In a big, sunny room. In a huge, new hospital. In a face mask with tubes hanging out of my chest....
I came home.
This afternoon at the Place of....Wellness, the patient holistic health center, I attended my first yoga class in more than two months. Since August 16th to be exact. My first class since transplant. As a genetically new human. As a newborn. What a friggin' metaphor.
Because of the high dose of steroid that I am on, there has been some significant loss in muscle mass everywhere on my body, particularly in my legs, which had me pretty freaked out about going to this class. I was afraid of feeling weak, of shaking, of not being able to even complete the class. All the logic in the world says that it shouldn't matter what my practice is like now, how it stacks up to my pre-transplant practice. That yoga is not about the depth of my knee bend or length of time I can hold warrior I, I know this with every fiber of my being. Yoga is in the being there, the intention. But the ego is an amazing thing and that fear and self-consciousness was still there. Until class started.
The instructor was fantastic, gentle, skilled, his sequencing was perfect, like it was made for my body today. Maybe it was. Maybe the universe really is that amazing. As if I'm that important.
Yes, my legs shook, but they were still stronger than I expected. They held me, supported me and (this was really amazing) knew where to go. Everything knew where to go. My arms swept in familiar ways, my feet found themselves in the right place, my hips went square when the should and my arms held steady. My brain quieted, my heart sang and my breathing was more labored than I've ever felt before, but cleansing and refreshing. It was astonishing. Moments strung together that I will remember for the rest of my life. A re-birth after a re-birth. A fun fact? I've become more flexible, which probably has something to do with the melted away muscle, but it was a weird surprise.
The experience of practicing next to other patients, some hooked to pumps, some bald like me (though I was the only one in a mask, a yoga experience like non other, talk about being aware of your breath!), all in deep concentration, brought an energy to the room that I've never felt in a class or workshop before. It was more concentrated, more intention filled than the most advanced class I've ever attended. Everyone in there literally fighting for their lives, and taking control of their bodies. Breathtaking.
After class I stopped to thank the instructor, a young man named Cathal only a touch older than myself, who just shone. So, so bright. After the typical pleasantries he said something that nearly made my legs fall out from under me: he said "You have a beautiful practice". Those words, so ego driven, so meaningless in reality, filled me with such joy I felt sort of guilty. Like I said, this is ego, it doesn't matter what my practice looks like now, but hearing that was exactly what I needed. My heart knows that my practice will return, that it has never actually left, but hearing it was edifying. So I'm going to go with it. And soak it up and thank Cathal, the universe and every teacher I've ever had for this feeling because it's a fucking blessing and I'm so, so lucky to have this practice.
Phil will be here in a few hours, which of course serves to intensify my gloriously blessed feeling. God, this distance has been hard but like the rest of it, there are blessings lurking in here. Our relationship is strong, solid and filled with love. He is an amazing man and I can't wait to spend the rest of our lives together. I'll spend the next few hours waiting for the water to be turned back on (there was some water main work being done out front) so I can shower and have clean fresh clothes to greet the hubs in, and having a magnesium and caspofungen infusion in the comfort of my living room.
Much love to Philly today and spending lots of time thinking about all of you having fun at Do Yoga Philly! Been working on a photo-packed post for a few days and I seriously can't wait to share it when I finally manage to write enough witty captions.
Much, much grateful love.