“Be Like Water.”
That’s what I would tell my yoga class, follow Mother Nature, go with the flow, water moves around obstacles; it is powerful, it melts steel and stone, it’s flexible, it’s fluid, it’s feminine, all beautiful qualities to nurture.
Today I don’t want to be like water, this endless mess courtesy of Harvey that stayed over our city upending lives, creating stress, misery, bringing change for decades to come. I know from previous experience with tropical storms, hurricanes, rip tides, ocean swims that water is powerful, that it is not wise to under estimate Mother Nature. I’ve always known that. The city didn’t underestimate her here in Houston. We knew what was coming, you just can’t imagine it until you experience it and still, you can’t be prepared exactly for what unfolded. I like Mother Nature, her immense power to delight and keep us humble. But I’m not sure I will ever use that phrase again, at least not for a yoga class in Houston. My context has changed, an endless row of red radar screens, counter clockwise spinning feeder bands, jarring emergency alerts of tornado warnings on my iPhone, pictures of people so worse off than me.
No, I won’t use that term again.
At 9 am this morning, I took my first yoga class since the storm, a yin class, and the instructor, having been through the storm herself was very aware of the mix of emotions that we were all trying to process. I was so relieved to be on my mat with others, to breathe together, an opportunity to relax and yet I couldn’t.
“Navigate the unknown.”
“Move with the flow.”
“Surround yourself …”
Any word that referenced water created tension, when I heard “navigate,” I saw a boat when I heard “move with the flow,” I pictured the bayou moving underneath my feet on the San Jacinto street bridge, “surround yourself” felt just plain overwhelming. I noticed these reactions and my immediate response to tense. In corpse pose, I tucked the blanket under my head and put my t-shirt over my eyes and another blanket on my belly, now, maybe now, for the next 5 minutes I can exhale and let my body and mind surrender. The room was quiet for a moment and then the hum of a military helicopter flying overhead.
Nope, not yet.
My world has turned upside down, and my home didn’t flood.