Exercise to Exorcise

A friend of mine sent me an email recently in which she talked about "exercising" her demons.  I know it was just a typo, but it made me giggle because I got this picture of devils doing jumping jacks and situps while she yelled at them.

But, it made me realize that that's what we do.  We exercise our demons in the yoga room so we can exorcise them from our lives.  We sweat them out.  Sometimes we cry them out.  Occasionally we have to lie down to recover from the sudden weight re-distribution of our newly lifted spirits.  We leave feeling different, though.  Maybe not always better, but different, lighter.

Sometimes I lie awake at night, listening to Matt breathing, and I miss him.  I get the urge to wake him up just so he can talk to me, hold my hand.  I don't do it, though, because he's grumpy when you wake him up.  It happens less and less as the reality of him sinks in further -- the reality that he's going to be there in the morning and tomorrow and next week and forever until one of us dies.  This forever is also helpful in exorcisms because I can always snuggle into something comforting after a day of demon-slaying.

I've been thinking a lot about letting go of some of the dreams I've dragged around from pillar to post.  It's hard to let go, even though they're cumbersome and pull me under.  Even though some of them are too small or broken or missing pieces.  I've taken them out of the boxes and looked at them for years, held them up to see how they look on me.  I pin the pieces to what I'm wearing and imagine what it would have looked like.  It's an excavation of my life in a way, but I know what they looked like and I chose to let them fall into disused disrepair.  So not everything is built to last.  I can bag them up and toss them.  They aren't doing anything for me anymore.  And the yoga has really helped with understanding that.  And helped me realize that there are new dreams to take the place of the ones that I've outgrown or lost parts of or dropped repeatedly.

Learning that what you wanted once isn't what you want anymore is strange, though.  It feels a little like a bad translation.  Somewhere a word got missed or changed and over time the whole meaning became something else.  Moses with horns instead of rays of light.

I'm glad to be able to leave old loves, old hurts, tired dreams behind.  I've been able to get past the bad decisions, the cruelties casually inflicted in the stupidity of youth.  I've left them in puddles of salty runoff that have dried into whitish stains on the concrete.

I've had a heavy bunch of crap jammed into the edges of my heart for a long time.  The hurts and aches jostling alongside the smiles and love, muddying everything.  The yoga has let me press more of the dirt out and rinse clean the the brights.  Not everything is gone and it never will be.  New things will filter in and out, but they don't have to be trapped.

I often feel like there are several versions of me that exist simultaneously (not in a dissociative identity disorder kind of way).  I've compartmentalized pieces of my life because I've never wanted anyone to have enough information to do damage.  So there's work me, which is a very reserved version of myself.  There's yoga me, which is a very specific part of myself.  There's friend me, which is pretty close to the total me.  There's wife me, which is still getting worked out.  There's family me, which has seen several incarnations but is a pretty even mix of public and private me.  I'd like to integrate some of these pieces a little more.

Since I've gotten married, I've been trying to be more emotionally open.  But it's not easy.  Matt and I argue sometimes about how I don't 'share.'  I appreciate that he wants me to share and it's nice to have the option, but I don't process openly.  And no matter how long any one person knows me, they will never know everything about me.  I'm okay with that.  What I'd like to work out next is what drove me to this secretiveness in the first place.  This is the big devil.  This is the one whose tail and horns I can see, but never get my fingers around.  It brushes past me in the dark sometimes, wakes me from sleep by casting quick, black shadows across my dreams.

I'm working on pinning it to the wall and throwing it down a flight of stairs so it'll tell me what I want to know.  It will take the help of some camels and eagles and low-flying dragons.  I'll need a warrior and a hero and when the legion is assembled and I am prepared it will happen.  Until then we'll practice together.


Lady J said...

Sharing is hard sometimes. I have struggled with that in my relationship as well. Yoga has helped me find that voice but it's not always easy. It's good that you're trying :-)

Dorothy said...

I'm glad to know it's not just me. Thanks! ^___^

hannahjustbreathe said...

I freaking love this post, Dorothy. I kept nodding my head and thinking, "Yes...yes...I know, me, too." Seriously, portions of this could be lifted right out of my journals and my thoughts. It was good to read. It is good to know you.


Dorothy said...

Thanks, Hanney! I feel the same way about practically everything you write. And YES. It is good to know you! ^___^