Friday, March 06, 2015

Turning a Corner

Sometimes, when reviewing my own Instagram or Twitter feed (we all do this periodically, right? To relive last week and also ensure that we did not post anything too embarrassing while drinking wine and binge watching House of Cards?) I come to the realization that most of my photos and tweets are about eating and drinking. Coffee, beer, wine. Tempeh, mason jar salads, cake. In other words: thanks for following me, despite such shortcomings. 

That said, this past weekend - which seems like a thousand years ago, because somehow it is already Friday - was a great one. In fact, the whole week has been pretty great, which fills me with hope because it means we're turning a corner. As you all know by now, it's been a long, cold, and lonely winter, a fact I'm lamented again and again. During the last few months I've missed my MFA cohort, struggled to acclimate to the ups and downs of freelancing, stopped exercising because the YMCA burned down (no one was hurt, but it was still very upsetting), and stayed indoors because it was too cold to leave my house. Since I work from home, this was a very bad habit indeed. 

Then, this past weekend, life began to thaw. Part of it was the fact that the calendar turned to March and even though the weather is still miserable and manic (yesterday it was 77; today, 39) I can see the spring-like light at the end of the tunnel. I met a new friend and reconnected with some old ones. I made my peace with running and ran 12 non-miserable miles around Greenfield Lake, which means I probably won't die during the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon. Another new brewery opened in Wilmington and I drank all their brown ales. Good news, all of it. 

I also fell in love with a new yoga teacher at the studio I've been attending for the last few months. She teaches Jivamukti Yoga, a style that balances a physical, spiritual, and ethical practice. There's chanting and singing and music, and a lot of talk in the beginning of the five tenets of Jivamukti, which I will get into some other time, as I'm still new to it all.  For now, I will say that even though I've been practicing yoga for over ten years, I approach it with complicated feelings. Is it a spiritual thing? Or just exercise? Am I co-opting a culture that isn't mine? Why do all yoga teachers use the same cliches and platitudes when they speak? Etc, etc. And so, when I went to this new instructor's class and found myself grinning through the whole thing even though it was very hard, feeling peaceful and full of love and deeply connected to the world in a rare and beautiful way, it was as if my yoga practice slid across some invisible threshold I didn't even know was there. I'm really excited to keep practicing with this instructor and to see how my practice evolves under her guidance. 

In other words, happiness is on the horizon. In many ways, it's been here the whole time, waiting to come in. I just needed to shake off winter's grip and open the door. 

(PS: Here's an old love letter I wrote to yoga, which remains relevant.)