friendship and messy hair {5/100}

My friend K visited this past weekend from Minneapolis. We used to live in the same apartment building, taught yoga at the same studio, and become close friends fast. She was the first person in Des Moines who knew I was pregnant when it happened (I told her in the parking lot after a hot class; her response was "are you SERIOUS, whoa, how are you" in true fashion). I stood up in her lovely summer wedding. Last time I saw her was a year ago, when we traveled to MN with a six-month-babe who couldn't roll over and still needed to be breastfed every hour. 

Life is different now, but so much is still the same. We're both going through the journey to home ownership. We've both been rocked by our privilege in light of the election results, and consequently our conversations take shape over politics and social action a little more than they used to. But a single chat can arc all the way from the virtues of sriracha mayo on egg sandwiches to the best way to grill zucchini to how to join a new church to Phoebe Robinson's wit. 

We always forget to take photos when together, though, probably because the present moment is more enjoyable than reaching for a smartphone. But on this visit we said, let's take a cute posed photo! Let's not forget! So we tried like five times, and then it got weird and awkward, and eventually it turned out the mid-mule drank face with messy hair and cozy clothes felt more real than anything else.

Isn't that how true friendship goes, though?

resistance is normal and necessary {4/100}

Photo credit: Justin Salem Meyer

Photo credit: Justin Salem Meyer

I have a love-hate relationship with early morning yoga classes. Leaving the cozy comfort of bed seems offensive at 5:15 a.m. as I stumble to the closet to throw on workout clothes. Even when I start driving to the studio, part of me wants to turn back, go home, climb back into the covers. 

On my mat, my body revolts: aches and pains and stiff creaky limbs. My mind follows suit with the desire to lay still, be mentally anywhere but here. I lament the loss of ease.

But I also know that every invitation to move is a small shift toward openness. I have to do the work to reap the benefits. I resist and resent each downward-facing dog, each high plank, each warrior pose until a piece of me relents. Oh, I think, the backs of my legs don't feel like tight rubber bands like they did five minutes ago. I think, mmmm, yes, one more round of Sun A would be very nice, I'll give it a go.

Each refusal falls away, and another, and again and again, until I'm 2/3 through class finally waking up, finally feeling everything and wanting more of it, unlike the first five minutes where I wanted to run away, away, away.

We get to savasana, and a sense of familiarity locks into place: this is how it goes. This is the cycle of unfolding, of creating, of connecting, of trying.

I've been practicing yoga for seven years now, and all I know for sure is this dance of ow-oh, wait-go, close-open, slow-start happens every single time I go to my mat. I expect it, and knowing the back and forth will happen doesn't make the yoga any easier. As a human, I constantly seek comfort, and while yoga has certainly brought me all sorts of beautiful solaces, that's not actually the point of a practice.

That's not the point of a life, either.

Writing. Motherhood. Partnership. Love. Friendship. Service. Exercise. Ambition. Meditation. Forgiveness. Justice. Release. Healing.

Most elements of our lives are not easy. We resist until we realize there's a return on receiving this gift of discomfort, of challenge. We are asked to believe an opposite side of the coin exists, to stay for the flip, to trust we can withstand both yin and yang and to remember that we need to understand how resistance feels so we can rise above it.