We all experience different phases in our lives. Some want to save the world and are chasing success or enlightenment while others are currently glued to the tube with screaming infants at their breast, praying for the speedy return of their old life.
Then there are those who write about their spiritual morning practice – and everyone pukes. That’s what I did a few months back – write about it, I mean. Comments rained down on me (no need to look, they’re all gone now), and I had to face the music.
In retrospect, I totally get it. Six years ago, when my kids were tiny, I would have rolled my eyes at anyone who told me about their oh-so-holy morning routine that involves waking up at five every damn day to meditate. Ugh!
Before I had kids, they’re nine and eleven now, I was a full-on Yoga geek. A day wasn’t complete without meditation or some other yogic endeavor. My life was all about my spiritual practice – and how I could save up for India.
I couldn’t picture my life without a Dynamic Meditation to start the day. Let alone without the requisite trip to India every winter. I just realized that I haven’t been for an incredible 12 years now! Crazy.
Suddenly everything changed
When my children were born, I didn’t just experience a few sleepless months. Oh no, we endured five years without enough sleep. Five years! The bags under my eyes were down around my knees at that point. Add to that every childhood sickness known to man – my kids were experts in catching bugs. Not a walk in the park.
After giving birth, I quickly began practicing asanas again, which was not easy given my children’s need to be attached to me at all times.
Meditation? – haha, LOL, no way. I was concerned with raw survival at this point, happy when I managed to get a bit of uninterrupted sleep. Sometimes I offered money just for someone to walk around the block with my kids so that I could recharge for a moment.
It just wasn’t the right time for meditation, even though I could have really used it! I managed to wave some incense, subject my little ones to baby Yoga, sing them Kirtans and brighten my altar with fresh flowers. But that was about it. For those first years, I just couldn’t meditate – and eventually I was ok with that.
It was through my kids that I learned what spirituality actually means: that life doesn’t revolve around me, and that I won’t ever have everything under control. I also realized that there’s no point in moving through life with a guilty conscience.
Of course, spiritual practice takes discipline. And it can be so nourishing. But when you’re constantly working the nightshift with sick little ones, have babies at home, or whatever the circumstances might be, maybe you won’t start your day with an Om on the mat. And that’s ok.
We’re all different: some are super disciplined and seem to swing it all. Others are a bit lost in the currents and tides of life and could use a good dose of discipline. I place myself in the latter category.
When I don’t create a solid structure for my daily life I get totally lost. That’s how I am, that’s my nature. I’m not naturally disciplined, but I’d like to be. I can write about that, but what you take from it is up to you. If you’re naturally disciplined, maybe best not to saddle yourself with more of the same.
I’m all about less guilty conscience. If you don’t make it to Yoga class – so what? If you don’t even make it out of bed in the morning because the baby cried all night or because the job is stressing you out, then be gentle with yourself. Spirituality starts when we begin to feel compassion for ourselves.
What I’m telling you here is an offer. Maybe a little inspiration. Or not. It’s not about adding to your guilty conscience – God forbid! Sometimes the best idea is to do nothing at all.
Do what you will with this impulse – and don’t feel bad about it! Spirituality is not a contest. There’s nothing to win. We already carry absolute bliss within us, maybe a bit dusty and tucked away, but sometimes even that doesn’t matter at all.