This is a gelatin print I made using a photograph that Peg Mulqueen was kind enough to send me. It is part of a series of prints and multi-media pieces I’m making using the backbends of the 2nd series of Ashtanga Yoga. Peg is an amazing yogi, a fearless leader in her local Ashtanga community in Washington D.C., and an excellent writer as well with a funny and searingly honest blog that you should read if you don’t already.
It was a good practice week. I’m able to work with 2nd series more, although it seems quite a stretch to think that I’ll ever be able to hop around like a crocodile, much less bind up that noose posture thing someone meanly put right at the beginning of the series. But it is feeling more fluid, and I’m learning how to handle the emotional energy it seems to generate. I have a friend to work with, and we practice together at her house once a week, which is wonderful. We practiced last week and although I had to cut my practice short to get my daughter to an early rehearsal, I had this moment of extreme gratitude for this practice as it is right now, this place and these people to practice with. Perfect.
Here is a story that helped me, perhaps it will help you. In the past, I thought of myself as a person very attached to her coffee. Addicted. Not just one cup. Not just any coffee, but freshly ground dark roasted beans lovingly bathed in scalding water in my French press. I have a friend who was the same, the kind of guy who would bite your head off if you got between him and his morning coffee. Recently he came over and I made him a cup.
Oh sure, I’ll have a cup. Usually I just drink tea.
Really? But you were always such a coffee person.
Oh no, sometimes I don’t have coffee at all. I’ve been drinking this herbal tea that is nice…
And it’s stunning, because it’s as if the fellow imbiber of a daily cuppa no longer exists, he doesn’t even seem to recall that he was just like me.
He changed his mind.
Oh, he changed his mind! And that is what you have to do, change your mind, and as a result, change the language you use to describe yourself. If you’re sitting there not drinking a cup of coffee, and still thinking that you are hopelessly attached to that cup you’re not having, then it’s not going to take long for the smell of your husband’s coffee to overwhelm your senses.
So I have become she who loves herbal tea. I am changing my mind and the language I use with myself. I have long known that I’ve been overdoing the coffee and it’s not doing me any favors. It is a primary suspect for morning anxiety. As some of us age we become more sensitive to caffeine, and I am one of those. Can’t drink it after noon or I might not sleep at night. It makes me wonder how many people take anti-anxiety medication, when cutting their caffeine intake might make everything manageable without medication.
Lest you think I’m some sort of saint, I still have morning cup, but only one, before my practice. When I start to moon over that second cup, I remind myself that I am she who loves herbal tea, and put on a pot of water, place a teabag in a cup. Ginger tea with a spot of honey while driving the kids to school is actually quite nice.