come in, she said, i'll give you shelter from the storm.

Last week I found myself lost on an unlit highway, in the middle of California, in the rain, at night.  I travel often for work, so this concept of me flying all over central California alone in a hatchback rental car isn’t that obtuse.  But I’ve only had a few of these what-in-the-actual-fuck-am-I-doing-with-my-life moments that translate directly to tears and white knuckles. They’re usually a result of being scared and/or over-tired.  They’re not pretty.  I did find my way to my hotel, and had only 2-3 more emotional outbursts (one in the weight room).  Eventually I put myself to bed fully clothed without dinner; a total white flag kind of day, I surrender shitstorm, you win.   

Fast forward 18 hours and I am driving back to LAX from the Central Coast.  By the sage advice of my client, I took a different road, the Pacific Coast Highway, to return.  The ocean (and daylight) were much more supportive. I still had emotional turmoil going on, it had been a very long week. In an effort to waste time before my red eye, and hopefully equalize, I chose to go to a yoga class in Santa Monica.  

At the end of the nearly 90 minute unheated practice, the teacher said, “isn’t the goal that at the end of class we hope that we’re all just a little more okay.” 

 Yoga showed up in my life at a time when I needed a “little more okay”.  I was in my mid-20’s.  I had just experienced the kind of heart break that had me in karaoke bar bathrooms screaming, listening to a lot of gavin degraw or john mayer, wallowing in a newfound role of: alone forever, cast-aside, scorned.  In hindsight it was all a little over-dramatic and ridiculous.  It wasn’t even so much of the man himself that I was all broken up over.  Truthfully, it was because I had an idea in my mind of a safe, predictable existence, and he was the stable leading role.  When he decided otherwise, this plan I’d so “perfectly” manicured (and never communicated btw) basically blew up in my face.  In an attempt to control everything, I lost my way and myself.   

 In yoga, I found a way out of the hole I’d dug myself into.  My mat became my place of hitting re-set, of checking in that I hadn’t veered off course again.  By continuing the practice and learning of yoga, it continues to be my barometer of self.  It is a place that I feel safe but not stagnant.  I feel supported but not suffocated. I feel disciplined but not judged.

 Ironically a few hours prior to my California tear-fest, the song “Shelter from the Storm” came on as I was winding around highway 154.  I had a moment of clarity about the “she” Bob Dylan refers to in the song; specifically the middle verses.  “She” is yoga, for me.  Be it the heartbreaker or my next great love, this shelter won’t come from them.  It’s been inside of me all along.  I just needed a tool, a light in the dark on a rainy night, to help me find it. 

 xo - courtney

“Shelter from the Storm” By Bob Dylan

Not a word was spoke between us, there was little risk involved
Everything up to that point had been left unresolved
Try imagining a place where it's always safe and warm
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm"

 I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail
Poisoned in the bushes an' blown out on the trail
Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm"

Suddenly I turned around and she was standin' there
With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair
She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm"