Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash
“Right now, at the beginning, you’re just getting used to the movements. It takes time to start moving with your breath, to feel strong in each pose. Rather than muscling through it, why not invite softness instead.”
These are words my yoga instructor says to the room full of tired bodies at yesterday morning’s yoga class. We arrive while it’s still dark. Yawning and sleepy-eyed. I heed her advice and bend my knees, release my jaw, relax my shoulders. I know this message is for more than just my yoga practice today.
It’s the message I’ve heard all summer long as I chased butterflies, sailed under sunsets, and gazed at the ocean. Softness, lightness, grace through transition.
Yesterday was the first day of school around these parts, though my boys are not school age yet. But in the past this time of year always brought with it the start of something new for me. New grades, new university classes, new students entering my own classroom to teach. But not today. I make the same oatmeal, say the same good-bye to my husband as he leaves for work, change another diaper and once again send my preschooler back to his room to find a shirt that matches his pants. And as I sit on the couch beside my kids watching everyone else head off to their new routines, I am reminded of what no longer is. And I am left wondering what is to come.
I’ve never been in this place before. This place where the answer to “What do you want to do with your life?” is just a plain old “I have no idea”. There are days when I am okay with this, okay with the unknown, and there are days when I wish I had a clearer understanding of what it is I want to do. Since as far back as I can remember I knew what I wanted to “be”. A teacher, of course (though there was a brief “librarian” and “nurse” phase somewhere in there). And the path to that goal was very defined: 1. Do well in school 2. Apply to university 3. Graduate with degrees 4. Get yourself hired.
When I abandoned that all-consuming but straightforward path, I was left with an open schedule and endless choices. Of course staying home with kids is also very consuming; my mothering dictates most of my day. But not all of it. Within these restraints there are many, many possibilities. And this is where the question mark lies.
I’m finding this open-endedness difficult. I’m used to the predictable path where a number of finite choices were laid out for me year after year, and where the big decisions were few and far between. Yet this phase is exciting. I want to create a life that energizes me and makes me look forward to each morning (for more reasons than coffee). I know that whatever I choose to do will need to feel like an authentic expression of me.
Right now, I am a little unsure as to who “me” is.
But, alas, I am trying to stay light. I am striving for the butterfly.
(Maybe the yoga will help).