Precious Impermanence

I am enjoying a day off today and I made a conscious decision to stay in my pajamas all day. I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal since as a full time yoga teacher I spend most of my days in pajama-like clothing, but today I am wearing my comfiest pair of ratty old pants and a shirt I wouldn’t wear anywhere else but at home.
I’ve drank at least two pots of tea and slowly prepared a pot of soup. I’ve played on my yoga mat and sat on my meditation cushion. I’ve puttered in my new garden on the deck, delighting in the green plants that are changing so much every day. And yes I’ve also done some emails and computer work..but I am trying to do as little as possible. Indeed that’s my whole mandate for today- do as little as possible. I have been watching my son enjoy his summer holiday by sleeping in and staying in pajamas and reading till much too late at night and I am struck by how many summers I have actually missed out on since I became an adult. How many sweet summers have just flown right by while I was busy working, too engaged with my activity to enjoy the fullness of the season. There is something quite sad about this.
I have just finalized my travel plans to go to Utah this August to study with John Friend and I am so looking forward to it not only because he is the teacher of my teachers and the man behind the vision of Anusara Yoga, but because it means an entire week off in August. Living in a seasonal town like Tofino has meant that summer holidays are the time you work the hardest. Indeed the last time time I had a summer off since I was a child was the summer I was pregnant with my son. Thirteen years ago. That was also the last time I had a garden.
I remember I filled containers and planter boxes with beautiful flowers and sweet peas and herbs, and every day I’d go see them when I woke up. I’d nap amongst the pots in the midday while I worked on my tan and savoured the sensual delights of pregnancy. And before I went to bed at night I’d check on them one last time. And then my son was born and I was so consumed by him that I forgot about the plants on the deck and they withered and died of neglect. I think I have felt guilty ever since and that has kept me from wanting to start a garden again. Life has just been so incredibly busy since I became a parent that I’ve been afraid to start anything new for worry of killing it when I couldn’t find the time to nurture it.
But as I sit here on this beautiful day off I am struck by how quickly life changes. My son is almost as tall as I am now and I remember the day he was born as if it was yesterday. I watch his pleasure at being a child, at having so much time to just be, and I am reminded of my own childhood summers when the days seemed endless, yet those days seem as if they were lifetimes ago. Planning my trip to Utah I am reminded of all the years when it seemed that travel and study and time off for myself would forever be an impossibility, and now it is a reality. Time can seem such a cruel mistress and yet she is such a wonder, always changing, always moving, always shifting.
Contemplating the precious impermanence of life I am reminded of why days off are so important. Why we need days where we are not bound by schedules and to do lists but can simply allow ourselve to be. Days where we can move slowly and savour the sweetness of this moment in time. Because it doesn’t stay the same, and that is what is so precious about it. The impermanence of time and the changing nature of life can give us hope when times are hard. And the poignancy of the inevitability of change can remind us to stop and pause and celebrate the everyday moments of our lives when it seems they are just speeding by.
Remembering this I am going to go celebrate the beauty of this day by laying on my deck and listening to my lettuce grow….
Sweet Blessings.