Waking up in the morning feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever done; maybe the hardest thing anybody has ever done. I might always feel this way in autumn, as darkness presses in from both sides.
Our mornings spill over with common kindnesses. My husband lets me sleep twenty minutes more while he takes a shower. The cat spreads himself over our laps as we eat cereal on the couch. We pack David’s lunch together. I put my hand on his heart and pray a blessing over the day.
I no longer cry every time he walks out the door, but the heaviness hasn’t lifted. There are so many things wrong with the way education happens in most schools. We knew this, of course, but now David is living it day after day.
Never mind, Hannah. This is the year you try your hand at freelance writing! Resist the temptation to check your e-mail. Stop looking for more part-time work. Sit down and write that brilliant essay already.
Okay, put the writing aside. This is also the year you become a yoga teacher! Study the alignment. Roll the Sanskrit over your tongue. Resist the temptation to provide disclaimers to your students. There will be days when you feel like a fraud. Take a deep breath and do it anyway.
You know what it feels like? It feels just the way it did when I was fifteen years old and we moved from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii to Havertown, Pennsylvania. When no one in your new world knows you, it’s easy to forget what you believed about yourself.
I met that feeling of groundlessness again when I moved from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts nine years ago. Now it’s come to stay awhile in Kansas. Did I think I’d outgrow it? Nothing left to do but befriend it.
So I offer my kindest gestures. I sit with the feeling in meditation. I scribble it into my journal. I read Rumi aloud. I sing. I learn to bake a loaf of bread.
At times my mind grows fed up. Get over yourself already. This isn’t homelessness or hunger. You aren’t a political prisoner or a refugee.
So I offer the same kindness to my mind. Yup, these are first-world problems. But they hurt, too.
My teabag reads May your mind learn to love with compassion. See that, little mind? Maybe this is exactly what you need. Maybe this is how you learn to love.