Last week I was lying on my daughter Lucia’s bed before saying goodnight. It’s my favorite time with her these days. At fourteen most of her waking hours are focused on separating from me and I am grateful for a few minutes of being needed and wanted like the old days. Lucia and I were talking about about school, work, her friends and summer plans and it felt like the conversation had reached its natural end. I was getting ready to kiss her goodnight when she started talking again. “Mom, “ she said, “the other day I was reading a book about Hamilton which was really boring and I just started staring out into space….. I realized that I never do that. I’m always at school or at soccer or vocal jazz or piano or I’m on my phone or with other people. I’m never just doing nothing.”
Inside I felt broken-hearted. The state of existence these days is to be on all the time. I felt for Lucia and her peers who, with the presence of cell phones, are really mired in the culture of always being tuned in. The pressure to be doing something all the time is so intense and there is very little opportunity to tune out. But I didn’t tell her that, I just asked, “How did that feel?”
“Great!” she said.
We talked a little bit about finding ways to get to that place in the future, making time to just be instead of always doing, and then we said goodnight. I struggle as a parent to help Lucia find balance and in helping her, I become aware of my own imbalance, my increasing inability to find comfort in the existence of just being.
The next day I practiced yoga. I went to class and from the moment I settled into Savasana at the beginning of class to wait for the Frani to turn on the lights to begin, I was there. I was just being. I felt a swell of gratitude for this feeling and the presence of this practice in my life. Yoga is a lot of things and it means something different for everyone. For me these days yoga is a respite from the “doing,” a haven from technology and chores and to-do-lists. It is a sanctuary of openness and grace. It’s a reminder that underneath all of the things I do to be me, I’m still alive and vibrant and filled with energy. It’s a gift. I hope sometimes you feel it too.