Last Thursday, I attended my regular Bhakti yoga class, masked up and in person, the theme for the class was Santosha or contentment. Santosha is part of the eight limbs of yoga. The first two limbs are The Yamas (restraints, moral disciplines or moral vows, how we show up in the world) and The Niyamas (positive duties or observances, how we treat ourselves). Santosha, is the second Niyama and is the idea of being content. Content where you are internally, not grasping externally for more. I felt this was a good message with my meditation mantra this week of Letting Go or Surrender, which is the last Niyama, Isvara Pranidhana, which is about letting go and surrendering to a higher power, realizing that we are not in control of anything.
As the mother of two teenage daughters I am reminded that these girls are starting to move into the driver’s seats of their lives, I am no longer in control. Right now, I need to be the potted plant in the corner, a term I learned from a New York Times article a few years back, and was recently reminded of in a podcast I was listening to this week. The best thing my kids need right now is to know my husband and I are there for them, even though they don’t always want to engage or talk with us. Instead, I need to sit back watch, observe and let go of offering feedback of what I think they need to do. It is not my job to relive my high school years through them, fixing my mistakes, or encouraging new ideas in hopes they will get better results. I graduated almost 30 years ago, times have changed. Yes, we still have rules and curfews. I will still create boundaries to make sure my kids are healthy and safe. Yes, I will make dinner most nights, even though most nights no one is home to eat it. I will continue to drive them and their friends around and quietly listen, while soaking it all in. My main job right now is letting go of all the control.
I definitely have a lot of thoughts and feelings that come along with letting go. I am trying to settle into where we are, realizing that each day may not be great, I might feel feel down or depressed missing my kids. I may feel feel overjoyed for their successes or overwhelmed watching their stress. Acknowledging that all these different feelings can happen at the same time is the healthiest way to move through them. I will notice them, honor them and then let them go. My goal is to let go of the judgment and worry that comes with these different feelings, and instead be curious about them and carry on with them in the best way that works in the moment.
For me, that might look like a long walk with music to drown out my thoughts, or maybe with an audio book to distract me. Other days it might be walking or lunch with a friend to vent about it all. The next day it might be yoga and going to bed early. The idea is that each day, each feeling, each moment (like we talked about in the last blog) is a new opportunity and accepting it and then letting go of all the other stuff we attach to it is the only way to get through it. In the end, I will have my feelings, I won’t put them on my girls and I will sit patiently in the corner, making sure to be there when they need me.