…When one is willing to let life in and let life out, it’s more comfortable than when one is in resistance to life all the time.
— Patricia Townsend, Yoga Teacher
Breathe and know that when you sigh out your breath reminds you that you can live to lovingly pass along your legacy with your next grateful breath.
Journey seventeen’s legacy theme has been highlighted in my world lately as I have had to escort my mother through the transition of not living on her own. My mom is a delight. Her laugh is like raindrops on sea glass. She has an adoration of life-long friends and an uncanny knack for keeping plants flourishing is magic. I have many sweet legacies to cherish, and, as in most relationships, it is a mixed bag. Our journey together as mother and daughter has not always been smooth and as I willingly guide her through this unwelcome passage, I am a vessel burdened also by regrets that sometimes catch my breath and stop me in my tracks.
One recent afternoon, a dear family friend listened quietly while I shared my heartbreak of having to move my mom from her home. Each word I spoke unleashed a torrent of emotions inside of me – some surprising, some not – but all came from so deep within that they had me at an emotional standstill. As I fought for a steady voice, I told him of the questions, doubts and regrets that were swimming through my mind. I so desperately wanted it all to either go away or make sense so that I could breathe easily in this new definition of my mother.
He waited until my winds eased a bit, then answered my unanswerable questions with a question of his own. He asked, “What is your deepest regret about this?” And without any thought or awareness of what the answer would be, the words spilled out: “That the chance to receive the magic of mothering is slipping away from me.” So many meanings, so many levels of sorrow, the core of it being that the “mother’s touch” would be gone forever.
My friend gently closed his eyes as he let the dark clouds that gathered around my words settle, and he said, “You will be mothered in this new place too, just listen for it and be open to it.” This was very comforting advice so I took a deep breath and tucked those words away. Take a moment to look over the Weekly Intention Guide to set goals that apply well to your life this week.
A few weeks passed and I visited my mom in her new surroundings, where she has the support she needs. I felt her sorrow as I absorbed her new place in life. I also visited her home again. It was not an easy visit, and my breaths weren’t always steady as I internally resisted this sad transition. I sighed out as I carried a favorite item from her home to take to my own — an old, beautiful ivy — one that had crept its way up a wall, and with a quiet embrace had encircled a portrait of me as a child.
When I returned to Austin, I gently removed the old ivy from my car and found a cozy spot where it could flourish. It brought me peace to have the ivy in my home and as I bent to place it on my porch, one of its leaves brushed across my cheek so softly that I gasped. And there, in that unexpected moment when my breaths were effortless, was my mother’s legacy. Her mothering was right here, right now, alive in the beauty of this old plant she nurtured; alive in her early days of nurturing me, alive now in me, nurturing her through what she sees as the beginning of her final journey.
I gently sighed out. My breath was suspended no longer as I saw clearly that life does indeed ebb and flow, and that our breaths will dance rhythmically with that lovely tide if we let them in, then let them out again. Life flows, no matter how resistant we become, no matter how hard we try to control it, no matter how hard we try to make sense of it. It flows, and the beautiful reality is that every time we drink in a breath of fresh air, we are awake to a message of love and nurture, such as one from a simple old plant. It’s a legacy…a gift — and one that, when you sigh out again, reminds you that you too can live to lovingly pass along your own legacy with your next grateful breath. Join Cary and other wonderful yoga teachers to practice your breathing outside in beautiful Austin and feel the powerful benefits: our updated weekly schedule.
I realize this weeks video was highlighted during last Journey, but in the spirit of breathing and passing on our legacy with grateful breaths, I think I’ll slip on my leotard, tease my hair, use a bottle of RAVE hairspray and starting practicing my favorite breathing techniques from the video. More than anything, I’m bound to get a belly ache from laughter. Enjoy and happy breathing.