A few nights ago, I awoke at 2 am and my mind started churning with ideas, with worry, with life’s big questions. Evaluating my performance as a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, studio owner, and traveling yoga instructor, I began to feel like a failure. My thoughts darted around – “Am I present enough for my kids? I only spent 45 minutes with them today!” and “Why haven’t I picked dates for these trainings, ordered equipment, etc?”
I doubt that anyone jolts out of sleep in the middle of the night for the pleasure of it; I think our kinetic energy spills over into the chasm of our brain and sometimes gets stuck there, lurking in the recesses of anxiety and fear. Wading through that residual buzz must occur when all else is still – our bodies, our houses, our daily schedule. The silver lining is that it is during this pause of slumber that the bigger truths can reveal themselves provided we don’t get sucked into the sludge of our fears.
Those wee-hour perseverations are infrequent, thank goodness, but when they appear, I have found healthier strategies for managing the chaos in my brain.
First, I observe the ping-ponging conversation in my mind and attempt to slow it down a bit, settling on one point, using breath and meditation. I visualize the area that is bringing me concern and go the edge of the fear to indulge it for a minute. For example, the other night, I was realizing that my kids are now at school for a much longer day which gives me more time to work, and then they come home to do homework, which gives me more time to work and then I spiral into the well of anxiety, thinking “HOLY SHIT! I AM WORKING ALL THE TIME AND I BARELY SEE MY KIDS AND I AM A HORRIBLE MOTHER WHOSE KIDS ARE LEAVING THE HOUSE IN FOUR TO SEVEN YEARS AND ISN’T IT AWFUL! I NEED TO QUIT MY JOB IMMEDIATELY AND BE MORE PRESENT!”
After I feel my heartbeat race, sense the utter defeat of parenting well, and tighten my breathing, I make myself EXHALE. And then I do that again and again until I am ready to make my list. My list of joy, my list of what to rejoice, of what to be proud of, and that allows me to look realistically at my life and realize that I am actually going to be just fine.
I rejoice that I have a career, a passion that is one and the same, a driving force within me that is my life’s purpose: to empower people through the divinity of their bodies.
I rejoice that I have built a home for this joy of mine, my yoga studio, and I acknowledge just how much it has grown in a short period of time.
I rejoice at the community that lights up the walls of the studio and the ability for me to broaden that reach through my travels and online teaching.
I rejoice at having a husband who loves and adores me, who supports me in every endeavor, and who raises the bar of awesomeness.
I rejoice at having a beautiful home where we all live in safety and comfort, surrounded by our loving and deliciously adorable animals.
I celebrate my friends, my sisterhood of chosen family who inspire me and cheer me on every day.
And lastly, I rejoice at being a mom. My kids are off-the-charts incredible human beings, and when I doubt that I am doing a “good enough” job, all I have to do is watch them in the world. I rejoice at their sweetness, their compassion, their enthusiasm, their support, their playfulness, and their forgiveness whenever I blow my gasket (yes, it can happen).
I rejoice that my kids are witnessing my growth and passion. They will only benefit from the fruition of my hard work and struggles as well as my celebrations.
And finally, I rejoice that I am alive, maybe sometimes fearful, but most of the time, full of JOY.