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Coconut water, cashews, and a few salty tears | KERRI EIKER

Coconut water, cashews, and a few salty tears


For the past year or so Ive been easing into life’s natural transition; adjusting from my full-time, and favorite career of being a mom, to a very part-time role.  I picked up a few more yoga teaching classes and looked forward to traveling with my husband.  Unfortunately, my husband had other plans for his life. My “easy” transition turned into a sudden role change. I am now a single part-time mom.

“What am I going to do with all my spare time?” and  “How am I going to support myself?” were questions screaming to be answered in those first few weeks.  “I know!” I thought to myself. “I’ll get another puppy!!!” Quite swiftly the inner reasonable adult aspect of myself squelched  that notion.

I brainstormed with friends sharing tea or wine and going through box after box of tissues.  My friend Rachel and I sat at the Wegmans cafe, two cups of tea and a packet of tissues between us.   “Kerri,”  Rachel said my name with her lovely South  African accent. “could you see yourself working here?”  She asked and opened her hands toward the produce section.  Towers of bright oranges were held in contrast by a back drop of more subtly colored eggplant and avocado towers.

“I suppose, I guess…I don’t know.” I said and put my elbows on the table my chin rested heavily on my palms and I pouted like a third grader.

“Tell you what (I love how what is pronounced more like wha…the T is only subtly implied.  Its a soft and pretty accent)  let’s just take a look at career opportunities.”  Rachel pulled out her tablet and googled up Wegman’s career opportunities.  The only position available?  Night time dairy stocking.  “Well, you could start there and then move your way up?”  Rachel said with a inflection suggesting uncertainty.  We both realized it wouldn’t do me any favors to be in a cold, dark, lonely environment at this time of my life.

I took a mental trip, retracing our route to the store. What other jobs might be available near by? Before going to Wegman’s Rachel and I received acupuncture from The Turning Point on North Market Street.  In my mind I saw Dublin Roasters.  “I suppose I could work there” I thought. Or maybe at that chiropractor office on Market.  Maybe I could even work at the front desk for the lovely Jessica Feltz who owns and runs the community acupuncture center.  My mind traveled  on down the road and started to make that left turn headed to Wegman’s, but my my attention was drawn back to that unassuming building tucked away a bit from the road just before that turn.

Rachel was talking but I hadn’t listened.  “Hey,  Isn’t that Massage therapy school right back there by the acupuncture place?”  I interrupted her.

She put her tablet down and smiled.  “ Central Maryland School of Massage.  Yes. It is.  Would you like to go get a massage Kerri?”

“Well…sure, but I meant maybe I should look into becoming a massage therapist.  I think it would go well with my yoga teaching.”

“Worth looking into, Kerri.”  Ahhhh, my name in that accent.

A week later, not only was I enrolled but I had applied for and received a Pell grant, applied for and won an essay scholarship, and that very next Monday would be my first day of class.

Monday morning I sat in the back of the room (totally uncharacteristic of me) box of tissues cliched to my heart, my notebook in front of me.  I assumed we would have a nice long lunch break at noon but this school is very unlike traditional schools, which I am enormously grateful for.  We get a 10 minute break every hour and lunch might be only 20 minutes long, sometimes 15 if I have extra questions. My eating style and rhythm, just like the rest of my life, was about to drastically change!

For many years I have been a breakfast, lunch and dinner kind of gal.  I never miss a meal and I don’t tend to snack.  With this new schedule and rhythm, my digestive system (and that wise loving inner adult) told me I was going to need to change the way I prepared my meals and ate.  Grazing was now a necessity!  Rather than packing a spicy hummus and cheddar sandwich loaded with brightly colored, juicy veggies, I would pack the hummus in a small container, the veggies, cheese and bread separately.

I learned that this grazing style of eating was very kind to my digestive system, my brain function, and it must have boosted my metabolism because my appetite drastically increased! My little paper lunch bag was replaced with a small cooler; grapefruit halves with lots of honey, and dried figs satisfied my recently acquired sweet tooth, and the experience of those little fig seeds popping in my mouth is just fun!  But, without fail, my cooler always contains a large bag of raw cashews, and here’s why;

Because of B vitamins and magnesium, cashews are actually linked to reducing not just anxiety, but also mild depression! They also contain iron, protein and important amino acids, and even omega 3 fats. All of these nutrients directly and natural lessen the effects of depression and anxiety.

“Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!” our instructors continually remind us, as massage is a physically demanding therapeutic profession. I cried when I drank my coconut water.  It’s unique substantial qualities, and slightly sweet flavor brought back the memory of sitting on the balcony in Changmai,  Thialand.  In the evenings on that trip my daughter and I took last October, I would have an Iced cold coconut water and give Eric a call from that balcony.  I’d stare at the awesome view of the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, in awe that I was gazing upon the glittering temple tops of Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastery. “Hi honey”  Eric would say as he consistently answered my calls.

I continued to drink my coconut water at school despite the trigger and subsequent tears (my classmates and teachers are so supportive and understanding). In just a few weeks I was able to get a whole glass of coconut water down while shedding only a couple of subtle tears.

This past Monday I found my seat furthest from the door, at the front of class.  “Kerri!  You forgot your box  of tissue!”  My new friend and classmate Kayla ran to get me the box.  “Thanks sweetheart, but no need to bring the whole box today.  Just maybe bring me one…no two!”

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