A friend invited me to Yogaworks South Bay. It was the first time since Thanksgiving that I attended a yoga class.
With overcast skies and light drizzle we drove on quiet LA streets. We told stories of huge snowstorms. My friend spoke about her little third grade shoes being stuck in the mud during a fire drill. Her fiance immediately recalled a scene when he has accidentally blew the fire alarm. I felt immersed in life, as cheesy as it sounds. I was present.
As a friend says, the good thing about having a bad day is that you know the next day will be better. Today was – yoga, coffee with a friend, and cooking not one, but two soups. These are all things that comfort me, specifically the types of things I avoid when I need comforting.
Yesterday, I dreaded yoga. I thought I had made a mistake committing to the outing. My thoughts ping-ponged between “You don’t really want to go” and “Did you just say ‘yes’ out of obligation?”
I honestly had no idea. It seems the reason I have trouble deciding what I want is that I’ve lost parts of myself to enmeshed relationships and people-pleasing. Why listen to myself when I receive so much validation from caring for others?
Well, to start – I’m the only one who really matters (to me). And I don’t think it’s something we’re taught when we’re young, but being able to soothe ourselves and be self-compassionate is paramount to our well-being.
As I was chopping onions for my soups, I thought about their aggressive defense mechanism of producing a toxin that makes our eyes tear and burn. It made me think about people and their actions / reactions. “I can say ‘she’s controlling’, but don’t I also play a part? Aren’t I the one being controlled?”
It made me pause. What has been my role, what have I gained, from believing I’m being controlled?
Honestly, it displaced my responsibility of caring for myself. I’ve been so focused on others that all I see is myself in relation to them. The outside, the external. As soon as a tense situation resolved itself last night, I felt free – free to do yoga, to smile, to get less sleep and have more energy. But that power is already in me, somehow, I just don’t know how to access it yet.
It’s a tiny shift, but it matters. Like the sparkly water running through the Santa Monica Library cafe in the picture. A moment caught in the sun. An adjustment I’m making to align myself, feeling where the tension is and breathing through it.