good days~~bad days
Our lives are a ballet among contrasting landscapes and emotional highways. One moment, we are screaming down a back road in a sweet Chevelle with the windows rolled down and our hair flying everywhere. The next instant, we are pulled over getting a speeding ticket. The day is ruined. Or so we think.
Insert your life experience:
excellent job~~displacement after twenty years of service
a gorgeous new skirt~~finding it tucked into your undies midway through a staff meeting
finding the love of your life~~they find somebody else
prepping all day for a test~~you studied the wrong chapter
life is at your fingertips~~doc found a lump
The big things, the little things–they all land punches and dent our armor. As a writer, I’m a sucker for a metaphor and a ponytail yanking life lesson. Such has been the case for the last two Mondays of yoga class.
WHOA partner! Bring your happy butt right back to the story (Bestie Kels–I’m talking to you). I’m not going to spew Sanskrit onto your screen, nor will I pontificate on the chakras. Although, chakra sounds suspiciously like chocolate, so let’s explore that next.
Consider this a “yoga-lite” lesson–no headstands into the flat screen or bendy, twisty, emergency-room-landing poses. Just be, baby!
Yoga Mondays start like this:
4:45: Clanging alarm
4:46: When my brain tells my body it is too tired for hot yoga.
4:47: Scroll through Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Drop the phone and accidentally “poke” some of my friends. How rude! I try to ‘un-poke’ but I’m not wearing glasses, so it’s all fuzzy and I’m pleading the 5th.
5:00: Launch into a session of self-scolding on having wasted thirteen minutes reading mindless chatter, and poking sleepy bears.
5:02: Awake and determined not to spend the morning on an iPhone. Go to yoga as planned. Louisa is always there, and seeing her makes my day better.
For the last two sessions, the room has been extra hot. The instructor said it was 102, but with the humidity, it felt like Hell. Today’s temp crept up to 105. Whenever I go, I set an intention to have a productive, anxiety-free week–starting with the primary cause(s) of restlessness. Like the study in contrasts above, my last two Monday classes were entirely different:
Breathe and let go~~Holy sh*t! Just make it through
In each instance, our instructor takes us through the Warrior series. In my intentions, I work through each flow and apply a life event to match the sequence I’m practicing.
Warrior I: Symbolizes our personal ability to overcome ego and ignorance. The warrior flows challenge and tests us but in doing so bring us strength, focus, confidence, and courage.
My son is knee-deep in wrestling season. Even though Dane wrestles near his natural weight, his meals are an orchestration of calories, protein, carbohydrate, healthy fats, and hydration. The daily practices can be grueling and energy-sapping. But, he craves the work, the discipline, the team, and the feeling of accomplishment. As a parent watching his/her child, it’s triple-time hard to take. I have promised more than once that I will not lose my cool while he’s competing. That means no yelling, embarrassing my husband, or falling on the bleachers. I can accomplish the first two, but the third one gets me at least once/year.
Strength, focus, confidence, and courage. A prayer for my children–especially when the match moves from the gym and into real life.
Warrior II: requires strength and stability, but also flexibility in the hips and upper body. The sequence teaches us about one of the fundamental principles of yoga practice; the balance of steadiness and ease. It also teaches us to involve the whole body and to remember that which is out of sight.
Dane started his season by making it to the finals during his first meet. Ultimately, he won–but only after a bloody nose and four overtimes. I didn’t yell, but I used every square inch of the concrete I was standing on (hubby calls me a “wiggler”). Dane inspected my hands after his OT match. They were shaking, and I don’t remember breathing once.
I crave balance in daily living. Flexibility, insight, and steadiness–if only I could be this parent, this person, every day. Breathe, Mama. Why are you shaking?
Warrior III: often referred to as the most challenging of the warrior series. I always lose my breath, get light-headed and nearly fall throughout the entire flow. Even though it’s acceptable to use an aid, such a block, for support, I usually don’t. I can’t balance, can’t stretch, can’t reach, won’t ask for help…can’t control anything.
One of the most difficult parts of parenting is watching your children do as you’ve prepared them to–leave home with feathers flying and landing in an empty nest. Tanna is a college senior, and heading to nursing school next year. She’s seeing a nice, young man and all of a sudden I’m seeing the future stretch out before her like a big Kansas rainbow. One moment Dane is plowing his Tonka toys through mud and next he’s wearing a bow tie and escorting a young lady to the high school winter formal. I snap several photos of my children and see the same theme in each–where did the time go?
Spoiler alert: I hate not being in control.
Humble Warrior: Considered a transitional pose, the humble warrior can teach appreciation for the journey, instead of always looking to the destination.
Today’s class had me kneeling in humble warrior more than what I would have liked. I kept losing
holding my breath and falling. Sweat was dripping into my eyes, and I stripped down as far as public nudity rules would permit. Humility provided today’s edit; a set of more true, non-poetic words. Horror stories of chronic anxiety and frantic problem-solving replace the gentle metaphors and bow-tied life lessons that flow so smooth and unfold like a gorgeous tapestry.
What stops you in midstream? What personal stories do you hide? Nothing undoes and humbles me more than agony about not being a good enough mom.
My college senior has spent a stress-filled semester of tough classes and a nagging worry about not getting into nursing school next year. Recalling our conversations over the past week; You can do this! Just make it through. It’ll be better next week. Keep going, Babe! I wanted to be her warrior and knew I couldn’t. Knew I shouldn’t.
Being the lone woman in a house of men can be a chronic challenge, too. Moms have to dodge daggers within the framework of complicated father-son relationships. Men seem to have the ability to argue, fight and be more bonded once they resolve their issues. This man-dance will always fascinate and frustrate me. My insides struggle to keep the outside from interfering–Let it blow over. Just make it through. One more flow. But, my full-on hummingbird nature takes over, and I cannot stay out of it.
I hover over Scott’s head, flutter in with suggestions and then fly off to find Dane. I swoop into his room with homemade food, and positive affirmations. Fortunately, my boys know this about me and continue to tolerate my migratory tendencies.
Somehow, I’ve built a life that has fooled family, friends, and co-workers into thinking I am book-ended up and calm. Only a handful of people know that I’m riddled with overwhelming nerves, emotions, and fretful internal fits. Most days, I’m just trying to make it through to the next. Like you.
I counsel my children, “Control what you can control.” And then, I find the next thing on my list to finish, smash, work through, and manage. Know a good role model my kids could use?
How egotistical is it to think that I can control anything? That we need to control everything? It was when I bowed my head to the mat at the end of each yoga session that I recalled how often our hands had come to prayer during class. When my bum knee wouldn’t bend, my gentle instructor placed a block at the pressure point. How many times in the last seven days did I clasp my hands in real prayer, or let someone help me? Ooopsies.
Grace in letting go escapes me, but the desire is there. We are human, and the best we can do is keep trying. We will continue to have beautiful days when the stars align, and all is in harmony. Those prepare us for the days where we white-knuckle through the hours until we rise above, and our Warrior 1 starts to peek through the hot mess.
Looks like I’m going to need another Lava Yoga punch card for 2016. Join me? I’d love to find your mat next to mine.
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” – Dalai Lama
(Thank you to Louisa and Mish who talked me into yoga. Special thanks to Kelsey who let me sleep (I’m not tired!) in the middle of her living room floor amongst her other Saturday fight night party guests–nobody even stepped on me! Huge thanks to my boys who tolerate the flutter and fix. And finally, to my girl – you got this kiddo. xo )
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