Summertime brings a lot of interesting things into my home. One of my favorites is how my children’s constant presence offers me a mirror that helps me recall some things about my life intentions. They zip through the house with boundless energy, leaving what I imagine as a colorful trail of vibrations in their pathway. It’s palpable and other parents will know the feeling of a room they’ve just left. Of course that is partly because they also tend to leave a colorful trail of real things, e.g. tiny construction paper clippings, an arsenal of stickers pasted literally everywhere, crumbs from every food imaginable in every crevice of the house, and a rainbow-colored path of sharp toys positioned optimally for a future contusion. They do these things occasionally to the chagrin of mama and papa, but mostly we hug them and say, you’re lucky you’re so dang cute. I’m convinced that their energy also creates a frenetic buzz in our dogs, Wrigley and Lucky, who I’ve noticed have seemed to become extra rascally this season. Either way, an infrared image of my house probably looks bright red! 🙂 It’s a lot of good stuff, with the emphasis of that sentence being “it’s a lot”! I honor April for her infinite patience with our little circus – frankly she handles 80% of it.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
My family and yoga are my passions, but I travel a lot for the job that sponsors our lives and frankly, the venture that is this studio. I’m super grateful to have the job and I embrace it fully. Be where you are as they say. I do, however, remain steadfast in my intent to increase those things that nurture me most in life – something I had stopped doing for a while. In fact, I know it shouldn’t surprise me, but it’s sometimes perplexing to account for the amount of slippage I’ve allowed from my true north. Then again, culture can be a sneaky enemy. Thankfully the buzz in my house is contagious and I sink comfortably into the frenetic energy when I’m back in its thralls. I even sometimes get very close to actually acting like the happy-go-lucky person I used to be. But only sometimes. And therein lies the pondering that summer triggers.
I don’t linger on how I got here. The utility of that is minimal I can assure you. I am, however, abundantly grateful to have the awareness now. Awareness is, in my humble opinion, the hardest to attain, especially since the flow of the current of our lives always favors the status quo. Awareness empowers us to disrupt the inertia and with it, creates space for the return of our natural state. My natural state is less serious than my life today. Frankly, my favorite moments in life are when I put to rest my diligent guard (thank you for your hard work) and tune into the inner rascal and his silly take on life. It’s no small feat, but I do manage to get their more often again these days and it all starts on my mat. Here are a few other things you might try to increase awareness to help return to your true north:
1. Go against your instinct, especially in mundane tasks. This is a limited risk shift that helps you think a little differently. Wear something uncharacteristic. Take a route you wouldn’t normally, and not just because Waze told you to do so. Try ordering food that is out of character just to mix it up. I once had ant larvae near Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, dare I admit it was surprisingly yummy!?
2. Choose yourself over something else, especially at work. Quality of life is hard to preserve and we sacrifice ourselves all too often. What happens if you occasionally take care of you first? Surprisingly the consequence of not jumping at the request of the boss’s boss didn’t end my career. They were patient and know I’m good for it.
3. Occasionally, I choose to be genuinely and disproportionately kind to people who have wronged me without expecting anything out of it. Try it. Talk about a change of perspective, this really breaks the inertia in my life and reconnects me with my truest self.
4. Connect with your loved ones a bit more than usual and really tell them what they mean to you. I now try to FaceTime my kids at least 3 times a day when I’m on the road. I send my parents very heartfelt emails randomly to let them know how much they mean to me… in all cases, the gift is always mine.
5. Create something, even if you don’t normally feel like that’s your thing. We decorate a yearly valentine’s box for whatever kid requires it. The Hello Kitty one last year was fun. Our family defaults to homemade birthday cards. I made myself a raised bed garden for planting veggies this spring. Homemade spring rolls are a cinch, try it some time. Anything will do.
6. Invest in your happiness. Replace the things that drain you with nourishing items. Try being more present with your loved ones, i.e. putting the phone down and turning all media off for an entire weekend. See how that feeds your soul. Find more time for friendships, often they are malnourished and lose to work or family demands. Take a yoga class, get a massage or eat something truly nourishing instead of overindulging in comfort food or drinking away your cares – those pressure relief valves are fleeting. Do something bigger… I opened a yoga studio knowing the community would be accelerants for me to return to myself. Indeed you have been!!!
These are just a few ideas you might consider. The key is to disrupt the habitual patterns to create awareness. You don’t have to change anything immediately, just rekindle your awareness to help resurface your truth. Thank you for investing in your own happiness to remind me that mine matters too.