I try (my hardest) to wake up at least an hour before the rest of my crew rises. I do this for two reasons... 1. I get to drink a cup of coffee alone, in quiet, blissful peace and, 2. I am truly a morning person and enjoy watching the night slowly turn to a new day full of possibilities. Outside of my sacred cup of joe, the hour is spent tending to my fur babies, unloading the dishwasher, changing the laundry and then taking a morning sit to ready my mind and spirit for the day ahead. After that, I am ready to face the day.
This morning, as I quietly snuck out of bed with my girls to go brush my teeth I heard the pitter patter of my seven year old's little feet approaching. Wanting to SCREAM and CRY (at the same time), I told her that it was much too early for her and that Mommy needed to get some work done. She, being a morning person like me, enthusiastically exclaimed, "I am AWAKE Mommy and I want cereal and a drink and, and, and...." and right then and there, a little piece of my soul died and my morning peace was swept away.
What does this "mindful" Mom try to do to salvage the routine? I bribe her with my iphone to "play" with and remind her of my "quiet" cup of coffee that Mommy so desperately needs... She nods and takes the phone crawling under a cozy blanket on the couch. I, for a moment think that I've cleverly salvaged my opportunity for peace.... for sanity, when I realize that light is already pouring into the house and I've slept in much, much too late. Desperate to find my peace before the chaos unfolds, I chug down my coffee, take care of the dogs, unload the dishwasher and I go to check on the laundry... BOOM, the phone rings. It's my husband who traveled back to our home last night complaining about the cats scratching at the door all night... telling me about his depositions all day & how exhausted he is and that he's locked the cats in our son's room... with the wireless phone fumbling between my ear and my shoulder, struggling to fold the DAMN fitted sheet, I notice the anxiety in my body bubbling up to the surface, my left shoulder begins to seize up and the stabbing shooting, familiar pain of one of my ribs displacing. Fitted sheet dropping, husband rambling, slow motion realization of pain, I surrender... Thankfully, with another call coming in for Ed, I am able to hang up the phone. Right then & there, I quietly pull the pocket door to the laundry, scoot the puppy out and reach for a clean, folded bath towel placing it right on the cold, stone floor and I lay right down on top of it. Of course I hear everything going on outside of that door... the puppy stirring and sniffing under the door, the kids now ALL awake, moving around the house and looking for me, my 86 year old grandmother shuffling about calling for me & HER cup of coffee... but I know that if there is any chance of salvaging this day, I need to just STOP, settle into my breath and relax the now screaming muscles seizing up around the rib that feels like it's going to stab right through my flesh. So, I close my eyes, and connect to my breath. My breath is short and shallow... it's the anxiety which I am all too familiar with trying to take over, to spill me into a full panic. I know better. I know that if I can pull it together and stretch out my breath that my nervous system will listen. If I can stay calm and fall into a deep, concentrated rhythm there is a chance. I focus and welcome the in-breath down deep into my center space, below my navel; filling me up and taking me deep inside. I then lengthen & stretch the out-breath as long as I can. I am struggling, so I begin to control the length of both the in-breath and out-breath by activating a soft, gentle Ujjayi Pranayam. Long, deep breaths in, long, slow breaths out. Soft swirling sounds filling me, taking me deeper... Soon the sound of my own breath begins to blend and harmonize with the swishing sounds of the washing machine and soft hum of the dryer next to me and I am in... the business and noise of my householder life fading, nervous system responding... connecting deeper to my body now; mind begins letting go. After a few minutes I am able to create some space after the in-breath. A pause, really; a gentle hold that neither interrupts nor panics the system but simply enhances the lulling soft purr of the breath. My body responds more now, the seizing muscles loosening their grip; the breath spreading deeper into my body. Soon, I add more space to the experience after the out-breath; leaving me empty, the body void of breath. That moment of complete surrender of nothingness and everything all at the same time. I am, in that moment reminded of this quote by Krishnamacharya...
"Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God."
I feel better. My body is trusting me and relaxing, my mind is calm and clear and ready. I feel better, my rib still uncomfortable but not painful and my left shoulder settling. Ready for the day and grateful for this reminder. My heart is now speaking, instead of my head. My body, after all, holds all of my wisdom and when I can stop and listen to what my body has to say, I am able to connect to a source of love, compassion and kindness which I can not only pour upon myself, but also spill out into my world and the lovely beings in it. And that, that is a world that I choose to exist in.
So, a few minutes later when my Gran whips open the door looking for her coffee, puppy galloping in and on top of me along with the sweet sounds of my children and their already very busy day... I am ready and grateful for this reminder that my day is what I chose it to be. My life is what I chose it to be. Ready to face this day moment by sweet moment and ready to enjoy and savor it for the beautiful miracle that it is.