My Inner Worlds
Today presented a challenge for balancing my energetic selves. I pluralize self because I have many aspects that don’t yet fit into one. The morning started with a good journaling session and sipping coffee while the Wolf pack meditated and slept around me. (Matt was the meditator; the dogs napped.) Matt had a client session and left for a few hours. During that time I decided the sun felt right for cleansing the household crystals, so I made many trips from room to room and out the back door to carefully place the gems and stones we have collected over the years on the deck to bathe in the sun. Each solstice or equinox, I perform this ritual to help the energy stay clear and balanced in our home. The sun shone beautifully on the yard and begged me to take some pictures of the stones returning to their own natural harmony. So I did, feeling mesmerized by the window crystals featured below.
Something switched me from the calm yin of the morning to an energetic yang that went unnoticed until Matt came home and actually left the room we were in because he was trying to find a meditative space to do his creative work. I harshed his vibe, but didn’t feel insulted. It was time for my advanced yin yoga class, and I left the house knowing I’d return in a smoother frame of mind.
And I did. Class was great, allowing me to sweat out the yang and absorb the yin in the hot room. I arrived home relaxed and found Matt not in the meditative space I had prepared for--he’d taken on the yang. I can now feel some sort of energy zinging inside my core, out of harmony with the chill mood I’m experiencing externally.
The equinox encourages the world to balance, to find that state of equilibrium between light and dark, or any other pair of opposites that apply to our present circumstance. While the true equinox occurred one week ago, I chose to do my seasonal sun clearing today and am feeling the inner imbalance of yin and yang energies. I love that I can sense this and can work towards integrating it into a whole, where the flow gently draws one way or the other, but it still works in harmony. This is the way I become one self instead of the many selves that pull me in disparate directions.
My yogic journey continues, and it is delightful.
A good friend of mine gifted me with a raven and skull statue earlier this week. I love crows and ravens. While in Dublin, Ireland in 2008, I got a crow tattoo on my breastbone, inked by Zsolt at Zulu Tattoo in the Temple Bar district. I call it “downward flying crow” and will not post a picture due to its location. As a junior in high school I wrote a parody on Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” and won an award. My love of the large black corvid goes way back.
I’m so excited about receiving this present that I had my own photo shoot yesterday in two different locations: work and home, although the backgrounds look similar because I have the same decorating taste in both spaces.
Without further ado, I introduce Ravenskul, guardian of the Wolf living room, protector of all who lounge on the not-so-comfy sofa. He will also be a great prop tomorrow for my Dungeons and Dragons pirate game.
Ahoy, matey! The captain has a new friend to keep lookout for merchant ships to board and plunder.
My thoughts won’t gel on the topic swimming in my head today. To ensure my blog doesn’t feel lonely, here’s an unrelated subject that fascinates me—Alien.
I’ve loved the Alien movies since I matured into an adult and left my fear of certain horror behind me. I don’t like all horror stories or images, but the Alien franchise strikes a chord that makes me feel deeper into issues like a mother’s love, creation and creator, death that sustains life. When Matt and I watched Prometheus in the theater (the Alien prequel), it left me feeling profoundly disturbed. I watched it four or five times before I figured out what unsettled me—the dark motive of creator killing its creation. Looking back at all the movies, I see a theme of non-benevolent creator being a bit of a you-know-what. The internet probably has this all figured out about Ridley Scott and the underlying meaning of his movies, but I don’t read those posts. This is personal and the significance for me won’t be the same as it is for the man who wrote the stories.
We recently watched Alien: Covenant and I resonated yet again with the undertones of destruction and creation. Spoiler alert, but a minor one: when the baby mother alien was born and waved in time with her creator, my heart melted and I actually said, “Awww.” I tried to find a picture of that moment in the movie, but couldn’t. I’m not posting the scary alien photos.
Thanks to my sister Amy, I can now combine two loves of my life—yoga and Alien. This morning I purchased a tank top to wear to classes at Raleigh Yoga Company that shows a mature alien in a centering toe squat. I think it will help me make friends.
This past week saw many schools open their doors to a new class of students. The church where I work was no exception; admitting infants, toddlers, and children up to four years old back into the cavernous stone-walled echo chamber where I crunch numbers and try to concentrate. The kids are adorable, and I love to see them play outside. The teachers try to instill courtesy in their little charges as they walk from classroom to outdoor space to chapel by mimicking the “quiet behavior” of pressing a finger against the lips so sound doesn’t escape. It doesn’t always work, but I give them an A for effort.
On the first day of school one little preschooler couldn’t resist the pull of the fire alarm. Literally. This happens every year, but never on the inaugural day. As I worked in my zen-like office, filled with candles and ambient lighting to remind me to not stress, I glanced up from my desk and saw the flash of light on the ceiling that indicates the fire alarm has been triggered. I heard a dim siren from down the hallway and thanked the gods of faulty wiring that the alarm wasn’t going to blast my ear like it always does. As my arms raised to put my fingers in said ears, the alarm blast sounded in my office and nearly shook me from my chair (a slight exaggeration, but the siren must cause damage to my eardrums). I don’t know why the alarm didn’t trigger at all the sound stations at the same time, but I was grateful for the two-second warning.
I walked with an awkward gait through the beautiful echo chamber where a fire siren finds even more vibrancy as it bounces from stone wall to terrazzo floor and into our ears. The awkward pose came from moving my legs while hugging my phone to my body (no pockets) because my hands had to cover my ears. I finally made it to the courtyard where children had already evacuated their classrooms and got early jungle gym time under the large oak trees. My coworkers and I laughed at having yet another false alarm due to intrigued young minds who use the scientific method to find out what exactly a fire pull does. I could enjoy a laugh because someone else on staff now has to interface with the fire department—it used to be my job and it caused me major stress. Thus the need for a zen den of an office.
Welcome back to school. We can now check off the preschool compulsion to pull the little red thingy and enjoy our work days in relative quiet.
I began my yoga practice ten weeks ago today. In the beginning I was juiced, ecstatic every time I got home from a Yin class. Then my body progressed to tired, and I’d collapse in bed after a quick shower and no time spent with my dogs that evening. They resented my lack of attention, which led to a realization that I can’t have it all. I trimmed back on “my” time outside of yoga so I’d still be a good mom and a communicative partner to Matt, who understood my dilemma in a way our furry children couldn’t. So I haven’t read as much as I’d like, my writing time has dwindled, and I’m learning new house management processes (as in, maybe I don’t need to vacuum the floors every week or maybe the laundry can sit on top of the dryer, unfolded, until I can make the time to put everything in its place).
All of the above will naturally resolve itself as I continue yoga and everyone settles into new routines. However, I have knee pain. The Yin postures have opened my body and joints, and while you’re supposed to feel discomfort during class, and I do, the body is not to experience pain. I don’t believe it’s the Yin that has brought about the knee pain, but the inclusion of Bikram into my yoga practice. Two weeks into Bikram, the knees protested. I ignored it at first, but I can’t anymore. They hurt throughout the day, not just in class.
You might think, “Well, why don’t you stop?” The yoga has shown me a weakness in my muscular or tissue structure, and doing nothing will not strengthen what is weak. I’ve modified postures during class, which annoys my competitive self, but it’s the smart thing to do. I believe by continuing to practice Bikram my knees will become strong and the pain will disappear. I’m not adding more classes to my schedule, capping my practice at six to seven hours per week. I want to do more, but just like my family life, my body needs time to adjust to this major change in routine.
A pictorial representation of my potential—ready to open and glow like golden sunlight.