Layaway of the Soul

The polar vortex has moved on and we are back to slushy January in Cleveland. (Most) schools are back in session. I am back in teacher mode.

The interwebz come up with the most amazing things. If you start googling
about yoga of completion or similar far-out things, you might just come across
an online archive of  Northeast England's early 70s alternative newspaper! Groovy, man!

I am thinking a lot about finishing things and a lot about yoga. For the sake of compactness, I am beginning to think of myself as making a new practice of a "yoga of completion." (Yes, there is a tantric concept that might be called this. I am not sure that is what I am talking about. Who knows?) What I am talking about is a mindful dedication to finishing things, but finishing comes in many forms. Are you following me? Probably not.

Let me start with this: I first began to do yoga 13 years ago, pregnant for the first time and embroiled in graduate school. When that first pregnancy ended in stillbirth, I kept up with the yoga. I still feel very strongly that of the many gifts my brief encounter with that baby, Calvin, the greatest one was yoga. He gave that to me. I remember after he was born beginning non-prenatal yoga at the gym with my friend Marie. "I stand on the floor differently, with my whole foot, after a class," Marie said to me. I agreed. Pregnant again with Z two years later, I even studied to be a yoga teacher, but left (without finishing) because the stress of a post-stillbirth pregnancy eventually meant I could focus on little else besides pregnancy, but yoga helped immeasurably with that stress, and with the task of birthing nearly 9 lb. Z. I made friends in that class who have been constant and essential companions in my mothering life.

This is me, 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant with Z.
But in the past few years, the hectic life of a working mother writer volunteer crazy person eventually meant I put yoga aside. I did that without regret, knowing that it would still be there when I had space again in my life. Sometime in mid-'13 my body began asking me to return to yoga. I finally have.

About "completion": It is not a natural skill for me. I am much better at beginning things than finishing them. I love the rush and thrill of new ideas, of figuring things out, and yes, of being overcommitted and a bit crazed. But really, incompletion, for me, is a mania of possessiveness. In deep, primal ways that I don't need to go into here, I fear abandonment. Fear is too light a word. And in some topsy-turvy way, leaving things undone means not being abandoned by them ... are you with me? I've begun to see this as a sort of indebtedness. Not with money (that's a topic for another time), but with time and energy. If things are all undone, there is this weird long term debt of spirit that goes with them -- It's like a layaway of the soul. I am feeling done with that. I want my psycho-spiritual-creative life to be paid and delivered.

I don't need to list the things to be finished here, but I am in the spirit of yoga - awareness, nonjudgment, deliberate practice, and the joining of body, mind, and life force - I am committing to completing.  (And to be fair to myself, I have gotten so, so, so much better at finishing than I once was. I actually am pretty good at it in many ways. I just feel so rotten at it. It takes so much effort.

I've always been a little too process oriented. Now I can make a process of product. How's that?

Reading: I will be beginning Looking for Alaska at bedtime, but I also picked up a collection of short pieces by MFK Fisher this evening. I'm embarrassed to say (aspiring food writer that I am) that I have never really read her.

Writing: Yes, yes, yes, and I say yes! School's back in session, but I wrote this morning on rising. Pushing into new territory. Getting closer to completion.

Dinner: Pierogies with fixings, thanks to David, who feeds me.

Soundtrack: Michelle Shocked came on the computer shuffle. A song from Captain Swing. I saw her in concert in New York for that album. It was never my favorite of her albums. I like Short, Sharp  and the campfire tapes more, but still it was a great show. I am showing my age. I was sad last year to hear of her current mental state. I don't need to go into it. I wish her well. There are songs of hers that hit me in raw, central place.

Oh, and plus it is Elvis Presley's and David Bowie's (not to mention my stepdad, Chris's) birthday today!

Random thing: My car does a weird pulling to the right thing on slippery pavement. I wonder if this is the upshot of last week's adventure in snowy curbs and tow trucks.


  1. Well said. Completion. Such a nice new years resolution. Love that photo. Rocker. xxx


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