While I sit under florescent lights in the cramped doctor’s office, my daughter Isabella asks, “Mom, are you ok?”.
Isabella is Diabetic. If her blood sugar numbers are a little high, or she hasn’t moved her injection sites around, or I can’t remember how much insulin she gives herself, I feel like I have been a “bad mom”. She can sense my amplifying tension. Isabella knows that on these days, I can be a little tense.
Well, not tense, but downright cranky. All my years of Yoga practice, nearly two decades, and I still find myself dealing with moments of intense emotions – I am prone to anger, jealousy, fear, all the regular monsters. She asks again in the car, “Are you ok, Mom?” It was her appointment, but she asks me if I am ok. The visit went well, nothing to be upset about. I pop a few ibuprofen as I can feel my head start to ache.
How often do we berate ourselves for not stepping up to a self-imposed pedestal? The truth is we will always possess the same basic personality traits and tendencies no matter how hard we practice. This is not meant to be negative, but simply awareness of our true nature. We can only change our reactions, not our innate tendencies of character.
It is not the purpose of Yoga to eradicate feelings. Feeling and thinking are not problems in themselves. We practice so that we may be more responsible about our reactions. It is not easy to accept, but being with the monsters is ok. We all have a messy side, a shadow side. Yogic teachings ask us not to ignore our natural feelings, but to recognize that the disturbing emotion is simply a passing phenomenon over the truth of Self.
Upon returning home with my daughter, my head is feeling better but somehow I am still not right. I find I am grumbling under my breath. Isabella gives me one of her precious bear hugs, and in that moment of connection I recognize that I am still unsettled, but I soften just slightly. Its just enough. The pause has arrived. We decide to make muffins, transforming flour and sugar into sweet warm confections. With the scent of muffins filling the house, I finally sit and find stillness.