My daughter Addison is into theatre. She does a few plays a year through her school and just last week she auditioned for the Spring show - Annie!
She had a character in mind that she wanted to get and when she came home after auditions, she was filled with such joy. She oozed confidence and said her audition went so well and she felt so great. She radiated vibrancy and as a parent, it is the best feeling to see your child that way. These are the moments that fill me with joy to see my child thriving, believing in herself and following something she is passionate about. This is what I love most about parenting.
This weekend the cast list was sent out and that moment quickly faded into the type of parenting moments that for me are the most uncomfortable to navigate. If you can guess, Addison didn't get the part she wanted and as soon as she saw it, she fell apart. I am talking sobbing hysterics, wallowing out loud on the verge of hyperventilating. Now I have gotten good at pep talks around navigating our expectations which is exactly what I thought this moment was going to be all about. Piece of cake...I got this!
It seemed to me at first like a pretty straightforward parenting moment...Addison upset about not getting what she wanted and I just needed to soothe that for her and help her feel better. So I jumped right in with my support, comforting her with familiar encouragement and reminders about not always getting what we want in life... piece of cake I thought, I have given hundreds of these pep talks by now.
But Addison cried harder and louder...had I lost my mojo?
"Mom, I am not sad about not getting the part I wanted. I'm sad because I felt so good about how it went and this makes me feel like I am terrible."
My hear sank...she wasn't upset about something on the surface, but she was sad about something deeper. I was now staring face to face with my worse nightmare, my sweet child was doubting her worth.
I crumbled into a ball of mush as I curled up in bed with her. As she cried, I cried, for her heartbreak is my heartbreak. These are the moments that are the hardest for me. The moments when nothing I can say or do can "fix it". When my child is hurting like this, I can feel my insides churning, I feel sick to my stomach, I feel her sorrow in my own soul and it it the deepest kind of ache and it is so uncomfortable to bare.
So I just laid there and held her while she cried, feeling less, I held space for her sorrow as it ate me up from the inside out. Oh, it was beyond hard, I wish nothing more in that moment for it to be all better and for her to reclaim her joy, her sense of worth, but it just doesn't happen that way. Life has so many moments that are so uncomfortable to endure.
After Addison fell asleep, I was filled with a deep reverence and an immediate connection to my yoga practice. For that hour long cry session with Addison was my yoga for the night.
See, THIS is WHY we practice. THIS is WHY we step onto a yoga mat, THIS is what we learn as we move around our bodies that we don't entirely love 100%. THIS is what we cultivate when we sit with our racing minds in meditation . THIS is how we heal our hearts from the emotions we are scared to feel. Yoga teaches us so much, I will never be able to write enough blog posts in my lifetime to share it all. For me one of yoga's most profound lessons is the way it teaches us to be with what is uncomfortable.
On the mat, in our homes and on the news we witness so much beauty and so much suffering. the world we live is in uncomfortable to witness and there are very few places and spaces that teach us about how to be in that discomfort. This is one of the great and many strengths of yoga and a reason that is far more important than becoming flexible to engage with the practice.
So do yourself a favor, if you don't already have a regular yoga practice, begin one...not to be more flexible or lose weight. Do yoga not to get a strong core or to own fun patterned leggings, but to better equip your mind, body and soul with the tools to navigate discomfort with more peace. They are there if you look past the way yoga is packaged by the industry. Find yourself a teacher who will speak truth and help you not bypass the hard stuff, but walk beside you as you face it head-on.
We need this life-changing skill now more than ever before. These last 2 years have been the most uncomfortable years I have experienced and it is because of this glorious, rich sacred path of yoga that I am still standing. One day and a time, one breath at a time I find peace in the discomfort.
I am deeply grateful to this path of yoga and the teachers who have illuminated it in my life. To my teacher's teachers, and the teachers before them. To the sacred shores of India from which this practice comes. I bow with great reverence and awe.