I’ve always thought of my stepson as a pillar of strength — nothing ever phasing him. But a few days ago I was reminded that even strongest buildings are vulnerable to stressors. So before I even rolled out my mat today I chose to dedicate my practice to DD with hopes he would somehow benefit.
When the instructor began she described a picture of a clown balanced on a balloon, with more than a dozen balls in the air to be juggled, and a monkey with a pin in hand threatening to burst the bubble that holds the clown and all that his is juggling — I thought “OMG. This is going to be so perfect.”
Each one of us yogis could easily relate. How often do we find ourselves juggling a vast array of jobs, to-dos, and the responsibilities-essential-to-another’s-well-being. Whether we like clowns, or the Cat in the Hat with the cup, milk, cake, fish, rake, toy ship, etc, no matter how well we are balancing it all, so often we feel that if one more responsibility or task was given to us, we’d fall apart and let everything go to ruin.
“More ease; Less effort.” That was our mantra, or the thread that would weave the string of poses into one fabulous workout and a fabulous practice to dedicate to DD. As we moved through the poses, or asanas, I thought of him. As I stood on one leg with the other outstretched in front, wobbling and trying my best not to fall, she had us scan our bodies for where the areas that were working too hard. I found I could ease the work in my back by straightening out my leg and flexing my toes. “Less effort; More ease,” she called. And I thought of him trying to balance a full-time highly-demanding job, graduate school, and all the responsibilities of living in this stressful day and age. He does it so well, you’d never know he was feeling worn by the demands.
In the mirror, my eyes fall upon a yogi with one of the most perfect eagle poses I’ve ever seen. Everything about it, at least on the outset, whispers “ease.” But when we are asked to grow our pose, this same yogi wobbles and her eagle falls apart completely. My eyes return to my own image. I stare back at myself, serious and full of effort. I take a deep breath and remind myself to find ease. My eagle grows and I can almost see a smile peering out from behind my crossed arms.
It seems like only yesterday that DD was a young teenager, BoBo in his terrible twos, and I myself was busily trying to balance school and my full-time job. On the surface, it seemed as if I pulled it off with ease. Everyone was asleep when I opened the closet doors where my computer and nursing books were hidden. Most nights, it was past midnight before I’d even begin to work and would continue my efforts well into the wee hours of the morning. I was horribly stressed, and beyond exhausted on most days. Yet somehow I managed to pull it off. I even graduated at the top of my class, earning a spot in the nursing honor society.
So as DD describes the feeling of overload, having placed too many balls in the air, I can somewhat relate. Like I did, I know that he will find a way to manage. But I also know it won’t be easy.
I cannot take any of his tasks or responsibilities away from him. I would if I could. Instead, I am hoping that my dedication will be akin to handing that monkey a donut (in exchange for the pin) so that DD will enjoy a wee bit of ease and a little less effort in keeping all the balls he is juggling up in the air. And if it does nothing, perhaps just knowing that I thought of him will at least make him smile. And we all know that a smile makes everything so much easier.