How yoga makes me understand what is really on my mind
My life has changed really dramatically. And it's inside a big process of change, where i'm only in the no-mans-land right now, crossing over towards the biggest change of them all.
I'm becoming a mother.
It was my birthday recently, and my friend Katja posted on my Facebook wall: Happy B-day Linda.. the last time without a mini you on this world...
And it made me think... wow. Yes. Whatever happens, I will from soon on be in a different role for the rest of my life. Wow. Yes. The. Rest. Of. My. Life.
The first trimester was all tears and stress and feeling sick and relationship problems and discussions and decisions. The second trimester was all glow, energy, love, peace and more love. The third trimester so far has been hormones, anaemia, anger, frustration, feeling like an elephant/seal/whale, fear, worry, insomnia, back pain etc. You get the theme, like. It's now becoming reality. With every little energetic kick inside my belly, it's becoming more and more of a reality. My life is heading for the biggest change... ever.
I have travelled a lot in my life. I used to love taking pictures of kids like this one. I used to work a lot, save money, and buy a one way ticket to an exotic destination. For me, the most exciting place is South East Asia. I have some very strong feelings about that region, like I belong there. My friend Jimmi has the same feeling, like some sort of past-life-feeling. Landing in Bangkok was for me like opening a door to an exciting world and the feeling was that of endless adventures waiting for me around every pad thai-oozing street corner.
And then there is the game of creation. The riddle of existence.
You fall in love.
You don't mean to.
But you do.
You only meant to have another exciting meeting, not ready for the Big Commitment thing or anything. Just some fun.
And then you fall in love.
And then I moved towards the love. And it was like autopilot. It happened without me doing much. It was like the game of creation wanted it more than I had the power to direct my life. Creation. Creating a life together with love.
Now I have husband (even though we just got married for the papers) and I have a dog (even though it was his dog) and I have a cat (but we just took her because no one else wanted her and she had an eye infection and it was too bad) and we have a house (even though we just rented it to see how it would work to rent out some rooms in the sumer season) and we have three cars (even though it was only to.......)
And then there is yoga. What would I do without yoga... probably fall apart a lot more. I do my practice every day, even more diligently since I got pregnant. This baby goes upside down a lot. I mean a lot. Because it is the only thing that makes me feel like myself again. Weightless. I am normally very energetic. Vata-pitta type. Active, moving, cleaning, walking, doing, fixing. Now, not so much anymore. I found out yesterday I'm anaemic. That's why I'm tired. No, I'm not lazy, even though my Mind tried to tell me that. It's OK.
I started pregnancy yoga classes in the second trimester, through the website Yogaglo where this woman Stephanie Snyder does prenatal classes and I really dig them a lot. She seems really professional and like she knows about pregnancy yoga. But I also thought that I need to step into the real world every now and then, so I started finding out about the few prenatal classes available on this tiny island. Last night I went to one, and we were five pregnant ladies in total, doing cat cow and modified sun salutations and simple standing postures. I thought about myself five years ago in sweaty Jivamukti classes in the fabulous center in London where I worked during my bachelor degree doing things with legs behind the head and contortions where I resembled a pretzel. Where has my life gone to?
Well, the answer is: Change. It's gone changing. And it's only a natural change, isn't it? And isn't it just amazing how yoga bends and twists to fit each need, each stage, each period in life?
I really do love my life. It was the life I dreamed about in my 20's. To live on a beautiful Mediterranean island, free from 9-5 style living, running a little bed and breakfast, taking photos, writing, practicing yoga, being with someone interesting, well travelled, international, (who i really really love) in a cosmopolitan place filled with stunning beauty. And of course I did think that I would have children. I didn't really think I'd wait this long, even. You know, when you're 24, and sitting in a hammock on a tropical beach somewhere, you think 28 is OLD. And you LIKE the idea of having a life with a dog and a house and a husband and... stuff like that. But it's still just... an idea.
I practice yoga in my house, together with Stephanie on yogaglo, on my mat, surrounded by dog-hair, a hungry cat, and things that constantly need my attention.
Going to the class yesterday made me realize that actually stepping out of my house, and going elsewhere, to take a moment to myself, is actually really healthy and really necessary. I realized that I actually don't really relax 100% when I'm still at home, surrounded by all of what is my life.
I knew I was in emotional turmoil. To be honest, that's where I've been for the past six months, and the reason has fluctuated. But I'm not always sure what is bothering me, or why I'm feeling angry, anxious, sad, stressed, fearful... Stepping out of my own context and into a rather anonymous yogaspace, practicing gentle prenatal yoga for an hour and a half with five other pregnant ladies that I do not know, guided by a gentle teacher, took me to a new place of relaxation. I guess you could say that after the practice, I reached a still space in myself, very close to where my true nature is. I was there able to observe my mind without attaching to it, and I was observing, during the long and sweet Shavasana, what was happening there.
I observed myself as a 20-something on a beach in Thailand, drinking something very strong from a bucket with colorful straws. Surrounded by other young people from all over the world, candles in plastic bottles, and the classic triangular thai pillows placed in the sand, I felt very free and very happy. I went to the dance floor and danced my soul free, free from anything, just alive. Short skirt and no underwear, hot guys, tanned and happy. Drunk and free. Electric, in fact.
I observed my mind then passing a judgment on this scene: you used to be free. You are no longer free.
My true nature was silently observing all the emotions attached to this scene. My true nature realizes that I'm moving from one stage of life to another, and that I am feeling sadness and attachment. My true nature knows that I wouldn't have it any other way, because I do want to do what I am doing, and I would never be without this experience called pregnancy, which I'm on now. My true nature knows it is painful when life changes. It's only natural. My true nature also knows that the only true freedom is that from my own mind and its judgements, fears, and attachments.
It is sad to leave the fun, exploring, free, crazy 20's behind. I feel really, really sad that it is over. I miss the feeling of true excitement. Excitement of all the things waiting for me. Excitement about not knowing what will happen. Excitement about searching for what's beyond. Reading the Beach and looking for that place. Looking for paradise, for the unknown.
Part of me wants to hold on to those days and keep that feeling forever. But I know that change is the only constant thing in life, the only thing we can trust. I am in the middle of change, and as change is drawing closer, I am fearful of it. But I wouldn't not do it, so I accept.
I left the yoga class feeling a mix of things. Happy, sad, peaceful. Accepting. My life is moving, shifting and changing. But I still have yoga as my constant companion, who helps me see clearly, who helps me reach that still space inside me. My true nature. Learning to be still. To find each moment a treasure, and to treasure each moment.
The 20's were about searching. The 30's seems to be to deal with what I found. If I had met myself in a little bamboo-bar drinking vodka red bull ten years ago on a thai island, and the 34-year old me had appeared there and sat down next to me on a triangular thai pillow, and told me about my life, I would have thought "oh my god!!! that's sooooo cool"
I welcome the 30's (even though rather late!) where building a life, working hard, making the home, creating family, and baking cakes is a new type of challenge. Definitely less electric but certainly full of love from those that I call my family. And in all honesty: No, I wouldn't have it any other way.