Shifting my headspace is a practice—sometimes, a daily one.
Do you ever feel like you woke up in a bad mood?
It happened to me today. It’s “that time of the month” and the physical discomfort was immediately apparent as Astro woke me with incessant meows and began to knead my tender belly. I stayed in bed and snuggled the covers while analyzing all of the things in my life that are mediocre, sad, terrible even.
The self-pitying thoughts carried me through the routine of morning tasks. I was oddly irritated when a friend messaged to invite me to practice yoga with her and others in her yard. It wasn’t the invitation that irritated me. We practice together regularly and genuinely enjoy each others company, so there wasn’t much logical reason to be aggravated, but inside I complained that I only had two hours before needing to be there and still wanted to clear my emails, drink some coffee, walk the dog, and water the garden.
After fitting it all in (except the emails, that can wait) and pulling a tired sports bra over my head, hearing the crunch of the exhausted elastic, I ran out the door and headed to practice with my friends.
It was a perfect fall morning in the desert. Driving with the windows down and no radio on gave me 20 minutes to reflect—not always helpful when in a negative headspace, so it didn’t go well for me.
As I took the final turn, it all cascaded together in my mind as I adjusted my stupid bra—which couldn’t even hold up these middle-aged, saggy boobs—here I am again, on this “perfect” street of lovely, expensive homes that remind me of what a financial failure I am. I’ll be the one who doesn’t have fun plans later today with their significant other because I’m the only one who’s single, and on and on my mind traveled through useless thoughts of “not good enough.”
I never thought I’d be grateful for speed bumps, particularly when there’s 10 of them to get through on one road, but the slowdown was helpful.
After my favorite house on the block, a cleverly fashioned adobe style ranch where a mature yellow dog seems to habitually be laying in the yard, come the horse stables. It may sound distorted, but I enjoy the smell of fresh manure. Bouncing over another bump, I savored a deep inhalation of the sweet, familiar scent and vowed to keep my sh*tty mood and draining physical symptoms out of the conversation this morning.
These women already knew I’ve been emotional lately, and they also knew I was experiencing perimenopausal symptoms and was ready to date again—nothing new to share today.
Once we settled onto our respective mats, there it was: the shift.
I acknowledged to myself that I was in the best place ever—amidst three of my closest friends, on a beautiful morning, in the sunshine, on my yoga mat. The four of us met just like this, practicing yoga side by side, more than 15 years ago. We’ve been through relationships, job changes, aging parents, accidents, death of pets, moving—a lot of emotions have been shared together. The four of us maintain an ongoing four-way text thread that gets daily attention from each of us and is littered with memes, pet pics, updates, invitations, and lately, lots of political rants.
These are the friends who I’d do anything for, and who I know would be there for me in a flash if I really needed them to be. This sense of comfortable community is what I desperately needed to come back to reality. Within minutes I had tears collecting under my closed eyelids and all of the nonsense that clouded my mind moments earlier seemed meaningless.
The power of meditation, five minutes of sitting, was all it took.
As we progressed through our 90-minute session together, guided by the voice of a popular, younger-than-us yoga instructor, we collectively giggled and opted out of the “Chin-Stand Plank;” the biomechanist in the group acknowledging that 12 years ago, we all would’ve tried it, but now we know better. Instead, we admired the bluest sky and enjoyed the sounds of chickens fussing over something in the next yard over.
These are my people and I’m grateful for them and extremely grateful for the practice that we call yoga and the clarity that it brings to my life—saggy boobs and all.