Three weeks ago I was driving to yoga, and I realized what I wanted to fast from during Lent. Inspired by a friend (and past Lenten seasons), I already knew I wanted to at least consider giving up spending. And I was in a place where logging into Facebook was increasingly drawing me more towards comparison and less towards community. But something about giving it up felt incomplete.
Then somewhere before I turned left on Fannin I found peace with a fast that seemed like an authentic expression of the season – 40 days free of all but the most essential Internet (email) and shopping (food and gas). Before the commute was over, I realized why these resonated with me. I wanted to create space – for God, for myself, for Ben, for Leila. I want to create space in my schedule and my closet. Just identifying my Lenten fast helped me find space to breathe better.
The fact that the season overlaps with my yoga teacher training makes it feel that much more appropriate. I feel there is always a call from my yoga teachers to use my breath to create more space within my body.
This year has begun so crowded. Errands and paperwork and cooking and laundry and all of the rest of life continue to be there, but I am taking a season to not wait out the to-do-list but rather to create space within it.
The Advent before last I came to the epiphany that I need to create space without expectation. Over a year later, I am taking a season to actively practice that. If nothing grander than a deeper breath results, I think it will still be the most sacred Lenten experience of my life thus far.
To find the places where my breath catches, exhale and then breathe into that space more deeply.
Leila, referring to the seal exhibit at the zoo: “Can we go in there? I want to go in there.” Mommy: “No. That would be dangerous.” Leila: “Yes. We don’t have our swimsuits.”
Discussing the possibilities of play with Daddy on a Saturday, “We can do Frisbee or bubbles or baseball, or go to the park!”
“I could sweep up the trash in the office! I could do it!”
Leila: “I want to go to Target and Whole Foods and HEB.” Mommy: “And why do you want to go there?” Leila: “Because those are my special places, I love to go.”
Leila: “Ice cream is a treat. Right Mommy?” Mommy: “Yes. Ice cream is a treat.” Leila: “I love treats! I love cookies, and pineapple.”
Leila: “I’m getting married!” Mommy: “What does married mean?” Leila: “We have to get Wrigley married first. Then we get Leila married. Both!”
Daddy: “Do you want to go to the moon today?” Leila, “It’s too cold and rainy to go to the moon today, we can only do inside things today.”
Leila: “What are you doing Mommy?” Mommy: “I’m getting a bath.” Leila: “Oh, I do that! Do you want any toys?” (As she made a move to dump all her bath toys in the tub.)
“I’m just doing puzzles naked. You ever do that? Hahaha. That’s silly!”
Mommy, giving Leila some cotton balls: “Here you go doctor!” Leila: “Yes. I’m a doctor. I need cotton balls.”
Leila’s response to the sticker of a girl riding a bike without a helmet, “Uh oh, she’s not wearing a helmet! She could bonk her head.”
Leila: “Daddy, do you want a worm in your shirt?” Daddy: No, I do not want a worm in my shirt.” Leila: “Just try it and look in the mirror and see if you like it.”
After sharing how I felt sad being at yoga class without her and Daddy and how I felt happy when they came to visit me, “You have to practice just like me doing class by yourself, just like me in swim class!”
This past Saturday we celebrated Leila’s 3rd birthday Mardi Gras style. It took me three years to get my timing right, but everything was actually ready 11 minutes before the party was set to start. (Insert fist pump) I made double batches of two types of red beans and rice (regular and vegan), a triple batch of maque choux and bought three king cakes in honor of our newly minted three-year-old.
The weather was tres bien, and there were plenty of beads, balloons and fairy wings to fully outfit every toddler in sight.
For entertainment I piled the table with plenty of feathers, glitter and crayons for our creative guests to make the most magnificent masks they could imagine.
The bounce house was up, Ben hauled out some toys and I put out my last-minute face-paint purchase. Lots of tools with absolutely no direction, but the kids knew what to do.
Most importantly our guest of honor seems to have thoroughly enjoyed herself. When I asked her if she had fun, she gave me a wonderfully rambling list of all the days’ activities, “bounce house, crafts, baseball, water, Frisbee…”
Laissez les bon temps rouler!