I came home from bikram yoga tonight feeling extra sweaty. Everything was wet, my pants, my shirt, bra, underwear, everything. That’s what I love about bikram yoga. I started my shower as Jake started dinner. I had too much caffeine today and my stomach aches; dinner doesn’t sound good right now.

I strip my clothes and plunk them in a gross pile. I climb in the shower and begin washing the sweat, salt and stress off my body. With my face submerged in the warm water, something my yoga teacher says hits me like a ton of bricks. I internally gasp and pull my head from the water stream. Wiping water from my eyes I realize what my hole is; I realize what my habit is.

Let me preface this story with a little something about me. As a child, you would have sworn I would grow up to be a care-free, positive-vibing, Oregon hippie but the truth is something so opposite. Over time, I’ve become a tense, negative, angry person; maybe not in every day, but in important, deep areas of my mind and soul, I am not someone that I like being. Ask me a year ago, and I would say “fuck you, I’m awesome,” but today, today I am changed.

Let me follow that story with another one…I promise to get to the hole soon. I am a huge yoga cynic. I tried it once or twice, got bored and irritated with how slow shit moves and gave up. I clumped it with the hippie-dippie bullshit I wanted to escape about my Oregon childhood and move on. Years and years down the line, a good friend of mine recently suggested I take up bikram yoga. I had been complaining that my normal workout routines were not yielding the sexy wedding body that I had dreamed of. I was bored, complacent and, well you guessed it, pissed off. About a month ago, with much reluctance, I started bikram yoga at a local studio in Hoboken.

Over the past few weeks, I have started to see differences in my body, differences I haven’t seen from running and lifting weights before. But the biggest change I’ve noticed is mentally. Our yoga practice is started and ended by focusing on our mental state; thanking our bodies for what we’re about to do and what we have done, letting go of the stress of the day and focusing on now and centering ourselves with breath. Through focusing on myself and thanking and apologizing to myself, I find that I have kind of started a path to being a person I honestly never thought I would be: open, positive and happy…daily.

Ok so now the hole.

Today at the end of practice, I’m laying on my back, sweat literally just fucking everywhere. I felt a little queasy from the caffeine and downright thirsty. Sarah, my favorite instructor, starts us on our slow breathing and starts to read a passage:

“There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk: Autobiography In Five Short Chapters” ~ Portia Nelson

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

The ‘hole in the sidewalk’ is a metaphor of life. To see our habits as our own may be the realization we need to make a change… and to find another way. We need not keep repeating what holds us back.

Coming out of shavasana, or corpse pose, to sit, put pull our hands into prayer pose and bow our heads. Namaste, we say. Thank you, self, for the journey we just went on. I turn to Jake, we nod our heads, good class, good class. It’s not really until I get home and climb in the shower that I turn to face my hole, my habit.

Over, I could say, the past 27 years, I’ve had issues with honesty, with confrontation and dealing with the rough stuff. Recent situations in my life have presented themselves where I keep falling in the hole; I keep making short cuts and telling half-truths to get through one short situation, just to face that same issue somewhere else down the road. I keep walking down the same bloody street and falling in the same hole, over and over. It hasn’t been until this class, today, the last day in March 2016, that I stand at the lip of the hole. I‘m about to fall in the fucking hole again! I exclaim in the shower. I need to open my eyes and find a way around the hole; I need to face my habit and be honest with myself and those around me.

This isn’t the first life-changing realization I’ve had since starting bikram yoga. During just my first week, I was experiencing trouble in a class, we were 4 days in, I was tired and sore. But I started to really tune into what the teacher was saying during practice. How to be true to yourself, be kind to yourself and other. She literally mind fucked me. After class, I could barely hold it together, I had such a hard time recovering from that. I am not nice to myself, I am not true to myself or others all of the time. I won’t be able to get through life being this way.

So with this post, with this realization tonight, I am giving myself over to the positivity that I have defended myself against all these years. This hipping bullshit life might not be so bullshit after all.