My Inner Worlds
Today Matt and I celebrated twenty-five years of marriage with two naps, yoga, meditation, writing, and dinner at my favorite restaurant Cowfish. We planned a low-key day because our gift to one another was being debt-free. For the first time in our married life, we owe no one money. It’s a cool way to memorialize our first quarter of a century together. And in the universe’s supportive style, the title to my car arrived in this afternoon’s mail.
Registration for an integration workshop in Arizona opened up this weekend, and we are set to explore our inner selves more deeply in 2018. Matt has some big professional plans that should unfold over the next several months, and we are excited to experience the change that it will bring into our world. I want to get back into writing fiction, but that resurrection can’t occur until my workload lifts in February. Before anything, though…yoga. Straying from my yoga practice since early November has shown me how much my body needs the regular sweating, stretching, and connective tissue care. That has to come first in my decisions on what I will transform in this new phase of our lives.
Here’s to a happier, healthier, and more integrated year for all of us.
Technically, it’s half a snow day since my office opens at noon. Also, I could work from home, so I really don’t get a snow day. But I’ve taken this morning's hint from nature and slowed down. When the weather shuts down a city (as a dusting will do in the Southeast), it’s wise to also take a moment or two to go inside and see what’s happening.
My body has been whimpering for yoga. The past couple of months have been my busy time at work, so my yoga practice has suffered. I’ve accepted this is the natural flow of the year for me, for as long as I have my current job. Since I love my job, I’m accepting the cycle of church accounting life.
Enter snow day. My yoga mat unrolled itself in my exercise room. My Yin props floated to the floor from the corner where they have gathered dust for weeks. And I enjoyed over an hour of quiet, except for listening to my body telling me that all the progress I made with six solid months of yoga practice will be for naught if I don’t have a plan for a semi-practice during the winter months. Either my yoga instructor sees me regularly, or my chiropractor does. I’d rather spend my time and money at the studio because I feel awesome every time I leave.
As I write I’m eating a hot breakfast, not my usual fare during the week. Taking the opportunity to leave routine is fun. Now I have to figure out if it’s safe for me to drive on this road…
It’s been nine weeks since my last official check-in regarding my yoga practice. I’ve learned that the summer months allow for more time at the studio because my job gives me flexibility during that season. Now that year-end approaches, my work demands my attention. By the time January 1 rolls around, almost all my waking hours will be devoted to my vocation. It sucks, but I love my job and the slow summers make up for winter’s hard work.
I’ve just pulled back from five classes per week at Raleigh Yoga Company to only three. I’ll practice Yin at home as my schedule allows, but I can’t do Bikram without the hot room and an instructor taking me through the twenty-six poses. The past several weeks have been difficult to make all five classes, so I’m practicing kindness to myself and setting more realistic expectations.
Yesterday’s Advanced Hot Yin class with Laura Frey was incredible. There were two other yogis present besides me, and I enjoy practicing with them. Sometimes having space in the room allows for a more connected class. To be honest, being in a crowded hot room with people I’ve not practiced with can feel claustrophobic. Once I get to know a person’s energy, I’m fine the next time we’re together. With a full room it’s unavoidable to not touch your neighbor in certain postures, so it’s nice if you know the person whose arm you just smacked or whose mat you’re sweating on. And yes, I have sweated on a stranger’s mat before and felt mortified for having my face resting on his towel for a five minute posture. Frog pose forces intimacy with one’s neighbor, and I only hope my fellow yogis understand.
My knees are healing and strengthening. While the right knee can usually tolerate what I ask it to do, the left still needs care and modified forms. I’ve found that I don’t like wearing high-heeled shoes to work anymore, which disappoints me. I like the look of heels, but my knees and back can’t stand the way they force my body into unnatural alignment.
Bottom line: I’m learning that my yoga practice will go in cycles and that I can’t hit it as hard as I did in the beginning. I’ve also learned that my body is slowly strengthening and opening, allowing me to do more advanced work. The final thing I’ve learned is that I can successfully do Yin yoga at home, despite the dogs barking or Matt making noise. My years of building a focused mental environment are paying off and helping me embrace Yin. The more the mind shuts off during the postures, the greater the benefit. I look forward to seeing how I feel next June at my one-year anniversary.
Last night my friend’s mom died. I never met her, but I’ve worked side-by-side with my friend for almost six years. She called me this morning, sounding like she was in shock, and I’ve felt weepy all day. Last night I cried during yoga and had to leave before the Yin class I always take after Bikram. Thankfully Raleigh Yoga Company is an awesome studio, and Susan Heller hugged me as I tried to staunch my tears.
For a few weeks I’ve noticed the days shortening, the sun sleeping longer in the mornings. I used to like this natural cycle and the season of introversion it portends for me. I liked feeling the thinning of the veil that separates our world from what lies beyond. Halloween and Samhain are still a week away, yet I already feel the presence of our ancestors. I don’t mind the extra sensitivity, but I’m not ready to lose anyone.
My family has been fortunate in that we have not had the loss of loved ones (other than grandparents, which you expect to be on the other side when you're in your forties). All six siblings are alive and well. My parents are too, although Mom lives in an Alzheimer’s care unit. On the other hand, my friend has felt death since she was ten years old when her brother passed. She cared for her father, who had dementia, until he died. And then she lived with her ailing mother for years…until last night.
I’m not sure I want to be introverted this winter. I don’t want to live in my cave and nestle in the cocoon that has been my safe shelter for as long as I can remember. This summer changed me. I started yoga, but I’m not going to say yoga changed my life. I was already changing and found a new practice that suited the me that I’m becoming. I want to continue this new path.
I know that I need to shake the leaves off my branches like the trees do this time of year. I need to regroup and gather my energy this winter in order for spring’s beautiful blossoms to adorn my life. I just don’t know if I’ve ever had a dark time of year where I didn’t go dark inside. I intend to keep my candle alight during the coming season of change.