Love is… Letting go

She had noticed that all the cross training and other sports he did at school was making him stiff and round around the shoulders. Even though still a skinny adorablescent, his shoulders were getting hunched like body builders she had seen. He was so proud of his 6 pack, he could almost ignore that for the most part he still looked scrawny. But she thought that his suppleness and flexibility seemed to be on the way out. Not that he noticed, or cared. 

She  wanted him to develop flexibility and strength, strong bones and muscle, strong lungs. Teach him to relax, focus and flow.  What better answer than to introduce him to yoga? 

A few sessions at home highlighted the need for taking the class to an outside teacher. She was too invested in his success and he was too invested in being angry about it. She was not used to giving up easily. She dragged him to her teachers, and they embraced his presence wholeheartedly. So began the weekly dragging sessions. Drag him out of bed, drag him to the car, drag him into the studio. 

Once there he was fine, he made a good enough effort. He would not really chant “Aum” but she could live with that. She knew enough about yoga to be sure that with persistence, his practice would develop. 

Circumstances and months later, she found she was tired of the dragging drama. She knew how much he could benefit from yoga, but he did not. He still went reluctantly, and she could sense the wall of unwillingness that he surrounded himself with each weekend. Her persistence was not going to develop his yoga practice.

They had chats, and it always ended harshly for her. He is not really given to irritability, but she saw that he really disliked it. She found she could not bring herself to step back, and say to him, “This is making you unhappy. You do not have to attend any more yoga classes.” It felt like giving up. She knew that he thought he understood why she was taking him to yoga, but maybe he did not really know? How could she explain this to him, in a way that would appeal to him? 

It was not really him. It was her. She wanted him to go, she wanted him to reap certain benefits, she wanted certain results for him. On a certain level he wanted those results, too, which was why he allowed himself to be dragged along, but there was no joy in his decision. As other life events worked themselves around the mother and the son, a little pebble fell into a vast pool and found its place in the bottom.

She realised  that it was not her life. Not really. She might be his mother, and his friend, but she was not him. If it turned out that he would not practice yoga, then so be it. So be it. It had to be his way, or no way. It took her a while to swallow and accept this, but she did, in the end. She also knew that in order to be true to herself, she could not just go to him and say, “It’s okay, you do not have to go to yoga anymore.” It was not okay to her. 

Instead, one day, she asked him to attend to her closely, and explained all the different benefits yoga brought. She also added that many body builders, athletes and sports stars also followed a strong regimen of yoga practice, because of its manifold benefits to them as well. She then explained, that just as he woke himself up, and prepared himself and went to school, sport and music timely, he could take the responsibility of going to yoga as well. She would not longer force him to go, but he could go away and think about it, and let her know whether he wanted to continue or not. He did start mumbling the usual platitudes, but stopped. Still staying true to herself, she told him that it would be tough for her if he decided not to go, but she would respect his decision, because she understood that he needed to decide things for himself now that he was getting older. He stood by her for a while. And then went away quietly.

Since then she honoured his decision to skip a class or two in order to watch FIFA. He in turn came to all the classes he could, quietly,  and without building a wall of resistance and rebelliousness around himself. He even looked like he enjoyed himself.

She had learnt to love enough to let go. To let go of him, and to let go of her need to do what was good for him.

A lesson from Mother Duck 

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