60 Days On the Mat — Day 20: Before We Turn To Stone


Yes, it’s a song.  Ellen plays it often in yoga — Turn to Stone by Ingrid Michaelson.

It was just under 18-hours since I last got up from the mat.  I was back down; yesterday’s events still lingering.  My heart is more open.  I’m ready for the day.

My mother-in-law is cooking tonight, so that’s one worry off my plate.  I haven’t seen my in-laws since I returned from Texas.  I am more than ready for our traditional Hanukkah dinner of baby back ribs — did I mention how much I love my in-laws?

I picked my Saturday spot at the front of the class.  Yesterday was passive; today I was ready to work. I needed to let go of that which I could not control.

My news feed rhetoric was getting political before I left for class.  Gun control petitions. More God in schools. Parents be more responsible. Teachers should have guns. Principals should have guns.  Metal detectors at schools.  We all should have guns.  No one should have guns.  Video games did it.  Drugs did it.  Lack of drugs did it.

It’s more than I want to take in.

I shut down the computer and breathe.  Everyone is processing the unexplainable; sometimes the easiest way to do that is blame and rant, I guess.  I don’t see the point.  I just want to hug someone; I pick up Boomer.  He’s always good for a hug.  I listen to Turn to Stone before getting in my car.

I go into my first standing forward bend — still no pedicure.  Who cares?  I don’t.  I push back into a really long downward facing dog.  My arms ache.  All the thoughts are stuck in my shoulders, just below my neck.  I drop down, push back again and breathe.

Turn to Stone was not played until about an hour into class, but it was on my mind way before the first note was heard.  I knew the playlist hadn’t changed since Thursday.  I know the lyrics by heart.

The flow was harder today, or perhaps my muscles are more tired than I want to admit?  I work through the physical trying to empty my mind.  I focus on the breathing through my poses more than usual.  I like the serene moments when the only thing I can hear is the sound of my own breath; my mind is empty.

We go to the wall for handstand.  I get both heels to the wall twice.  This was hardly a hold of the pose, but I know I am almost there.  I didn’t even attempt side crow.  I just sat there and pretended to try.  I was scared I would sweat on the mat of the person next to me.  I’m nothing if not polite — usually.  I try to be.

As we bring our mats back from the wall, the familiar piano intro starts and the montage starts playing in my mind.  No, not the Grey’s Anatomy montage which made this song famous, but my own montage.  It’s just images of my life really.  My parents may not have been married for very long, but no matter where I was I have always felt their love — even when I thought maybe I didn’t.  They both gave me so much — humor; intelligence; perseverance; and a very long rope from which to swing.  I knew home was always there waiting for me as I moved from one time zone to the next looking for I don’t know what exactly.

I suppose I found it, I am basically content now — except for that ache for someone to call me Mom.  I just breathe.

Images keep flashing from all eras of my life.  I wish everyone I love lived closer.  Sometimes I wish America was the size of Finland.  I think a country half the size of Texas is a good size.  We wouldn’t have so far to drive to be with the people we love.

But then, I selfishly think, where would Texas go?

When I was little I would dream of a place where everyone I love lived.  You could always walk down the street and they would be there.  My Mom could always make the chicken n’ dumplings and my Dad could always make the chocolate chip cookies.  It was my own little protective bubble, I guess.  Even at 43, I dream of a place like that.  Especially when you realize how tenuous life is.

I know, “magical thinking” – but what’s life without a little magic in it?

Let’s take a better look
beyond a story book
And learn our souls are all we own
before we turn to stone

Let’s go to sleep with clearer heads
and hearts too big to fit our beds
And maybe we won’t feel so alone
before we turn to stone

The opening verse starts a full minute into the song after the piano.  I’m flat on my back.  I am breathing deeply, and I think, Are we turning to stone?  We haven’t lost our humanity, have we?  Perhaps a bit of humility (or a lot of humility!), but not our humanity?  Right?

I know as sure as I am lying there in a room full of people who woke up today to go to yoga that we have not.  Even amidst the chaos and the crazy there is love and connection.  We are not stone.  We may all have different positions, but most of us really want the same outcomes.  We just see different ways of getting there.  Lots of roads can lead to the same place.

I know that I am nothing new
There’s so much more than me and you
But brother, how we must atone
before we turn to stone

And brother, how we must atone
before we turn to stone

And my last thoughts as I am lying in corpse pose go the future.

Our children will never know stone; this is a promise.

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