I laid there so agitated. She wasn’t falling asleep. I could hear her breath so awake. And he was just all over the place. Switching sides like a maniac – right breast, left breast, right, left, right, left… SO ANNOYING! Go to sleep, little guy!
Yes, he’s almost two. Yes I still nurse him to sleep. Yes she’s six, and yes, I still cuddle her into her dreams. It’s our sweetest moment of the day. It’s when we get to relax into each other.
I wasn’t exactly relaxing. And it didn’t feel sweet.
I was annoyed. His body tossed and turned. His eyes wide open. Switching sides… Left, right, left right, left right. ARGH!
No matter how hard the day was, when we turn off the light, and we lay there quietly, I get to feel them on my skin as they drift into the arms of Mother Night. It’s precious! And none of us are ready to let that go.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t get to have a hard time sometimes.
The more agitated I was, the less sleepy he got.
And she wasn’t exactly getting more and more restful either.
It was cutting into MY time! I still needed to clean the kitchen. It was getting late. And all these ideas were floating in my head, begging to be written. The tiny little bit of time that I have for my projects was being eaten alive.
Left boob. Right boob. Left. Right. Side to side to side to side.
Where’s my practice? I asked myself silently under my short breath, under my awake girl, under my moodiness, under my tossing toddler, switching… Left. Right. Left. Right…
Sometimes I’m really mad because I don’t get to practice much these days. I long for long, deep practices. Those are not happening right now. And sometimes it affects how I react to things, and how I interact with my life. But that pisses me off, because the practice, in my opinion, should be here to support life, and not the other way around.
My inner toddler has a meltdown because she wants a two-hour yoga class, a half-hour of meditation in the morning, and another fifteen minutes at night. Plus time for Pranayama. And chanting.
But I do know that a little goes a long way.
Just a few moments every day to focus on my breath.Ten minutes to move my body with awareness and intention. A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY.
Reminding myself of that is a practice in it of itself.
Do one sun salutation. It’s better than none. You have thirty seconds? Do a handstand. In traffic? Chant some mantras. You’re cooking and your little ones are occupied for a moment? Instead of reaching for your phone to check the news, or scroll down the spiral of Instagram in between chopping and stirring, get your ass in Goddess Pose and do Breath Of Fire for a minute. Got in bed, it’s after midnight and you haven’t done anything for yourself today? Sit up for one moment and do Fire-Log for three breaths on each side. Or stay on your back and just do Eye Of The Needle.
A little goes a long way.
“Where’s my practice?” I asked myself as he stared at me with a “Mama, help me!” look on his face, switching right to left and left to right.
Breathe into the Earth. I heard my inner voice. Breathe out to the cosmos. My eyes closed to that command, and I saw the vastness inside myself open up. Breathe in that vastness. Breathe out into the earth. Let her receive you. Breathe in her support. Breathe out into the expanse of the Universe. Inhale this spaciousness. Exhale and release into the solid ground beneath you. Inhale and grow roots into her soil. Exhale and reach far and wide into this openness of sky and the beyond. Breathe in the infinite. Breathe out into this powerful presence that holds you.
I felt myself calming down. These instructions kept roaring softly inside of me. The sweetness of surrender slipped seamlessly into the scene. Her breath became heavier. He stayed on the right breast. My heart opened. His eyes closed. My mind sensed relief. My breath slowed down. My body released into gravity. My daughter’s body released its weight into the bed. My son’s body released its weight into mine.
Breathe into the earth.
Breathe out into the cosmos.
They fell asleep.
I came out of the room. I cleaned the kitchen. And I sat down to write.
This little Dharna isn’t the solution to all of the world’s problems. It’s not always gonna work. We might feel resistant to it sometimes. But when stress comes on, and agitation builds up in a way that doesn’t serve you or others, this practice is magic.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Ground. Expand. Receive. Release. Earth. Sky. Inhale. Exhale.