Some days everything comes together. The stars align. A stranger offers his seat on the subway. The productivity meter hits 110% before noon. Things flow effortlessly when all is in balance. I hold pincha mayurasana with ease, or pound 10K of pavement in under an hour. After twenty rounds of aerobic exercise and strength training—sweat spilling off my back the way water falls over the Niagara—I might still have four rounds left in me.
But it’s not always like that. At times the cloud cover is oppressive. The filter in front of my eyes turns dark, a shade of gunmetal grey. I start running towards Manhattan Bridge and make it a paltry seven blocks before turning back. Behind my desk I spin my wheels, procrastinating endlessly. A stranger treads heavily on my foot while getting off the B-train.
Last week I revisited the school of hard knocks—the days full of haze. Mind and body were at odds. I ached all over. The personal, professional, and physical collided. I couldn’t catch a break if it sailed into the palm of my hand.
To add further insult to injury, some of the negative rhetoric I’d laid to rest in bones, tissue, tendons, and nerve endings dislodged and surfaced. If the body is a strongbox, the space within is a repository for memory. By Friday, the lid on all my garbage had been pried wide open.
What’s wrong with you? It’s no big deal. Shrug it off. Get a handle on your shit. Stop worrying. How come you’re so sweaty? Why are you out of breath? Jesus, you’re awkward. How old are you again? What have you achieved? Whatever, it’s not good enough. Pull yourself together. Get a grip. What are you doing? Stop being an ungainly misfit.
The voice channeling these sentiments is crafty, laying low until defences are weak, hissing with a forked tongue that cuts like a knife. And while I usually meditate my way out of the mire there are times when silent reflection, alone, is not enough.
My last resort when up against a black Capricorn day is to hit the gym or go for a run. Explosively moving to the point of exhaustion has worked in the past. Yet, success isn’t guaranteed. It’s trial and error, and the outcome is iffy. Some days I feel better in the aftermath—tired but less contentious. On others, I spiral down a drain of irritation and pessimism. I want to cry out of frustration. My scales start to show.
With every breath, I spit fire.
I’m stuck on the highway leading straight to hell
Like any other drifter with a soul to sell
You know I’m dealing with the devil in everyone I meet
And their faces tell a story that life is so sweet
And I’m going through a black (hey)
It feels like hell when nothing goes right. We’ve all been there. I’m not alone, and neither are you. It is infuriating to ask your legs to hold up for another kilometre and have them balk, stopping mid-stride in protest. And let’s not get into the consequences of telling your head to slip left and have it sail right instead.
Nothing stings more than the lessons imparted by Coach’s fast-moving fists.
Little is more frustrating than seeking a release you don’t get. Or wanting something to change but feeling stuck in a static, desolate state of limbo. But I’ve come to learn everything stays the same unless I actively make choices. Even if that means calling a timeout where I do absolutely nothing.
Hold on. Put up a fight. Keep going. Roll the dice. Don’t like the outcome? Look to Lady Luck for support and roll again.
The secret to overriding the blackest of Capricorn days is to simply show up, for something. Anything you might remotely believe in.
 I have the early aughts hit by Jamiroquai on one of my Spotify playlists, along with a bunch of other music (some of it old, some of it new) I listen to during a run or workout. What’s ironic is how Black Capricorn Day is always one of the first tracks to play (without fail) on the rock bottom, shit days. It’s like Jamiroquai knows. We must have a cosmic connection.
 Lyrics from Black Capricorn Day by Jamiroquai. See above footnote for details.
PS – Go ahead and judge all you want about my affinity for acid jazz/funk. I don’t give damn. Once upon a time, Jamiroquai made some pretty stellar music.