If you knew me twenty something years ago,
I was a hotshot yogi
Living in San Francisco
In my studio apartment
Wearing tiny yellow yoga hot shorts
I could do all the things.
I could touch my nose to my toes
And bend so far backward
I could see the world behind me
And I loved it.
The heat, the sexiness, the pushing, the bending, the meeting myself in extraordinary places.
And then life happened.
Twenty years of it.
Death and birth and business and kids and houses and loss and grief and illness and bewilderment.
And if you know me today
I still do yoga.
But I can’t touch my nose to my toes.
I exchanged the yellow yoga hot pants for high-waisted leggings that hold my belly in place.
My belly you see,
Recovering from a hysterectomy,
Is scarred and bruised and swollen and used.
And she reminds me
Of the living I’ve been through.
And so now when the yoga teacher says
I bend half as far.
I drop my knees.
I back off.
I do what my body is telling me
And she says honor.
She says rest.
She says go slow my love
It’s not a race.
And I realize with my knees dropped and my leggings safely covering my belly
That this is leadership.
Honoring what’s true
And bowing to humble grace
Letting the humility and the reality
Lead the way
Letting what’s real
Be my guide.
And in so doing
Meet myself in extraordinary places.
xx, Michelle Long