Back in the studio

my yoga

I went to my first yoga class on Saturday and went back again on Sunday.

Wait.  What?!  My first yoga class?

Ok.  To be 100% correct, I took my first yoga class in January 2006.  Gawd that was a loooong time ago.  I fell in love with the practice and continued to go, at times taking short breaks but always returning to the mat.

In August 2014, I was just starting to recommit when I discovered I was pregnant.  I intended to continue going – the studio I was practicing at had a wonderful pre-natal class.  But my sweet boy had other plans and really caused a stir those first 16 weeks.  Once that pleasure cruise was over, my mind was elsewhere and anyway, I was in bed every  night by 7:30.  I figured, when he was born, I’d get back to it. Yoga is always there, waiting.

Getting back to any kind of familiar routine was not to be, however. Transitioning from a family of three, where the only child is a big girl now, to a family of four where the re-set button has been hit, is no small undertaking.  Especially when the new baby is so different from the first baby!  Additionally, I had a lot less time at home with our little man.  I had stayed home from work for an amazing 18  months with our daughter, but had to go back just after our son’s 5th month.  That was hard.  Really hard.

Over the last 6 months, I’ve lost a tremendous amount of sleep. I’ve lost a lot of my self-confidence.  I’ve lost some mental acuity. (I may have even lost my mind a time or few — just sayin’ — because sleep deprivation will do that)  I’ve had to reorganize my brain.

knew I needed to get back into some kind of exercise practice, whether it was daily walking (do you have any comprehension of the endorphin release that occurs when you take a 1-hour fast-paced walk?  Try it.  You won’t regret it!!) or a guided yoga class, or both.

When?

With what time?

With what energy?

To say nothing of the sad fact that my body is SO out of shape.  I am Bendi Pretzle no more.  That’s a hard pill to swallow.

On Christmas morning, the beautiful outdoors was calling my name loud and clear. I bundled Monkey up, strapped him in his stroller, tied up my sneaks, and off we went. My thighs hurt, my butt hurt, my shoulders hurt, but I could feel the months of stress, tension, sadness, anger, and frustration dissolving. I could feel my chakras opening up every so slightly. Love filled my heart and good ideas filled my brain. I breathed the air in deeply and felt like I could walk forever. My decision was made. Tomorrow, I was going to yoga.

There is this new-ish studio nearby.  It’s in a cool-looking building that you probably would not notice driving past. The windows are tinted.  The moment I walked in, I knew this was the studio I would land in.  The people were nice. The owner/teacher was nice. She was open and warm. She looked in my eyes when she spoke to me. Her smile was real. She gave me space.

The class was phenomenal. I listened. I observed. I was open to what was being offered.  I accepted that my body was closed up, my muscles very tight, my back in more pain than I could ever recall, and my soul very sad. I was going to do whatever the teacher said.  Towards the end of class, she came around and did “neck traction.”  Basically she pulls your neck up out of your shoulders as far as it will go. Whoa. My neck was extremely compressed because I felt it lengthen and it even cracked and popped.  For the rest of the day, I was a different person inside.  Open.  Clean.  Aware.

I went back the next day.  This time, the teacher was different but I was open to what she was offering and I loved the class just as much.  Once again, I came away feeling open, clean, aware, and alive.

I say this weekend was my first class because essentially, it was.  When is the last time I went to a class with the intention to just be there, and do what I could do, and be open to all that was there for me?  When is the last time I allowed myself time, space, patience, quiet?  These are things I need for myself.  I do not need to talk about myself there.  I do not need to discuss my past experiences with yoga.  I do not need anyone to know me. I do not need to be anyone but who I am in the present:  a mom with two kids, trying to survive the everyday-ness of this life in a very real, very honest way.

I want to hold on to this feeling and remember it every time I think about staying home instead of finding my place to land.  That’s what yoga is now.  It’s my landing place.

 

 

My House is a Mess

I realized recently that my house is a mess. And I don’t mean the kind of mess that can be cleaned up in under 20 minutes. I mean, it’s a MESS. No, it isn’t dirty (although it has days where it’s well on its way, of that I assure you) and if you take a step back and analyze it, you can see that it has some basic organization to it. But for the most part, as compared to what it was a year ago, my house is a mess.

I do not know how to change its state of messiness.  Give my kids away? Hire a live-in maid?  Never type another word or pick up a book again? Demand that no one touch anything, ever?

There are moments when I look around and I think, “This is life.  This is parenthood.  This is … this is just ok.  It really is.”  I see the (clean) dishes waiting to be stored away.  I see papers and books (neatly) piled on the table or counters.  I see the backpacks and lunchboxes thrown down (into their baskets).  There are too many shoes (on the shoe rack) and there are too many coats (on the hooks by the front door we never use).  I look at my daughter’s playroom – is it a mess or is it her work?  (Most of the time it’s her work, and I know this, and I accept it, and you know, every now and then it’s a mess.  But my husband always comes to the rescue.  Always.) I see the unmade beds upstairs in our bedrooms (that we are lucky enough to sleep in) – the laundry baskets filled with clothes (that we are lucky enough to wear) – the toys and books left out (that we are lucky enough to own) – the towel from last night’s bath draped across the tub’s edge – the shampoo bottle on the floor – and the floors … oh, the floors … they needed to be swept and vacuumed three days ago.

And then there are moments when I look around and I’m embarrassed … or overwhelmed … or just confounded … I do not know how my life has come to this state of disorder.  My mother’s house certainly never looked like this.  The dishes were always put away.  The laundry never piled up.  We made our beds without a second thought.  Toys did not get left out.  I don’t know how my mother managed to keep the house going.  She had a full-time job.  She cooked dinner, every night.  We took baths.  We watched shows.  We completed our homework.  We all made it to bed at reasonable hours. There was no chaos that I can recall.

I’m struggling to figure out what’s ok and what’s not ok, what I can live with and what I can’t live with.  I’m afraid if I live with the mess, it will turn into a disaster rather than controlled chaos.  But I’m also afraid if I don’t live with the mess, then I’m causing more harm than good because my children will NOT remember the mess but they will remember the mother who hated the mess.  So really, what’s easier … the temporary mess or the permanent memories?


messy house

Fine.

 

Today’s Reality

Nothing ever goes away until

The stuff we keep coming back to … or the stuff that keeps coming back to US.

Have you ever had a swift and sudden realization that something in your life was about to change?  Or maybe many things all at once?  Such a realization has recently hit me full-force and I am at a point, a place, an AGE, in my life where I am not about to dismiss it.  Instead, I am going to embrace it with an open heart and mind.  I am going to allow it.  I am going to follow it.  You can join me if you want to.  That’s your invitation.

For my entire life, I have wanted to communicate, mainly through writing. I have wanted to speak my truth and what I believe to be the truth. You* don’t have to agree with my beliefs. You don’t have to understand them. But you DO have to allow me to have them, express them, and follow them. You can’t tell me to keep them to myself.

*you being a collective you, not directed at any one person.

For the longest time, that is what I’ve been doing … keeping my beliefs to myself.  I’ve grown quite tired of it.  Living in the 21st century, teaching in the 21st century, parenting in the 21st century, I know that I do not have to be quiet.  Yes, I have to be respectful.  Yes, I have to be discreet due to family and professional obligations.  But no, I do not have to be quiet.  And I’m not going to be.

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life.  I admit to that.  I still do.  I am hardly a perfect person.  But a lot of misdeeds have been done against ME. Once upon a time, I would not allow anyone to mistreat me or talk at me or belittle me.  If you messed up, I did not hide my opinion of your failing.  If you were an a*hole to me, I told you so.  But then I stopped. I stopped telling people what I thought.  I stopped saying what I believe.  My bold spirit faded away.  For a very long time, I thought that was a good thing.  I had always been a very loud, opinionated, sharp-tongued individual.  It felt good to quiet down.  It felt safe.  It felt normal and mainstream.  Until it didn’t.  Until it started to feel very suffocating and fake.

Here I am today, not wanting to be suffocated or fake.  I want to be myself. The reality,  MY reality, is this.  I am a smart, thoughtful, caring, conscientious person who holds in a lot of worry, anxiety, and self-doubt. I tend to be reactive rather than proactive.  I stand still when I should be moving.  I hide for fear of being seen.

When I first published this blog, I thought I would do so in a very quiet, private, protected manner.  That felt fake.  So the only fake thing here are names and places.  That’s all.  The rest is real.  The rest is … the reality of everything.