertible. The kids hopped out and, after some brief introductions while looking dad's potential new girlfriend up and down, wasted no time in running around the yard, checking out the rope swing, and making a hands-on inspection of my tiny two-room hovel. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>They noticed the sprouts growing in jars on my kitchen counter, the juicer with scrubbed carrots lined up and ready to go (I knew they'd be sold on me if I let them make fresh carrot and apple juice), my futon bed on the floor, and the green metal freestanding fireplace contraption. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>"How does the smoke get out?" they wanted to know. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Strangest of all to their young eyes accustomed to a world of privilege was my clothesline with a row of yoga shorts, tops, and tights pinned with wooden clothes pins (Alex took one apart to see how it worked). </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Near the clothesline, they spotted a wooden rack on which some towels were drying. "What's that, Dad?" they asked. After “Dad" laughingly explained that Suza dried her clothes in the sun, they solemnly asked, "You mean she doesn't have a dryer?” </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>And, most amazing of all, there was no TV. I later found out that on the drive home the kids had been very concerned. After some discussion between themselves, they cautiously told him, "Dad, we don't know how to tell you this, but Suza is VERY poor . . . " Ben joked to me that, to his children, in contrast to their three-story spread with a pool and four cars in the garage, visiting Suza in Ojai was like going to a Third World country. At least I did have a flush toilet and running water . . . </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>On this foggy morning, I thought about all that while I was shoving a table toward a window and setting up another box fan to blow the cool morning air into the house. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>I want to be fully present while I’m straightening up the yoga room, washing last night's dishes, taking out the trash, cleaning up the dog poop . . . But as the days fly by, I have to ask myself, "Where is this all going? Am I just a bag of bones and memories?” </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Maybe this is all whirling in my head even more than usual, as I just finished reading Dying to Be Me, in which the author describes her near-death experience when she all at once saw everything that had ever happened to her. So why not while still alive? Everywhere I look, I see my own past---the stages of life that I've moved through---and my own potential future.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>For all intents and purposes, I'm now in the nun stage of life. The days of dating doctors who sniff "nose candy" and drop Ecstasy in my orange juice are behind me. It's my turn to step back and observe, and to learn from those who are still on the sex-and-romance merry-go-round. I joke about donning some kind of maroon robe; it would probably be good for my business. According to the yogic tradition, at this age I'm done with my householder child-raising and wifely duties, and I can now disappear into the forest. If there were a monastery that welcomed dogs, where I could earn my keep teaching yoga and peeling potatoes, I’d gladly move in and take a break from worldly responsibilities. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>But I wouldn't take any vows of poverty or chastity. I always like the option of changing my mind.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>* * *<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Photo by Ruth Miller: Supported Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani), a gentle inversion that teaches us to let go and also how to revive ourselves. This is sublime yoga medicine for the beginning and end of the day. It aids the return of blood from the legs to the heart and the circulation of lymph fluid throughout the  body. It helps relieve stress headaches, stabilizes blood pressure, and feels wonderful for the internal organs. Above all, with steady practice it gives us a taste of divine rest.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: