Posts tagged ‘babies’

creating space

While sometimes the language of yoga makes me uncomfortable–it can be a bit squirrelly for my taste–at times, it resets my mind in just the right way.  Witness: creating space. This week’s theme for my intro to yoga students.

In everyday language and thoughts, I “make time” for things.  I’ve been trying to make time for years, but especially in this past year, welcoming two babies into our lives while continuing to work, teach and practice yoga, keep our house in some semblance of order, keep contact with friends, not to mention showering and hair washing and changing my underwear daily.

I have never come across a formula to “make time.”  There are still 24 hours in my day, after all these years.

This is where the language of yoga comes in.  Instead of trying to fabricate time, can I create space?

Perhaps the language is not as squirrelly as I thought at first.  I have created space in my home: what was once a closet under the attic stairs is now my office, where I write this blog and sew some crafts.  I have created space in my body: taller now than ten years ago when I started my regular yoga practice.  I can create space in my heart: accepting what is, even when that’s uncomfortable, when I am not getting my way.

So, can I create space on the clock or the calendar, in my day?  How?  Thich Nhat Hanh elegantly explains it this way: if, when you are washing the dishes, you are thinking ahead to your cup of tea, when you sit down to enjoy your cup of tea, your mind won’t know to be present.  It will be wandering ahead to the next thing.  And the next thing, and the next, if you are my mind.

So instead of a few minutes’ time to sit and enjoy a cup of tea, I am jumping to my feet, tea mug in one hand, phone in the other, to look up the phone number of the oil company (or the vet, or whatever it is that has suddenly become so urgent).  By the end of the day, I have a half-finished mug of cold tea I’m pouring into the sink, a tired mind, a weary heart, and a long list in my head of yet-unfinished tasks.

One night last week my husband and I were giving our children baths.  My husband was playing a bathtime  game with our foster son, which involved an unusual grouping of toys, running commentary from Papa, and water on the floor.

“Hey, mama,” my husband called, interrupting his explanation of what the whale, the lion and the captain were up to, “check this out.”

“Some of us,” I called from the changing table, where I was getting our now-clean daughter into her pj’s, “are trying to get babies to bed.”

“Some of us,” he called back to me, “are creating memories that last a lifetime.”

That is creating space.

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January 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm 3 comments

Time

The time change has always been hard on me, but it’s harder this year with babies, who don’t wear watches and couldn’t tell the time if they did.  I hope they’ll be on standard time, like our clocks, by week’s end, but so far we’ve had early mornings and unsettled evenings–babies wondering why they are being kept up so late at night.  And me wondering–not for the first time–why we trust the devices we wear on our wrists and put on our walls to mark for us the passage of time, rather than relying on our own selves, our own experience of each moment.

We’ve all had those moments that seem to take forever–hearing the long inhale as you wait on the other end of the phone for some big piece of news.  And we’ve all had those hours that seem to take a moment–involved in a good book, engaged in a good conversation, or closing your eyes for a moment and having it turn into a long nap!

Why do we trust the devices outside of ourselves to tell us the time, rather than the sense of time we have within ourselves?  Perhaps the hours we are deeply engrossed in something–even if it is a nice nap!–really do pass differently than the long moments when we wait to exhale.  I am certain the minutes my babies spend crying are longer than the ones they spend laughing–no matter if the clock tells me they are exactly the same.

I know there is the practical matter of all arriving on time for a scheduled meeting or the start of school or work or a yoga class, but I also know that I wear my watch all the time, and refer to it during my days–and nights–far more often than I need to.  Especially since, on most days right now, no one expects me at any meetings, or at school, or at work.

My babies do expect me to meet their needs, though.  Food when they are hungry, diaper changes when they are dirty, books when they’re ready to read, bed when they are ready to sleep.  So if they aren’t wearing watches to schedule the events of their day, why is it that I need to?

November 7, 2011 at 8:53 pm 2 comments

Taking steps

Our foster son is nearly eleven months old, and today he walked for the first time.  He has taken a few steps now and again in the past couple of weeks, but today I saw him walk to get somewhere he wanted to go.

He’s a very solid little person, both in his body and his heart, and his first steps reflected that–not the stuttery, tripping, baby steps I might expect, but five solid steps.  One foot after another.

The rest of the day, I watched as he practiced his new skill.  At the end of the day–already wearing his pj’s and waiting for my husband to get home to read books and tuck him into bed–he took a couple of steps towards me, then stopped to get his balance.  I backed away.  He walked a few more steps, paused, and I backed up again.  He walked across the room towards me in this way, only touching my legs when I was backed up against the far wall.

Parenting is of course a bucket of work, but it’s also an amazing privilege to watch another person learn how to do things.  He had such a look of awe and joy on his face as he walked towards me, exploring the outer limit of his abilities on his sturdy little legs.

At some point, we settle into walking, every step no longer cause for awe, and celebration.  But watching him inspires me to think about what I am taking steps towards right now in my life–in what ways am I exploring the outer limit of my abilities?  What brings joy to my face, and awe to my heart?

I don’t have an answer to this right now–it’s late, I’m tired, and I still need to pick up the playroom–but I know that asking the question is taking steps in the right direction.

October 23, 2011 at 9:32 pm 2 comments

Words

Words have the power to shape the way we think about a thing.  I am grateful to my midwife, not only for helping me birth our lovely daughter (five weeks old and asleep propped against my left thigh as I type), but for teaching me the phrase “cesarean delivery.”

I am grateful to my neighbor, who says her son “sings” in the car, when most moms would call it “crying at the top of his voice.”  (My daughter has a lovely “singing” voice herself.)

I am grateful to my yoga students, who give me an opportunity to consider my own words, to be precise, to speak from the heart, to the heart.

The heart speaks in gentle tones, converses under the din of our everyday language, in which babies cry and women have c-sections.  I try, with my daughter, to chose my words carefully, to consider her tiny, precious heart with every word I speak to her.  Perhaps I can give such consideration to every heart I come across, to bring the language of the heart into my everyday.

July 8, 2011 at 9:04 pm Leave a comment


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