practicing compassion in the face of distraction

When I last wrote about my home practice, I failed to mention the fact the extent that my home practice is littered with interruptions. These interruptions, or momentary departures from my practice, have been a source of great frustration for me as they involve my teenage son waking, staying conscious, and actually staying aroused enough to function and get himself ready for school. Even on days when it is not my turn to drive the carpool, I do not feel able to leave for the studio until he has managed to get himself into the shower.

This week, his studies have kept him up exceptionally late – in spite of the addition of tutoring and organizational coaching. Last night he was up past midnight and still had not finished his assignments. It is no wonder that he cannot manage to pull himself from his slumbers. The poor guy is exhausted.

Meanwhile, I am wide awake and well into my practice by the time his first alarm sounds. This alarm not only blares in the rudest decibel but also brutally shakes the bed. It is not how I would want to wake up but it seems that even this does not always manage to stir him from his astral travels. This is where I come in. I turn on his light and try to engage him in conversation.

Then I return to my mat and resume my practice. By the time the second alarm sounds, my son has returned to a deep sleep. I listen, noting that the alarm gets turned off, and continue my practice. About 5 minutes later, when there are no signs of life outside of my room, I holler for him to get in the shower. If there is a verbal response, I stay on my mat. If not, I leave my mat and, while trying to maintain some sort of compassion and patience, wake him again. I am not always successful at this. And by successful, I mean compassionate and patient. Often times, I admit, I am downright resentful. But I try.

This past week, I have made a more conscious effort to temper my tendency towards resentfulness — remembering that my head hits the pillow MANY hours before my son’s does. Instead, I try to own this role as more of a motherly responsibility to which I am blessed with rather than burdened with. In terms of my practice, I am finding that this change in attitude serves me well in keeping my nervous system calm in much the same way as the tristana creates a space for me to be more focused on being grounded rather than the little aches and pains that reside in my body. I try to allow these distractions be more like the vinyasas connecting the postures than this nuisance which rips me out of the calm I have spent my morning creating – much like the sonic boom alarm clock I got my son for Christmas. And when I think about that, I figure it’s the least I can do.

Maybe it is a calling for me: to surrender to serve. Today, it is my son. Four years from now, it will be something or someone else. Or perhaps not.

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