Day 1 - Balance, Breath, and Yoga Nidra
I fell asleep last night thinking about how I was going to start Day 1. I thought about what the whole 93 days meant to me. I thought about August 1, and how it would feel if I had followed whatever plan this is that I haven’t fully articulated to myself quite yet. I wanted to wake up on August 1feeling lit up. I wanted to feel the way I did in New York when I was writing You Don’t Look Adopted. Overwhelmed by gratitude, like I was getting away with the sweetest crime imaginable, deeply interested in what I would make of the day, and super excited to be in my body in that particular place and time.
I made a big leap to get to New York. I let go of a lot of things, took a lot of risks. I want to do something like that again, but the only trick is I don’t have a goal. I don’t feel like writing another book right now. I don’t feel like writing a movie. I would love to make money so I could afford a place of my own and so darling Carol and Dan wouldn’t need to keep a roof over my head for a second year. The only thing is that my head is so foggy much of the time and I spend a lot of my days feeling confused and mildly depressed and lost and unfocused. I think I would get fired two minutes into any job as I am fairly sure I would burst into tears if someone tried to tell me what to do. My brain isn’t processing information like it used to--and it has had problems processing information from the start, anyway.
As an adoptee, I learned early on a clever way to feel accepted and loved was to erase my own needs when faced with another person. This means I am skilled at making sure you get your needs met, but I am at a loss to tell you even, sometimes, if I am hot or cold. I mean, being an authentic person when you are adopted or when your parents were too busy or just unable to mirror you adequately does not come naturally.
So, all of this is to say I’m spending the next 93 days getting as Anne as I can. My dream is to wake up August 1feeling I belong in my body, feeling a strong sense of purpose in life, and then going to the bathroom and pooping like an Olympian on the top of her game.
I woke up this morning and started the first exercise I had planned to do as soon as I opened my eyes. I closed my still-tired eyes and focused on my breath. I breathed as if I were an empty balloon, and first I sent my breath into my big toe. I breathed as if I were filling my feet with air instead of my lungs. Then I filled my calves, my thighs, my pelvis, my abdomen, my chest, my shoulders, my arms, my hands, back up my arms to my neck and head. My whole body tingled with awareness. I felt good. I checked my phone to see what time it was. 12:01 am. What the heck? It was so barely the 1stof May that if I sneezed I might shoot myself back to April.
I checked my emails, did some work, posted the wonderful piece on my blog that Alex Castrodale had sent. I was energized by his creativity and heart and courage. I wanted to go for a long walk and think about people and the miracles they are capable of creating.
I was so excited for this 93 day thing to start. The only catch was that I also had to sleep.
When I woke up again, this time when the sun was up, I got up, brushed my teeth and came back to the bedroom to do Part II (remember I’d done Part I a little earlier in the morning) of my new daily regime.
I stood on my Airex balace pad (they are squishy blue rectangles you can find on Amazon), ankles touching, the wall within reach in case I tipped over), closed my eyes, activated my abdominal muscles to help me stand straight, and focused on getting still while I wobbled. When I felt fairly quiet in my body (This varies minute by minute, day by day. Some days I have to keep one hand on the wall.) I went through the process of thinking about each part of my body: big toe, second toe, all the way up to my head, but instead of filling myself with air, I was trying to feel myself in space. How do I know my feet are under me if I can’t see them? I spent about three minutes like this, balancing, eyes closed, feeling my body part by part. It’s funny how I know my feet are there but I can not feel them. I’m working on that, feeling myself in space even when I can’t see myself. Why? Because that’s how I will know I am really here.
There is something so joyful and right about being aware that you are in your body. It’s this little prayer you can do, welcoming you into the church of you. First you can do it lying down in bed, filling yourself with air (hopeful not at 12:01 am, and then you can do it vertically, filling yourself with stillness in the face of the wobble).
I don’t think anything is better than being fully in your body. Even a million dollars gets old if you don’t know where home is. What I have found in the two years since writing You Don’t Look Adopted is that getting praise for what you write is like cotton candy--delicious and slightly sickening. I thought that whole scenario—writing a book and having people respond generally positively to it—would be my placeholder in life. I thought writing my memoir would be my way of going Whitman and finding the song of myself, and it did, sort of, but not exactly. What it did was help me find my voice, my spine, but my body was still floating, as was my sense of place in the world. I still don’t know what to do with my life, and I don’t like the feeling.
I’m here to know what it is like to be Anne, just Anne, not Anne who was adopted and who has been running slightly off the tracks since birth, maybe since conception, and I’m here, as Viktor Frankl said, to find out what life asks of me. One of my favorite abilities is that I can see the truth of who people are. I feel like a mom to much of the world as I look at people and just love them. Granted, this is not a constant state of being. If I’m low on sleep or blood sugar or cash I look at people and think something sweet like, Get out of my way.
And that is yet another reason I’m doing this 93 day project. I want to be my best self. I want to operate from a place of love because I think that is what life is asking me to do.
And for that I need balance and self-acceptance.
The good news is that the 93 days could end here. You could just fill yourself with breath, balance with awareness, and fall in love with yourself. You can see that where you are and who you are is already perfect. When you slow down and feel this, you have accessed your deepest power, the power of presence.
But guess what! I I went to see Dr. Mark Lucas today, and I recorded our conversation about nutrition and guts and brain and overall well-being. I’ll share it with you tomorrow if I can figure out how to attach an audio file to this blog. I didn’t eat any processed food all day, and I feel pretty darn good. (On top of that, Pamela Karonova wrote an amazingly loving Tweet about me that came out of nowhere and it felt like a surprise birthday party. She made joy happen with intention and words, and her actions changed the trajectory of my day. I want to do stuff like that all the time. I want to go Pamela Karonova on the world.)
Until then, I invite you to take advantage of the two free weeks Yogaglo (https://www.yogaglo.com) offers new customers, and to sign up and then lie on the floor, the couch, or your bed, and do one of the Yoga Nidra classes (search for these under the category of meditation). Ron Stryker’s is my favorite. This is basically a narrated horizontal version of the two exercises you did in the morning. I think it is heaven. And Rod Stryker has the best voice.
See you tomorrow.