This morning, I managed to forget my yoga mat. Twice.
It was 8:43 a.m. by the time I had walked the dog, readied myself, gathered my belongings, and finally locked the front door. Three steps later: Oh, crap. Where’s my mat?
I was already running late. My best friend, Amber, and I had planned to start walking at 8:40. Ugh. Just go get it, Hannah. Hurry, or class is gonna fill up. (This class was free, hosted in the tiny courtyard of a popular vegan restaurant, so I half expected to be squished and forced to sniff someone’s butt in Downward Dog. Universe, WHY?)
I whipped around, unlocked the door, jogged up the stairs, and grabbed my mat from its home against my living room mirror. I glimpsed my reflection. That shirt looks weird on you …
Our walk to class was muggy in the way that you read about in middle school language arts, within the pages of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.” A Michigan girl like myself wilts when the temperature hits the 90s. Still, we scuttled across town to the arts district to join the idealists and the socialists and the people who gardened unironically, to pretend we were yogis, too. Sweat marks spread like slug trails across my shirt — that really did look weird. I shed the shirt as soon as we reached the courtyard, preferring to focus my self-conscious energy on the size of my pale CF stomach than on my pit stains.
The class courtyard was a tight fit, but it fit. We began, and gradually with each stretch, I allowed myself to pretend more and more that I wasn’t grumpy, anxious, sad, or annoyed. The sun broke through the silver maples, landing on our shoulders and then hiding behind clouds before coming back to us again, all of us, just under too many of us, stretching our bodies over the warm, wet stone. Brick and mortar hugged us on three sides.
While we practiced, the instructor spoke.
“Look at all of the people in this courtyard alongside you. Look without using your eyes; feel their energy and hear their breaths.” I listened; they breathed. “Everyone here today made a choice. Everyone here has chosen to love themselves if only for one moment. You’re all here, at 9 in the morning, on a beautiful summer day, using your bodies and clearing your minds. Thank yourself. Thank the universe for lining this up for you.” Thank you, me. Thank you, universe.
I continued stretching my body, focusing on my chest walls, and allowing myself to cough as much as I needed. I felt the presence of my best friend on her mat next to me, and for a moment, I allowed myself to be in awe of the reality that I had found a human being like her. Wow. Thanks, universe. Thanks. The instructor spoke again.
“The universe is not out to get you, my friends. The universe does not do anything to you. The universe does things for you. Everything happens for you, in this life. It serves a purpose. It allows for something else to happen. Believe that and watch what happens.”
Amber and I hung around the restaurant after class and continued pretending we were yogis, breaking fast with some delicious vegan noms and taking out our notebooks and pens to read each other our recent journal entries, manifestations, and monthly goals. (I know, we’re the worst.) Then, we began the even hotter walk home. This time, though, we complained a little less.
And good thing, because halfway through, we stopped at the exact same moment, bugged our eyes, and yelled, “Where’s [your/my] yoga mat?!” (Answer: at the restaurant.)
After turning around and enduring my apologies, we began playing a fun game called Guess Why The Universe Made Hannah Forget Her Crap.
Amber: “Look at the bird! It’s so pretty! Omg. I bet the universe wanted us to see that bird.”
Hannah: “Oh my god, Amber, there’s a craft fair over there. Maybe we’re supposed to buy something specific! No, no wait. I don’t have any money. I forgot.”
It was all in jest. But when we got to the restaurant for my mat, we ran into two old friends of ours whom we love very much and have been meaning to reconnect with for a while. We found out that they’re moving soon, and time was running out to spend time together. Our conversation was short but saturated and meaningful, and Amber and I reveled about it for the rest of our (second) walk home. I can’t believe we saw them. I can’t believe we saw them.
What I’m saying is there’s no reason not to live as if everything happens for a reason. It makes life magical. Because who knows? Maybe everything really is happening just for you, my friend.
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