yoga & the page

The world looks so much better after a glass of yoga.

Last night, I had the realization, deep in my belly, after placing clean clothes on Aidan’s empty bed, that he won’t be living with us anymore, which is to say that we won’t be a family ever again, not in the way we have been–for a QUARTER of a CENTURY–which is a stunning turn after the thousands of days spent tending to children under our roof.

This morning, waking with the light, in the generous absence of parenting (Aidan is away at camp), I realized something else–my summer flow:

Pour the tea, morning pages, set an intention for writing (continue cycling through the alphabet–3 days for each letter; I’m up to “O,” which reminds me of the game Aidan still likes to play, ie. WIN on long car rides), draw a page from the book, then begin working on it–writing, planning, shaping; followed by a light breakfast, and a short drive to town for yoga.

I was on the mat when it came to me, along with tears that I hadn’t realized were seeping: This could be the rhythm–MY rhythm–without kids in the home.

As I returned upright from Supta Baddha Konasana, I mentally cataloged the flow so that I wouldn’t forget:

steep the tea, Tulsi Rose (my go-to since Menopause after a lifetime with mint)
morning pages practice
income-bearing work

It was 2012 when yoga offered a spine to a year of radical change. It wasn’t so much that yoga gave rise to the change, but allowed for it, supported it, made it sustainable, ie. I had my own back.

That year-long study to earn my teaching certificate ushered me into writing about my deepest loss, to facing the arousal of death brought on by approaching 50, to taking an NGO spot at the annual Commission of the Status of Women at the United Nations (my late grandmother’s unrealized dream), to making the decision to leave international work in order to devote more of me to art–specifically to shaping a memoir along the bone of an accident that took so much more than 4 lives.

I expected to celebrate publication alongside my 50th, even made a soft plan to release the book (and sign copies) when the Cape May – Lewes Ferry celebrated its 50th too since it figures prominently in my story.

Another year passed.

I set to studying the art of a long life, Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga. Another year.

I deepened into the chakras–the interface of body and spirit. Another year.

I shifted into more practical directions, apprenticing with leading authors. Years.

I turn 55 at the end of this one, the same age Lila was when she climbed the bridge in a Thunderbird and never made it to the other side.

If I can finish before I reach the same age, I will have done what?

Protected myself?

There is some game being played that I don’t totally understand, hearkening back to when it was only miles that separated me from my grandmother, instead of states of being, though two-thousand miles is like a death for a 7-year-old, which must be why strangers had to rip me from Lila’s arms and put me on that plane, and slap me across the face so that the pilot could take off, taking me from the Atlantic to the Rockies where I’d wait out a sentence of 4 years.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4…

If I can make it into the house before 0, she won’t die; we all won’t die; I won’t die.

3, 2, 1…

But if I finish the book, doesn’t that mean she dies all over again?

If not abject despair, trauma gives rise to magical thinking, and it was as a girl of 14 that I placed my grandmother, safely, in a rehabilitation center where she could recuperate from the accident that *almost* took her life.

I was the only one that knew she was there and she remained there, for decades, until that year that yoga allowed me to write into that which one should never bear.

Retrospect is so romantic, like those who miss caring for newborns, memories absent of the toll of sleepless nights, and a spouse who lets you down, but still expects sex, from a body which has surrendered itself to grow, deliver and sustain new life.

There’s something I’m needing in this new year, something to support me in this great transition of releasing motherhood, a role that was foisted onto me as a small child, the oldest of 8 siblings, and dozens of cousins, alcoholism and tragedy.

Fly, little Kelly, fly, and wasn’t it flying that I planned to do as I came of age in my twenties like my father and grandfather before me; only in tending others, 25 came too soon, and with it my sense of mortality which prohibited suspension in the sky.

I await instructions.

(photo: when a writer reheats pizza)


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