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So Russell has decided to quit the military because he doesn't want to fly a desk. I was scared to death--out of my mind with fear! I had never NOT been associated with the comfort zone of the military and the thought of being a civilian, living with civilians was way out of my realm of reality. I really thought civilians were different somehow and I wouldn't fit in. At the same time I had been diagnosed with glaucoma and was scared to death of that as well because my mother had already lost some of her vision because of it. So my life was pretty much coming apart as I saw it. I developed a muscle spasm in the back of my left shoulder and went to the flight surgeon for adjustments. He was very helpful and decided to send me for biofeedback sessions to help me relax. He had no clue, but his decision actually opened the door to the rest of my life. Those few biofeedback sessions showed me just how much I didn't know how to relax. I was shocked. Yoga classes were recommended so I started following Priscilla Patrick on TV every morning for her 15 minute program. It didn't take long for me to get hooked on yoga.

As we got closer to Russell's separation date he was offered a job in Peru by a college friend who was already working there. He ultimately accepted the job which relieved some of my anxiety. I had not been happy living in California after 6 years in Europe. I worried constantly about my children and we had had a couple of incidents that augmented that worry. So I was very happy to be going to Peru. I just didn't know about those miners. Russell had delighted in telling me all kinds of stories about growing up in a small mining town and none of the scenarios of drinking, fighting, wives locking husbands out of the house, etc., related to anything in my life. Not only was I being exposed to civilians, but miners to boot. Russell was strange enough, how was I going to get along with others just like him. I fought to stay calm, and the yoga was helping, but the panic simmered under the surface.

At one point we were to go to Ajo for 2 weeks to visit family and meet Roy and his wife, but there was so much to be done before the movers came and not enough time. I gathered up all my courage and told Russell that I wanted he and the girls to go ahead while I would stay and finish some things. I would fly over and spend the second week and meet them. He was furious that I would even consider contradicting his decision. But I stuck to my guns. He was sure I would do nothing but I proved him wrong again. I accomplished everything I said I would, went to Ajo as planned. It was very scary to go against Russell and I'm sure very distressing for him. I usually never had the nerve so he was used to me being compliant. That was my second step toward self-actualization.

I taught myself to lie down and relax for 20 minutes or so, kind of zoning out. I was hooked on yoga, but told myself that I was only interested in the physical exercises. Nobody was going to mess with my mind! So I called it "zoning" not meditation. Oh, I had no idea where I was headed.

We arrived in Ilo, Peru, and settled in. Very quickly I realized that a mining community is just the same as a military community, just a different business. Same hierarchy, same petty squabbles between women, men still pretty much focused on only their job leaving the household to the wives, long work days. On the upside there was a real sense of community and family and lots of social activities and sports. I could do this!

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