Saturday, August 6, 2011


Sometimes I get sad I found this yoga path so late - already well into my 30s. I think about how different my life might have been if I had learned to love myself more during those vain teens and 20s years. If I had had this confidence yoga inspires in me. If I had known what the word equanimity meant earlier in life.

I just dropped something a few moments ago upstairs. From down below I heard a child's voice: "Jenn, are you ok?!" and when I answered "yes" he responded "good, I just wanted to make sure I didn't need to kiss a boo boo". That's Alex, my boyfriend's 5 year old son who lost his mom a few years ago and lives with us full time. The response made me smile because it is so typical Alex. He is easily the most compassionate kid I have ever met.

I don't try to sway him to being vegan, but I also don't hide why I don't eat animals and we talk about being kind (to animals as well as people) a lot. He came home from daycare the other day saying "we learned about fishing today. I wasn't happy because it seems mean to put a hook through a poor fish. They're so much littler than you - is that what a bully is?" I told him yes, we are being a bully when we purposefully do things to hurt others.

He was having a few weeks where he started yelling at the teachers when they made him mad. We weren't sure what to do, since he is usually very respectful at home and doesn't yell at us.
On a whim (and because we were out of ideas), I started meditating with him - just 3 minutes each night. He giggles and squirms the first minute or two but usually by the last minute he is still. I talk to him about letting go of his thoughts. About feeling his breath on his upper lip. About noticing but not reacting to whatever it in his mind. I know it is a probably a bit over his head but I can only do what I know. One day he came home and said "I was good at daycare!" I asked what he did during his day and he said "there was 1 time I got mad when the teachers asked me to put my toys away." I asked "so did you yell at them?" and he said "no, I let it go".  I was like "what did you let go?" and he said "I just (took a deep breath in and deep breath out) and let it go. I wasn't mad anymore." I was floored.

If you ask him about pretty much any toy he has gotten in the past 2 years, he can tell you who gave it to him and when. He often brings this up out of the blue: "remember when grandma got me this stuffed animal for Christmas? That was really nice of her." or "Thank you for getting me this piggy bank for my birthday (last year)". Just random. One time, we were in the store and out of nowhere Alex proclaimed "I'm the luckiest boy!" When asked why he answered "because, I am" - who can argue with that?

I don't think there is a day that goes by that Alex doesn't ask if he can help me with something. And he is more consistent than I am with his Pleases and Thank You's. And since that first time in the store, the word "lucky" has made a daily appearance (he will get a juicebox out of the fridge and say "I'm really lucky to have juiceboxes. Some kids don't have them."). At dinner he always starts off conversation like a little adult saying "Dad, how was your day?" or "Jenn, did you have fun at yoga this morning?" There is a family yoga class coming up this month and he is SO excited to be able to come do yoga with me in the "big room" - he brings it up almost every day.

Looking at how compassionate, appreciative and respectful he is, I am realizing maybe yoga came into my life at just the right time. Having Alex around and old enough to comprehend when I would come home from teacher training class and talk about what we learned with my boyfriend might have made more of an impact on Alex than I thought. Being so new to things I think I speak of them a lot more than someone who has been living this way for decades already. My boyfriend has always been the extreme opposite (loves meat, very much about his own family unit and doesn't care what is happening to anyone else, etc) and even he is now choosing to shop at Trader Joe's and roll out a mat along side of mine every once in a while. 

I am beginning to see this journey isn't for me and my own life, but rather how I can inspire others to live similarly. It was brought into my life when I could share it most. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity. So blessed to have these people in my life to share in my journey.

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