I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for my nine-month-old daughter since the day she was born, and I can tell you that before she was born, I had a significant amount of fear surrounding this prospect. I was afraid of being bored, afraid that my mind would turn to mush, afraid my world would get small, and that I would resent being home with her. As it turns out, our days are kind of boring and I’ve been learning that they are wonderfully boring.
When I’m watching her happily playing with the same toy for the hundredth time or when I’m singing the same song I’ve always sung to her before she takes a nap, I’ve found that these acts are so familiar that I can experience them more fully than I would something novel. They are lessons in being fully present, in completely digesting a moment, in looking for something new in an experience I’ve had a hundred times, in breathing and observing rather than simply moving on to the next thing. She seems to crave and enjoy the consistency and, for me, it’s an opportunity to practice in life what I practice on my mat.
I’ve practiced certain postures so many times that I know them in my bones. The shape is full of familiarity, but this doesn’t make the posture boring or useless. The posture provides a simple framework from which I can learn more about what it is to be alive. In a familiar posture, I am not so worried about the mechanics of it because those fall into place. Instead, I can more readily step into: What is it like to be right here, right now? How is my breath moving? How is my mind responding? How is this different from last time? Counterintuitively, the more I practice a posture, the more there is to learn. Through repetition I create space to move deeper, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally.
Sometimes my daughter and I really do get bored. She outgrows an activity, we need a change of scenery, or I simply want to try something new. At that point we sprinkle in new games, we leave the house, or I play new music. On my mat, sometimes I really need to vary a movement pattern or am curious about a posture I don’t regularly practice. At that point, the whole process of learning starts over again. Novelty is exciting and important for growth, but you can only know something so well the first time you experience it. It takes consistency and regular practice to truly know anything. And, it takes a certain amount of boring to find something really fascinating.