What does perfume have to do with yoga? Not that much, and everything. When I go through a yoga class, I always try to apply everything I hear and learn to things I love, and that does include perfume. There are parallels to both, especially in what I get out of them. both are very contemplative and most of the time very healing and soothing. Now and then that isn’t working that well.
Yoga took a backseat in my life the last few years. I was so gung-ho the first three years, just saturated my life with it – retreats, teacher training, conferences. Somewhere after teacher training, I was over it, burned out. Okay, is this sounding even remotely familiar to anyone that’s been perfume obsessed? I tried the past few years to get back into it. I’d go to a class or three, then stop. I’d sign up for Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park, then maybe go to one class over three days or skip all classes and just enjoy my solitary hotel room at The Stanley.
The time I would spend on the mat – the place I used to work through anger, sadness, hurt, boredom – wasn’t giving me back anything like it used to. I loved yoga before because it made me concentrate so much on breathing that it freed me to sort through my life. Now my questions and emotions would just sit there as I moved my body, blocked from using yoga the way I used to.
At some point I decided to stop forcing myself to love it again and just accept that I was where I was in my yoga journey and that I may never want to be on my mat again. It was a loss, but one I could lose because forcing it made me hate it. Anything was better than hating what I once loved. This is a repeated theme in my life. One time I hated someone I once loved, and it took me 25 years to get over hating him. I got over it when I stopped hating him.
When I went through hospice training a few years ago, I remember the priest who taught it said “by the end, we will all be experts on loss.” That resonated with me deeply because, well, it’s true. The part he didn’t say that is more important – we can be experts on loss but never have learned how to let go of what we lost.
January of this year I decided I needed to get back into some regular workout, and I signed up for Orange Theory Fitness, which is a great workout, a mix of cardio and strength that is seriously fun and invigorating. It was fine, it was okay, I didn’t love it, but I didn’t need to.
I let go of the hope that my yoga practice was not lost to me.
In letting it go, over the many months of this year, it has crept back in my life. I found myself just pulling out my yoga mat and sitting on it. Not really doing anything, I’d just sit there for a while, maybe do a couple of asanas – you know, easy pose, down dog and mountain, nothing even remotely strenuous – and then roll my mat back up. I took all my teaching and anatomy books out and sat them on my yoga mat up in my master bedroom, along with my block and straps. Again, I’d go sit and thumb through the books, think about what I wanted to work on, then get up and walk away.
As Buddha teaches, “You can only lose what you cling to.” I stopped clinging, I became okay with it – the loss, the wanting what I had back. I didn’t give up or pretend not to care. I just accepted this is where I was and it might change or might not, and either way was right.
Still the urge to go to a class started small and kept building daily, and I ignored it. I know how that works. I go to a class or two, and I’ll be done again, and I don’t want to go through that pain of realizing I don’t love it again and again. It kept calling to me, and it was stronger every week. It’s that past tense lover that could always talk you into another go, telling you it would be different, and you knew it wouldn’t, but you’d do it anyway because it was fun — for a minute – and then it wasn’t.
When the siren song got so obnoxiously loud, I gave in and went to class. When you haven’t done yoga for a while, it surprises me how damn hard it is. You think you’re strong and fit because you do hard cardio and weight class, and yet your butt is dropping in exhaustion halfway through yoga. The first class was tough. So was the second.
And you know what? There was a third, and it was a little easier. Nowhere along the way was I feeling that soul sucking. Yoga was feeding me once again where for the past three years it was taking something from me. I have no idea why, I just knew it had changed and it was love again.
The past week, three different teachers used the same phrase while we were in an extended Warrior II or Shiva squats or some other brutal leg-killing asana series – all of this will end, I promise you. When it hurts so bad you don’t think you can take it another second, just keep going because it will end. You know what? They were right, it did end. The bad, the good, the pain, the pleasure – all of it will eventually end.
We spend our lives waiting for the next thing, what comes next, when will it happen, when will we get there, and then we wonder, once we get there, when will it be over? Why do I hate now what I waited for and loved?
What does that have to do with perfume? That’s my cycle with perfume, periods of great love and passion, followed by droughts in the summertime or just being disenchanted with the industry. I learned to let it go, to stop trying to force myself to feel what I didn’t. I accept that it ends. It may restart on its own, but it won’t if I force it – it will become agony.
And I promise you, it will all eventually end. The last drop of that beloved, discontinued perfume (how many drops of Djedi do I have left?), the passion you feel for that glorious new release now (what was that perfume I loved so much last year? Huh.) The good will be over, the bad will be over, all of it will end.
What you do with knowing it will end and the ending creates the space for it to begin again or for something new to start. Maybe a heartfelt appreciation for mainstream fruity florals? Okay, well, probably not that, though I do have to say I feel much more tolerant of those than I used to. Accepting that “when we get there” will end and we will be there and then we will be waiting for the next thing to start.
It’s fall! And my perfume indifference is over. The nights have chilled a little, some days are just golden warm and not unbearable. It is time for perfume, and coming back to this old love after summer months away have made me so happy. I’ve scanned for new releases, going back to visit old favorites. Perfume and Yoga love are back on the menu in my house, and I couldn’t be happier. I promise, navel gazing is on hiatus as well – for now. Yes, I’m still working on that big white floral thing.
What perfume habits/cycles do you have? Do you hate them? Just accept them? Fall into the “what’s coming next? Okay, that was new, now what” syndrome?
Winners of the Tom Ford Venetian Bergamot samples – odonata9, maggiecat, SundayH and Pixel. Just click on Drop Us a Note at the top of the blog, send me your name and address and remind me what you’ve won. I’ll send you a quick “got it” e-mail so you know it didn’t drop into my spam filter and then get it sent to you.
So let’s give away something today to the top two commenters. How about that new Arquiste thingie? Mansomething? I know I’ve got it showing up this week, just haven’t gotten it yet.