Posts tagged ‘pause’

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

simply s t r e t c h

One of my favorite moments of every day is watching my daughter Nora wake up.  Sometimes she is lying in bed with her eyes open when I go in to check on her.  She’s quietly looking around the room, wrapped up in her swaddling blanket.  Sometimes she’s fussing a bit, making the squeaks and squawks which mean she is about to cry.  Sometimes she’s already crying, mouth wide open and eyes tightly shut.

When I peel open her swaddling blanket, no matter what Nora was doing the moment before, she stretches.  Immediately when her first arm is released, it goes over her head.  Second arm released, goes overhead.  Then a long stretch with her short little arms, and a big arch in her back as she rolls slightly to her side.  Then she stretches her little legs as long as they go.

What an inspiration!  Although Nora has been in many yoga classes since she was conceived–most of them in utero!–nobody had to teach her to stretch first thing in the morning.  It’s something every baby knows to do–after a long sleep, some time in the carseat, or a satisfying meal, pause and take a long stretch, head to toe.

I have so little time to practice these days, but I watch Nora and realize–much as I would enjoy it, I don’t need 90 minutes–or even 9 minutes–to practice yoga.  I just need to pause for one moment, take a deep breath, and stretch myself head to toe.

It’s as simple as that.

September 28, 2011 at 8:44 pm 2 comments

Return of the Blog Posts

(Reminder that it is Sharon who writes the blog.)

Apologies to those of you (if there are any of you!) who look for new posts here for the long delay.  We–my husband Kevin and I–had the joy of welcoming a new baby into our lives on December 1st.  This baby has come to us via foster care, so his arrival was totally unplanned and unexpected, and most welcome.

So, I have been caught up in mothering an infant son without the usual gestation and preparation time.  It’s been lovely and (over)whelming (see previous post on whelmed).

Our foster son starts daycare tomorrow, so I am hopeful that this week marks the return of a more regular routine for our household, and my more regular routine to blogging.

During our intake with the daycare people, the daycare provider asked the questions I expected of her, about his daily routine now, how we know he is hungry, tired, and so forth.  Then, she asked me a question that caused me to pause–what are the qualities that you admire in him?

Now, here is he, a little ten-week old baby who I loved the moment I saw him in his hospital bassinet.  At the moment she asked the question, I was holding him in my arms, literally close to my heart.

“Of course I love him,” was my first thought.  “He’s an adorable baby!”  But then I paused, and stepped back, and thought about her question.

To name the qualities of those we love, those who are closest to us, is something different than simply loving them.  When we are so close to another–whether it is our spouse, our children, our brother or sister, our best friend–we can get so close that we stop seeing the specific qualities that we first fell in love with, that we admire, that keep us close.

Her question forced me to stop, to pause, to feel the weight of him in my arms, the love of him in my heart, and to name those qualities that I most admire.  In naming those qualities, I experienced my love of him that much more fully.  Understood it a bit more.

I’m working with that question in my own heart and my own life this week.  What are the qualities I admire in those around me, those who are closest to me?  When I name the qualities I admire–in my foster son, it is his steadfastness and his sweetness–I can feel my own heart grow just a bit more.

Thanks to everyone for your loving support on our journey.

Namaste.

February 7, 2011 at 10:22 am 1 comment

Ahimsa

Someone in Vermont has a license plate that reads AHIMSA.  I see it from time to time as I drive around.  I’m always jealous that I was not clever enough to have thought of this idea–what better place to remind people to be nonviolent than in our cars (surely I am not the only one who has cursed at the car in front of me for driving too slowly when I am running late on my way to yoga class!)?

Ahimsa, which is often translated as nonviolence, is one of the yamas, or ethical guidelines, of yoga.  Although they each have a strange-sounding Sanskrit name, they are all principles we’ve heard along the way: to practice gentleness, and truth; to not covet the things or talents of others; to remember that each breath is a blessing.

The yamas are meant to govern our conduct with the world–the rules of the sandbox so that we can all get along with each other–but I’ve found it helpful to also think about how they apply as I interact with myself.

Am I gentle and nonviolent with my body when I come to my yoga practice, when I choose what and how much to eat, and to drink (ahmisa)?  Do I see my reflection in the mirror of truth, or do I allow it to be distorted by my own judgements, and expectations of what I “should” be (satya)?  Do I give myself credit where credit is due, stepping into the bright light of my own goodness (asteya)?  Do I pause to feel the satisfaction with who I am and what I have in life, instead of looking for what’s to come (aparigraha)?  Do I see the spark of the divine within myself, the light that shines out from my own heart–that piece of God within me (brahmacharya)?

In my classes, as in most yoga classes, we “Namaste” each other at the end of the practice.  This simple and beautiful word holds so much meaning–the light of the divine within me, recognizes and honors the light of the divine within you.

When we practice the yamas not only out in the world but also within our own selves, it is as if we are giving ourselves that greeting, Namaste.  I see myself as a spark of the divine.  I honor myself, in all of my grace, in all of my potential, in all of my perfection.

Namaste.

November 12, 2010 at 3:40 pm 2 comments


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