This morning at yoga, while in the lizard posture, I listened to my teacher explain how yoga brings understanding to our day to day lives. She said, “This posture, while uncomfortable, is similar to situations in life that we don’t want to be in, that we want to move away from, but that if we endure can make us stronger and make us realize that we are able to endure.”
photograph by sunroseyoga on flickr
Her words touched me right in my heart.
This week started out hard. In the past two weeks I’ve shared a little bit about the winter fog that I’ve been coping with and the collapse of a friendship which has shaken me. Meanwhile, as I find myself in this place, affected by difficult life situations, I had to meet with my doctor who treats me for my postpartum anxiety and depression. We needed to revisit the changes we’d made in my care; basically I needed to tell her that “everything isn’t okay” and that I am not ready to make changes. She asked me why I had felt afraid to be upfront about this previously and I explained that I am so achievement oriented (it is a major flaw in my personality and a big part of PPD) that I didn’t want to disappoint her with a setback in my treatment. I realize this is ridiculous and silly and backwards but even though I can tell another woman that getting care for her anxiety and depression is okay and the best thing to do, I have this strange paradox when it comes to my own life where I say to myself, “It’s okay for someone else to ask for help. In fact, it’s the right thing, the best thing. But not me, no, not me. I don’t need help. I don’t need anything. I just need to tough it out.” And then I realize that if I said or heard someone else say this to a mother that I would feel really angry and understand how wrong such an attitude is . . . and then I am able to accept that I am that mother who needs to hear that it is okay to ask for help, to seek treatment, to do well and be well.
Like many other people, I experience normal ups and downs in my mood; I feel happy, excited, disappointed, angry, sad, and proud. There is a book that I read to Annabelle and Levi called The Way I Feel by Janan Cain; the story takes us through the complex and varied emotions that we feel as human beings and concludes something like, “Angry or excited, happy or sad, all these feelings are a part of me.” What I like about this book is that it helps children (and adults too, :-) ) articulate the many feelings they experience; what I also appreciate is that each feeling is valued beside another . . . positive sought after feelings are not given more emphasis or described as better than the more difficult feelings we endure. They are all a part of us.
And I realize that too often I am too eager to reject my more difficult feelings, the uncomfortable ones. I fight the difficult feelings and feel this need to force myself to get through them so I can move on to what I have long considered the better ones, like happiness and pride.
Of course, our lives are not an endless ride of one happy moment after the other. We experience loss, betrayal, disappointments, tragedy, failure. And are these moments any less valuable than those that bring us great joy? Do we not learn as much or love as much as we do in difficult times as we do in good ones?
So after I met with my doctor this week and having a long conversation with my mom, I am coming out on the other side. I am seeing the value to the winter fog, to the disappointments and sadness that I have felt as I lost a friend, experienced a few slow weeks with my business, and watched someone close to me cope with an injury. Metaphorically and literally, this winter of my life has taught me a great deal, lessons that I am still unable to articulate but can feel. And I understand that the benefits to this winter will be reaped in the days to come.
Meanwhile, in our day to day, here’s what’s happening:
1. Annabelle is taking a new gymnastics class. She actually got recruited for it. She’s pretty nonchalant about it though . . . I don’t think she realizes it’s anything to be excited about. I mean, she is four, after all.
2. Levi is taking a tumbling class too. He’s starting to play with other babies and is loving the many opportunities to climb. What I love about this class is that he can play his favorite “run away from mom and laugh the whole time” game and I can rest assured that my little boy is running around in a contained space.
3. When we’re not in a contained space, Levi is jetting out into parking lots and not safe spaces for babies to be running around. So I’ve decided I’m going to be one of those awful parents that makes their kid wear a book bag with a leash on it. Yup, I’m doing it.
4. I’m booking sessions again! Ah, this makes me feel so happy. So grateful. So excited.
5. What’s the matter with boy’s clothing retailers? Everywhere I go I spot adorable spring clothing for little girls and nothing and more nothing for little boys. I finally found a cute Easter outfit for Levi at this store but man, I am seriously annoyed at this place and this place. Little boys need cute clothes too (or at least their mothers think they do).
Last, we’re anticipating an exciting weekend with Laurie Berkner! Annabelle has been waiting months, maybe years, to see Laurie Berkner in concert and this Sunday, she’s going to get her chance. I hope to shoot good photographs and post all about it early next week. Oh yeah, and not to forget, I’ve got a David Lachapelle inspired photo session coming up for my signature style project.
Anyhoo, be back with more next week.
Big hugs and peace to you,