I Spy: January 15, 2018
“I spy with my little eye….something white. Mom! Something white! Mom!”
We’re on the way to preschool. My mind is re-shuffling the day, since we’re already late. I really don’t want to play I Spy. Again. But I do. “Is it the clouds?” “Yes!!”
A few minutes later I’m half-singing along to a song on the radio and Emma calls out, “I spy something…green!”
I turn up the radio.
“Mom! I spy something GREEN!”
“Emma,” I say not-so-patiently, “I’m listening to the radio, okay? Let’s just listen. I love this song!”
Harry Chapin and I keep singing:
I spy an idiot.
Actually, I was able to laugh about it and not call myself names, so there’s that. But honestly.
This keeping everything in balance is exhausting and, really, futile. I try to pay attention, to give whole-hearted attention, to the thing in front of me. To pay attention to the now. But I also have to admit that there’s just a lot of repetitive, boring ‘now’ now. I spy. Fourth grade homework. Dishes.
Sometimes I can be in a moment and appreciate it for what it is. Even appreciate for what it’s not. But I find this is in direct proportion to how well the rest of the day is clicking along. If I’m late, if the meeting is pointless, if I was taken away from a good book, if I can’t get the damn computer to work…it’s hard to let go of that enough to take the deep breath and recalibrate.
But I’m trying. Points for recognition. Points for the breath and the pulling back. No shame. Just try again. Life is always generous with other chances for the now.
This uncharted now.
You’ve probably heard people talking about trying to create a work-life balance. I’ve discussed with friends what an impossibility this is. So I’m trying to think about 2018 as a year of alignment.
My favorite yoga teachers are the ones who make alignment adjustments during the pose. Make sure your knee tracks over your big toe. Try this arm variation. Tilt your pelvis and then stretch further. So much of yoga is about the proper alignment of your body—to recover the natural alignment we have as children.
I have a mental image of Jack at about a year old. He was standing, naked, in front of his book shelf and was holding a small Beatrix Potter book. He was so engrossed that he held it with both hands. It was the first time I’d seen him stand for more than a second, and I thought, “He is in perfect mountain pose.” Feet straight, hips over knees over ankles, shoulders back and down, stomach firm but soft. Perfect alignment.
This year I want to pay attention to my emotional and spiritual alignment. Am I standing firm and balanced? Where am I over-compensating and straining a relationship? Am I headed in the direction that is pleasing to God?
I want to pay attention when I am aligned so that I can consciously recreate it in moments when, say, I’m singing a song about being too busy for my child instead of playing with my child. For instance.
I want to be aligned so that I am present for my family, but also for my community. The state of the world weighs heavily on me, and I am searching for ways to engage that level up the discourse.
On what would have been Dr. King’s 89th birthday, I am remembering these hopeful, and chilling, words from his Letter from a Birmingham Jail:
I want to use my time well. To be a co-worker with God. To align myself to do right. To do my part to create the Beloved Community.
We’ll get together then. You know we’ll have a good time then.