A Note From Katie: Waiting, Surrender, and Graditude
It’s 3:30 am and I just finished nursing my two-month-old daughter, Piper. I’m waiting for her to fall back asleep. I’m watching her little belly rise and fall, observing the tiny movements of her face. She appears to be sleeping soundly, for now.
This could go one of two ways...
She stays asleep. VICTORY!
She’s doesn’t. Shit.
While I do my best to set Piper up for a successful night of sleep, she is ultimately the one in charge of how the night unfolds. She has so much power for such a tiny creature! Alas, I try to remain calm and patiently wait for her to settle into slumber.
Since becoming a mother, I’ve become better at waiting. What I’ve noticed is that HOW I wait matters. Sometimes I wait with a gentle presence and the moment can be so sweet. As I write these words, I’m weeping because my heart is so full simply watching my baby sleep in her bassinet.
Sometimes I wait anxiously: for the worst to happen, for the other shoe to drop, for disappointment. When this happens, I do my best to pause, notice the pattern of needless worry, let go of judgement, and place my attention back on the present moment.
I waited almost ten years to become a mother. Fertility struggles involve a LOT of waiting. Simply waiting for the right time to begin treatment is exhausting enough. But then there’s the two-week wait to see if you’re pregnant, the 12-week wait see if the pregnancy is viable, and the 9-month wait for baby to arrive, not to mention waiting on a seemingly endless array of test results during each stage of the process. And then other waiting occurs without a timeline, like waiting to heal from a miscarriage.
After what felt like a lifetime of waiting, Piper finally arrived! I had a healthy baby. My road to motherhood was difficult, but worth the wait. Throughout my journey, there were so many times I simply wanted things to be different. I think everyone can relate to sometimes wanting their life to be different. Some change requires action, but other times you just have to wait.
For me, waiting can be exhausting because it places my thoughts in the future, which allows anxious thoughts to wiggle their way into my mind. I often felt crippling anxiety while waiting for Piper. How long will this take? Will it work? Can I keep going? SHOULD I keep going?
This type of worrying wasn’t serving me well. It made the wait worse; however, I had some tools at my disposal to help me deal with the uncertainty of waiting. Chief among those was my yoga practice.
Yoga provides many paths to ease suffering. Ishvara pranidhana is a Sanskrit phrase meaning to surrender or bow to the source of truth. “Source of truth” can be defined in a myraid of ways, but it is a distinctly personal concept. For some it’s god. For others it’s nature. I like to think that I’m surrendering to the way things are right now, the present moment, with gratitude.
I decided to surrender to my journey towards motherhood. There were no guarantees. Gratitude kept me going. I was grateful for my support system, my doctors, and for the clarity that I had for desiring a family.
We talk about gratitude so much in our classes because it’s such a powerful way to ease suffering. When I cultivate gratitude for the way things are right now, I find it much easier to connect to the present moment. There is no waiting, no worrying, no comparing. There is just right now.
Piper has changed how I wait. I still get frustrated – I’m human! But now, putting her to bed is less about waiting for her to fall asleep and more about lovingly surrendering to her presence. It’s a lesson she helps me with every day.
This year has been nuts. As you continue to navigate your unique circumstances, pause and take note. Where is your attention is being placed? Are you waiting? Are you worrying? Can you bow to this present moment, with gratitude? Use your breath. Big inhale. Big exhale.
Piper just woke up. I surrender!