Ok, so I am not trying to make this a Biblical blog, but I felt it was only fair to pick up where I left off in my last post. It wouldn’t be honest to drop it, letting you believe that over the past week I was transformed from a harried Martha into a Zen master Mary. Because -shockingly – that’s not how things shook out. You are already laughing at me, I know you are.
I began with good intentions. One afternoon while the kids were at school, I chose to put aside my to-do list for a home yoga practice. I have practiced yoga for over ten years and even taught for a while, but amidst our string of moves from PA to MA back to PA, my mat has been rolling around the back of my car caked with rock salt and smashed up Cheddar Bunnies.
So it seemed like a very Mary thing to do, to forgo the organization of the linen closet for a little self-care. I rolled out my mat in Phoebe’s bedroom and moved through some Sun Salutes and the Warrior series – a little stiff and distracted by the naked Barbies under the bed, but there nonetheless.
Then I got to Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, or Pigeon Pose.
I. Started. Bawling. No, no. I mean it. I totally flipping lost my mind, like Full-frontal-Oprah-ugly-cry-nervous-breakdown-Beaches-Wind-Beneath-My-Wings-Put Me On-Paxil-STAT kind of lost it.
One of the “benefits” of hip-openers is the release of emotional….gunk you have been carrying around in your body. I have gotten weepy in Pigeon before, but this was like cleaning the gutters for the first time in two years – gutters packed with leaves and sticks and mud that I just didn’t have time to deal with amidst the packing and unpacking and repacking of houses.
When inward tenderness finds the secret hurt, pain itself will crack the rock and Ah! Let the soul emerge! -Rumi
I am all for a good cry, but this was intense. And when I realized how long I had been there, and that the kids would be home soon, I started to panic.
Occupational Hazard #1 of Being a Mary: Feel your feelings but be sure to leave enough time to pull yourself together so you don’t look like a meth mom in the car line.
After I scraped myself off the floor, I felt defeated and ashamed. I tried to do something positive, yet somehow managed to dissolve into a puddle of sweat, tears and boogers. I suck at stillness, I thought. Stillness just reminds me that I have the happiness set-point of Droopy Dog.
The next day while driving home from school, Emma says: “There is no room at the lunch table I want to sit at, and no one plays with me at recess so I just sit by myself and watch basketball.”
Phoebe chimes in: “I play by myself at recess.”
This doesn’t surprise me. “Really Pheebs? Does it bother you?”
“Nope. I just run in circles”.
With a slight eye roll Emma says, “Well Phoebe, I am sure that is ok for a preschooler but I am pretty sure my chances of making friends will not be improved by running in circles.”
Phoebe shrugs her shoulders. Don’t knock it ’till you try it.
Occupational Hazard #2 of Being a Mary: Trying to listen to your kids’ problems without fixing them and/or offering helpful suggestions but not solutions. Basically, fighting the urge to march into the cafeteria and say, “What’s wrong with you people??”
But I held my tongue, and listened to Emma vent about the playground politics. Then, just as I was about to chime in with my 2 cents, she says: “But you know Mom, despite all these issues, I still have the nerve to be happy. After recess when the teacher puts on dance music, I dance. Because I’m not going to be the girl that won’t dance.”
I mean, what do you say to that? Nothing. It’s why God invented the High Five.
We are the night ocean filled with glints of light. We are the space between the fish and the moon, while we sit here together. -Rumi
Duality is not my bag, baby. I grew up in a black and white world where things were good or bad, sinner or a saint, feast or famine. It may take me a lifetime to really embrace the paradox of this existence, to accept that life is an ever-changing kaleidoscope of light and dark. Why the hell is it so hard for me to grasp? Dolly Parton gets it:
Maybe it’s not about being a Martha OR a Mary; being the one who works OR the one who prays. Maybe we can be both. The one who works and the one who prays. The one who struggles, and the one who dances. The one who cries, and the one who still has the nerve to be happy. All at the same time.