Thursday, July 7, 2016

Okay, Full Disclosure

So I was thinking about it, and my last couple of posts have this "My Life Is Perfect" rosiness to them that even I find a little loathsome. And it's not entirely accurate. So this is intended as a partial corrective to that...

...because there are definitely days when I'm cranky and sluggish because it's hot and humid and our air conditioner is broken, or my research seems stupid and boring, or my four-year-old's incessant whining is driving me up the wall--seriously, he whines over things that are in no conceivable way problems! He'll be like, "Mamaaaaa, I want to play with my traiiiinnnn," and I'm all, "It's right there--go play with it already. And stop whining." Followed, of course, by an exasperated sigh and maybe a little grumbling. Perfection is pretty well out of the game.

But I'm trying--not for perfection, but for peace and presence. It is an aspiration, after all.

Quiet Aspirations

In yoga, we often do a pose called Aspiring Warrior. (It's also called by various other names, such as Reverse Warrior, Sun Warrior, etc.) In this posture, you stand with your legs wide apart, the toes of (say) your right foot pointing straight ahead and with your left foot turned in, your right knee bent at a 90 degree angle and your left straight. Your hips face forward--wow, okay, describing yoga poses is hard. Here's a picture:


It's a posture in which your legs are very strong--indeed, often very tired--and your upper body leans back and over with, hopefully, a surprising lightness. It's quite a lovely pose and fun to do, I think. Most of the time.

My quick image search revealed that most people call this Reverse Warrior, and that's the name that it had in most of my classes, too. My current teachers call it Aspiring Warrior, however, and I've come to like that; it shifts the focus away from the militant connotations of the Warrior and into the idea of aspiration, of yearning and seeking, that the posture entails.

A few weeks ago, as we were moving into the pose, my teacher asked, "What is your aspiration?" It was a question that she'd asked before, but it struck me differently on that day, six weeks into summer. What is my aspiration? At that moment, it hit me: It wasn't to publish more, or be more, or anything like that. It was to live my life--specifically, my life this summer. To live the summer. To be here, to feel it, experience it, enjoy it. To live more.

So I've done a few things. When I'm not too tired (and this flexibility, in itself, is quite remarkable for me), I get up early and meditate on the deck for half an hour, with the sun already high at 6 am and the birds clattering all over the forest. Then I read until the house wakes up, maybe with a cup of tea in my new birch-bark teacup from the recent craft festival.

The deck, with zafu

My cup. Isn't it pretty?

That's one thing. I'm trying some other stuff, too: spending more time on the deck at all times of day, taking naps when I can, doing fun outdoors things with my son (and sometimes even my husband!). Paying attention. Being there.

I have no illusions, really, about the likelihood of my keeping all of this up come fall. But it would be nice to borrow a few summertime habits during the semester. And maybe, simply by making them habits, I'll be able to do that.