When I first mastered a headstand in yoga, I was thrilled. But I would hold it for a few seconds, and I would either crash down on the mat or have to come out of it because I felt wobbly and weak. It wasn’t graceful. There was no ease. And it was frustrating. Then, during a yoga class, one of my teachers placed her hand in the area between my shoulder blades and asked me to try to squeeze her fingers. And something clicked. That one simple move transformed my headstand. When I made that small adjustment, my weight was redistributed evenly through my shoulders, neck and arms, and I felt like I was floating. I could hold the pose and feel strong for minutes at a time. There was ease. And grace. This one little change had brought great results.
When I think about it, daily living is like this. We can be trucking along, trying to master something – like cultivating a little more patience with our kids, figuring out how to fit more yoga into our day, or losing those last few pounds to get back to our pre-baby weight. We’re doing okay, but it feels harder than it should.
And some days it feels hard enough that we think maybe we’ll never get there. We start to talk ourselves out of what has started to feel like a bigger task than we thought. We say things to ourself like, “Maybe I’m just always going to be reactive and impatient, that’s just who I am.” Or “Clearly I can’t fit more yoga into my day with my schedule the way it is. I’ll try again when I’m less busy." Or “I’ll never get back to the pre-baby weight so I might as well stop focusing on it.”
But it’s on these days – when we feel like these things we’re trying to do are bigger than us, when we feel like giving up – that perhaps we need to just simplify and make small adjustments. When we need to look at changing one little thing – like getting up 10 minutes earlier to meditate on being more patient, taking 15 minutes before bed to do a gentle yoga practice, or substituting green tea for our afternoon latte. And who knows? Maybe this task we’ve been trying to achieve, the one that feels like a little more work than it really should, might be easily accomplished. Because little changes can bring great results.
What little changes are you making in your life? I’d love to hear.
Labour Day weekend is usually one of my favourite weekends of the year. My husband and I had our first date on the Friday of the Labour Day weekend back in 2000, and my eldest child was born on the Saturday of the Labour Day weekend in 2006. And so every year my husband and I usually do something special on the Friday night, and we have a family get-together on the Sunday to celebrate my daughter’s birthday with all of her grandparents, aunts and uncles.
This year Labour Day weekend was forever changed. On the Friday night, instead of celebrating eleven years of being together, my husband and I were on a last-minute flight to New York City to be with his best friend, whose wife died suddenly on the Thursday night from a rare infection. On the Sunday, instead of holding a family get-together for our daughter, we were attending the funeral and burial of our friend’s vibrant and beautiful wife, the mother of their one-month old baby and their two-and-a-half year old.
There are no words to describe this kind of loss or the ripples it causes. A lot of people were brought together in a tight embrace of life and death and lost moments.
There was comfort in being with others – in silence, or tears, or laughter, or memories – but the hardest part was seeing the pain anchor itself in our friend.
It will be a very long time before anyone comes to terms with why or how this all happened, and the deeply-rooted and heavy hurt it leaves so many with. But the days that followed this tragic event shone a bright light on the lengths people will go to for love, to help a friend, a family member, to rally around someone who is lost, and who has no answers. The sheer love that was present in every room, every conversation, every hug, every interaction that weekend was palpable. And this, at the very least, will hopefully ease some of the burdens ahead for our friend and his family.
After the burial on Sunday, we called home and our daughter was hooting with laughter in the midst of her birthday get together. The grandparents, the aunts and uncles, (my husband’s and my greatest support network) had carried on the birthday tradition for her. She was having so much fun, surrounded by the family she is so very close to, that she hardly knew we were gone. Or in her words, “I didn’t even miss you guys.” Amidst our grief, there was laughter, and recognition of the love that surrounds us.
There are no words for loss. But there are plenty for love. And may we all grab onto and celebrate every moment, every hour, every day because, simply, we can.