I didn’t know Lori Holden until I started writing You Don’t Look Adopted, and then, by reading her book The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption, I knew of her. I started reading her blog https://lavenderluz.com and she became a person on my want to meet list.
Lori is beautiful, smart, funny, and really savvy when it comes to talking about being a parent with two adopted kids. Writing about adoption, at least for me, is like trying to catch mercury with a pin. I have no idea what it would be like to write about it when you aren’t adopted but have a house full of adoption. I imagine it’s not that different from my experience. Mercurial.
Here is the amazing thing. I not only got to meet Lori, in one weekend I hiked with her, taught a Write or Die class she attended, and then I met her children, ate the food she cooked, slept at her house, and let her dog out in the morning. She is as wonderful in person as she is on the page: light, funny, super smart, full of thought-provoking questions. She walks the talk of yoga. She is present, and in that presence, she becomes a gift.
Do you know what it is like to communicate with someone who has an open heart? It’s like swimming in the ocean on a calm day, when you feel both buoyed and alive. It’s like realizing the spaces between words on the page have a sound, the spaces between paragraphs have a life of their own. When someone talks to you with their heart open and listens to you in the same way, there is peace. There is hope. There is prana.
And here’s where I get to tell you about my free prAna pants.
I started practicing yoga about eighteen years ago. I learned about prana, about how yoga, how linking breath to movement, is a way into universal life force, which meant for me a greater sense of freedom in my body and in my life. I was more alive from the breath work and the physical practices I was doing. I went to Willow Glen Yoga three or four or six times a week for about seventeen years. The people who went to that studio became my people, my community.
The owner, Kent Bond, became a dear friend. I carry around a pink pencil case and a drawing pad he gave me. It means something, that he thought about me, thought that even though he is the artist, maybe I would like a notebook of blank pages and a place to put my pens or colored pencils. He gave me belief in my potential. He prana’d me.
Last year, when I dove into the surprise grief of realizing adoption had deeply affected how my brain and body operates in the world, I stopped doing yoga because it hurt. As a massage therapist, I normally would suggest to others who were in my same situation to do some kind of yoga, maybe yin or restorative, but I didn’t want to do any of it. It felt like trying to stretch muscles that did not want to be touched. I mean that really didn’t want to be touched, like they were already stretched out to their max, too sensitive and exhausted sometimes to tolerate a flight of stairs without inwardly crying. All of this may sound negative, but when a caterpillar is a mushy mess in the chrysalis he really isn’t in a position to give you a thumbs up, never mind bust out a downward facing dog.
Sometimes you just have to hold on. In this past year, I was experiencing prana on a new level. I was morphing into myself. Destructive old habits were falling away, and change, even when it’s good, can be painful and sad. I was still full of life giving energy, but it was the energy of facing the mirror, of realization and acceptance, of the full frontal hit that love is real and everything else is story, story that you thought was keeping you upright, alive, driving your car. Story that was actually in your way of living in love. Letting go of story, of I need this or I am that or I am not worthy of living that dream can feel like letting go of a life raft. The fear is you will drown in the unknown.
For years and years my yoga mat had been a place of refuge, a place where I could come home to myself, and, seemingly overnight, it was a place that remained rolled up, hidden in the closet behind a pile of clothes. My body was not a place that wanted to be visited or explored. It was a place that was just hanging on while the storm grief hit and I let it. It felt like I was drowning.
It got to where I couldn’t even go to a yoga class if I wanted to because I didn’t have anything to wear. I know that sounds stupid, but if you bought cheap yoga clothes, chances are when a little time passes, the world can see all your business when you do a forward bend. (Must I paint you a picture?)
Time passed. I didn’t drown. The lights popped on, one by one by one.
And then Lori connected me with prAna, a company whose clothes I have always loved. The deal was that if I blogged about my real reactions to their clothes, I could get two free items.
I picked two pairs of the Deco Crop because they looked so comfortable and had detail work down the side. They are soft and the material is not just sturdy, but consciously produced, and so I’ll be forward bending for years in these puppies with no worries.
And here’s where it all gets so great: I did yoga this morning. And my muscles, although tight, cried out in pleasure while I lunged and twisted.
Guess what! Here's where it gets great for YOU! You get a 15% discount on prAna products until October 11 when you to to their website (www.prana.com) and use the code is MHMAN15.
If you have heard questionable practices about how yoga clothes from certain companies are produced, here's a little video to steer you towards prAna: http://www.prana.com/about-us/sustainability.html