Warrior Princess

August 23, 2016

Seriously, Though, I’m Old

Filed under: Fitness, geriatric musings, yoga — ggirl @ 12:49 pm

gray wolf yawningNo quote today.  All quotes about getting old are of the inspirational ilk.  Please.

Looks like I’m re-upping with my personal trainer.  I’ve been training with him for 25 minutes a day 3 days a week.  I’m fine with that.  Yesterday we discussed my trepidation about a one hour session three days a week along with my usual two days of yoga.  I’m not giving up yoga.  He believes I can do it.

I said,”Hey, remember me?  I’m going to be 63 in 2 months.  I need recovery time.  You kick my butt every time I’m in here–and that’s great–but I’m going to be 63 in two months.  I don’t recover automatically.”

“After a while you’ll get used to it,” he tried to encourage me to spend some extra money.  He’s  clearly unfamiliar with the concept of old.  Also my obstinacy.

“Let me add that I’ve had a couple of rounds of strong chemo, extended radiation, a mastectomy and reconstruction surgery.  These events are exhausting, among other things.  The fatigue hangs around forever.”

He nodded his 30-year old head and said consolingly, “You’ve been through a lot.”

That’s it.  End of conversation.

There actually are some good things about being geriatric.  Not being able to work out at the level I once did is not one of them.  Listening to a veritable youngster trying to convince me I’m not old (thereby rubbing my face in my ever-diminishing abilities) is most assuredly not one.





August 16, 2016

The New, New Normal

Filed under: Breast Cancer, Fitness, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 4:01 pm

wolf crossing river“I have traversed many kinds of health, and keep traversing them… and as for sickness: are we not almost tempted to ask whether we could get along without it? Only great pain is the liberator of the spirit.”~ Oliver Sacks, The  Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat And Other Clinical Tales

I’m what’s known as a Breast Cancer Survivor.  It’s now in remission.  I really hate it when people give me a perky smile and tell me that’s great.  They believe it’s gone now, but breast cancer is incurable.  My little friend is always with me, waiting to pop up and say hi. I have a blog in which I described my cancer journey.  It’s here if you’d like to follow along.

Given my general unwillingness to deny that presence, I’ve become highly motivated to find the gift.  They are many.  One of them is a need to always be as physically fit as I can for a woman of my age.

To that end I’ve retained a personal trainer.  All of the people I know who have one are a little snotty about it, so I’m a bit nervous about how this is going to affect my usual self-effacing manner.  Our first meeting was on Monday and my good man, Duy, pushed hard.

I love that.  Do not waste my time with exercises that are geared for old people.  There is spiritual redemption to be found in physical movement, I think.  When it’s time to leave, I find a clarity and openness to other people.  I am profoundly immersed in each moment as it passes.  I’m happy even though my little friend has taken up residence.

So now I have a personal trainer, a guide to a new vision of the world.  Time to also avoid snotty, if I can.

August 11, 2016

Return of the Jock, I Guess

Filed under: Fitness, yoga — Tags: — ggirl @ 4:10 pm

canstock16589291“Work out not because you hate your body, but because you love it.”  (I don’t know who said this, but yes, yes, yes!)

Several years ago, a friend of mine asked me, somewhat critically, when I became a jock.  Puzzling.  The idea that anyone would call me that is simply mind-boggling.

Until I was 18, I hated exercise.  I used every possible means to avoid it.  During required physical education classes, I refused to go in when it was my time to enter the basketball game.  Captains of the teams I was supposed to play on thought I was a moron.  Okay by me.  When softball season rolled around, I created an outfield so far out you could barely see me back there.  When we were up to bat, I always went to the back of the line.  Didn’t see much action.  Of course, part of the baseball thing was that I have virtually no depth perception, so I was constantly getting hit in the face with the ball.  Funny now, but not so much when my glasses were jammed into my face.

When I was 18, a boyfriend dumped me for a girl who was a ballerina.  I also read a bio about Zelda Fitzgerald (F. Scott’s wife), who began her ballerina training even older than I.  Stupid reasons, maybe, but I found my love for moving my body.

Since then aside from the worst days of chemo, I’ve pretty consistently been active in strength training, cardio, dance and (yes!) yoga.  I love/hate yoga, but I decided I need to develop some specific muscle groups to improve my practice.  I’m also aware that moving your body in different ways is really good for it.

So.  On Monday I joined a gym.  Today I got a personal trainer.  Just typing that word makes me laugh a little.  Let the fun begin.  I’m officially gung-ho.  Hurt is my middle name.  My yoga practice is going to thank me for this and I have a new opportunity to love and have compassion for this hard-working body of mine.

But no jocks in this room, baby.

August 9, 2016

Grunt Boy

Filed under: Assholes, Uncategorized, yoga — ggirl @ 4:06 pm

wolf eyes“When you catch yourself slipping into a pool of negativity, notice how it derives from nothing other than resistance to the current situation.”
Donna Quesada, Buddha in the Classroom: Zen Wisdom to Inspire Teachers

After yoga class today, I found myself walking down the stairs behind Grunt Boy.  I slowed down as we approached the door, desperately looking for a way to avoid hitting the door at the same time.  Oh fuck there’s no way to avoid it.

So, of course, here it comes.  “How do you like our new yoga teacher?”

Oh okay.  Goddamnit.  Fine.  “I really like her.”  I kept my voice absolutely cold.  Here comes the Southern politeness training.  “How about you?”  Any idiot could see I had absolutely no interest whatsoever in his thoughts on this subject or any other.

Fortunately, we had reached the end of the sidewalk.  I veered off in a direction that would never get me to my car, but would certainly get me away from Grunt Boy.  “Have a great day.”  In my famous friendly-impersonal tone of voice.  I waved.

Grunt Boy made some disappointed response.  I guess he thought we were going to stand around in 102 degree heat and talk about down dog or something.

I’m going to have to face the face that I’m a long way from yogi and a very long way from Buddhist.  I have some new yoga classes in a new venue this week.  If the universe had any sense, this kind of thing would never happen to begin with.



There’s Always One, Even in Yoga

Filed under: Assholes, yoga — ggirl @ 3:22 pm

wolf eyes“Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.”
Patañjali, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Tuesday morning yoga class, there he is–the lone male in the group.  He’s an old guy (by which I mean somewhere in my timeframe, maybe a little older) who manages, every single time, to harsh my yoga-mind.

Problem one, he grunts and groans while performing asanas.  There are at any time 10 to 15 practitioners on your average Tuesday morning.  We are all women, except for one (old) guy who doesn’t seem to be showing up anymore.  And the remaining annoying one.  Aside from him, no one ever feels the need to grunt or groan.  No one.

Problem two, he seems completely unable to master getting the props back into the storage room (about the size of a small walk-in closet).  One of the props we use is a strap.  Proper storage procedure, roll up strap into a coil.  Everyone. Ev.ry.one manages to get that done before entering the closet.  Not Grunt Boy–he waits until he’s in there and then meticulously rolls up the strap.  Sometimes he must do it twice.

Meanwhile, the rest of us patiently wait for him to stop being special and get the hell out of the closet.  I am perhaps slightly more annoyed.  I’ve rolled my eyes at him several times as he’s exited.  I try to rush in there before he has a chance to hog the close area but inevitably he sashays in and eats up all of my personal space.  Every single bit of it.

There goes my savasana calm openness.  I watch myself breathe.  Nope.  Not working.  I allow myself to be irritated and watch that.  How does that feel?  It feels fucking distracted and like my blood pressure is zooming up to 179/120.

Today was a very, very special day with Mr. Grunt.  But more of that later.


January 19, 2016

Dazzling Universe

Filed under: Bless the Beasts, Faith and Spirituality, Uncategorized — ggirl @ 12:52 pm

howing wolf“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.” ~Martin Buber  

It turns out that not only animals possess verifiable intelligence.  Dragonflies have exhibited some level of what we would define as intelligence as do octopuses.  Recall that octopuses are mollusks, like clams.  And yet they learn quickly in their native habitat and in laboratory settings.  They can also, in the correct circumstances, display both affection and dislike for humans.  This is not the case with fellow octopuses.  Interaction between them will generally end in death for one of them.

Intelligence and compassion are everywhere.  Whenever I learn about another unexpected instance, I feel my own heart expand to embrace this certainty.  There is, without a doubt, also sadness.  At this moment in history, we humans, as a species, only value that which increases our own profit.  If there’s money involved, we will thoughtlessly, ruthlessly destroy it.  We know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.  Not so for everyone, of course.  We are also loving, thoughtful and emotionally generous.

Despite sadness, something inside of me is exultant whenever I learn there is intelligent consciousness everywhere.  Even in a mollusk.


September 10, 2015

National Suicide Prevention Day, A Personal Reflection

Filed under: Suicide — Tags: — ggirl @ 7:07 pm

sad wolf eyrs“No one ever lacks a good reason for suicide.” ~Cesare Pavese

Suicide and I are old companions.  My first suicide attempt was when I was eleven. I spent many subsequent years using all of my strength to resist its warm embrace.

My father killed himself over 15 years ago now.  His death changed everything.  I became certain, absolutely dead certain, that I would never give up my resistance to murdering myself.  For that is exactly what suicide is.

I never thought my father would kill himself, though the first time he spoke of it in my presence was when I was seven.  I understood the concept in a childlike way.  I knew it meant he was sad and I knew it meant he would be forever lost from me.  He continued to speak of it off and on all of his life.  My dad was a vain, narcissistic man.  He measured everything by how much it affected him.  When I was a child, he also took great enjoyment  in making me cry.  Suicide became simply another way of gloating over my pain.  How could he ever murder himself, his beloved one?

If you’re thinking of suicide, please please get help.  You will leave behind loved ones who have to deal with a nuclear bomb going off in their heads.  Period.  You cannot change it, you cannot make it better.  Please get help!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1 (800) 273-8255

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Languages: English, Spanish

If you have any inkling that someone is readying him/herself, finding the courage to leave, please let someone know.  Do everything you can to stop it.

Warning Signs of Suicide

These signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss or change.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawn or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

Additional Warning Signs of Suicide

  • Preoccupation with death.
  • Suddenly happier, calmer.
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about.
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.
  • Making arrangements; setting one’s affairs in order.
  • Giving things away, such as prized possessions.

A suicidal person urgently needs to see a doctor or mental health professional.


Common Misconceptions

The following are common misconceptions about suicide:

“People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.”

Not True. Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” “I can’t see any way out,” — no matter how casually or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

“Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.”

Not True. Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They may be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing. Extreme distress and emotional pain are always signs of mental illness but are not signs of psychosis.

“If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her.”

Not True. Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, and most waiver until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to end their pain. Most suicidal people do not want to die; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.

“People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.”

Not True. Studies of adult suicide victims have shown that more then half had sought medical help within six month before their deaths and a majority had seen a medical professional within 1 month of their death.

“Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.”

Not True. You don’t give a suicidal person ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true — bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.


It’s National Suicide Prevention day.  Please honor the 41,149 people who could no longer find the will to go on last year.  Educate yourself, spread the word, offer compassion and strength to people you know who may be making secret plans.  Honor the survivors of suicide by holding on to their hands as tightly as you can.

July 9, 2015

While Waiting for the End of the World

Filed under: Faith and Spirituality, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 1:38 pm

wolf footprint“The end approaches, but the apocalypse is long lived.” ~ Jacques Derrida

After yoga, I came home and did my first headstand!  It’s a new millennium and, as I watch the species struggling to find a way to survive, the best I can do is work on serenity and good will towards all sentient beings.  It’s a battle many days–Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, the willful destruction of the earth for greed and our profound sense of entitlement.  Sometimes I’m in despair, so I go back to watching my breath and sending goodwill.

I’m also weighing my own future, on the brink of an enormous decision.  I’m patient and I’m waiting for my future to assert itself.  Today, I think it’s all already happened, anyway, so no point in haggling with myself or making plans right now. I was meant to be here–this moment, this place, this course.  The only thing left to do is relax and breathe.  For good or ill, my fate has its arms wide open for me.

June 24, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — ggirl @ 12:10 pm


close up of wolf face“Life calls the tune, we dance.” ~ John Galsworthy

The days are long and treacherous, interrupted from time to time with thoughts of “the trajectory of my life.”  I even mentioned it to my psychiatrist recently.  She had no idea what I was talking about.  And, really, neither do I.

The word “trajectory” implies a pattern, an arc, a rising and falling.  My life has contained a slight uptick in events.  From horrific to extremely unpleasant, a state of being I came to  view as a victory over fate.  Yay! Massive unpleasantness–what a relief!

Indeed, I’ve triumphed, or escaped the dark hand of fate risen from genetic potentialities and the hard glaze of barren sustenance in my early years.

But mainly it’s a flat line.  I spend my death-directed days and hours exactly as it should be.  It’s all darkness and, these days, despair.  I have found no deliverance.  How could I be surprised?

June 23, 2015

List: Things I was supposed to do today

Filed under: Uncategorized — ggirl @ 10:39 pm

gray wolf one“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” ~Thomas Edison

Things I was supposed to do

  1. Go to my yoga class
  2. Unclog the kitchen sink
  3. Clean the bathtub
  4. Mop the bathroom floor
  5. Continue to work on the cart in the breakfast room
  6. Vacuum
  7. Cook dinner

Things I actually accomplished:

  1. Yoga class
  2. Bathroom – check
  3. Vacuum – yes
  4. Dinner – done
  5. Sat on the sofa for three or four hours
  6. Watched a documentary and a half on Snagfilms.com
  7. Was annoyed about the fact that one of the documentaries only played half way through

Not a successful day.

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