Leonie posted recently about her journey with post natal depression (or Pee Enn Dee as she calls it). This brave woman bared her beautiful soul, and shared her bumpy ride through pregnancy, birth and early parenthood, in a way that had me smiling, with tears rolling down my cheeks. You can read her article here (it's long, but well worth the read).
What struck me most was a piece of wisdom from her husband. He asked her to write down all the things she thought she needed to do each day. It looked a little like this (and oh my, this reminds me of myself)....
- Take care of Starry
- Write three pages
- Cook three wholesome meals a day
- Made out of organic food that I gardened
- Do gardening. Have a very large organic vege patch and fruit tree patch
- Read to Starry. Give her as much eye contact as possible
- Do 30 minutes of yoga
- Spend time with the dogs
- Watch no TV
- Make art
- Spend time talking to Chris
- Work and reply to emails and do my business
- Go to sleep early
His list read.....
- Be a good dad and partner
- Be happy
Really, what else do we need to do?
We are bombarded with information (and often very good information mind you) about all the things we 'should' do to make ourselves happy and healthy. Meditate. Yoga asana. Walk outside. Eat organic. Nurture ourselves. Have a massage. Massage ourselves. Play. Write in a journal. Drink a litre of water every day. Go to bed before 10pm. Get up at 6am. Do things for others. Don't eat chocolate. Don't watch TV. Don't drink coffee. Don't spend too much time on the computer (reading people's blogs!). Don't eat processed food. The list goes on.
The way I see it, all these things are great, but they're only tools for living a happy life. They're not the goal. The goal is the happy life.
If these things start to get in the way of that happiness, then they're not helpful. In fact they're counterproductive. If a list this long starts to feel stressful and prohibitive, then what's the point?
Yes, you may be practicing yoga for 2 hours every morning and getting your foot behind your head, growing your own vegies and eating only organic vegetarian unprocessed food, but if you're stressed at keeping up this routine, then it's not contributing to your happiness.
It reminds me of the yoga sutra 'sthira sukham asanam'(II.46). Yoga should be performed with steadiness, goodwill, awareness and delight. It should be nourishing and illuminating (BKS Iyengar, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali).
Yoga should be delightful. It should be nourishing and illuminating!
So, by all means, let's meditate, practice yoga asana, eat organic food and get enough sleep. But above all, let's love each other and choose things to do the things that make us happy! In mind, that's what it's all about.
Big thanks to goddess Leonie and her wise husband :)
I think it's time for me to rewrite my daily expectations. What about you?