Thursday, June 7, 2012

back in the saddle

Hot Yoga is my church these days.

Unlike church, spandex and piled high hair is the outfit and showing off your tattoos is the way to make friends with your neighbors, not turn them off.  Body art is the norm, it is the expression of you.  In this setting, it is a conversation piece and a nod of approval.

I go for my mind, for my body, and when I most expect it and when I least expect it, I end up being there because my heart needs it the most.  It's hard these days to quiet your mind, to focus on anything.  It's hard to be still and quiet enough to hear the sound of your own breathing, of the sound of your own life.  I go for the quiet, for the dim light of the room, for the escape from the cell phone, for the heat, for the pressure, for the encouragement, for the practice of doing something simply for me.

In a slippy towel/downward dog "incident", I injured my shoulder in class about two months ago and hadn't been back until today.  Interesting that my yoga, my practice, my church was missing from my life for the last two months, and oh so much has happened in that time frame.  When I stepped into the candlelit room, I instantly knew that every little bit of the Scarlett O'Hara that told me to get up, get dressed, stop moping around, and get back in the yoga saddle, was right.  My inner Scarlett O'Hara knows what's up and she doesn't mess around.

(My picture of the day: the yoga scene in the middle of the room, it brings a soft focus to my practice)

The teacher, Krista, when she turned around, smiled at me, walked right over, told me how good it was to see me, and then she gave me a hug - a real, genuine hug, a lingering "embrace" - dare I say she held me? Dare I say I haven't been given a hug like that in a long time? I remember a hug from last Summer in a humid driveway that lingered, I've replayed that one in my head many times over.  I remember an embrace from last month in a church before the start of a memorial service by a man who I looked up to as a father figure who simply held me close and through choked up words thanked me for always holding his daughter near and speaking her name freely. I remember two years ago almost exactly, my father holding me tight in the living room of our shared house after I blew my lid for the umpteenth time and stood my ground about how our relationship was spiraling down and out of control and he promised me that he'd work on it. Hugs, embraces, being held, they don't come often or freely in my world.  Sad?  Maybe.  At least I'm not clueless to it.  Note to self: work on that.

It occurred to me after class, as I sat sweaty in my car how much we need human touch and that it's ok to need it.  It's ok to be someone that needs, it's not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength.  Holding everyone at bay, the world at bay, an arm's length away, it not right, its not healthy, its not love, its not life.  I had this exact conversation with a friend the other day about how it's ok to need someone else, their love, their strength, their touch.  There is a difference between being needy and needing someone.  The lines get blurry, but the need to be held should never be criticized.

There are always a series of mantras, reminders repeated throughout the class:

"Why are you here?"
"Remember your breath"
"Soften - listen to all those parts of your body of your mind that you need to soften and let them"
"Let go of that which does not serve you"

My mind wandered, and it came back, and it wandered, and it came back again...I was sweaty and hurting and not able to keep my balance, out of practice, and out of step, struggling to maintain my composure, forgetting to breathe. Not unlike how my life has waxed and waned over the last few years.  But I kept on going, breaking when I needed to, catching my breath face down in the mat, coming up to laugh at myself when I looked back down again and my own Shroud of Turin was painted in sweat -  the outline of my face soaked into my orange yoga towel - eyes, nostrils, big exhaling lips, and the outline of my heart shaped face, all in a sweaty shilouette.  Even in struggle, sweat, and self-reflection, there is always humor.  Always.

Finally towards the end of class, in pigeon pose, which I am paying for dearly, and with this hauntingly beautiful song reverberating off the walls, I let it go. I let it all out.  This song was another "love at first sound" song - another piece of music that moved me instantly.  Just a few notes in, I found myself not quite sobbing, but face down into my forearms, choking on my breath.  I just cried.  "Let go of all that does not serve you" echoing quietly in my mind.  I knew what was not serving me, what was taking up my thoughts and my worries and my fears.  I knew that I had to do something about it.  I knew that it wouldn't be easy and that something had changed.  Call it intuition, but I knew that I had to "let it go".

So, skipping the grocery store, and the to-do list for the night at home with a good friend, I ended up still sweaty in my yoga clothes, in front of my computer, unintentionally, but knowing that it would not be a short hello, and started the conversation of what I knew would end up being some kind of letting go.  THE conversation as it's been so aptly named.

Had I have not gone to class, I might still be needing to have that conversation, but having gone to class, it was a reminder that I have to be in the practice of letting go that which does not serve me.  Fear, anxiety, words unspoken, hate, loss, curiosity, unanswered questions, regrets, remorse, I have to let them out.  I have to let them go if they're ever going to be replaced by things that are their opposite - bravery, calm, peace of mind, love, clarity, thankfulness, and forgiveness.

I don't think we are ever truly rid of the people that come into our lives.  I don't think that I've seen the end of that conversation.  I don't think that you can be impacted by someone and forget about them. Even if they leave this life - like my sweet Catie girl.  I will always remember her for all the sweet, quiet, calm lessons she taught us all every single day.  But in this moment, with the current circumstances, there are something that I have to let go.   They do not serve me now.  They may serve me down the road when there's more time, more clarity, more peace - when trust proves that I did the right thing by listening to my sweating, sobbing, distractedly clear heart.

"Let go of that which does not serve you."

1 comment:

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