projects and writings of T.A. Burkholder
I could say that, this week, there was the newness of sleeping in my roommate’s bed, under his deliciously thick covers, tucked in by two cats, while my partner’s father slept in ours. And the newness of that father moving through my house and around my life for a few days while I barely found the energy to care let alone be put out by it.
I could say there’s been the new and very unpleasant ways my body has found to rebel: wonky and angry and slow.
A couple weeks ago, my new thing could have been hearing that a friend had cancer. And then hearing that it wasn’t cancer and that he was going to be okay. My new thing this week could be hearing that a different friend has severe pneumonia and is in the ICU, sedated and ventilated. And he’s still there, struggling. My new thing could be not visiting the hospital because I don’t have the fortitude to see someone I care about in such a state. I could make (and have made) the excuse that he’d be oblivious to my presence and that his other friends and family are taking good care of him. I could claim this as a new source of old, ugly feelings.
But what I’m going to claim as my new thing is that I’ve practiced yoga eight out of the last nine days. Because it felt like what I needed. It felt like all I could do. I will practice tonight and tomorrow and maybe every day from here on out. I could say that I’d planned this new thing, the newness being the consistency, the (nearly) daily commitment. But I didn’t. It just happened. My usual two or three days a week became three days in a row, then four. That fourth day, a client told me that she’d asked her yoga teacher how often she should practice. His answer was, “How often should you breath?”
It isn’t that my practice this past week has been perfect (I already missed a day in my daily routine, after all). It hasn’t always been invigorating and joyous. There have been days like that in the past, no doubt, but almost every one of this week’s classes has been difficult and tiring and even frustrating. But that’s because my time on my mat almost always reflects my time off it. Still, I’m sure that I’d feel worse if I hadn’t shown up. I never regret going. I never say “I should have spent that hour on the internet instead.”
So I’m going to ride over to the yoga studio in a few minutes and sit in the dimly lit space. I’ll try to accept a little more strength, step into a little more bravery. I’ll try to find some softness along those old, ugly lines. And if not, then I’ll just bend into my breath and be thankful that it’s there.