When my daughter Lucia was tiny, a little 7 pound lump, I swaddled her in a contraption called the Miracle Blanket. The Miracle Blanket was nothing more than a super-soft, organic cotton, hippie-looking piece of fabric that could be folded strategically to wrap a baby like a little burrito. The theory behind the blanket is that it comforts infants to be contained and swaddled in a way much like they were in utero.
The Miracle Blanket was truly amazing. Lucia was wrapped about ninety-percent of the time during her first few months. My mother, when she first came to visit, worried that her muscles might atrophy from lack of movement. But I was dedicated to the burrito maker. Even when Lucia wailed, flailed, and kicked, I used the Miracle Blanket. The calm that came over Lucia when she was swaddled was comforting to her, but to me too. As a sleep-deprived, new mother, bloated with milk that responded to my baby's cry like a fire hose on a burning building, I grew to depend on the Miracle Blanket to make everything okay in the world. Calm for Lucia meant calm for me.
Today when I was practicing yoga, I thought a lot about the Miracle Blanket. My class this morning was a ninety-minute crisis management session. I saw stars, I held back puke, I blinked away eye cream that dripped into my eyes. If it wasn't one thing, it was another stupid little distraction feeding my anxiety. "If only I had the ability right now", I thought to myself as I hoisted myself to standing for another vomit-inducing posture, "to contain myself like the Miracle Blanket used to contain Lucia."
Most babies are lucky. Their parents swaddle them, contain them, give them the physical sense of comfort that induces calm. Most kids too. Parents set the rules, make curfew, control sweets, give them the sense that someone else is in charge, containing them, keeping them safe.
Not adults. We're responsible for finding that calm for ourselves.
Eventually in class this morning, I just sat out for a whole pose instead of trying to get up. In the eighteen years I've been doing Bikram yoga, I've had many hard classes. I always get through them, and I always go back for more. Once I removed myself from my self-induced physical pandemonium, my full-on drama about my nausea, my dizziness, my fatigue, once I finally lay down, it was clear what I needed. I needed a Mental Miracle Blanket. I'd been here before and I knew what I had to do-- stop fighting myself, let myself be contained. And it happened. When I let go of the struggle, I could feel it, the sense of calm, just like the little baby burrito.