Photo by: Gia Venturi

Photo by: Gia Venturi

This is the earliest I’ve completed my practice in a couple weeks, I think. Tonight’s yoga was almost a necessity after the day I had today. Word to the wise, if you see a nickel on the street, don’t pick it up, it will not bring you five times the good luck as a penny. I found this out the hard way today.

Let’s just say, I had lots of growth opportunities today, but that’s not what I’d like to focus on. What I would like to talk about is the view I’m getting of my neighbors and the impact of the current recession on those people at the economic margins.

The way canvassing for the Census works, it means I walk literally from house to house, block to block knocking on every door for about 8 hours a day.

The first thing that’s been striking to me is the number of people that are home to answer the door at 9, 10, 11 o’clock in the morning. A lot of these people are adults and many of them men. I can only imagine it means a lot of them aren’t working right now. While I haven’t been left unscathed by this recession by any means, I’ve been very fortunate to have supportive family and my mindset is also fundamentally positive in terms of my ability to make money, bounce back, be an entrepreneur, etc.

It has been eye-opening and a little heart-breaking to see the number of children and young people growing up in dirty, run-down houses, sometimes with litter, old furniture, broken down cars, and skinny dogs taking the place of a lawn and pretty flowers.

There’s also no shortage of boarded up foreclosures and houses with broken windows. But for every one of those there’s another house that makes me long to garden, and I would be doing a number of people a disservice if I didn’t also mention just how many people are taking the time to cultivate beauty in the midst of all of it.

I had no idea there were so many people growing roses in the Valley. I’ve scarcely missed a chance to inhale a single delicious rosebush – deep reds, lavender, blush, yellow, sunset roses and more.

I normally ignore these areas that I’m walking, perhaps muttering disapprovingly when I am forced to confront them in my day to day life. I am so smug and superior as I park next to them at Wal-Mart in my fancy car that I can’t afford.

After knocking on hundreds of doors, repeating the same thing in English and my broken Spanish that everyone needs to be counted because everyone matters, I have started to check myself when I begin to rant or pass judgment.

I even remembered to use my yogic breathing toward the end of the day to interrupt my upset and “get my mind centralized” instead of screaming at the top of my lungs in the middle of the street.

Yoga is becoming essential. After walking 20K plus steps today, my little feetsies are sore, my thighs are sore and my back a little weary, but I can also feel muscle building and see firmness and definition in my calves again. You can’t exactly bounce a nickel off my ass yet, but I’m workin’ on it…