Alternative Treatments

That Was ThenOn February 12, 2014, I left my dying aunt in China. She had been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and had completed her first course of chemotherapy with mixed results. I had spent 4 of the previous 12 months with her; first in a small apartment in Shenzhen that she had rented to undergo ‘alternative’ treatments, and later moving her back into the home she shared with her siblings in Hong Kong – a last ditch acquiescence to western approaches. By then, she had developed metastases to her liver, lungs and bones. When I left my aunt, the only things I had to return to were a very sporadic job in Alaska, a dead relationship in Boulder, a dwindling bank account, and a whole lot of loose ends left untied on both sides of the Pacific.

After my return to Boulder, I woke up each Tuesday morning with enough time and the full intention of going to my women’s yoga class at 10:30AM. But each week, something came up at the last minute, usurping my attention until it was just too late to get there in time. On this particular day in March, I wrestled the demon again. Despite waking at 8AM with ample time for a simple errand downtown, at 10:08AM I was still on Pearl Street and cutting it close.

Suddenly I became aware that I had been feeling a gut-clenching reluctance to show up to yoga…and the universe had been matching it for weeks. I was driving slower than necessary, stopping for the yellows, debating whether it was worth rushing to the studio only to arrive too late.

Second-guessing and heavy with trepidation, my feet somehow carried me up the steps to the studio with minutes to spare. Another self-doubt arose: our regular instructor was away, and I felt hesitant about venturing forth with a substitute. Yet, a voice within spoke up, “For heaven’s sake, you’re here already. You might as well. You’ll be glad you did.”

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