Thursday, January 19, 2012

Breath Prayer

Today was an incredibly long day though fulfilling.

It started out at 7:30am with a 30 minute sweat session over at the fitness center followed by a 35 minute date with Jillian Michaels 6-week 6-pack.  Rough morning!  I showered afterwards, dressed, grabbed breakfast and ran out the door.  On the bus I ate my overnight oats with banana, blackberries, peanut butter, and wheat germ.


It was scrumptious!  I did feel bad though while eating on the bus.  Most of the people who ride the public transportation in this city are of lower socioeconomic status and all I could keep thinking was “Oh my gosh, did they get breakfast? How horrible of me to be eating in front of them…”  Anyways, I finished up quickly and arrived at school only to head straight to Cytogenetics class.  We spent the entire time talking about the centromere.

Seriously, I learned stuff I never even fathomed!  Did you know that cancer cells are actually “addicted” to aneuploidy (having more than the typical 46 chromosomes in any given cell) and that in ER- breast cancer, those cases that have cells with the most chromosomal instability have the longest time before relapse?  How crazy.  The worse the aneuploidy, the better it responds to a treatment that promotes anaphase.  Cool stuff.
After class, it was time to get down to business and finish prepping so I could present to the attending physicians during our preclinic conference at one o’clock.  Thankfully I had done a lot of this yesterday so it went pretty smoothly.  While I worked I ate my lunch of a chicken and gouda sandwich made with my new sweet & spicy mustard (which is DELICIOUS!) along with a side of various pretzels and sesame sticks.


Preclinic conference went well, if a little long, and it was followed by a very heated discussion of direct-to-consumer genetic testing.  Man, you get 15 genetic counselors/genetic counseling graduate students in a room and introduce the ideas of ill-validated tests, bull-crap research, faulty values, and the strong potential for misinformation being disseminated to the general public and you get an explosion…in the best possible way.  We have a really nice brainstorming session which, at times, turned into a venting session but it was very cool to hear everyone’s opinions.

In the late afternoon I headed to work for an hour and a half and snacked on some cheese before being confined to the freezer room.  At 5p I hitched a bus ride home which turned out to be an awful decision.  The traffic was disgusting and I legitimately could have walked home faster.  Oh well, when I did get home I dropped off my homework, grabbed my bible and prayer book, and drove myself (through that same darn traffic) to church for the Catechumenate.


This is a night where all sorts of people, mostly those new to this church or to the Episcopal faith, come together and deepen their faith through scripture exploration and questioning.  I fall into the “new to this church” category.  I have been a member of the Episcopal church body since 2006 though I have been attending this particular cathedral on a regular basis since August 2011.  I also am a person who came to the church a bit later in life so I see this as a chance to explore my faith a bit more as an adult.  One of the best parts: they serve dinner first!  Tonight we have a great, hearty chili (with thin spaghetti noodles mixed in!) which I topped with Mexican cheese and a side of salad, baby carrots, and raw broccoli.


When the majority of us had finished, the whole group went up into the sanctuary and we did an exercise called the Breath Prayer.  We all sat down, closed our eyes, and brought to mind our version of Jesus.  We imagined him saying “What can I do for you tonight?” and we answered there in the silence.  The Canon (that’s a priest in my church) in charge reminded us that the answer to that question doesn’t have to be anything huge, noble, grand, etc.  You don’t have to ask for world peace, you can just ask for help at work, or with a test, or with a relationship.  It can be pedestrian.  That’s okay.  Then, after having answered that question for our version of Jesus, we started the prayer.  With each breath we said a prayer.  We breathed in and said “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.”  I swear that each time I said it my body got more relaxed and I became more focused.  It was a great way to center myself after such a long day.  Following prayer time we dug into dessert and into scripture.  The sweet: a rolled butter cake with chocolate frosting and a mocha mousse.  The scripture: John 1:35-51.


The cake was great and the reading was one that I had seen before but sitting at my table with four wonderful women, I saw it in a whole new light.  It was great to encounter the dichotomy of Jesus, his Godliness and his stark human nature.  We also focused on the idea that Jesus calls us to question him and to question ourselves and our faith. It is with this encouragement that we undergo the Catechumenate.  Great night and I have a feeling all of the following ones (it goes through April, Easter to be precise) will be just as fulfilling.

The ride back to my apartment was much less traffic-filled which I totally appreciated and by the time I got home it was time for my nutritionist appointment.  I think it went really well and I’m very much enjoying this relationship.

Skype Annette

We talked about my shin splint pain, how to fuel for and refuel after running, and the idea of going vegetarian for a week to see what it’s like.  I mentioned a bit ago that according to my blood type I should be a vegetarian so I thought it wouldn’t hurt me to try it out sometime.  I think I like chicken, turkey, and fish a bit too much to easily give it up for any long amount of time but I think I could incorporate a few weeks here and there.  I don’t know yet but we’ll see whenever I experiment.  On the whole though I noted to her that I am feeling a bit more balanced with food lately.  It’s not like that everyday but it’s been months since I have felt like this though I’d say it’s a small victory.

Questions: What was your victory today?
What faith do you follow?


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