Finding yourself is a journey
Finally, one perfect day in early July, I arrive in northern New Mexico with comfortable clothes, a journal, sunscreen, a jacket for cool nights, and rain gear. I’m aware that I’m carrying my interior baggage as well—hoping that someone will be heavier than I, uglier, older, more insecure, more anxious, less spiritual and less enlightened.
As I watch the participants arrive, I worry that I won’t fit in, that I’m too high strung, too nervous. I first see a couple with all the right equipment: designer backpacks, cool sun hats that I can never find, the right sunglasses. Ruggedly handsome and confident, he’s carrying a mandolin. She is petite and perfect with curly hair. They smile at each other, their eyes sparkling. I look at my rolling city suitcase and my thirty extra pounds of soft middle-aged weight, and I think: 0-1.
The next couple is tenting just beyond the apple orchard, that is the front yard for the yurt where I will be staying. They are both fit, happy, and gorgeous. She moves like a ballet dancer and his lean build tells me he rides a bike and can probably rest his ankles on his shoulders and drink coffee at the same time. Their bodies seem to meld into each other as they glide across the grass. They are in love, their life is perfect; I’m certain they do naked yoga together every morning, and I imagine that their sex life is explosive and tender. As I watch them, I feel myself trying to suck in my belly; I am single and have no hopes for love; my shoulders droop. 0-2.
I am shaky and anxious
I am relieved when I see two middle-aged women and an older man arrive. But my relief doesn’t last long. I watch them unpack their shiny, new cars (two BMWs and an Audi). They all have expensive luggage sets and they look rich and successful. The women appear powerful, moving with determination and efficiency. The silver-haired man seems kind and gentle like a grandfather. Smooth and easy with themselves and each other, they’ve done this before. Now it’s 0-5, and I am shaky and anxious.
Finally, I see one of the hosts of the retreat, Hannah Eagle. She, and her husband, Jake, are the co-founders of Reology. They’ve been working together in the field of psychology, mental health, and homeopathy for over twenty years. She is almost ten years older than I—yet she has the body of a twenty-year-old and a bounce in her step. She is literally glowing. I’ve connected with her on Skype so I know who she is—I feel a lump rise in my throat, and I am desperate for her to make me feel better, to give me a sense of belonging. She greets me with warmth and enthusiasm and a smile that could melt a glacier. When I look at her sparkling cornflower blue eyes, I feel myself cracking. As I weep in her arms, I cannot breathe. I am embarrassed at my lack of control. 0-6.
Another concern pops up
As I head to my lodging, I try to calm myself. I worry about my wardrobe of comfortable clothes; I shop at Old Navy— not on Fifth Avenue. I don’t do yoga in $90.00 Lululemon stretch pants. I don’t do yoga at all, but if I did, it would be in sweats. Another concern pops up as I unpack, a friend dropped me off, and I realize I’ve left my water bottle in his car. The bottle was number 1 or 2 on the list of requirements. I feel like an idiot. 0-7.