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Life is all about coming full circle.
I just watched a clip of dear Alanis Morissette and her little one perform on “The Tonight Show.” While attempting to sing, her daughter adorably interrupts her. It’s the cutest thing ever; I hope you get a chance to watch. My oh my, how time and events change us.
I will always cherish the days practicing yoga backstage with Alanis at the end of a huge gig while the equipment was being packed up. After, we would get on the tour bus, watch a movie, or settle down with yoga music before getting to the next city. My mind as a new yoga teacher and at a tender age of 24 was blown away. Oh my god, what an experience to fall into!
Like most girls our age and beyond, I respect and love deeply the voice that Alanis gives our generation. Back then, the next day usually consisted of waking up in a new city, a new hotel, and getting a call from her assistant to then find our way to the local spiritual shop. We would do some more yoga at the new gig and start the process all over again. Alanis seemed like an athlete to me—it was grueling to keep up her pace, yet for me could never compare to motherhood.
I once heard a dear yoga teacher friend say to me one day, “Motherhood is the most advanced yoga class I’ve ever been in.” We both laughed so hard in agreement.
Being a mom is about nurturing life—helping another grow and develop into the person who is there waiting for them. It’s about leaving them alone enough to figure it out while holding space as a fierce lion protector. Motherhood is also about nurturing ourselves by being the example of love you would like to see in the world. Some days it’s just plain hard, but I guess what it boils down to is being present. While being present, everyone feels seen, especially the mother within.
In the end, if we were to ask our 85-year-old self how we think our life went, what would that person say? Hopefully, that person would say something like, “I have lived life as my heart yearned for, loved life while learning lessons, and maybe even learned to let go along the way.”
Rumi, the 13th-century mystic poet, wrote: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
These words knock me off my feet each time. We are taught in the western world that our task if we choose to accept it is to love well. We are consumed and bombarded with the notion that if we don’t have a love partner in our life, then something is probably wrong with us.
From early childhood, it starts with the fairytales and romance movies that position “marriage and family life” as the biggest thing ever. And of course, a committed, deep love relationship is like nothing else, but what if we haven’t begun to love ourselves and all our broken parts? What if we have traumas and dramas that we are still hoping to heal—what then?
For me, it has been a long journey to self-love and acceptance. When I was a child and things were unbearable at times, I remember developing fantasies to avoid feeling the pain. Being vulnerable is one of the most courageous acts we can do to invite more love into our life. Going inside to see things as they are, with deep compassion can be felt everywhere. Being in nature—the sounds, the smells, the feeling of crisp air, and bare feet stepping onto the early morning dew—is one way to enter the inner space. While in this space, I’ll sometimes offer an intention for an opening to receive and give love.
So although our world is going through a mass overhaul, our anchor as spirits having a human experience tethers us to the eternal light within. In essence, something deep inside of us knows that we are not just our thoughts, feelings, and life situations. Even if on an unconscious level, our mind messages us otherwise.
What I know today is that yoga is not just about creating beautiful shapes with our bodies and caring for our temple that houses our soul—it is intimacy with our most ordinary of moments, with our most human of conditions.
The patting of your dog, water caressing your skin, a gentle kiss placed on the cheek of your beloved, or in tasting a fresh strawberry. It is, in essence, love and healing in the most difficult of times.
I love you, Alanis, and, like many, am so inspired by you and all moms. It’s amazing to me how mundane tasks have the chance to take on a sacred quality when carried out as a meditation, with love, for their own sake, and without thought of recognition or reward. Whether being like the mother energy to your fur-baby, grandma, or dear friend, in the end, it all feels like motherhood itself.