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I Am Here: A Mantra for Yoga, Writing and Life

A friend of mine asked me how I became motivated enough to finish a book last year and draft a book this fall/winter. I don’t have a good answer for her beyond my obsession with tracking progress on a physical calendar. (Now with more shiny stars thanks to V.E. Schwab’s influence.) Does discipline help? Yes, very much. Is writing often a sacrifice? Absolutely. To get shit done, I’ve given up TV time, evening vegetating, weekend activities. It isn’t all strain and effort; I’ll be the first to admit that it feeds my soul.

And that’s the thing. I know first-hand that writing isn’t always there. Life gets in the way.Chronic stress, illness, unforeseen circumstances, mental health struggles. These are only a few things that stepped between me and my words in the past. Everyone has a different story. Every day that I create, I’m grateful for the ability to create, for the energy to carve that small space out for myself.

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Lately writing alone hasn’t been enough to get me through bouts of anxiety and stress. I’ve returned to my yoga practice as a result.

One of my wonderful yoga teachers gently encouraged the class to develop a mantra along with the breath. She suggested I am strong. That didn’t resonate with me. I didn’t feel strong at the time. I wobbled and ached and dropped to my knees and lost my breath and focus. But I was there. I got to class. I got onto my mat.

My mantra came to me unbidden and perfect. I am here

I’ve carried it with me since that class, and I hope I can continue to carry it. Breathe in. I. Breathe out. Am here.

Present in the moment. Proud of myself for getting there — to my mat, to bed, to the keyboard, to a place of reflection and gratitude.

Am I zen all the time? Far from it. In fact, I often feel like a live wire. Tense, ready to snap and buzz and bite. So more than ever, I need that mantra and the breath, an opportunity to step outside of myself and recognize, I am here. To take pride in being where I am, to practice self-care when I need to, to know that difficult moments do pass.

My yoga mantra is my writing mantra. It’s my jolting awake from a nightmare mantra. It’s my sneaky-thought-spiral centering mantra. I am here.

What’s yours?

Maria Moralife