If you’ve ever tried to meditate, you’ve no doubt experienced an achey back or a leg that falls asleep no matter how many times you shift your sitz bones. Likewise, when you parent there are invariably moments when you want to go away – when the repetition of peanut butter sandwiches and spaghetti is too much; when you don’t want to sing that song one more time or listen to that violin song again. There is a certain discomfort that comes in the repetition of parenting.

Here at yoga camp, I am currently dealing with a fair amount of discomfort. The honeymoon of the first week is done. We’re in a heat wave — 100-degrees yesterday — without any A.C. And I miss my kids like I’ve never missed them before. It’s the kind of pain I can relate to a yoga pose:  holding and holding so that at first it is just a bit uncomfortable, but then it builds to a seeming impossible level, i.e., “Get me the hell out of this!”  But then you breathe and you accept. You surrender. The discomfort doesn’t go away, rather it becomes a sort of new norm; it will eventually end, but you appreciate the shift that’s taking place.

I spoke to my daughter for the first time in days last night and I swear, she’d suddenly gone from a newly turned 9 years old to 12. She was so composed, so conscientious, so well spoken. It made me gulp for a second; “Where’s  my baby?” But then I was so proud. I’ve given her space through this separation and she’s stepped into it beautifully.

I am stepping my way through it, too – though  maybe not as gracefully. As I desperately want to reach for her – and her brother, too – I’m also trying to honor this space, which I chose. (Yeah, me — I did this, I got myself into this 26-day Warrior 3.) I knew at some deeper level that we need this time apart, and that I, especially, had places that I needed to sink down into, to explore and witness.

As much as it’s tempting to fill the tiny bits of free time we get here with activity – a Shakespeare play, a possible trip to visit a friend – I’m determined to sink down. I’m not sure what I’m learning, but I know something is happening.

Some time next winter, I’ll be standing at the sink emptying the dish washer whilst making a PB&J for my son whilst listening to the buzz of the washing machine and I’ll crave this time, I’ll long for it. I’ll even long for the heat. I remember that now and it allows me to go further, to stay with it.

Yoga is learning to associate with the seer who resides beyond the language of the mind. ~ Patanjali


8 thoughts on “Discomfort”

  1. oh yes, i understand this. discomfort is a great word for this kind of space – and it seems even more amplified when we’re the ones that choose it, because there’s the added responsibility that comes with the territory when we craft something for ourselves that doesn’t turn out to be all fun and frosting. but it sounds like this leap is leading to growth for all of you. by the way, i was so awed that you did this that it inspired a greeting card! i got stuck while writing a bunch of them last week, saw one of your posts, and it set the words free like water! will share it w/you next time we’re in touch. keep going, and thanks for sharing your journey. xo

  2. I’m experiencing discomfort in a too small beach house with my family. Soak up the space that you are given…breath through and enjoy. I’ll try to do the same.

  3. I am sweating with you sister!!! When you reach that moment next winter call me! I will make you laugh and cry and remember it all!

  4. I loved this post and could totally relate the metaphor of holding a yoga pose and breathing through it for how I feel about holding my family together through difficult times, working to provide for them and secure benefits, working after work in my studio to better provide for us and to do the work of painting that is so necessary to me. There are times I feel absolutely weary, but then I surrender into it, relax a bit, and hunker down to go a bit further. Thank you, Jennifer!

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