The funny thing is, the day before we came home from our holiday, I’d happened on this poster. It was posted on Facebook by Dr. Wayne Dyer (who’s work I’ve never been into), and shared by someone I follow. I thought it was cool but disregarded it and moved on. And it just stuck with me.

So, that night, I searched for it again for an embarrassingly long time while the Monkey and I were watching a movie; I wanted to save it on my iPhone so both of us could remember it in moments of anxiety or fear, which we’re both prone to. I finally found it, saved it and went to sleep.

It was our last night of normalcy! When we returned home the next day, we opened our front door to loud beeping and (since I was reading a book that takes place in the Amazon)… to the Amazon river: hot, humid and pouring rain. I guess, since the house was crying, the only thing I could do was cry. But, I was mostly in shock. We’d been away for eight days. I was ready to come home! But we had no home.

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Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.

Eventually, we got ourselves a hotel that allowed pets. And we stayed in the small hotel room for two weeks (and over New Year’s), until we could secure ourselves a rented house, and that’s where we’re living now — probably for the next 10-12 months, while we gut and rebuild our entire house.

Our house had flooded, it turns out, because of the eight-day blackout during that infamous Christmas ice storm. We did everything we could while we were away to ensure the pipes didn’t freeze. But it was the radiator that burst in my bedroom. Boiling hot water poured out and started pumping through the ceilings, walls, when the furnace sensed the rad was losing water. We’re probably very lucky we weren’t there when it happened.

And here were are, one month later. Fairly settled. Fairly exhausted now that the adrenaline has worn off. We still have furniture to get, MY SHOES, my good clothes, etc. But friends, colleagues and family have helped us so much, and we’ve stayed in such good spirits.

It’s taken her a while, but Betty White is finally back to her old sunny self!

Because in a way this is “something wonderful.” As with most dark experiences, there’s some light, you know? There are gifts. And there are many gifts here. As yoga teacher Monica Voss once said, when I was her student a few years ago, we need to “collapse the foundation so we can slowly rebuild.” (Like Dyer’s saying, this, too, has stuck with me.) Like a snake shedding its skin, there’s so much renewal here, transformation, possibility, rebuilding…

And of course, there’s humour in all of this. Ummm, did you read my last blog post? About every day being like Groundhog Day? Well, our entire routine has been turned UPSIDE DOWN. I went two weeks without my precious Vitamix, and we were far away from the kids’ school, their friends, programs, my yoga. The routine and the things I knew I depended on for my family’s (and my own) health and well-being… GONE.

It was the universe saying, “OK, you lost 50+ pounds, and you think you’ve got this parenting and lifestyle thing all figured out, do you? Well, we’ll see about that!” What an insane challenge.

You just have to keep smiling. Indeed, things like this really cast into relief what matters: we’re healthy, we’re together — who cares about the rest.

And you just do whatever you can to stay healthy and sane for your family when the world turns upside down. So I kept doing yoga. No matter what, I woke up early and did my entire Ashtanga yoga practice every day. In the tiny hotel room, as the Rascal snored, in the dark… I rolled out my mat. And yoga definitely kept its end of the bargain.

How? It’s simple: 

There’s nothing else to do but surrender to the moment. 

You see, this style of yoga can be completely hellish. You’re stuck there with 1.5 hours of mostly difficult poses ahead of you — plus, it’s reeeeeally early in the morning, you’re tired, Facebook is calling, gotta get the kids up and ready, so much to do… You can either freak out or surrender. So, you surrender. And you do it. You do the whole damn thing. And you don’t think about how you feel about it. And what a gift that is to take with you throughout the day, throughout every experience, whatever the universe throws your way.

It sounds insane and intense, maybe. But it’s a practice. And, like what Willem Dafoe has said, “I think you need a practice if you live in New York — at least I do.”

The strength this practice gives me, both mentally and physically, is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It 100% helped me get through the flood, and it helped me manage our family, keep things rolling and even continue working while Josh dealt with our living situation. That continuity, focus, strength, equanimity, surrender…

Ultimately, the feeling this whole experience has left me with is gratitude: to Josh, my kids, my family, friends and colleagues, to yoga and my yoga family, the universe and all our blessings.

Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen. 

xo Haley-O
PS: Next week, my teacher says, I’m to add the commonly dreaded Kapotasana (don’t try that at home!) to my practice. And I’m getting ready… Bring. It. On.

PPS: Look out for my personal article “Chaos Theory” in the March issue of Today’s Parent Magazine. On stands in a couple of weeks! (I managed to slip some yoga in there, too, of course — because, you know, when you wake up every day to practise, come hell or HIGH WATER, a little obsession is inevitable… xo)