Piri despair haiku

Holy piriformis, Batman!

Seriously, my piriformis was angry today. Or maybe it’s the gluteus medius? I don’t really know. I’ve been too busy to try to look things up and figure it out.

Work has been insane since last Friday. We are rolling out a new program and there are all kinds of customer satisfaction things to think about, and then there was a programming glitch — well, not a programming glitch, really, so much as a human logic glitch. The programmers did their job just fine. The people who were trying to figure out the logic of some of our initiatives (including me) came up short on the “figure out every possible permutation” challenge.

So starting Friday morning, and continuing on until close of business Tuesday, I was locked in a room, thinking and re-thinking three strings of logic that couldn’t, in the end, be reconciled.

But it was fun, you know, getting the headaches.

While all my other work, already on absurdly tight deadlines, backed up.


I practiced valiantly each morning, though. When work is that crazy, morning practice is all about getting it done and moving on. Which is fine. In those instances, the practice is a surface upon which “real life” is anchored. During those times, practice and life aren’t integrated. Which isn’t — I suppose — optimal, but so be it.

I have a slip of paper here that I found in the yoga room this morning. On it, a note-to-self: Sometimes practice is all about the processing and transformation of despair.

Interestingly, we use the practice to *generate* despair, too. I mean, in the end, I imagine practice can be a despair processor for life-in-general. The funny thing, though, is that we generate all kinds of angst around the very practice itself, and then use that to refine the processor. Kinda funny.


When you are both alive and dead,
Thoroughly dead to yourself,
How superb
The smallest pleasure.

Bunan 1602-76


I just went out on the patio, realizing Tyler was being too quiet. Managed to sneak up on him: he was lying there with a little pile of dirt between his paws, which he’d taken from a planter and was happily eating. Nothing better than lying in the sun, eating some dirt. He looked up guiltily when he realized I was there. He is so freaking cute.

Now he’s here on the couch, trying to get hold of one of his favorite things: a hair tie. In this case, the hair tie I’m wearing.


Tyler is now on an elimination diet to try to pinpoint what, exactly, he is allergic to. The Cop brought him to his favorite vet in the world, which involves close to a two hour drive time (each way!). She is running blood tests, and in the meantime, an elimination diet.

And to top it off, Tyler is eating a vegetarian elimination diet. Brown rice, pinto beans, tofu, some green veggies, apples, carrots. That’s it.

The difference in his health is astonishing. His skin is no longer all pink and angry; he doesn’t scratch relentlessly; he sleeps better. He is so much happier.

Last night, I gave him some flax oil, and he had an allergy attack. I looked at the kibble we were feeding him. Yup. Flax. We’ll see what else the blood tests tell us when they come back.

The beauty part of this diet is that I am making huge pots of rice and beans. We keep all of the dog food on the middle shelf of the refrigerator. Maxine has always had a raw food diet: ground meat and bones, chopped veggies, raw eggs. Now there’s a tupperware of beans and one of rice and a container of tofu.

The Cop was kind of horrified the other morning as I made my lunch before work. “Are you eating the dog’s food?” he asked, as I pulled tubs off the middle shelf.

“Yeah! It’s great!” I replied. Very handy.


And now Tyler is fast asleep beside me, lying on his back with a length of climbing rope clenched in his teeth.


12 Responses

  1. Possible side effects of flaxseed allergy may include rash, itching or shortness of breath.

    I’d never have guessed flaxseed might be an allergen for some people.. and dogs. I’m glad you found it!

    It’s funny that Tyler guilts up the way one might expect he would if he were busted with a stolen quart of ice cream or pot roast something like that. Has the dirt level in the planter lowered noticeably?

  2. Oops. I forgot to close my italics.

  3. Got it.

    Yeah, that was the funny thing. He has a little mound of dirt and it’s like he’s got a big, secret prize.

    The dirt level in the planter is much lower. Largely because he knocked a good deal of it onto the patio a few days ago.

    I was surprised about the flax, too. And guilty! I’d been dosing him with it to try to help soothe his itchy skin. Duh!

  4. hi Karen
    since we know the details, then hearing TheCop being concerned that you’re eating the dog’s food doesn’t sound so alarming. my dinner tonight is also dog food – Tyler’s rice and beans. i thought that maybe his rashes came from the digestion of fruit, which causes some humans problems, but it appears you’re finding which things cause problems, such as flax.

  5. Yes!

    Glad you found the culprit.

  6. 🙂

    Yup, at least one culprit…

    I’m happy it’s not the apples he’s allergic to, Arturo. He *loves* apples.

  7. Piriformis pain: what helped me was to rotate my legs inwardly both in updog and downdog. So in both these poses, my feet weren’t completely parallel to each other but the toes were slightly pointed in and the heels sticking slightly out. I still, to this day, don’t understand the anatomical science to it (it was my teacher’s recommendation) but it worked.

  8. I’ll try it, V! Actually, now that I think of it: I was adjusted to *not *rotate my toes in in up dog around the time I started having problems… Hmmmm. It was a big deal, too, to switch up how I placed my feet… I’m always amazed how tiny shifts cause chains of reaction throughout the whole body.

    So pigeon-toes in up- and down dog it is!

  9. I can totally see how that is an adjustment that a teacher would do – I guess they tend to look for alignment and parallel feet would seem like the “right” thing to do. But my experience was that parallel feet (and legs in general) seemed to compress the sacrum area a bit. I know that I have an unusual femur/hip socket angle, though, so maybe my teacher was trying to counteract it.

    At the very worst of my pain, he made me do a standing forward bend with serious pigeon toes and then dug an elbow into my bum. It hurt like hell and then there was a release of something and from there on, I was on the mend (took a while but now I’m at the point where I can happily do Baddha Konasana all the way down with no problem. Keeping the moola bandha engaged all the way throughout also makes a difference0.

  10. I’m able to get through everything relatively well, but baddha konasana is still killing me. I’ll know I’m fully healed once it comes back…

  11. Aaaaaw, poor Tyler allergic to flax seed! Yummy dirt!

    I like ‘Interestingly, we use the practice to *generate* despair, too.’ May use that for a launching pad for a blog post about my practice issues!

  12. […] a fascinating phrase in her latest post: Interestingly, we use the practice to *generate* despair, too.  The real question is, why does […]

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