I love the Golden Gate Bridge.
There are many reasons for this love. Probably my favorite is: it can’t always be seen. It has the capacity to hide itself under the dense San Francisco fog. And then, it reveals itself again. I love it for that.
Becoming a mother has revealed moments of a fogged up mind, of not knowing what has happened to the person I used to be and unsure of who I will be later. Is “mother” my identity now? What about my past identities? The daughter, the student, the teacher, the wife, the nerd, the writer, the dancer, the professionist, the idealist. Sometimes I feel I am all those things; sometimes, that I am none of them at all. Exciting sometimes, and at other times, scary.
Beneath the fog—the change—a question echoes:
Who am I?
The question ripples and reverberates like the Om at the start of a yoga practice.
This is the question I wake up to every morning. It’s the question that has begun to guide my yoga practice.
In the midst of little sleep, from caring for my little one, I wake up early when it’s still foggy outside and inside, and I get on my mat. I don’t really know what will come out of it. I just arrive. I have committed to my morning practice. Sometimes the fog is heavy.
But still, I know the space of clarity is there. I revel in the remembrance of The Golden Gate Bridge—the bridge that remains steady in the coming and going of cyclists, pedestrians, cars, winds, sunny days, and fog… lots of fog. Its stability in the midst (and mist) of change and uncertainty is inspiring.
I work through the tight muscles from carrying my babe and nursing and rocking him and repeating, and I breathe through the ache of a heart that opens more every day with love for this new little being. I sit with myself.
Who am I when I’m not the mother, the wife, the student, the teacher? When I’m just here, in the morning, with myself, with my breath. Even for just a moment.
Perhaps there is no answer. Perhaps who I am is simply that which is calling me to come close and listen for awhile.
And so I sit. I offer my practice. Breathe through the fog.
And then at some point, there it is,
the beautiful tip of the bridge.
Author: Paulina Julian
Editor: Caroline Beaton
Photo: Courtesy of the author
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