It's Just Life

I can still hear the sweet, steady, voice of my college roommate; “it’s just life” she would always say. 3 simple words that have grown with me, that I seem to keeping getting in bigger and clearer ways. The 3 words that I desperately needed when my daughters were born. As a mom of identical twin girls, who are now almost 6, the newborn phase was hard. Sleep was evasive, hands were always full, quiet and stillness were a delicacy beyond my meager new mom budget. I found myself obsessing over trying to perfect my girls sleeping and eating cycles as if it was something I could control. Regardless of my mother’s assurance that things would get better, I remember clearly feeling as if it would all just last forever; irregular sleep, constant nursing, crying, diaper changing, and if I didn’t figure this all out I would be stuck in the newborn quicksand indefinitely. So I suffered. I know that suffering sounds extreme as compared to starvation, abuse, and homelessness, but in my own small way I did. I was overwhelmed, anxious, and just out of synch. Upon reflection it’s obvious that most of the stress arose from the feeling of permanence, that this struggle was never ending and how I couldn’t even sense, much less see, the dim light at the end of what felt like an endless tunnel. And although the days passed quickly, the moments were very long.

Yoga has a name for this type of suffering –Avidya. It means ignorance and it refers directly to my experience- mistaking the impermanent for permanent. It’s the feeling that the sting and ache of heartbreak will never fade. It’s the untruth that injury will never heal, grief will never subside, and that things will never change or get easier. It’s also the throb of loss when happily ever after is as mortal as human life. Day is always fading into night, winter eventually thaws into spring. Yoga invites us to step into the light of knowing that truly “it’s just life”. Once one feels into this truth, the impermanence of it all, a greater freedom becomes available. The freedom of a broad perspective, of remembering that this too shall pass, and the freedom of experiencing the full power of joy when one comprehends it too is as momentary and cyclical as our breath. Our experiences of union naturally bring these truths to the surface, and inform the everyday mind that although our states of being are unfixed this innate wisdom is always within reach. Our divine nature of connection, intuition, and love is open to us each time we remember to tune in. Yoga is the reminder, the weight that strengthens the muscle of self of awareness. Yoga intrinsically gives us the gift of noticing, learning, and even awkwardly aligning all of the postures of our lives with our emerging truths. Yogic philosophy even teaches that these hardships, this mistaken assumption, this ignorance is often at the very root of our suffering and the very thing that keeps bringing us back to the mat. When the magic of consciousness is woven into life’s fiber with the threads of Asana, meditation, and even just moments of mindfulness, slowly but surely suffering dissipates.

My struggle was much less about what was actually happening, and more about the misinformed feeling that it was never going to end. Once I began to realize that the baby phases were just that, fleeting and temporary, I started to relax into the ebb and flow of motherhood. I’m seeing it more everday- how my phases too wax and wane like the moon. How at times inspiration is a strong flowing river, the clarity of wisdom and connection clear. It makes the difficult, sluggish, cloudy times easier –this remembering that “it’s just life”. I can lean back, ride life’s waves, and imperfectly practice being cool with the truth and impermanence of it all.