I have missed my contact with you these past two weeks. I hope you are finding ways to cope as the world continues to surprise us all.
I have been practicing getting more comfortable with all of the unknowns that are now so blatantly part of everyday life. I use the word practicing because I’m still pretty bad at it and notice how many escape strategies I’ve been using! When I can resist my habits and allow the hard stuff to have a place in my life, I find that I am actually receiving a kind of healing I didn’t know was possible. It might be called acceptance.
Last week, my family and I packed up my youngest daughter and moved her out of state for college. It was very busy, with endless lists and tasks. I rode on the adrenaline of trying to remember every possible detail of the parental mind: keep her safe, comfortable, happy, healthy. I also tried not to let my process become her problem. It went pretty well, except that I didn’t really sleep or let down my vigilance the whole time. I drove a moving truck for hours without getting hungry (not my usual behavior). I didn’t feel much emotional reaction (also unusual for me).
Once I got home, returned the moving van, and got into my own bed, I started to let go. I had to face reality: I cannot keep anyone safe, comfortable or happy. My children have moved away from my home. I made mistakes, said the wrong thing, forgot details, put myself before my children and so many other things that cannot be undone now. I had to let it all go. I cried a lot and then slept deeply, finally surrendering my illusion of control.
The next morning, when I practiced meditation, I felt fresher and more receptive. When I practiced āsana, I could feel how simply stretching my muscles was calming my nervous system, helping me slow down my thoughts. I could receive healing. I could remember that I am loved and lovable. My children have forgiven me for every transgression, so far, and they seem to like me still!
The process of letting my girls grow into adults is gradual, but this step is like pushing a boat off the dock, “You’re on your own now!”. This also means that I am here on the dock, alone at last with my husband. We’ve been married 7 years and this is our first week without my children living at home. What an amazing gift – freedom! The more I free my mind of fretting over my children, the more present I can be with my beloved, who is right here with me.
I feel compassion for all of the difficulties in the world around me and I make time each day to open my heart to all of the losses and pain. What is essential for my own survival is to then let go of any illusions about what I change. I let go, then I can receive the goodness that is in front of me.
I am sometimes ashamed to say, that today, I am not suffering so much by quarantine. I get to teach yoga from home, meet with yoga therapy clients over zoom, and enjoy home cooked meals with my sweetheart every day! I am figuring out how to safely see friends and engage with the natural world. However, when I spend too much energy trying to keep everyone safe, happy, comfortable and healthy, I literally cannot see what is before my eyes. I miss out on receiving the goodness that is here.
My practice has been inspired by Tara Brach, again. It is simple and yet so effective! As I inhale, I tell myself that I can receive healing. As I exhale I let go, physically, mentally and emotionally. The more I let go, the better I am at receiving.
Look around at the goodness in your life today. Take it in.