Sept. 9, 2018
It’s packing time. Viveka and I leave on Friday. I remember years back leaving for Stockholm to visit one of my best friends, Sharon. The kids were so young and it was my second trip solo without them. I had a freezer full of labelled meals prepared for each night that I was away. I had a 10 page typed and printed document which detailed the daily life of Ambrose & Viveka without mom. Bringing up in my kids in Vancouver seemed almost perfect for our family. Vancouver is a healthy and beautiful city surrounded by ocean and mountains. Nature is so easily accessible which, for Julian and I was non-negotiable. I had an amazing community of yogis and the studio was a backbone for me. The only missing piece for us was family. My extended family lived in the east, all the way from Maine / New Hampshire and down to Florida. Our family was always so supportive but they were far away so we had learned how to get by without the day to day support of our parents and siblings. It was always difficult when one of us decided to leave.
I had never really left the children. To be honest, it was incredibly complicated to orchestrate the whole scenario without family help and, when the kids were younger, they needed mom. And frankly, I wanted to savour each and every moment with my kids. But then the time arrived when I could leave for a short bit. And I recognize that at times, leaving is important. It is important to fuel your soul and spirit so you can be a better parent and mom. I was always grateful to have the studio as that was one such place I would be alone, even if it was just for a couple hours. I would leave my role as a mom and a parent and a partner and just open up to the students and myself. The studio was my place to share knowledge and inspiration as well as receive knowledge and inspiration. The studio was where I practiced and where I shared. This relationship nourished my soul on so many levels. It was amazing from an early period to have that bit of separateness (but not too much) when I arrived at the studio. It was a chance to refuel myself as a mom.
That trip to Stockholm was also a gift to my soul. One of my first solo journeys without my children. I knew both the children were in good hands. I had amazing support from friends and I found myself completely pampered in the hospitality of a very close friend as well as being inspired by a new country, different culture and the silence of being without children for a week. And wow, it was quiet.
On Friday, I am taking one child to India and one child will stay behind. This is a new type of leaving. There is a certain strength and faith needed to let go and leave my three boys, Ambrose, my husband Julian, and our new puppy Aspen. I will never forget the words of Leo Buscaglia who my father used to quote so regularly. Buscaglia spoke of learning, laughing, labouring, loving but then also leaving. With children it is easy to want to coddle them forever but there is also that time to recognize that you have to let go so they can be the strength they are. It is another act of balance and finding midline, the middle path, and I know that my yoga practice has allowed me the grace and strength to be able to let go so Ambrose and Viveka can be the children they are trying to be. I had great role models for this. I remember my parents were always giving me so much independence yet at the same time, they would provide me with the stability and structure of support. It is not easy to leave or to let our children slowly ease away from the foundations we have given them. But it is part of the ebb and flow of life and through daily practice, we are reminded to show up and become aware of our own personal needs. Postures come but they also go and sometimes that is the point. Life is not cumulative just as yoga postures are not cumulative. What we have one day, we may not have the next. So we plant strong seeds and remind our souls of the essence of life. We learn, we love, we laugh and then we need to leave. And in the leaving, there is a trust. Just like I trusted when I left for Stockholm. I trust as I leave for India with one child and the other stays behind for another adventure in life. So far, there are no frozen meals in the freezer. There is no long list for Julio to follow. Just a few notes on some internet passwords! There is just the trust and knowledge that they will be fine and the leaving will offer Ambrose an even greater strength and confidence in himself. And the journey with Viveka will be yet another adventure, another memory on its own. Off to India we go.