"Your kids are fine, moms. Don't worry about them. Maintain your focus. Reach your arms up. Breathe in and out. You know if you forget to breathe in yoga, you're going to forget to breathe when your kids are yelling at you."
I fix my eyes on a light switch on the front wall and slowly breathe, in through my nose, out through my nose. My little one wraps her arms around my shins.
"Yoooooga teeaacher," I hear BG trill the incredibly descriptive direct address. "The babies keep knocking over the tooooweeers."
In through my nose, out through my nose.
"That's okay," answers the instructor. "That's part of the practice. To keep going even though things get knocked down. Want to do this pose with me? Moms, sit back in Utkatasana."
The air that comes out through my nose as I sit back into chair pose comes from somewhere deep inside me where I didn't know I was holding it. My little one reaches her arms up with a whimper, and I scoop her up and hold her against my chest as I squeeze my knees together and tuck my tailbone. Still breathing. Still focusing on the light switch.
It's only for this one moment, in this one place, but it matters.
Before yoga class, I sat on the floor with both girls to play. I'd shut off all my social media. I wanted to just be there. I wanted to be present, to be fully in the moment.
In the back of my head were dinner plans. Worries about the laundry and the dishes. Wishes for some time for myself.
And I saw them, and I waved at them, and I pushed them away. Again and again and again.
And I tried not to judge myself. And I tried not to judge myself for judging myself. (I've said this before. I'll probably say it again. It will be a long time before I'm there.)
"Moooommmmy, what should I doooo?" "Mommmmmmmmmy, my baby sister is knocking over my towers." "Moommmmmmy."
I moved the baby out of the way, again and again and again. I tried to distract her with different toys, to build separate towers for her to knock down. But again and again, she zeroed in on what BG was building and began to take it apart, shrieking and crying when I pulled her back.
I closed my eyes. I couldn't breathe. There was no way to make both of my children happy. There may not have been any way to make either of them happy. Was I doing it wrong? I wanted to be anywhere but here. Being present is overrated.
I've just finished reading Jon Kabat Zin's The Mindful Way Through Depression. It made a lot of sense to me. It resonated with me. It spoke to a lot of places I've been going in my head lately, without research.
I want to be in just one place at a time.
I want to give my thoughts their space, let them come up where they will, without letting them take over my life. I want to love myself, to have permission to be who I am. I want to have a space that is completely without judgment. And I want to not judge myself when I do judge (see, I told you I'd say it again).
At the end of the book there was an 8 week guided plan for building mindfulness skills.
In the first week, it suggested, you are to do a 20 minute body scan, three 3 minute breathing spaces, and mindfully attend to one daily task, every day.
What the flying ....?
How was I supposed to do all that? How was I supposed to add that to the day I already have? How was I supposed to find 20 minutes when no one was touching me or talking to me?
I was never going to get it right. I was never going to be fixed.
I don't need to be fixed. Just like my writing, just like my parenting, my life is happening right now. Whether I'm ready or not. Whether I've exercised my neuroplasticity or not.
I'm here. Now.
And that's enough.