Sitting within yourself: 2010

Yoga practice is entirely designed to bring you to asana—a Sanskrit word meaning to take a seat, and then to sit comfortably within yourself. As my yoga improves by the week, I have started thinking about what else in my life requires an investment of attention to be able to do the most familiar things really well: to take a seat. To make a meal. To teach a class. To share an idea. To make my husband feel honored. And the flip side: when do I prepare passionately, and then not carry out the reward of my preparation? To do an hour of yoga, sit for one full minute when I finally feel I could meditate for hours, but instead pick myself up and head out into my day?

The theme of 2009 has been the collapse of my discrete lives, the end of fragmentation. You can't be a mom with two jobs and a commitment to her own health and wellbeing and keep everything seperate—you just can't. It requires too much energy. For instance, I used to have a landline, a personal cell phone, and a work phone. Three phones. Then I dropped the home land line, and had a cell phone and a work cell phone, both of which I insisted on carrying because I wanted to be able to leave the work cell behind on weekends, to live apart from work. Two phones. This year I dropped the personal cell phone. Just one phone now. My personal calls, work calls, work emails, personal emails, all come to one place. And I am OK with it. It's simpler. I give up privacy, but I also give up fragmentation.

I used to be secretive about being a fitness instructor, in part because I wanted to have a private life apart from work. But having a child means that home life is a part of work life, and vice versa, or at least it has meant that in order for me to have a schedule that makes me happy. The child is at work with me, the work is with my child and me, and for this trade-off, I get to have my child in the middle of my workday. And because at work I was suddenly open, asking, tired, working, everyone knew I was fitness instructor. Now my personal yoga teacher comes to teach a class at my work; I manage the wellness program there, so I brought her in, and now my friend is sharing her gift with my colleagues. Still, the boundaries of me-work-me-work are always a question. Every week I wonder if going sleeveless is "too much" -- should I wear workout pants that aren't as tight? How much of me is too much to show?

But this morning, having gone for the first time to the gym inside my workplace, I realized I've given up the last frontier of seperation: my gym, where I could escape. I can't escape, really, I can't make escape work anymore. But I can make integration work. And I can make it work for me. Bringing in my yoga teacher, letting my colleagues into my life, is a way of saying, hey, this who I am. Stopping my workday to be with Peony lets me say to myself, hey, this is who I really am. And sometimes, while she's playing, I have to respond to an email on that aforementioned cell phone, or call into a meeting while nursing, it's a way of saying to Peony, this is who your mama is—and it is working. It works as long as I flow with it.

I believe the continuation of this in 2010 is to bring the integration to the next level. Rather than allowing aspects of my life to be seen and to shine light on one another, I need each aspect to actually power the other pieces. The sleeveless shirt at work; I literally embody something for my colleagues, and somehow that's got to be more than OK, it's got to be who I am. The baby on my hip informs and feeds the way I share an idea, because it's who I am. How to make my husband feel honored....that's a little harder. But that's who I am too, and it's important. And the way I teach is definitely lacking some magic. I give it hard work, but it needs magic, too. Somewhere, somewhere in the people I touch and who touch me, in the ideas I have and learn about, in the breath I make and in the seat I take, there is an energy and connection that I simply must learn to allow to feed the fitness classes I teach.

Happy New Year!