This spring I have made a commitment to my garden. I have this lovely little outdoor space off of my kitchen that I can do whatever I want with. It is private and there is Earth to plant in. We have lived in this place for two years and over the past two years I have had an on-again off-again relationship with this space. I love the idea of growing a garden, but I have to admit, I have little knowledge. So I started learning. Living in Southern California, and knowing my previous record of care for plants, I have decided to plant desert plants, succulents and things that don’t need a lot of water or fuss. So far so good. Something I have discovered -and interestingly enough this lesson is something I have been learning in my physical yoga practice as well- doing a little bit everyday is better than doing a lot one day every week. So each day I go out to my garden. One day I pull some weeds, rake and sweep some leaves the next, a little trimming here and there. There is very little effort involved but the constant small effort translates to a lovely space each day.
My asana practice is the same. I have two children and three days a week I look after a friend’s child as well. Of course I would love to spend an hour or more on my mat each day, but a lot of days, by the time the day is done and the kids are in bed, I look at my mat and want to fall asleep! This equals and accumulation of time NOT spent in a physical practice. After a few days off, getting back on is definitely more difficult. There is more space to clear, “clutter” to be removed, and focus to be built back up. Knowing this and learning from my adventures in gardening I have started setting a goal of doing 10 sun salutations throughout the day. Four in the morning, three in the after noon, and three at night . When I have more time to spend I add in some other poses, but if I can’t I know I have done well enough for the day. It’s the little up keep done each day that keeps my body feeling strong and open.
Imagine that you are only allowed a certain number of breaths in this life before the breath doesn’t enter anymore.
How are you choosing to breathe? Take a moment right now. Seriously. Now. Pay attention to your breath. Go a head, I’ll wait.
What is it like? How does it feel? Where does it go in your body?
Now pay attention again and try to make your breath as long as possible. Slow. Deep. Loooooong.
What happens? What does it feel like to you? Does it feel different? Are there other effects in your body/mind you notice?
What would it feel like to breathe this way more of the time?
Seriously, I want to know! Share below:)
This is a hard one but it is so valuable in life and in raising children. Today I had this experience. I have these experiences a lot and each time it is another opportunity to actually learn something about myself. To ask the important questions.
Why do I react certain ways? How can I do better for my children? How can I be the best example for them?
This morning I had poured my last cup of coffee(number 3) and left it on the kitchen table while I went to the bathroom. Less than a minute later I came out and my daughter said, “I’m so sorry, Mamma, I spilled your coffee”. It was all over the quilted table runner that my mother had made me. The cup was completely emptied.
I lost my yoga.
I got really upset and raised my voice.
The funniest thing about this was, while I was acting this way, I KNEW better. I KNEW it was not that big of a deal. It was easy enough to clean up, throw the runner in the wash, and really, I didn’t need that third cup of coffee anyway. But I hung on to my madness. Isla felt really bad. It was a complete accident. Thankfully, it was not long after I had it all cleaned up I went to her an apologized. I told her I made a mistake to react that way. The fact that she knocked the mug over was not a big deal at all and that I am working on controling my reactions.
It’s not easy.
Sometimes it stings even more when you’re in it and your “observer”- the loving, highest version of yourself- is watching you act this way and you know it. This year I made my New Year’s intention to always hold myself to the highest. To make choices that will positively affect myself and others.
Here was a moment where I didn’t do that. I am grateful it was only a few moments. My practice of life has shown me also to forgive myself when I make mistakes.
If I had let it go on and allowed Isla to be upset and cry in her room, to hold onto my anger and the feeling that she was at fault, it would have hurt both of us. On the other side of that coin, because I admitted my shortcommings, and said I was sorry we both had the opportunity to learn. I learned that I need to work harder and more diligently on stopping, breathing, and then choosing an action when things happen. She learned that when you make a mistake, you own up to it. That no matter how old you are, no matter how much you practice yoga and meditation, no matter how pure your intentions are you still make mistakes, that you make it right, you learn a lesson and move on without holding on to that moment.
Life is the best teacher.
One of my teachers used this as part of her theme for a class I took months ago and today I saw this lesson applied through my daughter.
We went to the park and there were two girls on scooters in the “skate park”. Isla has a scooter too and she decided to show the girls how fast she was. She made her demo and then went up to the girls and said, “I am so fast. I am way faster that YOU.” Well, the girls did NOT like to hear that! They insisted she was not and proceeded to show her. Their interactions went on in an aggressive and competitive way until finally Isla got so upset she removed herself and started to cry. I asked her what was the matter and she told me the girls were not being nice to her.
I reminded her of the Law of Karma, you get what you give. I told her I had observed that the very first thing she said to them was “I am faster than YOU” in a
nasty not-so-sweet tone of voice. Following the Law of Karma, that is what she could expect to get back and it was true. I recommended that she start over with them. To say she was sorry for the way she introduced herself before, to tell them her name and to ask their names. To ask if they would like to ride their scooters fast together. To show each other cool tricks and have fun! And that is just what happened. They ended up having a great time together for the remainder of the time we had at the park.
This is more that just a lesson for the playground.
This applies to all of us at all times. Check in with yourself. How are you approching life and its challenges? How do you interact with people who “give you a hard time”? How can you observe and alter the way you choose to come and witness a miraculous shift in your moments, you days and your life?
What gives life meaning.
This is the purpose. Our lives are miracles.
Sit with that for a moment. Your life is a miracle. The fact that you are breathing, moving, loving, connecting is the greatest wonder because it really is so very completely fragile. There is no reason why at any moment you can’t be taken from this life. And when it comes down to it- though we may imagine, fantasize, wonder, wish, and hope-we have no idea what truly happens when this body is no longer our vehicle.
Right now we know that IT IS.
Hopefully, we know however big or small every action we choose has an effect. Somewhere. On something. Either negative or positive.
How can we choose to make someone else’s life more beautiful? How can we help give someone meaning? What choice can you make to show up in your life so that there is a chain reaction of goodness instead of the opposite? You know what I mean. Let someone go in front of you in traffic. Smile to a stranger on the street. Help to bag your own groceries at the check out. Say please and thank you to all service workers.
The littlest things have the potential to seriously change someones day around. And the coolest thing about living and acting with the intention of making everyone around you feel great, is that you also feel good.