Tuesday, July 09, 2013

love baby love / it's written all over your face

When looking into the past I often get caught in a web of dynamic tension. Seeing a previous version of my self I remember what I liked about how I was and reason that since I was that way once I have the potential to be that way again. I also recognize the potential I had in that moment in time and begin to regret the roads that weren’t taken.

I recently had a delightful experience looking at photographs of myself taken when I was in High School. I didn’t start to obsess about how if I lost weight and drank more water I could look like do in those pictures. I didn’t long to go back to that time and live my life differently with the benefit of hindsight. I just looked through the twenty year old images, recognizing and respecting who i was then.

All I have is love for the person in those pictures and love for the person typing this right now and it is a feeling of feeling good that I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed before. It isn’t a powerful force radiating out the top of my head like self-confidence and it isn’t a wave of excitement that rocks my torso like being head over heals happy.

This is a new sensation, subtle yet satisfying. Not wanting to change me now and not wanting to change me then sent me to a zone that felt warm and clear, it is the feeling I will evoke from now on when asked to picture my happy place. It is where I now lay foundation for intercession.

I want in fact more of you. In my mind I am dressing you with light; I am wrapping you up in blankets of complete acceptance…
- Franz Kafka 

Monday, July 08, 2013

and i want you to know that my feelings are true

Two postpartum symptoms I struggled with were an acute sensory sensitivity and a severe lack of focus. On several occasions I heard the words being spoken to me as strange sounds and oftentimes holding conversations felt like fighting against quicksand. I found social interactions to be so draining that for several months I did everything I could to avoid them. Even though my heart wanted to be connected to those dear to me, my mind and body demanded space and made me pay when I pushed their boundaries.

During this time I began to understand the words I love you in a new way.

I came to use the words I love you as a placeholder for all of the support I couldn’t offer, gratitude I couldn’t express and laughter that lay silent in me. I believed in I love you. I felt lighter… felt the emotions in me, that were screaming for a way out, find safe passage each time I’d say I love you. I was so grateful to have a simple phrase that was wide enough to fit the range and strong enough to carry the depth of my feelings.

As I become more comfortable with a wider range of interactions I continue to hold the fondness I gained for I love you. I know it can be used as a safety release valve when I’m experiencing emotions that are difficult to express. And I know it to be an effective messenger when I can’t say anything else.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

the choice of the next generation

I can think of two times when advertising has had a direct effect on me. Once, thirty seconds spent watching alternating images of Johnny Depp and big Macs sent me straight to McDonalds. Another time David Bowie made me drink Pepsi.

We didn’t drink soda a lot when I was growing up, but when we did coke was it. My mother has a point of view and doesn’t compromise on the important things. She will only drive a stick shift, made sure we always had hardwood floors and every now and then she enjoys coca cola.

As a child with discretionary funds available to spend on a beverage I only ordered coke and, like my mother, would just drink water if it wasn’t an option. It felt mature to know what I wanted and more importantly that I wasn’t going to settle for what I didn’t want.

I’m happy that as a young person there was a habit of my mothers I could imitate and practice what it felt like to know and go after my heart’s desire.

It is a testament to David Bowie’s taste making charisma that he made me feel the need to drink Pepsi. That feeling barely lasted for 12 ounces. As for my Depp induced Mac Attack… what can I say? Sex sells.

Friday, July 05, 2013

goldilocks and the golden rule

It’s the middle of the night and I’m feeding my baby and she places her hand on the side of her head. She eats furiously and is as tired as she is hungry and her hand gesture looks like a declaration of frustration. Her arm starts to move and she begins, with a great deal of apparent effort, to stroke her hair.

Seeing her do this makes me feel sad.

I bring my hand to her head to offer her the soothing she obviously is seeking, so that she may feel relaxed and taken care of. As soon as my fingertips touch her hair she grabs my pinky and pushes my hand as far away from her as she can.

I get the message.

She goes back to scrabbling at her hair and I figure she’s figuring out how she can take care of herself. I go back to watching her eat and figure I’m going to be ok at figuring out how to strike a balance between offering her help and offering he space as she continues to grow.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

the thing-a-ma-bob that does the job

I often feel like Cinderella while preparing for holidays. When I’m looking forward to a fun event I tend to see unexpected tasks as tests that are keeping me from what I really want to do.

When I start to feel defeated I like to remember that Cinderella did finish all of the work she was charged with … and then those she saw as being in control of her freedom found another obstacle to stick between her and the ball.

I have found a lot of momentary satisfaction and quick burning energy in obsessing over my seemingly unfair circumstances. The wicked tempest is followed by grouchy malaise that diverts my attention from noticing the next part of the story play out, the part with the magic.

I have never missed a celebration because and end suddenly came loose. I think its time for me to trust the fact that as long as I do my work honorably things will work out and probably in a way that I could not imagine or plan.

Today, I put my faith in magic. And when the Magic happens, that’s just the end of act one!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Thank Yoga

When I saw that a yoga studio was opening up across the street from where I lived I thought ‘that’s where I’ll do yoga.’ When the studio opened I started taking classes, it was as simple as that.

There was nothing to it.

I began attending one class on a regular basis. It was a great class and so it was quite popular and also very crowded. I hated being jammed into that room but that didn’t stop me from going to class.

I don’t remember being awesomely satisfied with the way my body felt or profoundly impacted with a new outlook on life after I began practicing yoga. I do remember that it took a lot for me to miss a class. Going to yoga back then was a lot like attending grade school. It was as though the decision to go to class had been made for me, it was just something I did.

There was nothing to it.

I didn’t think I had anything interesting to say about how I started my yoga practice. I didn’t run into a detour on the road of life that directed me towards a shala. I didn’t have a profoundly positive experience in a yoga room until I had been practicing for well over a year. What could be less remarkable than thinking of doing something and then doing it?

What could be further from the truth?

My decision to practice yoga didn’t hit me like a bolt of lightning. I wasn’t caught off guard by the idea of going to the mat. For me it was a nearly non-noticeable cue, like understanding when it’s time to turn the page while reading a book. Being asked to recount the way I was called to the mat now appears to be a precious gift because in doing so I’ve been able to see what it looks like for me to trust my instincts. It has shown me that I don’t have to worry about what I should do, that I really do know what needs to be done.

That’s all there is to it.