“Life is not a race, it is a journey, something to be enjoyed each day”
- Wayne Dyer
“Julia, I wanted to reach out to you. I’m 10 weeks pregnant. My partner and I are in such a crucial training phase. We’ve just been getting our standing practice steady. Now what? I mean I’m so excited for my pregnancy, I’m healthy, I’m fit, I’m grateful that the baby is healthy… but what about the training? How did you manage?”
I get messages like this over and over again. And it’s time for me to share some insights.
Yes, I post pictures of handstands. Yes, I post pictures of hand2hands, also standing. Did you notice that they’re appear less on my timeline? You know why? Because they happen less!
My partner and I have a ritual. Every time one of us goes to teach for an extended period of time we send a “buffer email” about 24h before arrival to update each other and to buffer the huge clash which always happens when the one from the “bubble experience” meets the one who has held space in the family environment - or, how my woman’s group calls it: mum’s holding space, washing dishes, cleaning bums while our husbands go and sing Hare Krishna… -. In my relationship dynamic with Pascal the roles change often... often he is changing diapers while I go and sing Hare Krishna... that is an amazing foundation for compassion through changing perspective. And it’s the greatest field for growth as we hardly get build much of a comfort zone. Neither in the family environment, nor in the work environment. But that’s a whole other story.
Our buffer emails follow a structure:
- Gratitude: A section to express thankfulness in all directions. Always a great reminder how rich our life is.
- Clearings: The part in which we’re asked to be honest, straight forward. It can get very meaty in here as everything that’s been building up can be released.
- Celebrations: Time to celebrate successes. Like Wayne Dyer says: “In any relationship in which two people become one, the end result is two half people.” this is the section in which we celebrate our experience of being one full person creating the polarity it needs to keep things fresh and exciting.
- Updates: Here we share bullet point updates on personal priorities, time lines, projects, changes in the kids, their schedule and preferences.
Our buffer emails were a great game changer when we introduced them and we really engaged in the process every business trip. I recently sifted through an old one and laughed over the following section:
…it is very important to be home early. This is our timings in the evening:
6pm dinner, clean kitchen, organize the next day
7pm all teeth brushed, I take Finnja to bed while Lea gets her Pyjama on and listens to a story
7:20 I read Lea story / song 7:40 the latest lights out.
8pm usually everything's quiet, I prep breakfast and snack box for next morning, clean the million things on the floor.
9pm go to my room to hopefully bypass the million things I should take care of in my business and get to the online yoga class. The first moment in the day I connect to myself. My ritual to remain sane for the next 24h.
SLEEP (heavily interrupted)
5:35am wake up snooze, 5:55 get up, get myself ready, wake up Lea in a 5 minute frequency, get Finnja ready, hold space for eventual dramas. Get school snack ready.
6:30am breakfast table
6:40am dress everyone in full winter gear
6:50 in the car to go the train station
7:10 train to school
7:30 back home for my own and Finnja's breakfast, housework, laundry…
I laughed because it reflects everything I was so scared of when it came to the point that Lea wanted to enter school. I was afraid of being stuck in one place, in a set routine that is not my chosen one, of being in a community I didn’t chose… I laughed because I find myself totally immersed in what I did not want. I would have loved the bubble life to last forever. To go from one yoga bubble, to the next acroyoga bubble, to the next Thaimassage bubble, to the next… wake up, Meditation, Yoga, someone has made breakfast, someone’s chanting, go to the beach, do some handstands, talk to friends and friends to be… the bubble life burst about a year ago. Like bubbles do.
“After the ecstasy, the laundry” is the title of one of my favourite books by Jack Kornfield. I’m in the laundry part. Knee deep.
Dear acromums and mum’s to be. Let me share with you some important insights which make it possible to be where I am after 9 years of intimate relationship with my co-teacher, 7 years of co-parenting with my co-teacher, 2 years of double co-parenting two children…:
- we have clarified priorities early in our relationship: Love relationship first, everything else after. If we never fly a hand to hand again we love each other as much.
- right after being a romantic couple, we’re parents. While we can’t always do it right, we’ll always do I best and we’re taking full responsibility for the well being of our children (even if this means we’re currently stuck in one place to have our daughter go to school) and we’re willing to be held accountable for our decisions.
- we’re committed to stay true to our passion and calling and we’re willing to accept that there’s a time in life for everything: the first two years of a child’s life parents are called to “investment behaviour”. Those two years are incredibly vulnerable as we’re asked to totally blow up our agenda and be in service. It’s a delicate dance, a lesson in altruism and great check in on core values.
- we’re committed to growth: while it is difficult for us at this stage to go off together and update, actualise and develop our practice we’re open to let each other go and develop, update and actualize on an individual level.
All of this being said, the practice with brought the most sustainability into our relationship has been acknowledging, truly feeling and working with and through EMOTIONS as well as being able to communicate them.
Parenting in the first years organically brings up a lot of emotions. It’s a constant bubbling spring of emotions of all kinds. Often the full spectrum in a blink of an eye. When it comes to the AcroYoga practice, it became the trigger for the most meaty of all emotions into the game:
JEALOUSY. To the same extend I know “tired” and “exhausted” in all it’s stages, facets and levels, I know jealousy and frustration in many more aspects than I have been interested... Jealousy is not an easy emotion, if it was a book, I’d most probably put it down because of the unease it brings up for me. Emotions are not as easy to shake off as it is to put down a book.
There’s the jealousy that he can train while I have a pregnant belly, the jealousy that he can train while I breastfeed, the jealousy that he can train while my kids have mamitis and stick to me like super glue, the jealousy that he can set boundaries like a pro and I feel like jelly saying no, the jealousy that he can leave for weeks while I’m so attached, the jealousy that he keeps developing and I fight not only with feeling stuck in my practice but also with a general fear of falling I have NEVER felt before, the jealousy of everyone playing while I … take care of the kids…
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” Wayne Dyer says - by now you might be clear who my personal heroes are in this phase of my life (I’ll list them for you below).
The medicine is forgiveness to judging myself and my loving partner, the medicine is patience as I’m in this for life anyway… what are 7 years?, the medicine is gratitude for health and love and life, the medicine is taking the small opportunities when they present themselves, the medicine is showing up again and again, the medicine is continuing my personal practice to show up strong in moments of opportunity, the medicine is hanging out with embodied mum’s, the medicine is honest communication with my partner so he knows what’s going on, the medicine is honest communication with my children so they know it’s not their fault and they know that I will find my way to engage in my passion, the medicine is asking for help, the medicine is to surrender more often than I think is necessary, the medicine is NOT TO JOIN THE RACE. Not the inner race of meeting any realistic or unrealistic goals in a timeline which puts strain on you and your partner, not the outer race of fitting with a perceived pace most people keep up but don't necessarily enjoy on the long run, not the digital race of keeping high definition pictures showing peak experiences in beautiful environments coming at a daily frequency.
I have come to and committed to AcroYoga not because I was excited for the next fancy trick. I have come to and committed to AcroYoga for the experience, the community, the possibility to meet my fears while being held, the cutting through limitations through being uplifted by friends, the boundless opportunities which open up when being engaged in and held by a community.
“We rise by uplifting others” the mission statement says, it does not say we rise by chasing the next fancy trick. In general flyers only rise by having a base. This practice is a practice of partnership and if the partnership is disturbed, also a front plank feels off. And if there’s no more base, there’s no front plank, and if there’s no flyer, the base looks awkward lying there with their feet up in the air.
So, you’re xx weeks pregnant, you’re wondering about your training, progress, your goals and ambition?!
I’d like to welcome you in the school of surrender, emotional education and the arena of wonder, transformation and growth through owning and working through emotions. New worlds are opening up to you. The more you release your agenda, the more you’ll be able to participate in those new worlds. And the more you nourish your relationship to your partner / base on a deeply human level the more the foundation will grow and stabilise so that the both of you will get to explore and grow in this new world together. As humans, lovers, parents, acrobatic partners.
Happy juggling of those many layers of relationship everyone, parents or not.
In love, unbound enthusiasm, daring patience,
Julia, mama of two, wife, co-teacher, entreprenoise, yoga addict, birth junkie, sleep-deprived, passionate, failure accepting wild woman.
I am not joining the race of the next fancy trick. I’m steadily building foundation. Like my dear teacher Jason says: The stronger the foundation, the higher you can build on it. Like in construction: The foundation setting takes the longest. I’m willing to be patient!
Today I post pictures of my daughters, my daily life fleeing the messy kitchen, the endless mess I encounter each day. Yoga is there, too.
My heroes for written advice and inspiration when my teachers are not around: