Yoga. Your Travel Hangover Cure.

Today I woke up with a pretty intense travel hangover. Most people call it jet lag, but I think travel hangover is more accurate. It’s that achy, dizzy, out of touch feeling you have when your body is confused about the time zone and your brain is confused about your general existence at 7 am on a Thursday morning.

Like any responsible working adult, I attempted to fix my fogginess with caffeine. I considered wine, but it was 9 am, and I was too groggy to justify such a bad choice. When the 12 oz. dose of caffeine didn’t work, I figured I should have more. When in doubt, always choose more. That’s not really my mantra, but today I couldn’t come up with a better solution. Of course the solution didn’t work. So I spent the majority of the day in a haze, stuck somewhere between contemplating life and getting through all of the work that piled up during vacation. The travel hangover is an odd headspace to be in.

Since all that legal stimulant didn’t work, and more than two cups of coffee makes me start to shake, I did what I always do when I feel off. I went to yoga.There’s still a small part of me that clings violently to my past and the Catholic ideology of punishing yourself, even when you already feel bad, so I went to hot yoga. My assumption was that it would be sort of like hell, only with better music and some aromatherapy. But doing core work and power yoga in a heated room is difficult even on the best days, and I knew how intense this class could be. Despite all of that, I also knew that I was guaranteed to feel better the second I was done.

The class was hot, but not unbearable, since it wasn’t packed full this time. I didn’t even slide or slowly slip out of downward facing dog because of the layer of sweat on my mat. (Yea, create that mental image. It’s not pretty and now it’s burned in your mind forever. You are welcome.) But, as predicted, I felt wonderful after class. I was human again. My mind was clear. My body knew what it was doing, and where it was going. When yoga is done right, it has this amazing ability to sync breathing, movement, and mindfulness all at once. It creates a mental and physical state that is focused only on the present second at hand. This is its secret. And when you feel it, you realize it is one of the few things you can count on to bring balance back into your life. But of course, if yoga doesn’t work, you could always try throwing back some wine.

One Touch Away

Tonight the sky is dark
And the clouds congregate angrily

But I see you always
On a sun-filled day
With blurred edges like an old photo
Squinting through your smile
And loving the camera
I see you in front of our table
Filled with breakfast pastries
All of which we will finish
Along with two cups of tea

Then I open my eyes
And see the night
Holding tightly to the last bit of earth
Refusing to give way
I see the clouds
Hardened on the edges
And full of contempt
I close my eyes

And we are sailing through the water
Hiking on a moon-filled trail
Dancing and laughing and
Making so much noise
That people can’t help
But laugh along with us

I open my eyes
To rain falling softly
Smelling so strongly of earth and life
That I begin to fear
The death of hope inside of me
I close my eyes

And I can almost see
Your lovely features
The color of your skin
The wonderful smell that lingers
On your pillow
Your pale blue eyes
Or perhaps green, or brown
That smile
Even when your mouth does not
Your pale skin
Or perhaps your dark tan
I can almost see you
But then again
Maybe not

I open my eyes
To a room filled with bright
Incandescent light
I close my eyes

And you are
Holding me
Loving me
Wanting me for all that I am

I open my eyes
And you are always

One
Touch
Away

Freedom: A Note to Myself, the Readers, and the Universe

I have recently been having a mild to moderate bout of existential breakdown. Its symptoms have included moments of intense terror considering the future, followed by a panic of “WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE,” rounded out by a subtle yet steady mantra of, “It will be alright.” That’s when the doubt kicks in and says….maybe. Cue the intense terror.

 

But, at the beginning of my yoga class yesterday, our teacher asked us to set an intention. Intentions still don’t make much sense to me, even though I’ve read articles on them and talked to some of my teachers about the best way to set an intention. Whenever I hear that word, I think crazy thoughts like, “I intend to levitate,” or something equally impossible and hilarious (seriously though, that would be awesome). So I’m sitting there, mulling over an intention, trying to not giggle as I imagine myself slowly rising off the floor in half lotus, when I stumble over something in my brain.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom lately, and how important it is for me to feel freedom and flexibility to do my work. What work? Good fucking question, I don’t know the answer to that, and I’m still a little touchy about it. But anyway, it’s a thing. A thing I want. And as I was contemplating that, I realized that I don’t actually allow myself to have the freedom I claim to need.

 

I don’t allow myself the freedom to make mistakes. I don’t allow myself the freedom to try something new and hate it (at least not without feeling badly). I don’t allow myself the freedom of a break. In fact, I’m barely even giving myself the freedom to finish this post because I don’t think it’s good enough.

 

But that has to stop. Done is better than perfect and constant internal criticism of my choices and actions is paralyzing. I can’t keep constraining myself when I’m sure I could be more. So, even if I’m not doing it quite right, my intention will just be to allow myself the freedom to try. And once I master that, I’ll journey on to levitating.

 

Adventure on wayward travellers!

 

Marisa