I march up the marble stairs, shielding my eyes from the sun, escaping into the shadow of the vaulted eves. Then I pull-off Chocos and crouch down into Goddess Pose.
Gazed fixed across the shimmery Potomac, the glinting glass skyline catches my eye.
I’m not in Vermont anymore! I'm at the Kennedy Center.
Inhaling a breath into my chest, I’m unsure whether to cackle or cry.
Back in September, in a meadow, in a holler, in West Virginia one overcast morning, when that hawk swooped down before me, I closed my eyes and claimed a new vision for myself: a life of simplicity and freedom. (Read about the seed of my journey: https://www.seechangeconsulting.com/post/change-in-the-air-for-seechange)
It took eight arduous months to prepare for my journey out of Washington, to downsize, shore-up, and pack-up. (https://www.seechangeconsulting.com/post/everything-must-go-including-me)
When, in June, I finally motored out of town, whooping and hollering out the window, fist-pumping out my sunroof, on the inside, my euphoria was muted.
I could see, in my rear view mirror, images of unfinished business that would keep their hold on me.
Indeed, after just two months of travel, I’m back.
Burst pipes, negligent contractors, complaining neighbors and weary renters, a mistakenly cancelled insurance policy, and potential legal battles looming…it was all too much to handle from a distance.
They say you can’t go home.
But I bid farewell to the Vermont mountains and moo-cows. And I went home.
Bare feet on cool stone, I squat a little lower into Goddess, enjoy the burn of my quads as the swirling worries momentarily pause. Spine long, I feel space open between the stressed, compressed vertebrae. I honor Kali, Goddess of war, breathing in her protective power.
I started this Goddess routine on my first leg of the journey, in Rhinecliff, NY, as the troubles bubbled in the background of my presumably simple and free life. It wasn’t easy to drag myself out of bed, out of my head, each morning, fighting the mind’s justifications, perturbations, equivocations.
But when I got to Day 21, something shifted. It wasn't so difficult. The fight was over. The routine had become a habit, part of me. I smiled, that day, satisfied, relieved, at ease. Barefoot on the grassy bank of the Hudson, river barges drifting by and the Amtrak train chugging into the station behind me, I moved and flowed joyfully.
The habit’s traveled home with me.
I position my arms into cactus. The crickets sing in the weeping willows, their late-summer song. A light breeze blows through my hair, billows the branches. My face muscles soften. Tears stream down my face.
Weeping willow weep for me, Nina Simone’s lyrics play through my head.
This blessed routine gives me time to pause and listen and feel, when I'd really rather not.
The fountain tinkles behind me, the mighty Potomac River shimmers before me when, suddenly, I feel a churning in my belly. I look up as a duo of military choppers whirs by, sending a shot of adrenaline through me.
I watch them fly in unison, following the curve of the river, then disappear over the Rosslyn skyline.
I sigh out a breath of air.
The intense thinker that I am, back the DC thinking intensity, I need this habit more than ever.
I open my arms out to Warrior II, focus on my fingertips, then beyond, to JFK's words chiseled in marble: “I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty.”
Heart jolted, eyes widened, lips smiling, I tip back, arm overhead, and dance my warrior.
Wherever I go, here I am, here is my morning routine, and here is the possibility of one hour of sacred freedom that may just save me.
Luckily, the yoga hike is easily transportable.
Maybe I didn’t need to downsize my life, rent out my house, and hit the road.
This, right here, is the freedom I dream of.
Want some freedom for yourself? Try this simple sequence – works in any state!
Get out of bed as soon as your eyes open, before the worries of the day start to swirl, before the email scripting and conversation plotting and to-do listing takes over, before the low back pain and radiating sciatica begins.
Pull on cloths and shoes, bypass any pruning, drink a tall glass of water laced with apple cider vinegar and adrenal drops, if you have them.
Walk out the door. Let your feet lead you to your spot – a patio or porch or playground or parking lot, any flat-ish surface will do. Don’t think too hard, but do find a place in the shade.
Kick off your shoes, feel your feet on the earth, breathe.
Take a wide-legged stance, toes pointed outward, hands on hips, gaze forward, chin relaxed, and squat down. Goddess pose.
Feel the strength of your thighs, the length of your spine. Imagine someone is suspending you from the sky, like a puppet on a string. Raise your arms into cactus.
Chin and shoulders relaxed, find your drishti, point of focus, straight ahead. Hold your position, perhaps close your eyes, perhaps lower down a little more.
Listen to the sounds around you. How many different sounds can you hear? Note them in your head, to distract you from your burning thighs. Don’t forget to breathe as you count down: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Inhale into your open chest as you straighten your legs and arms, opening into 5-point Star Pose. Spread your fingers and toes, gazing up at the sky. Exhale.
Feel your aliveness, feel your grace, take up space.