Whether in parenting our children, expanding our knowledge, or improving our bodies, there is great value in an approach of Gentle Persistence.
Friday, October 12, 2012
On Wednesday night, I attended yoga class at Mindful & Embodied. I hadn't been feeling 100%, so I thought I'd take it easy and just be kind to my body. The studio can barely be called such- it is tiny. Attendance was definitely at maximum for the limited space. By the time we started class, Natalie, our instructor, was chuckling over rearranging mats and using students as guides as she surrendered her own mat space. The mood was light and comfortable. It was obvious that most of us were fairly experienced in yoga and a few were her current or former trainees. As Natalie inquired as to our bodily well being and felt out what the practice for the evening should entail, the word that made my heart jump was ASHTANGA. I was in for it. I know my own propensity to challenge myself, and I knew I wouldn't be content with child's pose for half of practice, but I shucked my fear and dove in with a smile. It was a challenging, intimate and fantastic practice. By the end I felt I glowed from the inside out, but what truly left residue in my mind were words of thought from our instructor. Just as fourteen sweaty bodies steadied into a shoulder stand in Baddha Konasana, she spoke of Gentle Persistence. I don't know if she meant to reference it solely from a physical standpoint, but it lit a spark in my mind which shed a ray of enlightenment and brought to mind my sweet daughter, and another word: Patience. Of my four children, my first daughter has been as much challenge to me as joy. She is bold, questioning, bright. She is the embodiment of my own control issues and she is shaping me at least as much as I am shaping her. I find myself snapping at her persistence even as I know how well it will serve her in life, and angry in my own parental insecurities. In that mindful moment the words Gentle Persistence began a soothing echo in my soul. I am faced with stepping back from myself and my own issues, and seeing her for what she is- brilliant, powerful, full of raw potential in need only of love and gentle nudges of guidance as she makes her way. As she makes her way. My job as a parent is not to mold her every move and perception until she follows suit. I am not raising her to be me. Yes, I have influence as her mother, and she will probably adopt some of my habits, for better or worse, and maybe curse me for it someday. But this sterling little soul is the only one of her on this planet. To stuff her into my limited mortal view of what she might be would be sinful- not to mention painful for the both of us. I must love and let be. Her mistakes are hers to make, and the only claim I have to her talents is the right to nurture them. Like all children, she does need guidance, but the funny thing about persistence is that too much of it creates forceful resistance, while too little leaves us directionless. When we find that sweet spot of Gentle Persistence, magic can happen. Elasticity, guidance, discovery and growth. Considering a gentle aspect allows for kindness- to others and to ourselves.