Twisting Into Myself with Stevie Wonder

“I cannot wait for the weekend,” I told a coworker on Friday. “I have to get away.”

“So where are you taking yourself,” she asked cheerily.

“I’m going to hide,” I said, and I meant it. I could think of nothing better than to curl up in my house, light some candles, take some naps and hide from the rest of the planet. She didn’t really think that sounded like that much fun, but, man, was I ever looking forward to it.

I’ve added a lot to my plate lately. I’m on two boards and am the President of one. I’m working on my nutrition program which is actually a lot more emotionally taxing than I thought. I knew I ate to relieve stress and deal with my emotions, but I didn’t realize how big a hole I would need to fill without packing it with groceries. There’s a lot going on with work, and I’m revamping my workout strategy. With all the shifting and changing, I’m in a bit of an unknown place and feel a little hung out to dry. This weekend I wanted to settle, take a few moments to reflect on what I’m doing and get grounded. And I strongly felt I needed to hide.

I’m reading Howard Stern’s new book about the interviews he’s done over the years. I hated Howard Stern in my younger days. He was so crass and hateful that I recoiled in disgust at most of his shows. When I signed up for Sirius radio last year I decided to listen to his show to see if I felt the same way as an older adult with a different perspective. I actually still find him pretty crass, but I’m pretty impressed with him. He went to therapy and he’s more respectful to people. He realized somewhere along the line that what he was doing to people wasn’t funny, and he did the really hard thing and worked to change himself. That is super hard work, and I had to admire the man even if I still cringe at the sex banter on his show.

Stern is a compassionate interviewer. He asks the questions I like to ask. I don’t really care how irritating your coworker is at work. I want to know what triggers you when you fail at something and how you deal with it. And Howard goes deep like that. Reading these interviews helped me calibrate my life experience and end up a bit closer to accepting my flawed self. And, let’s face it, reading something besides the news helps me sleep.

After running some errands this morning and taking a nap, I knew I needed to exercise. Lately I’ve been asking my body for guidance on what type of exercise I need to do. Some days I feel a need for building strength. Other days I need to get outside in the fresh air and walk. Today, my body wanted yoga. I’ve been in a fight or flight mode for so long that I just wanted to be held by the earth and my own well-wishes.

I chose a winter practice from Yoga with Adriene’s Members Only practices. I knew she’d be talking about the holidays, and I just love the cuddly darkness of winter when I need to rest. I turned on my twinkly lights and let go of everything but the voice of one of my favorite teachers. For this practice she was playing Stevie Wonder music which provided an interesting contradiction to the slow, long holds. I found myself dancing in the stillness. “Lighten up,” a small voice said. “You don’t have to hold it all together.”

My balance was off my left side badly which didn’t surprise me at all. I kept falling over, and I had to remind myself that it doesn’t matter. It’s just a practice. When she led us into a super long hold of Thread the Needle Asana, I was squirming in frustration. My mind wanted to get out, but my body was suspended in the traction of the hold. The deeper the twist, the more I wanted to squirm. I finally moved further into the twist and introduced some movement, and I realized this is what I had been doing for the last month. I let the structures around me close in instead of finding ways to move that sustained me. “Imagine all of the stuff that you carrying is rolling off your back,” she said. It melted instantaneously and dripped into a puddle near my shoulder.

When I released the pose my shoulders and back felt really weird because we held it so long. Blood flowed warmly into the formerly constricted areas. I breathed in the release of energy and the relief of freedom. I shook my shoulders to the beat of Wonder’s music and I found myself smiling.

I chose the wrong word. I didn’t need to hide. I needed to be found. I needed to be reminded that I am not what I do or what I endure. I am found in the small movements I make when the weight of the world is bearing down. I am in control of my reactions to my experience, and I trust my inner wisdom to guide me. Listening like that requires slowing down. And I suppose sometimes I have to hide to get there.

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50 Something single woman in Michigan who loves the outdoors, people, running and hiking.

4 thoughts on “Twisting Into Myself with Stevie Wonder

  1. Nice blog today on Yoga practice. Something my doctor has been recommending (but not in a hot Yoga studio). Now that I know you, I trust your experience with her teachings. Love your practices of listening to your body to see what it needs.! You inspire me in so many ways, because you share your truth. I love that about you.

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