December 9, 2021

When things feel Out of Control, our Practices can Ground Us.


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The sound of the alarm seems loud.

Months ago, I lowered the volume in the settings, but the past two mornings, it seems to have reset itself to blaring. I set it to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” when I got back from a trip earlier this year.

It was the most striking trip, yet it left my heart in pieces. The song was on a list of suggestions to “raise your vibration” in the morning. I had trouble with the mornings then too, but the reason was much different.

Now, I am only jet-lagged, which is infinitely better than heartbroken. To have to set my alarm to get up at 9 a.m. is out of sorts. At home, by 9 a.m., I would have already done several things: meditated, practiced yoga, danced, gone for a walk, and stopped at my favorite café for coffee. I let out an audible grunt in response to the opening drums and what feels like their merciless rat-tat-tat on the center of my brain.

I hit snooze twice before I am conscious enough to realize that the smell of the pillow and the blankets are not the smell of my own linens. Discomfort begins to outweigh sleepiness, so then I stir and wake up. Even when my socked feet hit the floor, it is apparent that the wood and my soles have yet to become comfortably acquainted. I spent 10 years in my last space, so going from knowing every nook and cranny to a new country, new neighborhood, and new living space requires some adjusting.

I walk past recently planted pellets of myself around the apartment. There are tea bags and honey in the kitchen and my sweater hangs on the back of a chair. The artwork on the walls, the plates, the cups in the cabinets, and the sofa are all not mine. They are graciously a part of the package.

When I take a bowl from the cabinet, I am glad it is there, but I still wonder what happened to my favorite bowls with the cute measuring cup on the inside, of which I donated to the thrift store while being cutthroat about what would be coming with me on this experience.

I know I am not staying in this space, as a new resident would be coming in just two short months, but how could I immediately make it feel more like me, easily and before I whisk things over to the next space—you know, in the way that you can “whisk” 70-pound luggage across a city?

I don’t enjoy feeling like a mess with no routine. I run my socks over the floor beneath my chair.

“What practices do you have right now that you can turn to?” I am on Zoom with my therapist. My hair looks messy. I feel out of sorts and stiff. I look tired and I’ve been blabbing. I don’t know if my blabs make sense, but I know that she always makes sense. So here we are.

I pause. “Meditation,” I respond. I had been on a meditation and visualization hot streak before I left. For months, I woke up and spent 15 minutes meditating every single morning.

She encouragingly raises her eyebrows at me.

“Movement,” I continue. Training and physical practices have always been a tremendous part of my life. It is not like me to miss practices, but between jet lag and the international shift, I’m glad I remembered to put underwear on, let alone complete a practice of any sort.

I see what she is getting at.

Journaling,” I add. Law of attraction journaling has proven itself quite effective for me on more than one occasion. Things might have taken longer than desired sometimes, but it does work if we stay consistent and believe in our words. I wrote about receiving a surprise 5,000 dollars so many times and for so long that when I did get it, I got it twice.

When we feel lost or out of control, we can find the things that serve us and come back to them. For me, it is these things: meditation, movement, and journaling. For others, it might be reading, cooking, or playing an instrument. It reminds me of the famed quote “Do your practice and all is coming.”

My session ends and I walk across the wood floor, which is only menially more familiar than it was this morning, and prepare myself for practice.

I don’t have my mat, the smell of the space is different, the sounds around me are different. My dinner will be served in a strange bowl, but I have myself and movements that have seen me through my ups, downs, and shifts of all kinds.

I am myself, and that is how I can make the space feel more like me for the moment.

I lift my arms and take a breath. And then, I begin to understand. I don’t need to worry about a thing, because every little thing’s gonna be alright.


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