Soft Heart, Strong Body

Have you found yourself full of judgment? Are you judging yourself, your family, your friends, your leaders, your government, your life? You may be finding yourself these days feeling soft on the outside and hard on the inside. Boundaries are getting blurred. One day you may be choosing to social distance, wearing a mask around everyone you meet, and keep 6′ apart from others and the next day you are drawn to friends and family and the life you once lived gathering together inside, sitting next to each other laughing and sharing stories, not wearing a mask and wanting to forget a pandemic is happening in our world.

I know this is where I am on a daily basis. In the beginning, I was very strong in my conviction and did not let anyone inside of our home. All play-dates were outside. We did not travel to see others and we did not take our children anywhere. My husband and I took turns running errands and we tried to keep those to once a week.

Now 4 months later, I have found it getting harder and harder to stay away from my closest family members and friends. We have decided to open our little bubble of five to include grandparents and a few other family members and friends. We have traveled a couple of hours to see cousins and close family members outside. In a few weeks, we are taking a mini-vacation to Decorah, 4 hours away, to stay in a cabin and explore the outdoors.

Every day I am making a thousand decisions. They say a person makes up to 35,000 decisions in one day. Wow. This is mind-blowing. I have been listening to Emily P. Freeman weekly for over a year now and she shares with her audience the reality of decision fatigue and how helpful it is to do the “next right thing” one decision at a time. In fact, the intro to her podcast sounds like this:

This is a podcast about making decisions, but also about making a life. If you struggle with decision fatigue, chronic hesitation, or if you just need a few minutes away from the constant stream of information and the sometimes delightful, but also distracting hum of entertainment, you’re in the right place for a thoughtful story, a little prayer, and a simple next right step.”

Her weekly words of wisdom are healing and give me a moment of resilience and grace. But I have to be honest with you, my decision fatigue is real and I am hitting a wall. My strong boundaries are getting blurred. One day I am telling my daughter to play 6′ apart from her friends outside with her own Barbies. No one is sharing and it looks more like parallel play between preschoolers instead of two six-year-old girls playing Barbies together. The next day I am signing my eleven-year-old son up for tennis lessons through the parks and rec program. I watch how they stand side-by-side practicing drills, learning how to hit the ball over the net, and laugh with other kids his age. It is not always fair or equal and most of the time it doesn’t make sense. But I am finding myself making it up as I go, hoping it will all be o.k. in the end.

My yoga practice is also helping me have a little more resilience and grace. The poses I include in my home practice help soften the heart and strengthen the body. Standing postures like Warrior II, Triangle, Extended Angle, and Half-Moon are showing up regularly. I connect to the Earth with my feet and feel the strong and solid foundation supporting my body. These postures help me feel strong along the edges so I can soften on the inside. I also include heart-opening backbends that remind me to soften on the inside and open up from the inside-out. My open heart helps me listen and receive the gifts of the moment no matter what the content is. The lessons I learn from my yoga practice on the mat help me be a better person off of the mat.

My intention at the beginning of each yoga practice is to find acceptance in the difficult situations. I want to listen more and switch my soft boundaries and a hard heart to a position of clear boundaries and less judgment. It is my hope that my yoga practice helps me set an example and make the world a better place. I know it starts with me and the work I do for myself. May I be an example for my children. When I make a mistake, may I model forgiveness and the ability to learn and start again without shame. I do believe both strength and softness can co-exist in every moment.

Today, may we continue to learn and know exactly where and when to be clear and steady, as well as know exactly where and when to listen and love.

Blessings to you with Resilience & Grace.