I woke up this morning greeted by my favorite monthly visitor.
Oh hello, it's you again.
And to be fair, we are friends, kinda sorta.
She knows that I'm all done actively giving birth to children and so I reluctantly, but gratefully take the cramps, bitchy attitude and extra pounds she lovingly gives me in exchange for her willingness to keep my womb on moratorium.
Wanting to curl up in the fetal position and stuff my face with chocolate covered anything, I made the decision to gather up my 4-year old and head to the yoga studio to try to stretch this not-so-happy body out and to get right with my head and my heart.
Upon arriving, I could tell that people were worn out. Shuffling off shoes, laying out their mats, yawning, swigging water from the bottles...no one was talking to each other except telepathically, as if to say, it's good I'm here, I know, but really, I wish I was taking a nap.
After multiple positions and an active regimen, the instructor guided us to gently move into Camel pose. Have you done this before? It looks like this...
For me, it's the most vulnerable pose in the practice. Holding onto the back of your feet while you thrust your chest, heart and pelvic area to the world, your eyes remain closed and you breathe deeply while trying to endure. It's scary because you're literally letting the world see all that is harbored deep in your heart space.
Once the practice was done, I left feeling drained in a good way.
Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, my daughter and I found our way to the park, where I struck up an amazing conversation with a woman who was in need of a mediator in her life. Talking about my background in Conflict Resolution, we discussed the origin of the conflict, the players, her hopes and the process. For a few brief moments, I felt extraordinarily useful and extremely hopeful that she and her family would one day find some peace.
While we were driving home, I started to hear huge sobs coming from the backseat.
"Mama, mama...my balloon...it got a hole in it and all of the air is coming out of it."
This is the pink balloon that my daughter has been carrying around for over a week. The worst part is that the hole must be a pin prick, so the slow leak is causing her extra agony as every time she looks at it, the balloon is less and less of it's former self.
Taking a quick break to make lunch, it struck me that we're all sort of walking around in Camel pose with our hearts on our sleeve like leaky balloons searching for bits of peace.
While I told my daughter that we can always buy and blow up a new balloon, she lamented that it wouldn't be the same. She wanted the old balloon and she couldn't stop crying until the answer was that I could fix it and give her back the original pink circle that she remembered.
But this is how it goes, right? We're living life because whether we're on our period or not, we're still parents with jobs and responsibilities and somewhere in the mix, we bump into other people who are just trying to get by too and between sand castles and slides, we learn that their hearts are heavy with slow leaks, searching for how to make amends or to bring a sense of contentment or order back into their every day.
And as much as we want to say that it's no big deal that our balloon is deflating or that we're not quite right, we know every time that we outstretch ourselves to the world, that it does matter and that it does show.
The best part about seeing those yogis at the studio and that fellow mother at the park is that hopefully, we all remember that we're not alone in our quest. And while there are no guarantees that you'll get as good of a balloon as you had before, the truth is that you'll be okay. Hope, I think, I pray abounds when we just keep trying, we just keep believing and we just keep being there for each other at the park or on the yoga mat or in the car while another cries in search of peace.