resistance is normal and necessary {4/100}

Photo credit:  Justin Salem Meyer

Photo credit: Justin Salem Meyer

I have a love-hate relationship with early morning yoga classes. Leaving the cozy comfort of bed seems offensive at 5:15 a.m. as I stumble to the closet to throw on workout clothes. Even when I start driving to the studio, part of me wants to turn back, go home, climb back into the covers. 

On my mat, my body revolts: aches and pains and stiff creaky limbs. My mind follows suit with the desire to lay still, be mentally anywhere but here. I lament the loss of ease.

But I also know that every invitation to move is a small shift toward openness. I have to do the work to reap the benefits. I resist and resent each downward-facing dog, each high plank, each warrior pose until a piece of me relents. Oh, I think, the backs of my legs don't feel like tight rubber bands like they did five minutes ago. I think, mmmm, yes, one more round of Sun A would be very nice, I'll give it a go.

Each refusal falls away, and another, and again and again, until I'm 2/3 through class finally waking up, finally feeling everything and wanting more of it, unlike the first five minutes where I wanted to run away, away, away.

We get to savasana, and a sense of familiarity locks into place: this is how it goes. This is the cycle of unfolding, of creating, of connecting, of trying.

I've been practicing yoga for seven years now, and all I know for sure is this dance of ow-oh, wait-go, close-open, slow-start happens every single time I go to my mat. I expect it, and knowing the back and forth will happen doesn't make the yoga any easier. As a human, I constantly seek comfort, and while yoga has certainly brought me all sorts of beautiful solaces, that's not actually the point of a practice.

That's not the point of a life, either.

Writing. Motherhood. Partnership. Love. Friendship. Service. Exercise. Ambition. Meditation. Forgiveness. Justice. Release. Healing.

Most elements of our lives are not easy. We resist until we realize there's a return on receiving this gift of discomfort, of challenge. We are asked to believe an opposite side of the coin exists, to stay for the flip, to trust we can withstand both yin and yang and to remember that we need to understand how resistance feels so we can rise above it.

{2017} march intentions and recap

This year, I did a values exercise that led me to these five words: honesty, passion, growth, humor and solitude. I decided to set mini intentions every month, based on these values, and write about the experience.

Ok so it's already almost end of March, and because of everything going on with moving into a new house, I've barely thought about intentions. But what I draft-wrote at end of February still applies, so what do you know, I had a sense of what I wanted to work on this month anyway!

HONESTY: Admitting change is hard.

This month, there's been major change at work and at home. It's exhausting. Sometimes, it is exciting. It is usually uncomfortable. I see it, I recognize it, I know my impulse to shove back/push against/run away from it, and I try very hard to practice self-care so I can ride the waves through it. I wouldn't say I "succeeded" at handling change this month, but I definitely spent a lot of time being aware of it and admitting when I felt overwhelmed.

PASSION: Go on two date nights.

We actually did this! Went to a Johnnyswim concert with my sister and her fiance, which involved cocktails at the Continental beforehand. (Many thanks to a good friend/fellow mama for babysitting E to make it happen, too. Community is crucial.) And then tonight we're going for dinner at our favorite place, Centro, where I'm absolutely having a dirty martini.

GROWTH: Journal every night.

Nope. Sigh. I don't know why, but even writing a few lines every night feels HARD. This is dumb and no excuse because I have time to scroll through Instagram before bed every night. But I'm giving myself some slack this month, considering all the massive change and extra work and unpacking and painting happening, so aiming for more personal writing in April.

HUMOR: Have fun with house decisions v. decision fatigue.

What a blessing, buying a house! And yet, I've fallen deep down, most days, in the Eeyore feeling of being stressed and overwhelmed. This requires a huge attitude adjustment, and sometimes I just want to complain rather than count my blessings. So, here we go.

Wow, we have a beautiful, big home now that we can afford. We are able to paint multiple rooms in it, colors we like! We installed a cool backsplash in our kitchen that ties together pretty cabinets and nice counters. We put up new lights, and I'm obsessed with them. Our first floor bathroom is no longer ugly beige; it is clean, modern and even has a wood wall. (Kudos to my MIL for that vision). The bottom line is that our house feels homier by the day, and rather than get all worked up about what "needs to get done," I need to chill the F out, enjoy what we've accomplished and remember Rome wasn't built in a day. Plenty of time for projects.

SOLITUDE: Put the phone down at night.

You know that moment when your spouse calls you out on something (usually poor behavior), and you're like UGHHHH LEAVE ME ALONE but also, you're right, okay, fine, I KNOW. No? Just me? Ha.

One night, we were watching tv after putting the baby down, and my husband said, "You're on your phone too much, and you're not listening to me." Me: (offended) "What! I do listen! I'm listening right now! I want to relax on my phone in the evenings, too!" (what does that even mean??) (totally defensive). BUT. He was correct. I was getting into the habit of being on my phone too much in the evenings, and then being very distracted toward him and our son. Of course, it is hard to reconcile downtime in a world of social media and great shows. Being present takes more energy than checking out. But I don't really wanna be the latter to my family.

So the next night, I put my phone on the charger when I got home. I played with E and talked to J about his day. I went to yoga (and left my phone versus bringing it in the car). We ate dinner together at the table and drank a glass of wine. I read a magazine and went to bed early, and I woke up feeling insanely refreshed. 

Not every night can go that way, but certainly more can, and it starts with putting. the goddamn. phone. down. (Note: I still have to practice this every day/night, so I'm very far from perfection here.)