Saturday, March 8, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes ...

This week, I let life get to me.

Yep. All the talk about staying calm, maintaining your focus and embracing your authentic nature and still in the midst of unexpected gunk I shattered like a crystal wine glass dropped on a cobblestone walkway. Messy. Sharp pieces everywhere. Completely done in.

Life is like that sometimes. Too much. It sends waves of "stuff" your way. In Maslow's hierarchy, you travel up and down the levels like Frozen Free Fall. You field it like a tennis player as it comes fast and furiously. Oh, you've done all the prep possible. You are strong and you have it all together. You think you are prepared and grounded and ready for anything but wham ... red wine and glass stains the ground beneath your feet.

It doesn't matter what it is or was that breaks us down. It's what we do next. How we gather up the pieces and reshape ourselves.

I have been told that the real "yoga" begins when you leave class. That what a yoga class does is prepare you with poses that reflect what's going to come your way so that when you walk out the door after a class you can find the strength you need whenever you need it. You learn that you can stand strong even when you are shaking. You discover that you can hold any pose even when your muscles and mind are screaming. You realize you have what it takes to fold down, twist and reach up all at the same time to open a depth within yourself. You find awe in that moment where you can maintain balance on one leg with your other arm raised high above your head.

But ... you also are told that when it's too much, you don't have to allow yourself to panic or feel frustrated. That you might not be able to do every single thing during class. That child's pose is available whenever you need it. That sometimes, you need to back off.

That's what life is. Finding strength when you find yourself immersed in a place or conversation that puts you outside your comfort zone. Holding your ground and maintaining your inner peace when challenged or criticized. Adapting when unexpected twists occur. Finding balance amidst the many aspects and occurrences that you have to handle -- whether you like them or not.  Learning to show yourself compassion and honor who you are ... no matter what circumstances might demand.

And, learning to back off and find child's pose if it becomes too much.

I am lucky, I guess. When life gets to me ... like it did this week ... I mix up a little blend of retreat and reflection -- once in a while I have a knee-jerk reaction which never bodes well. But eventually when I'm ready, I move out of child's pose and reach out to unique mix of individuals whom I treasure. My own "Rat Pack," as I like to think of them. They typically offer a different perspective and help me find my way back on track.

But this morning, out of the mouth of my daughter, I found an amazing wisdom that I took to my yoga class and blessed me in ways I cannot even articulate ...

She took my hand, looked at me with those beautiful, innocent loving blue eyes and told me that a friend of hers had criticized her for being a "goody-goody." A friend didn't want to hang out with her because she was a "goody-goody." My sweet nine-year old girls eyes were a bit misty as she told me this.

But then ... and she prefaced this by telling me she wasn't sure she wanted to tell me the rest ... that she didn't want me to be upset or disappointed. She said that this girl wanted to help her become a "bady-bady." That once that was accomplished, she would then be her friend.  

Now, my daughter had a rough week herself. She had some friends "dump" her, leave her little but very important "club", and tell her that they didn't want to sit with her at lunch. I think each of us can remember those school days and how hard they were.

My daughter told me .... "Mommy, I thought about it. But I don't want to be a bady-bady. I like who I am and if others don't like me this way, I guess that's too bad. I'll find friends who do ... I want friends who don't need to fix or change me to like me."

Amidst life happening to her this week, my daughter found strength, found balance and a depth to herself that empowered her to embrace who she is when challenged by "gunk."

It reminded me of a time in college when I had just been dumped, by a boyfriend and a friend of mine walked in with the wisdom of a sage and spoke words I have never ever forgotten. "Well, you don't want him if he doesn't want you ..."

My daughter had figured that out all by herself. And embraced her own beauty and self even if that wasn't enough to earn her this girl's friendship. She didn't want to be in a friendship where her inner light had to be dimmed in order to earn acceptance.

Neither do I. No matter what life tosses out I will eventually find what I need to shine through it all.  Life can take you on a crazy river ride. And occasionally you may need a life vest when you hit the rapids.

When life happens (and it will!), you can find what you need inside and from people who love you and know you for all your glitter and gunk.  (Um, for the friend who threw the life-vest that hit me on the head, well, ouch! But thanks for that extra bit of perspective. Guess I needed it!)

And there is joy beyond words when you find wisdom out of the mouths of babes ...

                                                                                                         -- Jenni