The Brink

The Brink

I am about to be happy.

That’s where most of us live most of the time.

Right after- We get the job, the partner, the baby, the handstand, the work slows down, the work speeds up, good friends call, people leave me alone, the house cleaned up, the book published and the weight down.

Most of our lives are spent in the space of “about to.”

Over the years, I have spent my fair share of time in depression, worry, low self-esteem, and uncertainty.  I have had my heart broken more times than I can remember, and have wrestled with the deep dark.  My vulnerability has sometimes been an asset and sometimes a liability.

But my hope and willingness to work in the dark in order to feel the light has always been there too.

This year I have spent a lot of time on the brink of something.  Lots of things are in flux for my family, and I decided I better find my footing even when nothing seems tacked down.

The biggest thing in the room is Mama’s cancer.  Her diagnosis of stage four metastatic breast cancer is ominous, and we are not sure what will happen next.  She is teaching me that we don’t need to know the next.  We need to find gifts in the now, and the best thing I can offer her is my presence.  Her consistency in seeing joy each day and choosing to “wake up living” instead of “wake up dying” is something to behold.  I am taking very stenciled notes at how she writes her own story, because her perspective is all about peace in the space of “about to.”

There are medium and small things in the room like potential pregnancy, book revisions, house renovations and the strike of work/life balance. We never actually arrive, thank goodness.  Because, what would we practice then?

A beautiful thing is starting to happen with my family.  We are all really seeing each other, relishing the moments, and staying incredibly present.  Even while on the brink and in the space of “about to.”  Because we have been on the brink for so long, we were going to exhaust ourselves unless we became more peaceful there.  I have noticed it in Matt and myself.  Mama and Otis seem to have known it all along.

My teaching has changed.  When I string the poses together now, I like to discuss the transitions more than the poses themselves.  The practice of yoga has always been a life study for me, and my work in the poses tells me so much about where I need to refine.  I am more interested in the journey than the pose, and in finding access to myself and my body along the way.  My teaching sounds less organized and elegant these days, but it’s curious and raw.  I am more comfortable on the brink of the pose now, and I’m not rushing to arrive anymore.

My parenting has changed.  I get lost in the moments with Otis more than I used to.  I prioritize exploration and wonder rather than getting him dressed quickly or efficient bath times.  We wander a lot more, and I soak him in and let his curiosity lead me around the room or the park or the story.

I look at my husband more. I look at everyone more.  I try to feel the day instead of execute it.  And I get less things done, and I feel slowed down inside in a profound way.

It is messy.

It is not tied up and bound in a bow.

But my life process has never been more alive and more present.

And I am happier than I have ever been.

Even while on the brink.


Have comments or questions? Connect with me to continue the conversation on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.