Thursday, September 19, 2019

I Don't Know What to Tell You

This is my fifth week of posting on my blog, and I'll be honest, I don't know what to tell you. I started working on an essay about the lasting lesson yoga has taught me that has enriched life off the mat, but the words came out clunky. So then I bounced over to the idea of telling you about my summer garden surprise, but I wasn't sure what deeper thing there was to tell in that story.

So, I'm opting to tell the truth. I am certain something of meaning will come of this stream of consciousness if I stick at it long enough. I'm feeling fatigued in a way that doesn't feel like it will be remedied with one night's rest. And I can tell that fatigue is weighing down my creative impulses. I am entering the busiest season of my work calendar, and if I'm not careful, it has the potency to knock me flat. I spend a lot of energy working to keep that from happening, but either way, I'm tired.

What I want to say is that I am learning how to pace myself better. I am choosing to write through exhaustion when it would be easier to take a nap in the hour before I pick up a twelve-year-old from youth group. My showing up at this laptop is a declaration of how important my creative life is to me. I know that when I am finished I will feel a rush of mental endorphins for having made the effort.

Which leads me conveniently back to what I wanted to tell you in the first place. Showing up on my mat eight years ago started an internal revolution and revelation. I moved my body in ways I'd never moved before. I might ask my arms to hold all my weight in side plank. Some days my arms felt so shaky, I thought I might collapse. Other days I was solid as steel. What I learned slowly was that any particular day's performance or lack thereof was not a static announcement of my yoga ability. It simply told me where I was that day. It held far less meaning than I was used to applying to it.

In those early years of yoga, not only was I facing new physical challenges, but I was also confronting a lot of inaccuracies about who I was. That I was weak. Indecisive. Too talkative. A bad cook. Wounded beyond repair. Returning to my mat over and over created new mental pathways and opened possibilities I had yet to consider. Maybe I could touch my toes some days, but on the days I couldn't, my practice wasn't “less than” for achieving a straight back with my hands resting on my shins. I heard a lot of judgments. But with practice on the mat, those indictments got quieter. The volume was getting turned down.

And then came the days when I applied that mentality to myself in the workplace, in my motherhood, as a daughter and as a friend. “This is where I am today” felt a lot gentler than “My hamstrings are permanently tight” and more productive than “I always set off the fire alarm when I cook.”

There's a reason yoga is called a practice. We never arrive. We simply get stretchier and stronger, stretchier still and stronger than we thought possible. We show up. We practice over and over and over again. It reminds us that where we are is not where we'll stay for any amount of time. 

I am in a different mood now than I was 30 minutes ago when I started writing. Those few clunky sentences a few days ago weren't false starts. They were simply part of the requisite crappy first draft that Anne Lamott reminds all writers about in more colorful language. Those words helped clear the path for more lucid thoughts to follow. I know this. I trust this. It's why I keep showing up.

Yesterday as I was drifting to sleep another creative burst came to me. I've been working on this idea for months. I opened the drawer in the nightstand, pulled out some paper, and jotted notes convinced that if I didn't capture it then, the seeds of a new thing might get scattered by sleep. 

With this writer's block behind me, I have the space and the energy to get a few more ideas on paper and ready to share with my creative collaborator.

I feel better than I did an hour ago, and I will be a better mama for having spent some time writing. Where you are today is a statement about the present only. It's not a permanent state. Namaste. 

The aforementioned summer garden surprise: mini pumpkins that grew out of my compost.

1 comment:

  1. I felt every word of this! It feels good to know we're not alone in our feelings and that it's ok for us to actually have, and acknowledge them.