Tag Archives: mindfulness

When mice quit running in circles.

She is only five or six. Blonde haired. Green jacket with two big red fabric flower pockets on the front.

Her mother is in her late twenties. Harried looking. She is talking into her cellphone as the two get on the C-Train.

There is an empty seat behind me. The mother motions to the little girl to sit while she stands beside her, still talking on the phone.

“Mommy. I want you to sit with me,” the little girl says.

The mother keeps talking on her phone.

“Mommy. I want you to sit with me,” the little girl repeats.

The mother keeps talking.

The little girl’s voice gets louder, more strident.

“I want you to sit with me.”

The mother stops for a moment and tells her daughter to be quiet.

The little girl repeats her request. Louder again. More whine in her tone.

The mother keeps talking.

And they repeat.

And repeat.

My stop comes and I get off and notice the passenger beside the little girl getting off too. The little girl scoots over. The mother sits down, still talking on her phone. The little girl grabs her arm.

I wonder what she’ll ask for next as I leave the train and continue on with my day.

I witnessed this scene play itself out yesterday as I rode the C-train into the downtown core and I wondered. Did the little girl really want her mother to sit down, or did she just want her to pay attention to her? Was her, “I want you to sit with me,” just another cry for her mother to “Look at me! Look at me!”?

At one point, a story of how her mother couldn’t sit down because mother’s can never sit down, flit through my mind.

The mice who run the wheels who make the C-train work would stop running in their tracks and want to sit with your mother too if your mother sat down, I wanted to tell the little girl. Mice are like that. They run and run around in circles until someone sits and then everyone follows suit. Wouldn’t that be horrible if all the mice running the wheels stopped and tried to sit on your mother! Oh my, what a scene that would be.

And btw, I’m not fond of mice on C-trains. Are you?

I never told the little girl the story. I never did anything other than listen in and wonder, how much am I like that little girl and mother? How often do I ignore the world around me as I go about my day all wrapped up in the conversations I’m having in my head, or on my phone?

Sometimes, our thoughts can be like the imaginary mice running around in circles in the wheels of the C-train. They make the wheels go round and round, but going round and round can lead to spinning out of control when done in mindless following of the path of least resistance.

Sometimes, we’ve got to put away our phones, turn off our laptops, the TV, the radio and other devices of mass distraction and simply sit still and be present in the moment of breathing.

Sometimes, we’ve got to let go of busy and simply be present to our inner child’s calling for attention.

On my mat, there is no room for fear.

I am hot. Sweating hot. It drips off my chin. It runs down my back.

I am lying on my mat, my feet, thighs, stomach, shoulders, arms, left ear pressed to the mat.

It is almost over. I am almost at the end.

I let the thought go.

It is not about beginning and endings. It is about this moment right now. Being present.

That was my intention when the yoga class had begun 70 minutes earlier. To be present.

I want to review my process but remember the instructor’s words at the beginning of the class. Yoga is not a competition. There is no judgment in yoga. There is only you and your body, present in the moment.

It is my fifth hot yoga class in five days.

I have set an intention to be present on my mat at least five days of the week.

I smile to myself. I wonder if my week began last week or if this day is the beginning of my new week.

Dang. There goes my mind. Off on a little jaunt.

I breathe. Bring myself into my breath. In. Out. Breathe in Love. Exhale gratitude. A continuous circle of renewable energy filling me up with all that I need to be present in my practice and my day.

I am relatively new to yoga.

I have intermittently practiced it over the years, okay more off than on, and have only come to the mat with any intention recently.

Yoga was never fast enough for me. Hard enough. It wasn’t filled with pounding feet and racing heartbeats and if I didn’t feel like I’d run a marathon, what was the point of doing it?

I am learning the truth. After thousands of miles hitting the pavement, my knees and joints are grateful. Yoga is about presence. Strengthening and lengthening. It is about the moment, not the destination.

I look around the class. Candles flicker on wooden blocks set into one wall. The lights are semi-dim. Bodies lay supine on multi-colours of mats spread out throughout the room.

There is peace here. Contentment.

And the gratification of a hard workout.

Oops. There I go again. Looking for the win.

I bring my thoughts back to my breath.

I give a quick scan of my body for points of tension.

I meet myself where I’m at.

I feel present. Relaxed. Strong.

The instructor invites us into the frog pose.

I have forgotten my towel. For a moment my mind races with concerns around pressing my upper body into bare floor.

I am dripping. Wet. The scooped neckline of my t-shirt soaked. The nape of my hair soggy.

I move into the pose, my torso pressing down through my knees on the mat, my upper body cradled between my splayed out arms. I rest my forehead on my hands.

I breathe into the pose. I smile as my mind imagines a bullfrog sitting on a lily pad. He gives one giant croak as his tongue whips out to capture a passing fly.

I breathe in. Pull up slightly from my bend and exhale as I deepen once again into the pose. I am seeking the comfort of no tension (not to mention no frogs catching flies).

“I like to read a verse as we finish off the pose,” the instructor says, her voice a melodic chant high above my head. There is a slight burble of laughter in her voice. “It’s a good way to distract your thinking as you hold the frog.”

I smile.

“Fear or Love,” she reads.

I listen, my mind forgetting the discomfort my body is starting to feel as it pushes itself over the edge of what it knows is possible into holding the pose longer than it thought it could.

I listen and smile again. No matter what you choose to do, ask yourself if you are doing it through fear, or love.

Do you  work because you are afraid of poverty or do you do work for the love of doing something worthwhile, contributory?

Do you fear not having food and a roof over your family’s head, or do you provide for them as an expression of your love?

No matter what you do, let go of fear and move through love.

I began my practice afraid I would not be able to do it. That I would look ridiculous compared to the other supple and toned (and did I mention youthful?) bodies in the class.

I let go of my fear.

I am here on my mat because I love my body and want to provide it what it needs. I want to take care of it so that it can carry me through my days effortlessly and with grace.

I came to my mat, my mind filled with fearful thoughts of how less than the others I was.

There is no less than on my mat. There is no room for fear. There is only Love.

Namaste.

PS — do try out  Calgary Hot Yoga.  Great studio!