Raw, adjective: 4. painfully open, as a sore or wound.
(As in: raw muscles, baby.)
February's two days out. Have you blown your New Year's resolutions yet?
I secretly love resolutions, especially finding out yours; they're endlessly revealing, strangely intimate. But most people I've spoken with in the last month never bothered to make any to begin with. Why set yourself up for failure, self-disappointment, they say? Fair argument. Most of us do crash and burn a few weeks into the best-set of intentions. Come February, the gym empties out again, the take-out cartons pile up, the kale rots in the fridge while the leftover pizza takes its place.
Paige Williams was at a point in her life where she needed to make a change and stick to it - or cease to go on. Read about her story here; the Mississippi woman was hitting serious bottom, and not in that sexy-cathartic-Taoist-Tyler-Durden kind of way; more like watching her life fall to pieces all around her. Williams writes that at the nadir of her struggle,
While lying fully clothed in my childhood bed in the middle of a beautiful and utterly wasted Mississippi summer day, I realized it was either get up—I mean really get up—or die. I don't know why, but I thought of Bikram yoga. I had tried Bikram a few times. I remembered appreciating most of all the permission to be quiet. I recalled the yoga room as a place where I could breathe.
(Oh god, you're thinking, here she goes again: Rach on the yoga crazy-train. Well, buckle up, folks. Train's leaving.)
I was initially intrigued by Williams' story because of her Memphis roots. Mikah and I practiced at the Memphis studio when I was there visiting him last spring, and I got to speak with Lori and Gregg, the two teachers described in the article. They were kind, and lovely, and hardcore. Believers, for sure, who'd seen the innumerable benefits in their own lives.
Under their tutelage, Williams tackled a 60-day Bikram challenge to try to turn her life around. Visit Oprah.com (ugh, I know, suburban housewife central, but we're overlooking that right now) to read the two-installment story of Williams' attempt at self-transformation (reincarnation? resuscitation?) via a committed 60-day practice. Her story is real, it's ugly, it's frank; she needed this, needed it desperately, and though her ending isn't happy in the way most sanguine Biggest Loser-style makeover stories are, it's human, and it's honest, and it's hopeful.
There's something about the sweat of a Bikram yoga practice that has always represented, for me, a certain cleansing, a release, a letting-go. Reading Williams' story at the end of a veritable month-long yoga binge, and a stretch of really fantastic not-failed-resolutions (!), I'm convinced of the power of a commitment like hers. Whether it's yoga or running or roller-skating or what-have-you (sex!), if it gets you back in your body, gets you breathing, gets you sweating every day for 60 days, well, then: great. That's all you need. Do it. Commit to it. Make it your practice. No bullshit. The progress comes in the struggle. And therein lies the transformation.
Can You Transform Your Whole Life in 60 Days? (Oprah.com)