You do not have to do pilates, spin or yoga. You do not have to speed walk or jog or train on a pole. Forget the barre and the rowing and the crunching.
Instead, step outside–one step is enough–and inhale. Just breathe through your nose. Wake to whatever fragrance is, as if you were a mountain cat.
Maybe auto exhaust billows or fertilizing shit reeks. Maybe the neighbor is frying onions or wearing too much Obsession. Maybe your nostrils pull in the scent of clean snow: a hint of frozen ocean with the vital strength of migrating wings.
There are no shoulds. Inhale again, and love what you love, not because Mary Oliver told you to. Not because Alice Walker said. Not because Mother Teresa fed anyone or sacrificed anything.
Inhale again because your cells know what to do. Your nature is and will be. Let it.
And if you can’t, know that even on the hiding-under-the-duvet days, even on the eviction days, even on the death days (every day), life is. You are.
Close your eyes if you must, or open them. Look at the pores up close, the cuticles, the strands of hair, the moles, no part of you is anything less than beauty. Swallow if you can and if that’s too hard, look out.
Look beyond the exhaust and shit; there is motion and growth. If vision fails, go back to smelling or tasting or dreaming. Flavor and vanity. Trust yourself to navigate. Spouts push out of soil, mountain cats hunt without worry. You belong among them. Your place is secure. Believe.
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This piece borrows from one of my favorite poems “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver.