I haven't been so excited to chronicle something since I celebrated the 40/40 list three years ago. Lucky for you, dear readers, my classes are only once a month—with a few exceptions—otherwise I might bore you with the details of this latest transformational life event.
Two things happened today that will be hard to convey in words. They were so unexpected and also so comforting that I must write about them even if words fail. I am up for the challenge.
Early in the morning session, before our two-and-a-half yoga workshop (I've never practiced for so long), I was seated on a bolster (a firm pillow-like prop). Against the wall, with my eyes closed and my hands resting on my knees, I was listening to my teacher guide us through a seated mediation. I repeated the mantra to myself 'so' on the inhales and 'hum' on the exhales. So hum is sanskrit for 'I am that' as, I am part of everything.
I knew that thoughts would come and go, but I was really pleased with my ability to stick with my breaths and keep the mantra top of mind. A few minutes into this, I was so still that I could feel a vibration course through my body. Like I was feeling the automatic functions doing their work, blood pumping and flowing, heart beating, etc. It was a strange sensation and for a moment it made me a little agitated, like I was uncomfortable with the sensation. I kept breathing, repeating the mantra, and then I felt overwhelming emotion. I'm a crier who has been on a hiatus for the past few years. I cry easiest if I'm surrounded by people like when I'm sitting quietly in church. And almost can never cry alone.
This morning the tears came and I welcomed them. I felt a sense of peace and joy and relief. I thought of Grandpa and the tears picked up their pace. I am still grieving him, but his loss doesn't feel so raw. Crying over missing him doesn't come easily. I also thought of a long-distance friend and felt gratitude for our friendship. It was a remarkable moment, and I thought, this is day one! I can't wait to see what is in store in the days ahead as I begin to incorporate seated meditation into my daily practice.
This the hardest part to convey: As the tears leaked from my eyes, I recognized that the tears were not sadness, but a deep well of joy that needed a way of being expressed. I wasn't self-conscious or worried about whether I was the only student having this reaction. Yoga has become such a safe space for me. I also noted that I was helping to comfort myself. I wasn't looking for anyone else to take care of me. I am enough. In that moment, I was everything I needed. The mantra led me to that awareness.
Some time passed, and the next extraordinary thing occurred.
I have not been actively working on my book for almost two years, but it is never far from my thoughts. I've been busy writing other work, and I trust that when the time is right I will return to this labor of love and complete the novel.
When my character, Astrid, came to me, she came fully formed personality-wise, but her physical attributes were vague. I knew she had short, dark brown hair and that she wasn't petite, but she also wasn't tall. That's about all I knew of her physical description. Then one day as I contemplated what celebrities might play my characters in a movie, I realized that Astrid had taken on the resemblance of a younger Winona Ryder. That description worked for awhile until I realized that Astrid's features weren't quite as defined as Winona's and so Astrid went a little fuzzy again.
This morning, like a bolt of lightening, as I watched my brown-haired teacher address the class the most surprising thought came to me: Astrid's features favor Ellen's. Ellen is your model for Astrid. It was such a random, subconscious thought that it knocked me sideways for a few moments. I remembered that as with all parts of the novel-writing process for me, there has always been magic, serendipity, and mystical overtones attached to my experience. I continued to watch Ellen's beautiful, expressive face and the way she gestured, and I felt another strange sense of peace and rightness.
These two moments of inspiration remind me that everything is connected. All day I kept thinking, this training is the next step in my development. It's going to teach me that I have what it takes to accomplish all the things I want to achieve, even when they are hard and seem daunting or impossible.
I'm going to be able to finish this book when yoga teacher training is complete. The training is another step in this liminal space I have written about so often. It's the gateway between 'what was' and 'what will be.' I haven't been able to devote my focus and attention to my novel because I was still living the story, and most times you can't write about it when you're living it. I feel confident that this training will help bridge the two.
I am physically drained, but my emotional tank is full. It is a glorious feeling. I know I will sleep well tonight and wake up ready to take on the last day of weekend one. It's so exciting to consider what comes next.