This morning I lay in bed musing about the day, knowing that the longer I stayed under the covers, the less likely I was to roll out the mat. So I got up and looked at my yoga space – filled with mail that needed to be opened, a dog leash begging to be used, and a suitcase that lay stuffed and ready for unpacking.
It was tempting. First I’ll clean off the counter, put away all this stuff so I can set my drishti on a clear, uncluttered space. I could just take care of the mail rather than let it sit. If I’m moving the suitcase, I may as well unpack and throw a load of laundry in before I start. Then the dog is up and looking my way, ready for a walk.
That’s how it goes some mornings. The mat stays rolled up in the corner while a bunch of other things on the list get done. I want to make things as close to ideal as I can in order to practice. I want to clear the space, so I can clear my mind. I want a home studio that looks like the ones in the magazine. But at what cost? It’s not helping me to skip my practice until it can look perfect.
This morning I set up my mat amidst the chaos. The room was a mess. My body ached and my waistline spoke of too much Christmas pie. My nose was stuffed up and I couldn’t pranayam my way out of a paper bag, but I did it. I got down in chaturanga with elbows as close to 90-degrees as I can get them. My trikonasana was crooked, but existent. And it was good.
I do this thing. When I’m feeling unsatisfied, or insecure, I start collecting. I Pin beautiful images, and try to figure out how to make my life mirror them. I read memoirs and try to imagine my life as theirs. I look outside of myself for the missing piece. As if there is some room I can sit in that will make it all clear, or a tiny slice of wisdom outside of myself that is going to make the difference.
I know that’s not true. And still, I collect. I used to beat myself up about this but recently I took a look at one of my collections – a list of inspiring women – and I learned something.
What all these women seem to have in common is that they aren’t copying someone else. They’ve forged their own paths, ones that might look very different from what they thought – or what anyone else thought for that matter.
This is awesome and frustrating. Because there is part of me that is still looking for an instruction book on life: “The 5 Steps to Being Happy,” “Here’s How to Be Radiantly Yourself.” But the longer I go at this, the more I realize, there isn’t a model to follow. I can look at these women and be inspired by their stories, but in the end, they are not my stories. I can’t do what they did. I have to come up with this life on my own.
That said, here are some women I admire for their vision, commitment and pluck, honesty, and individuality
Erin Loechner of Design For Mankind
Andrea Scher of Superhero Life
Katie O’Connell of Dragon Fly Yoga Barn (Not a website, a real-life place)
Shauna Ahern of Gluten Free Girl
View from twisting chair
Shows me sunlight on buildings
Big smile, open heart
Oh my. THIS is lovely in so many ways.
Found at The Awl. Worth seeing the whole (brief) series.
Amy Jean Porter’s first book, Of Lamb, a collaboration with the poet Matthea Harvey, was just recently published. Her show at P.P.O.W. Gallery in Manhattan is up through this Friday, July 22.
Growing, changing, shining light
So much gratitude
What would it take to
Reconnect with happy you?
Maybe do those things.
The new thing: say yes
Don’t let fear get in the way
Crack yourself open.
Shoes off, toes in grass
Dog dips her toes in the fountain
Not in the office
Your breath and your heart
The beat of your own drummer
Your practice is yours
It doesn’t ignore the fear
Accept and move on
There’s only one thing
When everything else fails:
Get good on the mat