Go with all of your heart.” This was the message on my Yogi teabag the other day. It was delivered at just the right moment as I was debating whether to go to a yoga class or stay home and work. Yoga won out, but the teabag got me thinking. So often my heart is not fully in the place where I am.
This brings me back to raising kids, years of so much turmoil, imbalance, struggle, and love. I love my kids more than anything in the world, and yet when they were little and all three were in my care each day there were many moments when I wished I could have been somewhere else. I look back on those days now and wonder why I was so conflicted. Why couldn’t I just have appreciated the time and place for what it was and been there with my whole heart?
Well, the fact is there were other things I wanted to be doing (like writing), and it would have been great to have had a lot more solitude (a rarity when you’re raising youngsters). But when I did have to part with them for an afternoon or day, I often missed them. I wanted to be here and there at once. My heart wasn’t really where I was at all.
But it’s not just about kids, it can happen anytime. Every moment is a choice to do or go somewhere…to stay and rest or to move and go. To play or to work. To sleep or to exercise. Most of the time we’re happy with our decisions; we enjoy what we’re doing and move on. But too many times we struggle and doubt our choices. “I should have…could have…would have…” is a mantra I hear (and say) all too often.
This summer, I spent a number of afternoons at our town pool with a friend who has recently retired. Frankly, I had a lot of other things I would have preferred doing on these days; I have a busy life filled with family, yoga, writing, and various pursuits. My friend, on the other hand, is single and without kids; with no work or family, her days belong to her alone. Often, she’d ask me to meet her at the pool. When I did, my heart often longed to be elsewhere. But when I declined, I would think of her sitting there alone, listening to the giggles of the children in the water, and looking up at the blue sky. Then, I would longingly wish I had joined her!
Everything is a choice, a choice that we own. The message on the teabag spoke so clearly to me about what I’ve been struggling with forever; to be happy with each choice, and to go there with my whole heart, whatever the choice is. The familiar saying goes, “Wherever you go, there you are.” The corollary of that should be “Wherever you go, go with all of your heart.”
Whatever the case, I’m glad I chose to have a cup of tea that morning, instead of my usual decaf coffee. Indeed, I sipped it happily while I pondered the teabag's message... with all of my heart.