Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Eye of the Storm

A couple of years ago, in an autumnal yoga class, my instructor explained to everyone the concept of "Vata". Vata can describe a season or a personality. When used to describe the natural world, it refers to a time of year when Nature is chaotic: windy, helter-skelter days; highs and sudden lows; rain and sunshine, all at once. She said often when Mother Nature is exhibiting herself in this manner, She can affect each of our daily lives in much the same way and my instructor stressed the importance of finding something steady upon which to focus amidst such chaos and upheaval.

Lately, my life has felt topsy-turvy. My home is in renovation bedlam and my heart's flying around in the sky like a kite, flip-flopping up and down and all around, straining against the hand that keeps hold of its string, envious of the stars and desirous of flight. Today was a particularly blustery day. Even Pooh would have agreed. The temperature dipped to 8 degrees and tomorrow will reach a high of 17. The full moon last night doesn't help to ease the turbulence any. But my Sea of Tranquility was bundled in his teddy-bear bunting bag, beaming up at me. His eyes, like his name, reflect the stillness of water, and its great depth.

My baby boy is a Zen Master. He only cries if he's hungry or if he's a bit gassy. He won't even cry if he's pooped his pants! Instead, he simply sits there smiling, relieved that he's relieved himself. Everywhere we go, everyone remarks on how stoic he is, how calm, how content. I am amazed at my own luck. In his brown hooded fleece, he resembles all the more a wee buddhist monk. I realize how blessed this makes me, especially as a single parent. How would I have handled a colichy baby, I wonder? I feel for the mothers of such babes out there in the world. Especially during the time of Vata.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not startled easily. Not anymore. I've learned to breathe through stress, to steer my way through whitewater waves of pandemonium without capsizing. Nothing really phases me at this stage of my life. I know I wanted to be a younger mother. Heaven knows I tried and tried and tried. Whatever I lack in energy as a mother over 40, I know I make up for in vast, neverending fields of patience. Maybe he gets his serenity from me, though I definitely had a Vata personality when I was younger. The years have helped me find some balance. And, literally, yoga has helped me find it. Right now feels like the best time in my life to be a new mum.

I am focusing these days on getting into shape. I feel like I owe it to him as an older mum. To be around for as long as I can and to be as young as I can be for him. He will be five months old already next week. I am agog at how quickly the time has passed since he passed through me: the journey of pregnancy, his birth. There is no slowing Time. And there is no controlling Vata. We just have to weather this weather. When I hold him, I am suddenly thrown into the eye of the storm. Life swirls in a funnel around me. I am Dorothy flying through the air, watching cows and furniture sweep by us. But I am still. His breathing slows mine. His eyes arrest me. His shy smile soothes. He is my Toto when the world feels strange. Let this house of chaos fall on some other striped-stockinged lass! He and I will survive whatever Life throws at us. (And there are plenty of cows near at hand!)

As I write this, he sleeps peacefully in his crib. I am listening to Karen O and the Kids sing Worried Shoes before I head to bed. It's a song by which, lately, I sing him to sleep. The cinematic version of Where the Wild Things Are comes out in 9 days and this song is on its soundtrack. It was written by a musician named Daniel Johnston, battling his own personal version of Vata in his life: bipolar disorder.

As calm, cool and collected as my son is, I know he will be a wild thing. He has a wildness in him, but it's not a part of his demeanour. Just his soul. There is something about him that will remain uncaptured by anyone. Even me. Kind of like how a mountain range looks different in a photograph. I love this song. Long ago, I used to be a worrywart. I think I worried my way through my teens and twenties. But even as my heart flutters and dips in this riotous wind and I turn to absorb the current disarray of my home's recent facelift, I sigh. I take off my worried shoes and stretch my toes, put up my legs.

It feels divine.

I took my lucky break and I broke it in two.
Put on my worried shoes.
My worried shoes.
Took me so many miles and they never wore out.
My worried shoes.
My worried shoes.
My worried shoes.

I made a mistake that I never forgot.
Tied knots in the laces of my worried shoes.
Every step that I take is another mistake.
I march further and further away in my worried shoes.
ooooooo. ooooooo.
My worried shoes.

My shoes took me down the crooked path.
Away from all welcome mats.
My worried shoes.
I looked all around and saw the sun shining down.
Took off my worried shoes.
My worried shoes.
ooooooo. ooooooo. ooooooo.
My worried shoes.

Music: Worried Shoes, Daniel Johnston


Bill said...

So easy to relate to what you have written.

Carrie said...

Love this. Thanks for a new word.
Will have to look up the song, too.