Okay, my morning practice has officially become my morning play date. Two weeks later the texture of it has changed. Less gritty expectations and sharp boxes to check; more softly hanging out with myself with a general menu of beautiful self serving possibilities. I first explore what my body has to say through therapeutic yoga and breath – no templates or videos – just allowing my body to lead, then I meditate with the hubby downstairs, then I return to our room alone to have free time. Perhaps I meditate a bit more or read or journal or take a luxurious shower or watch the sunrise. In short, I’m just hanging out with myself before the day with others begins.
That brings to mind a story.
When my first child was born (7 1/2 year old John in the blue shirt above), I remember shopping with my mother. He was just over a week old and we had accomplished what I perceived as the miracle of making purchases with a single infant in tow. It was a production worthy of many minutes worth of movie credits. Having checked out and changed his diaper, I realized he was going to be hungry very soon. And so, just as I thought we would be able to walk out of the store, we instead walked into the nursing room. I sat in one rocker feeding John and my mother sat across from me, rocking gently with her eyes closed.
I remember the quiet. The stillness. The closed in darkness of that interior room. It’s stuffy store smell. I was toasted and ready to be on our way home. I felt like we’d moved a mountain that day. Meanwhile, my son was nursing in rhythmic soothing swallows. Enamored by him briefly, I then remembered where I was, looked up at my mother (her eyes-closed-rocking-self of three grown children) and observed sharply,
“So, I guess this is what this is really about, huh? Hurry up and wait?”
To which she paused thoughtfully and then responded, “Oh, no. It’s more like… just hanging out.”
She is a wise wise soul that mother of mine.
My entire exhausted body softened. The moment arrived and I arrived in the moment. Babies, parenting, wifeing, daughtering, friending, working… it isn’t hurry up and wait. It is ALL just hanging out. My mother gave me the gift of softening into the moment. It can take so little to soften into where you are and not where your brain, judgments and beliefs are residing.
When we are tired and suffocating with to do’s, the world can become an unending list of “Hurry up and wait.” But what are we waiting for already? This is actually it. IT.
And so, when space offers itself to you, embrace it. Hanging out is available left and right if we allow it to greet us. You don’t have to prove anything. You don’t have to push yourself. The to do’s will all still be available and you won’t lose the skill of Doing. I promise. But in hanging out – whether it is putting your legs up the wall reading with kids, or sitting outside watching the spring birds on the feeder, or laying on the kitchen floor just breathing for 3 minutes, or drinking tea and feeling its warmth, or reading your book while the kids are in the bathtub – the small injections of hanging out add up.
They add up to Space.
Two days after writing everything above this closing paragraph, there are endless ways my brain wants to complete this post. And in the magic of that nonstop conveyor belt of ideas and the question “Which one do I pick already!?”, I know that tired is in charge right now. It is 2:51pm and my body is saying “All done for right now. Seriously, all done.” The spinning of my brain, the thickness in my head and throat, the warming left ear, and the very dull ache in my cheeks tells me it isn’t a moment for clarity in communication. It is a moment to consciously Stop. Be. Drink tea. Sit on the couch. Look out at the trees. Embrace the ever available choice to simplify. Allow the list of to do’s to remain the list. It isn’t going anywhere.
This will be one glorious pinnacle of my day – the silky smooth zero expectations experience of hanging out.