If your airplane is crashing and the oxygen mask comes down, they say to put yours on first before assisting anyone else – even your kids. We hear this spiel at the beginning of every flight and just take note without really thinking about it or realizing that if faced with a situation like this, how difficult it could actually be to go against your initial instincts for the survival and protection of your family.
I don’t have kids, but I did adopt a 10-month-old puppy named Summer just 3 weeks ago, as you may have read about in my last blog post. It has felt like a year. And I don’t mean that in a negative way. It’s just that it almost feels like we’ve shared enough experiences to fill an entire year. Week 1 was very different from week 2, and now at the end of week 3 it’s hard to believe she was the same dog at week 1. The ups, the downs, the missed meals, the junk food, the undone laundry, the long walks, the talking to everyone about dogs, the progress in our training, the setbacks in our training, the dirt under my nails, the hours of vacuuming, the cave-woman eyebrows, the Googling everything, the missing her, the needing breaks from her, and the everything in between.
And that “in between” has been filled with thinking about her, which has also been consuming and exhausting. It’s like driving for 6 hours and feeling tired even though you were just sitting the entire time. Those short periods that I wasn’t with Summer were when I reluctantly dragged my ass to yoga. I did not want to go. I still don’t want to go. But I know I have to, and need to in order to be better at everything else. I realized over these weeks that when I lost myself and became 100% committed to Summer without still making sure my basic needs were covered (sleep, food, water, hygiene, exercise, etc.), it didn’t feel good.
Typically, when I first drag my ass away from Summer, I feel really guilty, insecure and then exhausted. But during and after yoga, I feel clearer, more grounded and more present. I then bring a little bit more of myself back to my pup and my life. And with that comes more confidence in my decisions and a little more sanity when Summer has an “episode.” One of the many benefits of yoga is that we learn to accept all kinds of emotions that come up and breathe through them, and the more we practise on the mat, the better we’re able to apply this in our daily lives.
So whatever your Big Life Thing is — whether you have a new furbaby like me, a new career, a new house, your upcoming wedding, a death, a birth, etc. — make time for yourself. Make time for yourself so that you can still be yourself. Show yourself a little love so you can pour more high-quality love into the other thing. Any dedicated dog owner knows how much commitment it takes to train and bond with a new dog or puppy, let alone a rescue. But once I can find my balance (and I’ll get there soon), I know it will help speed up this process and make us both a lot more comfortable in our new lives together. 🙂