Four o’clock yoga on a Thursday afternoon. I study myself in the floor to ceiling mirror. Heavy eyelids, shoulders that would sag if I let them. Feet together, heels touching, toes an inch apart. Tuck the pelvis and feel the response in the body’s core. Tilt the heart upward. In the forgiving light of late afternoon, I look less tired than I feel.
Down and up dogs, half-moon stretches, eagle. Fatigue makes it easier to ignore mind’s chatter and bring attention to the postures. Blinds block the sunlight and create an ambience soft as breath going in and out. The teacher’s voice rises above the strings of Ottmar Liebert’s flamingo guitar. We transition into separate leg stretching, backs flat, hands at the ankles. Blood rushes into the head. I think about the ground supporting me as another wave of tired breaks free from bone and travels through muscle into consciousness.
We complete the triangle series, stand in tree and resume our stillness in mountain pose before preparing for the floor postures. I spread two large towels on the mat and lie on my back, hands open at the sides, feet rolled out. I notice the up and down movement of the belly as the breath slows down and deepens.
And then I hear it.
Let the story that is in you come out.
Not a shout, nothing harsh or threatening. A simple directive in clear, succinct language. Make no mistake: this is what I am telling you.
There have been messages for years. Some I have followed, or tried to. Others I’ve ignored or casually dismissed as inconvenient, impossible, not what I wanted to hear. This one comes a week after a visit from the Chicago friend who led me to writing nearly twenty years ago. During a long walk one morning, we talked about how difficult it can be to write or paint or draw in the face of demands from children, partners, clients, life. We shared the inevitable loss and disconnect when we let our practice go. Let the story that is in you come out, a postscript to that conversation, a nudge from the deeper knowing self.
Welcome to Rebecca Lou, my way of letting the story out. The shelves in my study are filled with notebooks. For years I have wanted something more, nudged by a nagging yet aimless restlessness to get the work out. Now I have a directive. Once again, I know what I need to be doing.
Be submissive to everything, open, listening, says Jack Kerouac. In the weeks and months ahead, I will be sharing observations and experiences. The details of life are uniquely ours but we all swim in the same river. We all stumble on rock, get bounced around by the turbulence, climb ashore to catch our breath, and go back in. Collectively, we know the peacefulness of still water, if only for a moment. Come back soon.