Beginning Again

Photo by bhuvanesh gupta on Unsplash

Today is September 14, 2020. It has been three months since my last post, which feels to me more like three years or three days depending on the mood. Sometimes, it feels like both simultaneously in these bizarre COVID times.

I trust that I am not the only one for whom the whole concept of time has dramatically shifted during this pandemic. In some ways this shift has been very freeing. I’m hardly ever in a real rush anymore (rendering this previous post moot), and my days and weeks just sort of chug along.

But I have also found the shift in experiential time unsettling. Time has seemed so unwieldy during this whole thing, so lacking in the normal daily markers of work and school schedules, of pick-ups and drop-offs. And so uncertain as to the great and looming question: when will this whole thing ever end?

However…

School has begun again for my children (albeit in a very different form with masks and distancing), and it feels so very comforting to me; like one of the biggest pillars of our family’s life has returned, one that shapes our day and structures our time. I recognize that I am extremely privileged that this is my reality, and I do not take it for granted for a single second. I have never in my life felt so floored with gratitude for the teachers, administrators, and staff that have moved heaven and earth to create a safe space for my children. I am so moved by their dedication, and so awed by their unceasing efforts.

Although it has been decades since my own school days, the start of each fall always feels to me like the beginning of something new; like I have moved up a grade in life if not in school. My hunch is that most people feel this, if only slightly, and I really hope that it doesn’t diminish with age. It’s a great feeling.

This fall in particular, everything feels new since, well, it is! Each day we are dipping our toes into a new normal, and each week that “normal” changes a little bit. No one has done this before, and we are all figuring it out as we go along. Right here, right now, all of us are complete beginners.

It is scary, exciting, and humbling to be a complete beginner at something. And I can’t help but think it is also really good for our souls.

Yoga is a great space in which to practice being a beginner. The very first Yoga Sutra translates simply as “Now, the teachings of yoga.” Yoga is all about driving into the experience of now and whatever that entails. And because of the inherent nowness of now, that is constantly changing, constantly new, and constantly starting over with each and every breath.

If we really dig into our yoga, we challenge ourselves to step up to the first sutra each and every time we practice. We allow ourselves to be a beginner every time we step onto the mat, even if we have been practicing for a lifetime. We commit to not looking away from the now that is actually here, even if we wish it were different. And with each passing day, we allow now to change, to evolve, to become something new. Living the first sutra means acknowledging that we are starting over (or at least have the potential to start over) each and everyday.

Having not written a post in so long makes me feel like a complete beginner at this whole blog thing. And just as I said before, it is scary, exciting, and humbling. Thank you for holding my hand through it all. Thank you for reading my words and letting me be a beginner. I am so grateful that we are in this together, beginners one and all.

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