Presence

When I started this part time working gig, a friend told me to be where my feet are. I love this. So true. So simple. And yet, I have a devil of a time living by it.

For some reason, when I’m at work, I always remember the camp forms I need to fill out or the class snacks I need to pack and when I’m at home I’m making mental lists of the tweets that need to be tweeted or the pitches that need to be pitched. Those days when I can’t seem to keep my brain and my feet in the same space are exhausting. I feel overwhelmed and unproductive. I get short-tempered. Then I load even more guilt on myself for not handling the entire situation better so I don’t get to that point.

Circular? Yes. Productive? No. Frustrating? You betcha.

I recently gave up the workout class I have been participating in since the six year old was a mere six weeks old. I loved every aspect of this class – the workout, the fact my kids could come along, the fresh air, the friends I made (seriously, moms, check them out. I have in no way been compensated to say this). It was hard to say goodbye, but my kids are older. The schedule is tougher with all the increased commitments of work and school volunteering. When I hadn’t made it to a class in two months, I had to say goodbye.

Needing to fill the hole, I have started going to a yoga class at our local Y. I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve never done yoga, but was intrigued and thought it would give me something fresh to jump start a new workout routine.

Yoga might be the best gift I have ever given myself. Not only do I feel my body responding in extremely positive ways, but my spirit is lifted every time I walk out of the studio. Taking an hour to do something for myself, by myself has been revolutionary. Being able to simply breathe and be without a litany of tasks clouding my brain has given me a fresh perspective to start over those afternoons. The soft voice of the instructor, the purposeful movement, the sense of peaceful community have all done wonders to my mental space.

I am ridiculously in tune with my body – my husband would say too much so. I think I knew I was pregnant with my second child within days of conception. I could just tell. My cardiologist has agreed when he has assured me some of the issues I’ve presented with are extremely common, most folks just don’t ever feel them. I am very concerned when something seems off in my body, which can often lead to crazy assumptions that I must be coming down with something (this is the point at which the hubby thinks I need to be less in tune with my body since sometimes an eye twitch is just an eye twitch and an achy back is just an achy back).

But in yoga, it’s all a positive. It’s being in tune in the most fundamental way – listening to what needs stretching, filling and emptying. Letting go of concern and simply taking a mental inventory of the aches and the pains and the good and the satisfied. Being present, focused and healthy.

So to all of you mamas out there trying to find the elusive balance, remember, it’s about presence. Find something that makes you feel present. It doesn’t have to be yoga, it can be a walk, a run, a hot bath, meditation, whatever makes you grounded and keeps you from thinking of all the need tos and haven’t dones.

Be present. Even if it’s just an hour a week. And if you’re still insisting on balance over presence, come join me in a nice chair pose.

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