Scratched Shoes, Stress, and the Yoga that Heals

I got dressed up this morning for a lunch with friends, the first time I’ve been out of yoga pants since I got back from Scotland last week. I’ve been Kondo-ing ALL THE THINGS for the big move overseas, working on my taxes, stressing out generally, and worrying about a loved one in the hospital. But I managed to get this perfect (for me) outfit all put together with some fabulous shoes I LOVE—and adore all the more because they were only three pounds on sale. A deal really makes my heart sing. Knockoff leopard Louis flats especially so.

The house is ready and I’m taking a moment on the porch to enjoy the trees and the warm breeze. And I’m rolling my cigarette (I know, bad for me, but bear with me). I’m sober, and it’s totally both vice and ritual to roll organic tobacco in Turkish papers made in the same spot for 200 years. Rolling makes me appreciate the art, the hands that watered and nurtured and picked the tobacco plant, processed the leaves, to think of my own connection to the earth and the tobacco farmland in my Appalachian foothills. It’s also cut my nicotine consumption by 80 percent, which is awesome!

So I’m all proud of my being SO TOGETHER this morning, when the Winnie jumps up on my lap, knocking all the tobacco into my hand-knitted scarf. He hates the dog across the field, who was yapping, and of course Mister Winnie wanted to bark louder in retaliation (Don’t we all, sometimes?!). Then he jumps on THE SHOES. There’s a big scratch on them, and I’m pretty mad.

I can feel myself start to freak out, the anxiety attack sneaking up on me, and I’m screeching my frustration in a most improper tone. Then something says: yoga. It’s one of the ways I manage my anxiety—along with help from my the medical professionals. But I remember to breathe, somehow, and I do it, right there on the porch in my now-scratched shoes, with the tobacco and my Coca Cola beside me. The tension and fluster that feels like angry green lizards scrambling around inside my chest eases. And it’s all a little better.

It’s amazing how one yoga sequence can transform my state of mind, bring me into presence, and stay the anxiety. I was a hot mess right before I remembered: practice. Make time for whatever helps you do you! Much love and namaste, darlings!!!💜

2 thoughts on “Scratched Shoes, Stress, and the Yoga that Heals”

  1. You have such a beautiful narrative voice. You’ve obviously been really working on the yoga piece – so often it’s hard to think of healthy coping mechanisms at the onset of a panic attack or other emotional surge. Your yoga instinct kicking in is a real testament to how hard you’ve practiced to make it instinctual.

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