Last December, I sent JJ to New Orleans to the Sugar Bowl as his Christmas present. I totally won Wife of the Year with that one, and this year he’ll probably get a new tie, but for those 4 days, I was Wonder Woman. (And my dad, Superman, as he was integral at securing tickets and lodging.)
The morning he was to fly out, I woke up unable to walk straight. I was literally slamming into walls while trying to walk downstairs while dizzy. It was the strangest thing ever. My yoga instinct told me to do a headstand, so I did, and it totally reset my brain. I was able to walk without ramming my shoulder into the doorway. This continued to happen every morning while JJ was gone. When he came home, it stopped.
Right before we left on vacation – in the midst of preparing to move – it happened again. Needless to say, stress tends to manifest itself in my brain. (If you know me well – fancy that!) I get dizzy with the demands of the world in the most literal way.
I shouldn’t be surprised, then, when I woke up at 4am and the clock seemed to be spinning across the room. This week my husband begins a new job, my children begin at a new school, I brought home a pile of books for my study of yoga, we spent time last night talking about what it will take for us to begin to create stronger friendships in our new place, and today I have to take all 4 kids to a new health provider and then spend some time in the office where I now work [very] part time.
It’s a lot. I’m sure you can also recite a similar list, yes?
In order to snap my world back upright, I began using the mantra One Thing. I told myself this over and over. I can only do the next right thing. One thing at a time. One. When I try to do more than that at once, I tend to make a mess. So, I must do one thing. The next thing. Not all of the things. And, at 4 am, I was to do none of the things.
If our life has been a building project for the past several months, which it feels like, then I have largely been playing the role of General Contractor. I keep referring to the plans, trying to order the work to happen in correct sequence, making sure everybody has the correct tools and forms. I know the blueprint well – I have a good idea of what a beautiful life might look like.
But do you know what it takes to build a beautiful house of life? It takes the work of building it brick by brick by brick. All the most beautiful plans in the world won’t make the house appear. Layering bricks & mortar will make the house.
My study of scripture has strongly influenced my idea of what the house should look like. I know I want rooms of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. I want the rooms made bigger by putting others before my own gratification. Thanks to what God has laid out before me, I have an idea of what I’m aiming for in my building project.
Yoga, to me, today, (because I retain the right to change all opinions later) is a tool I’m using to build it, brick by brick. Yoga, at its center, is about noticing. Mindfulness. Not just when flipped upside down in the literal headstand, but also from my bed at 4 am. It’s the tool that helps me pack lunches with love or wrangle children into the air condition-less van for trips to the doctor’s office with peace and kindness. Not that this happens all the time – but the noticing will help it to happen at least more often.
Yoga has been helping me notice and bring intention to the moments of life that will actually build this house of life. The only way these walls will be infused with the sense of love and goodness that I hope for is to put it there between each brick. (Or, for another theology, if I invite God to put it there between each brick.) In any case, I’m beginning to believe that it shows up not by chance, but by intention – and our part necessitates noticing before the presence of good and holy things will have the power to transform us.
“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.”
-Galatians 6:25, MSG