If I’m going to be counting blessings, I’ll start with the fact that I’m safe and sound. And I have nice views. Title image: my windows onto the world. Looking north and west over Durham, NC. Even though I’ve become a hermit, these vistas may be helping to keep my spirits aloft.
I offer my blessings as a nudge for you to count yours.
Counting Blessings #1: Connecting and Reconnecting
The theme of connection is everywhere these days. And with good reason. I’ve found it much easier to reach out and reconnect (over zoom, of course) with more people than I normally do.
Time (zones) and space no longer matter. Since we’re all at home during our leisure hours, we can be together with anyone anywhere anytime we want.
I hope some our zoom habits survive in the post-pandemic period. Of course I want to see in person my friends who live locally. However, I think it’s great to have cocktails with my cousin in St. Louis together with my sister in California, spanning a 3-hour time difference. And I have semi-regular lunch with a friend in Bucharest, Romania while she is having dinner, given the 7-hour difference.
Counting Blessings #2: Daily Yoga
Doing yoga two or three times a week is one thing. Doing it every day is entirely another thing. Pre-pandemic I didn’t have time to get myself to a yoga studio every day. But these days I do have time to walk five feet from my desk, roll out my mat, do an hour of yoga. Then get back to work.
After four or five months into my daily practice, I had a strange experience. Standing in Mountain Pose – standing straight up, hands at sides – I suddenly felt all these muscles in my butt. Ones I had not previously been aware of.
I did the math. I figured I used to do 15 Sun Salutations a week. That is, 5 per class, 3 times/week. I didn’t do more because I’d get tired. Now because I’m doing more yoga, I’m able to do more. About 10 Sun Salutations per class, no sweat. That makes for 70/week. 200/month. So, well over 1000 in a 4 or 5 month period. In my previous practice it would have taken me over a year to do as many.
Apparently muscles don’t built up in the same way when you do less over a longer period of time. (Did I just figure that out?)
If you don’t know what a Sun Salutation is, the video will show you. Surya Namaskar is the Sanskrit name.
I was actually pretty excited about the discovery of my butt muscles. And I wondered if I now had “yoga butt.” I’d heard about this elusive condition. But I never really knew what it meant.
So, I googled it just now, to double-check myself. And discovered that yoga butt is a condition medically known as high-hamstring tendinopathy. A painful condition with cramping and burning. Yikes!
For more, see: What is Yoga Butt
So, the joke’s on me. But the good new is: I do not have yoga butt!
Counting Blessings #3: Change in Palate
Pre-pandemic I would have said I had an okay diet. Balanced. I ate out at restaurants a lot – apparently like everyone else in the world. And I thought I made good choices. I didn’t cook much at home. But I did make simple things during the day – and snacked.
After a good nine months of eating my own food, my tastebuds have now changed. How do I know? Because recently I had another strange experience. There was a snack item I had once loved but then somehow forgot about during these past months. When I remembered it last week, I decided to indulge in a guilty pleasure and bought a bag.
When I put a couple in my mouth, I was startled. “Did they change the recipe?” was my first thought. My second, “Did I buy the wrong thing?” They tasted – in a word – awful.
It took me a minute to realize that they had not changed, I had. I can’t ever imagine buying another bag of Cheese Curls. (Sorry, Whole Foods.)
Now I’m making kale chips. I think they taste great.
I’m surprised by this development.
I will definitely hit the restaurants once they open again. However, now I wonder if chefs will have to adapt their menus to their clientele’s changed palates – for better or worse.
Counting Blessings: Passing It On
Because my blessings are so light-hearted, I am aware that I have the means to weather the pandemic with some (relative) ease. Thus, I am also in a position to serve people in conditions where counting blessings is more difficult.
My current cause is supporting local food banks.
See also: Covid Comfort: Stories We Need Right Now
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen