Thursday, October 9, 2014

Push Past Part Deux

It's been over a year since I've posted and to anyone who reads my blog I apologize for the long absence. As it happens I have a little room to breathe, literally and figuratively these days, and with this time I am once again embarking on that never-ending quest to further myself along the path of self-discovery and physical and mental health.

In case you all have been wondering what I've been doing in the past year, I'd been fashioned into the semblance of an internal medicine doctor only to have that mold broken to be re-made into that of a neurologist. Finally my true calling! But the process of being broken down and remade is no easier for my mind than it is for my soul or my poor muscle fibers ( which even now are sending little flashes of resentment aka lactic acid into my blood stream). I have relocated to the City of Angels, where I had once envisioned myself in perfect domestic and intellectual bliss.  My arrival was marked by a lot of chaos and to-do which quickly settled into a terrifying blank slate once all was said and done. Sitting in my apartment surrounded by boxes and suitcases, I looked out onto the beach in Santa Monica, the very same beach I had strolled hand in hand with an erstwhile lover. Scenes from the past rushed to the surface of my mind, the past alternating with the present until I could hardly tell which was which.  I eventually took hold of my errant mind and set myself to the task of fashioning my new life. My days were full of patients with problems I could solve, unlike my own, and I loved it. I soon gave up trying to find any balance for myself, however, only striving to keep both myself and my patients alive.

Now to the present- where the time I have out of the hospital has allowed all of the tumultuous emotions formerly kept at bay by sleep deprivation and sheer terror to come rushing back to the surface. Initially it felt like a welcome wave of color coming back to my grey-scaled existence, however after not too long a time the colors began to take on a garish hue- too real, too strong, too overwhelming. I floated around on this frighteningly bright landscape for a while before realizing in church one day that I'd been down this road before. One good thing about getting older is that we realize the same sequence of events has occurred before, and we realize that if we got through it once we can get through it again.  And so it was that I turned back to my old love, yoga.

Entering the yoga studio felt like coming home almost as much as entering the dance studio did. In los angeles the classes are as full as they were in new york, and filled with mostly the same kinds of people. Did I experience the same angst that always filled me when going to a new class? I certainly did. This time I felt properly armored in the lululemon pants I couldnt quite afford but bought anyway, and a low cut tank top and sports bra. But all of that anxiety over wearing the right clothes and wanting to fit in melted away as soon as I walked into the studio, partially because of the heated room and partially because of the stillness that filled it, almost as tangible as the heat itself. The class that ensued was one I could have done in my sleep, and the familiarity of it helped me to separate my mind from my body and to get a more objective look at my life. All of a sudden the yoga instructors silvery voice broke through my thoughts- in a particularly challenging pose she instructed us to "push past" whatever was holding back from achieving it- our  internal mental chatter, fears about not being able to achieve the pose and fears about falling out of it and being ridiculed by others in the class. Indeed I did almost fall out of the pose, as this mantra was that of one of my role model's, Alethea Austin's. It hit me and resonated to my core. That was it exactly! Push past. Her motto that I had apprised as my own during difficult times past came back to me as familiar as the arms of any lover. The words flowed over me and settled onto me, fitting better than the $100 dollar pants I had insisted upon wearing. I felt myself lightening and pushing into the pose deeper, at the same time as I felt myself push past all of my insecurities, fears, doubts, and disappointments.

More from Alethea (dancing to one of my favorite APC songs): Alethea Austin the Chrome Bar

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