01 02 03 Prone to Wander: "You've been here before," 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

"You've been here before,"

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a yoga instructor said one Sunday afternoon, three fourths of the way through a hot flow class. We were crammed together, probably 30 of us, in a tiny, dimly lit room on the second floor of a building in downtown Southern Pines. Fatigued and dripping with sweat, I tried not to accidentally hit the people on either side of me, but still managed to do just that. The person to my left did not have a towel and a lake of sweat covered his mat, so with every move, he slid.

I was ready to collapse, or throw up, or both.

Until she said, “You’ve been here before…”

Yes, she meant the poses, but those four (five) words gave me strength that day.

The first time I remembered those words was when I was about to walk into a room of people I did not yet know, and the anxiety grasped at my throat. The words appeared in my mind, one at a time forming across a screen, as if they were on a movie credit list.

“Yes, I have,” I thought as I walked in.

The next time they came to mind I was driving home in a thunderstorm. My boys were with me, and the rain pounded so hard that the windshield wipers flew around, no chance of keeping up. I couldn’t see much at all and panicked.

You’ve been here before.

“Yes, yes, I have,” I thought and drove (slowly) home.

Most recently (today) I wonder how I will grade all these papers. I stare at all the unopened files, waiting to be read, feedback given.

You’ve been here before. Yes, yes I have.  

I click on the first one, open it.

When I know where I’ve been, I might know where to go next.
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