Happy Mother’s Day! Today is a day that makes me feel grateful for the wonderful, loving, strong, kind, selfless mother I grew up with, who still continues to give endlessly of herself to her children and all people who know her. As an adult now, I think of all the times she must have struggled with us as children and yet she seemed to handle it all effortlessly. I never felt lacking in love or any other way growing up, which truly amazes me now as I try to do right by my own children.
It also makes me think about all the other beautiful mothers I am so blessed to know and call sister-in-law, cousins, and friends. They are all such exceptional human beings. I am so grateful to have such incredible role models in my life, who embody the type of mother and woman I daily strive to be.
And I also think about women who never get to publicly hold the beautiful title of mother, and not by choice. I think maybe they are stronger and more graceful than all the rest of us…..
For my beautiful little family of four, it has been an incredibly happy, gorgeous span of several weeks. We are all healthy and happy, with each other and with the world around us, and it feels so good. I have been learning so much about myself and who I want to be and it has been humbling and inspiring at the same time. I think it’s so interesting how different things find their way into our lives and can seem completely unrelated, but yet all feel like they are supposed to be happening, for their different reasons. I hope I can explain some of that here.
I started April by pulling together the different foreign pieces required to start my own business teaching yoga to children. It still feels weird to say I am a children’s yoga instructor and that I have my own business, but both are as true as they can be—wow!
I needed to get fliers out to the kids at my son’s school before they went on a 2 ½ week break on April 4th. Very speedily, I finalized a business name, designed, printed and distributed fliers (thanks to the help of my wonderful husband and friends), opened up a business email account and Facebook page, and began designing enrollment forms, welcome letters, record-keeping systems and invoices (again thanks to incredible help!), all of which I had not thought about previously or have any knowledge about how to do.
The day after the fliers went out, on the 5th, my beautiful little boy turned 6 and we hosted a party for him complete with the special rainbow cake he’d requested. While it seemed a bit ironic that I was preparing for both the business and the birthday in the same week, it actually helped keep me grounded and reminded me of what will always be my most important role, that of mother. He had a beautiful day and felt so loved. We all did. It was great.
The next week, to my surprise and delight, my initial class reached capacity! Steve and the boys were off of work and school and we managed to fit in some fun excursions on our own and with friends, including a 3-hour yoga workshop for Drew and I. It is even more precious now that he is in school full time and busier with friends and other activities to get to spend time just the two of us and we had a lovely six hours together. Steve and I also got an evening out to enjoy my second professional rugby game with our children in the hands of my dear friend’s little sister, which was so special.
All the boys had the 3rd week of April off as well and we took the boys ice skating one day. They loved trying it in December in Colorado so much that they’d asked to go again and we found a nearby rink. The differences were quite interesting—it was at least twice the price, in a much fancier private rink and it was jam packed. We couldn’t believe the crowds! It was also quite odd to be dressed in shorts and sandals and then needing warm clothes for a couple hours inside, so no one was dressed appropriately (not just us, I mean no one at the rink—everyone looked out of place and it was hilarious!). And then we went for a picnic afterwards. I know plenty of people in the U.S. skate in the summer and do the same things, but I never really had much of a desire to when it wasn’t cold out, so all of these things seemed odd. 🙂
We also took in the Lego movie and spent Good Friday, a public holiday, at a gorgeous beach, enjoying a picture-perfect day in all regards. Holidays still seem to make me feel a bit down and homesick and Easter was no different. It is really hard being the only ones around that never get visitors, and sometimes friendships still seem to take so much effort, which can feel exhausting. But that is where one of the other oddities about this past month comes in—a while back I had randomly stumbled across a free 21-day online meditation “class” led by Deepak Chopra and Oprah. I signed up for it because I really want to learn more about meditation and incorporate it more, but find it difficult to prioritize and always feel like I’m doing it “wrong.” It happened to start on the 14th and I almost didn’t follow through with all that was going on, but something made me just start it up…….It ended up being great! It was tough to get the 25 minutes free and quiet in the evenings to do it (I am not willing to compromise my morning workout time for anything! Enough said on that one.), and I missed a couple days here and there, but got through all 21 days and feel like I really benefited from it.
I remembered to focus on our little unit of four, and when I do, I realize how great we really have it. I also remembered that when it seems tough socially, the best thing to do, hard as it can seem, is to just keep at it. It’s not going to get any better if I don’t! So I did and have had some lovely interactions with people who I am really starting to consider to be close friends and now actually have my first girls’ overnight trip planned for next weekend—can’t wait!
But most importantly, I remembered that I am the one who is in control of how I feel and what I portray to the world. Meditation and my increased focus on yoga have been combining to truly make me more peaceful, positive and genuinely happy. I am doing better at recognizing when I feel anger, frustration, loneliness, etc. and can sit with those feelings, but then let them move through me, coming back to my true self. I know it can sound cheesy and hippy, but whatever works, right? This is what works for me and I am glad that 21-day experience came into my life when it did.
The following week, Drew had a cross country meet at school, which was precious. He is quite competitive and tries so hard and that alone makes me proud. He came in 4th and was disappointed! Only briefly, though. He is a positive kid. We can learn so much from our children…..they really embody the tolerance, patience and acceptance of self and others that we all need.
He also started a weekly gymnastics class, which he fully enjoys. I realized it’s everything he does on all our furniture, in stores, in airports, etc. only now he’s letting it all out in an appropriate environment! It’s a great outlet for his energy.
That night Steve and I got ANOTHER night out (2 in one month!) to attend one of the most joyful music events on this earth—I am not exaggerating. And, I got to meet one of my true music idols and even get a photo with him! We went to the Michael Franti and Spearhead concert with good friends and spent the evening dancing, being uplifted into a cloud of positivity, and really focusing on what is important in life and the commonalities we all share. It was gorgeous. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully come down from that high. His songwriting and way of relating to people are such incredible gifts—so life affirming. The band even came out and interacted and danced with all of us after the show—it was a night to remember for sure!
Friday of that week, we left on our first solo camping trip as a family since we’ve moved Down Under (whew—feeling like a busy few weeks yet! I can hardly get it all in writing, but it’s all worth mentioning.). It was a fantastic three days, absorbing loving moments, enjoying time to slow down, disconnecting from technology, reveling in nature and just being together. I will cherish it. We seemed to all need it and grow and benefit from it. The boys completely impressed us both by managing a 6k hike up quite a steep incline and including sections on exposed rocks without complaint. In fact the opposite—with joy and enthusiasm. Drew actually become obsessed with the area, studying maps, planning future hikes, asking which trails were the most difficult and when could he do them. I loved it! It was great to see him share my addiction and brought back memories of spending summers in my early 20s hiking and tracking my mileage and elevation gain and going back to hike almost the exact same trail to be able to branch off to see a new lake I hadn’t visited yet. It was so special to see our children enjoying time outdoors, which the 2 of us have enjoyed together for so long. It also brought back an activity we/I used to do in Colorado so often.
During that trip, the 3rd oddity that strangely contributed to this overall feeling of strength and wellbeing occurred. I delved into a book someone recommended to me called Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall. It was about ultra-runners, the history of running our society, and the evolution of humans related to running. It was fantastic! I finished it yesterday and almost hated to, because now I miss it. Although I will never be an ultra-runner, I could relate to it in so many ways. Funnily enough, it posed the concept that runners are kinder, happier people and made me realize that partly why I am so addicted now to this relatively new early morning habit of mine is because it’s basically a meditation for me, and a way to feel more centered, energized and positive all day.
Is this making any sense? Yoga, running, meditation—they’re all intertwined and when they are all part of my life, I’m a better mother, wife, person in general. The book, the meditation course and the yoga business (even the concert) all came into my life during the same month—it seems to be a glaring sign that everything is happening as it should. How perfect is it that I get to pass on healthy habits to children in not only a physical sense, but also in the sense of mental clarity and spiritual awareness as it relates to compassion toward ourselves and others and our overall connectedness, while at the same time continuing to nurture all of that in myself?! I’m even getting paid to do it! It all seems so unreal, yet so natural. It’s a true spin out!
The book also made me take the leap I’ve been toying with taking—I went ahead and signed up for a half marathon–eep! It’s July 20th and along the water. If I’m going to live in Australia and enjoy jogging, I want to do a fun race near the water and really soak in the benefit of where I live. I ran 11k yesterday and while tiring, it felt exhilarating, as it always seems to.
And, back to the beginning excitement, I did officially start my FULL children’s yoga class! May 1st was our kickoff and I taught on the 8th as well. I love it! The room is full of beautiful souls. Yoga is perfect for children—they are at the right age to come into it without any preconceptions; they are open to trying something new and not worried yet about whether they can or can’t and what other people think. They fully experience the joy that yoga offers without any hindrances—it is awesome to be a part of.
I also taught a trial class at Zach’s preschool and they meet next week to decide whether or not to offer it to families as an extracurricular option. And I had my next level of training last weekend—all day both days. I have been quite immersed in yoga and meditation these past couple weeks. No wonder it’s seeping into every aspect of my life and being. Aaahhh! 🙂