I’m now living in my new home, and it’s every bit as super-duper wonderful as I suspected it might be.
The house is beautiful, my flatmates are wonderful, and it feels fantastic to be living in a real home with other people on the spiritual path.
Yet in the midst of this heartfelt warmth and delight at moving into a wonderful home with fantastic people… I’ve noticed a lingering anxiety at the heart level.
This anxiety is manifesting as a desire to rush through things.
Must get the washing hung out so I can write my article for the Lunchbox so I can check my email so I can clear my inbox and get on to the next thing and the next thing and the next…
It’s moments like this I’m really grateful for my yoga and meditation practice. It means that:
A) I am conscious that something unconscious is driving my moments
B) I have the tools to inquire into what this Something might be
C) I understand that merely the process of bringing Awareness to the Something is often enough to dissolve it
So what’s stopping me from relaxing into each moment and enjoying it for the magic that it is?
Sitting with my anxiety, I notice that these actions are an attempt to justify my circumstances.
These actions are also tinged with guilt, and that’s stopping me from fully relaxing into the enjoying each moment in my wonderful new home with my son and flatmates.
See, I’m receiving a subsidy from the government for Samuel’s childcare, based on the fact I’m working.
So when I come home after dropping him off, and feel like I want to wash the breakfast dishes and hang out the washing before sitting down to write ‘(work’). I feel guilty.
I feel like I should be ‘working’ from the instant I step in the door until I leave to pick him up again because it’s the generousity of the taxpayer that makes it affordable for me to put Samuel into home-based childcare three mornings a week.
The guilt doesn’t stop there though.
When I went and applied for my childcare subsidy, the caseworker assessing me looked at my income, and then looked up at me before saying;
You know you’re eligible for the Domestic Purposes Benefit.
But I wanted to make it on my own.
I was ‘working hard’ and doing everything I could to spin my skills and talents into an income I could earn from home while caring for Samuel.
That income was pitiful though. The case worker went on:
It’s ok to get a top up from the Government. You’re going to need to be able to pay rent at some stage.
I was still living in Paekakariki, contributing what I could when I could to the home I’d been welcomed into by dear friends. I wanted to start paying regular rent, and I kept thinking that I could find a way to do enough paying hours to make it work.
Truth was, after four months, I was still working plenty of hours a week, but only two of those hours were regular paying gigs.
Sitting in that WINZ office in Paraparaumu, I felt supported and cared for by the caseworker, and I could also sense it was pride that was stopping me from accepting help.
So I went on the benefit.
Later, when I called to change my address to move into this new home, the service representative told me I was likely eligible for the accommodation supplement.
Again I demurred.
He insisted, explaining the paperwork I needed to apply, and told me how much I would receive weekly.
More support and encouragement.
The day I went into to have my WINZ appointment to secure my accommodation supplement, I had no cash to pay for parking and it was an old style meter that wouldn’t take cards.
I nipped into Speedy Signs on Willis Street and asked Dean, the Account Manager working the store if I could get out some coins on Eftpos. He just handed me over a handful of silver and told me to do something nice for Speedy Signs one day.
Again total support. But there’s more…
At my WINZ appointment, the case worker told me I should change my Family Tax Credit from an annual payment to weekly, as it would make the world of difference to my ability to survive.
Support, support, support.
So through support from the Government, I’m living in this beautiful house with my three flatmates and I feel… guilty.
I feel guilty for taking money from the Government and enjoying my life at the same time.
I mean, how dare I?
Life isn’t supposed to be easy and enjoyable and magic and fun. It’s supposed to be hard, you’re supposed to work hard, and you’re certainly not supposed to enjoy it while you’re working. And if you can’t work and you’re a single mother on the DPB… well we all know that that’s what women do when they want to live a free ride – get pregnant.
Plus I know I have the skills and talents to earn a living, so that’s what I should be doing while also mothering my toddler.
The fact that I have yet to turn my fiftenn or so unpaid working hours a week as I get my business up and running into paid hours and a steady income only shows what a failure I am.
Yi! Yi! Yi!
Where does this stuff come from? Doesn’t really matter actually. What’s important is sitting with it, seeing it for what it is, and then asking is it true and does it serve me?
All this guilt and shoulds and supposed-to-bes do nothing at all to help me be a great mother and a great business woman.
Anxiety and rushing through every moment means I’m not taking time to connect inward to the Source of All that Is, and allowing it to guide me.
And it’s that connection that ultimately determines our quality of life.
That’s where peace lies.
So that’s my yoga practice at the moment.
It’s about noticing when I’m feeling anxious or guilty about where I am in life right now – I mean, from writing speeches for the Minister of Social Development to a single mum on the DPB, talk about a backwards slide!
Yep, I’m noticing those thoughts and feelings as they arise and seeing what the underlying beliefs are that drive those thoughts and feelings.
I’m asking myself, is that true? Does it serve me?
And I’m reminding myself that it’s ok to be where I am.
That one of the most creative acts I can ever do, and one of the most powerful ways to contribute to society, is to raise a wonderful child. That means being present. It means cooking, baking, cleaning, gardening and playing. It’s ok to enjoy doing those things.
Hell, it’s ok to just be a single mum on the DPB enjoying her life as it is.
Even writing this right now… there’s all kinds of feelings coming up. I can see this particular practice is going to take some dedication. Wonder what lies on the other side of it though…
Will keep you posted
In the meantime… as I’ve moved back into Wellington, I am now available for one-on-one yoga tuition. Hours are between 10am and 1pm, Wednesday to Friday, and it’s $70/hr. You can find out more about my yoga teaching here.