Earlier today, I was sharing the details of a very challenging last couple of weeks with a dear friend. I was telling her about my 2 year old son coming down with the croup when he and I were in North Carolina last week. I shared with her all of the added challenges and stresses of caring for my sick boy while so far from home. It’s not surprising that when my son was finally well enough to fly back to Seattle, I then got sick. I explained how these last several days have had the added challenge of working to catch up at Lila while not feeling well.
My friend listened empathetically and kindly acknowledged how difficult things have been for me. She said, “Sometimes, life just comes at us.” Then when my I began to say things like “I wish I could have done more,” and “I’m so behind with work” and “if only ‘x’ or ‘y’ could have been different,” she said, “We all do what we can do.”
While her statements were so simple, it sort of stopped me in my tracks because I had been replaying the events of the last couple of weeks in my mind looking for how I could have changed the circumstances or how something could have been done better or differently.
Her statement made me think about all the moments when my son was suffering with a painful cough and labored breathing and all I did was just what I could do. I sat with him in the hot steam of the shower; I soothed him and assured him and basically held him for 4 days. When it seemed like these steps weren’t enough I twice took him to Urgent Care. When I didn’t feel like I could handle it on my own any more I had my husband fly out on the next flight to Asheville. And even though I partly wish I could have avoided the extra expense and inconvenience of my husband joining us, my friend’s simple statement helped me feel some compassion for myself and see that I did what I could until I couldn’t anymore and then I asked for help.
I considered how all of my actions whether big or small and felt some comfort knowing they were coming from the same place within me, the place of my love for my son. And although not conscious at the time, I can look back and see that I was doing all I could do while coming from and even being fed by this love.
So, if life comes at us and we all do what we can do, perhaps what matters most is where we’re coming from.
I am grateful to the tradition of yoga for providing a place where I can cultivate where it is I want to come from not only in my practice but also in my life. Yoga always encourages to do just what we can. In this space we can take a moment to ask ourselves, “Where do I want to come from in my practice today?” “What is in my heart today that can feed me as I do just what I can do?” “What is the commitment that brought me here?” Starting class in this way sets a tone that reminds us to leave our striving, judging mind at the door and settle into a quieter, more open place within ourselves. When we practice coming from what is most important to us in yoga, it becomes easier to do the same in our lives. Over time, when we can live from this quieter more authentic place and experience more freedom more often, even when times are tough.
In no way do I think I was doing anything extraordinary while caring for my son. I was doing what any mother would do when her child was sick. But it was helpful for me to acknowledge that I did what I could do, others around us did what they could do and I can let go of wishing for something different, trusting that as much as possible I came from love.
Here’s something you can try! I invite you to join us for class this month and begin your practice with an inquiry, “”Where do I want to come from in my practice today?”. See where it takes you and tell us about your experience. We love to hear from you!
Also, we’ve made some changes to our new Spring Schedule that begins March 19th. Make sure to check it out and join us for class soon!