For most of the country this is Memorial Day weekend. Here in Indianapolis it’s more likely to be called Race Weekend. The Indy 500 is a huge tradition – some are more invested than others. Growing up I recall the race being broadcasted on the radio. It was background noise for me. I’ve never understood the purpose or the joy of racing!
My Friday noon hatha yoga teacher, Melissa, will often have themes for class. Near Christmas she renamed the poses with winter/holiday names. For example, child’s pose was snowball. Dancer was ice skater, etc. It was cute and memorable.
Melissa grew up in a family dedicated to the race, so naturally our class was race themed yesterday. When we began to deepen our breath we were “fueling up.” When we got into table pose we were on the “starting line.” Then the laps began. We went through a series of poses to complete a lap – thank goodness she took off the two zeros! We did 5 laps instead of 500!
The first set of 5 laps weren’t too bad – we were “warming up the engine.” The second set, however, were more intense. In between each lap we took a “pit stop” – i.e. child’s pose. During one pit stop she said something like, “Find the energy you need for the next lap. Don’t worry about how many laps are left – you just need to prepare for the one in front of you.” Had I not been in yoga or trying to reconnect to my breath, I would have sat up and said, “YES!” because that’s exactly what I needed to hear!
I have the tendency to get ahead of myself. Rather than focusing on what’s in front of me – what I need to accomplish today or next week, I’m already on to next month or next year! I have a hard time resting because there’s always something else that needs to be done to get ready for the next thing whether it’s tomorrow or next year.
Focusing on the lap in front of me is particularly hard right now. There’s enough going on that I really need to stay focused on each day. Jumping ahead even one or two days is enough to cause me anxiety and worry. For the next several weeks almost every day brings another major event – interviews, doctor appointments, saying goodbye, packing, applications, big decisions. It’s a lot. And if I jump ahead to even July, just a month from now, I will be in the land of “What If” and that is not a safe place for me to be. I honestly have no idea what my life will look like a month from now – yes, I’ll still be married and living in my house. The basics will still be present. But, I don’t know where or if I’ll be working. I don’t know how grief will be affecting me.
Some people I know are so good at living in the present. I envy that. The organizing planner in me is always one or two or 500 steps ahead. It’s hard for me to stay present sometimes, especially when I’m alone. When I’m with friends and family, when I’m with a group of people, it’s easier for me to be present, to stay present. So, I think for this weekend, my goal is to be present. I’m not going to think about emails I’ll receive next week or phone calls I’ll be anticipating. I won’t think about my last Sunday or saying goodbye. I’m just going to be here – in these moments. I’m going to focus on whatever I need for my next lap – good food, rest, long walks, laughter with friends. I don’t know exactly what will happen in the coming laps, but I have a general idea. Those laps will be there when I get to them, so for today, I’m just going to do this lap, the one right in front of me. I think that will be enough for now.