Usually when I'm lying in corpse pose in yoga class—eyes closed, body relaxed, breathing deeply—instead of focused awareness and freeing my mind, I'm usually thinking about what I'm going to eat next. (Which let'sbehonest I find pleasant and relaxing, so to each her own, okay?) But recently I had one of those revelatory moments in which I discovered something new about myself (again, let'sbehonest, it was in the middle of thinking about making brownies): The AC came on, and I immediately felt this wave of peace.
... Which is weird. Because air coming out of a vent does not seem to invoke in the general public feelings of awesomeness.
But this happy nostalgia settled in, so I figured I'd explore the source of it, because what else are you going to do while you're flat on the ground like a dead body?
And it came to me: my closet.
I had two closets in the house I grew up in Texas (OMG SEW MANY CLOSETS R WE RICH?), and one was a walk-in. And stepping into it was a journey to another world for me.
I'd play inside there with friends; it was the living quarters of our ship, it was our home underground, it was our clothing store (so creative, I know). I even used to have dreams about that closet. Sometimes I still have dreams about it.
When I wasn't turning it into something else, I would just go in my closet and sit. When it was cold in the morning, I'd sidle up next to the heating vent in there and hang out for a while. Sometimes I would close the door, turn off the lights and sit in the back corner, letting my clothes drape over my head. I'd breathe really quietly and listen to the sound of shirts on hangers. And paint on the walls. And carpet.
And then sometimes I'd hear rustling, imagine it was a giant cockroach, get really freaked out and run out.
But mostly, it was that vent. I found peace in the soft "whoooooosh" of the air coming out, of the warmth, of the quiet, of the stillness. Sometimes I'd sit in there and wait for the air to turn on, however long it took.
You might think a little girl sitting alone in her closet seems like a rather lonely (and strange and sad) activity, but connecting that vent to my yogic feelings of calm reminded me of a podcast I listened to not long ago about only children. The author talks about the experience of many only children, where we're frequently asked as adults about our childhood: "Wasn't it lonely?"
She argues that it's not loneliness we experience—it's solitude. Loneliness is unpleasant; solitude is pleasurable. And that's what that sitting-by-the-vent-in-the-dark was for me. It was a place I didn't feel anxious, a place I relaxed, a place I could just be. That closet was my childhood shavasana.