I’m really loving the self-employed life. I had been bracing myself for a panicked meltdown — some variation on “oh god oh god I quit my job what have I done?” — but it turns out I’ve been only grateful and full of bliss.
I’m working on a new novel and so buzzy and excited to see where the characters take me. I’ve even been playing around with short stories again. Each morning after yoga I head off to my writing office and find a nice little nook to call mine for the day. It’s an intense space, full of other people who are also making sentences. Sometimes I imagine all our collective energy rising upwards like steam to collect in a storm cloud of creativity above our heads, sending down bolts of inspiration to shake loose anyone who’s stuck.
And my yoga teacher training has been so incredibly inspiring. I’ve started doubling up on yoga practice whenever I can. Mysore Ashtanga first thing in the morning, and then some kind of flow (or occasionally aerial) class a few hours later. My body aches, but it’s the best kind of aching.
Today during the lunch flow I was able to kick up into a handstand on my own for the very first time. In the past I’ve always needed a spotter to catch my leg and help me find my way to the wall. I’d been told over and over again that I definitely had the strength, that it was just in my head. Today, finally, magically, I beat the fear and found myself floating right up there.
The timing of everything in my life has been strangely perfect. Beginning my yoga teacher training. Making the decision to quit my job. Somehow signing with my dream agent before my job ended. Everything has been coming together, the ingredients just fine without me needing to measure them.
(This can only last so long, right? I’ll enjoy the lovely ease of it all while I have it.)
I am especially, especially grateful to my yoga practice these days. I really think it’s the absolute best way to balance being a writer. They’re opposites. The focus on the body, the boisterous community joined by a physical practice, the indulgence in letting the mind go. Versus sitting hunched in the writing cave until the back is sore, distilling words in silence and solitude, often forgetting to interact with any other humans.
And yet yoga and writing also share a Venn diagram sliver. The practice is very much the same. Every morning you have to wake up and actively decide: today I am going to write; today I am going to do yoga. Not to mention the inward gaze — to find the words when you’re writing; to strive for samadhi (“absorption”) when you’re doing yoga.
I knew that to make the transition out of my corporate job I needed to set up checks and balances in my life. It’s so easy for me to spiral down into a black hole of depression during the times when it feels like my writing is going poorly — call me a “full-time writer” and that turns into a very slippery edge ringing a full-time black hole.
Yoga is the balance. Maintaining the yoga practice is the check. So that my life can never only be about the writing, as tempting as that is. Yoga reminds me: I need to breathe in my writing practice, too. I work hard on my stories, but then I’m allowed to rest. I won’t always achieve what I want, but practice and all is coming.
Feeling good today, so I had to get these thoughts down. Sometime in the future I’ll be thrashing around at the bottom of that black hole and maybe I’ll look back at this post and think, Huh, perhaps I can find that state of peace again.
Also. Here are a few things I read on the internet over the last couple months that are really encouraging and/or important. I keep finding myself going back to them, so I wanted to share: