Learning to Flow

By April 1, 2015 Home, Writing

To say I’m fiery is an understatement. I’m a hot-headed, anxious, impulsive, passionate, get-shit-done-yesterday Aries. It was never a shock to me that the style of yoga I first fell in love with was heated power yoga. Of course it was.

I subscribe to a gorgeous and whimsical magazine called Flow. It’s a Dutch publication, which is self-proclaimed as a magazine for paper lovers with a focus on creativity, mindfulness, and taking it slow. (Stay with me, I’m getting to the point. Promise.) I happened upon my first copy in a bookstore in December. I immediately back-ordered all of the issues and promptly subscribed to all future issues. I was really excited to put my new address on the subscription. Life was changing. We were moving and I had the new address to prove it.

After two weeks had passed and I had not received anything, I reached out via email. A kind and presumably Dutch man wrote to me in broken English that they had received my order and that it was processing. I waited and waited. Every day when I went to check the mail, I just knew it was going to be the day that all of my issues arrived. That day never came. The days were long and cold and I was uninspired and I was waiting for something that was going to change that.

After another two weeks, I reached out via email again. This time, a little less polite and a little more annoyed that I hadn’t received any of my magazines. After about 48 hours, a polite and again presumably Dutch woman told me that I should not be concerned unless I don’t receive my parcels within 2 months. 2 months! I ordered these magazine in January – was it really going to be March before I had these issues in my hand?

The weeks dragged on. I went to yoga. I accepted a job teaching yoga! I wrote a little. I cleaned often. I met a few people. I walked the city. I showed visitors around the city. I continued to bemoan that Baltimore wasn’t home and that it seemed like everything at home was going on without me.

Slowly, at the beginning of March, Flow began appearing in my mailbox. None of the issues were shipped together. Many arrived with a price tag on their covers and it seemed as though each back issue was hunted down from various bookstores and magazine shops in Holland.

One particular issue arrived soaking wet and many of the pages were unreadable. True to form, I fired off a polite but ultimately short-tempered email including a photo of the “ruined” copy and a sincerely sweet, possibly saintly woman responded that they would of course replace it. She gently suggested that I mention it to my postman to see that he takes more care when delivering the mail.

It’s been two months and I have received (and devoured and passed along) each copy of the magazine already. When I was home last week, I saw the latest issue for sale and true to form, even though it will be arriving in my mailbox sometime this coming month, I grabbed it and bought it.

I’ve had the magazine for 5 days now (including 2 hours at the airport) and I have only cracked open one page (upon which I scrawled the names of every arm balance that I taught to my yoga students on Sunday so that I could post it to all forms of social media) and then promptly threw the magazine back in my backpack to read later.

When I sat down to write about my two-month mark in Baltimore, I realized that I was late. The two-month mark happened while I was in Pittsburgh cramming as much teaching and socializing as possible into 5 days. Clearly, I didn’t need to wait two months to get my “issues”. I’m quick to anger, impatient, and driven to the point of seemingly competitive over-ambition. Upon returning home, people asked how it was to be home and I told them the truth. It was wonderful to see everyone and I also remembered why I was ready to leave as I was completely exhausted from the last 5 days.

A funny and really quite obvious thing has happened after years and years of practicing an intensely physical yoga practice – I’ve gotten strong. It takes way more work than it used to take to fatigue myself so that I can begin to drop into a place of mindfulness, to a place of slowing down. As I often remind anyone within earshot, I didn’t get into this practice to be an athlete. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t keep practicing like one, using my physical practice to burn away my over-analytical thoughts and fiery anxiety.

I had built my lifestyle in Pittsburgh into a “can’t-stop-won’t-stop” schedule. No one made me do it. I loved teaching there and so I piled on more and more yoga classes and events and got in the habit of saying yes to everything that fell under the umbrella of work.

After about 2 solid hours of physically and verbally breaking down arm balances on Sunday, I started to teach from a calmer place. My thoughts were slower and clear and I remembered why I had started practicing and teaching power yoga in the first place.

It’s probably going to be the end of summer by the time my next issue of Flow arrives and since it ships sloooooowly from Holland, it’ll probably arrive more than a little tattered. I hope by then that I have actually taken time to slow down. I hope that I haven’t over-scheduled my days just because I can. I have a feeling that I have a lot to learn from a magazine written by terrifically patient Dutch people.