Throughout my service as an Army wife I have faced several challenges, setbacks and at one time I would call them failures, now looking back i see they were lessons needing to be learned. One example that has led me to the path I am currently on takes place back in 2012 when my family made a permanent change of station (PCS) back to the “lower 48”, Bluegrass state of Fort Knox Kentucky from Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
After arriving in Radcliff Kentucky, I found myself in a beautiful home we had just purchased with a large backyard surrounded by trees; I had everything. A supportive and loving husband and two sweet little boys. But instead of joy and contentment I felt sad and lost.
At the young age of 23, Alaska was the first three years of our life as a new family. We had been in the service for roughly five years by this time and I had just left all my friends, my church and all the breathtaking wilderness that Alaska had to offer. Living in Kentucky, this second time, was my first real experience in losing a community. My normal extrovert personality became icy, as I closed myself and children off from the wild and stayed indoors. The only window to the world was that of my computer screen through the lens of Facebook and other social media outlets. I will always remember the one day of my saving grace when I was scrolling through my media feed and a friend shared a YouTube channel called, “Yoga with Adriene”. https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene
I was intrigued. I had heard of yoga and done a class in college for some “easy” credits, but I didn’t truly understand the hype at the time; at the very least I was interested in a little bit of stretching and losing more baby weight from just having my second boy a year prior. I was surprise to notice how this woman had the ability to not only connect but also hold a sacred space for me as I slowly changed my outlook on life, it was magical.
Having had such a powerful experience, I started sharing the practice of Yoga with anyone and everyone that seemed sad or stuck in the muck of despair. I started eating better, and getting outside more with my boys. I owe a lot of this transformation of both outward and inward spiritual growth to Adriene, and am so grateful to have gotten the privilege to meet her when she offered a class in Nashville Tennessee three years ago. (I still have to find our picture to post here.will update soon!)
Although, I am grateful for the Army spouse community, no matter how much outward support of our communities the reality of this lifestyle and our constant state of change as well as the need to re-adapt to a new environment every few years. It has always been easy for me to look outward and begin to focus on others, hiding my own insecurites of failure, fear, guilt and shame behind the thick walls of my over the top compassion for others. It’s almost as if I am saying,
“Hello, my life is a mess; I will feel better if I fix yours; it's nice to meet you.”-Deorah Adele book, The Yamas & Niyamas. (emphasis added)
It is embarrassing to admit, but I have been living this way for years. Moreover, I acknowledge my own hypocrisy because, rarely do I take my own advice. That being said, the one thing that has kept me grounded throughout this time has been the practice of yoga. Yoga is more than just an exercise regimen; Yoga is about matching breath to movement. Within the breath, postures, and movements, we are re-connecting the mind, body, and spirit to the present moment. And as an Army wife, this lifestyle choice requries a lot of deep breaths. For instance, maybe your Soldier is deployed, or waiting for orders, or maybe the orders came in but your Soldier got the call that the orders may change. Maybe you're moving away from your childhood home for the first time and you're moving from Georgia to the Korea. Maybe your child needs surgery but you have to travel to a new location because the Army hospital doesn't have the proper skill set to perform safely. Maybe your parent is sick, and you're not sure if your Soldier is allowed to leave the field to come with you to support you on this tough visit back home. Maybe you're having your second miscarriage at the ER alone, simply because you have no close family near by to watch the kids at home, so your Soldier stays and you go, alone. These are some examples in how easy it is to allow anxiety and fear of the unknown can easily get the best of us, but
deep breathing and mindfulness can help bring us out of NOWHERE into the NOW HERE; funny how the only difference is space. -Baron Baptiste (emphasis added)
As a spouse, we are required to change at any given moment, adapt to our surroundings, and move our family from one house to another. Within the past 14 years we have lived in 13 different homes and my boys have gone to six different elementary schools before either of them have started the 5th grade. However, it has been through the consistency of my Yoga practice, that has motivated me; mind, body and Spirit, to come back to myself in order to support my husband and raise our children in the midst of any adversity and enviable uncertainty our Army family lifestyle promises.
I am grateful for the mindset this practice gives me, and have enjoyed seeing it
positively affect my family. Moving forward,
knowing and personally experiencing how the practice of Yoga has an uplifting effect on me, I am excited to share this skill with my local community here in Clarksville TN, current and future Army spouse communities as well as their families, and anyone who chooses to meet with me online.
There will be times when we will feel lonely, and that's okay. But you do not have to be alone in your lonely times, call me
I look forward to meeting you. <3