Saturday, February 25, 2012

Early Morning Willingness

Early morning willingness has never been my strong suit, unless of course I was still up from the night before.  Since I don't do a lot of all-nighters anymore, the only other early morning is the one where I wake from a deep sleep and consciously choose to get out of bed.  Sometimes those mornings are challenging.  I want to stay warm.  I want to sleep.  I want it to be sunny out but it's dark instead.  I want... I don't know what I want but it's definitely not getting out of bed before 8 a.m.   

So, what am I doing up at 5 a.m., fully clothed, with the car warming up outside?  The truth is it's yoga.

Yoga?  Give me a break.  Why should I have early morning willingness for that?

Some days I wonder and yet, really if I think hard and am honest with myself, it's because yoga is spiritual breath to me, the movement, the exertion, the surrender, the breath, the release and with it I learn about me, about who and how I want to be in my life.

My instructor the other day mentioned yoga was 110% effort and 110% letting go.  The effort lies in the posture and the letting go lies in the savasana.  The idea of letting go is not new to me and has been a part of my life for a long time but as I was laying in savasana when she mentioned this, I cried and my body released even more.  It was a truth I needed to hear again in a different way.

The same is for my life, the balance between effort and letting go.  I put myself out there.  I show up with my effort and when my effort is no longer needed I let go.  The challenge is knowing when I need to let go.  Now a number of years ago, I never let go.  I kept applying my effort to everything, trying to force solutions and outcomes because I didn't know what to let go of.

Actually, I didn't know I could let go.

There were many days where I would feel confused and baffled at why things weren't working out in my life or wonder why things were so hard.  I wasted a lot of energy and time exerting effort when I needed to let go and rest, let things be, without judgment, to observe.

The time in my past, where I wielded effort like a bulldozer, as if I could bulldoze through my life and get the results I wanted based off the belief that 24/7 effort equaled freedom, peace, and happiness, was a misconception and an unreasonable demand without validity.  By wielding such a destructive machine, I compromised my own value and worth, which resulted in over consumption or complete deprivation, whether it be with food, sex, money, material possessions, social engagements, and so on.  I would have brief moments where I felt like I had arrived that everything would be fine now from this point on and then the consequences of my over consumption or my complete deprivation would kick in and I would slip-slide in my life and wonder why me and why couldn't I just be happy.

I had no conception of balance, the yin and yang of life, that me as I am is a complete package and there is no part of me that deserves or needs to be ignored and if I play the coin of discarding a part of me, I will lose and lose big.  There in lies the letting go part.  I can't exude 110% effort when needed if I never have 110% letting go.

I may be able to fake my way through for a while but eventually the consequences of ignoring the core part of me that needs to let go will surface.  I will begin to lag behind, create physical symptoms, ulcers, gastrointestinal issues, headaches, sleeplessness, weight gain, along with emotional out bursts, grumpiness, increased selfishness, resentment, disinterest, sarcasm, judgment, and let's not forget mental obstacles, forgetting my keys, my purse, what someone said, even really being able to listen to another individual, and spiritually I lose connection with all things, with goodness, with grace, with compassion, with understanding.  My life takes on only a means of getting to an end and never an ease and flexibility of experiencing what is before me and enjoying it.

A simple reality, I will never see or experience this moment again.

Why would I want to spend this moment trying to get to the end of it?  To get my answer, to know I won the game or got the big job or my kids survived their high school years?  That's what happens when I'm stuck in 24/7 effort.  I am not really here.  I'm in outcome overdrive, calculating my next move and what else needs to be done.  Letting go helps me be here, to have patience when I need to wait, to show kindness when the grocery store line is going too slow and I'm running late, to know I will be okay even if things don't  turn out the way I want them to, to love my children even if they don't make the "right" choices, to have compassion instead of judgment and criticism, to have joy even when I don't have the money to buy it.  Letting go helps me see what I'm responsible for and what I'm not responsible for.  Letting go gives me the here and now to see what is before me, to experience it, to honor it, to revel in the absolute miracle of being alive.

My early morning willingness is generated by activities in my life which fulfill me and complete me.  No wonder I'm awake at 5 a.m. and consciously choosing to get out of bed to go to yoga with nay near a complaint.  Yoga fulfills and completes me and gives me an amazing opportunity, time and time again, to practice 110% effort and 110% letting go.  I practice in there and then I come out here and I practice with you and me and my kids, with my life.  I feel better.  I laugh more.  I observe without judgment.  I'm well, healthy, and of sound mind.

I can't say 110% effort and 110% letting go are easy propositions neither is yoga but both are rejuvenating and healing.  The results I get, whether I'm practicing yoga or a balance of effort and letting go in my life, are amazing, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Why would I not have early morning willingness?


Friday, February 10, 2012


Chopper is a funny cat, an alien really.  He comes from else where with an extra long tail that fluffs wide when it's cold.

At night, he pokes his bony paws into our chests and licks our fingers and palms.  Skin samples, we found.  That's what he was licking off our fingers and palms.  He sends them up through his tail that sticks straight up like an antenna, transmits to the mother ship.  He watches us with dark eyes, not evil, not contriving at all, just sweet and kind, luring us in to pet him, to cradle him with love as he licks our fingers and palms.

Silly cat, I say.

My husband laughs and tells me he glimpsed the mother ship the other night, when he stood out on the rotting, wood deck, as he looked up at the stars.  There it was above our home, half invisible but there nonetheless, hovering, collecting Chopper's samples.  We don't feel angry by it or deceived.  We find it funny, though we don't know what they do with all our saliva-stained samples.

Chopper went missing once, for two weeks.

We looked everywhere, wandered up and down the streets with "Missing Kitty" fliers under our arms.  We cried, or at least I did, and called his name.  And then one morning, after we had already accepted the fact that he was gone, I woke to a loud meow outside my window.  At first, I thought it was just me dreaming a dream of Chopper talking to me like he used to, so I fell back asleep but was woken shortly by another meow.

I gathered my sleepy limbs and managed to the backdoor and who stood under the window but Chopper himself, all skinny and sad looking.  I brought him into the house and cuddled with him in bed.  His hair felt dirty and oily, not soft and smooth, and he wouldn't stop licking and meowing and rubbing against me so eager to get his love he had missed for two weeks.

We figured the mother ship took him for a while.  I'm sure he stood up for us humans down here, and they didn't stand for his subordinate behavior and fired him.

His still an alien, jobless now, but that's okay.  We like him all the same.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


You sat there with wild hair and inquisitive eyes, head tilted down, just enough to intrigue me, pull me in, and you said something sweet, which flowed over me like sun-warmed water.  I smiled, of course, and crossed my stocking-dressed legs and followed your eyes from the tip of my boot to the edge of  my thigh and knew I had you as you had me.