First day back to (fill in the blank)

Originally I wasn’t going to post this. I thought maybe it was more of a journal entry than a blog post but then I figured if I’m going to do this thing I might as well just lay it out there, so here it is.

The flavor of Paris is waning. I can feel it escaping like sand running through my fingers but I don’t want to let go. I’m sitting on my couch drinking decaffeinated tea with milk and sugar out of a cup my girlfriend bought at Paris Las Vegas years ago and the memories of my 15 days away are slowly becoming more Disneyfied, not unlike the mug that I am drinking out of. I’m a bit depressed.

I have a great life, really I do. I am lucky to have a job that I don’t even mind going back to. My residence is lovely albeit small. I even have a second one to visit whenever I want. My friends and family are great people and I love spending time with them. It’s just that my singular focus for the last 17 days has been spending time with CJ and having fun and now I am going back to having way too much to do, almost everyday, and hardly even seeing her. That’s the part I could do without. I don’t even need the few little 3-ounce glasses of wine with every meal part. I don’t need the dessert without even thinking about the calories part. I can accept that there can’t always be a “first ever look at the Eiffel tower feeling” that I got so many times in the past two weeks. I just want a minute to breathe every once and again and I’m afraid of getting sucked back into the madness that is the “juggling of Jim Herbert’s life”. I’m actually really afraid.

I practiced yoga last night for the first time in 16 days. It’s by far the longest time away from the mat for me in over 10 years. If you had asked me before this trip if that length of time away from the mat was even remotely possible at any point in time in my adult life I would have loudly declare my signature, “Not a chance!” I had every intention of practicing while on the trip but it just never happened. I searched out a Bikram yoga studio blocks from our Paris apartment before we even left. We brought our “yogitoes” mats and yoga clothes. I expected to practice at least a few times and was even excited about it but again it just never happened. I don’t want to say I was frustrated that it never happened but I was definitely curious. And then the universe told me why last night.

Yoga has become my drug. Of course it’s a (mostly) healthy drug but make no mistake, it’s a drug. It’s intoxicating, you crave it, your body even needs it and you can sometimes become miserable to the people around you if you can’t get it. Why then did I seemingly go through a 16-day cold turkey sabbatical with limited or even no withdrawal symptoms? Because Paris became the methadone to my yoga heroin.… and because my body needed the break. That’s why.

Last night’s class was unquestionably the best class I have taken in years. I went to practice with one of my favorite teachers mind you, but it was more than that. It was the set of fresh eyes that I haven’t had in far too long. In this teacher’s class she often throws out a word at the beginning as a suggested mantra to reflect on while practicing. On this day her word was forgiveness. We did lots of stuff that we do in many classes in terms of poses but the overall theme of the class from a physical standpoint was balance.

Balance and Forgiveness. Hmmm? Coincidence?

We didn’t just go through the routine balancing poses. We also did things to challenge our core balance and trick our brains into seeing things from a different viewpoint. Things that we have done countless times and that to some people are routine were suddenly harder, or different, or maybe easier? I’m not really sure but it definitely made me think both on and off the mat.

I came home from class satisfied, both with my decision to go to class and with my acceptance that I hadn’t practiced in two weeks. In a sense I had forgiven myself for taking the time off, which is something that is not easy for me to do. I looked around the apartment at the laundry that needed to be finished and the unpacking that needed to be done yet and then decided it could wait until tomorrow. I sat down to a meal that I made earlier in the day so I wouldn’t have to cook when I got home. And I had a few little 3-ounce glasses of wine as I ate and watched football. I dozed off on the couch and left the dishes on the counter. And as I woke up this morning I decided to try to shake off that cloak of the first day back to work blues, not by rushing off to a 6 a.m. yoga class, but instead with this new found drug of mine at the keyboard and it seems to be working quite nicely.

Maybe it’s not the juggling that needs to be to be adjusted after all. I’m thinking maybe it’s the juggler.

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About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at www.emergingintojoy.com for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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