Tag Archives: uncomfortable

Clapping and Crying with all the other Moms

I always weep at endings.

The end of the school year slays me every time.

More than any other ending, it marks time for me. The slash on the calendar is dark blood red. This ending has been earned. Yet I don’t want it.

The door closing feels heavy and even though I know I have no power to stop it, I feel like running toward it, asking nicely if it could take it’s time…close slowly…tenderly…give us a few more days.

The slamming seems final. And it is.

Another year of lunches and rides and notes and homework…the cycles of sports and choir and band and art…the friends that hurt and the friends that helped us heal…the joy of newness and the scary stuff…the failing and fumbling and the tears.

All the laughing and running and playing is dying down over here.

No more Barbie Jeep, no more sparkly streamers hanging from handlebars.  No one wants to play on the slip and slide.  I remember days of baby pools and strollers and swing sets…the messiness…the laughter…the living.

Star Wars figures have taken their place on the shelf…dusty and alone.

I’m wandering around the house trying to look busy (to who? I don’t know? The busy police?)…trying to be busy to take my mind off the ending.  But I just wander…not really understanding how I feel.

I look at the bookshelf…a safe place to get lost for a while.  The books mark our journeys from Junie B. Jones to John Green and I can’t seem to part with any.  It’s like a living scrapbook of words that have fed our souls and kept us company.  We will never have too many books. They are our friends…constant and reliable.

I just saw a friend who is moving in a week.  She welcomed us when we moved into the neighborhood 11 years ago.  We have had many a cup of coffee and a glass of wine while the kids played and the years passed. I love her. She was boxing up things and I was in her empty house and I just couldn’t take it.  We both just stood there and cried. No words.

Another ending.

I always weep at endings.

The last of my kids finish up at elementary school this year.  The adorable, loving, little, everyone knows your name elementary school.  The place where they have taught and nurtured and loved my kids for 11 years.  Talk about the end of an era.

We “Clap out” our kids at the end of school.  All the parents line up and clap while the 5th graders march out.  I think they should call it the “Cry out” for me.  I’m anticipating weeping at that ending too.  Hey! We should call it the clap and cry out…clapping and crying at the same time pretty much sums up motherhood.

Weeping seems bad, right? Like I’m unhappy. But I’m not. I swear.

I’m just confused.

How did I go from eagerly anticipating my first baby to having three kids out of grade school (and two in high school!)?

How did I go from spoon feeding peas to worrying about drinking and driving and dating?

My son said the other day that he “hates change”.  He said, “Change is bad”.

Oh no I thought…I have to help him see change in a positive light…change is the only thing we know for sure will happen.  We have to get used to it.  We have to accept it.  It’s not bad…right?

Maybe he thinks it’s bad because I’m over here crying looking at baby pictures.  What have I done?

I specifically remember my mom talking to me about this.  Many times.  It’s an ending sure but it’s a beginning too…or it’s a beginning and it’s exciting and you are happy but the reason you are crying is because it’s an ending too…how many times over the years are we in that space…that in between…the ending and the beginning.

The sadness and the excitement…the saying good-bye and saying hello.  It doesn’t even matter how many times…I always weep at endings.

I remember once I was crying on the phone to my mom during the college years…I was distraught…things were changing…I just had a break up…I was down.  This is what she said to me…no joke…and it worked…”Honey, seriously, stop crying…wash your face, put on some lipstick, get a Diet Coke and Get out there.”

Diet Coke and lipstick…the cure all.

And now I’m the mom. I have to buck up and give the advice now.

Of course I can’t tell my son to put on lipstick.  What’s the equivalent for a boy?

And telling them to have a Diet Coke seems archaic like I didn’t get the memo…so do I say…have an organic green smoothie?  That doesn’t have the same ring to it.

How about this?

Change is part of life.  It’s difficult and it’s okay to cry.  When we cry, we know we are most alive because our heart is feeling things.  When we are sad to move on it means we have loved where we have been and that is a gift.  A treasure.  You are building your story and God is moving you along as you become who you are meant to be.  You take all of this with you.  All of the memories, the people, the experiences, the feelings, the knowledge, the wisdom…you are like a sponge and you absorb it all.  Things are changing yes and so are you – you are ready.  Be grateful. Take a minute.  Let the grateful tears fall…acknowledge that you are a little scared of something new…recognize that you were comfortable and that felt good.  But part of life is getting comfortable being uncomfortable.  Learning that you can do hard things.  Trusting that all will be well.  It’s time to move on now.  You do not go alone.  Dad and I are with you every step of the way.  And God is with you…he knows what you need and He can’t wait to give it to you.  Life is amazingly beautiful. Get out there.

Step joyfully into this new adventure

I will be stepping out with you…clapping and crying all the way.

graduation first step

©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

Jesus is the Intention

Lent is starting.  Ash Wednesday is here.

This brings up a treasure trove of emotions.

Being raised Catholic Lent meant that we wouldn’t eat meat on Fridays and we would “give something up”…meaning chocolate or swearing or complaining. Kind of like a diet.  Temporary, restricting and doesn’t create lasting change.  At least that’s how it felt for me.

There are things I love about Lent…Fish Fry anyone! I mean, seriously, fish and chips! Yay! Let’s think about this.  I’m giving up sweets but I’m shoveling in fish and chips.  Hmmm….

I’ve been seriously considering my motives for what I give up during Lent and I have found them suspect at best.  I tend to give up something I want to give up, something that will ultimately benefit me like chocolate or sweets in general.  I mean think about it, we can lose weight and get healthier and feel holy!  It’s a win/win.

I’ve been praying about this.  I’m looking for God’s direction here.  I don’t want to take part in rituals that have no meaning for me.  I want to understand what I am doing.  I want everything I do, in life and in Lent to lead me to Jesus.  I want to nourish my relationship with Jesus.

So now I ask myself before I do anything “religious” or “churchy”…does it lead me to a closer relationship with Jesus?   Does it lead me to Grace and Joy and Freedom in Christ? Is it helping me become more like Christ?  Am I growing as a Christ follower?

jesus intention

Am I getting to know Him better by reading and contemplating and studying and talking about His word?

Is this leading me to pray more, to spend time in quiet stillness more often, to listen to His voice?

Am I muscling through something with gritted teeth because I feel I “should” or because “that’s what we do” or because I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t do it?

Am I operating out of fear worried about punishment or am I acting out of joy accepting of God’s grace?

Am I trying to earn my way to heaven or am I aware that I cannot earn grace…that it is a free gift given to me by God who loves me?

Why am I doing what I do?

Am I showing everyone how holy I am by suffering in public…putting my “giving up things” out there for everyone to see so they can admire me?

Am I thinking too much about how people see me?

Am I acting different on the outside, externally showing signs of faith while inside closing my heart to His spirit that brings true transformation?

Why do I do what I do?

How am I different because of what I’m doing?  What great work is He doing in me?

Am I letting God in?  Or am I “managing” God and deciding where He is allowed to go?  Am I refusing to open my heart?

Do I trust God?

I have realized that I eat a lot of sweets when I feel stressed.  And when I feel sad.  And when I feel overwhelmed.  And when I feel bored.  And when I feel Stuck.

And never once has the act of eating sweets – be it a pound of M&Ms or a bag of Twizzlers – never once has that taken away stress or sadness or overwhelming feeling or boredom or the feeling of being Stuck.  When I’m done eating I usually feel worse.  I often have regret.  (and a stomachache.)

I think we all have something we turn to when we feel stressed and sad and overwhelmed and bored and stuck.

I believe that’s what we should give up.  That thing that gets in the middle of us and God.  Because here’s the thing.  At times of stress and sadness and overwhelm and boredom and sticky, stuck “ness”, God wants us to turn to him.    He wants us to pray and to read His Word and spend time with Him in quiet stillness.  He wants to fill us up.

That’s what I think He’s telling me.  Give up whatever it is you use to fill up at those times of stress and come to me.  Don’t immediately try to turn off those feelings by stuffing yourself or drinking or shopping or gossiping or surfing the internet or exercising excessively or whatever it is that you do.  Come to me.

Sit with me. Breathe. Feel my love and my grace as we work through some of this stuff. It’s okay.  I get it.  I’m here.

Lent for me this year is an opportunity to put my faith and trust in God.  To loosen the reigns a little and stop muscling through my days and rest in His grace.

In Holy Yoga, one of our favorite sayings is  “Comfortable being uncomfortable”.  It’s okay to not feel perfect all the time, it’s okay to not be “happy” all the time. When we feel “off” it’s our cue to go to God…to replenish…to be loved…to receive His Grace.

Lent can be uncomfortable.  It’s not an easy journey Jesus is on and when we walk with Him, it’s not easy for us either.  We are more serious and somber during Lent.  We go into that desert and we feel thirsty.  We allow ourselves to feel hungry and to feel the “holes” inside of us…we sit in our uncomfortableness and we feel our need for Him.

I need Him.

This Lent I will go to Him to fill me up.

I’m praying for transformation this time.

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©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™ All Rights Reserved

 

Humble Warrior

surrender

I love yoga.  I’ve been practicing for a long time.  I’m not even really sure how long…maybe 8 years?  I’m being trained to teach and I’m finishing up my certification in April.

So last night, I’m with my husband and another couple.  They are dear, dear friends who have been a constant, reliable, supportive part of our lives for 15 years or so.  I love them.  I just want to say, I love them and I love my husband.  I want to put that out there first.

A little about yoga…

Yoga is about inner transformation.  We use asana (or poses) to help us physically work through some of our internal, emotional stuff.   In yoga, you often find yourself in uncomfortable positions.  This is on purpose.  Yoga is about making the uncomfortable comfortable.  It’s about bringing awareness to the places where we are agitated so we can work through it.

The real work in yoga begins when you are really dying in a pose…when you want to come out of the pose…when you think you can’t do it.  Then, you breathe and surrender and stay…and each time it gets easier…you find freedom…you push past boundaries… you are transformed.

The goal is to practice these things on your mat so you can go into the world and live in that space of breathing and surrendering and staying.  Life can be uncomfortable but we cannot walk around a bundle of nerves, screaming, shouting, judging, and giving up.

This brings me back to my husband and my friends. (Whom I love dearly)

They are all successful, intelligent, generous, reliable, trustworthy and loyal. They are also Type -A, over- achieving, super regimented, scheduled, aggressive, determined, goal setting and goal reaching warriors.

This is can be helpful and this can be…shall we say…limiting.

Last night they told me when I teach yoga, I need to make sure no one comes in late.  They want me to send people packing if they are not there early.  They said they don’t ever want to hear me asking them to move their mat to make room for a few more people.  They feel that if they get there early and set up, then why should they have to move for people who are coming in late?

I tried to explain that we never know what it takes some people to get there and just being there sometimes is half the battle.  As a teacher, we want to make sure all feel welcome and encouraged.

Yeah, no.  That wasn’t going over.  They want to know for sure that I will never ask them to move their mat for the “late people”.  Now, let me point out, they admit some of these people are just “on time” but since they (my husband and friends) arrive early, they should have dibs and should not be asked to move.

Now at this point it is sort of becoming funny.  I break out my phone to record them because I have to admit, it’s kind of perfect.  It’s a clear indication that these three people (whom I love dearly) need yoga.

I explained the part about being uncomfortable and working through it.  But I’m afraid it was falling on deaf ears.

Here are some of the best quotes of the night… “Why did this hot girl have to take off her sweats and wear boy shorts? It’s distracting. I couldn’t stop looking at her.  I couldn’t focus, that’s just not right.” “Some guy didn’t wear a shirt…gross…you need to wear a shirt.” “Yeah and some girl farted next to me and it was nasty and the whole time I was thinking everyone thought I did it.”  “I just want to be in a corner and be left alone.”  “I can’t have people touching me.” “I don’t want to stagger my mat, I want space…I need my space.”  Imagine them all egging each other on with supportive head nods and spoken and unspoken affirmations.

I tried to explain that your mat is your island.  You have your space.  But they want space around them.  They don’t want to make goal post arms when they are supposed to do a full out swan dive.  They don’t want to be limited.

But here’s the thing.  They are limited.  They are limited because they are grasping so tightly to the way they think it “must be” in order for things to be “right”.

Moving away from those limitations is yoga.  This is why I practice (because I’m limited too) and why I want to share my love of yoga with others.

People come away from yoga with fewer limitations on themselves and that translates to being more accepting in the world.  It’s about dropping expectations and the notion that there is one right way.  Having to make goal post arms is practice for the times when we have to adjust in life to different circumstances.  We realize there is beauty and grace in the adjusting.

I remember someone telling me once that Savasana (corpse pose) is the most difficult pose for them.  I found this to be really surprising.   I mean, how hard is it to lay on your back and relax?  Well, for some people it’s absolute torture.  They need to move.  But in time, with practice, they learn to surrender and they are no longer limited by their “need to move”.  They are transformed.

I’ll admit that someone farting next to you is not ideal and I’d recommend you don’t eat a burrito before class.  I would also recommend you arrive early to find your space and to unwind a little before class begins.

I’ll also admit there have been times when I have been irritated and upset by other people.  I’m not saying I’m a perfect, loving, accepting person at all times.  I’m not.  That’s why I keep practicing yoga.

And that’s why I will always welcome anyone who wants to practice with me.  It would be an honor.  We will move mats and adjust our arms and stagger the way we stand.  We will accept that there is not one “right” way and we will surrender to what is.  We will smile and laugh and celebrate that we made it to our mats and that whatever is going on “out there” will not seep into our sacred space “in here”.  We will recognize and honor the teacher and student in each of us.  We will be beginners together – open to grace and transformation.   We will breathe together and we will say Namaste and mean it.

And on those days when we don’t mean it, when we don’t feel it, when we are mad and annoyed…on those days we will go through the motions, we will show up and we will be uncomfortable and we will muddle through together…because there is learning in that.  There is grace in the muddling through.

Yoga teaches us that perfection is a lie.

I’m so blessed to have found it.  Because it accepted me… a Type -A, over- achieving, super regimented, scheduled, aggressive, determined, goal setting and goal reaching warrior and showed me how to be a different kind of warrior…the kind of warrior that shares grace with others…even if they show up a few minutes late.

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
photo http://pinterest.com/mandukayoga/