August 31, 2018
It’s another turning point in my life. For the past 14 years, time has been observed by the length of skis that line the wall of our garage. This year Ambrose has surpassed me in ski length. Having children reveals the passing of time in a completely different way than I have ever experienced. Through this passing of time I have several tethers: the gift of my practice, the gift of sharing the practice through teaching, the studio, and of course, my family and my time spent watching and nurturing my children grow.
It dawned on me this August – the past 14 years I have spent much time retreating with my growing children. I honour their school breaks and their summer breaks. I honour all school pro-d days, field trips and volunteer days. This pulls me away from the tribe of my yoga studio at times, but this also has been a key element of honouring my family and taking advantage of living each moment with them fully. And just like the skis that line our garage wall, time moves quickly and small skis turn into longer and longer and faster skis. As a family, we have core values that I like to return to for inspiration. I ask my children, my husband and I to reflect on our actions. When there is tension or confusion in the air, it’s wise to sometimes re-visit our family core values and see if our actions reflect the core values. One of our family core values is “honour.” And these past years have definitely encompassed honouring our family and immersing myself into the life of being a mom. However, throughout this time, the yoga studio community, my teaching and my practice, have been my tether and a great part of my life force. Even when I am not physically at the studio, Ashtanga Yoga Vancouver is the place I fulfill one of my passions, teaching but it also the place I seek for my internal refuge, the grace of my daily practice. And for this space and this community, I am eternally grateful. Even when practicing away from the studio when travelling with my children, the energy of AYV is held in my heart and is a beacon of light, hope, and gratitude.
This past August, I retreated with my family to one of their favourite places, Whistler, and spent time nestled in the mountains with fresh crisp air, surrounded by trees and dancing wildflowers of the high alpine. With my children, I hiked mountains and through alpine meadows, visited stunning waterfalls, and I sat on wooden docks of Lost Lake watching my children swim in the cold waters. I listened to children’s laughter fill my home and soul.
There has been a noticeable shift in my life as a mom this summer and this shift has provided me time to reflect. “Time.” It’s quite the word for a mom because suddenly there is more TIME in my life. I no longer need to entertain my children. I no longer need to tie shoelaces and wipe runny noses. We are long past the diaper phase and sleeping through the night phase. My son now would probably sleep all morning long if he did not have a job! My children have many friends and enjoy many adventures alone with their own kid tribe. And as they explore their independence, I find myself with TIME. And it is a very strange realization. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the house is quiet as the kids are out with their community of peers. I realize that I have given so much energy to these beings but now the seeds are ripening. I have more time to return to myself. Back to my own roots.
Do not get me wrong, my house varies between being 100% alive to 100% quiet. The difference between solo time and child time is as extreme as ever and usually co-exists with multiple groups of children inhabiting the space at once! I still have these blissful moments and adventures with my children. On one particularly memorable day, I hiked up to Rainbow Lake with Viveka and her friend. I was mainly quiet listening to the two girls making up stories and adventures and playing games the entire 8km hike up through the valley and mountains to a crystal clear lake.
On another occasion, I spent an afternoon with my 14 year old son Ambrose hiking into the high alpine. Hiking with Ambrose is usually our best moments of bonding. We chatted and I told him how proud I was that he has a job helping at the tennis centre in Whistler. And we also chatted about the realities of having a teenager – we discussed finding guidelines around listening to his elders (my partner Julian and I) as well as trying to create fluidity and flow in life, rather than fighting the current upstream….
Our adventures in nature together bring out the best of my kids, Julian, and myself. These adventures are fun, but they also plant seeds of learning, deep into our souls. Lessons are always being shared in attempts to teach and inspire. Although the days of diaper changing are over, now we are in the days of relating to teenagers and an almost teenager and how to help them navigate the world as it is today. It is never easy. I recognize that teenage minds are full of information and the great keen desire for absolute independence is a strong push and pull. But at the same time, teens are still young, their brains have a long way until they mature fully and Julian and I have been around the block just a little bit more. How does one share without preaching?