Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Et Lux Perpetua

It's been a while since I hit the gym. Oh, don't get me wrong, I've gone to the gym every day.

To take the kids to swimming lessons.

Last week I didn't even bother making childcare reservations. I knew I didn't have it in me to honor the commitment. It was all I could do to just get through the week.

Over the course of the past two weeks, I've been overeating, not exercising... and journeying from the high of having a billion family members join me in my home for a week to the low of trying to reclaim home and routine after their departure (a departure that is depressing independent of all the other factors) whilst GERD-Girl's affliction (see moniker) seemed to increase in frequency and volume.

So Sunday night found me puffy, heavy and depressed. I didn't want to face the Bayba Swimming Ordeals. I was tired of smelling like vomit. And I had reached the point where I wasn't sure I even wanted to be a wife or mother anymore. Not an optimal place to be at the end of a weekend.

Yesterday I asked Bayba if she wanted to continue swimming lessons. (Backstory: Her regular instructor had to leave, mid-session, to return to school and was replaced by a young man who appears to be an excellent teacher. Unfortunately, Bayba FREAKED OUT, insisting he was too scary and refused to participate in her class at all.) She said she didn't. She'd rather wait on the deck while G-Rex completed her swim lessons. OK. We sat through the session. Bayba behaved beautifully. At the end I asked her if she wanted to go back to class tomorrow. She calmly said No, she'd rather wait again. I'm fine with that.

So I made reservations with the childcare facility for the younger kids every day this week. I didn't really feel like working out. So I know this is a crucial crossroads. Am I going to push past the inertia? Am I going to succumb to excuses?

This morning I was so tempted to get back in bed and oversleep accidentally on purpose. I didn't. I forced myself out of bed, showered, and dressed for the gym. All the while I found excuse after excuse to just stay home.

I couldn't think of good arguments against the excuses, so I just observed them as they assaulted me... and continued to prepare the kids. Step by step, we all ended up at the gym. I checked the kids into childcare and trudged up the stairs to the yoga classroom... still pelting myself with reasons why it wasn't worthwhile.

Throughout the hour I moved from pose to pose. Breathing. Trying to still my mind. But I just wasn't feeling it.

Nevertheless, the end of the hour came quickly.

The lights dimmed. In Savasana I squirmed and twitched, trying to get my body aligned and symmetrical. Tried to relax.

Then I breathed deeply and gave up on the idea of stilling my thoughts. Towards the end of the practice, the teacher had commented on adjusting the position to maintain balance and I realized how silly it was for me to struggle to find stillness.

Poses are not still.

Somehow I always thought that the point of each pose was to find the balance and stick, unmoving - all still and serene like the yogis in the magazines.

But it's impossible not to move. The heart still beats. The lungs expand and contract. As each muscle fiber twitches, the mind and body must continually re-evaluate and adjust. I am not failing the pose by being human. I am not failing myself.

Yes, this is profound for me. Acknowledging that something so simple - so DUH! - is such an overwhelming lesson made me laugh a little at myself (internal laughter, of course - I'm not a Phillistine) and reminded me of a friend good-naturedly poking fun of me for my enthusiasm for Buddhism 101 - style discoveries.

Which led me to the realization that this friend has been dead for almost a year now. Yes, it's been nearly a year since I started this particular journey.

As I somberly acknowledged the tweak of pain that came with the remembrance, I also recalled the greatest compliment I've ever received. Yes, from this friend.

Amidst much noise of other discussion he said, "My God, what you can do with a phrase."

It's difficult to maintain Savasana when one's temples are suddenly tickled by surprise tears.

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