i’ve had a week of days as full as sails on a windy day. busy, but good. after work one day in a bustling basement, i ate butternut squash-apple soup, a sage-infused dinner roll & a warm green salad while i watched my friend’s genius unfold. she, a warrior for food, organized a panel of people to talk about why it matters where you get your food from. it was moving. i was reminded why it matters to me. i feasted & was thankful.
i spent time teaching yoga in dark rooms, candles pulsing like tiny hearts with orange light for blood, from the window sills. i watched bodies change shapes, minds unravel. some moments, when my students lie down, hands over their hearts, eyes heavy, i am gripped by the image. how beautiful we all look with expressionless faces, unworried about the way we may appear to others, momentarily untethered from all the things that hold us down. manipura chakra, what we studied this week, means “city of jewels” – a fine vessel for focusing on the treasures we all have within ourselves once we free an overactive ego or, conversely, overcome feelings of powerlessness. balance is where it’s at.
i traveled for my day job. had a client get mad at me for the first time. swallowed my pride. apologized. no harm, no foul. even when you’ve done no wrong, it still feels good to be the one to set it free. then there are the clients who roll in, patient, watch you page through stacks of folders almost as tall as you are. express gratitude. tell you that you took all of their many phone calls & packaged them into something meaningful. feeling useful can be nice.
that night i saw my sweet. it’s soothing to be on the same page as at least one person in this world. he picked up a slice of pizza in a suburban milwaukee eatery & an olive fell off. i reached over to eat it myself. it’s a sweet kind of feeling, that sort of comfort. to have found each other, we’ve been so lucky in this life. we swim in our own ocean, do things in our own order. this culture does not control us. at least that’s what we tell each other across our sunday morning coffees.
this morning i spent time with a new mentor. i’m working on a project for her & watching her is like looking into a mirror. she apologized for being late. i’m not exactly known for punctuality. i smiled inside. she took me to lunch at a whimsically decorated restaurant & i loved every minute of conversation. the afternoon traced me west across the map & i resurfaced in my usual office, watched the sunlight dancing off the lake while i wrapped some things up. someone i did a project for told me it was good & sometimes, that’s all it takes to make my day.
after, i wanted nothing but a big glass of amber ale but i couldn’t find a co-conspirator. happy hour plan b was a heated room among strangers, my teacher’s voice a silk ribbon weaving in & out of my ears, the music she plays rich like red wine, but with a beat. while we laid in savasana, she sang like an angel, each note light but hanging onto the wet air like a t-shirt on a dogwood branch. i drove home, clothes damp, in the dark, every song on the radio striking me as profoundly beautiful though i’d heard them all before & never then thought them remarkable.
back in my kitchen after so much time away, i turned the oven on as hot as it would go. i flattened a round of dough with my rolling pin. i spread tomato sauce on top using the back of a spoon. less is more. then the spinach. handfuls. more is more. you can’t win. then it was shredded mozzarella, medallions of goat cheese. i sliced onions into little half moons; olives too. then pepperoni & spicy italian sausage. i tossed on ringlets of pepperoncini & unpacked a can of artichoke hearts, shaped like roses waiting to unfold in the sun. i dusted the whole thing with garlic & a touch of salt & watched the edges curl & crisp under the oven’s watchful eye.
after, i filled the bath with hot water, epsom salts & lavender oil. the suds puffed over the edges. i lit incense & immersed myself. i watched an episode of the kardashians. it was transcendental. for realz.
all these sweet treasures, hectic & beautiful, my own little city of jewels.