Do you ever catch yourself talking the talk but not walking the walk? That realization slapped me in the face on a couple of occasions a couple of weeks ago. My husband and I were having “one of those days”. You know, the ones where you both have different agendas and mindsets and you disagree on just about everything? He works pretty much all the time. He works from home in the evenings and on weekends and is somewhat attached to his phone for work texts. While he does a fantastic job of balancing work and playtime with the kids, we often fall short of making time for each other in the evenings. The evenings have come to represent time for him to catch up on work and time for me to read/blog and enjoy some quiet time with my glass of Pinot Noir. It is so easy to fall into this trap of savoring your alone time after being busy or talked to all day, yet it is so important not to fall in it because you end up distancing yourself from your partner and then irritability inevitably creeps in.
I have gone on and on about being present, mindful, and aware and I feel that I am at various points during the day, particularly in yoga class but have not yet made daily meditation a home habit. I am guilty of not being present in the evenings when my husband takes breaks from work to chat. I will be in the middle of reading something and he will start telling me a story of his day and I immediately feel irritated for being interrupted like when reading on an airplane and a neighbor wants to make small talk. Yes, it is irritating being interrupted but I have to remember that I am not on an airplane and he is not a stranger; he is my husband and we have barely spoken all day.
The weekend comes along and we both have agendas of spending time with family and getting chores done. I woke up on a recent Saturday and began my “to dos” and we tried to discuss some “business” decisions while our kids jumped around us excited to have daddy home. We ended up disagreeing on various topics and each felt pulled in different directions. With the week being so busy, we often try to cram too much into the weekend and end up stressing ourselves trying to pull it all off.
As I was rushing around trying to get laundry done and listen to him tell me his plans for the day, he finally jolted me out of my hustle and told me to come for a walk with him and the kids and be present with them. I immediately stopped and joined them. We walked to the park and it felt so nice to break away and just be with my family. My husband and I are both guilty of being elsewhere in our minds from time to time when we know we should be more present with each other and our kids. The business of life can be overwhelming and make you feel like you are treading water just to stay at the surface and if you let up even for a second, you’ll drown. But the important things are what keep us afloat; it is the trivial things that make us tread so much harder than necessary.
My husband reminded me of a special moment when we first met. He was telling the story to my daughter adding some magic to the story as he usually does. To me, it was magical because it was as if fate was right in front of my face showing me what was to be. It was the morning after we met. We, along with a big group of friends had stayed out partying and crashed at a friend’s house. We woke up, ate breakfast and went to spend the afternoon on the Potomac River. As he and I were sitting quietly by the river while friends splashed around, a butterfly fluttered in front of us. It landed on his outstretched foot, sat there for a few moments then flew up, fluttered in front of me and landed on my foot taking a moment to pause. It then slowly fluttered away. We both turned and smiled at each other. Barely knowing each other, I think we both knew that our meeting was more than a chance. On that recent difficult Saturday, imagining us quietly and calmly sitting on the river with love swirling around us brought me back to why I am here, with him.
It is time to stop choosing convenient presence, but rather be mindful at the times when we are in the hustle and bustle of life; the moments when my husband needs me there with him listening honestly, the moments when my kids need me to play with them with undivided attention and the moments when I have just one more thing to do. That butterfly reminded me that my partnership with my husband is meant to be, that we must work hard to support it and to support it we must be present for one another. That butterfly slapped me silly with my hypocrisy reminding me that it is time to take my practice beyond the mat and personal convenience to make my life more complete.
Have you ever caught yourself not practicing what you preach? How did you remedy the incongruity?