People have been asking me how I’m doing lately… and strangely enough, I feel strong and mostly okay. There is an efficiency about our worrying. That is to say, if we didn’t have a new baby, a four year old and businesses to run, we’d be worrying a heck of a lot more. But one of the gifts of kids is that they continually pull you back to the moment — to the mundane, to play, to the exasperation and joy that is being a parent.
I actually thought maybe I was handling this whole thing really well, all zenned out and philosophical, until I went to yoga last week. As soon as I hit the mat and took a breath it was all right there — the anxiety, the fear, the trauma every time Ben has a seizure. It was all there waiting patiently to be felt. As i moved, I could feel it all coursing through me, wanting to find a way out, have a voice, or just explode in a mess of tears. I faithfully did my downward dogs and tried my hardest to breathe it all out like exhaust, a black puff of air, everything I no longer need. But then I was afraid I would break down right there, in the middle of mommy/baby yoga — which I suppose is really a pretty great place to break down — but it all caught me by surprise. I stopped, laid down on my back and relaxed for the rest of class. It was progress. Those few tears were the first in a long time.
As I lay there I became obsessed with one thought: I need to be in the redwoods. The redwoods are the right medicine.
And so we did that today. It happened that Ben had a date with a friend for a concert so it was just me, Matt and Nico strolling through Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. It was indeed the right medicine! Pure oxygen. At one point I even handed my bag to Matt and announced, I feel like running! Which by the way, I NEVER feel like doing. I don’t think I’ve run since I was in junior high school. But there I was! running the trails, happy as can be for ten whole minutes. It was glorious and totally worth my sore muscles today. I’ve never understood why people could like running and now I’m starting to get it.
Anyway, I got home last night and googled “redwood medicine” thinking something interesting would come up, showing me what exactly I was looking for yesterday and what it might mean that I was craving this particular remedy. What I came across was a blog post that a yoga instructor posted who was also craving the medicine of the redwoods. I loved this line in particular, “When I sit near them, I can feel the power of the simple act of staying.”
And maybe that’s what it’s about. The redwoods grow fast and they grow strong. They give oxygen and shelter. They are beautiful and wild and no matter what happens they stay put. It’s starting to sound like motherhood to me, at least the kind of motherhood I’m being asked to step into. To stay with the uncertainty, to grow wild and strong, to stay rooted and firm, steadfast.
A video that perfectly encapsulates the magic of being in the redwoods.