When after thirty-plus years of child-rearing I found myself with an empty nest, I needed something to do. Something to help me figure out who I was if I wasn’t a mom, first and foremost. Of course, I had other roles to play: agent, author, editor, significant other, friend, colleague, etc. But somehow they came up short.
No longer being a 24/7 mom meant I had lost my mooring, which was grounded in childrearing. I was at loose ends. I went to Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way workshop at Kripalu, a wellness and yoga center in the Berkshires. I took a couple of yoga classes while I was there and fell in love with the practice. I came home and found a Kripalu-trained yoga teacher and learned how to be myself on the mat, me without kids, me without work, me without distraction.
Breathe right, write right
I deepened my practice by going to yoga-teacher training—and I started writing novels again. I’d stopped writing novels somewhere along the line, starting and abandoning many stories as I multi-tasked my way through life. Never finishing a one. Too distracted by everything and everyone to focus on this one important thing I really wanted to do.
Learning to breathe my way through poses like down dog and crow and pigeon one breath at a time reminded me that I could write my way through a novel, one word at a time.
Facing my fear of being upside down on the mat to do the headstand allowed me to face my fear of being upside down in a story.
Letting go of my need to master a challenging pose on the spot allowed me to embrace my practice—and surprise myself when weeks, months, even years later I found myself “suddenly” executing that pose with ease. That allowed me to let go of my need to master a challenging plot and embrace the writing process—and surprise myself when weeks, months, even years later I found myself “suddenly” executing that plot with ease.
Show up and breathe…and write
Most important, yoga has taught me that showing up on the mat every day benefits me physically, mentally, emotionally, even spiritually.
The same way showing up at the computer every day benefits me physically, mentally, emotionally, even spiritually.
Yoga and writing are my practices, and each informs the other. That’s why I say “namaste” at the yoga studio, and “namastay at my computer” at my desk.
I wish you the same.