The strangest thing has been happening to me lately.
I will position myself on my yoga mat and slowly begin to stretch. Maybe immediately, maybe a few poses in, I begin to hear words.
I am loved.
The space of a heartbeat. Inhale. Exhale. Warrior 2 becomes triangle pose. My face lifts to the sky.
I am so loved.
I bow in child’s pose and feel the fear releasing out of my thighs.
I love myself.
The words come out of nowhere. I have not asked to hear them, nor have I said them to myself during previous yoga practices (at least not recently).
Lately, though, life has asked—demanded—that I invite in self-care in deeper ways. For two years, I have tried to practice yoga, only to feel distracted and roll off my mat with a huff 10 or 12 minutes later. I’m sure I haven’t made it past 20 minutes of practice in all that time. My muscles ache with inactivity, and I practice so rarely that they never move into the state of strength and ease that I remember (that I want). As I assess the past few years, I see that I was strengthening other self-care practices. I didn’t need yoga—I only remembered it. Loved it. Wanted it back.
Now, with heavier circumstances, I have created a structure of self-care. I need yoga. The knowledge of this need comes from deep inside me, almost a place without words. It disciplines me into action when in the past I would have bypassed the need. I must be well to move through this time of increased demands. Yoga is a practice again. I sink deep inside myself, and I do not leave the mat early.
So now, as I flow through the poses, the grace of yoga flows through me, and I hear the words. Some silence-inhabited place in me unfurls, opens, holds me. I am puzzled. How is that I physically answer the call to hold space but instead the space holds me?
In that space, I am given exactly what I need. I meet something: a version of myself that is higher and knows more? the benevolence of an energy that exists to support me? I do not know.
I only know that I am loving myself deeply. My body is the conduit for a messenger whose face I cannot see, but whose love has nurtured me a thousand times. I pull that love closer. No matter how many times I meet it, the graciousness of it brings me to tears. I am so wholly loved, so deeply held, that all things are right, even when nothing is right.
I believe in a future that stuns me with its beauty. I will be well, my people will be well, and all manner of things will be well*. I believe in it so much that I taste it, even as the salt of tears wept moments ago lingers in the back of my throat. I have known this truth deeply—that a thousand painful moments only highlight the love.
I am loved.
I am held.
All is well.
* Loose reference to Julian of Norwich