By Dana Gornall
I can’t think straight, I’m so gay
Sometimes I cry a whole day
I care a lot, use an analog clock
And never know when to stop
And I’m passive, aggressive
I’m scared of the dark and the dentist
I love my butt and won’t shut up
And I never really grew up
They tell us from the time we’re young
To hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves
I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else
Well I’m over it
~ Secrets by Mary Lambert
I squeeze into a place in the back of yoga class, roll out my mat and sit down onto a couple of folded yoga blankets.
Shifting back and forth, folding my legs together, I take in a deep breath. I rushed to get here (as usual) because I have a tendency to think I have more time than I actually do, set forth way too many chores that should be fit in said allotted time and then get sidetracked by my dog that thinks he is still a puppy, by texts from friends and many other vague time-wasting activities such as checking Facebook for the 400th time.
Taking in another deep breath I notice a slightly sour odor coming from somewhere. I look to my left and then my right and then, ever so slowly, lift up my knee, putting my nose to my black yoga pants and inhale. Oh God, it’s me.
How long did I leave that last load of laundry in the washer before putting it in the dryer?
It seems my days and my nights all blend together, and I attend to chores when I can—when I have either the time or energy. Usually (or rather, most often) that means there are almost always at least some dishes in the sink on the clean or dirty side, there is a perpetual basket of clean laundry waiting to be folded sitting on the couch or the dining room chair and a never-ending pile of laundry to be washed. That means there is always a stack of bills that need paying, forms that need signed or attended to, and random items or tidbits that need putting away or placed in their correct homes—whether that be a dresser drawer, a file or even the trash. The list of things to do—and things I needed to do a week ago—is endless.
Feeling a sense of defeat and frustration growing in my belly, I sigh heavily.
I wish I had started taking yoga before I had kids when I had more time. I wish I would have learned to meditate then. I wish I was better organized, more spiritual, didn’t drink so much coffee, wasn’t addicted to potato chips and actually had the time and energy to finish some of those books in the stack next to my bed.
I wish I still didn’t have a Christmas stocking sitting on my dining room table because I keep forgetting to put it away.
I suppose I am always reaching for some distant goal and forever missing the mark. A lifetime ago—before I even became a mother—I purchased a print I had seen in a catalog of a woman among a forest of trees reaching for a star. It struck me the way things do when you see art reflecting your soul back to you in ways you cannot describe. That was me—-that has always been me. Standing out in the middle of nowhere on a warm dark night, arms outstretched in hopes that if I just tired hard enough I would be able to finally reach that bright, shining star.
That’s the thing though, there will always be more stars and more forests.
In society today, which is overloaded with Instagram pics, Snapchat stories and Vine videos, we are constantly being bombarded with each other’s lives and no one wants to be seen less than or not as good as another. We strive to be better, smarter, funnier, more creative and everything and anything else than ordinary. Sometimes I wonder if the Buddha had been alive today, would he have uploaded the sutras in a Periscope video? Would he have been able to sit under the Bodhi tree for as long without checking his Facebook status? Would he have been concerned with getting enough followers or likes?
The truth is, imperfection is everywhere.
Ralph Waldo Emerson so wisely noted: life is a journey, not a destination. Maybe the point in life is not in attaining that faraway star; it’s the work that goes into the reaching toward it.
So today my yoga pants stink a little. I’m here, I’m practicing, I’m working toward a better me so I can be a better mom and a better person overall. Maybe I’ll never be enlightened. Maybe I’ll never have hamstrings flexible enough for me to place my whole body onto my legs in a forward bend. Maybe I sometimes leave the laundry in the washer too long.
Maybe accepting this all is leading me one step closer to that distant star.
“Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.” ~ BKS Iyengar
Editor: Alicia Wozniak