our commute into town from home takes 20-25 minutes, and for most of that drive tuesday night, quinn was exclaiming over the beauty of the moon (phase: boat moon, aka half) and expounding on his theories of what it might be made of, “because it seems like air, but it also seems like it can’t be air. maybe it is made of wood,” and telling me about how he thinks the moon becomes bigger and smaller each month, and where the extra pieces go into hiding when it is boat moon, so that they can be put back on for it to become fender (aka full) moon again.
(this is a fender; reference photo circa june 2011)
i thought briefly about letting him in on the secret of the earth casting its shadow on the moon and how it is illuminated by the sun. then i said, instead, “i’m so glad you think about the moon so much. it makes me happy.” he replied, chuckling at my quaintness, “how can it make you happy, mama? it’s only normal!”
then he was off, telling me more about how the moon was actually a chunk of a planet that split off when a large meteor hit a medium-sized meteor and sent it colliding with the planet, breaking off a chunk that became the moon. this happened in the time of the dinosaurs, naturally.
(quinn made this in photoshop)
then i went and taught yoga while he went home with rich, and my one student who wasn’t sick or already on holiday got to do boat moon balance pose for the first time (aka half moon balance).
this week in yoga: praying for an end to violence. as i’m sure goes for all of you who read this blog.
i hope my good friend rachel at 6512 and growing will not mind being quoted on the single most eloquent beginning-of-a-solution to this problem of violence that i have read: “Mostly, I don’t know anything. But, maybe affordable health care should be easier to obtain than a semi-automatic weapon.” first, we might begin with acknowledging: we do not know how to get out of this. we don’t know. but how desperately we want for our children, all children, to be safe.
balance. this is a place a yogi strives for, although striving is of course usually missing the point. still, we dance along the edge of that perfect blend of strength and flexibility. too strong, and one becomes rigid. too flexible, and one is unable to set a strong foundation. (i can help my son remember my coparent’s birthday, while still refusing to be bullied into conceding to my coparent’s demands in our legal document.) finding the balance. putting too much effort into a pose, the pose becomes inflexible; we strain, the heart forgets to open, we stray from the breath. surrendering too much, collapsing into the bones and letting the muscles droop, the pose loses the integrity and beauty of its form. sukham, that balance point between effort and surrender, strength and flexibility, is that state of ease we hope to come to.
it seems obvious which direction we have strayed, as a society, away from the balance point. we are so afraid of one another, and we value fierceness and independence and strength far above flexibility and openness. we are disinclined to open our hearts, to give and be flexible because we fear vulnerability, we fear being taken advantage of, we fear….
(quinn, being the expert family colorer, is on commission from rich’s mom to color this fuzzy poster for b pancake, and he has already completed his task. i had a moment of worry that he might try to claim it for himself and forget it was a gift, but he developed a storyline on his own that b pancake would like to have some fierce animals watching over her while she sleeps, so she won’t be afraid.)
i don’t know anything, and it becomes more readily apparent to me all the time. but arriving at that place of surrendering to “i know not” is paradoxically closer to the solution than rigid self-assurance, as joseph campbell suggests (if my feeble attempt at paraphrasing such an amazing man comes anywhere close to doing him justice). and while i am way out of my league, i might as well quote his holiness the dalai lama: “the only option is to live and work together harmoniously, and keep in our minds the interest of the whole of humanity.”
i feel lucky to have a busy five year old to keep me here in the moment, and give me breaks from thinking of unthinkable events. i feel so blessed to be surrounded by abundance, love, a warm wood stove, thick blankets, cheery christmas lights, plenty to eat, and time to spend doing frivolous things like melting crayons onto waxed paper and hanging “stained glass” in the windows of a house that no one but our family ever drives up to.
(this is a vintage craft from my childhood, something my mom used to let me do on nana’s old hot plate, and i scored a mini version at the antique mall the other day. abandoning his perfectionist moment of “but what if i make it all dumb?” when he felt how slippery and tactilely fun it was to have your crayon melt as you color with it, he made about a dozen designs.)
(i’ve heard it said that the eskimos have a lot of words for snow, but i wonder if we have kinds of snow here that they never needed to name in the far north. like, “snow that falls in wet clumps and coats the ground in slimy slushiness.” or, “the ground is white because of three inches of hail.”)
since i’m quoting liberally today…
“i have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
these three are your greatest treasures.
simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
~from stephen mitchell’s translation of the tao te ching
i feel a shift. since my previous post i can report that all matters coparenting are in a better place. i’m going to leave this post rough and stick it up there, making room for much more joyful posts coming soon.