"Cigarette hip toward the mirror" I heard my yoga teacher say as the class moved in to Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose, and for a sliver of a second I did a lightspeed double take before I realized that he'd said "Stick your right hip toward the mirror". It's been that kind of day in which I feel like like I'm underwater, moving slower, barely aware of my breathing, and endlesslessly drifting thoughts, which seem to reflexively want to rest on the old ideal of giving up on civilization for the better part of the day and yielding to numb contemplation in the company of a few cigarettes. The morning was patchy grey, and the air still with heavy mouthbreathing, cloudy blankets, and lucid dreams of sheepish hibernation. Of course, this anecdote started at the end of the day, so you already know that I didn't give in, but it's been sort of like those old timey cartoons where one character is deluded with hunger, gazing at his associate who all of the sudden appears as a hot, buttery stack of waffles, and their friendship falls apart. In my case, my yoga teacher is trying to entice me with the mention of cigarettes.
This day really wanted me to fall back into character. My sleep had been patchy last night, and when my alarm went off at 7 a.m. to wake and prepare for a 9 a.m. yoga class, I shut it down and surrendered to the possibility of more sleep, which graciously came for a couple of more hours before I was awakened by a dull thirst for coffee. I decide that I will take the 4:30 p.m. class, and go to the gym beforehand, just to switch it up a little. As I drink my coffee, eat my eggs, and read my EX, I realize that I am downright uninspired today, and will have to stop at the park before going to the gym. I clearly need to sprawl out on the grass and soak up some vitamin D, in one final compassionate effort to shift my mind's course on this day. The sun has finally broken through, and now maybe it's my turn, I thought.
In San Francisco, when there's a warm, sunny day, there's a mass emigration to the parks to recreate in so many varied, glorious forms. Happy, hippy dogs dart around islands of people, chasing frisbees or each other. Some transient folks travel from port to port visiting, drinking, and maybe would you sign a petition to ban menthol cigarettes in the city? (this really happened today). I dock on a nice green patch, lay on my mat and listen to my tunes, soaking up some rays in solitude but not quite shaking my melancholy. There's a fair amount of marijuana being smoked along the periphery, and though it's had a connection to my cigarette habit in the past, it's not distracting or tempting to me being at a distance. Then two young men make the acquaintance of two young women, laying out maybe fifteen feet from me, by asking, "Hey, do you wanna smoke some pot with us?" If it's to be a love story, I have to miss bearing witness, and so I take that as my cue that I've had enough vitamin D, and pack up to make my way to the gym.
At the gym, my day starts to turn as the endorphins generate, and I stay for an hour doing a shoulder routine before heading off to what turned out to be one of my strongest yoga classes all week after a few days' stretch of some lackluster classes. Turns out that the class where I start to believe that we're discussing cigarettes together is where I snap out of it and pull my **** together.
This past week has culminated everything I felt and experienced today, with the realization that there actually is no desolation. It's just a mirage that can only be tangible by my reaction. Old impulses and triggers are repelling me away to healthier outcomes, even though I know there's more struggle to come. Previous to my quit, I would have stayed under the rock from which I woke and negotiated dumbly with a few cigarettes and forgo everything that could lead me out into the light, but today I learned deliberation over desolation. When in doubt, put your head to your knee.