It seems like the change of seasons wreaks havoc on my mind and body every year, and the older I get the more I notice all the subtleties within my mind and body in connection to my environment. The pulsating call of the cicadas, the chirping of the birds and the squeaking of the crickets are like the orchestra to my thoughts while there’s also this wild surge of energy in certain parts of my body as this natural symphony plays around me. I have to really force myself to practice yoga and help my mind and body get more grounded and centered. Lately, I have let that practice slip, or I have been doing easy-peasy yoga poses because I’m just so tired and/or anxious. I know the answer to the crazy chitter-chatter in my brain and the untamed energy in my body is to do a bit more intense yoga where I hold the poses a little longer and breathe a lot deeper. For whatever reason, I’ve resisted doing the practice.
Then, like a good girl, I went to yoga class this morning. My regular teacher was out and there was a substitute, Rick. He is learning to become a yoga instructor and Sarah trusted him with our class (he practices with us weekly as well). He did an amazing job, and his class was all about getting grounded and holding poses a little longer, moving slower and breathing deeper. He also played his acoustic guitar during meditation and relaxation pose which was super cool.
I carried this grounded feeling with me the majority of the day; but there was still this lurking anxiety in my mind and in parts of my body. I knew if I didn’t do something about it, that anxiety would come and bite me in the ass again later. So, I tried to move slower and breathe deeper as I completed my mundane chores around the house. I tried to take a nap. That was a big mistake as my mind was very active and focused on every nuance in my body and drove me crazy to the point I had to get up and make myself do something worthwhile. I thought, “I’ll go shopping. Get my mind off of things. Go buy myself some new clothes for work.” The next thing I know, I was taking a drive around town with my windows down. I drove in and around some historical neighborhoods and admired the old homes. I used to walk around those areas for hours at a time and enjoy myself. At that moment, I realized that spending money on clothes would be fun for a few minutes but that I couldn’t sustain any sense of peace or contentment once I hung them up in my closet.
Before I knew it, I was walking in to Wal-Mart on this gorgeous fall day. I went to the “Sporting Goods” section and started looking at all the bikes. I haven’t had a bike in probably 10 years. I used to ride one all the time when I taught junior high in my old college town. I rode it on the bike trails around campus and even rode it to work, parking it in my classroom. I’ve had the idea of getting a bike in the back of my head for awhile now, and I thought “Better now than never.” 20 minutes later I was wheeling the snazzy Schwinn purple and cream colored bike out to my car. A Kiwanis club member doing a fundraiser helped load my bike up and gave me suggestions on great trails in the area. I thanked him and drove home with my bike packed into my car and one of the doors slightly ajar.
I went inside and changed and then unloaded my bike. I saw my neighbors across the street and they commented on my new purchase. I was nervous about riding off in front of them because I had nearly crashed in the aisles of Wal-Mart when I took it for a spin. I talked to them for a bit and walked the bike down my drive. I joked and told them to come looking for me if I wasn’t back in at least an hour as that was proof I was probably mangled from a certain crash into trees or shrubbery. They laughed and I waved goodbye, hoping to God I didn’t “biff” right there in front of them.
I started down my street. The wind was in my hair and I felt happy. I felt like a little kid. I stood up and peddled faster and then reached the top of the hill and put my feet out and went coasting down, only having to pump the hand brakes twice out of fear of falling on the hard concrete. All of my bike skills were returning and I was able to turn and weave between the posts that marked the bike trail in my neighborhood.
Once on the trail, I rode at a quick but easy pace. It was so easy riding my bike and I felt so alive! I went up and over small bridges that crossed the little creek and the tires crunched over fallen, dried leaves. Then, a bug hit my sunglasses and splattered all over the lens. I started to laugh and hit into a long strand of a spider’s web. I closed my mouth at the right time because another bug hit my lips as I was trying to get the web off of my face.
A few minutes later, I turned around and headed back home. The ride was tougher now. My calves were straining and I felt muscles in my inner thighs contracting. My lower abdominal muscles were clenching and I was breathing a little heavier than when I left my driveway. And, I was sweaty. I paused at a shaded area of the path and caught my breath. Although my body was getting a good workout, it felt alive and that once untamed energy was in check. My mind was clear and my breathing was deep and steady. Before I started back up again, I noticed something about myself: I was smiling.
I guess that old saying is true about many things in life worth doing, “It’s like riding a bike, you never forget. . .”
For those of you following my 100 Day Creative Writing Challenge, this post is Day 74: Satisfied