September and the first half of October were not quite what I was anticipating. I was so looking forward to getting back to routine – to something that resembled balance of family, life, work, self… I concluded quite sometime ago that “Finding Balance is Bullshit” – but when the kids are in school I feel like this is the closest I can get. Alas, it was not to be.
My 7 year old daughter has Cystic Fibrosis. It’s a horrible condition that has various effects on the body and it varies from patient to patient but mostly it affects the digestive system and the lungs. For my poor little kitten, these days, it’s her guts and she has been struggling for 7 weeks today from ongoing issues. Seeing her struggle physically – is tough. Tougher still is observing the toll this is taking on her mentally. She doesn’t want to go to school right now – afraid her body will betray her and an embarrassing incident will occur and just exhausted from feeling generally unwell for so long.
Her medical team is encouraging us to continue to persuade her to go to school – to at least give it a try. The sad truth is that Rowan’s life will be filled with situations where she must overcome her condition and forge ahead despite poor health. As parents, we want so desperately to teach our children the balance of honouring themselves and their physical and mental well-being but to also still be resilient and productive members of their communities. In short? I barely know what I’m fucking doing and everyday I pray that I am doing right by my kid who is suffering in a way that I will never comprehend and this makes my heart hurt. Bad.
Last week; the practice in my Studio as well as my own personal practice has been focusing on heart opening love, compassion, forgiveness, and healing. You cannot open your heart without first grounding yourself and you cannot heal your heart without being willing to open it. Enter Yoga and the beautiful mindfulness that comes from physically offering your heart up and stretching and breathing out the hurt and the tension. Tree pose or Vrksasana provides all that is required to facilitate this work in our hearts.
First off, I just love how deliciously “Yogi” tree pose looks – the balance, the arms outstretched, the pin-point focus. I also love that it puts me right where I need to be – always; but particularly during times of struggle. Grounded into the earth, back strong, heart big, hands reaching to heaven…. standing, resilient, beautiful, strong enough to bend and be flexible and adapt, brave enough to own the spot that I stand – confident and sure.
The secret to a really good tree pose is first grounding your balance foot perfectly into the earth; imagining the deep roots supporting you and strengthening you. Next, you want to find just the right spot for your eyes to rest their gaze, just the right tension in your abdomen to balance, and most importantly just the right pin-point focus in your brain…
If you think too much,
If you hold your breath,
If you take your eyes off your focus,
If you build that solid foundation and create deep roots – you can send your heart up and drop your head back; a glorious act of trust and faith.
All of life’s lessons … in one glorious yoga pose.