There are clothes over junk mail, next to a book on yoga, next to a pocketful of change, next to an empty paper towel roll on the counter, next to a sink full of dishes. There are flip flops under the counter, slip-ons by the door, running shoes kicked against opposite walls in the bedroom, a disheveled row of shoes I keep around just in case I get back into basketball or golf or wearing suits. Shirts crawl out of my hamper like zombies from a grave, missed sock-shots surround it, other clothes are piled against the wall. At least the bed is made, my bed is always made.
There are stacks of books I intend to read on the desk under stories I’ve written and notes from notes from a hands-on assist workshop. The bathroom could use a scrub down.
When I get carried away with everything else life tosses at me, I lose focus. My apartment is a direct reflection of my life when I’ve been running around and how I’m feeling. When it’s a mess, I’m stressed. When it’s a mess, I’m a mess.
Here’s how I reset:
I light a candle, press play to Jamie XX’s In Colour, and get started. First, I collect and toss all the clothes on the bed to sort. The dirty ones – and ones I’m unsure of – get washed; the clean clothes are folded and put away. Shoes are matched and straightened against the wall, even the ones I hold onto in hopes that I’ll use them again, and the flip flops I still can’t get rid of.
Change in the piggy bank. Mail is sorted. I rip the junk mail apart, one envelope at a time – to keep my identity safe like my mom would tell me to do. I think she found the process therapeutic. She’d wait until she had a stack of mail, then sit at the dining room table alone, quietly and in no hurry, mindlessly ripping each envelope she’d collected. I’m just like her sometimes.
My yoga mat distracts me, and I accidentally start flowing in jeans and my Hungry Howie’s Pizza shirt. It’s from my first job at 16. I bust it out from time to time to remind myself where I started; that even though I’m older, I’m still the same guy; I still dream, and 16 year-old me would be proud of me and probably surprised at all we’ve been through. He’d say he couldn’t have imagined most of what’s happened, and encourage me to keep going, quit wasting time, and see what happens.
My body moves through unbalanced sequences I never considered before, knowing where to go and how long to be there; I don’t feel unbalanced. I’m aware when my favourite song plays, but my body feels it; the music gives me a rhythm, makes me sway under the breeze of the ceiling fan, until the music stops. I’m silent in Savasana and breathe. When I’m ready, I take an easy pose with one hand in the other, promising myself to listen to and trust myself, to let me move and see where I can take me.
I scrub the film (from sand volleyball) off the tub, watch the dirt and grime swirl away. I sort a medicine cabinet that can’t battle much more than a sore throat and a hangover. I sort the cologne and hair wax I rarely use, the deodorant I always use, the essential oils I’m not really sure when to use. I straighten the towels, extra toilet paper, and extra bars of soap. Wipe the ceramics.
The dishes soak in hot water and the dish soap releases a confetti burst of tiny bubbles with a squeeze. Wipe down the stove and counter top. Straighten my utensils and seasonings. Wash the dishes and let them dry. I put the music back on, dance and sing to the Swiffer around the tiny living room. I rearrange the desk, organize the books; trash what I no longer need.
Everything finds its place and my space is clean. I feel better, I feel good about me and what is mine, and I am grateful for a chance to move again.
How do you reset?
Contributed by guest author, Gilbert Valenzuela, Yoga Teacher Training Alum