“Life is not a problem to solve but a mystery to live.” ~Thomas Merton
There are always problems in this life, even when you live rent-free on one of the most beautiful lakes on Earth. (Which, somehow, I do.) Sometimes I don’t take a moment to look up and admire the view. Stress and worry overtakes my mind, temporarily. There is, after all, a baby to consider. She was born at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday, January 6. At that moment, my life changed irrevocably. She, Jade Ciranda, became the most important being in my life, instead of myself, as I had been up to then.
Seven weeks into motherhood and I can affirm that it is, as my teacher Camilla says, “a whole new level of yoga.” A whole new life is in your hands. A whole new level of patience and beginner’s mind is required.
There is the constant work of maintaining cleanliness. Washing the dishes, washing the clothes, washing the diapers, bathing the baby, showering myself in the solar shower, which is hot only midday and only for approximately three minutes.
I first started practicing yoga twenty years ago. An awkward seventh-grader seeking beauty, health, inner peace. It changed my life on day one and ever since. I’ve been teaching yoga for the past eleven years, meditating regularly for the past ten. Yoga kept me (relatively) sane throughout college, the years of confusion and debauchery after college, living abroad in Guatemala. Throughout pregnancy and since I have become a mother, yoga has enriched my life immeasurably.
Yoga positively affects the physical body, the intellectual, overactive mind, as well as emotional health and balance. I’m happy about the general state of mindfulness I have achieved over the years, though of course I still get stuck in ego-driven stories often and get stressed and make big mistakes and judge and regret. I am still a beginner; it is a neverending process.
Yet, if practice is happening in each moment it is then action, no longer practice. The toughest thing about pregnancy is that it’s so completely theoretical. Until the moment of birth, you just cannot know what it feels like to have a child. Offspring. A little personita.
And finally it happens. He or she is born and you are thrust into living in each moment, responding to newborn needs, learning and absorbing and figuring it all out as you go. Those first days are amazing. Everything else drops away. Gradually, it comes back. The busyness, the communication, the overstimulation.
Fortunately, with yoga and mindfulness, you realize the utter silliness of the storylines and how the mind just adores getting stuck in the past or future. Having a kid forces you to do this too. And, if you’re mindful and present, every experience is the most amazing and the most ordinary at once.