Restoration

yoga“Nestle up next to the bolster, almost straddling it. Now lean over it, turning your head to one side, resting your cheek on the pillow while allowing your arms to fall to each side as you lower yourself down.”

I’m in a candlelight restorative yoga class. The instructor’s calm instructions leading me slowly through unfamiliar poses.

I’ve suffered from anxiety my whole life, bound by worried, negative thoughts cyclically repeating in my head. For years, night after sleepless night, anxious “what if…” scenarios have cycled through my mind.

And over the last six weeks as I try to puzzle out who I have been, who I am, and who I want to be, they’ve twisted themselves into a giant ball of knots at the base of my neck. Repeated trips for chiropractic care and massage therapy failed to provide relief.

In a last ditch effort, I’m attending a restorative yoga class – a practice that uses props to make poses easier. It’s designed to realign the body, relax the body, restore the body. All while calming the mind. I came hoping it would help my neck.

The room is dim, lit only by small candles. The instructor’s voice calm and soothing, “Sink into the bolster, it is there to support you. Feel it’s presence. Trust it. With each breath, relax a little more.”

I take a deep breath. We are past the halfway point of the class and I’m finally starting to relax. To quiet my anxious mind, get in tune with my breath. I lean heavier on the pillow, allowing it to support my weight.

You can’t relax,” interrupts my mind, “we haven’t figured out what’s next. You don’t have time to relax. We have to do more, be more. What are you even doing here?”

“If you catch a thought slipping in,” the instructor’s voice breaks in, “acknowledge it. Thank the thought for coming and let it go.”

Humph! You can’t let me go. I’m what makes you who you are. Who else is going to push you to get things right, to work harder, achieve more? You are nothing without me,” perfectionism cuts in. It’s by far the loudest and most critical of the voices in my head.

I shake my head to dislodge the thoughts, refocus on my breath. Gingerly, I turn so my other cheek is on the bolster, wincing in pain as I twist my neck.

“Our thoughts distract us, disconnect us from our breath and our physical body. Make us less aware of the present. They are busy, always demanding more,” the instructor continues, tiptoeing barefoot around the room as she speaks.

“What does she know?” perfectionism cuts in. “I do it for your own good. Don’t you want to be the best version of you? To be that, you have to exceed all expectations set for you. Parents. Bosses. The church. Co-workers. Friends. We all want the best for you, we are only trying to help.”

I squeeze my eyes shut, try to refocus.

And then…

“We are human. We do the best we can every day. That is enough,” the instructor says.

Maybe it was the comforting cradle of the bolster. Maybe it was the candlelight. Maybe it was the quiet cadence of the instructor’s voice. Maybe simple exhaustion. But in that moment listening to her words, I felt a single tear slip down my cheek.

“We are human. We do the best we can every day. That is enough,” the instructor repeats.

No one has ever said those words to me. In 42 years, never once have I felt I was already enough. Just as I was. A human doing the best I can every day.

Her words stir my soul as another tear slips free.

Can it be true?

I allow my spirit to respond to the question. It sighs in relief.

“Now gently roll the bolster away, lay on your side, and bring your knees to your chest, wrapping your arms around them,” she whispers.

I do.

And there, curled up in the fetal position, I hear the words of the song playing in the background, “There is one sacred river, one sacred song, one sacred breath, one sacred heart beating.” I breathe in as I listen. Breathe out. Another tear escapes.

Time seems to stand still, unmoving. I feel suspended in the moment, part of the one sacred thing the song speaks of. My soul whispers its quiet comfort. My thoughts still. My neck pain eases.

I breathe in.

I am human. I am sacred. I am enough.

And out.

I am human. I am sacred. I am enough.

In.

I am enough.

Out.

I am enough.

I am enough.

I am enough.

One thought on “Restoration

  1. Per usual, your words are so eloquently yet simply written, and I instantly feel as if you’re speaking to my soul!! Thank you for these past three posts. Just what I needed!
    You are enough and perfect right now!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s