I get by with a little help.

This week has been…well, almost magical. It seems that just as I needed it, all the support I could ever hope for, all of the love, and friendships, long talks, yoga, and nice weather, all of it showed up at once. Now, I want every week to be this way!

I haven’t written much, instead I have just been soaking in, everything. I have been soaking, steeping, in my emotions (all of them), my thoughts, my daily practices, my life. This life is good. But what makes it so good is all of the people in it. What makes it so good is the ability to take a breath, and look around. To see what is outside of me, and then to dive deep within. This balance of inner and outer has been so sweet this week.

My dreams have always been vivid, lucid even. And sometimes, in yoga nidra, or savasana I can slip into this lucid place. This week I was gifted twice, this ability to slip, into a realm beyond myself. I found myself, in these quiet moments, with eyes closed, both flying though vast galaxies, and swimming within my own body. I found myself happy, and at peace with whatever life chooses to bring my way. The gift of these moments has surely carried over into waking time and space. This is the beauty of this practice.

I heard myself telling a friend this week that my yoga practice has changed. I was comparing myself, my practice, to my practice before my son was born, before pregnancy changed my body and motherhood changed my soul. I said that my practice was not as strong as it had once been. I felt a certain self-consciousness, and sadness admitting this. But looking back, what I should have said is that my practice is not as physical as it had once been. I’m no longer striving towards head stand, or arm balances, at least not regularly. I no longer emphasize core strengthening postures, or treat my yoga practice as a workout. But my practice is strong. In fact, my practice is as strong as it has ever been.

My practice exists in these moments, when I am able to take a breath, and be both outside and within myself. My practice exists when I speak to my son, using every ounce of my being to respond to him in the way that he needs me to. My practice happens from the moment I wake up, looking into his eyes as we lay next to each other, to the moment we fall asleep, our bodies snuggled close, his fingers tangling themselves in my hair. My practice is yoga, it is meditation, it is dharma, it is my life. My practice lives in my heart, and it is strong.

This week reminded me of this fact. All of the people I encountered and spoke with, exchanged thoughts, and hugs, and laughter with, you all reminded me. Thank you. Thank you for reminding me of my own strength. Thank you for showing me yours. Thank you for being. Here. With me. I truly do get by with a little help from my friends.

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(Have I ever mentioned how much I love the Beatles?)

Kripalu Part 2: Silent Breakfast

IMG_8423 IMG_8424 IMG_8425 IMG_8426 IMG_8427 IMG_8429 IMG_8431 IMG_8433In the morning, light filters into our kitchen and dining area in the most beautiful way. (These pictures really don’t do it justice, I’m working on that.) The past few days I have had the chance to eat my morning meal in silence, alone with myself, on my road to recovery from pneumonia. I am reminded of all of my good intentions to bring pieces of our Kripalu experience back home with us. This piece has always been one of my favorites, a silent morning meal. However, with a two year old, it’s not likely to be one that we have in our home often. But on the days when it does occur, I like to bask in it. It’s calm, it’s peace, it’s reminder to begin fresh, with intention.

Here are my reflections on the silent morning meal written while I was at Kripalu. There I was with my lovely husband, here I am with my lovely girl cat, Amelia. Both of them are wonderful breakfast companions….

Breakfast is a silent meal. This is not something either of us will struggle with. My husband is the strong silent type. And I suppose, so am I. I love this meal here because I can rely on it. It is one thing that does not seem to change, much. I can rely on the soft, well cooked steel cut oats, the coconut milk yogurt, raisin compote, and variety of nuts and seeds. I can rely on the hard boiled egg, and the assortment of tea. I can rely on the unsweetened almond milk, and the sweet raw honey. And I can rely on the silence, the chance to start the day slowly, with full attention.

We settle into our seats, across from each other at a long table filled with other visitors starting their day too. We can look at each other’s faces, but often we don’t. We stare past, watching, observing, contemplating those around us. She’s here with her mother. He looks like he is missing his morning cup of Joe. Her face is calm, serene. His face is searching.

I look at these faces, some naked, made-up, tired, refreshed, lonely, in-love, present, and far, far away. Sometimes they look back at me. Sometimes they catch my face as I calmly sip my hot chai tea, or awkwardly spoon oatmeal into my mouth. What do they know about me as they glance at my clean, bare, un-decorated face? What do they see behind my hazel eyes surrounded by “laugh lines”, the pink pigment of my skin which occasionally shows up in splotches, my pale lips? What do they infer about my life by the way I have pulled up my hair, or the clothing I am wearing? Who do they think I am? Who do I?

We sit in silence, this room full of people. We eat our morning meal, we contemplate, and we watch. None of us truly knows each other. Even the man sitting across from me, my husband, whom I have “known” for over 15 years, doesn’t truly know me, nor I him. Really, we don’t even know ourselves. We are only (and always) in the process of discovering.

I sit back in my chair, holding my warm tea mug close to my face. I inhale the sweet steam rising from it. I draw up the left corner of my mouth, then the right. I glance back at my husband. He does the same.