A friend recently popped in to visit Molly and I with her two toddlers (2 & 3) and we set about trying to occupy them all in the garden with some painting. In a bid to avoid a meltdown and also ‘enjoy’ as much of a ‘peaceful’ cup of tea as possible, we resigned to giving up and just letting them paint on anything, including Molly’s playhouse, the stone tiles and themselves. Sure, what’s a little mess? I can always clean it up later, I thought.
The result was nothing short of complete carnage! When they left it was like the Tasmanian Devil had spun through the garden with his chosen colour of black paint and smeared it across everything. The once bright plastic playhouse looked like something out of a horror movie, while no amount of scrubbing the stone would get out the stains. At the time, I felt very, very cross. Cross, and downright exasperated at just how messy life had become.
As Molly and I settled down the next day for another session of painting in the garden, it struck me that life just is messy. While I was never the tidiest person growing up, when I became a mother, I found myself desperately craving a sense of neatness and order. When I became overwhelmed, sometimes the only thing I felt I could keep a handle on was whether things were put back in their boxes at the end of the day. But the reality I am coming around to, is that try to control it (or a toddler painting) and you will probably find yourself fighting a losing battle.
Before I had Molly, even my yoga practice had an air of tidiness. It was regular, fluid and strong and usually always had a beginning and an end. It wasn’t hurried or snatched and most of the time it fitted easily into my weekly schedule. Fast forward to the present day, and I’m left with a practice that is far from neat. A practice that sometimes leaves me frustrated. And a practice that doesn’t always have a perfect slot in my hectic life.
But you know what? While life may be messy now, it’s full of colour. Exhausting, unimaginable, hilarious mess and colour that invites you to roll with it rather than against it. With another baby on the way, I’m doing my best to embrace this new found chaos. To accept that we can never really be fully in control of life, and that’s totally ok.
So as my daughter paints, I roll out my yoga mat and ease myself and my rapidly growing bump through a short practice. It’s interrupted with shouts of ‘don’t paint on that!’ or ‘watch your feet!’ and while it’s not as fluid as it used to be, it is still my yoga. Me, my mat, my daughter, the sunshine…
After all, what’s so messy about that?