With my eyes closed on my mat, I hear the teacher’s voice invite me to rest my hands over my heart. “Take a moment of stillness to set an intention for your practice today.” I have heard these words many times before.
Yoga classes often begin in this way, with a moment of mindfulness, of dedicating our time on the mat to someone or something. There are days when this makes me impatient; there are days when it makes me scoff. In recent months, however, as I have struggled to regain strength from being so brutally sick, I have had an intention for nearly every class: to enjoy and cherish my body, just as it is, right now.
I toyed all week with New Year’s resolutions, with finding one word to sum up my intentions and goals, but my heart wasn’t in it. It felt so presumptuous after the year I just had: who am I to predict what the future will hold or what I will be able to accomplish?
At first I thought I might try to eat more fruits and vegetables. With all of the havoc wrought on my digestive system I slipped into a habit of soft, low-fiber foods. I had visions of grating carrot into breads and roasting cauliflower to add to macaroni and cheese. Then, a few days before the calendar turned, my symptoms started flaring again. I couldn’t even look at an apple, never mind summon the energy to roast cauliflower.
Perhaps instead I could write 250 words a day? Then New Year’s Day came and went and my stomach was screaming and the best I did was scribble a few paragraphs of doggerel in my journal. Hey, it was something.
Something is enough. Sometimes nothing is enough.
When I was younger I was in control, or I imagined I was in control. It doesn’t really matter now which it was, does it? But then I gave my heart away, and then I got sick, and both of these things wrenched control from either my fists or from my illusions, who knows which?
Hopefully this year I will finish revising this darn book proposal. Hopefully I will learn a few more audition pieces, read the books I have been meaning to enjoy, take a dance class or two, make time for a retreat. But I am not going to set any of these as firm goals because there is too much I don’t know. (The only goal I won’t bend on is my marriage in April – we already put down a deposit.)
As for today, I am already creeping up on 500 words – enough for yesterday and today. I will work on some music later, and I already worked out. Tomorrow I might not be able to do such things. But I will still be happy with my life, just as it is, right now.