Tag Archives: joy

Perfect Moment Monday: It’s fun to play at the YMCA

Sometimes a perfect moment is a breezy, gradual unfoldment that lands on my shoulder like a butterfly.

And sometimes a perfect moment is a whoosh of bliss, gushing through my entire being, shot directly from the Universe.

This month I got to combine some favorites in many categories: activity, music and people.

The activity was Nia, a a fusion of three each of the dance arts (jazz, modern, Duncan), the healing arts (yoga, Feldenkrais, Alexander) and the martial arts (tae kwan do, tai chi, aikido). I love this graceful, expansive dance class because it’s less about doing it “right” than about simply the joy of movement.

The person was Ethel, the gentle and wise mystic whom I have known for 20 years. Her presence has transformed my life in all the important ways — I have found romance, I have reclaimed my health, I became a mother (twice) I live more mindfully than I used to. I am taking a year-long class with Ethel, and we decided, this March evening, to check in with each other at the YMCA over tea and Nia.

The music was by Loreena McKennitt. Nia classes are known for their world music, and Celtic-influenced The Mummer’s Dance came on late in the session, right before cool-down. We were spinning and lilting to this ethereal tune, expanding our arms as we opened our hearts. It wasn’t meant to be a trance-dance, but all of a sudden the blast of bliss hit me. Every cell in my body was dancing for joy, full of gratitude for having this body, this life, these connections, these senses, this moment.

With my arms and eyes raised to the heavens (or ceiling panels) I sobbed joyously. The light was dim enough and the music was loud enough, though, that no one noticed. I was both fully experiencing my bliss also observing myself experiencing bliss.

I wish I could choreograph these moments on command. But stumbling on them will do, for now.

Image: Freepik.com

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Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

On the 4th Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join. The next Perfect Moment Monday event will be on April 23.

To participate in Perfect Moment Monday:

  1. Follow Write Mind Open Heart.
  2. Between the Sunday night before and the Sunday night after, write up your own Perfect Moment.
  3. Use LinkyTools below to enter your name (or your site/blog name) and the URL of your Perfect Moment.
  4. Visit the Perfect Moments of others and let the writers know you were there with some comment currency.

Once you make a Perfect Moment post , you may place this button on your blog.Perfect Moment MondayWhat Perfect Moment have you recently been aware of? Visit these moments of others and share your comment love.

Perfect Moment Monday: Happy happy joy joy

(ALI Alert: baby mentioned. Do not read if you are in a tender place.)

One week ago…

Sheri (my middle sister) and I are at a morning yoga class. She’s been living in Pennsylvania this year and it’s a real treat to spend time with just her, doing one of the things we really love to do.

Toward the end of the class we are on our backs, twisting our spines by windshield-wiping our knees first one way and then the other. Sheri is on my right and I am looking left with my arms outstretched. I feel her hand wrap into mine and I do not look over at her. It is a simple moment of sheer love, of pure presence, and I well up with love (as I tend to do).

We turn our knees to the other side and I turn my neck accordingly, now looking at her. She has remained facing me. We look into each other’s eyes and in that expansive moment our entire common childhood experiences fit. We smile at each other and a tear rolls down my temple, into my hair, toward my mat.

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We go our separate ways for the rest of the day, each of us with a mile-long ToDo list.

We reconvene in the evening at a hotel in the opposite part of our city. Why? Because our third sister, 39-week-6-day pregnant Tami, is about to check into a hospital across the street, and she’s been staying at this hotel so the snowstorm we just had wouldn’t impede her birth plan.

By 10:30 pm, Sheri and I leave my kids in the care of my parents in the hotel and head over to the hospital to be with Tami and Gino. We joke around for several hours through her “surges,” as the hospital brochure calls them. Eventually, though, the surges become full-on contractions, about 3 minutes apart.

Sheri, having given birth to three boys via two pregnancies, serves as Tami’s doula for the next several hours. She is masterful at keeping Tami present — breathing with her through each contraction, keeping her in her body and in the moment — and encouraging her to rest in the brief intervals between contractions. I am amazed at both my sisters’ ability to keep going, wave after wave of contractions, Tami doing the laboring and Sheri keeping us focused. Sheri is doing her doula thing on one side of Tami and I am on the other performing energy work on her and sounding the breath with her — my ways of moving energy.

After about 90 minutes I find Sheri’s voice so soothing I retreat to the pullout chair, certain that I’m of no use anyway, having never given birth.

Tami makes it until 4:30 am before requesting an epidural. Sheri and I are asked to leave the room for the procedure, and welcome to come back shortly for the Main Event.

We step out at 4:40 am to a remote waiting room. We text updates to our mom and our husbands. We debrief our experience thus far with each other, we talk about how lucky we are because we are about to see a baby be born, we watch bad dead-of-the-night TV, we look at our watches.

At 5:05 Gino tells us we’ll be able to re-enter soon. Finally, at 5:15, he texts us to come on in. We stride down the long hall, eager for the high point of this long haul and to witness the minting of a brand new human being.

But we don’t see what we expect to see, which is Tami, less uncomfortable than before the eipdural, in the last stages of labor.

Instead we see a radiant Tami sitting up in her bed holding a bundle that looks suspiciously like a baby.

My I-want-to-be-born-NOW niece had crowned just as the anethesiologist was poised to insert his spinal catheter. He was rapidly replaced by the OB-on-call, who caught the baby at the head end of the bed because Tami had fallen over to the foot of it as the baby crowned.

So even though we missed the Main Event, we got to meet Eleana Grace when she was younger than a half-hour old. She looks ready to take on the world, doesn’t she?

Soon my Tessa and Tami’s Dominic, Eleana’s gentle big brother, arrived from the hotel with Grandma. It was pure joy to watch the two kids (and my mom, who cried. Guess we know where I get the upwelling thing) welcome their new sister/cousin/granddaughter to our clan. I wondered if Tessa and Dominic thought about all the happiness that their births brought us, as well.

What an abundance of perfect moments! Though I already posted for December’s Perfect Moment Monday, I did want to document and share these newly minted moments of exquisite perfection.

Happy happy joy joy, indeed. My cup runneth over, and I am grateful.

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Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

On the 4th Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to joinThe next Perfect Moment Monday event will be on January 23.

To participate in Perfect Moment Monday:

  1. Follow Write Mind Open Heart.
  2. Between the Sunday night before and the Sunday night after, write up your own Perfect Moment.
  3. Use LinkyTools below to enter your name (or your site/blog name) and the URL of your Perfect Moment.
  4. Visit the Perfect Moments of others and let the writers know you were there with some comment currency.

Once you make a Perfect Moment post , you may place this button on your blog.Perfect Moment MondayWhat Perfect Moment have you recently been aware of? Visit these moments of others and share your comment love.

Gratitude? Gratitude.

My yoga teacher, Jane, harps and harps on gratitude. Got something good going on? Show gratitude! Got something bad going on? Show gratitude! And she’s always trying to open our hips because “open hips = happy heart.” And a happy heart is a grateful one.

One day, after a very stretchy sequence to eke open our hips more! more! more!, Jane closed our practice with this quote during savasana:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. — Melody Beattie

I practically wept on the mat.

My journey thus far flashed before my eyes.  My empty arms and longing heart gave way to my fantastically full home — basketballs, extra laundry, teddy bears and the two children who leave those things all over. My very dark days where I nearly lost the will to live were juxtaposed with the brilliant light I found in the infertility blogging community. My sickly, failure of a body has evolved into something I love, both in the way it looks and all it can do. Even the recent chaos presented to me is balanced by the calm stillness I find when I draw in my attention solely to  the space on my mat.

In my mind’s eye were a thousand tao symbols, each one symbolizing duality joining into unity.

  • Day + night = a day.
  • Good + evil = a human.
  • Broken + forgiveness = wholeness.
  • Infertile + superfertile  = open adoption.
  • Self-loathing + self love = me.

It was bliss. And I was grateful, for every single thread in the tapestry that is my life.