A common theme I see, in others and in myself, when confronting what it takes to remain steady on our path of development is waiting for the ideal circumstance to begin practicing.
Excuses like, “I don’t have time to cook healthy food” or “I would meditate but I have noisy kids” or “It’s too wet to go for a run,” are so common that we forget they’re excuses and actually believe that they’re true!
It’s as though the practice is supposed to be perfect. But that’s the beauty of having a practice, you’re practicing!
I have a commitment to meditate daily. I don’t always carve out the time and I am guilty of blaming this on my three year old. So today as I settled onto my meditation bench while he was napping, timer set and heard the patter of little feet coming towards me I knew I had lost my window.
But a couple of weeks ago I discovered a new way to relate to my practice while doing yoga on the deck of our family’s cabin on Keats island. In my ideal world, doing yoga would happen when I am already in a peaceful place, have just been sipping tea and am in a room with a great teacher and a bunch of other committed practitioners. That’s right, I love my practice best when I go to class. A hot Lulu outfit doesn’t hurt either.
On the deck of the cabin with the Sun busting through the crisp February air is a pretty nice place to find oneself in Triangle. However, add a toddler giggling and trying to push you over and you suddenly confront the agitation that can arise when circumstances are less than ideal.
I’d considered waiting until he went to bed, but what I am learning is just how much these practices aren’t just about getting them done when it feels right, they are woven through our lives with all the messiness and distractions that they hold. Since my life happens to include a great deal of devotion to a little human who is my son, why not practice with him?
Why not have him be a part of my yoga practice? So on that day on the deck, the agitation turned to delight as our practice turned into an elegant dance; flowing from upward dog with my boy sitting on the curve of my back into down dog with him sliding right down my spine. He giggled and yelled TUNNEL and tucked beneath me, rolling out as I stepped over him into forward fold.
The balancing practices became hilarious as he attempted to push me over from every angle and my heart burst open watching him copy the postures on a mat I laid out next to my own. Not only was I practicing yoga, I was practicing play, I was practicing deep connection, balance and patience. Further, I get to model a particular way of life for my son, one that he is thriving within.
So today when I just about dodged out of meditation I thought, hey, let’s see what happens. Sitting in still and silent meditation is tricky with a little guy squirming next to you asking a million questions.
But this is the practice
Can I find silence here? Can I keep my mind from following distractions here? Further, what may a future look like for a man who saw the importance of stillness and silence when he was a boy? I realize that when I tell him I’m going to meditate that he doesn’t quite know what’s going on, but he knows I’m up to something.
After a while he settled in next to me, still and silent. I peeked open an eye and looked down at him. His eyes were closed, hands folded in his lap, huge grin on his face.
(Also, while writing this post (which of course would be ideal to do alone,) we are singing silly songs and I am now covered in stickers of animals!)
So for you, what practices would serve you that you’re just not making a priority? What are you dodging out of because your circumstances aren’t ideal? What can you do a little bit of or in a different way that supports your development that you can start doing where you are now and not when your life looks ‘more ideal’?