Happy Christmas Eve, all you Christmas people. I get it–you’re busy, I’m busy–so I’ll make this short this week. Let me tell you about my life preservers–here are three things that saved me this year.
THING ONE: MUSIC
I disappear into the obscure murk of a club. Bodies melt. Energy exchange. Clatter and din. Vibration and shudder in the rattle and hum of the bass and drum.
Duct tape has a smell that mixes with metal and sweat and spilled beer and brings me back to who I am.
Here, I am unseen in the shadows. I lean back and close my eyes and feel the alchemy of everything surge through my bones.
When I feel dead, this brings me alive.
THING TWO: WATER
Part 1. The Big Dipper sits squarely in the black space between the tall treetops as I float on my back in my hot tub. “Whenever you feel alone, look up at the Big Dipper and know I see it, too.” she said to me.
Water covers my ears so that all I hear is the steady whooshwhooshwhoosh of my heart. It’s silent and deafening. My heartbeat tells me that I am alive. The Big Dipper reminds me that we are all in this mess together, even in complete solitude.
My fingers release from the sides of the tub and I allow myself to be gently held. Buoyant. Weightless. Let go or be dragged.
Part 2. “Don’t deny yourself your inspiration points,” she insisted.
Where the forest meets the sea. Wild and untamed. Show-offy waves crash against craggy rocks and seastacks. The ancient trees, bent and hobbled like the most noble of grandmothers and as strong and wise as her, too. Here is where I feel as small as the grain of sand that scrunches through my toes on my way to the foamy tideline.
Power and perspective. Constant motion begets utter stillness. Everything contradicts into perfect sense.
The water is where I am renewed.
THING THREE: MY CLASSES
Long, drawn faces with brows knit into deep crevasses. Eyes rimmed with fatigue, worry, fear. Me, too, I say. I’m glad you’re here.
See, this is what helps me, I tell them. I guide bodies through stretches and pose after pose and shout at them “Let me see you breathe!”
Jawlines soften. Deep, audible sigh. There, I say. That. That’s it, that’s yoga.
I don’t believe that yoga is magic but I do believe that something magical can happen when you do yoga.
When all I feel is worthless and afraid, my classes show me otherwise. Energy shifts. Palpable change.
No one will pay me to teach yoga to myself, I joke to my classes. The relationship is symbiotic, simple and profound. I guide and observe. They respond and practice and walk out different than they arrived. Cells rearranged. Stillness within.
My classes give me hope when all I feel is despair.
Music, water, teaching. My three life preservers.
Tell me, what are yours?