Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s Magic

Christmas is going to be very different for us this year, because Santa won’t be coming to our house.

It was inevitable, I know.  I already had that feeling last year, the feeling that it was going to end soon.  The doubts were creeping in for Shannon.  And by the time Spring came around, I knew for sure that it was over.  But I kept saying, “If you don’t believe, you won’t receive!”,  just to keep my dream alive.

Alas, like most of my dreams, it is dead.

So, yes, this Christmas will be different.  There will be no forcing the girls to get to bed early, so that Santa can come before he drinks too much cheer to remember where the hell the presents are hidden.  There will be no waking up at 4:30am with a hangover, stumbling around to find the camera in the dark, and running down the stairs, just to capture the look on their faces as they see the presents for the first time.   Nope. No more of that.

The presents are already under the tree. Just sitting there. Not hidden away in closets, in the basement, in the attic, in the garage, at my mom’s house.  They are all out there in the open. Just like the ugly truth. We don’t even talk about Santa any more. Now he’s referred to as “The Big Lie Mommy Told Us, Right Maggie?”!

Gone is the magic, the hopefulness, the wonder, and the faith in Mommy, apparently.

Time passes, children grow, and things change.  Fighting the passage of time is harder than fighting the tide, and I’m not a strong swimmer.  So I roll with it.  I resigned myself to a Christmas without magic. Sigh.

Or maybe not.

Today I taught yoga to a bunch of 5 and 6 year-old yogis. It was our last class before the winter break.   When I walked into the building I could feel the energy. The excitement was palpable.  The whole building was buzzing. It was electric.  In every classroom I was greeted with phrases like “Christmas is next week!” and “Miss Kim, Miss Kim, Look where the Elf is today!”   and  “I asked for a puppy!”  and “My abuela is coming to visit!”.

I sat on the floor at the end of each class surrounded by a circle of children. We passed around the tingsha bells and we each made two silent New Year’s wishes. One wish was for ourselves, and one wish for someone else in the world.  As they wished (not so silently), I could hear the magic in their voices. I could see the wonder in their faces.  I could feel the energy of their belief.

There were some moments today when I was overwhelmed almost to the point of tears.  Those moments cannot be taken for granted. They remind me of the wonder in my life.  The fact that I get to do something I love, something I am passionate about, every day of my life, continues to fill me with wonder.

The fact that I get to spend time with these tiny little humans who restore my faith in humanity time and time again, is pure magic. The keep my heart filled with hope.

The other night a friend of mine sent me a message.  She works at a non-profit clinic, and every year at their holiday party the staff (mostly volunteers) does something for charity.  This year they “adopted’ two patients who have had a very difficult time. One is a mother of 3 who can’t put food on the table for her kids, and the other is an older homeless woman who finally found a place to call home.  Everyone was asked to bring something small and inexpensive for one of the patients, so they could make a gift for them, and brighten their holidays a bit.  She said that the number of items that poured in was “over the top crazy”.  Most of the volunteers donated things for both patients because they couldn’t choose one. Home goods, gift cards, even cash.

There is magic in that.  Wonder. Hope.

There is also a magic in the fact that she has been able to follow her own passion and find a career in it.  Sure, she’s barely making enough money to get by, but having our faith in humanity restored at every turn is priceless. Priceless!

Even though my girls no longer believe in Santa, I know we’ll still find magic this season.  We just have to look a little deeper for it now.   We just have to find it in other things.  If we keep our eyes open, we will find it everywhere; in our words and in our deeds, in our faces and in our hearts.

Where will you find the magic of the season?   Will you see the magic in the children in your life?  The magic in an act of charity or kindness?  The magic in a loved one’s laughter?  The magic in the starry, night sky?

Where will your faith lie this season?   Will you find faith in the Universe?  Faith in the miracles of your ancestors?  Faith in a Swaddled Babe?  Or a Red-nosed Reindeer? Faith in the Fat Man in the suit?

Will you find faith in humanity? Can you find faith in yourself?  The magic in yourself?

I hope you find the magic in yourself this season and share it with others.    It’s in there. Believe me.

We only have to believe it to receive it.

 

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And I bet you can guess the earworm for this one.  It’s from way back when I believed “The Big Lie My Parents Told”.

 

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Fear Itself

‘Listen to me,’ says Fear.
‘Believe me.
I’m here to protect you.
Trust me.
I’ve done it before, right?
Haven’t I saved you
from some seemingly
bad situations?
Haven’t I kept you
from making plenty of
possibly huge mistakes?
Haven’t I pushed you
away from potentially
dangerous people?
Haven’t I helped you
to steer clear of
anticipated discomfort?
Haven’t I protected you from
the pain of inevitable failure?

Yes, I have. You know I have. It was me. It has always been me.

I’m right. You know I’m right.
Listen to me. I’m the rational one. Me.
It’s not Dare.
It’s not Try.
It’s not Chance.
Those guys don’t know what they’re talking about.
It’s me.

Listen to me. I wouldn’t steer you wrong. I have your best interests in mind.

Do you remember that tv show, Herman’s Head?
With all the people
living inside of the guy’s head?
Yeah… That. It’s just like that.
We’re all in here.
And the reason we all get along is because they know
who the boss is. It’s me.
I’m the boss.
That’s why you hear
me loudest. That’s why you feel
me most.
But those guys
They try to rally and override me sometimes.

With Logic. He’s their ringleader.

But don’t listen to Logic.
He has no idea what he’s talking about.
We were switched at birth, you know. The two of us. He got my name.
I’m the clear thinker, here.
I’m the one who knows things.
I was the biggest and strongest.
And I grew quickly.
He took a really long time to develop.
And even now,
I can make split second decisions
for you.
But he moves slowly. So many
trials and errors
hypotheses and experiments
theorems and proofs
rationale and tangible results.
That stuff takes time.
And too much energy. Way too much.
He really wears me out.
Doesn’t he make you tired?

So , listen to me.
It’s so much easier to just
do what I say.
It will save us both a lot
of time and energy.
Just listen to me.
I go with my gut.
I know what’s what.
I’ll keep you safe.
Comfortable.
I’m here to protect you.
I will protect you.
Just listen to me.
Trust me. Come with me.
Okay?

…Good.’

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The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. And maybe those advertisements that show up below this. They’re kinda scary sometimes.

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Slow Dive

Last Friday night I stepped into a time machine.

I went to the reunion of a dance club that my friends and I frequented in college.  We spent (or maybe wasted) two or three nights a week there, for many years. It was one of those places where we could stop in on any given Thursday or Sunday night confident that someone we knew would probably be there. It was dark. It was crowded. It smelled like patchouli and a public restroom. The music was loud.  And we danced. We danced to almost every song. We danced like the cool goth kids we thought we were. Like the mad punk rockers we thought we were. Like we knew how to dance. Like we had rhythm.

The place burned down ten years ago, so the reunion was at a local theater. Different place, but the same music, DJs, bartenders, and the same (old) crowd that we hadn’t seen in over ten years.

Unlike a high school reunion, this was a reunion I was looking forward to.  This would be all about the music. I knew that as soon as I got on the dance floor, I would be transported, right back to a time when I was younger and freer. A time before kids, and mortgages, and wrinkles, and reading glasses. A time when there was nothing to do but have a few drinks and dance until we headed to the diner at 3am.

And it happened. As soon as I stepped onto the crowded dance floor. I closed my eyes and I started to jump around to the same songs I danced to (many) years ago.  I got to the place I had been looking forward to. The place where I knew I would feel like me. The me that I love to be the most. The no nonsense, no worries, who-gives-a-shit-what-anyone-else-thinks-I am-dancing-like-a-maniac-because-this-feels-freakin-awesome me. I love that me! I feel best when I am that me!

And I know my friends felt it too. The night ended with so many “We should do this more oftens”, but not the kind you say when you really only half mean it. The kind you say when you know that this is something that needs to be done. More often.

All day Saturday my muscles reminded me that I really should do it more often. But maybe in more comfortable shoes.

I was in desperate need of a good stretch, so I went to a yoga class on Sunday. It took me a little while, but once I got warmed up and started flowing through the poses and connecting with my breath, I got there. To that same place. The place where there is no nonsense, no worries. The I-don’t-give-a-shit-what-my-fat-ass-looks-like-in-this-pose-because-it-feels-freakin-awesome place.

I feel it in a mosh-pit. I feel it on my yoga mat. These are the places where I let it all go. No pretense. No inhibition. Just the me I really want to be.

We often take the lessons we learn on the yoga mat and bring them into real life. There have been so many for me. I can’t begin to remember them all. But just to name a few of the simplest lessons:
I can breathe through discomfort.
Everything is temporary.
I can do a lot of things that my monkey tells me I can’t do.
Surrender is actually easier than I thought.
And now this lesson from the mat and the mosh pit: This is the me I really want to be. All of the time. I want to feel this way on the inside all of the time.

We all have those moments when we feel most like our true selves. We have those activities, places or people that turn the light on inside of us.

What is it for you? Exercising? Having a conversation with your best friend? Closing a deal? Helping someone? Belting out power ballads in your car?

Can you harness that feeling and carry it with you through your days? Can you try to be that person all of the time?

I’m going to try to be that person all of the time. And even if it only works for a few moments of each day, it’s better than once every ten years.

The whole world is my yoga mat if I’m ready to step on it.

The whole world is my mosh pit if I’m ready to dive in.

 

 

Slowdive by Siouxsie and the Banshees

 

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A Clockwork Orange

Good music can be very distracting during a yoga class. For me. While I’m teaching.

If I make a playlist of awesome songs that I love, I sometimes get caught up in the words and lose my train of thought. Good music messes with my flow.

So I try to stick with playlists of songs that I don’t absolutely love. Mellow music. Instrumentals. Classical. Ambient sounds. Mantras.

There is one classical song on my current playlist rotation that has become a distraction.

Whenever I catch an earful of it during class I always feel deeply saddened. If I let my ears linger on it, I almost want to cry. It takes me somewhere; to the edge of a deep, dark sadness, and images try to form in my head, but they can’t quite come clear.

For weeks now the song has been haunting me. Where have I heard it before? Why does it make me feel so very very sad?

Listen to it. It’s lovely. Sweet. A bit sad, yes. But why does it wrench my gut?

Today, before class, I was alone in the studio. I plugged my iPhone in and turned the volume up. This song began to play.

I decided to sit with my sadness. To let the images come. I closed my eyes and really listened. I breathed the music into my nose. I let it swirl around behind my eyebrows. I breathed it into my lungs and let it wrap around my heart.

And then it came to me. In flashes. I remember where I had heard the song, not once but at least several dozen times. I realized why it was making me sad.

It is the soundtrack of one of the saddest movie scenes in the history of sad movie scenes; the death of Sergeant Elias, in Platoon.

It is amazing how the mind works. That song and that scene somehow forever locked together in the depths of my mind. A buried connection, that I managed to dig up in a moment of meditation.

It is amazing how music works. Stamping itself on images, wrapping itself around memories, finding ways to live on in our heads and hearts forever.

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Peace Dog, or I Wanna Be Your Dog

or Dogs of War, or Who Let the Dogs Out??

I can’t decide on a title for this post. Blame it on the dogs. All of them.

I am not a planner. I’ve talked about that before.  When I have to teach a yoga class I can’t really make a plan because I never know who will show up, what their practice is like, what injuries or limitations they might have.   But I do try to make a loose plan.  Usually when I’m in the car on the way there.

Yesterday I was driving to teach and I was trying to come up with some ideas. What poses would we do? What part of the body would I concentrate on? What was my theme going to be? I started going through a flow of poses in my mind and then I started to get involved with the song on the radio. “Your dreamworld is just about to end”  Wow. Midnight Oil. I used to love them. What ever happened to them?  I haven’t heard this song in years. The last time I heard it I was at the…

Stop it!  I have to plan my class!

I turned the radio off, and brought myself back.   Back to the poses.  I’ll do warmups and then we’ll do some sun salutes. Sun salutes. Sunshine. Sunny day. Look where the sun is now. It will be dark before 5:00 today. I hate daylight savings. 

Stop it… Plan the class!

I can’t plan. You know that. It’s the puppy mind. 

I think Stephen Cope may have coined the phrase ‘puppy mind’, but I’m not sure. It’s often used in yoga circles, just like the monkey mind is.

Driving along, I started a conversation in my head about how my brain is a puppy.  I imagine a cartoon brain. It has little legs and a dopey smiley face. Its tongue sticking out, panting as it jumps around.     It wants to run here and there. It talks at a frantic pace. I wanna go look at that thing over there. I wanna smell that?! What is that? Who is that? I know that smell? Let me pee on this.

I have my puppy on a long leash and I keep trying to pull him back.  Come back to what we were doing. Get back to what we were thinking. Concentrate on this right here right now.  Weren’t we planning a class? 

My mind tries to make me believe that I am already concentrating. It is concentrating on the idea of a puppy-cartoon-brain.  Isn’t that concentration? One pointed focus?  This is a clever trick,  distracting me from the task at hand.  My brain thinks it is already working. Working like a dog.

I have realized that for me the image of a puppy mind is wrong.   My mind is more like a cartoon drawing of a brain-shaped dog crate. The crate is filled with an entire litter of puppy-brains. 101 freakin’ dalmatians. And while it may be a challenge to train one puppy, it is damn near impossible to train an entire litter at the same time.

Even as I am writing this blog all of the other dogs are out and about.

One of my puppies is sitting up at the top of the stairs.  She is listening to Shannon and her friend as they play in the bedroom. Curiously tilting  her head and lifting one ear. What are they doing? What was that noise? What is so funny in there? 

Another puppy is sitting at a turntable in my head playing the song “How Much is That Doggy in the Window?” He has his paw ready to pick the needle up and put it right back to the groove at the beginning of the chorus every thirty seconds or so. Over and over and over. The one with the wag-gely tail...

There is another puppy at the dining room table writing a completely different blog post on his PC. This post begins:  Dear Santa,  All I want for Christmas is Pharrell Williams’ real skincare secrets.  And a lifetime supply of beer.  And chocolate. And Snausages.

There is one puppy running around in circles,  breathing heavily and saying some words that  make no sense at all.  I think he’s trying to get me up off the couch so I will go outside and run circles around the yard.  He is obviously the one that is most effected by my caffeine intake.   He really needs to chill right about now.

There are several others, sitting by, tails wagging, ready to pounce on the next thought that passes by the crate. Mine, mine, mine! That one’s mine. I’m gonna run with that one!

It is my job to round these brain-puppies up, put them all in the crate, and get them to take a nap. At the same time.  Preferably without excessive amounts of alcohol or Xanax or acepromazine.

But how can I stop my mind from thinking?  How can I be still, really still?  I’ve been working on this for a long time now. When I took my very first yoga class I couldn’t sit still for thirty seconds, and my puppies were yelping and howling.

And now, years later, I can proudly say that I have moments of complete stillness. Moments when my mind is totally empty.

But wait.  The word moments makes it sound like minutes. And I’m not talking about minutes.  I’m talking about seconds. Seconds when all of a sudden I realize: Holy shit. I wasn’t thinking anything at all just then!    The puppies were all sleeping at once!  Woo hoo! 

And of course, all of the excitement wakes the dogs up. I haven’t yet learned how to let sleeping dogs lie.

Maybe that should be the title. Sleeping Dogs Lie.  Because they do.

 

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If you want to quiet the dogs, try this simple (hard as hell) meditation.

Close your eyes (after you read this all) and start to take deep breaths in and out of your nose.

Count your breaths in your mind. Try not to think about anything else but the breath and the countdown.    Inhale 99, exhale 99. Inhale 98, exhale 98. Inhale 97, exhale 97.And so on and so on.

See how far you get before other thoughts creep in, but keep counting. Even with another thought, you can still keep your count.  A couple of other puppies might get out of the cage.  One might be a song. One might be a to-do list. Ignore them, let them go, just keep your count.

When you realize you have lost count, and you certainly will, simply start again. No judgment.  See how far you get this time. Then try again tomorrow. And the next day.

The goal might be to get to zero some day without any puppy interruptions.  But there are so many other goals that can be achieved along the way. Yours will be unique to your dog crate.

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Pick an earworm. They are all playing in my head at the same time….

Peace Dog

I Wanna Be Your Dog

Dogs of War

Who Let the Dogs Out

How Much is that Doggy…?

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Shower the People You Love With Love

It’s 7:00 AM on Election Day. John has the day off, but I have to teach for a few hours this morning. My girls don’t have school. They are both still sound asleep. I have plenty of time to get ready, so I’ve decided to take this opportunity to enjoy a long hot shower.

The water flowing over me. My eyes closed.  Getting lost in thought. Thinking about the classes I’ll be teaching today. Planning and scheming how our family might spend the afternoon.  Thinking about how nice it would be to spend some time with  Ewan McGregor.  Lost in deep, deep thought, when suddenly I am startled back to reality.

“Hey!” Shannon says loudly outside of the curtain.
“Ooh- you scared me! You should knock first.”
“Oh sorry,” she says “I’m only here for the steam.”
She has had a bit of a chest cold for the past week or so and is here for the steam.
“Why are you even awake?”
” I heard the water running. I’ll just sit here quietly.”
Sigh. So much for Ewan.

Showers are a a luxury since I had kids. I can remember shortly after Maggie was born wondering how the heck I was ever going to take a shower again.

At first, I brought her into the bathroom with me in her car seat. I sat her down on the floor. And I peeked out of the curtain every ten seconds. The entire shower lasted about four minutes. Five if I decided to shave my legs.

Then she progressed to the exersaucer. It was sort of like a walker, but it stayed still. It was too big for our tiny bathroom so I placed her right outside of the open door. I kept the curtain open just enough so I could see straight out into the hallway. Peeking out to watch her playing,  Singing songs to her and making eye contact to let her know I was right there. Still, the showers lasted five minutes if I was lucky. And there was no solitude, no time to get lost in thought.

When she became mobile a gate went up at the top of the stairs. I would sit her in my bed and tell her to watch tv for a few minutes.   I tilted the bedroom door just the right amount so that I could see the full length mirror from the shower.  When I looked out through the shower curtain, I could see her reflection. Sitting on the bed. Watching the Berenstain Bears.   I called out every so often to make sure she was all right. And if I lost sight of her or didn’t get a response I would walk out of the shower dripping wet, covered in soap, to find her happily playing with a stuffed animal on the floor in front of the bed.

“What are we going to do today?” Shannon asks me.
“I thought you were going to be quiet?”  I say to her. “You know, pay no attention to the lady behind the curtain?”
And just as she starts to respond I feel a cold draft. The door has opened. Again.
“I need to poop” Maggie says. “And Daddy is in the bathroom downstairs.’
Sigh. My life.
“But I’m sitting here.” Shannon says. “I need the steam. “
“Just move to the radiator,” I instruct her.

Now they are both in here. So much for that long hot relaxing shower.

They start talking about the posts they are reading on tumblr and instagram. To me.
Talking to me. Hey Mom, this. and Hey Mom, that.  This was supposed to be my quiet time!

Once, when they were about four and six years old I was taking a shower. They were playing Barbies in their room. I left the bathroom door open a crack just in case there was some sort of Barbie War that I had to mediate. It was one of the first chilly days of the season, so the bathroom window was closed. Our smoke detector is on the ceiling just outside of the bathroom door. And it is, as I learned that day, very sensitive to steam.

As I was shampooing my hair and enjoying a brief moment of solitude, the alarm began to sound. So loudly!  And I freaked out!

Where are the girls? Is there a fire? What is going on? Not realizing the whole steam sensitivity thing in the moment, I thought it might be a real emergency.

Holy shit. A fireman’s wife, left her kids alone while she selfishly took a shower, and they set the house on fire!

I jumped out of the shower, wrapped a towel around myself, ran to the girls room, and tried to open the door. It was locked! It’s never locked!

“Open the door! Open the door!”
“No!!”
“Open the door, dammit!”

I tried with all my might to break the door open, to no avail. Then I ran to the alarm keypad in my bedroom and entered the code to stop the alarm. My wet hands slipped and entered the wrong number. The siren kept sounding. It was so freakin’ loud!

I tried the keypad again, and I could hear the phone ringing. The alarm company!  I looked in the cradle and the phone wasn’t there. Standing, dripping in the middle of the room. Trying to hear the location of the phone over the sound of the siren.

The Siren. Stop the damn siren! I entered the correct number on the key pad and the alarm stopped. I frantically ran around the room until I found the phone, but it was too late. I knew it was too late. The firemen were probably on the way to our house already. John’s coworkers. And here I am. Naked!

Clothes!! I need clothes!  Hurry hurry hurry hurry! No time for underwear! Pants!

I grabbed a pair of jeans from my dresser and tried to get them on. It’s not so easy to put jeans on when your legs are dripping with water. The first leg got in all right, but as I hopped to wiggle my second leg in, I fell flat on the floor banging my head on the dresser on the way down and throwing my back out as I landed.

Lying on the floor in pain, I began to scream “Girls open the door! RIGHT NOW. Hurry up! The fireman are coming! The firemen are on their way!”

I got up from the floor and ran to their door, just as they were opening it. Standing in front of them dripping wet, topless, with the towel now on my head, yelling “We have to go downstairs!”

I could hear the sounds from John’s fire radio downstairs. Calling out my address. I could hear the engine’s siren screaming down my street. I grabbed for the first thing I saw, my daughter’s robe hanging on the back of the door, and I wrapped it around my torso.

“Let’s go! Let’s go! Hurry!” I yelled.

We made it to the bottom of the stairs just as the doorbell rang.  I quickly opened the door and stepped outside. A child’s robe wrapped around my upper body, a towel on my head, a look of sheer terror on my face.

The lieutenant looked at me and smiled, and shook his head. He held his radio up to his face and said “It’s just Redstone’s wife, taking a shower.”
“Could you repeat that?” someone on the other end replied.
Oh, dear god no,  don’t repeat it.
“Redstone’s wife. She was taking a shower and set the alarm off.”

Yes. Yes I did. Because of those damn kids… Sigh.

As soon as we were back in the house, I went upstairs and I broke the lock on the girls’ door. That fixed that problem.

Occasionally now,  I can take a peaceful shower.  And I know that someday, in the not so distant future, our nest will be empty.  All too soon, when those days come, I will take long luxurious showers. I might even take a bath every now and then.

And when I do I will long for these days. I will wish the door would open.  I will miss the startling sound of “Hey!” and “I have to poop.”

So I will try to enjoy these moments.  This moment.
”Ewww. Flush the toilet. That stinks.”
”You can leave if it stinks! Tell her mom, she can leave.Tell her to leave.”
“You can both leave, you know?!”

Some day they will both leave.

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Truly, Madly, Deeply

October 14th will mark the 10 year anniversary of my dad’s death. So around this time of year I began to think of him even more often than usual. And I may be even more apt to cry than usual.

I remember that shortly after he died, it was the moments of stillness, the moments of quiet that were the most difficult. When everyone left. When the kids were sleeping. When I was alone in my car. When I didn’t have distractions. So I avoided those moments and I looked for distractions.

A couple of weeks ago I was out to breakfast with friends and we began talking about death. I of course began to think about my father. And I, of course, began to cry just a little. Teary eyed and snotty nosed, I grabbed a napkin and continued the conversation. And it passed, as it does.

When we were leaving one of my friends said he was sorry that the conversation made me sad.  And I found myself saying, “No! Don’t apologize. It’s not sad at all. It’s good that I cry. It’s actually quite lovely. It reminds me that I still miss him so much.”   And I do miss him so much. And that is both sad and wonderful.

The other day I was on the phone with a dear old friend of mine. He called to talk about about some terrific and tragic childhood events, spurred on by a blog post I had written. He said that sometimes, it was so overwhelmingly awful that he could just sit and cry. I realized in that moment that it was not awful at all.

I said,“The ability to feel things deeply means that we are not dead inside.”  We are alive and well.  They didn’t win. They didn’t get us. We have such empathy for those children that we once were that we can cry for them. And we can also rejoice in the fact that we made it through.

We made it through because we kept ourselves distracted. We found ways to keep ourselves from falling apart. We kept our minds occupied with other things, albeit not all good things. There were books and music and movies and lots of poetry. There were also addictions and risk taking behaviors. Thankfully, we had each other.

But as we grow older we are shedding our addictions and letting go of some of our distractions. As we grow older, there are more quiet moments.

He recently became an empty-nester.  The moments of stillness are upon him once again. Older and wiser(?), as scary as it may be, he can now choose to sit with these moments instead of running away from them. If he chooses to sit, I can sit with him. I’ve been practicing.

It takes a lot of practice, because sitting in stillness is not easy. I can do it now, but it used to be impossible. Forget the stillness. I couldn’t even move slowly. I wanted to run! I couldn’t stop my monkey mind for one second. I hated the silence. I didn’t want it. It’s why I thought that I would hate yoga. Because I knew that it was in those moments that I would really feel things. In those moments, I would no longer be keeping it together. In those moments I would fall apart.

It is true that in the moments of stillness we completely shut our minds and feel nothing. But in those same moments we also completely open our hearts, and feel everything. And everything is a whole lot of things. It is all of the feels. It is everything, and nothing.

We have to realize though, that it is neither good nor bad. Pema Chodron says that “nothing in its essence is one way or the other.” Nothing is either good or bad on its own. It doesn’t become good or bad until we judge it. So I can choose to judge things that arise as neither good nor bad. They simply are. And as for events in the past, they simply were. And now they aren’t any more.

Even though they are no longer, they do still live inside of me. Like my father does. The love that I have for him still grows every day. As I think of him while I raise my own kids, that love still changes. It grows and changes. It is still a living thing. Every time he comes to mind he is alive again in a sad and wonderful way. I want to nurture his memory, so the love can keep growing.  Sometimes, when I think of him, I will cry.

The bad things that happened to us when we were young are still inside of us too. Our relationship with them keeps growing and changing every time they rise up. The thoughts are still alive inside of us. They don’t have to be buried by distractions. They can be dug up in those moments of silence so we can nurture them and let them grow into what they will be. So we can grow into what we will be. And sometimes, when we dig these things up, we will cry.

We will cry because of sadness. We will cry because of joy.   They are they same.  We don’t have to say we are feeling sad, or we are feeling joyful.  Just…

We are feeling.  And we should feel it all.

Truly. Madly. Deeply.

 

 

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