There’s Poop on My Yoga Pants: The Dharmic Path of Parenthood
“Your children are not your children – they are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.”
As I lovingly prepared my first born daughter’s nursery during the last months of my pregnancy, I printed and framed this poem in its entirety from Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet. It hangs over what I had intended, in my prenatal imagination of what life with a baby might be like, as a changing table. Things rarely if ever turn out the way we plan.
That might-be changing table now holds clothes and toys, and diaper changes happen on any convenient surface. I write this post in bits and pieces, between hanging loads of laundry on the line, changing diapers and clothes (both mine and baby’s), changing them again, nursing the baby and feeding myself, and playing in the infinite field of life. During naptimes when, for a brief moment, I have two hands free, maybe I take a shower, maybe I feed myself. Maybe I lie down next to my little sleeping bundle and watch her breathe in and out. If I close my eyes for even a second, she’ll be all grown up and I’ll have missed the entire thing.
It is in the everyday actions in which I find my practice. The blessing of having all other distractions cleared away – work, school, commuting, meetings – reveals the truth: that every moment is sacred. Yoga is telling a story and giving a bath. It is kissing the soles of the feet of a small new person and devoting myself to serving her.
Through serving her I serve my husband, I serve my parents and his, I serve my grandparents and all of my ancestors through all of time. As I care for my infant I honor their contributions of sweat, and tears, and worry, that through the knobs and vines of the family tree made my life possible, for me to make her life possible, so she is able to give life to future generations. And suddenly time disappears and all of time is one moment. And now life is timeless and we’ve arrived at Samadhi, a Sanskrit term for oneness and living in the moment.
And when I do finally roll out my mat it is inevitable that the baby cries to be held within five minutes. So it is a reminder to breathe each breath fully, with attention and intention; to stretch the edge of each posture and give my all in every single moment. To be fully present and fully alive to every weird and wonderful second of this silly, beautiful life.
Is parenting what I expected? No. No amount of studying or spending time with other people’s children prepares for this. But maybe in the unexpected we find our Selves. The unexpected is there to wake us up and open our eyes to something we weren’t yet able to see. It’s a brilliant design: we just have to keep our eyes open – life takes care of the rest.
Allyse Sonnega is a dedicated yogini, educator, mother, vegan, and overall uplifting human being that provides great service to the world through her peaceful thoughts, words, and actions.