October was absurd/stressful/fun/hilarious and I wouldn't change a single crazy second of it. For some inexplicable reason, after the busy days of September, I was under the mistaken impression that October would be more subdued, but I was - as usual - wrong. We are in a busy season of life, and it is probably best that I just accept that.
In the midst of the busyness, The Musician and I escaped to Charleston for a long weekend for our 15th wedding anniversary. The trip was glorious, of course. We ate well, wandered and explored to our hearts content, stayed out too late every night, talked our way into not just one, but two, sold-out Jason Isbell shows, and acted like we didn't have a care in the world. It was a little bit perfect. And it was just what we needed.
During the month, I also marked a full year of daily yoga practice. Yoga has been a part of my life for about ten years, but it wasn't until I began tracking my practice with an app on my phone that I turned it into a seven days a week habit. I celebrated the milestone by (drumroll, please) practicing yoga, of course, and I have done a lot of reflecting on my experience over the past few weeks.
I am stronger after a full year of daily yoga, and I find that I now prefer to begin my day with yoga so that I can get on my mat and get into my body as preparation for the rest of the day, but a lot of things went much differently than I think I expected. I still cannot stick a handstand, and I tip over in headstands as often as I hold them. Arm balances are still out of reach, and it turns out that muscle really does weigh more than fat - after what is now 376 consecutive days of yoga, I still wear the same size of clothing, but I weigh seven more pounds than I did at the beginning of this project.
Seven pounds. THAT'S FRUSTRATING, PEOPLE.
On the other hand, side plank now makes me feel like Superwoman, and my standing balance poses are strong and steady. Most importantly, I find that I am more willing to try scary things on the mat. And when I fail - which is often - my ego doesn't get as hung up on the outcome as it once did. These days, when I fall out of a pose or find that I cannot even get into the pose in the first place, I laugh, make sure nothing got broken or sprained, dust myself off, and keep on going.
Princess Hazelnut has been very supportive, and decided that she too needed to begin practicing yoga to increase her own strength. Most days now, she rolls out my mat and finds an episode of Cosmic Kids for herself while I am at my desk. My ego is totally stoked about that.
What I'm Listening to
It's been all Jason Isbell, all the time, around here lately. I still think Southeastern is his best album - and one of the best albums of the past ten years - but Something More Than Free is pretty phenomenal in its own right.
What I'm Reading
I spent three hours curled up in bed Saturday morning finishing The Thirteenth Tale. It was the kind of book that you simply can't put down, but also desperately do not want to ever end. Next up is Bel Canto, a book I have had on my TBR list for some time now.
What I'm Focusing On
Every November, I take the time each day to post something I am thankful for on social media, and serendipitously, right now I am in the middle of a study on One Thousand Gifts with a small group of women at church. As part of the study, I have begun keeping an actual-factual pen-and-ink gratitude journal, and it is keeping thankfulness front and center as this month begins. Gratitude is a very centering, grounding practice, and as absurd as it sounds, I am thankful for gratitude.