Many years ago, I walked into a yoga class and met a woman I had lived next door to as a child. I was new to the class and she assured me it was wonderful. “It really relaxes you and makes you feel at peace,” she said. “Not that you need that. You always seem so calm.” It was then I knew that people who don't know me well, have no idea what I'm really like. Apparently I project a very calm exterior. My close friends and family will find that laughable. I am like a bundle of springs compressed in a tiny body. I throw myself into tasks and take the outcome to heart. Most of the time it's fine. Tension fuels my crazy calendar of work, children's activities, theatre, writing and family life. But I do occasionally pay a price.
I've always considered myself politically moderate. But I've begun to realize that I'm only a moderate by Massachusetts' standards. Compared other parts of the country I'm a bleeding heart liberal. Four years ago on election night, I felt like a rubber band that had been stretched and stretched as I watched the returns. It looked like Obama would probably win, but I was afraid of being too cocky. I went to bed before the results were finalized and somehow managed to sleep.
By morning, it was clear that Obama would be our next president. It was also clear that I hadn't slept peacefully. I had clenched my jaw so hard in my sleep that I broke my tooth. It was the second of the four crowns I now have in my mouth—all from internalizing stress. I now carry an extra dental insurance policy, just for me. So, yes I need all the yoga I can get.
Last night a relative of mine wrote on her Facebook wall that she was, “Doing yoga, drinking wine, and making a care package for my sister at college. Sending donations to Red Cross Hurricane Relief and Planned Parenthood. Controlling the things I can control.” Clearly, at half my age, she is twice as smart. Today I'm going make pumpkin pancakes, go to the chiropractor, walk to the polls with my kids in the autumn sunshine, and do some work for my upcoming show. If there's time, I may get out my yoga mat. Controlling the things we can control. Brilliant.