I gave birth to two amazing little girls in the span of 17 months. It profoundly changed me in the greatest ways but it also introduced me to a world of emotion, worry and anxiety that I find difficult to manage at times. Yoga is my retreat, my doctor and my cure. Here I share that journey with you.
THE TRUEST REFLECTION OF ME ~ June 17, 2014
Today, I did not kick my morning in the ass. Today it kicked mine.
The minutiae of it doesn’t matter but let’s just say my two-year old whom I love and adore was being just that…a 2 year-old. Everything led to a tantrum.
“No honey you can’t have my phone”
“No you can’t throw the iPad”
“No you can’t smack your 6 month-old sister on the head really hard”
“No you can’t have a cookie for breakfast”
Each tantrum came quicker, louder and with some really hyper-ventilated breathing. I was hurting for her while trying not to lose my mind. With most tantrums I just walk away. Today was different. She was so upset. Her little face so red and the heavy breathing was just too much. I didn’t give in to her requests. I didn’t pick her up. I didn’t coddle her. Instead, I just got down on the floor and sat with her. Silent. I calmly breathed. Silent. I whispered it would be okay and I just breathed.
I’m lucky in that my mom lives with us so she is able to care for my children. I know they are in good hands when I go. This morning I was talking with mom about what happened and all she really said was, “she’s high-strung like her mom”. It wasn’t said meanly. It was just matter of fact. I think she was telling me in an effort to say, “hey…it’s ok”.
What she said though, kind of stung.
Shortly after I left for my yoga practice with John.
I thought about that comment for the 20 minute drive in to the city.
I entered the studio, rolled out my mat and began my practice as usual. John and I talk a lot through practice. Some days more than others. Today, I talked about my morning. In the course of that, we got to the source of what was stinging me. My little sponge, my beautiful little girl…she is the truest reflection of me. Not her skin or her mouth or the way she walks …but the way she is. She sees me. She learns from me. Half way through practice I broke down and cried. That has never happened in practice before. There I was, bent over on my mat, tears falling where sweat usually does.
Now — I don’t kid myself. A 2 year-old is a 2 year-old. I don’t think the morning was a manifestation of my daughter absorbing my anxieties. I think it was a small, formative being experiencing new and powerful emotions that she can’t control. That won’t always be the case though. Someday it will be manifestations of me…if I don’t learn to let go.
I am not in control.
I am not in control. This has to be my mantra through each breath.
John talks a lot about this. We talk a lot about it. He believes death is a big motivator for people to be, to change, to live, to feel, to move, to reset. He and I are very alike in ways. So as I move through practice, he talks about how he works on letting go. How he has his moments too, like me. How he falls down and gets back up and does it all again. We fail. He tells me we all fail and that’s ok.
I know he’s right. The intellectual in me knows he’s right.
It’s hard to be ok with failure when I look at the truest reflection of me…my daughter.
But I know I have to. I know I have to tell myself that it’s okay that there were tears instead of sweat on my mat today. Sometimes all we can do is sit on the mat and let it go. Sometimes all we can do is sit on the floor and breathe softly and deeply next to those who can’t.
It is through my breath that I will continue to find, hold and survive the best part of me.
REMEMBER TO BREATHE ~ June 1, 2014
It’s a journey. Not a competition. Not a race. Not a destination. All those clichés.
I have to tell myself that every day.
I am not sure when anxiety became a problem for me. I don’t have a defining moment when I thought…”wow…I’m having an anxiety attack”. It just happens. Now though, I am just more aware of it. I am aware of it because I have two little, gorgeous, impressionable, sponge-like human beings who watch my every move. Even when I don’t think they do. I don’t want them to be like me. I don’t want them to feel overwhelmed just by taking on the day. Which I do sometimes. I can’t explain it.
So when that little nagging in the pit of my stomach starts to grow and take over my insides like a balloon filling up, I have to breathe. I have to try to stop, recognize what is happening and breathe through it. I’m having a morning like that right now. There is nothing unusual about today. It’s Sunday. Kids are up. Spouse is busy with her load of things to do. I have school work due, deadlines to meet, Legos to play with, meals to make, baths to give. Just the everyday things.
A friend introduced me to John Meredith in December 2012. It was a meeting that in many ways has changed my life. I spend a lot of time with John each week practicing yoga. Inevitably my competitive spirit always creeps into our hours and I end up being my own worst enemy. John brings me back with the simple…”Remember to breathe”.
It’s good advice. I tell myself it will get done. All of it. I just have to breathe.