Cozy is a State of Mind
Finding Solace Within Myself on My Trusty Yoga Mat
I've moved five times in the past two years, often to cramped, unsightly spaces with people I don't know very well because it was all I could afford on a student's budget. Other times, I've had to endure the unorganized chaos of roommates who didn't share my clean freak sensibilities. Or the understanding that leaving dishes unattended for three weeks in the sink (not exaggerating) was just begging for a rodent infestation. I've been awoken by the stompings of my upstairs neighbours who either had freakishly large footfalls or were perpetually dragging a ten-tonne boulder back and forth across their living room at 2AM. Conversations have also filtered through my walls conducted by my roommates about the merits of the African phallic member, repleted with excessive usage of the N-word, affirmations that immigrants in Canada should "speak English" and a particularly jarring assertion that I, a black woman, was a "good one."
Initially, when I read the descriptor for this prompt, I wasn't going to write anything. I thought I had nothing to add to this discussion. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines cozy as "comfortable, pleasant and inviting" and in the last two years, my varying living circumstances have felt anything but. In fact, I reckon, they've been exactly the opposite: uncomfortable, unpleasant and uninviting.
Recently and by recently I mean since the onset of this pandemic, I've been at home more and increasingly, more hours have been spent on my yoga mat. It's a ratty, unremarkable thing that I purchased many moons ago. It's purple from that phase in my life when I was extremely into purple and it's got battle scars: scratches and discolouration from extended use and sweat stains from where I slipped and busted my butt trying to contort my inflexible body into one pose or another. I really should wash it. I was going to before writing this but I figured I'd keep it 100.
It's weird but this old yoga mat is the first thing that pops into my mind when I think "cozy". The first thing I do every morning is roll it out, sit down and meditate. It has been my faithful companion through countless morning yoga practices, nightly stretches and journalling sessions. I've even recently taken to grabbing a pillow, a good book and curling up on the floor to dive into my next fictional adventure.
When I'm on my mat, my living situation melts away, my problems temporarily fade until they're just a faint background hum and I am where my heart wants to be in that moment. I am who my heart wants to be. I'm ten again and spending the summer at my grandmother's house, passing the days away playing in the river with my cousins. Sometimes, I'm back home with my family, in my backyard, picking up fallen mangoes from the tree that borders my family and my neighbour's property.
Or I'm chilling with my childhood friends, trying to catch the stunning, orange glow of the setting sun and creating makeshift photo shoots outside. Other times, I dream of travel, seeing new places, meeting new people and learning new languages. I imagine life as incomprehensibly large and myself as small but whole and open to receiving all the love the universe dares to throw my way.
I dream of what was, what is and what can be. It is a moment filled with possibility and I feel...cozy. That's a very untraditional framing of the word 'cozy' but I believe that coziness is something you create for yourself and need not be tangible. While it's undeniably incredible to have a stunning garden, a heavenly reading nook or a pillowy soft fort, it's not always possible and sometimes you exist in circumstances not entirely under your control. We don't often have a say in the makeup of our external environment but we can construct and fortify our internal one so that it's a safehaven of warmth, love and coziness. My practically-ancient yoga mat has aided me in achieving this recently.
When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.
– Francois de La Rochefoucauld