Invisibility in Practice
Week of 9/29/2019 Intention: Tapas (purification through discipline.) Teaching my son sign language sounded like such a great idea when he was about four months old. Both my late husband and I were exhausted from lack of sleep, and we were desperate to figure out a short cut to meet the needs of our child other than the trial and error method which currently was "just keep doing stuff until he stops crying." "The book" said to start exposing your baby at eight months with 2-3 simple signs, and then add on as they picked them up. So we tried. Eight months old...nothing. Nine months...nothing. Ten months...okay, maybe this was just a gimmick thing to get us to buy the book. Eleven months...nada. My parental team member gave up. My stubbornness wouldn't allow it. The trial words were "eat," "drink," and "more." I was using the sign language so much, I caught myself using them as I was conversing with friends. Then, right around his first birthday..."Did he just sign eat? Did he? Get that child something to eat!" Receiving food each time he signed, our baby caught on quickly and made the connection. Soon he mastered our basic three words, and was adding more. I was reminded of this memory recently when practicing inversions at a yoga training. Since a car accident in 2017, I had been working at what seemed like a glacial pace towards being able to do some of my favorite poses again. Vestibular and physical challenges (and honestly, emotional fear/trauma) had kept me from completing a pose that I had been doing since my mom taught it to me after watching Jack LaLanne in the 60's: Salamba Shirshana, or headstand. Being in a group trying the pose and having a spotter seemed to do the trick! I did it! So, I didn't do it in month eight after the accident, or month nine...not even a year. It'd been TWENTY-TWO months since the accident. So all the little practices each day mattered. The seemingly silly vestibular exercises mattered. The first forward fold without a headache mattered. The sessions of trauma counseling mattered. The yoga and meditation practices each time brought me a little forward, made one more synapse connection, reduced the fear a little more...until the headstand happened. Honestly, the headstand was a nice marker of progress, but the experience along the way was rich with other gifts that I never knew existed. So even when we can't see the difference a little practice makes every day, whatever that positive practice is...there are things happening. Sometimes those things are invisible and imperceptible, but they're there. If we are only led by our ego which will give us a goal to meet, we might quickly give up, or become frustrated. Practice for practice, and know that amazing, wonderful, unforeseen things are happening.