What, me worry?

To worry is like rocking in a rocking chair. 
It gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere. 
– Unknown
I’ve had an incredibly worrisome week, and I’m already a born worrier. Last Tuesday, when temperatures hit an uncomfortable 96 degrees here, our shakily defended fire-free status in SW Montana was shattered. One of two large fires in this area is pretty much in my backyard. What started as a general concern for the beautiful place I call home and the effects of the smoke turned into a more targeted one for the retreat we were holding this weekend. That then turned into a low-level panic/ongoing state of worry for my actual home, which is very close to the perimeter of the area closed off to fight this still-growing fire. 
Fires are like the weather here, things can change dramatically in one breath. And they are interrelated. The way the wind blows can change the fate of many when a fire is involved. I’ve spent many anxious moments in the last few days waiting for the latest fire update, watching the weather and smoke shift outside, and feeling powerless. The things I could control, I got to work on: informing our retreaters of the situation, assessing if we could still hold the retreat (we did, and it’s been wonderful), starting to organize what important items to take should we have to evacuate our home. And then, having to leave my home for 24 hours to teach yoga, before someone else could take over for me. 
You would think that a time like this would be when I should call on yoga most. Ironically, it’s times like these that yoga is the last thing on my mind, and quite frankly I’d rather smoke a cigarette (just for the record, I don’t smoke). But for the first part of this weekend’s retreat, I had no choice – I had to dig deep for a calmer state so that I could be a yoga teacher. I could not keep up with the freaking out. And for more than the thousandth time, yoga did not let me down. For more than the thousandth time, yoga helped me get my shit together, and directed my energy into a more positive outlet than worrying.
The clear Big Sky seemed far away from the danger threatening my home (geographically, it’s not). The energy of the group assembled before me on their mats, lovely ladies who had journeyed far to come and experience the beauty of Montana, took the edge off for me. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. I can do this. 
Today I will practice. Today, I will use my “worry beads”, working with a mala to direct my ungrounded energy and overflowing worry. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. I can do this. 
For more than the thousandth time, I wonder where I’d be without yoga. 
Pictured above: the Millie fire, August 30, 2012. Photo of me with mala beads by Larry Stanley