Tag Archives: pilates

Just Breathe

I didn’t sleep much last night and, today, I mustered up the courage to bring up a difficult conversation with a loved one. My chest is heavy and I feel like I need more air. That or a good cry. A 12-hour uninterrupted snoozefest wouldn’t go astray either.

I have a Pilates class in 30 minutes. I crawl into bed and set the alarm. But I feel terrible and I can’t relax. Then it dawns on me. I have choices. I ask myself what I’d really like to do.

Yes, I’ve paid for this course and I may miss some new moves. But tonight, I’m allowing my own voice to rise above the roar of the shoulds and the musts and the expectations.

With my decision made, I snuggle deeper into my freshly made bed. I leave the curtains open and gaze out at a single shimmering star in the October sky. I listen to the sound of dogs barking at the ubiquitous pre-Hallowe’en bangers and I smile.

Soon, I shall ease myself into a steaming bubble bath, my favourite music on the stereo. And later, I’ll curl up behind the pages of an Ethan Hawke novel.

My body is grateful. I can breathe again.

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Riding the Waves

I forced myself out for a walk yesterday even though the weather was being particularly indecisive. It went from sunny blue skies to windy dark grey to pelting rain in mere minutes. As I headed up the street, raindrops began to appear, slowly at first like the initial deliberate bursts of popcorn, then hard and fast and loud. No, I muttered silently. Please don’t. Then I realised that my resistance, my pleading and cursing, wasn’t going to stop the rain from falling. It was just going to make me feel miserable.

Desiring something to be different from the way it is brings us out of alignment with reality, which naturally creates unhappiness and frustration. So I looked up and said, Do what you have to do. I shrugged off thoughts of Everything’s going to get so wet, dumped them on the ground beside me and walked away, eyes scrunched and hair matted against my face.

I felt a strange sense of elation. A Fuck you world mixed with Bring it. I wanted to punch the air and sprint past sheep and shriek along to Ellie Goulding’s Halcyon.

You know that point when you understand that you are powerless? That life will continue to roll no matter what reservations you might have. That moment when you simply give up. And in that instant, you feel oddly powerful. Free. Like you’re riding the waves instead of swimming against them. It’s exhilarating.

My lower back is still stiff and painful but now, instead of struggling against it, I’m leaning into it. I’ve stopped the hard-core gym sessions and started doing gentler exercises at home. I discovered a Pilates studio in Newbridge and attended it for the first time this morning. A man approached me about a new yoga class he’s setting up next week. And I’m getting out in the fresh air and daylight for invigorating walks in the Irish weather.

As I neared home, the sky cleared. I gazed at enormous tree trunks, orange berries and smiling daffodils, and I nodded: Yes, all is well.

Check out this lady making the most of her time waiting for a bus. It brings to mind the following poem:

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
                                                         Love like you’ll never be hurt,
                                          Sing like there’s nobody listening,
                                     And live like it’s heaven on earth.”