I am back in yoga after three and a half years away. Yoga teachers seem to have a favorite saying: “Just notice.”
Quads at the point of giving out? “Just notice.”
Downward dog feeling more like is my butt really sticking this far into the air? “Just notice.”
I had been trying to bring this mantra into my regular life, and then my kids came along and helped out.
- Theresa pointed out a very small hole in our cement front stairs and asked, “Does a squirrel live there?”
- Jamie observed small yellow square tiles on our bathroom floor: “It looks like cheeses!”
- Audrey putting her hands on the front of the dryer: “There’s noise on my hands!”
Seeing pinwheels make me vicariously happy, because I know how happy the kids are to spot them.
Every time I see construction or emergency equipment, even if I am alone, I want to shout its name to the world: “EXCAVATOR!” “VACTOR!”
As Theresa did a few weeks ago: “CEMENT MIXER! CEMENT MIX…actually, that’s a garbage truck.”
Without my kids noticing these things, I might not have seen how an excavator not only scoops and dumps dirt, but also smooths it out with its bucket, or releases its bucket and uses the boom to push the bucket around to scoop the other way.
I might not have looked as closely at window displays or front yards that showcase dogs or flamingos or frogs or other nifty animals.
Last summer, we watched snails leave slimy trails on our driveway’s wall. We watched a skateboarder attempt tricks on the sidewalk across the street. We have lingered in the rain to watch frog and turtle statues spouting water. It makes me so happy to see everything as new and interesting through their eyes.
* * *
I have been thinking about Martin Richard these past few days. About his parents and extended family and friends.
I went for a run yesterday, Marathon Monday, one year after the bombing. I don’t run for speed or endurance or time (usually the only time I’m conscious of is when I need to be back before the next critical thing–childcare leaving, or our next appointment, or whatever).
I run because while I am running, I am free. I am present. I can just notice the familiar dogs walking with our neighbors. The flowers coming up or the leaves coming down. How tweaky my left knee is. The rhythm of my breathing.
While I am running, my brain processes all the things I don’t have time or space to think about. I create solutions to problems. I have epiphanies. My brain, undirected, slows down. Expands. Notices.
I sometimes forget to make time for running. I prioritize other things, like making dinner, or doing errands or other chores. I forget how much better I operate when I slow down.
I need to remember to run for Martin. What he noticed was the possibility of peace, of the kind of inner freedom that running brings to me and that art, music, gardening–anything that invites us to slow down and just notice our spirits–bring to others.
I need to remember to run for my own kids. Events like the marathon bombing make me want to gather them to me and collectively shrivel into a small, protective container so nothing will happen to them. I need to remember to notice the pinwheels and the bendy busses and squirrels. Because the only solution to my inability to control outcomes is to be, to just notice.