the pefectionism trap of our minds can be so real. we have stories about the people we cross paths with out in the world, or scroll past on social media. how they are so happy, have it all together, are great at parenting, never forget what night the open house at school is. we have stories about our colleagues and friends, they do their spiritual practice every day, never procrastinate a deadline, make way more money than we ever will. we all, and most especially us estrogen brained humans, are in a constant state of evaluating ourselves, of comparing ourselves to the “perfect person (woman).”*
but the day to day of our truths often hold a different story, one that is more individual, more colorful and complex. full of nuance. a word i find myself leaning into a lot lately is sustainability. i am wondering about creating a life, a life style, a series of days i can string together into weeks that actually feel vibrant and sustainable. with some doing, and some giving, and some tending, and some receiving and self care as well. not balanced, not perfect, but sustainable.
my kids are up at 6am for school. alarms go off, they get dressed and brush their teeth and pack their lunches. they chat with each other eat cereal or granola for breakfast. sometimes they take a few minutes to read. most mornings i lay awake in bed, snuggled up with my two cats and listening to my two children. our house is a very petite cape, i can hear the clinking of spoons on cereal bowls, their whispers and giggles, the fridge opening and closing as they pack food for lunch, from the cozy nest of my bedroom upstairs.
after she has eaten breakfast, filled her water bottle, and packed her lunch, my daughter comes up to me. she sits on my bed so i can do her hair, which is long now. when hanging down loose it drops down past her waist. each morning we take out her braid from the day before and brush her hair free of knots and snarls around the edges where her curls and waves pull loose and tangle. once brushed, i braid her hair again for the new day, asking her to lean away from me at the end so i can put the hair elastic in - the braid is so long. then she leans back into me and we snuggle like that for some time. my arms are wrapped around her warm, early morning, soft body. we breathe. i tell her i love her. we talk a little bit about the day to come, or about what cereal she had. we smile at the cats together.
a few minutes after 7 they leave our house. they walk down the street to the neighbors who drive my two children, and theirs, to school. i will pick all four of them up at 2:15 and drive them home. this is the shape of our school days.
over the last month or so i have let my daily practice go. slip slipping away from me. its amazing how quickly and easily it can happen. the letting go. after months and months of solid dedication that i could truly feel was a force of change and stability in my life - in a breath the structure has evaporated.
so there are two confessions of my colorful life, my “imperfection”: 1. my children eat breakfast and pack their own lunches while i listen to them - tucked snugly in my bed. 2. i haven’t stayed disciplined in my practice.
it is a little bit of a cluster to experience having a strong practice - and lose it with such ease. and then wonder what to think of yourself. i also do know that thinking anything of myself is a waste of time, i could just do my practice. i have spent a few days like this, a few weeks like this. in the gentle embrace of resistance. who sometimes also disguises herself as forgetfulness.
today after my kids left at 7 i found myself thinking of a somatic meditation practice i was immersed in last fall. instead of staying in the mind, thinking about it, i simply dropped into practice. i spent 30 minutes with it. as soon as i began my heart started to swell up softly, grateful, loving, like coming home after a long trip away.
some of you reached out last week, after i sent out my note. what a gift it was to read stories of what you have been up to in the last year, and what you are exploring now. some of us went back and forth a bit and ended up at the place of a question. with one kindred a conversation opened about the experience of wanting solitude (i relate very much to this) but then finding some “over thinking” can happen when we grant ourselves the extended time alone. i replied that when i find i myself getting into the thinking place i try to invite myself to drop down into my body and soften. she inquired, “What do you mean by dropping into your body? Shall I put my body into movement?”
let me answer in a few ways. 1. i am all for movement, any time, if dropping into movement is where it is at for you, continue on. 2. i like to layer some other options also, because i want us to truly be in our bodies at any moment. i believe embodiment is where awakening is possible. 3. i want to note that our bodies are always in movement. circulating and breathing and micro-adjusting. and when moving we are always also holding stillness. so there is that.
4. when i say i “drop into my body” what i mean is that i unhook from thought, or thinking, and drop my awareness into my body. it is a subtle but profound adjustment, and it has taken some practice to locate the wiring, or to rewire my own pathways, to experience this. unhook from thought and bring awareness into my entire body.
i wanted to share a simple version of the practice i visited with this morning. it is one of the ways that i discovered the vast expanse, the galaxy of nuanced space that is my body. i believe that repeating this style of practice, probably tens of hundreds of times, for 5 minutes, or 20, and some days even an hour, helped me to cultivate my capacity to experience myself as embodied awareness, and not just my thinking self.
if you’d like to play along, here is the video:
*note: huge thank you to Allison Armstrong, and her class "Living the Queens Code" for this and many other profound teachings.