Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Finding grace and the permanent present

So during a yoga class last week there was this first-timer -- a lithe woman in her 60s or early 70s whose daughter talked her into trying out a class while she was visiting from Georgia. She kept announced that she had no idea what she was doing (while bending her uber-flexible body in ways she had no idea it could go) and fretting that people would laugh at her.

I reassured her that nobody would laugh. That we're all learning. 

At one point she looked over at me and exclaimed "Oh my god, you are so graceful." 

At which point I did laugh. Because I don't believe anybody in my 32 years on this little planet has ever called me graceful. Ever. 

In fact, any commentary on my mobile abilities usually centers around how not graceful I am. Or, if not that specifically, then maybe on how goofy I look when I attempt to be graceful. 

But actually, during yoga, I do feel graceful. In fact, it's caused me to reassess some of my preconceptions about what I always thought I could or couldn't do. It occurred to me during the class that it's been about a year since I started yoga. And while I still can't do crow for any amount of time without falling on my face -- I'm getting closer. 

So maybe after all these years, my dance moves still resemble an amalgam of all the Peanuts characters with, like, a hint of Elaine, but dammit I can look graceful while standing in weird poses.

So that's something.

Speaking of weird poses, my instructor said something that struck me as funny. We were all attempting this arm-balancing pose -- sitting in lotus and holding our bodies up off the floor (Google says it's called Scale Pose) -- and I commented how awkward it was. 

Rhiannon said that most of yoga was like that -- you put your body in these strange positions often enough and it gets used to it.

"You just kind of have to embrace the awkward." 

Finally, a mantra by which to live my life!

So in honor of my first yoga anniversary, here's me embracing the awkward today:

Luckily, I gave birth to two kids who are more than willing
to embrace the awkward right along with me.

And here's a grab bag of other random stuff: 

* For Christmas, Aunt Ann gave Lily a copy of "Fancy Nancy," which has recently become one of Lily's (and my) favorites. It tells the story of Nancy who is young sophisticate, preferring the finer and frillier things in life, while the rest of her family is kind of plain. Nancy decides to help her parents and sister out by offering them a class on being fancy, which they gamely participate in. And after learning that Christmas bows, garland and a plenty of ribbon can make any ensemble fancy, they all venture out to an uber-fancy pizza-and-parfait (i.e.: ice cream) dinner, which delights Nancy. I was skeptical about the princessy undertones of the book, but the ending message -- to embrace your children for who they are and try to live in their world every no and then -- is one I can get behind. And Lily definitely has Fancy Nancy inclinations -- she loves wearing dresses gets strangely excited on the rare occasions that I put one on.  

* Aunt Ann also flagged me on this episode of Fresh Air, which featured author Jennifer Seniors who talked about her book on the paradox of parenting, "All Joy and No Fun" (what an awesome and apt book title!) Seniors offered a lot of interesting thoughts and research about modern parenting compared with years past; it's definitely worth a listen. My favorite part (conveniently "Fancy Nancy" related) was Seniors suggestion that parents experience the permanent present with their kids -- go eyeball to eyeball with them and enjoy the world as they do in that moment. "Suspend all that noise. ignore all that running endless ticker tape of noise that is looping through your head … it is glorious," she says. It's been a long week already in our household, so this was a really good reminder for me.

* Also quasi-"Fancy Nancy"-related, we painted our front door. It's purple. Like, really purple. The technical name of the paint color is Grapealicious, but Lily said it's actually "Sofia the First Princess Purple" and who am I to argue? To accent our super-purple front door, I made a wreath. Out of decidedly unfancy toilet paper tubes (What? we're on a budget!). (Among my other weird habits, I stockpile toilet paper and paper towel tubes -- they're great for crafting -- although my hoard was dangerously depleted after this wreath project).

* Speaking of squirrely, Here's a bonus, belated St. Patrick's Day Squirrel (they had two holiday-themed outfits this year.):

Where's the corned beef?

* Finally, my best good friend Stephanie sent me a link to this fantastic post from The Oatmeal on creating content for the web, which is what I do for my side hustle.* Beyond creating content for the web, it's about the excruciating-infuriating-but-ultimately-gratifying task of writing the things that are the most meaningful to write. 

* I just learned about the phrase "side hustle" from my side hustle: I.E. part-time money-making gig.  

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