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Be In The Moment...

By Fay Jacobs


Fay Jacobs

Okay, Iraq is a mess, health care is a disaster and the 2008 election race has started waaaay too early. If we've heard one thing over the past few months about our national electile dysfunction, it's that it's a time for healing. We agree. We've begun with things that soothe.

First, ostensibly to help heal Bonnie's knee injury, we ordered a new bathtub with whirlpool jets. Our original tub, when filled to its brim, would not cover Calista Flockhart much less me or one of my Schnauzers.

So the plumbers came, pulled out the teeny tub and set the new one in place. The two butch plumbers wearing dangerously low-riding blue jeans then explained that we needed to build a frame for the tub that extended at least six extra inches so "you have room to put the candles and wine glasses." Oh???

"Yeah," said the second plumber, "This should be the last thing you girls do each day so you can really relax and enjoy it." It was a wonderfully surreal moment.

Unfortunately, when the two most sensitive plumbers in history turned the motor on to test the whirlpool, water spewed all over the floor, the plumbers and our hopes of a candlelit evening.

You Can Fill The Tub, But...
"Okay," said the chief plumber, "while we arrange for replacement parts from the manufacturer, you can fill the tub, but don't use the jets."

That only sounded easy. First off, the faucet wasn't installed, so water just dribbled out of the copper pipe. At this rate we'd have a bath for the 2008 inaugural.

Eager to get to the candles and wine, we grabbed our spaghetti pot and lobster steamer from the kitchen, started filling them with hot water from the sink and dumping them overboard into the tub. There hasn't been so much running with pots of boiling water since Butterfly McQueen began birthing babies in Gone With The Wind.

By the time the tub was a third full, we uncorked the Merlot and figured that our ample body displacement would make up the difference. Just after we hopped in, the faucet's dribble turned icy cold.

Talk about being uncorked. We sat in 8 inches of water, realizing that our water heater had just hollered Uncle. Not only didn't the tub's plumbing work, but when it did get repaired we wouldn't have enough hot water in the house to fill it. Great, our bargain spa needed a new water heater. Talk about taking a bath.

In the meantime, we hastily clinked glasses and climbed out of the tub - not as easy as we'd imagined either. Hauling ourselves up from the depths wasn't pretty. I now understand the value of grab bars, if not ejection seats.

Relaxation and Patience?
Hence, the next part of our quest for healing involved striving for more flexibility. We signed up for yoga class.

I've always suspected that yoga was way too California-wear-some-flowers-in-your-hair for me. I just couldn't see myself quieting my brain or my mouth long enough to practice anything involving relaxation and patience. But alas, I was persuaded to go to a complimentary class at a local yoga studio.

Skeptical and scared of displaying my physical and mental inflexibility, I diffidently followed my mate into the studio - a room bathed in soft light and arranged with a dozen mats on the floor. Very Kindergarten nap time.

As the lovely yogameister started her melodically soft-spoken instructions I found myself going with the flow and coming as close to total relaxation as I'd ever imagined I could achieve.

I was starting to think I could handle yoga after all, when, on the morning following that first class, I saw a picture of our fearless instructor in the paper. I couldn't achieve the position she demonstrated for the camera if my ass depended on it. In fact, if I ever did manage to get my feet and wrists on the floor simultaneously, butt toward Mecca, the only thing that could get me vertical again would be 24-hour towing. Or Bonnie could bronze me for a lawn ornament.

The Gentle Yoga Class
A little daunted but undeterred, we signed up for a semester. Ours is the gentle yoga class, which is a polite way of saying it's for the elasticity challenged. We each have our own particular infirmities, with some of us just suffering from too much Ben & Jerry's Chunkey Monkey.

But yoga eschews judgment at every turn. At our next class I found out that nothing is a problem. If somebody can't stretch far enough to achieve a specific position, a dowel in hand can bridge the gap. And you can roll blankets under any body part you want for comfort. Can't reach far enough around your own thunder thighs to pull your knees to your chest? There's a canvas belt available to help. I appreciated the assist, but I'm sure I looked like a piece of furniture cinched into place on a Bekins Van. Of course, I shouldn't have been thinking about how I looked, since I was supposed to be concentrating on my breathing and letting my brain and internal organs relax.

You know, it is possible to relax too much. Under the heading of "that's okay, it's supposed to happen," certain yoga positions can, how shall I put this, cause…um… flatulence. I think everybody in our class, at one time or another, has produced an audible emission. I find myself watching what I eat for lunch on yoga days. I don't think that praying you'll get through the hour without breaking wind is the kind of meditation we're encouraged to practice.

Anyway, when we did some bending movements, I was surprised to hear my instructor say I was very flexible. And not just my jaw, which I knew was in shape from blabbing and dining. Apparently my waist and shoulders weren't as unyielding as I'd thought, either. Gee, next time Bonnie and I are having a "discussion," and I'm accused of being inflexible, I will have a retort.

Take It With You
This yoga stuff really is impressive. We've learned to be in the moment, concentrate on our breathing and try to calm the adrenaline rush of our daily lives. After stretching, comes quiet time, when Miss Susan reads to us. We all lie on our mats, surrounded by our blankies, dowels and belts, and, if we'd like, little black beanbag masks to block the light from our eyes. I know I'm supposed to be resting my mind, but I did wonder if, with all our innocent apparatus lying about, we looked like some kind of S&M cultists.
But the truth is, our yoga sessions are fun, good exercise and very, very soothing for both body and soul. Which is a good thing. Because the bathtub is still a construction site. And we've spent weeks trying to select tile. Hmmmm, now we've got a bad case of selectile dysfunction (sorry).

Friends intercepted us in Lowes last week with great advice: "So what if there are eleven shades of white tile to choose from…don't obsess." Thanks guys, we needed that.

Bidding a fond farewell to tiling, we're off to yoga class to cleanse our minds of home improvement. I just love when Susan ends her class with the soothing mantra, "Be in the moment, Go in peace, Take it with you." I usually take it with me right to the local Mexican Restaurant because Wednesday is half price fajita night and there's a whole week for Beano before the next class.

Between the calm of yoga, winter restaurant bargains and our plumbers' prophecy of wine, women and song in our soon-to-be-swirling spa, I can feel myself healing already. Be in the moment, you-all.
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Fay Jacobs, a native New Yorker, spent 30 years in the Washington, DC area working in journalism, theater and public relations. She has contributed feature stories and columns to such publications as The Advocate, OUTtraveler, The Baltimore Sun, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, The Washington Blade, The Wilmington News Journal, Delaware Beach Life and more.

Since 1995 she has been a regular columnist for Letters from CAMP Rehoboth, and won the national 1997 Vice Versa Award for excellence. Her columns are collected in the books, As I Lay Frying: a Rehoboth Beach Memoir and the newly published Fried & True - Tales of Rehoboth Beach.

Fay is Publisher and Managing Editor or A&M Books, the publisher of the 14 classic Sarah Aldridge novels.

She and Bonnie, her partner of 25 years, relocated to Rehoboth Beach, DE in 1999. They have two Miniature Schnauzers and a riding lawn mower.

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