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yoga-art-8Panting, I reached for the door handle expecting it to resist me, since I was late as usual, but it pulled open. Thank god.

“Hello, I’m Angie.”

Without hesitation I answered: “Hi. Please make me normal again.”

My whole body buzzed with tension. Oh whom am I kidding? It was frank anger. I wanted to get away from it all. I needed space. It was in that spirit that I rolled out my mat and waited for Angie’s instructions.

“For today’s class I want you to think of the lesson you learned during the holidays.”

Lesson? What lesson? I think back to our holidays, my first with my boyfriend and his kids. We had intended to start our own tradition with the girls, but it turned out to be a bust from the beginning. Cut your own Christmas tree fell on an 18-degree day. It only brought about complaints and wishing they were at mom’s house with the fake tree. Decorating the tree? I had elegant silver/white ornaments; the girls wanted color. Presents: we addressed their needs more than their wants. More clothes, less toys. On Christmas day, they joined us for lunch. We prepared a savory lunch; they wanted sweets. I had had it with the holidays. My lesson was to skip it altogether for next year.

“I learned that change is good,” Angie interrupted my thoughts.

Wait a minute? That’s a good one. First Christmas with a new family is a change, certainly challenging. I’ll go with that.

“Let’s start by coming to the front of the mat…”

But midway through class, as I went from tree to dancer’s pose, something happened. I inhaled, felt a drop of sweat travel down my neck, and on the exhale recited let go. I felt the tension leave. I felt stronger. That was it. Letting go was my lesson, not change. Let go of wanting to be perfect. Let go of pleasing everyone. Let go of expectations. Let go and be free. Breath by breath, drop by drop, I let go. When I did, space opened. In that space there was room for everyone. In that space, kids could be kids and complain if they needed to. And I didn’t have to take it all so seriously. Instead, I could see this new little family as a source of love not fear.

Class neared its end. Through tears, I came to seated meditation.
“I hope you are ready to face the challenges of the day ahead. Perhaps you learned to let go.”

Ah, she knew.

I smiled.