The recent period of long, intense hours in my job have kept me away from yoga class for two weeks. Yesterday I finally went back and I didn’t feel any less fit or able after the absence, but my balance was off kilter. It took everything I had to move into some of the poses, and more of that to stay there. It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that yesterday’s imbalance is indicative of a lack of equilibrium that goes beyond that mat in a yoga studio.
It hasn’t been all bad up to now; only it seems that since the heavy period ended, I’m flying around trying to find a place to land. Or maybe I’m just resisting the landing, wanting to be floated along on the waves of air like that gull I watched the other day.
The big proposal went in last Friday and as I handed it off to the person who would print it and deliver it, I felt like I was handing her a 100 pound weight. I walked out of the office and opened my eyes to acknowledge the approaching weekend with a wagonload of gratitude. Apros pos, because it was Thanksgiving, and three days of freedom sat on my horizon, and each of those three days was forecasted to be spectacular – sunshine and 20+C temperatures. It was like someone was handing us those days as a reminder to be thankful.
And it was easy to be thankful every minute of those three days; they were bright, clear, soft and breezy, and the nights cooled down for the best kind of open window sleeping.
Actually, the sleeping didn’t come for me proper until the following Tuesday, another indication of my off-kilter state. But it didn’t matter; when you get days like that, it’s easy to climb out of your petty personal concerns.
Monday, Thanksgiving Day, I sat in the sun and watched some fellas bustling around on a sailboat, readying her to sail. I felt a stab of envy a little while later as I watched them glide off into the harbour. As her sails rose in the sunlight, I wished I could lie on that deck, an invisible stowaway drifting off to anywhere.
I was carrying a journal and in it I wondered where the escape desires were coming from. I hadn’t experienced them in a long time, since years ago when I was so desperate to leave a job and a city. I’m not feeling anything like that now; in fact I would even say I am pretty content about things.
I know the sailboat desires were just me wanting to get back on an even keel. (Schmaltzy pun, but it’s appropriate.) I wrote a little more and painted a little and got not a little pleasure in the process, but my mind wandered, lost in the freedom of time – like that floating bird.
My girls had gently nudged me into the idea of Thanksgiving on Friday. Anticipating the weather and at least one more rooftop dinner, I couldn’t fathom anything like a traditional meal. I was tired. But they eased me into that idea too; and though we sat in the sun on the rooftop patio to enjoy it, we had a meal of turkey breast and roasted potatoes and beets and green beans and squash and even pumpkin pie.
I went to bed that night, grateful again, and still unable to sleep.
Things are quieting at work and as another week approaches I'm considering the landing. I'll keep working at my Tree Pose; maybe that will help.
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What if our religion was each other
If our practice was our life
If prayer our words
What if the temple was the Earth
If forests were our church
If holy water – the rivers, lakes and ocean
What if meditation was our relationships
If the teacher was life
If wisdom was self-knowledge
If love was the centre of our being
That, my friends, is the most beautiful thing I read all day, and thing number 26 of 101.
Thirteen: Today’s sunshine. It’s above O°C, for starters, and that is always a bloody beautiful day this time of year. But the sun – whooo boy do we need it. I take vitamin D supplements but there’s an extra dose of something in that sunshine – like some secret vitamin that worms its way through your pores and bones and finds its way to your soul.
But it’s more than that today – the sun is different today. It's closer, more present. I could feel it enveloping me down there on the ground, as opposed to just shining down and filtering its way through the blanket of winter. It’s as if spring is hovering at the door deciding whether to come in. I say come on in Spring – you’re never more beautiful than you are when you’re hovering at the door.
Fourteen: This post by Steve. My friend – women everywhere are going to be jealous of your beached goddess. Finding wonder in long-established love, what could be more beautiful?
Fifteen: This cookbook, which I bought on the weekend. I have to make myself not buy cookbooks; I could sit and look at them forever. But I allowed myself this one because I buy the magazine often and I justified the cookbook thinking that instead of buying the magazine every month, I would buy this at the cost of less than two issues. (Who am I kidding? It’s a beautiful magazine.)
These days I'm particularly enamoured with cookbooks featuring natural, unprocessed food. Natural food is of the most beautiful gifts this planet shares with us, and meals that are simply and lovingly prepared from it is more beauty for the soul. This winter I’m in love with food more than I’ve ever been – maybe it was my way of enduring embracing the winter months. When my television is on, it’s on Food Network most of the time – when I'm not cooking and eating, I'm watching somebody else cooking and eating.
Recently I had to put a moratorium on kitchen activities because I had too many things saved in the freezer for my lunches and dinners. I’ve used it up and am rocking the kitchen again. Last night I made Turkey Chili Taco Soup and I’m counting down the minutes until lunchtime so I can eat it.
Sixteen: How I feel when I do yoga. My body is not a lot of things. But it continues to be flexible and bendy and for that I feel fortunate, because the little bit of heaven I feel at the end of a yoga session is something you just can’t bottle. I’m so ready for serious some outside action again, but in the meantime, daily yoga makes me happy – and beautiful.