Ya know that feeling, when you’re in a car and have to go to the bathroom. And you’re waiting to get home or to the next rest stop. And you’re ok until you get out of the car, somehow knowing the bathroom is so close makes it almost unbearable and suddenly you know you can’t wait a moment longer.
That’s how I felt walking into the Hubbard Hall Studio Building for a two hour Sunday morning Yoga class. Then I heard myself saying “Oh that’s ok” when Gina kindly told me the yoga class was technically filled up but maybe they could let me in. (That’s ok I didn’t really need to go to the bathroom that bad). But as I walked away feeling like I was going to cry, I knew it wasn’t ok. I really needed to go to that yoga class. I have been saying “yes” so much lately when people have ask if they can help, why would I all of a sudden be saying no. I felt like running back to the class, pounding on the door, falling onto my knees and begging to be let into the class. ( I have to go really bad).
But I didn’t, I stoically walked back to my car remembering all the other things I felt guilty for doing since Jon went into the hospital, had surgery and has been home recovering. Like buying a bottle of wine so I could have a glass with dinner and getting a massage (neither of which I usually feel guilty about) or the night I had dinner at the sports bar in my hotel after leaving Jon in the ICU for the night. (that was a big one, I had been reading John Cheever Stories to Jon all day where people were hiding empty liquor bottles in toilet tanks and spouses were cheating on each other without batting an eye. I felt like I was an alcoholic cheating on Jon because all I wanted to do was have something hot to eat, a glass of wine and a book to read, while he was laying in the ICU still hooked up to machines and eating hospital food.) I just didn’t want to be anymore of a bother, hadn’t I already asked enough of people, it has to stop sometime, all the kind acts, all the taking.
So I drove home then met Jon on the way back from his morning walk. And for the next two hours (the time I would have spent in the yoga class) I walked, did yoga in my studio and meditated with Jon in the house. And it was good, I took a little bit of my “no” back. But it made me wonder why, when I’ve been saying yes to so many people, letting them help me in so many ways, I decided to say no to Gina. It would have been easy enough for Gina to ask the yoga instructor if there was room for one more, it was even her idea. Partially I did feel guilty going to the class, but I think the “no” came from not wanting anyone to know how vulnerable and needy I was feeling, including myself.
Because I’m just realizing how scary this whole thing has been. From the time we found out Jon needed Bypass surgery, until now, I put up a shield around me. Not letting myself feel too intensely. Protecting me so I could be strong when I needed to be. Putting my feeling aside until it was safe enough to feel them again. And now that Jon is healing and needs me less and less it’s becoming safe. I’m getting my life back, but with it comes all the unacknowledged emotions of the past four weeks. Because we’ve been too busy just surviving up to this point. So I’m easing back into my life. And I think that’s why this yoga class felt so important to me. I saw it as a threshold to the coming week. A big step in the transition back to my life. And by saying “no” to Gina I was saying I wasn’t ready to drop the shield and feel all those emotions I had pushed aside.
But the day turned out to be a threshold in its own way. Not the quick passage of an intense two hours of yoga, but a slower more realized understanding of what I’m going through. Because when I said no to the yoga class this morning Jon and I decided to make the whole day a considered and spiritual one. And in walking and meditating and talking and writing I now understand the transition back to my life isn’t just about work and whose cooking dinner, it’s about allowing myself to feel again. I see now that I made my own yoga class. One that lasted the whole day and did just what I needed it to do for me.