by Stephanie Creaturo
“There’s always something,” my grandma used to say. She’d heave herself into the tattered white vinyl chair at her place around the chocolate-brown dinette table. She’d then fold her thick forearms on the vinyl place mat and sigh heavily.
“Steffie.” She’d stare right into my eyes. “There’s always something.” She’d then make this noise at the back of her throat. I don’t even know what to call it but we knew it as “The Mary” in my family. We teased her about it for years and now that she’s gone, we desperately miss it. The Mary – without fail – went with the declaration that there was, in fact, always something.
And Grandma turned out to be one hell of a yogi. This was one of Grandma’s favorite edicts, so I heard it throughout the years in many different contexts. Always with the heaviness of ‘yes, life always gives us something’, whether we want it or not. Throughout the years, I rolled my eyes. I heartily agreed. I pursed my lips with exasperation, thinking she was a silly old woman, out of touch with the world.
But Grandma was right. Of course she was right. There is always something. I learned that long before I stepped on a sticky mat. My yoga practice, thankfully, gives me a framework to interact with the something. I’m avoiding the word deal, as that implies the something can be wrangled into a box; that we can pop a lid on it and be done with it. To deal with the something implies it can somehow be remedied as easily as storing your old smurfs collection in a shoebox under the bed. Because, at some point, the house you grew up in will be sold, and that box has to be opened and, once and for all, you have to decide what the hell you’re doing with those smurfs. But I digress.
Whatever the something is, it’s always there. It isn’t going away. Consistent practice cultivates my ability to see the something for what it is. From there, I can make choices that guide my interactions. I can choose how to step my right foot forward, or to use a block in triangle pose. Time on the mat is like a good brillo and bleach scrubbing for my feedback loops. Kinda like spending time with Grandma always knocked my ass a bit more in line, no matter how old I was. And with that clarity, I re-commit to the relationships with the something, whatever the something may be.