Posts Tagged ‘Blending your worlds’

Blessed Are The Flexible For They Shall Never Be Bent Out of Shape.

My whole life is based on movement.

I crisscross the country as a sports producer for ESPN,  joining my merry band of tv misfits along the road to creative brilliance.

I also co-own a yoga studio in East Greenwich, RI, a way station for souls who come for the physical  and stay for the spiritual and community acceptance.

So what happens when that movement comes to a grinding halt? When you have to find other ways to be flexible?

In March 2014 I was slowly coming off the road and got sick. Like strep throat and mono sick. Like I’m so sick and tired I can’t move sick. And then I couldn’t raise my left arm.  Countless tests, doctors appointments, PT appointments later and no one could figure out what was wrong with me. Until I went to the neurologist, who diagnosed a brachioplexus injury brought on by the mono. Apparently mono, an autoimmune illness, can attack nerves. Recovery time?  Two years. Two. Years. Try lugging a bag of heavy tapes cross country with the use of one arm. Or try to chattarunga when you have no feeling in your left arm and you collapse on the way down. My best friend is an amazing yogi and my favorite teacher, and she listened and lovingly argued with me as I struggled with not being…enough.

What. The. Freak.

I was mortified when I was asked to be a Lululemon ambassador; crap, I couldn’t do anything; how could I represent!  I hid when I went to the NYC Yoga Journal Conference and took Seane Corn’s class.  I love this woman and was embarrassed by my clumsiness.  I would fall off my bike…ALOT…  because I couldn’t hold onto the handle bars tightly and it would throw off my balance.  I refused to give in to any of it.  I would lie on my mat every Tuesday night in my friend Sharon’s class. I would do some sun salutations and then, exhausted, lay down and silently cry. Rivers of tears. God love my friend who was so encouraging and let me just soak it all in from corpse pose, appropriate because I felt like death most of the time. I did this for months. And over time, I slowly gave in. I put my beloved bike away, rolled out my mat, and leaned into the stiffness, stillness, numbness, the quiet, and the not knowing.

And that’s where the magic began.  The tiredness started to ease, and while my arm remained numb and wouldn’t move, my lower body could. When I realized I didn’t have to be perfect, I could be good. Enough. And it was enough. So I modified. And modified. And modified. My legs got strong and by focusing on the things I could do as opposed to the things I couldn’t, I became more flexible. Also, within the movement, I prayed. Really hard. I dove into my reliable Catholic standards of Hail Mary’s, Our Father’s and Acts of Contritions. And I threw in my favorite Hindu chant for good measure: Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha. Ganesha, my hOMe boy, is the remover of obstacles and the bringer of new beginnings. I used it all. It became a body prayer. I started to peel away the layers and removed those things that no longer served me. And I became me again. I realized it was okay to be vulnerable and to rely on others. And I didn’t always have to live up to the ESPN producer/yoga studio owner/yoga teacher persona.  I became strong again, in different ways.  I didn’t have to be perfect. I could be good. And it was enough.

Almost two years later, I have regained 85% of the movement in my arm, but it’s still numb.  It’s also a reminder of how far I’ve come.

When there is no struggle, there is no strength. Amen.

From The Laughing Elephant to The Giggling Pachederm and Back

6:30a shenanigans

6:30a shenanigans

Saturday, 4am, South Bend, Indiana. Can you say FREEZE YOUR ASS OFF?!?!?!?

It was a good show today. We got up at 4:00a to be on site for 5a for a noon game. It’s still eerily dark in South Bend, IN and bone chilling cold, the kind of cold where it hurts to breathe. The tv truck is an ice box at this hour and my director and I try to warm up the crew with our ribald humor.  I love my manic maestro, my cohort in tv crime who makes every idea I have better, every show better by just being…

The crew and I talk storylines and what needs to be done. Most of the crew is tired and snottily sick; prescriptions are compared, Vick’s wafts through the air and Hall’s are tossed around like candy. It’s January, college basketball season is in full swing and no one has time to be sick.

It’s almost gametime and we get on the air without a hitch. So what if the game clock and buzzer soon malfunction and we are delayed by 7 minutes…which by the way…is an eternity in tv time.  Out of the mayhem comes the magic and eventually it just works. We race to catch a plane, get delayed, arrive excruciatingly late to the next city, get up absurdly early to do it all over again. And again. Scene.

Cut to the next day as I arrive at our yoga studio, Laughing Elephant.  My director fondly calls it the Giggling Pachederm. Which is apropros because we do a lot of giggling here. He has never been to this warm, welcoming space, doesn’t understand yoga, nor does he care to. But he likes to do good work, and laugh along the way, and so do we. Students soon filter in with solid hugs, hello’s, ‘where ya been’s’, and it’s like coming home. They want to know what we are doing in class today, and there’s an air of expectedness as we begin. This is our show, our work with a beginning, a middle and an end. We are blessed to have some of the finest instructors in the state under our roof, including the beautiful pink lady, who today cajoles and masterfully pushes us beyond our perceived limitations. Out of the sequencing mayhem comes the magic…and it just works.

I realized on my interminable flight home that my, and our, compartmentalized worlds are not so different. There are threads of commonalities that weave through the fabric of our lives. We work hard on and off the mat to be better and do better and find the joy and laughter along the way. And we do it blessedly together.

So I gladly bring the Giggling Pachederm to the television truck, blending the good karma of one space with a completely different space. In return I take my creativity and my director’s strong work ethic to the studio, and to the mat. And more and more often, it just works. Brilliantly.


Lessons From The Mat

by Lori Mancini in Connection with No Comments

From Laughing Elephant to the Giggling Pachyderm and back

It was a good show today. We got up at 4:30a to be on site for 5a. I love my director, my cohort in tv crime who makes even early crew calls fun. So what If the lights went out and wouldn’t come back on, and we were delayed by 7 minutes…which by the way…is an eternity in tv time. Or that the  game went into OT, For once, we got it right. Sometimes it just works.

He calls our yoga studio the Giggling Pachederm. Which is apropros because we do a lot of giggling here. My director doesn’t understand yoga, nor does he care to. But he likes to do good work, and laugh along the way, and that’s basically what we do at the Laughing Elephant. So I bring the Giggling Pachederm to the tv truck, blending the good karma of one space with a completely different one, and in return take the director’s strong work ethic to the mat.

What worlds are you blending?  Do you use the best in each setting to improve them both?  We need to remember that everything is connected.  Sometimes we are the connection for good, for progress, for positivity.  Are you making all that you touch better? And are you giggling along the way? 🙂