Being present means not being attached to any outcome. Not anticipating a particular result. Not wigging out but not going all giddy, either When turning in bed, though, can’t I hope for a comfortable result?
At 4:00 a.m., I was awakened by the wails of my six-year old with a stomach bug. I switched on his light and reassured him, through his tears, that I’d help him feel better. I ran water in the tub while I searched the kitchen for his favorite cup, a pumpkin with a bendy straw for the stem. After he sipped some ginger ale, he relaxed in a bubbly warm bath while I stripped the bed, cleaned up his room, and laid out new pajamas. I held him as he ate a few bites of dry toast (to which I’d added a smiley face made out of strawberry jam). His whole being a bit more settled, he crawled between fresh sheets. I tucked the special quilt his grandmother made him around his shoulders and read him Goodnight Moon. It was 7:00 a.m. before I could slip back to bed. The […]
The swoosh of snowmelt through the gutters, the drip, drip onto the front porch, the occasional thump of an ice chunk falling from the roof – these are the magical sounds of March. But there’s another that is even more delightful: the unmistakable oak a lee of the red-winged blackbird.
We had a favorite family car game growing up. It was way more fun than license plate spotting (find as many different states as possible before a trip’s end) or sign alphabet (get from A to Z using letters from street or highway signs). The Ida Game (which had no point, no way to win or lose) was simply goofy and made us laugh.
Not so different from the Golden Rule, ahimsa is yoga’s first social ethic or yama and translates as not harming anyone, including ourselves. A part of ahimsa is being non-judgmental. I try to remind myself of this and not label my tremor as “bad” or qualify my balance from one moment to the next. I try even harder to remind myself of this regarding stories such as Billy’s, the Arkansas boy whom classmates have been bullying – with their fists – for four years.
Satya is yoga’s second social ethic or yama. It means truth. Well, truth be told, I don’t want to see him again. He didn’t listen when I told him I was in pain. He’s never returned my call. And when I wake at 3:00 a.m. with a dull ache, it is him I think of, and they are not happy thoughts. I need to dump this guy.
It was a lovely setting for a yoga teacher training workshop: Meadows of flowering trees sloped to a view of a lake nestled in the mountains. The weather hinted of summer. And each meal offered a plethora of fresh bread and colorful casseroles. I’d been robbed.
LIM (Less Is More) Yoga embraces the old adage, everything in moderation, which is the definition of fourth yama. And the antithesis of spin class. Feel the burn, Push it, Ride it out. Good mottos for building up stamina in the saddle and sweating from every pore. Phrases in a gentle yoga class are more like: Notice how it feels, Don’t push too hard, Take a resting breath. I was waiting for a spin class to begin at the gym when I overheard two women talking about yoga.
This final yama is about contentment. More literally, it means non-possessiveness or not holding on to what isn’t and being happy with what is. I struggle with this one, not because I covet my neighbor’s new car or envy anyone who can carry a tune. No, I actually like my sixteen-year-old station wagon and sing out no matter who can hear me. What I crave is sleep.
I’ve heard it called emotional incontinence, crying at commercials, greeting cards, the mention of crying. This inhibition of the tear ducts often accompanies a head injury, as if there isn’t enough to weep about after trauma causes brain waves to misfire. Long before my AVM burst into my gray matter, I reached for the tissue box. When I was young, Charlotte’s Web set me off. Actually, it still does. Then there was the fire station siren. How I hoped, each time it rang out, that there was a neighborhood cat stuck in a tree not a neighbor’s house in flames. I prefer to think of my responses as, not weepy, but sensitive.