Yesterday, Teresa and I received the painful news that her mother, Maria Luisa Carrasco de Chavez Delgado, had passed away after a long, gradual decline in her health in Peru. Teresa had been down to Lima to see her mother three weeks ago. Tomorrow, Teresa will fly down to Lima again, but this time to join her three sisters in laying her mother to rest.
As the matriarch of a clan of sisters, Luisa (or Celeste to her intimates) welcomed me into her home 43 years ago when I first fell in love with her daughter. For more than 15 years, she lived right next door to us in Miraflores, She is intertwined with my memories of Peru. When we moved back to the States in 1996, she came up for Christmas almost every year to visit with us and her other daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
My son, who now goes by the name of Matt Smith Chavez, is on his home stretch for a Master of Art Practice at Berkeley. He’s teaching an undergraduate course this semester, and will do another one in the summer. Graduation is only months away. Then, he’ll have to give up his funky, Bay-front art studio and figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life. Meanwhile, he just has to create.
This is another brief entry to show that I am still alive, but unable to carry coherent thought for more than a paragraph.
I have not been writing here much recently. I’ve been working too much, not getting enough rest and exercise, and trying too hard. Harking back to our fall trip out to see our son, Matthew, at Berkeley, is the equivalent of sending a postcard on the Internet.
Of course, Maria Teresa is not in California, but in Lima, Peru, dealing with her mother’s declining health. We won’t be together for St. Valentine’s Day, but she’ll be in my heart. The photo is from our trip in November to visit our son, Matthew, at Berkeley.
An interview with Andrea R. Jain who wrote Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture lays down some pretty heavy timber on pop analysis of yoga’s introduction into American mainstream culture and even the sniping from India about Western yoga being a bastardization of yoga’s true essence:
Fake, Evil, Spiritual, Commodified; What’s the Truth About Popular Yoga? | Religion Dispatches. The key message for Selling Yoga’s readers is that yoga has been perpetually context-sensitive, so there is no “legitimate,” “authentic,” “orthodox,” or “original” tradition, only contextualized ideas and practices organized around the term yoga. In other words, the innovations unique to pop culture yoga do not de-authenticate them simply because they represent products of consumer culture.
Postural yoga is a transnational product of yoga’s encounter with global processes, particularly the rise and dominance of market capitalism, industrialization, globalization, and the consequent diffusion of consumer culture. To reduce its innovations to borrowings from, or the mere commodification of, otherwise authentic religious wares, however, would undermine the narrative and ritual functions and meanings of yoga for many of the practitioners I engage with in my study — the insiders to modern postural yoga.
This means I’m going to have to buy another yoga book on Amazon for my Kindle. At least, it will not crowd my bookshelves or weigh down my shoulder bag. It was published in December
I’m just beginning to process my photos from my November trip to San Francisco to visit with my son, Matt. On Thanksgiving Day, after visiting the SF wharves and the Golden Gate Bridge, we headed down Interstate 280 and then cut over to Half Moon Bay, arriving just in time to catch the evening light show. It was worth the trip.
It’s not as welcoming as a yoga mat, but it’s where I spend most of my waking hours, learning the ropes at LCG Inc., building working relationships with my peers and plying my trade as a writer-editor-researcher. The company is about a tenth of the size of my previous employer, but I probably do 10 times more work. I used to say that I worked in the Prop Shop; now I am the Prop Shop. Even though we have not presented a proposal since I’ve been here (mid-November), mainly preliminary responses, I always got a clogged to-do list and a stack of tasks. There’s all kinds of writing and thinking that needs to go into preparing to bid for a Federal contract.
LCG is a different kind of corporate animal. It’s small business working in the Federal health IT sector and grants management. It’s a challenge to understanding the details of each field. We’re working with 17 agencies on the IT side and even more on the grants management side. I have to create a kind of scorecard to keep track of all the clients, acronyms and players. It’s also in Federal government so there’s all kinds of changing taking place in the way that information technology is handled.
Just as with DMI, the company gives me a laptop that I can take home with me, usually on weekends. Most work days, I don’t have time to check my personal mail, Twitter or Facebook accounts during business hours. I don’t even think about it. It’s a heightened focus that can stretch over several days. I sometimes have to force myself to pack up my bags and leave the office.
Yoga slows down
For the past four-five months, I backed off my practice and focused on restorative or yin yoga classes. Plus, the holidays were particularly disruptive of my normal routines, getting to the gym and class. I’ve had to take time off work to deal with dental surgery and that time has to be made up, assignments delivered on schedule, and lessons learned. Thrive Yoga is on my way home, not 10 minutes from the office, but I still find myself driving past it because my discipline has been sapped by my workload. But that’s precisely when I should be going to class.
I wrote this entry last night, but my blog security system locked me out after midnight so I could not post it until now.