I have mentioned before that I created an intention for myself at the start of 2011. I set out this year of course not knowing what 2011 was going to be like, but clinging to the word “breathe.” Certain of this one aspect of my every day life, I gave gravity to this task but choosing this as a focus. It has certainly been a challenge, and an inspiration for me. Breathing is something that can happen without even noticing it. It keeps me alive, keeps my blood pumping with vitality. But my intention was more about recognizing the breath. As a dabbler in yoga, I’ve often heard refrain “return to the breath” and I wanted to bring this frame of mind into my daily living, even more so, my moment-to-moment living.
This is a particular challenge when combined with small children. I am certain that if I could create a calm and tranquil atmosphere, peacefully drinking tea and soaking in the wisdom of others, this assertion of “breathe” would be easy to maintain. Too, the lesson would have been missed. Often I hear women who have been in this place in life a decade or two earlier admonish me to cherish these moments. Sometimes I get exactly what they mean. Most times I feel frustrated by the call. My reminder to myself to breathe helps me stay where I am needed: the present moment, which can be so hard to accept.
Today I reflect on my intention to “breathe.” How am I doing? The beauty of this intention for me is the grace that I feel like it affords me. The breath always comes back, each moment is a new one. The air is always fresh, never stagnant, and I have the chance to be oxygenated within each moment. I need these moments of grace, because I often fail at this simple task: breathe.
Today, the dog, while out for her morning jaunt while my husband was getting ready to go to work at 4:30am, chased a skunk. I don’t need to tell you what a mistake this was. My dear husband, with his perfectly timed morning routine, rose to the challenge, quickly scouring the internet to determine what to do with the dog. Even though he was taking care of things, I was still awake. Shortly after my husband kissed me goodbye, rehashing his struggle with the dog, and leaving me a few brief notes so that I could pick up where he left off, the kids are both awake and eager to be with me. I did my best to pick up the pieces. As I was scrubbing the dog’s snout, again, with more vinegar and baking soda, I hear the kids screaming on the other side of the screen door, and I have misplaced my breath. It’s gone, out of my body, out of my mind, and I hose that dog off and stomp into the basement to throw a load of laundry into the wash.
My kids handled the morning with way more grace than I. They chased each other around the house, maybe pretending to be skunks, and laughed. Though there was mischief, there was not much trouble. It’s just the stuff of kids being kids, and low on sleep and patience, I had little tolerance. We missed story time at the library because the dog took way too much time, and I desperately needed to get to the grocery store. Something had to give, and though disappointed, both kids rolled with the punches, never needing to be reminded to inhale, exhale, let the breath stretch you just the next little bit.
I do immensely enjoy my little ones, and I’m working on allowing my feverish pace to slow to theirs, to be mindful of the moments.