Hubby and the kids worked on their rockets (a project that all three love--I love my husband for thinking of it and doing it and carving out a special space with the kids). I watched them and watched the sunlight dancing in their space. I took air into my lungs and held onto it for just awhile. I released. I lazily unloaded the dishwasher and meandered to the couch to finish reading a magazine.
Another afternoon, I climbed into a cushioned chair on the deck, shaded by the thick leaves of the wisteria. The cool breeze tickled the edge of the leaves and I read. The words from the magazine began to blur and my head began to nod and sleep sneaked up and caught me in her arms. My magazine rested precariously my rising, falling, rising chest. I felt like I heard a swoosh of words, faintly whispering: Yoga.
This is the summer I hoped for and imagined. Family happily moving through their days. Copacetic moments rolling one into the next. Deftly prepared dinners of grilled meats and fresh veggies served with lingering conversations. Spying ruby red tomatoes on their emerald green vines and plucking them off.
Aside from the expected rough day here and there, the days have unfolded pleasantly. Last summer proved challenging. Very. And this summer, I've wondered why our moments are different than their predecessors. And then, I realized that finally, finally, Abby and Henry are old enough.
The last months I've been dealing with some health issues. I've been in tremendous pain from endometriosis and suffering symptoms from what just might be Celiac disease. As I've researched both conditions, the information I read continues to tell me what I've long suspected:
1. I need to stop eating wheat
2. I must practice yoga
3. Not Knowing is groovy and I must relinquish my white-knuckled grasp on my irrational assumption that I can control things, people, and the tidiness of the kitchen counter.
I reached out to friends who study yoga and asked them what resources they'd recommend. (This, by the way, was hard for me to do. The asking-for-help part. But I did it. And although it felt rough and unnatural at first, I settled into the innate knowledge of opening myself to the wisdom of others.) My friend Katrina wisely emailed me this:
My advice is to embark on this new path with a spirit of inquiry, and trust that you will find everything you need to know along the way...and savor even these first small steps. Just learning to bring your awareness to your breath, to come into a place of stillness, to tune in to all the physical and emotional sensations in your body is a good beginning.
I got goosebumps reading her sage, salve-like words. I kept coming back to this phrase: bring your awareness to your breath, come into a place of stillness. Yes. Yoga. Everything about this resonated with me. At times, I will find myself just holding my breath. For no reason.
I reached out to Pamela, too, who offered kind words and insight. She suggested poses and this section on YogaJournal.com. When I read this particular part about chakras, and the second chakra which is associated with endometriosis, more goosebumps arose:
Trying to influence the outer world is not the province of the second chakra. Instead of demanding that our body or a relationship be different, the second chakra encourages us to feel the feelings that arise as we open to life just as it is. As we allow ourselves to accept what is, we taste the sweetness (and bittersweetness) of life.
Huh. Controlling. What don't I try to control? My mood. My children. The mess. My hair. The house. Our schedule. Other's reactions. The older I get the more controlling I realize I am. My futile attempts at control remind me just how much I rail against the polarity of life. The bitter. The sweet. The vitriol. The kindness. The life. The death.
I know that I must relax into it all. Open-armed.
With bittersweet life swinging with wild abandon.
Apparently, my own evolution and awareness led me to this summer with Abby and Henry. Their maturation and my evolution delivered us to this easier now. Their age, combined with my loosened grip, allowed these days to articulate themselves. Materializing in their own time.
I let go. I let go of my need to control it all. Released the need for constant order. And allowed space for my children to be.... (wait for it....) children. And space for me to be...me. Every bit of me.
I unrolled my yoga mat for the first time this week. The purple padded rectangle thwaped as it hit the basement carpet. I started with the base-level yoga poses that I know. Downward-facing dog. Thoughts came along--negative judgments about my body. Gosh my knees are wrinkly at this angle. Tree. I wish my stomach always looked like this, like it does when I'm stretched to the sky. Shoulder stand. Head-to-knee bend. Look at that stomach flab. Geesh. Cut down on the sugar, lady. Child's pose.
Those negative, snitty thoughts tried. But instead of quickly nodding my conspiratorial agreement, I took note of their editorial quips and let them slide. Which each long-held stretch, I relaxed into the beginning. Not knowing. A fledgling acceptance of the bitter and sweet parts of my body started to swirl. I heard a faint swoosh, maybe a whisper. Be open. Try.
I found an uncharted map of possibility and growth.