Tag Archives: daughter

Today I Danced

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Today I danced.
It was an ordinary moment
just after lunch.
My son was (thankfully) napping,
my daughter was drawing,
my husband was watering the grass seedlings
and all was quiet.

Yes, just an ordinary moment,
except suddenly it was extraordinary.

Maybe it was the
the brightness of the spring afternoon sun,
the way the flowers were blooming vibrantly,
the way my daughter’s light step
reminded me of one of the fairy folk
who has flitted through my dreams–
and suddenly I needed to dance.

Outside on the patio
next to pots of blooming pansy,
alyssum, begonia, and impatiens
I put on my favorite Scottish band,
the Tannahill Weavers,
music bursting out
from a little Bluetooth speaker
perched on our high brick wall.

The pipes, the guitars, the drums, the vocals
stirred my heart
and then my body
and suddenly I was leaping and swirling
and spinning and whirling
and remembering why I love dancing.
My daughter looked up at me
with such love in her eyes
and told me as I danced
You are my sunflower.
This means I love you.

I kept dancing,
and I felt free.
It is so glorious to be alive.

Rainy Sunday Morning

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It’s coming down hard and fast.  The skies are grey, the wind is stirring the trees that are still naked because of the lingering winter.  The rain is coming down sideways, pelting the windows and doors, and everyone is still asleep in this murky light.

My body is sick again.  Nose running all day yesterday, both kids sick too, we went through so many tissues that we had to ask my sister to grab us some more from the drug store.  My mom and sister came over to watch the kids so that I could see my husband at his salon and have my hair done by him for the first time since November.  We had a reservation for dinner afterwards; as I sat at home sick yesterday, I wondered if I’d have the strength to drag myself out to have a much-needed date with the husband.  I did.

I arrived at the salon right at closing time.  The other stylists, the assistants and the receptionist were slowly filtering out.  I chatted with them briefly, I know them all and although my husband works with them, I rarely get to see them myself.  Then they were gone, and it was quiet.  My hubby worked on my hair for three hours, giving me ombre ends, taking great pains to make sure the transition from my normal brown to the lighter color was smooth.  Lots of foils on my head, I sat under the processor for quite some time, and my husband and I chatted in the empty salon.  I reached for a tissue every so often, was feeling resistant to being sick–but nothing could be done, so my only work was dealing with the resistance.  After he shampooed the hair color out of my hair, and conditioned and blew it dry and brushed it, then he curled it with an interestingly shaped conical curling iron, with a bigger diameter at the end and a smaller diameter at the  base.  It was fun to see my normally slightly wavy hair full of big bouncy curls.  I told him I loved it.

Dinner was nice…just being able to sit and enjoy my food without having to jump up and take care of someone else–pure luxury.  We enjoyed crab bisque, and a lovely salad with roasted beet, chèvre, pine nuts, radish sprouts and argula.  I ended up sending my main course back, and it was interesting to watch my mental process as I debated on whether or not the server would be upset for my not wanting to eat what I had ordered.  The scallops were rubbery and too salty, and I finally reasoned that I wouldn’t pay thirty dollars for a dish I wasn’t enjoying.  A sign that I’m validating my feelings and standing up for myself?  Perhaps.  Taking little steps on this path to self-realization.  Honoring my truth…

The server was apologetic and asked if I wanted something else.  I declined–I was already mostly full from the rich bisque and the wonderful salad, but I did end up having bites of my husband’s entree. Desert, coffee, check paid, we ventured out into the rainy night, grateful that it had abated somewhat and was no longer the torrential downpour that it was just fifteen minutes earlier.  Back at home, my daughter still wasn’t in bed although it was past ten o’clock.  It took much convincing and nose wiping to get her to lie down, but I heard her getting up and my husband being stern with her multiple times while I attempted my evening meditation.  It is extremely difficult to sit still and focus inwards when my body is exhausted and sick.  I cut the session short in the interests of getting more rest, went downstairs, and discovered my daughter was still awake.  My husband was clearly peeved.

I lay down with her in her bed, spoke softly to her, wiped her nose, rubbed her back.  Nothing really worked.  She wasn’t feeling well and the sensations in her body were keeping her awake.  We tried soothing throat drops, more encouragement…finally we gave her some medicine, and I guess it helped somewhat because she finally grew quiet.  By this time it was after midnight.

My body woke me up this morning to tell me that it was still sick.  I have two yoga classes to teach today and I don’t want to miss them because I’ll again be in teacher training next weekend.  I’m thinking about how I want my body to keep doing, keep performing, and how really all I need is to be still and rest.  But honestly, in a household with two small children, going out and teaching yoga seems like a much more restful prospect than staying at home and having to attend to their needs.

It’s coming down hard and fast…the storm inside my own mind, full of thoughts, full of craving, full of aversion.  After attempting my morning sit and discovering that focus and stillness were markedly limited due to my physical state, I’m sitting here at the table drinking a cup of tea and hoping that I can be cheerful in spite of the challenges this day is already presenting.

Glad to have fit my writing practice in. I have hopes that I’ll remember to breathe and do the best I can.

May the rain outside wash away the dust and dirt of the world.  May the rain inside wash away the dust and dirt of my mind…

Chicken Soup

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Hubby is seriously sick today. So sick that our entire routine was disrupted. Normally, on a Tuesday morning, he takes our daughter to school and then heads to work from there, leaving me and our son at home to enjoy some quiet time together. I’ll play with the little dude for a while, and then put him down for a morning nap while I do things…like: laundry, empty dishwasher/fill dishwasher/clean kitchen, write in journal, a short yoga practice, cut material for a sewing project, sew, figure out what to make for lunch, drink a cup of tea–the possibilities are endless when the house is quiet and nobody needs anything from me for one blessed moment.

But not this morning. No, this morning my husband was sick in bed, not going to work, and although I got up much earlier than usual for my meditation, my daughter also seemed to feel a need to get up way earlier than usual, and wham! The day started in full force before I had the time to process what was happening.

So much resistance in me as I realized that I’d have to put my morning meditation on hold. But so happy to see the little girl smiling, a bit dazed as she stepped into the kitchen light, ready to greet the day. Glad to see her, but I want to meditate. Why does this being human mean we have to live with so much inner conflict? Why these polarities? Why duality?

I got breakfast for the little gal, saw her settled at the table, spoon in hand, eating her cereal–and I thought, maybe I can meditate now. The husband can handle her post-breakfast routine. I have to do things all the time when I’m sick. I never get a break. He can handle this. So I told him I needed to meditate…and then objection from him, and argumentation, and me attempting to keep my cool. Whatever, I’m just going to go upstairs and meditate, he can argue all he wants.

I had just made a cup of tea. It was hot and steaming, and looking lovely, just the perfect temperature to sip and enjoy. I never get to drink my tea hot. I grabbed my mug and hightailed it upstairs to my little meditation room. It was previously a closet, but you don’t need much space to meditate…just enough for a cushion, enough room to sit…this tiny room is my favorite room in the house.

The husband texted me two times. He wasn’t happy with my decision to run upstairs to my cushion. I was going to ignore his objections to my timing, sip my tea, and sit for thirty minutes, but then…

I heard our son waking up.  And the tea had to wait, and my meditation had to wait, because the little guy was hollering, adamant that someone come get him now. Again, the resistance. When will I have time to meditate? Do I have to start waking up at 4am? But I was happy to see the little man, even though his room was unpleasantly pungent, and he was announcing enthusiastically, “Ah poopooped!” At least this time he hadn’t taken his diaper off by himself and painted his room with the contents.

And of course it was one of those diapers. Not the easy peasy quick change, no, it was one of those diapers that require a strategy to minimize complications and then several minutes to follow through and resolve, and of course the lad wasn’t making it any easier on me what with his flailing limbs and his tantruming. Why do they do it? Why do they fight the one who is trying to help? Dude, let me clean you up! Just hold still a moment so that I can get a new diaper on you! Just hold still why don’t you?

It was over at last, I was disposing of the thing, I was washing my hands, and ...maybe my tea is still warm.

But then the boy child needed breakfast, and my husband was shuffling out into the room, a few dirty looks may have been exchanged. Or maybe rather we avoided looking at each other. I got a banana for the boy, he loves bananas and eats one every morning upon awakening.

But not this morning. No, this morning he was swatting at it, screwing up his face, and yelling his displeasure in the way that only pre-articulate almost two year olds can. Oh dear god, why can nothing be easy? Why won’t he just eat the damn banana? When will I be able to sit on my cushion?

All of a sudden, the husband  announced that I could go do my thing. I wordlessly leapt from the room, ran upstairs, and sat on my cushion. I was feeling pretty resentful that he didn’t support my decision the first time I attempted to sit, but grateful that he finally relented and realized that he could handle thirty minutes of child care without me. Again, the polarities that arise in this human life. Gratitude, resentment. Movement, stillness. Feeling frantic, feeling peaceful.

Meditation helped me return to the state of knowing that whatever happens, I can handle it. Some of the resentment from earlier melted away, and left me room to feel some compassion for my sick old man. I decided that I would take both kids with me when I dropped my daughter off at school so that he could have some peace and quiet at home. I planned to do some grocery shopping with my son to prolong the quiet time at home, and I wondered if he would realize what a generous gift I was extending to him. It’s funny how the little resentful voice in my head kept chanting, No one ever does this for you. No one helps you when you’re sick. You always have to push through. You have to keep taking care of everybody. No one ever takes care of you.

Ah well, I shrugged the resentful voice off, and dove into the day.

Daughter dropped off at school, groceries procured, I came home with the son, set him up with a few toys, and made some chicken soup for the sick husband, who was blissfully asleep in bed. Lucky bastard.

One thing I’m learning with each passing day–there’s a balance in all of it, and whether I choose to see it, acknowledge it, appreciate it or whether I don’t–that balance is always there. I’m happiest when I notice the balance. I’m in a state of gratitude, an open, clear place of realizing that I have so much to be thankful for. But sometimes I forget. Sometimes I’m locked in my prison of conditioned thoughts. I feel dark, heavy, hopeless, alone.

There it is again, the dualities of existence–consciousness, unconsciousness. Gratitude, resentment. Happy, sad. Up, down. Night, day, male, female, sun, moon, past, future, hot, cold.

Cold…That reminds me. I never did drink that cup of tea..but I made some pretty good chicken soup.

 

At Least I Won’t Be Haunted

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I’ve been listening to some talks that Pema Chodron gave in her abbey in Nova Scotia during a retreat some years back. She mentions how many of us go though our lives with a kind of haunted quality, never truly present. Because we never allow ourselves to fully experience the depths of our sorrow, we are never truly able to experience the potential for our greatest joy. We are haunted by our aversions and cravings. We hurry toward the things we want, and we run from what we dislike. We equate happiness with getting what we want, and suffering with being deprived of what we want. Always desiring something different from what is, we never fully experience this moment, and like disembodied ghosts we lose touch with reality.

So much of what Pema says resonates with me. I can see my own haunted ways of living my life–running to get to my yoga class, exceeding the speed limit, becoming stressed out en route, wandering how I can get myself into that peaceful, centered head space needed to assist people in reaching their own peace. I feel resentment toward the driver who is on his cell phone, who doesn’t notice the light has turned green. I’ve given myself plenty of time to get to the studio, so why do I feel this urge to get around the slower moving cars, to get from A to B more quickly?

I repeatedly see myself being impatient with my kids. My not yet two year old son, spoon in hand, slops yogurt all over his face, the table, his bib; my hand itches to clean him up, to just feed him the yogurt, although I know he has to learn how to feed himself somehow, and learning can be messy. My daughter is jumpy from skipping her nap yet again. As the evening wears on, she gets even jumpier. She knocks into things, slips, spills things, doesn’t listen when I ask her to wash her hands, won’t hold still so that I can help her brush her teeth. The whole time, I thinking about how much I want to be on my cushion, enjoying a moment to myself in meditation. Haunted by what I’m wanting, not fully present to this little being who is acting from her own cravings and aversions. I guess we’re all haunted.

As I become more and more aware that this haunted quality does not have to define me and my existence forever, as I come to realize that change is possible, that I have many options, I look for ways in this moment to practice being present, to reclaim my life energy, to gather my attention. Not simply accepting the concept of being present on some abstract mental level, but really practicing present moment awareness, with all of my faculties, now.

I meditate two times every day to bring myself back to this place of being. I thought it would be so hard to establish a practice and stick with it, to show up day after day after day. But after nearly 900 days, I find that the showing up is easy. It’s the choosing to stay that is hard. When I sit down on my cushion, full of hope that I can find stillness and focus, and then I discover that I’m so tired that all I want to do is nod off, it takes great will to keep sitting there, bringing my mind back again and again to the passage I’m silently repeating. The inner critic takes on a sultry, seductive tone and says, “Sleep would feel great right now. There’s no point in your doing this, you’re not proving anything to anyone, and you’re certainly not going to find enlightenment any time soon, so why not cut your meditation short and just go to bed?”

I’ll tell you why, it’s because I don’t want to be haunted right now. I don’t want to be haunted by the idea of sleeping, or haunted by the disappointment that would come if I skipped my meditation. I don’t want to be haunted by the vision of the person I want to be, when I awaken to my true nature and abide in that nature, so that I may be of benefit to those around me.

It’s time for me to meditate now. I’m tired. I’ll most likely feel really drowsy the entire time. I’ll probably fidget quite a bit to stay awake, and I’ll probably lose focus many times in the thirty minutes I’ve set aside for this practice. My bed will be calling to me, my body will feel uncomfortable, my mind will be assailed by many thoughts, images, hopes, fears, memories, goals, projects, desires. I’ll think about giving up many times, because I am so doggone tired.

I’ll sit up a little taller. I’ll shake all my tired thoughts off. I’ll try again.

Oh well, I’ll tell myself, I might be tired, but at least I won’t be haunted.