Returning to a Headstand Practice

This morning I lay in bed for a while. Saturdays are slow. When I looked at the far wall of the bedroom, it was as if I were seeing it for the first time. The texture of the paint over the texture of the plaster. The neatly-fitting edges of the fireplace insert. The eggshell white wall meeting the forest green wall in a deep corner, a shadowed seam.

I’ve slept in the room most nights for just over 5 years. I woke this morning as though I were staying in a new place. Or a hotel room. I don’t know what triggered the sense of unfamiliarity. There is always a tiny fear that the problem is actually that this experience is more the result of the sense of familiarity not triggering. But not in the moment. In the moment: wonder.

I thought about lying flung over a twin bed with my head grazing the green shag carpet of a rented apartment. A room with popcorn ceilings that made lulling shadows in the light of the pink nightlight plugged into the wall socket. Music coming from the other room, where there were sandalwood and paisleys, love beads and bongs. Soft laughter.

I imagined the world flipped on its head. Climbing over thresholds to move from room to room. Looking up at the furniture as if from underwater. Light fixtures rising like seaweed from the ocean’s bed.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned that other people did this as children. Saw this world.

At the time, I sure felt alone.

I knew solitude
before I knew loneliness
I heard the world’s whispers
its shape-shifting points of view
unleashed, tucked-in at bedtime

My yoga practice this month has been limited to sun salutations and warriors. A single bridge in an attempt to return to my morning flows. What I thought was shoulder trouble, is really a problem with deep, small muscles in my back. I miss headstands. But this morning I was thinking that maybe time off from them has been good. Time to appreciate perspectives and purpose a bit more. A practice so rooted in routine can be something of a paradox.

Sometimes it’s important to embrace the unknown – to not know what is over the next hill, what is taking shape in the fading light…


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