Yesterday I met my pal out for coffee and cake. It was that kind of day, you know? Not "happy cake day", but like, "damn, I want to just be comforted by some cake and a hot beverage" day. On the way to the comfort cake and friend sesh my car became filled with the familiar smell of baby poop. Upon entering the ultra-hip coffee and wine bar ( I mean, the girl at the table next to us had a REAL camera and a white beret) I took my poopy baby to the bathroom. I moved the bowl filled with reindeer moss from the hutch and began to change my baby on my makeshift changing table. My happy boy wriggled all about, clearly exhilarated to be defiling the top of a chic hipster piece of furniture and then I stuck my thumb directly in his poop. I like to think that being a mom for 8.5 years would make me more skilled than to misjudge the folding of my wipe and to end up with the dreaded poo hand, but alas, poo-handed I was.
I didn't eat any cake. But I did enjoy something warm and frothy with a design swirled into the foamy top. The girls next to us looked over and commented on my son's beautiful eyes but quickly went back to whatever requires berets and legit cameras at 3pm on a Tuesday. After my lovely conversation with someone that keeps my feet on the ground (as my yoga partner, this is often literal) I packed up my baby, baby gear, and decided to squeeze in one quick errand. I drove down to the potentially even more hip hair salon I go to pick up some more dry-shampoo paste. It was about a 4-minute car ride and yet...
He pooped again.
The girl at the salon oohed over how cute my son was but unless she had completely blocked nasal passages she was overwhelmed by the baby poop smell. Again, in a place that I used to feel at home in, a cool and hip salon, I was the mom with the poop baby.
Sometimes as a mom and as I get older I feel like Chris Rock in "Down to Earth". If you haven't seen it, Chris Rock dies before his time and ends up with a second chance and is in the body of a fat white dude. I'm Chris Rock but I didn't die, I'm just getting older and I felt it with my poopy baby in all the young spots. But the poopy hands keep me humble and remind me that for all the amazing points in my life, there has to be balance and that balance is that sometimes things are shitty.
I get really excited about things that I love and sometimes other people don't think they're that exciting. Example. My mom and I were in the car together a couple summers ago and we were out by their cottage in the country and it was sunny and beautiful and I was thinking about my love for nature and traveling and I blurted out about how much I would love to have a camper to take my kids camping in the summer and just truck around Michigan and maybe beyond during my summers off (#teacherlife). She turned to me and said "Where would you park it?"
I don't have a camper but I do have a passion for yoga because it changed my outlook on life in a way that I could never actually put into words. I ski, both water and snow, and one thing that is true for both is that if you go a whole season without a good wipeout you probably aren't growing or getting any better because you're not pushing yourself to your edge. Yoga challenged my edge but not for physical performance (not always). It challenged the edge of my tolerance and my mental strength. Just one more breath. I can stay in this space for one more breath.
Getting certified as a yoga instructor was in a lot of ways like buying the camper (that I don't have). When I told my husband that I wanted to go through the 200-hour training he said, "but you have a job?". And I do! And I love being a professor. But I also love yoga and I love teaching and I wanted to see if I could teach yoga. I do not need a camper, but I love the places it could take me to and that's why I wanted to be a yoga instructor.
I started teaching again on Tuesday. But I didn't actually teach. I got to the place where I teach and there wasn't enough interest to run the class for the evening. It was hard. I worked on a sequence I was excited to teach, I created a playlist based off from a bunch of other playlists that I totally stole from other people but was proud of the outcome, I picked up yoga blocks from my yoga pal during the poop and coffee date, I had my new speaker, and the most important thing was that I was really looking forward to the feeling that you get after you teach a class. It's like a high. Taking in all that collective energy from the class as they breathe together and flow. It's powerful. I have had a couple of weeks where everything is totally fine but totally chaotic and thrown together and plans don't stick and I stay up late to get stuff done and then I nap when the baby naps and then I'm still behind and then I cry a little.
I teach yoga again tomorrow and maybe tomorrow there will be people to teach. Maybe not. But it reminds me of something someone told me when I was in grad school "be careful not to compare your beginning with the middle and endings of the stories of others". I mean, comparison is the stealer of joy as it is. But I am at the beginning of my yoga journey and I am having a blast. I'm in the "dream stage" where nothing is set yet and I can still have big dreams. Nothing major might seem like it's happening, but this is the beginning of something and right now I can only dream of what that might be.
There is this teacher in a book that I am reading with my daughter, and the teacher has a third ear and the third ear can hear the thoughts of others. The teacher listens to people to find out things to use against them because she is bitter and angry and wants everyone to be angry like she is. The teacher scans the thoughts of her students in the classroom and picks up bits and pieces of things that are making the children uncomfortable, nervous, or worried. The three eared teacher gets excited and thinks how "the bad stuff always rose to the top of the brain".
I often feel discomfort in my mind in the form of chatter and busyness and overanalyzing. The bad stuff always rises to the top of the brain. Being able to breathe, focus on the present moment, and push through the initial thoughts of discomfort is a major skill. One of my favorite calls when I'm teaching yoga is when the class has been working and their heart rate is up and they're starting to get tired and they come into a warrior pose and as they plant their front foot I call "warriors, rise up!". This collective determination and strength is palpable in the room and it's contagious. I've definitely been a humble warrior the last two weeks. Life put me in my place. I have people around to laugh about it with and drink coffee with me even if my hand smells like poop after 3 washes.
I am tired and I have been working and my heart rate is up, maybe yours is too. I hope those in your life call to you to lift you up.
Warriors, rise up. Because warriors you are.