Family, Meditation, Parenting, Yoga

Making peace with quiet……

When I first started teaching Yoga, I would drown my classes in detail.  I had learned so much and I wanted to share it. I was also using mountains of words to hide my insecurities about being a new teacher.  The more comfortable I became holding the space for my students the less  instruction I gave.  It took time to get comfortable with leaving gaps, moments of quiet to allow  people to create their own experience. I had to learn to trust the silence.
It’s the same in relationships.  When we meet new people it is harder to leave open space in conversation. At least for me, I fill the space with tsunamis of words and questions.  There is no greater compliment that I can give someone than to allow for silence and space.  I have tried as I get older to lean into that quiet space in relationships more.  It is a funny twist of personality to  think I always need to take center stage…I don’t.
We have so many ways to fill silence, often in my house music is playing while I read emails and carry on a conversation.  That is the opposite of silence and of leaving space.  I am trying to make a practice out of not filling the space.  Applying the lessons I learned teaching to other aspects of my life, will I be able to leave space in conversation?
I notice that when I leave more space for quiet in my life, I am also less busy.  I don’t feel the urge to be moving constantly, I actually am able to do less. It seems that when my mind and
mouth are moving quickly my body follows, I busily move from task to task with little awareness. When my mind and mouth are a little more quiet and spacious my body feels more at ease.  As with almost everything it is about balance.  Sometimes I need to be fiery and animated and busy, and sometimes I don’t. For me my natural state is one of action, it simply takes a little loving awareness to know when to just be still…..and quiet.
Family, Food, Meditation

This time I won’t read, smile, and delete…

raceI have written before about how Colin believes that I am a superhero.  His stubborn  insistence that I am the very best version of myself allows me to do crazy things like raise humans.  For years he has been encouraging me to enter writing contests, emailing me links to submit articles, or forwarding me profiles of writers on a trajectory he thinks I should follow.  I always open the link, email or article, smile to myself about how sweet it is that he thinks I am capable of such things and delete them.

This past week, he sent me a link to submit something and I was just about to read, smile, and delete, when I decided that maybe I would just let it sit in my inbox for a change.  Now it sits in my inbox like the email equivalent of a giant pile of laundry, demanding that I eventually deal with it, but is easily ignored in the short term.

I have been trying to figure out why read, smile and delete has become the fallback position for these emails, and I think it’s because on some level I think that entering these contests is an exercise in futility.  I won’t win.  It dawned on me yesterday as I trudged along for a morning run where my efforts to appreciate the triumph of spring were interrupted by the peanut gallery of aches and pains in my hips.  I realized that I have entered many marathons and half marathons with no intention of winning.  Never once when I have shown up to the starting line of a race has winning crossed my mind.

The Hartford Marathon is a favorite.  It is close to home and is a big enough race to have good snacks and a great shirt, but not so big that you have to walk an extra mile at the end to find your family.  It also has a switchback so that when I am at mile 17 I see the people who will win at mile 23.  Mile 17 is a horrendous part of the race for me.  I have run far enough that I know I will finish but I still have nine miles to go, and everything hurts.  It is the part of the run when I promise myself that I will never, ever, ever be seduced by the notion of a foot race ever again. Meanwhile, coming the other direction are runners who are only a few miles from the finish line; as my feet pound the road, theirs seem to glide, as my hips curse at me with each step, theirs seem to be well oiled joints in a high performance machine.  It’s all in my head of course.   They too are working incredibly hard.  They will finish this race much more quickly than I will, but we both will finish. I would never enter a race to win, I enter it to finish.  I enter them so that I can remind myself that if I can get past the internal voices at mile seventeen I can run another nine, not to win but to finish.

Today, I will re-open that email from Colin, and I will write something to submit to this contest.  I will ignore the voice in my head that tells me it will be received by a room of people who will laugh at it.  They will think it’s so awful that they will quote it to friends as the worst thing they ever read.  Or when I am feeling optimistic about it I think it will end up in the “close but only because she has good hair pile.” Either way, I am going to enter because I am old enough to know that I don’t enter a race to win.  We create our own obstacles, if I decide that success is a condition of embarking on every venture I might as well never leave the house.  Everything has it’s mile seventeen moment where you can look over and see someone who probably is having more fun than you are.  The thing is, that we all end up at the same place. My obstacles, and fears are actually just as loud sitting comfortably in my living room as they are at mile seventeen, so I might as well at least enter the race.