"I embrace the unknown," has been my mantra for the past few weeks as inevitable life transitions begin to again unfold. Summer is a time of transition for me and my family as my son travels to California to be with his dad. Every year it's hard to see him go, but I find comfort in knowing that he will be not only in good hands, but spending quality time with someone he needs in his life. So I help him pack and prepare, then send him off on his summer adventure. Last year was much different however, and his return home was met with tremendous resistance.
When it was time for me to pick up my Junior he wouldn't look at me. He was sad, hurt, and in pain. He didn't want to say goodbye to his father as he had done the previous two summers, he wanted to stay. It was heartbreaking to see my son in so much emotional pain, but it was time for us to return home and so we did.
Trying to help my son transition to life back home I was patient, kind, compassionate, and loving, but he didn't want anything to do with me. He rejected his step dad as well as his grandparents because he wanted to be in California with his father. I knew that bringing him home was the right thing in the moment because we hadn't even discussed the possibility of him living in California, let alone planned for it. "But does he really want to be in California, am I holding him here against his will," I would ask myself. So then the next chapter of my yoga journey began.
I know through the practice of yoga that our attachments cause us to see unclearly, we call this avidya. Avidya is rooted in fear, ego, attachment and aversion. When we cling to any one of these demons our perception is clouded and unclear. If I didn't know it before it became clear to me that I am attached to my son. Some might argue that being attached to your child is good, but it is an attachment non-the less.
Would I be willing to let him stay in California if that was his true desire? Initially the answer was, "Hell NO! Over my dead body! Are you crazy?!?!" But with time and consistent practice of kindness, truthfulness, non-stealing, moderation, and non-hoarding, I realized that the correct answer was yes. See, when we love purely from our hearts we release attachments and love without condition. If my son's heartfelt desire is to spend the school year with his father and his summers with me, why should I hold him back? Is my desire and attachment more important than his? Is my desire and attachment more important than his fathers?
I have come to realize that when you truly love someone you don't cling to them, you give them wings. So if my son decides that he wants to be a California dude I will, with a very heavy heart by the way, let him go. It will probably be one of the hardest things I will ever have to do, but I will give him his wings so that he may learn to fly.
I embrace the unknown.