Sunday, April 24, 2011

Keep Calm and Carry On

This week has been like surfing during a tsunami.  Crazy amount of adrenalin and excitement, followed closely by a storm of “oh my god”.

So as some of you know, last weekend Matt and I got engaged! It came as a total surprise and we tried to keep it between us for as long as possible.  And for the record, he was totally smooth.  So, all weekend I was riding on a high.  It started out as shock, then pure shrill excitement, then this floating, weightless feeling of joy.  By Sunday, I felt as though I was glowing.  Throughout my childhood and even into my teens, I was never one of those girls who envisioned her perfect engagement.  So when Matt was standing there with a ring and a proposal to spend the rest of our lives together, I was beside myself with emotion.  Feelings surfaced from a place deep within my heart.   Physically I felt like I was standing towards the sun, arms open wide, heart open, and my gaze to the sky, the whole world to see my happiness.

My emotional balance had of course been thrown off; the excitement caused me to lose sleep, I was mentally moving at a speed far faster than normal and my body tingled with pleasure.  Everything was wonderful.  But with every high, comes a low.  And that low came mid-week.  It was as if suddenly all the reality and the gravity of what was to come, tumbled down upon me.  Questions of finances, family, time, and decisions all came to me quickly.  Then as things often work, Matt and I had our first disagreement with the “planning” of the wedding.  As minor as the situation was, my emotional panic was anything but.  I realized at that moment, sitting at my desk hot with frustration and confusion that this was going to be a lot for me.

I went out to a local bookstore in Wilmington, hoping that perhaps I would find something—anything—to level out my mind and ease me back into normalcy.  (Don’t get me wrong, I loved the ecstasy I had felt, but after came panic—so something in between would be alright with me.)  Almost immediately my gaze fell on a bright pink book with white letters which read, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”  Nothing could have been more appropriate.  The book fit into the palm of my hand and was filled strictly with one-liners from famous people worth quoting.  But to me it hardly mattered what words I found inside, for the words on the outside already worked for me.  I bought it without hesitation.

When I practice yoga and something becomes a struggle I am unable to ignore, I drop down into child’s pose.  It’s the pose of comfort, calm, and rejuvenation.  With your arms reaching out in front of you, palms and forehead on the ground, while your bum rests on your heals, it feels as if you are surrendering to yourself.  The moment is yours to just take a deep breath in, and then let that breath go.  After I have recovered, I push myself up into a downward dog.  To me this is a sign of carrying on—pushing your palms into the mat, heels pulling down, and stretching through your spine is like waking up in the morning.  It awakens you slowly.  When I saw the words “Keep Calm and Carry On,” I couldn’t help but think of child’s pose and downward dog.

I knew then, as I had known all along, that I will get through every stress that comes my way for not only do I have a man who is an amazing support to me, to us, but I have my yoga asanas that are always there to calm me.  

Much of this journey is going to be balancing emotional highs and stressful lows, knowing that in the end I will have a new beginning with the one that I love.  I cannot think of a more exciting time for me and at the same time I know the process will not always be blissful.  I know have a tiny pink book, grounding yoga poses, and the love of my life to help me through.

And I did eventually open the book and so far this quote has helped me conceptualize our engagement, as nothing has changed, but everything has changed:

“After a day’s walk everything has twice its usual value.”—G.M. Trevelyn


  1. Wow Rachael!
    I love that quote about change. Some things you can't try to minimize, they will be life altering and you have to embrace it. Rejoice and celebrate the massive significance, even though it might make you feel uncomfortable at times. love, Dad

  2. Congratulations! Great writing! And I miss you.