A couple weeks ago, I published a post about using the wall for a mini practice and I started it with the quote, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.” Then last week for the Tuesday mini practice, I entitled the post “Time to lean,” planning to link it to the previous week. A few days later, during a random moment I realized that, in the process of writing that post, I veered from my initial topic and so the title didn’t make much sense any more.
This is what can happen when you finish a post as the baby is screaming and tugging on your pants at the same time the older child is calling out to you to play with them (and also, I’m my own editor!).
When I was out the other day walking with the baby, I thought about how funny it was that I published that post with an irrelevant title. It made me think of what’s in a title, and the titles we all assume. I come across all these instagram bios that proudly state things like, “mother of 2, entrepreneur, and foodie,” “wife, mom, and writer,” or whatever other things we call ourselves. Of course, those are all hats we wear, but our true Selves aren’t those hats — instead, we are the heads wearing the hats. And sometimes those hats can get us off track. We might think, “I’m too busy attending to the kids, shopping, cooking, cleaning, organizing activities, fundraisers, working 9-5, working graveyard shift, planning a date with my partner, etc.
That’s when things get mis-titled.
So I didn’t go back and change the title of that post, simply because I wanted it to stay there as an example of how motherhood is full of distractions, including big ones where we forget what’s important to us, and who we are besides somebody’s mommy.
All the items on our to-do lists as well as the distractions from those ‘shoulds’ are just mini stories; but they aren’t the narrator. YOU are the narrator, and you get to tell your story, or stories, as you probably have more than one.
So, you might think, what the heck do stories have to do with yoga?
Every time you step onto your yoga mat, or sit on the meditation cushion, you get another chance to look back at all the stories that make up who you say you are, and say, “I am more than that,” or, “That happened then, and now here I am.” Then maybe you breathe and move a little bit and take a vacation from the pull of past events, until you bump up against worries about the future: things like, “Oh no, what if…?” and “I really hope that….”
Those are the stories you tell about the future before they’ve even happened (and they might not!). So I invite you to take a moment, whether it’s a brief pause to breathe and chill out, or a luxurious 20 minutes or an hour to do yoga your way. And by that I mean, do what feels right in your body. Tired? Do some restorative poses. Overstimlated? Burn off your anxiety with a dynamic flow or sun salutation. Take a moment, or many moments, every day to get centered and look back at the ways you’ve mistitled your life: ‘just a stay-at-home mom,’ ‘doctor,’ ‘married to so-and-so,’ or ‘failed artist,’ and know that whatever the chapters that came before, you get to write the ones that follow.
Then the question comes, “Who are you besides all these titles (which are really just subtitles to the True You)?” Then the real yoga comes as you get to know who You are besides a mom, wife, whatever-your-day-job-is, wherever-your-religion (or lack of), and your accomplishments big and small. In our yoga practices, we don’t necessarily have to strive too hard to know that no matter what we do, we are who We are: love, light, peace, human beings.
I know, it’s hard to feel and know that all the time. That’s okay. Just set out to at least remind yourself of it; there will be days when you do feel like love, light, and peace, as well as days where you feel like a hot mess. That’s just being human:)
Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. I just had to address that misstep because I knew there must be someone out there asking, “Why the heck did she title this post, ‘Time to lean?’”
Now tell me, what’s a title you’ve given yourself, or someone has given you that you got stuck on? What did it take for you to realize you were more than just that one, little title or label?