From a Buddhist point of view, losing our minds and building up our Selves is just another opportunity to come back to this present moment and rededicate ourselves to others, and our planet. – Waylon Lewis
I’ve been out on maternity leave for nearly three months. In that time, I gave birth to an 8 pound, 14 ounce baby, carried that baby around (as she got heavier and bigger) for 8 hours a day, and breastfed 10-12 times in every 24 hour period. I haven’t slept longer than 4.5 hours in two months. Yesterday, I realized I also haven’t been out of the house past 1pm.
Also in that time, my brand-new, super-awesome yoga mat arrived. It’s been used once. One time. Other than that, my yoga “practice” is me meditating in bed at 5:34am while I hear the little one preparing to wake for the day, or me taking a brief pause to stretch my achy shoulders when she’s managed to stay asleep in her stroller at the end of our walk. It’s okay, because that is what this time in my life is about. I’m supposed to be doing exactly what I’m doing, and drifting away from my physical practice or meditation cushion is expected, permitted, and even beneficial.
But I’m ready to come back.
Stepping back into life after being away is scary. I could criticize myself for the lapse, and I could think back on all the missed opportunities when I “should have” or “could have” practiced more yoga or meditation these past few months. I could start my practice by saying, “Yuck! You’ve been away for so long it’s like starting over. You lost all the good work you built over the years. This is going to be so hard!”
I’m not going to do that do myself.
I’m taking this chance to be excited about the prospect of getting lost and found. From a Buddhist perspective, the exact moment we recognize we’ve gone away from practice is the exact moment our practice starts. We can put this to use in the big picture – like returning to the mat after a long absence. We can also put this to use in every breath. With each inhale, we can give ourselves the space to go where we need to go. With each exhale, we can say, “Welcome back!” and return to the moment.
When you see me on the mat next month, and you will, know that I’m there with you in mind and intention as well as in body. Just like you, I’m trying to figure this whole yoga thing out (again). Just like you, I have a lot going on in life and plenty of reasons to fall off the yoga wagon (again). Just like you, I’m trying to find my way back.
I’m trying to find my way back to balance, reverence, health, vibrancy, honesty, and grace. I don’t care about getting back into handstand.* I’m trying to find my way back into myself, knowing it will be a new version of myself, and excited and terrified about what that means. I’m trying to figure out this “mom slash business owner slash friend slash wife” thing. You probably have a lot of slashes, too. Whatever they are, welcome back to all of them.
Commit to 21 classes in 1 month this May, and see what type of welcome awaits you!
*Okay, I very much care about getting back into handstand.