City of Girls novel by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have been carrying the book around in the e-reader. Thank you, Liz, for the experience.
The week in Liptov composes of walks and coffees and talks and sauna rounds and different kinds of dumplings in Slovak style, and new yoga experiences. Walking through the fields to meet Zuzana, yoga teacher. We drive to the little town of Lúčky (famous for its spa dedicated to female health). Local sports council provides for yoga lessons. The priest is probably not too happy and probably lets himself be heard on Sunday what he thinks about yoga (a strange practice of an unknown origin dangerous to the true faith). Slovakia is still a very traditional country. Anyway, dozens of women of all ages come regularly, knowing that spirituality holds no strangers and that Christian faith is in no danger through yoga. Steep green slopes outside the windows, a slow, sweeping, moon-inspired practice. (I really should not have had the garlic soup with croutons two hours before. My stomach keeps asking through the practice: Really, you mean that? Shall I empty it here on the mat? No, dear stomach, please, do not. That would be an embarrassment, plus I borrowed this mat. We manage, the stomach and me.)
And then I walk back to the Sojka resort witnessed by all the mountains around. A cold beer on a terrace in a good company.
As yoga is best shared, I offered a morning class on Wednesday. In my mind, this would happen on the lush summer meadow where we used to practice last year, but I woke up to steady rain, feeling first time coldness this summer. So, we retreat to a wellness relaxation room. Rooting through tadasana, then a dragon fly, and matsyendrasana and bridges. In moments I forget all the questions and doubts of the ego and let it all be. A privilege: there is a person for the first time in a yoga class, and that is always a very special thing.
Nothing better than breakfast after a morning yoga.
Insecure still, but regretting less, trusting more: Life unfolds in the present moment. Answers usually come from unexpected directions. A reason to smile. A reason to feel connected to all.
My favourite quotes from City of Girls.
…most marriages are neither heavenly nor hellish but vaguely purgatorial.
It took me many years to become an honest person, and I know why: because the truth is often terrifying.
Once you introduce truth into a room, the room may never be the same again.
It was more important to me to feel free than safe.
Sex is often a cheat – a shortcut of intimacy. A way to skip over knowing somebody´s heart by knowing instead their mere body.
And if all this sounds very yin and female, then let be assured, there has been a lot of balancing: yin and yang, active and contemplative. A great company of both men and women. City of Girls may sound a girly book, but it is far from that. It embraces both principles. It is a celebration of bridges in relationships. The bridges might get severely damaged or torn down even, nevertheless, the relationships are our best schools. And in certain relationships, the bridges are even not necessary, we swim the tide, we walk the river to be on the same side.
Grateful. Thankful. To me travel companions. To the @sojka team. To Liz Gilbert. To Liptov. To yoga.