Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Today I am Strong.

The yoga is starting to work.  Well...physically, anyway.  I took my usual, overly-challenging yoga class on Saturday morning where the instructor says things like "Wrap this, grab that, shift to one side, then lift, ever so easily, like this..." as he begins to lift into some pose that looks as though strings must be holding him up. Yeah, right.  But on Saturday, I decided to start my intention with, I am strong.  I decided I would try not to tell myself, Yeah, right.  A few amazing things happened: I wasn't as fatigued as normal by the time we got to back bends.  The back bends were really throwing me, because I used to do them easily and never thought of them as one of the more challenging yoga poses.  However, perhaps age, lack of practice and being an hour into an overly challenging yoga class was stealing my ability to prop myself up into that lousy back bend. For the past month, no matter how hard I tried, I could not will my arms the strength to prop me up. On Saturday, I took a moment...told myself, I am strong...and boop...up I went into the back bend pose, as if it was nothing. As if I had been doing it for years.  I was so excited that I nearly fell over. (Turns out, trying to do a fist pump while being in a back bend is not the wisest of ideas...)  Then there was one of the Wrap this, grab that, shift here, and lift...then if you're feeling good, you can extend the leg moves. I was feeling strong, so I did extend the leg and even though I couldn't smile for fear of losing my balance, it felt SO good.  At the end of the class, the instructor said We are so lucky.  I'm not sure if he meant it the way I took it, but I do, indeed feel so lucky.  I have full range of motion. I am strong.  My body allows me to dance and to try out new, crazy yoga poses.  Although there are many times I've stopped to be grateful for this simple thing, I have also taken it for granted many, many times.  By contrast, I work with my baby boy daily (and twice a week with the help of our therapists) to help him get strong enough to do the simple things.  He tires sometimes just seconds into trying something.  What comes as a no-brainer to me, my husband and our first born son, Elijah has to work hard for.  I would say that it seems so unfair, and perhaps it is, however, Elijah always manages to do all of the work followed immediately by an ear to ear grin.  As long as we are loving him and smiling at him and cheering him on, he is content to do the work (most days!).  So, today, I am cherishing that I am strong.  When I DO have to work hard for something, I will also smile (perhaps the fist pump won't always work, but I digress...) because it is worth it and it feels good to achieve something.  If everything was always easy, it wouldn't be easy to appreciate life the same way.  The struggles make our accomplishments that much sweeter.

Just after that yoga class on Saturday, I packed up my boys (littlest ones only) and drove up to Santa Barbara to see a good friend for the weekend.  She has rented the most charming, garden surrounded house in Montecito for the months of Jan, Feb and March to avoid some of the cold, gray Chicago winter.  It was great to get away from it all, catch up with an old friend and wake up snuggled in the same room as my boys, cherishing the way the sunlight settled into our room.  As strong in body as I have been feeling, I was feeling equally low in strength of mind reserves last week. I have spent so much of my life trying to be strong and independent- never wanting to have to fully rely on anyone else.  Last week, I had a couple of instances where I didn't feel like anyone "had my back".  (And when some kind friends did, I cried like a baby.) I feel like 95% of that is my own fault.  I always act as though I don't need anyone to "have my back", but then when I'm feeling vulnerable, the support may not be there.  Am I being cryptic?  I don't really want to get into details on my blog, but I simply brought this up to say that sometimes the answer is to "let it go", sometimes the answer is to stand up for someone who can't stand up for themselves, and sometimes the answer is just to silently sit by someones side so they know you "have their back".  I am also reminding myself that sometimes you just have to ASK for support, and that there is nothing wrong with that. And very lastly, that sometimes playing "Devil's Advocate" is just playing Devil.  I'm gathering up my reserves of strength of mind to be kinder to myself, to be more sensitive to others' needs, and then sometimes to just remind myself that, Today, I am strong.

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Christian snuggling into a cozy chair in our sunlight touched room...

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Elijah getting some attention..even sweet Ella, the dog, wanted to say hello...


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A few views of our friend's Montecito retreat- the fact that she brought her puppy and cat (sadly, not pictured) with her, really made it seem like a home...

2 comments:

Carol said...

The retreat sounds like a needed respite. Take the time you need and breathe in the peace, the quiet, the no agenda. You ARE stronger that you have any idea.

Brigid Keely said...

If you haven't seen it, you might find this useful/helpful: http://bloom-parentingkidswithdisabilities.blogspot.com/2011/02/lifeline.html

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