Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Letting Wink Go

The return trip from New Harbor, Maine (the reason for my recent silence) this past weekend was surprisingly easy, considering everything you hear about air travel these days. We were flying Sunday morning, so the airport was empty; a quick baggage check-in, no lines at security, and empty gates to run three-year-olds around. However, this was not a painless trip. During the aforementioned running, Eamonn (the aforementioned three-year-old) lost track of his security blanket--a fact neither of his parents realized until it was time to board the plane.

"Where's Wink?" is a common refrain in our house, as a quick search commences to find the ratty, grey fabric square that used to be a scarf. It is usually behind a chair in the living room, or under a stool in the kitchen, but it was always found and snatched up by E, to be stroked by his un-sucked hand. Well, not anymore. We frantically searched the concourse and restrooms, looked under chairs and around service desks, but Wink remained unfound. We were the last people to board the plane, with stricken looks on all our faces, as the realization set in that Wink was staying at Boston's Logan International.

Eamonn has been surprising stoic during all of this. He was a bit sad when we landed in Chicago and no one stepped forward with the blanket (as we were taking off, he suggested that some one "might find my Winkie and bring it on the plane for us"). He mentions Wink daily, and how we are "sad, but not crying" that Wink was lost. But, he has transfered his routine to a couple of back-up blankets he used in day care and they seem to be enough at night, or when he's being read to. Wow, what a cool practicer of vairagya (non-attachment).

I, on the other hand, am taking this a lot harder. The idea of that powerful little scrap of fabric, wadded up in the bottom of a trash bag with half-eaten doughnuts, soaking up tossed-out Starbucks is more than I can bear. I guess it's a symbol of E's child/babyhood that I'm not ready to see go, yet. So many little rituals surrounded that blanket, that I get sick to my stomach thinking they are a thing of the past. And yet, Eamonn has accepted Wink's disappearance and has moved on.

So I'm trying to let Wink go...I have a sappy movie montage going through my head of various Wink moments that makes me wistful (playing peek-a-boo with Alec, playing keep-away with his grandfather, carrying Hot Wheels around in it, balling it up under his head while watching TV)...but, I guess it's not really my blanket to mourn. As usual, the child becomes the guru. His ability to self-soothe is transferable; if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with. It's not the blanket, itself, that matters; it's being able to calm and comfort yourself with what you have at hand.

However, I found a strand of Wink this morning under the dresser (Wink's fringe was constantly shedding) that I might bag up and stick in a scrapbook. Eamonn has detached, but I'm still clinging...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Wheel Thing

No class for a few weeks, during the break before summer sessions. While I miss teaching, I finally get a chance to have a full yoga practice for myself. All the Householder responsiblities these days have left me unable to fit anything but the odd Down Dog or Tree into the mix. So this morning, after checking the lads into drop-in daycare (what a godsend) I went down to my room at the Y and began to work on Urdhva Danurasana (Upward-facing Bow Pose or Wheel--or a plain-ole backbend).

Wheel has not been seen on my yoga mat for more than a year. It is so completely pre-and post-natally contraindicated, that I dropped it last December. I'm not great at it, but I always enjoyed the power and opening that comes with lifting up in that position; it was missed. I've been a little hesitant to reincorporate it, tho, because my mother-of-an-infant back is completely hunched and bunched these days. So actually, as the King of All Chest Openers, it should be a good one to work on.

I started with lots of slow chest- and shoulder-openers: Hastasana (Overhead Shoulder Stretch), Garudasana (Eagle), Gomukhasana (Cow's Head), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Down Dog), Urdvha Mukha Svanasana (Up Dog) and Viparita Namaskara (Namaste to the back). A few Dandasana (Staff), Virasana (Hero) and Upvistha Konasana (Wide-legged Forward Bend) stretched out the legs. After a thigh stretch at the wall and Ustrasana (Camel), I lay on my back and hoped for the best.

To come into Wheel, I like to start on my back with knees bent, hip-distance apart, with my feet behind my buttocks and the heels of my hands a bit wider than my shoulders at about ear level. I start with a half-lift, so that I can gently (gently!) rest on the crown of my head to prepare to lift. From here, pressing into the feet and hands, I extend the arms so that the legs stay stationary and the arch comes from pressing up with the chest and down into the palms of the hands. Kind of like an upside down (upside up?) push up. It is a very strong move, that also feels very controlled. The legs basically take care of themselves.

I managed it twice for just a few breaths, but I managed it, so I was very happy and relieved when I came back down to rest. My shoulders and chest were humming with the flow of blood and the muscles felt opened and energized. The following Savasana was deep and satisfying...I guess letting go of some up that upper back tension will do that for you

So...Wheel is back on the menu. I hope to keep working on it and, ala Yoga Like Salt incrementalism, maybe even teach myself to drop-back by the end of the summer. Ah, such ambition.

I really ought to practice yoga more often!