(just) visiting?

You are in your body. The simplest sentence with the most complicated meaning. You are never in your body.

The room is packed full of spandex and sweat, prayer flags and meaningful art, tattoos and body hair. You kindly ask your muscles to wake, knowing they’ve been in a slumber for months (maybe years).

The teacher begins with Mary Oliver and you realize you are in the right place at the right time for the first time in over four years.

Oliver wrote, “When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder/if I have made of my life something/particular, and real./I don’t want to find myself sighing and/frightened,/or full of argument./I don’t want to end up simply having visited/this world.”

Whenever you do yoga, it’s like you are on a first date with your body. You are tentative, yet bold. You want to push, you want to run away with this body that is suddenly impressing you, you want to hide.

The teacher reminds you to breathe. You wonder how long it has been since you’ve let your lungs free.

You contemplate the particularities of your life. Are you just visiting? What is the shape of it? How involved are you, really? Are you just visiting?

So you empty your pockets. Words fall out and you decide to create a cut-up of your meandering thoughts. Your brain is like a puzzle and you’ve been wondering for years if one piece is missing.

You think about that young person you saw yesterday, her arms covered in travel stamps. You feel dizzy trying to conjure up where you are actually from, where home is, the antonym of visitor.

When the class is over, your eyes are blurry. Your entire being feels wrung out. You run into someone you used to know when you used to be someone else. She tells you she has absolutely nothing to complain about. You want to ask her what it feels like to feel this way.

Maybe you are just visiting. Maybe you have never left. Maybe you have never remained.

Later, you walk into the rain and feel the drench of mountain juice on your skin, as the sky turns fourteen shades of blue and green and it feels like a song you used to sing or one you’ve been thinking about writing.

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