These pics might be illustrations in my next book that will be entitled “daily chronicles of a hot mess yogi mom.”
“Inhale …exhale…Roscoe stop eating my mat, inhale…G stop Antagonizing the dog, exhale…., inhale…can someone turn off the stove….exhale…shit I forgot to change the clothes from the washer to the dryer 3 days ago… inhale find your inner stillness, exhale ouch Roscoe that was my toe…bring me back that shoe !”
Yoga is a metaphor for life, particularly around finding balance amidst the chaos of life. Both on and off the mat, balance is really hard for me, and I’m often shaky, swaying, or wavering in some way. In my practice on the mat, I’ve learned that it’s impossible to expect to stand on one foot without some degree of movement; in fact, even the slightest movement is necessary. If I create resistance, and get too rigid and stiffen up, I tip over and fall. If I can remember to lean into the shakiness, I give my body an opportunity to get stronger and build resiliency.
The same is true off the mat, when life happens—kids and dogs and work responsibilities and birthday parties and illnesses and business issues and financial woes, and the list goes on, I can often be shaken to my core. When that happens I tend to become rigid, clinging to an idea of needing to be perfectly balanced, and seeing everyone and everything as a threat to that balance that I’m working so hard to achieve. Admittedly, in moments such as these, I have completely freaked out more times than I wish to admit. On the mat that sounds something like “WTF Kristy get your head out of your ass and just stand straight. What’s wrong with you. Is my body so fat and broken that I can’t even stand straight and balance?!” And it sounds like “WTF, yoga teacher, did we really have to do eagle pose?! Are you deliberately trying to make me hate you and hate myself?”
Off the mat that has sounded like…well…mostly screaming and yelling and words that social media won’t let me publish on here and more generally “Boys knock it off I hate when you act this way,” “I’m getting rid of the dog,” “I hate my life,” and “I’m closing my business and I’m such a failure etc.” Total. Reactivity.
I’ve had to work hard at training my mind and body to not react and meltdown in those off-balance moments. It’s a work in progress, always.
In yoga Asana practice on the mat, we are encouraged to find our Drishti—a Sanskrit word for “sight.” This means that particularly in poses that require balance, it’s in our best interest to find an unmoving point upon which to focus to help us find balance and stability. The reason this is effective is that when the eyes move, the body naturally follows for survival reasons. If the eyes are still, the body has permission to find stillness.
It has been said that our vision can be our greatest source of clarity or confusion. And such is true off the mat and in life. Like most people, I get distracted and overwhelmed easily. With so much happening in our daily lives, not to mention in the world around us, and the variety of ways that information is thrown at us, it’s a wonder that we can focus on anything these days.
When my vision is constantly shifting to the million and one things around me, I get lost easily. I have no idea who I am, where I am, or where I am going. I lose any sense of balance. What helps is to find a point of focus-a drishti-in everyday life. For me, that drishti is an intention I set for myself each morning. That becomes my compass for the day-my centering thought to bring me back to where I am and to remind me of where I am going. I might be shaky getting there, but at least I know where “there” actually is. It’s like referring back to a roadmap. You are ‘here,’ And ‘there’ is where you are going.
So here I am, trying to carve out some time to practice some of my most challenging balance postures, while dinner is cooking (and burning), while the dog and my boys are playing (and fighting), while the phone is ringing, and the text messages are dinging, and there is a loud thud from the UPS package that just got flung onto my porch (that was likely the new set of drinking glasses I had to order since I keep breaking them while hurriedly washing dishes), and wet laundry still sits in the washing machine for days, and the rent is due, and my car registration is expired, and a client didn’t receive a receipt, and there is a Boy Scout meeting in one hour, and, and, and, the list goes on…
….and I find my drishti -a spot of dirt on the glass windowpane. And I breathe. And I wobble. And I shake. And the dog barks. And my son falls into me. And I fall. And I rise. And I find that dirt spot again. And again I get knocked down. And I fall again. And I rise. And I get stronger. And I get more steady.
And amidst the chaos of life, I find my drishti, my intention which is to live with grace, and I focus on that. Because at that moment that’s all that needs my attention. At that moment I don’t have to have it all balanced and figured out. At that moment I can choose what matters and focus there. Knowing that there exist magical moments of joy and bliss amidst the chaos and if I can stay present, no matter how shaky I am, maybe I can see it.
This evening, thankfully I saw it. And I laughed watching the chaos unfold around me. And I laughed even more when I looked at these pics taken by my A who laughed at the whole thing, too. And we found joy together. And they saw that it’s ok that things aren’t perfect. They saw their mom focus, balance, then fall, then rise again. And that’s the work of being human. They saw their mom acknowledge it and own it. And that’s the work of being a conscious human. And that’s all I want for my boys—to grow up to be conscious humans.
So I’ll keep finding my drishti, one eagle pose, spot of dirt, rambunctious puppy, and burnt casserole at a time. Thank goodness I didn’t clean those dirty windows! ??♀️???