Andrew Bird is hands down my favorite musician. My love affair with A.Bird started back in 2006, just a bit after Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs came out; in fact, it was the first non-yoga yoga music I ever played in a class.
Although he has had many wonderful songs and incredible albums over the past 10 years I’ve been listening to him, my favorite song has remained the same – “Lull” off the Weather Systems album.
It may have something to do with this music video; the first time I saw him in concert was in Millennium Park in Chicago 2008, and this video played on a huge screen and it touched me. Not only is the music sad, catchy, and so so relatable, but the animation of the video drew out a story that I will never forget. (PS Check this one out to hear the original version of “Lull”.)
One of my favorite lines from the song is this: “I’m all for moderation, but sometimes it seems moderation itself can be a kind of extreme.” When I first heard these lyrics I knew instantly what this felt like. Moderation sounds great, but it can be so boring… There are times that I prefer anything other than status quo just to shake things up.
So often we talk about the concept of balance (or moderation) in yoga. Eat a donut for breakfast, eat a salad for lunch. Focus your drishti, breathe deeply and balance on one foot. Practice yoga; have wine after.
This as an important concept, especially for someone who is a recovering perfectionist, as I am. My personality tends to be “do it right or don’t do it at all,” which results in boatloads of shame, guilt, and disappointment if I “fail” to do something completely. The idea of moderation has helped me, but even more so is the idea that balance and moderation comes in waves.
Balance is not something we find in each instant in our lives. Balance is found over the course of our lifetimes, in the totality of the universe. Harmony and peace is found by zooming out on the lens of our life; if we get too bogged down in the details of balancing our day-to-day actions, we’ll miss the bigger picture.
This means that you might have a week, a month, or a year when you pretty much stay in bed and eat ice cream. And a different year that you are on top of your game, going to yoga regularly, and drinking green smoothies.
Recently, I’ve been finding my own balance with parenting. Again, as a recovering perfectionist, I place so much pressure on myself to be “perfect” parent. As I’ve stated in earlier blogs, my bonus child has come to stay with us for two months this summer. We typically get him for one month to five or six weeks, so this is a new thing for us.
Even talking, or writing, about parenting is hard, because it’s so wracked with guilt. Not only do Keith and I have normal parent guilt, but it’s tripled because Kai lives most of the year away from us. And when we get him for long stretches of time, and we struggle, we feel like we are assholes because we should be grateful and relish every moment of it. And for me, I feel even more guilt, because of my perfectionism and because I’m not a “real” parent.
To be honest, I’ve never been around children until Kai, and I don’t know how to “play”. I hate video games, which he loves, I’m scared to play catch with him because his arm is so strong (I play catch but make him throw at less of his 100% capacity), and I suck at cool things like “sword fighting”. I’m the lame parent who protests for peace during Nerf wars and does weird shit like yoga.
So I struggle, and I’m always questioning myself if I’m doing the right thing, if I’ve said the right thing, if I’m making the right choices. I feel guilty and I cry to Keith at night. There are certainly times I retreat and do things like work in the garden and let him play video games which sounds like such a lame-ass parenting move – because we should, like, limit screen time, right? Fuck. (Also sometimes I cuss in front of Kai too accidentally. And when I realize it I usually say “shit” and dig myself deeper.)
Anyway, it’s hard. It’s rewarding, and it’s lovely and wonderful and grand but also it’s really really really hard. I can’t imagine how it might be if Kai was actually a bad kid – he is the world’s best behaved 9-year-old.
This has been my own balance. I’m taking the zoom out lens and recognizing that, yes, sometimes I retreat and hang out in the garden and let Kai play video games. But also, sometimes we do things together. This weekend, he asked me if he could come to yoga. And earlier today he asked if we could paint something together.
So there’s my balance. Sometimes I let him play too many video games, and other times we have sweet moments together
Here’s your job for this week: Hit the “zoom out” lens on your life. Gain some perspective. Do you have something gnawing at you or some guilt laying heavily on your shoulders? Can you see a time when balance might be restored, or can you think of a time that is polar opposite of what you’re experiencing currently?
Remember that what goes up must down, and everything happens in waves, and in cycles. Practice self compassion and remember that balance is when you zoom out, not in. ❤ And if you’re struggling, remember that everything is temporary… Take a deep breath, have a good cry, and get on with your bad self. ❤ Namaste my friends!