I used to practice a few hours a day. Every day. Deep backbends. Arm-balances galore. Most of my day was spent upside down. Hip openers and forward bends took me into the eye of the storm that was me. I’d get high on oxygen with all that pranayama. I’d drive around town and take multiple classes a day with amazing teachers. I drank in the yoga, not in goblets, but in buckets. It was profound.
Sometimes I’d get a little high before class, especially on Friday afternoons, lighting up a joint in my car on my way to the studio, LA sun shining down on me, driving west on Hollywood and South on Fairfax.
I’m a grownup! That feeling was like a sexy roar of freedom. 24 going on 14.
I was growing up. And I was becoming a child again. Yoga rebirthed me, and made me go through puberty all over again. I wasn’t just discovering who I was. I was creating who I was. It was exhilarating and fabulous and I felt like the sky was the limit. I felt like a little girl in a whole new world of possibilities.
I was meditating for two hours a day at some point. And chanting for an hour. I was studying texts and staying up late to learn more Sanskrit terms. I journaled and contemplated, trying to understand myself better. I worked on becoming more patient. Less reactive. More confident. I was establishing a sense of self worth that was missing.
And sometimes I’d get fabulously sad – that twenty something year old sad, full of big tears and longing, worried about the future, and weirdly smeared with nostalgia, even though the past is just a baby, and the future is so wide open. I’d smoke a cigarette (even though I quit) and have a glass of wine, and write pages upon pages in my journal while listening to KCRW. I’d get a kick out of being a rebel. I loved the complexity. Being full of contradictions. Joyfully depressed, cigarette smoking vegan yogi with a leather jacket. Just as I was when I was a teenager, taking the bus to my piano lesson, listening to Megadeath on my walkman, moments before my hands danced up and down the keyboard playing Mozzart.
I had big dreams. Lots of dreams. According to my master plan I was supposed to be something real big by now.
Life flowed through me in technicolor. Everything was exciting.
It was all pretty EPIC.
I think about it when I race myself around the clock to try to do everything I need to do and make it to bedtime on schedule. When I take things in and out of the dishwasher. Again. And then again. When I walk by Laundry Mountain and keep on walking past it (again) so that I have enough time to prep a healthy snack, fill up water bottles, and make another coffee to go, before little one and I need to rush out of the house to go pick big sister up.
And I think about it when I race my kids and dog around the block. Giggling. Watching the leaves change colors on the Sycamore trees. Feeling the shift in temperature. Another season turning. It’s going by so fast. Feeling this indescribable love. Gotta make dinner. Fuck the laundry. Catching a glimpse of myself through their eyes. Real big! Master plan accomplished. Maybe I’m doing ok.
I get up by 5:15am, so that I can squeeze in a quick meditation, a little mantra, three sun salutations, and some Agnisara before I make the breakfasts and lunches and do the morning mama thing before anyone else is up.
Well, actually, toddler boy usually tries to get up with me. But now that he’s not a tiny baby anymore, I refuse to let him into my morning kingdom. And after a few minutes of complaining he goes back to sleep.
I get a little sad sometimes. The forty year old kinda sad – I don’t have time to journal, I don’t ever smoke cigarettes anymore, and I don’t really drink. Still worried about the future. It’s not as open as it used to be. I feel nostalgic for the very moment I am in, since I now know how quickly it will turn into the past. I might cry quietly in the bathroom for a minute, then quickly wipe my tears and go serve more Lentil Pasta, and encourage more kale to get on that little fork. Still listening to KCRW.
I’m still working on my confidence. Still working on being more patient and less reactive. Still battling the self worth thing. It’s not missing anymore, just playing hide and seek. And I don’t have enough time on my hands to go seek.
It’s not in technicolor. Even with the occasional hit from the vaporizer on the weekend.
This stage in life is more like earth tones. It’s multilayered. So much of motherhood is about schedule, routine and stability. But it’s not gray.
The Queen of Mundane reigns over the passing years of your children’s childhood.
But the mistress of the sacred has not forsaken you. She is hidden in plain sight. You tend to forget that she’s there. She is the secret that you have to keep telling yourself. She’s in the giggles of your children. She’s in the loving gaze between you and your beloved – still, after all these years, still. She is in those hugs that squeeze you tight with little hands and little arms wrapping around you when you least expect it. She winks at you through the questions about all things life. She lives in stories about recess. In sentences that try to make sense. In leaves and sticks picked up on the afternoon walk with the dog. Her breath is the excitement that now belongs to them.
It’s all pretty subtle.
Is it a sign of maturity and growth, or is it a loss of self?
Probably a little bit of both.
But when the epic turns to subtle, you have a chance to recreate yourself in a whole new way.
Painting the world in earth tones reveals a newly poetic way of being, that is not less beautiful than the technicolor version of experiencing life.
We are always in the process of creating ourselves.
As the days get shorter and shorter, and the nights stretch longer, I receive the gift of being pulled down and in, down into the underworld where I can shed who I used to be, and enter the sanctuary of dreams – the place inside of me where the vision of my evolution takes place.
I still have lots of dreams. But I’m teaching myself to welcome the colors that are available for me right now, and learn to paint in a whole new style.
Is your style changing too? How? What are some of the colors you paint yourself with these days? What kind of you are you creating right now? Who are you becoming?
Journal about it, and then comment below and share your vision of yourself. This process is so enlivening when shared. I really look forward to reading what you come up with.