Before I get into today’s post, a big THANK YOU to those of you who read about my sweet Bea. Your loving, thoughtful responses are not lost on this mama and the rest of Team Honeypie – we’re grateful and filled with hope for our girl’s life, and for the ever-expanding awareness of our world when it comes to differently-abled folks. Thank you.
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You know how, when you move homes, you finally do the stuff you’ve been putting off? You paint the smudged woodwork, plant that flowering tree in the front yard, replace the refrigerator with the door that never really closes. When it’s all done, the home prepped and ready for sale or rent, you look at your [spouse, partner, helper friends] and say, “Why on earth didn’t I do this earlier so I could enjoy it? Why am I willing to do this for some future home owner/renter I don’t even know, when I wouldn’t do it for myself?”
As a new mom and typically very thrifty gal, I’m also amazed by how quickly I’ll shell out money for a teeny Halloween costume or an occasional irresistible miniature outfit for my girl. It’s amazing, really – I’ll talk myself out of the simplest new-clothing purchase for myself and keep wearing the same old things nine times out of ten. I can’t justify the expense, or it’s too hard to find something that fits well and I’m not willing to put in the effort, no matter how good I’d feel with a new pair of jeans. When it’s for someone I love, though? I’ll happily search for the just-right thing to help them feel good about how they look, happily spend those precious dollars on them when it fosters their joy and self-worth.
In some ways, a hesitance to indulge is thrifty and wise, right? I’ve saved a fair amount of money over the years. It’s good for the planet to minimize what we consume. That’s a strong reason behind my choice to live simply and avoid overdoing it on the “stuff” front – but if I’m not careful, I can also use it as a cop-out.
In the past few years, I’ve noticed a major shift in myself when it comes to spending (time and money both) on experiences that help me be the person I’d like to be. It’s still not easy, and I rely heavily on my husband and a few close friends to give me the last nudge to make it happen, but I am no longer putting things off for later.
That means I regularly go to yoga classes and workshops that help me keep evolving as a human being and to continue learning to be a better yoga instructor and OT. None of these things are cheap, and usually they involve a fair amount of schedule-juggling and leaning on others for help while I step out of my regular life for a bit.
But let me tell you: At these events, ranging from OT continuing ed to yoga teacher training to regular Friday morning asana class, I’ve met and continue to meet folks I consider dear friends. They’re experiences in which I’m simultaneously challenged and deeply restored, sometimes physically and always in my heart.
I don’t think it’s ever easy to invest in our self-evolution, because it feels like self-indulgence. Most would argue that yoga class (or your YMCA pass, or the community education painting course) isn’t essential. I disagree – at least, when it comes to feeling whole and strong and true to one’s self.
I always have a list of things I’d like to do on that front. Get a new pair of yoga pants that fits better so I’m more likely to put them on and get on the mat every day. Sign up for a week-long advanced adaptive yoga training course next summer. Spend unpaid time up front (while shelling out for daycare) planning workshops and classes that I believe in.
All of these things feel like extravagances, especially now that we have a baby and there’s another layer of demands on our time and money. I can agonize over whether the things on my list are responsible decisions, talk myself out of them. Or, I can let go and trust the super-smart, often-squashed little voice in my gut that tells me: Go do it.
Go do these things, because they’ll make you a better human being. They’ll make you a better wife, and mom, and OT, and yoga teacher. They’ll give you the fresh air and joy that keeps you squarely on the path toward what feels good and true and worthy of your one “wild and precious life” (if you don’t read Mary Oliver’s work, please start – you’re welcome). The time and money you invest are not lost, not squandered, and there is no better place to put your treasure. Whatever discomfort is involved, be it a tightened monthly budget or displaced routine, will fade into unimportance.
I’ve started up a fund for my advanced yoga training course next summer (no matter that there are a thousand other places those dollars could go); I spent half a work day last week planning for things that haven’t happened (or brought in any income) yet, because I believe in their worth; and I have a date with myself to try on yoga pants tomorrow.
It’s happening, because I want my treasure to go where my heart leads. I have not regretted a single dollar or moment spent on my journey into living with joy and in harmony with the deepest wishes of my heart. If anything, I wish I’d done more sooner. There will never be a better time than right now to move toward greater joy and balance.
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It’s not too late to sign up for my Care for the Caregiver workshop at Heartwork Yoga in beautiful Northfield, Minnesota, this Saturday, October 29, from 1 to 4 pm. A little yoga (adapted to meet the needs of all bodies), a little guided reflection, and a chance to rest and restore with others who aren’t afraid to seek the sustenance they need to be their best care-giving selves.
You’ll leave with doable, simple strategies, carefully honed for you, to help your body, mind and heart find center, again and again, no matter how many directions your life pulls.