Saturday, February 12, 2011

the paradox of Uttanasana

present on the bank
of the Ganga River
Last week (and more often than I want to admit) I felt like quitting. Relinquishing of all my commitments. Releasing it all. free. free. FREE! In case you're wondering, I didn't shirk my responsibilities, but I had some moments daydreaming of the quiet... the peace... the same feelings of nothing to do and no where to be that I experienced in India. 
Recently accused of not living in the "real world"... all these traveling adventures... is "not real life. People have responsibilities, have to take care of day to day with children and so on..." Yes, but can't we have both? Can't we live the life we've always imagined and still be able to take of what needs to be done at home? Do I have to wait 10 years for the kids to grow up and leave to fulfill my intentions? And, who says they're going to leave? They just might decide to stay! Son #2 already declared that perhaps he will stay until he's 39 or until he finds another house in our neighborhood because he "likes it here." 
I've had periods of freedom in my life where there was no job, no responsibilities, no children, nothing. It was usually when I was in transition, moving to another state or even out of the country which was a total of about 7 or so times throughout my life. It was freeing: the completion of one season of life, flowing into the next adventure. But not nearly as wonderful as tucking a five year old in bed with butterfly kisses and a book about Larry the Cumber. 
When I allow my mind to move into the land of worry, I try to step away from the future and refocus on the present moment. It's #@*! hard. Everyone, everywhere you go is saying... "live in the moment", "stay present", "be here now", or "live like this is your very last day".
A good friend shared with me that they are, like most of the US, in recovery mode. Retired from the corporate world, their retirement dried up with the economy. Faced with having to start over, they began a new business venture which requires a weekly commute to another state. What would be a strain on anyone's marriage, they have chosen to look at this as a way to allow their relationship to flourish. Time together is precious and sacred. Living each day as if it were their last one together in order to savor each date, coffee, conversation, and kiss. A lot of folks say they do this but to really do it... that's a feat all it's own.
She challenged me to not focus on the what-ifs but to focus on the what-now. I only wanted to abandon my obligations when I stopped living for right now and started on the what-ifs. The what-if this happens, what-if that happens can be overwhelming, almost paralyzing. This is my the turning point. The old self whispering to go back to persistent habits; the new self redefining what it means to courageously live today
In yoga or mommy-ing I'm trying to stay in the room, not getting ahead of myself in time or moving backward to the mistakes of the past. In class today, as we moved into a fold, I remembered a recent quote from Judith Lasater: "the paradox of Uttanasana (standing forward bend) is that it begins when you move yourself forward, and ends with you looking backward between your legs. The 'future' of forward and the "past" of backward blend into the present of the pose." Staying present in the pose.


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