Baby Leo started sleeping through the night and I lost the huge bags under my eyes, i just have delicate little dark circles now. So I celebrated by doing what any red blooded woman would, i started meditating in the mornings again. It’s funny because why didn’t i start earlier? What’s 10 minutes? But when you’re sleep deprived all you can think about is being horizontal in bed. Even if you’re just lying there with your eyes scrunched closed thinking, baby’s going to wake any second, baby’s going to wake any second.
I keep it simple, I sit cross legged on the couch and focus on my breath for 10 minutes or more if I’ve woken up early. I used to have such a hard time letting go of my thoughts (or is that *ignoring* my thoughts, or is that telling my thoughts to go *piss off*), now it feels like such a relief to Not Think. I know there’s a whole day of scattered thoughts ahead and remembering only half of what i should and doing maybe some of what’s important. Only following my breath for a few minutes feels like heaven.
What i’ve noticed with meditating is that i’m more clear during the day. You know how they say you should pick your battles? And you know how there’s about 500 of them a day when you live with a five year old “asserting his independence” (although i usually call it other things)? I used to think that those decisions took time, one needed to think long and hard about whether this was a battle that was getting picked or not.
Now it’s instantaneous. Am I making waffles because he’s asked 26 times? Nope still not, i’m tired and need to stick to my “no”. Am I going to try to make the baby understand that it’s a real drag when he throws his banana chunks all over the kitchen floor instead of eating them? Meh, I tried that yesterday and it’ll cheese me off to try again today. Instead I’m just going to take them away from him before the kitchen floor starts to sprout banana trees.
Bing bango, the decisions just make themselves. And i know you’re thinking, Cor maybe it’s not the meditation, maybe you’ve finally figured out how to navigate your way through the complicated waters of parenthood. And i say, yup, i don’t care if it the brand of *coffee* i’m drinking, i’ll take the clarity. I’ll keep meditating too.
It feels so good to give myself the first few minutes of the day. Just for me. And my living room windows face the water and the sun rising so it’s a good place to be in the morning. Sometimes the baby wakes up while i’m sitting but he doesn’t go into full cry or anything so i just use it as an opportunity to let the sound go. Baby will be ok for 3 more minutes, keep breathing. And being thankful that i’m sitting and breathing.
It feels so good to do what feels good. I’ve been trying to listen to my gut or my intuition or whatever you want to call it and i think that’s how you best evaluate it. Does this feel Good and On Track and Interesting? I worked with someone from California who used to say about someone, “he’s got a lot of Go Energy”. It’s a funny woo-woo expression, but it seems to capture it – does this thing have a “Go” feeling to it? It’s a feeling thing and not a thinking thing. It’s not – does my head think this should be on the top of my To Do list? It’s not a “should”. It’s gotta be a “wanna”.
I had D K Brainard do a personal astrology reading for me for my birthday this year. He said that’s what Tauruses are all about, doing what feels good or will feel good. The reading was awesome. He really sees stuff in your chart, it’s not just “you’re a very outgoing person”. It helped me understand myself better. It was affirming and positive about what’s coming. He said I need to, “try to let go into feeling good and then life will flow to where it needs to go”. He said that letting go is my challenge this time around and I’d say, oh yeah it is.
But on the “doing what feels good” front, there’s still a hardwired puritan bit in me that resists it. Like it can’t be ok. Like all the good and proper things to be done in life are the things you absolutely hate. But that’s silly. Like people being in jobs they hate because mom wanted them to be a lawyer and they really want to work with kids. If you have to work 40 hours a week until you retire, you need to do what holds your interest. Do what feels good.
A simple example for me is clutter clearing. I love to clear a good bunch of clutter but I until I’m in the right mood it’s a drudgerous task. If i try to do it before the mood strikes it’s right up there with cleaning hair out of the drain – yuck. It’s tough to make decisions about stuff, it takes forever, I drag my feet. But when the mood strikes, man, those garbage bags are full and the place is organized faster than i can say “wow i haven’t seen the floor in here in ages!” If I’m in the mood, it feels good to do it and feels even better to have it done.
So you’re saying, yeah ok but what about doing tequila shots until you fall over? That might feel good at the time but it won’t feel good later. And I say, maybe it needs to be in a big picture sense. Like the hangover the next morning doesn’t feel good so maybe that cancels out whatever feeling good happens the night before.
Or maybe the other tact is the really big picture which is, you fall over this time and suuffer the hangover so the next time someone pulls out the bottle, salt and lime you’ll say – boy there was part of that that didn’t feel so good last time so maybe i’ll play it different this time. You will make sure you’re staying in a “feel good” place this time and avoid the screaming hangover. I’m still thinking all that through. Is it really ok to only do what feels good?
Sometimes things aren’t black and white. When I’ve just sat down to eat and my son reminds me he needs a drink, it doesn’t feel good to get up again but knowing he’s got a drink and isn’t going to become a dehydrated raisin makes me feel good.
My other caveat on the feeling good thing is that it’s gotta feel good for others too. If you’re making yourself feel good at another person’s expense you can’t be an aware compassionate human being and think that’s ok. It’s gotta feel good for everyone or you’ll just feel guity. And that doesn’t feel good.
I’ve found that a big part of doing what feels good is managing my energy, which i’m trying to get better at. When i was working i had a schedule that i needed to manage my energy around. But without working it’s a free for all. Since i’m a morning person anytime I’ve had energy I have it burned up by noon. Then I have nothing left to stay ahead of Angus after school when he’s ready to take on the world (or *destroy* it, depending on the day) after sitting in a desk all day.
So I’ve tried to not only do what feels good but do itwith more ease. I remind myself that I don’t have to do x task or y activity at an 110% pace. In fact it’s better not to. 85-90% is just great. Yoga taught me that. And as I go to classes i see that not a lot of teachers teach that, they feel it’s their job to push you as hard as possible. Maybe they feel like only lazy people go to yoga. But the fact is, i can push myself hard enough, I’m trying to do less these days.
I love trying to maintain ease in yoga. How can i hold Tree pose without being a rigid stump? So that the slightest breeze will knock me down? How can i be a bendy swaying baby birch tree that responds to the breeze but holds her center? And fall in and out of the pose with humour? How can i hold a firm standing leg and core but let my bent knee relax open, let my shoulders fall away from my ears, let the muscles in my face relax and let the thoughts in my head be “la-la-la-tree pose” instead of “IF I FALL IT WILL PROVE I’M TOO STOOPID TO DO YOGA”. You know? Holding the pose, with ease. Hanging out in the pose without rigidity. Doing and not doing.
Now i’m trying to find that ease in everything i do. If i’m walking up a hill pushing 70 pounds of Leo and stroller, sure it’s hard, but can i do it with ease? If i’m picking up groceries but am short of time can i just ignore a few things on the list and get it done with ease rather than race around like a mad woman and knock over the barbeque display while i’m at it?
It’s like the ying-yang symbol, some black in the white, some white in the black. I’m doing stuff, but with ease. Getting things done because they feel good, and feeling good doing it.