Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hitting the Road...

We're gearing up for a big winter teaching tour that will take us, over the course of two and a half months, to all four corners of the US as well as Jamaica and Australia. Life, as you can imagine, is more hectic than usual as we pack up our house here in Venice, store our belongings, and stuff suitcases full of clothing and essentials for four or five very different climates. On top of that we'll be moving house when we return in January! All I can say right now is thank goodness for good friends and a meditation practice to keep us all sane! More updates to come...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Stormy Weather

Here I am, tentatively, back again. Our faraway family's whirlwind visit has drawn to a close and our house is (relatively) quiet as we turn our attention to work and tasks neglected in favor of adventure and entertaining. This week I found myself in a mood as grey and bleak as the clouds hanging over our Venice home. The rational mind would perhaps attribute this gloomy mien to the weather, the pressure of postponed responsibilities to be dealt with, the sadness of departed loved ones, any number of temporary grievances. Having been sleep-deprived through a several-week-long bout of Little One's nightly restlessness, my mind was something short of rational. My inner monologue became incessantly negative, my perspective utterly lost. Simple tasks became exercises in frustration and my entire being a cause for criticism and self-doubt. I panicked in the (seeming) realization that my life's work was a fraud-- how could I possibly teach others to meditate, to find calm, peace, presence in the moment, when I felt like a complete hopeless wreck?

Fortunately, I was able to come back to my practice (thanks to my husband taking Little One on a few nice long walks). My meditations have been ongoing through these early months of mothering, though they have not been the regular-as-clockwork, twice-daily twenty minute breaks I'd been accustomed to- more like 10 minutes while Little One naps, maybe 5 before dropping off to sleep after a middle-of-the-night nursing session, you get the idea. Having the opportunity to reconnect for just a half hour in solitude made a world of difference. During meditation that racing inner monologue of doubt, fear, and frustration was interrupted and when I opened my eyes I felt settled, the edginess that had threatened to take over was at bay, and my awareness of the good things around me replaced that nagging inner voice of (false) negativity.

In that experience of solitary rest I realized that the mood that had seemed to consume my identity was a trick of an overtired brain. The things that had caused me frustration or made me feel doubt were magnified exponentially by lack of rest. After the pause of meditation, reconnection with my inner sense of grounded-ness and one-ness, my perspective was restored. I realized too that for most people, that fog I was in is the status quo. New parents especially are warned of the misery of sleep-deprivation, but not offered solutions. That suffering is seen to be a rite of passage, but it is not necessary. There are ways to cope. For me it is meditation, a practice that I believe so strongly in that I have dedicated my life to sharing it with others. I have experienced how hard life can seem and I have found how simple a change can be. If you'd like to do the same, or know someone who needs help please contact me. Life and parenting should be a joy-filled challenge, not a fear-filled battle.