Best Moments of 2015 / by Hope A

Spoiler: they almost all involve crying

1. Reading from Light on Yoga at my teacher training graduation...Last January I began yoga teacher training unsure of where it might lead me.  I attended classes, I read, I studied, I often felt like it wasn't making sense. Then, every once in a while, it would.  At our graduation we were all offered a moment to read something, to share, to talk.  Some people thanked our teachers. At least one Mary Oliver poem was read.  And I read this, BKS Iyengar's instructions for headstand:

The best way to overcome fear is to face with equanimity the situation of which one is afraid. Then one gets the correct perspective, and one is not frightened anymore.  To topple over while learning the head stand is not as terrible as we imagine.  If one over balances, one should remember to loosen the interlocked fingers, relax, go limp and flex the knees. Then one will just roll over and smile.

Life lessons from Iygengar. Lighten up. It is not so scary. Roll over and smile.

2.Being in the same room with so many people I haven't seen together in so long, if ever, for the best/worst reason...Travis' death in August was unexpected in its form and timing. I felt like I had missed so much to not understand how he could have arrived at that end.  In October I was able to fly to NY to meet up with some of my closest friends, including a few close friends who I had never seen together. I met new friends who I had somehow not yet met. We laughed about how uncomfortable Travis would have been with this gathering, this celebration of him. We cried too. I was mostly just teary eyed through out, damp in the corners, until the last moment when someone sweetly hugged me and it was terrible and comforting all at once.

3. Teaching my first yoga class...I was on my way to a friend's first class when she got into a minor car accident and asked me to cover. My first class wasn't supposed to be for a few days and so I should've been ready and I wasn't sure if I was but I did it. Not too many students and probably there were a few things I wish I hadn't said or done. Its been six months, at 2-3 classes per week and I still get nervous often enough but I still like it every time.

4.Every time I decide to keep going....I'm getting older and I am less impulsive about wanting to give up. I can see the long view more often. That doesn't mean I don't get frustrated with situations, people, work.  But most of the time I decide it is worth the effort not to give up and find a way to make to work, as long as there is a way to make it work. And usually, so far, that has reaped unexpected results that I would have never know.

5. Meeting a friend and finding a very dark place...I have been living in Oakland for three years but only recently have I felt that I have friends I can just call up when I need to. One night, Andy was at work and I didn't want to be alone. I didn't have to explain. I felt lucky to have a friend to meet me, walk me to a very dark tiny park, talk for a bit and then go meet Andy at work to ride home with him. It was the most comfortable I have felt here in three years.

6.Hiking on a forever hike in shitty shoes but getting to the real story...August 2015 was the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I went to the beach with other Louisiana friends. Quickly I realized my relationship to this experience was different.  We played card games, drank on the beach I went for walks alone, wrote letters, missed my friends in New Orleans. The next day we went for a hike to a waterfall, underestimating the 5 mile hike and not bringing enough water.  It was amazing to see the waterfall that spilled right onto the beach, despite our thirst. On the way back, finding ways to distract out selves from hunger and thirst we took turns telling stories. It was almost as good as the tall sweet can of sugary water I drank an hour later.  My black glitter keds are still dusty from the hike.

7. My birthday. The whole day. Gin and tonic and pizza in a party dress, writing letters with friends at my art show, coming home. I don't think I cried though.

8. Swimming.  Wait. Did I really not go swimming this year? We stayed in a cabin but it was too cold. We stayed at the beach but only walked in the sand. I went to Tennessee but the river was low and I wasn't sure we should swim in it. I napped on Glass Beach with the other members of subset as we contemplated buying a papermaking studio, but I was wearing a sweater.  With Derek gone this summer did I really forget to go swimming?  Maybe? Maybe not.Wait! Lake Anza:  Me vs the Very Hot Sand (and the Threat of Swimmers Itch).  Phew.     ed. my dad wrote to me that I did go swimming in Tennessee. He brought us to a state park. We had a picnic. I stayed in the water most of the time though I tried to read too. Like when I was little and my dad would bring us to the pond in our hometown. Except my sister and I are nicer to each other now. Yay for swimming.

Ok, goal for 2016, more outside, more swimming.  I think I have crying and friends down.