When I found out I was pregnant twelve years ago, I was taken much by surprise.
Unplanned, I was thrown a major curve ball in both my relationship and yoga career. I had just been offered to teach trainings in Malaysia and Taiwan, and I had to cancel everything to prepare for motherhood.
At 38 and with only one ovary, I couldn’t believe what was happening. Yet, all the physiological signs were, in fact, happening. I was going to be a mother, end of story.
Well, not really. It was just the beginning.
I do believe that all things happen as they should. Even in moments when I think, “Why is this happening?” it seems the Universe is always serving me exactly what I need…..on a silver platter, no doubt.
After testing positive, I sat in meditation and quieted myself only to come to the deeper realization that motherhood was to be the core of my spiritual practice. To be gifted something so profound was nothing to take lightly. I was blessed and privileged. And once I embraced that life would change forever in a matter of months, I shifted my perspective. I wasn’t about to let anyone down. I was going to step up to the plate and be the best that I could possibly be.
Mothers have the innate ability to make and hold space for their children. It is biologically ingrained in our nature. The very fact that we give up a bit of our lifeline each time we pop one out of the oven is a gesture of true giving. No, our mothers weren’t perfect and neither am I. But once I birthed Olivia I found a whole, newfound respect for my own mother who birthed seven!
Motherhood gifts us with ample life lessons. Yes, our words and actions start resembling our own mothers sometimes! And whether that is a good thing or not, the wisest thing we can do is to acknowledge that they did their best and to recognize what, in their parenting skills, serve us as parents. My mother ingrained in me so many core values like family, humility, the importance of home cooked food and home grown vegetables, devotion to a higher power, commitment, loyalty and more.
Equally important in the bigger scheme of things is the shedding of childhood experiences that don’t serve us in our ability to relate to our own kids in a healthy, meaningful way. Making the resolve to do and be better is key to transformation. Acknowledgment, gratitude, and letting go strikes a balance and also holds us accountable for our actions today.
When Olivia was a toddler, I wrote a blog for the yoga community in my town. It touched the lives of so many other first time mothers who, like myself, struggled with the inevitable changes that came with motherhood. To be responsible for such a tiny human being for the first time was not an easy task. The worry, endless fatigue, self-doubt and “am I good enough?” all passed through the stream of consciousness at some point.
Yet, as a spiritual practice, true awakening comes for mothers when, in gratitude, we see motherhood as the greatest opportunity to learn about ourselves. Rather than being dictatorial and authoritarian, we can be humble to our imperfections and thankful that our children bring it to our attention.
By their feedback, we can learn to be better parents, better listeners, and better to ourselves. Rather than expecting them to be grateful tous, we can express gratitude to them.
This is how it works with Olivia and me. Tonight at bedtime as we shared our gratitude list, I told her how lucky and grateful I was for being her mum. She smiled with the biggest dimples and said, “Oh mama, that warms my heart. And I am grateful for you and papa and for this bed that I sleep on and the pillow you just bought me.”
Wow, the kid’s easy to please. How lucky am I indeed.
Asana practice is asana practice. Balancing, on one hand, does not make me a better parent. Truly living my yoga practice, however, is a holistic, three dimensional and full bodied experience.
Love to all the mothers out there. You are constantly practicing Yoga!
To Oliver, For Without Him
Olivia Would Not Be In This World
And To My Own Mother
For Giving Me Life
Showing Me How To Live My Yoga
And Being The Epitome Of Selfless Service