Especially when everything sucks.

After having two kids, I found myself 40 pounds heavier than the weight I am when I feel I am the most myself.

Yeah, you read that right. I don’t feel myself when I’m heavier. I probably wouldn’t feel myself if I were underweight, but, I’ve never been there.

So, I started working out. Only, when you have two kids, and a job, and a house, and a bunch of related responsibilities, then you can’t just say “I’m going to the gym,” and go to the gym.

My options were: work out at home, and risk waking up the kids, OR go to the gym at night when the kids are sleeping and I have zero energy, OR, wake up at 4:30 am, get out of bed, and go to the gym.

So that last one is what I chose.

And I did it over and over and over again.

Then, over the course of a year, I lost those 40 pounds.

I did not step on a scale for the first 6 months, because I knew I’d get discouraged.

Then I stepped on the scale and was very much encouraged, and, just kept going and going.

Anyway, that was not to say: so, like a year ago, I lost 40 pounds over the course of the whole year before that.

No, no, nope.

Instead, it was to say: I did not feel myself, so I made some difficult changes, and forging through the uncomfortable brought me to where I needed to be.

I think uncomfortable and challenging times are actually vehicles that you drive to an awesome place called Goal Realization. It’s like, the fastest way to that place.

It is not easy to wake up at 4:30 in the morning and push yourself out of bed, sneaking out of the house, somehow having the mental capacity to remember both sneakers AND headphones, especially when the weather is bad and scraping snow off the car is involved. But whatever, soon enough you’re at the gym, and you’re pretty much the only one there, and it’s just you and your favorite music in your headphones, and you’re just pushing yourself through all of the conflict in your life, before anyone else you know has even opened their eyes, and you feel beautiful and you feel strong and you feel like you’re really alive, even if you’re nowhere near your goal yet. Even if your goal feels like 5 million years away from that moment.

So anyway, if you’ve got some January goals, and you’re already in a funk, just embrace the challenge. Embrace it. Call it your friend. Give it a high-5. Say – yeah man, I’m totally doing it. And then do it. And check out where you are a few months, or even a year later. Probably a happier version of yourself.

I’ve got some other goals that are more in the forefront of my life right now, but, I just wanted to put this out there, for anyone who might be thinking – what am I doing? Why am I even trying?

Just keep going, especially when everything sucks. Oh yeah, and don’t tell anyone.  It feels the best when you’re still going when everything absolutely, totally sucks, anyway.

poem.

Miniature houses, lined up in a row

homes upon homes upon homes upon homes

light up at night, by moon or by snow

light up at night, with electric shows

miniature houses, they know what they know.

Inside of these houses, are people with lives

full of conflicts and interests and truths and lies

full of color and music and love and doubt

anticipation, and fear, and stifled clout.

Full of hopes and dreams and wants and needs

and fingertips relentlessly touching on screens.

Inside the houses, they hook themselves up

into the outlets and out into streams;

Electric People: they see, and are seen

Electric People: they see what’s not seen

Electric People: alive, in the houses, in the snow-

in these miniature houses, so very alone.

Pain

I think perhaps Pain is like Love.

It spreads and cracks through time and space as if it were a palpable substance, hit hard by a hammer, and spreads and spreads over all people and things like a mist that you can’t quite see, but you can’t not breathe, either, not unless you realize it is there and figure out you need to crawl carefully or wear night goggles to really try and escape it or figure out how to stop it altogether.

Realizing it is there is always the first step; always.

The thing is, you don’t always realize it is there. I know that sounds silly.

What is also silly is I just woke up out of sound sleep to write this, because I knew I had to; like a person who just got a call – you must do this, you must put these words on a page, and it has to be now, before they slip out of your reach.

I know that you do not always realize pain is there, because I have experienced this very thing.

I have been trying to wrap my brain around the fact that my son Harry is autistic. He has autism. He has a label that can be recognized, but it is difficult for me to explain exactly what that label means. He has something that makes him different. And I, as his mother, need to help him be successful in this stupid world, all while being different.

Thinking about the future is hard. Thinking about the present is hard. Whatever. Life is hard.

Anyway, I realized a few weeks ago about the invisible pain.

I found out that there is a great optimism about Harry; that he is doing wonderfully through all of his hard work. And I do not mean just the general “Yes, he’s doing fine! He’s a fine boy who is doing just fine!” sort of feedback. He is actually making some real progress.

A few days later, I found myself dancing around the kitchen as I was putting dishes away. I was jamming out to happy songs in the car. I was laughing and I was smiling.

And I realized: I was processing this news. It was not that I had heard the news and thought to myself – “I will be happy now.” It is not like that. It is more like, all of the sudden, happiness found me, out of nowhere, and I had to really realize where and how it was able to find me.

It happened about just as fast as when sadness finds me. I’m an easy target, I guess. Not too hard to figure out.

My point is, the pain that I have, and the pain that I will always have, knowing that it will be harder for my son to do things that come easy for others, and that he has this thing, this word, this weight to carry….this pain is something that has already stretched itself out over space and time.

I had a dream a few months ago that the bomb hit; a bad one. In my dream, the bomb was so terrible that it actually stuck our souls to the earth somehow. We were all forced to live our same lives over and over again, like Groundhog’s Day, only, it was our whole lives, and, no one knew that this was happening, and, really all of this was happening because of the sick nature of pain. It kept us tied to the earth.

So, I guess, looking back at my dream, I knew it then: pain surrounds us, and it can keep us stuck, if we do not realize what is happening.

Also I am clearly terrified of bombs.

I think we are all affected by some kind of pain, maybe multiple kinds. We should open ourselves up to the idea of happiness more, so we can let Love in; let it wash over us, so we can see and move and think and be the people we are, and shine as brightly as we can shine, despite all of the Pain.

And we can live with a little more color and feeling and life in us, despite the state of the world, and all of the Pain surrounding us-whether we know it is there, or not.

Dear Seattle, you have my heart

Dear Seattle,

Last week, I met you.

It wasn’t that easy. I’ll tell you though, nothing is easy that is worth it; nothing.

First, there was the task to save up the money for the airplane trips (four of them) that would take us to you, and then home again. It is painless if you don’t think about it, like a lot of things, really.

Then, there was the filling of the suitcases. Scanning our clothes, we chose as wisely as we could, knowing your tendency for rainy skies with a side of volcano. We prepared for your mountainous countenance. We packed for warmth, for autumn, for blues, and for grays. We prepped our bags as properly as we could.

Not all of us could meet you, this time. The youngest of our family stayed back, with his grandma, and his bag was packed, too – with warm pajamas, pants, shirts, and sweaters. We gave him kisses and promises of a speedy return, and were soon on our way.

At four am our alarm blared. We shot up in our beds with open eyes, and said goodbye to the dog (who went with a friend, while we met you).

We pushed open the kitchen door, and we felt the cold of a morning that hasn’t yet known the sun.

We bundled up and snapped our seatbelts closed, and drove to the airport, not saying much.

My throat hurt, but I had tea, and medicine, and the promise of adventure- which all three healed me that morning.

We rubbed our eyes and looked around us at the other travelers, thinking thoughts like: “Why don’t we do this more?” “Look at them, saying goodbye.” or “What time is it now?”

We boarded the first flight; it took us to Chicago.

We boarded the second flight; it took us over mountains and farmland that looked like so many rectangles – rectangles on rectangles on rectangles. My son would have gasped. He would have shouted his word for rectangle so the whole plane could hear him say it.

There should be a word to describe the feeling you have when you’re physically so far above something, or somethings, that those things get reduced to obtuse shapes and blocks of color. Otherworldly, maybe? Miraculous? Surreal? I grasp but can’t quite grab the word that makes the most sense.

Then, we landed – and immediately, upon setting foot from the airport, we saw it – we saw your beauty. It was breathtaking, truly: I actually lost my breath for a moment, in my first steps out of that airport. I forgot my throat hurt. I forgot where I was. I held onto the luggage, and my daughter’s hand, and just – gasped.

You’re beautiful, Seattle.

Even your name is beautiful. It makes me think of sailors coming to your ports in days gone by, and rattling off their stories of the wonders of the sea, beneath the mountains and with a beer in hand, by the fire and surrounded by friends. Warmed after a long journey; living a life of adventure, but finding the meaning of home on your shores.

We came for a wedding. We came for love, and beauty, and happiness. We drove up and down your hills; we ate your food; we talked with your people; we heard your music; we drank your beer; we danced your dances; we sang your songs.

Seattle, you have our hearts in your hands.

We only hope we can go back to you soon.

Thank you for being you. Thank you for reminding me of something I didn’t realize I had forgotten.

Love,

Katie

Amazing

My son Harry is amazing.

He counts to twenty in his own way, now. He knows the numbers and says them consistently, but you might not know what he’s saying if you’re not used to hearing him say it. It almost sounds like a little boy talking in another language – the way he says each sound makes sense, yet, doesn’t quite register in an immediate translation within the language zones in your brain.

He sounds like a lion roaring when he gets to the number 14 – but only 14 – the other numbers are all spoken of in a normal type of voice.

There is something about the number fourteen that makes it a little more ferocious – but maybe I just feel that way because I’ve heard him name it so many times in his extravagant way.

I listen to music while I clean. Yesterday, he came to the kitchen, and he was mad – but he heard the music I was listening to – Modern Jesus by Portugal.The Man, and just started moving his shoulders up and down and dancing like crazy with the biggest smile on his face.

That happens in the car, too – I’ll have the music on and he’ll just be dancing and dancing in his seat, smiling from ear to ear.

I was so worried, you know, about him.

I need to connect with people with my words, and I need to hear their words. I can learn a lot from a person from listening to their words. I’ve been so worried I won’t be able to understand everything he’d like me to understand, especially since he’s been having so much trouble with talking. But Harry shows me I can learn just as much (maybe even more) when there isn’t much said.

I still know when he is happy, and when he is sad. I know when he needs a big hug, and I know when he is excited about something. I know when he doesn’t want something, or when he wants me to see something that he sees.

He is two and a half and I still have not heard him tell me what he would like to do and why, or how he feels about something and why, like I was (and am) able to hear from his older sister, and, sometimes when I think about it, my heart breaks into too many pieces.

But you know what? There aren’t enough words to describe how we really, actually, feel about things, deep down inside.

I don’t need to hear his words to get to know him more. I just need to listen to him, anyway. Listen to the silences and the sounds, watch his expressions and his grunts. See and watch enough, and you’ll be able to hear and understand.

I know that music makes my son move with happiness. I know that seeing him happy makes my heart beat twice as fast as it usually does.

More and more sounds are coming, and words, and, someday, I think I will hear him tell me how he feels about things using several words strung together in sentences.

And every sentence will be beautiful, and long-awaited, and lovely, and new.

Maybe it was the eclipse.

This chai tea latte I’m drinking at 10 pm on a Monday has really got my heart racing; the pace is finally starting to keep up with my mind.

My stomach has been a mess for three weeks. Maybe it was the eclipse. Maybe not.

I feel like everything I try to do, I cannot do – I try to get my coffee in the morning, and someone is fixing the sink. I take my usual route to work, and I am met with signs for a detour. I try to make a phone call, and my phone has stopped making phone calls. I try to make a left hand turn, but the cars just keep coming and coming.

I didn’t have glasses for the eclipse.

I let the time slip by until it was too late to get my hands on a pair of glasses-so my head turned down to the earth instead of up to the skies.

I was driving when it happened. My eyes were affixed onto the road; I saw moving shadows skirting cheekily along the brightness of day. I saw the shadows come out of hiding, yawning and stretching out their arms and legs with shakes and groans. I saw them jaywalk and moonwalk and jump and shake. They were shaking out their knotty shadow hairs, screaming shadow screams and eventually laying back down again into their carefully etched out shadow places, mimicking nearby trees or telephone poles, who were once trees themselves.

Right now I’m sitting in my dining room, and my feet are pulled up onto the seat of my chair – I can see my knees behind my hands as I type this. I can see the outline of my hair; I’ve got headphones on and am listening to music. “Coming of Age” just popped on, by Foster The People.

Foster The People are coming to Buffalo soon, and, I wanted to go to the show, but, I let the time slip by until it was too late to get my hands on a pair of tickets or organize the logistics of the whole thing. So I listen to them play right now, and I take a sip of my latte. My blanket looked like a shawl just now, when I brought the cup to my mouth.

I feel like I’m trying to untie the knot that is my life. I’m trying to remember why the string went here and there, so I could pull it out again. I want to straighten out the string. I want my life to make sense.

I want to have it all figured out.

Last week on Thursday I cleaned out my entire upstairs of all of the junk and all of the things that were just sitting there. I feel like I can finally breathe upstairs.

I’ve got to do the same with the basement, soon. I need to clean out all of the things that just have no purpose in my life. It is a need like a need to drink water or to open my eyes or to brush my teeth. Everything feels broken, and, I just want to bulldoze it down and start again.

My son will soon have 26.5 hours of therapy a week, and he is two years old. He is so smart; he knows his letters and his shapes and his numbers and colors. He told me what the numbers were on my blow dryer a few days ago. And I thought – what a magical boy- I never even realized there were numbers on my blowdrier before. But he searches for numbers and letters and shapes and colors like an astronaut on a mission in outerspace; he collects them and he brings them back home to us. He comes back and gives them to us with his eyes shining as bright as the sun, on a day when there is no moon bringing shadows out from their sleepy beds. “Eight!” he’ll say. “Oa-sh!” (Orange).

Orange like the sun on the brightest day you can think of, actually. My son shines bright like the brightest sun, when he brings us his collections.

I’m crying when I write this; partly because it is all true, what I just wrote; partly because my allergies are so strong now that my eyes tear up in a split second, and partly because I am listening to a sad song now, in my headphones. “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles – ironic, maybe, because I was just with you, my reader, in outerspace, watching my son be an astronaut and collecting all of his outerspace treasures for us to see.

I’m crying again.

Tonight, he pointed out the black and the white on a sign in the phone store today “Ack!” “Ite!” – he proclaimed them like a conqueror naming new lands in long ago and faraway story versions of actual events.

Maybe it was the eclipse, but, I cannot help but feel my past, my present and my future all at once, sometimes. It is a weighty feeling; a sticky weight, an unwanted weight. I need to pour these words out of me neatly into waiting glasses, or I might just spill a little of myself everywhere, leaving soggy footprints and slippery trails.

I’ve been stuck in time, frantically working to become unstuck. I’ve been trying to call words from the shadows of my mind, to fling them into the world, but the words are stuck, too, along with the rest of me.

The eclipse may have just happened, but I feel like I too am coming to a point of some sort of an eclipse; a spot in my life where I realize that everything I see has a shadow, even if I did not always choose to see that shadow. A spot where I realize that it is not too late to untie my knots, straighten everything out, breathe in and out, and say: “What next?”

And then, being a part of what is next; not letting the time run me over and leave me without glasses to see a miracle in the sky, or tickets to hear a band play and listen to their music play in a room with some other people, listening to the same music at the same time. Maybe with some dancing.

So, I say with my words, I need to have the confidence to jump and to act and to be and to try. To keep trying.  In this next chapter of my life, I am going to be braver than I ever have. I can feel it in my heart.

I too will be an astronaut in outerspace, unearthing treasures and showing them unabashedly to the world.

See? I’ll say. See? Look at this. This is what I see. Do you see it, too?

And there will be shadows when we look down, and there will be miracles in the sky when we look up, and when we look at each other, we will be looking at each other, and that won’t be so bad, either. I can feel that in my heart, too.

Opening and Closing

Waking up in the morning, my eyes open.

My eyelids crush together, wrinkling, pressing a few times before finally pushing themselves upward so that my chestnut brown eyes can focus on something, anything, as the early day’s sunlight streams softly into the room. In those moments I can sometimes actually see particles of dust spiraling around me, floating through time and space while swirling and twisting in the growing light.

I am opening my eyes to see the world in these moments.

Only, I am not looking at the whole world, all at once.

I am instead first looking up, but, I do not see much-only an imperfectly created, long-ago painted ceiling.

But, that is not the only view in the world, of the world. I then push myself out of bed, and I am able to see more.

Looking down, I see my daughter. She snuck in again, last night. She “sleepwalked” and “couldn’t help it” because she was “asleep”, she stresses. And she smiles and the love I feel fills up the room and seeps out into the street.

But again, looking at my daughter with her hair in knots and her pink polka-dot pajamas, is not the only view I have of the entire world.

I open the refrigerator door and pull out some yogurt. I close the door. I open the yogurt lid and close it. I open the door again, and close it.

Open, close. Open, close. Blink, blink, open, close.

I open my eyes to the tv – I see and hear things that make my heart crack as though it will separate into a thousand pieces, but, I need to keep it together. Our hearts need to be in one piece in order to keep beating long enough that we can change the world for the better.

I open my eyes to the internet, to this window of time and space that exists where people are etching their thoughts and their emotions as though they are adding a cave painting to a cave; leaving their mark, their footprints, their touch upon this moment in history.

Some voices are strong and yell and reverberate through endless hallways. Some are quiet. All are listening, waiting.

I’ve seen some say that if you are silent, you’re adding to the problem. Maybe not; you can make your mark in other ways, even if you are silent. How did people in the underground railroad do things? Were they shouting at other people or were they silently the most heroic souls you can ever even fathom? I mean, think about it, everything else aside: the underground railroad was amazing, and it was real. Amazing and real and heroic acts can be silent ones.

So I’d like to add to the conversation – if talking is not your thing, use your voice in other ways. Be kind. Spread kindness like you’re spreading calamine lotion onto chicken pox. Kindness will sooth the swelling we all feel; I’ve seen it first hand. Spread understanding. Listen. Just listen for a while, so you can find the exact right window of opportunity that you can open, so you can help the world in your own way.

We are forever opening and closing our eyes to the world. We are forever opening and closing doors. Everything we do from the second we wake up to the second we fall asleep is a choice, and, you know what? We have seemingly an infinite amount of those choices.

If you think you’re making bad choices, then you can change them – there is still time. Even if you have seconds left in your life, if you can choose how to use those seconds, try and choose to live them in a loving way, because I really and truly think that this love is something that can turn away, eventually, all of the hate that is eating at the face of the world as if it were a zombie, just chewing and chewing on whatever flesh it can get it’s stinking, rotting hands on.

If you are opening your eyes and ears to the world and you are disheartened by what you see and what you hear, then do what you can to change it, even if it means opening yourself up to volunteer for a good cause, or reading a book to educate yourself so that you can inspire others in a positive way, or at the very least, if you have no idea how you can help fix the world at large, smile at someone while you’re trying to figure it all out. Because no one has it figured out, I can pretty much bet on that.

Change the conversation, if you feel it is weighing you down. Change the landscape if you feel like your landscape is adding to the gray of the world that is spreading and spreading like wildfire – add flowers. Plant so many flowers you are swimming in color. Plant them literally. Plant them figuratively. Plant them by talking. Plant them while not talking. Forgive someone. Hold someone’s hand. Tell someone you love them.

I open my eyes and then I close them in sadness. This happens to me a lot. But…a few weeks ago I was on a plane at night. As I was looking down at the cities pass below me, I saw so many lights-they looked like constellations as we flew swiftly above them.

And then I looked up at the ceiling of the plane, at the dingy white material that held together this vessel just floating through time and space at high speeds with me inside of it, and, I imagined the constellations above my head; above all of the heads of all of the passengers on my flight, and all of the other ones.

I could not see the constellations above our heads at that very moment, but, I knew they were there.

And I thought, as I often do: we live with so much magic in our lives.

And it is magical that so much love exists in the world, even though we cannot see it, all at once. We just need to remind ourselves that it exists, and love others in our own way, each day, as much as we can.

And in turn we can be lights, ourselves, in this ever-darkening place we call our world. And it is not too late for our light to spread, even faster than the darkness is spreading. I truly believe that, too.

I really do.

Pictures

I wonder, sometimes, about what it would have been like if our mothers had Instagram in the 1980s and 1990s.

I can definitely picture my mom as a young woman in her thirties using an iPhone to take pictures of us as we vacationed at Niagara Falls and then going through the pictures in the hotel room at night and posting them for other family members to see.

I can picture my mom taking a selfie when she was my age, even if she would never take one now.

I can picture these things because I remember my mom taking pictures, and it is easy for me to envision a phone instead of a camera taking the pictures, because they are about the same size, and it is easy to make that switch in my mind.

I also remember my mom applying eyeliner before going out to a fireman’s banquet, and it is easy for me to imagine what it would have been like to see her check to see who was watching, and quick snap a selfie in the hallway to document how beautiful she felt.

I don’t know why I want to picture all of this – maybe to normalize my thoughts on life, and how being a mother in “this day and age” is different than how it was for our mothers.

But, it was always a different age for our mothers.

The world is always a different place than it was for our mothers, and that is just the way it is.

When I was growing up, my mom would say things like “If we had a fire in the house, the only material things I care about are the photo albums”.

I guess I should feel assured that my pictures are being sent up to a cloud.

They go straight up to heaven, I guess.

Life moves so fast, it just chugs along whether you’re paying attention or not.

Which is why I’m trying to take as many pictures as I can. Trying to snap at the blurry trees out of the passenger seat window along the highway as the car zips along the road.

I know at my mom and dad’s house, there are thousands of photographs in their basement, all stuck to sticky pages in 3-ring binder albums, collecting dust until it is time to open them again – maybe under the glow of Christmas lights, when everybody is gathering. Maybe with a grandchild, on a sleepover. Maybe just sometime, just because.

I’m trying to stop time when I can.

I snap at it with a touch on the screen of my phone, which I rarely use to talk to anyone on, to tell you the truth.

I am trying to remind myself of beauty when I see it – I snap at it, because I don’t want it to slip away altogether; not just yet, anyway.

I want to show my children – this is what the world looked like when you were small. This is what we all looked like.

And sometimes I write captions, just like my mother would write on the backs of photographs – etching dates and names. I write words – I probably would have on the backs of hard copy photographs, too, because I tend to use words to proclaim my love, and this need is no different when it comes to telling the story of a photograph.

I try to think about what I will tell my children, when we look at these albums, when they’re older, what I might say, or what the photographs themselves will say –

This is when I must have felt beautiful, because I took a picture of myself.

It is okay to feel beautiful. It is okay to be who you are.

This is when I cried while taking your picture because you were finally talking.

This is one of the times you climbed into the laundry basket with your brother –  you were always the most amazing big sister.

I think that if Instagram existed in the 1980s and 1990s, maybe we would have even more pictures of ourselves when we were kids. Maybe we would see how artsy dad could be with his advanced filter usage, or how mom had an eye for lighting.

Maybe we would have gone on more vacations because our parents were inspired by the trips they saw appear on the screen that their friends posted.

Or maybe not.

There really is no way of knowing.

I can only imagine, and so I will keep imagining.

I’ll imagine that I’m living out my own life as a mother, which I am, and I am making my own decisions, and choosing to document whichever parts of my life I choose, as I will – because that is what all other mothers before me have done, in their own ways, with whatever tools and magic that was available to them.

That is the way it was, and that is the way it is. So, for now, I’ll keep taking pictures, leaving a trail for my future self to look back on – maybe under the soft glow of Christmas lights, or with a grandchild sitting on my lap.

Maybe I’ll have to borrow a photograph from a cloud still hovering above us like the light of a star does, for eons and eons.

Or -maybe it will be back in style to put print the pictures and carefully place them in sticky albums, just because we can, and, more importantly, because that is what our own mothers would have done.

I cannot say for sure what it will be like, but I can certainly attest to the way things are, right now, at this moment.

I’m busy taking pictures, writing captions, and sticking them into an Instagram album.

I’m busy stopping time.

I’m busy being a mom.

I’m taking a picture.

Cartography

Tuesday night. Long day.

I was thinking about how everyone works until their bodies shake, and are exhausted at night.

Then, in the darkness, when our children are asleep, we all stare at bright little screens tracing the steps everyone else took in the day.

Following breadcrumbs, unraveling the mysterious cartography left behind by our friends and family.

Picture trails, music titles, quick musings, tweets, and quips.

Some are signaling our distress to the outskirts of our social circles.

Some are sounding the horn at the start of a race they are choosing to begin.

Some are raising a white flag and sinking into the muck.

Some are cultivating empires.

Some are not.

And some are not sending any kind of a call themselves; they are simply laying in wait, behind their screens, mapping the steps of their brothers and sisters and wondering how their own might fare following similar pathways.

We live in a time of wonderment, where we can clearly see our audiences, and they can clearly see us, every night, through tired eyes, feeling the soft glow of a screen.

We live in a time of excessive sadness, as we read pages upon pages of broken headlines and then the reactions yelped out as the night spills into another morning.

And we all heave ourselves out of bed and begin another day. What have we learned from our nighttime cartography?

Our moonlight task while wallowing within the greenish glow of a sea of screens?

I’m not sure. I’m not.

But it is curious enough to think about, it seems.

Tree Pose

I’ve been practicing yoga about 1-2x a week for over a month now.

The experience of learning yoga poses, to me, is so much like learning a new language.

Each pose is a word; each sequence a sentence.

The sentences say things like:

“I am ready for this moment.”

Or:

“I will reach for the sky above me and keep my feet on the ground all at the same time.”

Since I’ve started this practice, the language of yoga has helped me to interpret life in a new way.

I am pulled to the now, and anchored here, stationed in this moment alone.

Yoga helps my anxiety to fall off of me like raindrops sliding off of my skin.

For me, much of my anxiety has roots in either the past or the future. If I fashion myself here, right in this second; if I carve my habitat into this very moment – I am here and you are where you are and life just is.

This liberates me.

I have to be patient, and yoga helps me to wait out the thing I need to wait out.

I also have to be brave. Yoga has shown me that there are certain poses I shy away from; I am afraid to bend my body a certain way because I do not want to get hurt.

But the yoga teachers explain-and they all say this- that the poses you shy away from are the very poses you need the most.

And once you conquer them – that is where and when you start to see that often, the only limitations which exist are the limitations we think exist – not any limitations that actually are.

So, in my day, I find myself going for headstands – walking over to talk to a person to figure out a problem, or tackling some kind of scheduling issue for my son’s therapies that I was afraid to think about, let alone tackle, or hiding screens in the house for 4 hours and letting the house become as messy as humanly possible so my kids and I can just play together and roll around like crazy people with humongous smiles on our faces.

Or deciding to go to a second playground, because my son transitioned from the swingset to the stroller without melting down at the first playground. Going to the second playground even if it means he might melt down when we leave (which he did) (and we all made it out okay).

Life is hard.

It is even more difficult when you do not anchor yourself in some way.

It is even more difficult if you do not go for the headstand.

It is even more difficult if you do not learn the language.

It is even more difficult if you do not try.

So, in honor of yesterday being the International Day of Yoga – these are my thoughts that I’m thinking about in this very beautiful moment, as the sun is setting, and my eyes are starting to feel heavy again.

As they say in yoga – the light in me greets the light in you.

Namaste.
Katie