Archive for December, 2009
this morning i got to go to the local yoga studio with my mom for a restorative yoga class while flash hung out with the kids. the studio is really lovely and i was in the mood for some stretching after pushing myself to do the harder version of the level two shred yesterday.
the instructor walked in and immediately i balked. she was dressed in jeans, a black belt, and a zebra print tight fitting top. she was wearing full make-up, her hair was curled, and she had on about twenty rings and bracelets. this was the yoga instructor?
i caught myself in the act of prejudging and set my intention to just experience the class and see what happened. within a few moments i was won over. so many times in my life i have learned a certain practice or skill and then taken out of it what works for me and incorporated it into my life. this instructor (and also the owner of the studio it turns out) had done just that. she had brought her personality to her yoga. who says a yoga instructor must have bare skin and stretchy pants on to be worthy of learning from?
several times during the class she encourage us to “open up and let the goodness flow in.” i loved the simplicity of how she spoke this phrase. let the goodness in. it seems so clear that if we want to feel good then we need to let the good in. often i am looking for the work involved in finding some peace and joy but this was a reminder that it is already right there. the universe is full of good. we are surrounded by loving energy and peace and beauty and calm and strength. we don’t always have to dedicate ourselves to the battle of finding it. sometimes we just have to hold still, open up, and let it flow in. it is that easy.
this morning i stretched a little bit, i breathed a little bit, and i let a lot of goodness in. enough goodness to lift lift lift me out of the pattern of tight jaw stress from change that i was circling in and place in me a state of better flow. none of it was hard work and yet here i am – full of goodness.
can you set aside a few moments for yourself today? can you find a position that is comfortable for you to sit in and that allows the energy in your body to flow easily? you could sit in a chair with both feet flat on the ground and your palms resting face up on your knees. you could lay on the ground on your back with your arms about forty five degrees out from your body, your palms facing the sky, and your knees supported by a pillow. you could sit cross legged on the floor and rest your sky facing palms on your inner thigh or knees. then allow your eyes to close if that feels safe to you, allow your breathing to slow and deepen, and set your intention to let the goodness of the universe flow into you. let the goodness in. let the goodness in. you can even use it as a mantra is you like that.
keep it light and easy. all we are doing today is allowing, letting in, accepting what is already there for us. in this season we all deserve to take a moment of ease and allowing.
peace out from aiken
for a moment there i felt like everything led up to christmas day and after that i was sort of stumbling around in a directionless, rhythmless stupor. we came to south carolina on a much more complicated flight pattern than anticipated, felt like we slept in a different room each night for five nights, and were caught up in the spirit of visiting with family and celebrating. it was beautiful, magical, stressful, exhausting, wonderful, and much needed. and then, my brother and his family left and suddenly christmas was over.
i realized that i have missed our rhythm as much as my children have. although they have not told me they miss it, i see it in their actions and feel it in their turbulent moods. we need to find our way now to settle in and make this home our home for the coming weeks. we need to rediscover our in and out breath.
this morning i was elbow deep in soapy water, hand washing all the plastic dishes here and it brought me such calm. in that way i have changed. i no longer thrive on my own disorganization. instead i find something grounding about doing a little housework. i want to be in a home that feels balanced enough. this afternoon i will spend time working on the toys and play area in the living room. i need to sort through, figure out what we want in easy use, and then find a place for everything. it is too difficult for the children to clean up when they do not know where things belong and it is also too difficult to play properly. instead they constantly want and adult there to help direct them. who would have guessed that i would become a woman who enjoyed hand washing dishes and couldn’t wait to organize a mess of toys?
also absent in the recent days has been the time i take for self reflection. i had fallen out of the habit of doing my mini meditations. i have not thought to meditate on each child before i fall asleep to see what i can learn about the day and bring to the next day. i had not spent time imagining how the next day would unfold and how to best prepare myself and my family. i think, in some ways, i had just fallen into the role of tagging along with what was happening and hoping for the best. i am not upset with this i am just noticing how i shifted. i also notice here how i would like to shift back.
reading a post up on the parenting passageway about inner work for the holy nights reminded me how much of the depth of my parenting – and the depth of my daily life really – comes from the inner work i do. i had taken time during the advent to focus on inner work and i let that go when our trip began. carrie’s post brings me back to the possibility of refocusing myself before we enter the new year. already, i had been thinking about ways to create a new tradition, a mini celebrations for just the six of us down here for new years eve. perhaps we could bake a cake, sing some songs, and have a nice dinner. maybe the bean would like to help me make a banner or some other kinds of decorations. i don’t know yet what we can or will do but i was embracing the idea that the smallest amount of effort can start a tradition, can start a celebration.
the idea of doing some focused inner work on what i want the coming year to be strikes a chord within me. i know that i will find my own way to think about this. i know that i will find my own strange time of day to get the work in. i know that it is work that needs doing. i am the best parent, the best wife, the best child, the best version of me when i carve out those moments for inner work. in some ways, that is what i have learned the most in the last year. it has not been an easy year and there were many times during it when i thought my life was changing in heart breaking ways. yet, i am so grateful for the struggles which led me once again more deeply inside myself. the effort i needed to stay strong through this past year showed me once again the importance of self work, inner work, walking my path with clarity and intention.
and now, i will set some time to think about what i want to bring with me in the new year and what i want to say thank you and goodbye to.
what about you all? how are you feeling as the holidays draw to a close and what are you reflecting on?
i have to tell you, being me, i never had heard of the idea that the days between boxing day and three kings day are the holy days. days for self reflection. but it is really working for me. i think i feel myself settling into a slightly different version of myself with slightly different goals and intentions, with my arms elbow deep in washing water, and i like it.
we woke up around 7 (late for bean and the pea).
i turned to the bean and i whispered, “today is christmas.”
he came right back at me, “oh that means it will snow lots and lots and santa is coming with my light up sneakers.”
santa did come with his light up sneakers.
luckily we had made up some reindeer food to give to santa.
and a card for santa. and some carrots for santa (the bean said santa likes carrots).
after santa left there were some presents from family.
though nothing topped the sneakers.
a walk with the dogs.
wait, surprise – it stopped raining and we realized santa had left the bean a new bike! magical.
dinner and the sun went down and gramps pulled out his surprise. sparklers.
sweeter magic i never did see.
don’t you think?
in the whirling dervish of the holidays,
in the constant changing from this plane to that plane,
amidst vomit and late nights,
from this home to that home to another home,
to a bed in the closet or a couch to sleep on.
amidst the hurt feelings of not enough attention or too much attention,
all the tension just masses up in me,
willing me to feel distress,
tempting me to fall into a huge audible sigh.
the sigh of all sighs.
i want to tantrum just like the pea does.
i seek the joy.
i remember the long days alone at home with the kids.
wishing for company.
wishing for bustle.
wishing for someone to disturb the routine of daily life.
here, in the holidays, the wish in answered.
in all its glorious mess.
in the mismatch of family.
the imperfection of cohabitating.
the constant stimulation overload.
this is it.
i dedicate myself to happiness.
i chose happy holidays.
it was a long long trip with two young kids used to early bedtimes. we arrived at my parents home in south carolina at around one in the morning. but we are here. i have proof:
i just read a post by steph (of adventures in babywearing) over at christmas change and it got all these thoughts spinning around in my head. it was too much for a comment so here i am trying to sort it out some on my own blog.
when she wrote about feeling so strong in the midst of her personal struggle (when her son was having seizures), it took me back to the moments when i first discovered my own faith. my own spirituality. my own light. finding my connection with the universe and uncovering the depth of my own spirituality filled me with light so bright i could barely see anymore and i didn’t need to see because i suddenly had vision. i was radiating. i was able to feel whole and free and joyful without medication for the first time in – oh years and years and years.
it was a glaring bright light. a heart thumping life changing light. and it wasn’t a flash, it was sustained. how long was i so filled with buzzing connection? i can’t remember exactly now but i think it was months. it was enough time for my life to change and my self to shift to a new way of being. then slowly, without me noticing, the light dimmed.
it is not that the light was gone but the pure unstopable glare was gone. the shining, eye squinting, undeniable spectrum of light was now more of a hint. more of a suggestion. as soon as i noticed i cursed and mourned my loss. i wondered what i had done wrong. i was frustrated to discover that i could have found my it, my path, my way, the truth, and then lose the fireworks of it all. i toyed with the idea of going back to the old way of being. i faced some of my old demons again, smaller versions, less persuasive than before but there they were showing up in the grayness of my dimmed light.
and then the teachings started rolling in. the path is not always clear white bright. finding my way did not mean i had a key to unstoppable bliss. the gray did not mean i had lost anything it meant – this is life. life is finding and refinding your way on your path with your god/goddess/divine/universe. life is seeing the light diminish to a pin prick on the horizon and then digging into your faith and finding your practice, your foot steps, back to a brighter moment. back to something stronger and more full. the process of the work of the faith is truly the point of our life. basking in the bright light is a gift, a moment of transcendence, a soul warming spirit turning meal.
then the light fades to a glimmer and we wonder. wondering is ok. seeking our baby steps on our path is more than ok. trying to find the practice that fills us with the blinding light is work and it is work that is often disappointing. because the prayer, the meditation, the breathing doesn’t always produce the mind numbing power that it can. sometimes it just is a practice. sometimes the leap of faith is believing in our practice, believing in our path, even when the work we do is not illuminating our soul so clearly as it did once before.
if i was steph’s friend i would send her a note to say:
dear steph, i don’t know what your covers are right now. i don’t know what you feel is resting softly between yourself and the brightest light you have to shine – the brightest light that shines on you. i do know that you write about the process, the work, the path of faith in a way that leaves no doubt that you are there. you are doing it. you are taking each step on your path with leaps of faith and frustration and conviction that is human and superhuman. you let your readers in on the secrets of real life, real faith, real waxing and waning of light. maybe the comments you get in response to this piece can lift you up today and hold you closer to the sun. maybe someone’s words will peel back a blanket or two and let the flash of light in closer to your skin. or maybe there is a way to embrace the blankets, to embrace the ways we have to learn to do our work, to remember that the bright light is still there – we are just around the corner from it at the moment. maybe there is a little something the blankets want you to know and if you can listen to their message they will lift of their own accord.
i am not steph’s friend though (i am a huge fan) so i won’t be sending that note. instead i will do what so many people do – i will read her words and then i will let them reflect and refract into thinking about my own life. i will realize that my light is flickering a bit these days and i will sense that for me the baby steps towards a more abundant connection are accepting what is and continuing my practice even when it doesn’t feel like it is taking my breath away. how many times i learn that my world of woowoo is holding me close and lifting me up even when my eyes are not blinded by the light. how many times i learn that my path includes moments of gray and that is ok too. not to sink into. but, also not to fear – just to say hello and keep walking my way through.
at my house when i plug in our holiday lights and light our advent candles i remember that i am doing it to bring light to our shortest, darkest days. i celebrate the darkness and i invite the light back in as the year ends and begins. now i will work to respect the same shifting in my spirit. i will honor the darkness and invite the light in. i will bring the flame to our candle wicks to symbolize the process. i will hold my faith that light does linger and return. it is bound to be all along my path at just the right moments.