The past 2 weeks have really gotten away from me, so forgive me while I catch up.

First things first: I am an Aunt!

On Thursday, my sister Holly gave birth to my first nephew, and I’ve been a bit of an emotional sap (in the best possible way) all week. You know how when someone you love is going through something difficult, you feel it acutely? That was me on Wednesday and Thursday – pacing around in nervous anticipation while she labored, wishing that there was something I could do, and yet being utterly useless at the same time. After 30-some hours, Elliott made his debut into the world and I’ve been beaming with pride since then.

I know people always describe childbirth as a miracle, and I always thought that was a bit of a stretch. I mean, people give birth every single day since the beginning of time – what’s the big fuss about? I totally get it now. Nothing could have prepared me for how proud I would feel over something that I had absolutely no part in. Proud of my little sister, for bringing a new life in to the world (through tiny hips, no less). Proud of my brother-in-law for helping her through an intense labor. Proud of this sweet boy, who in a moment became the center of so many people’s lives.

In the weeks leading up to his birth, a part of me secretly feared that I would meet him feel jealous of my sister – but instead I just felt blessed and humbled. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything in life quite like holding him for the first time, looking at his little face and feeling my heart grow twice its size (not unlike the Grinch’s heart after his thwarted attempt to steal Christmas.) It feels like I got the smallest taste of what it must be like to become a parent – the instantaneous, crushing kind of love that knocks your feet from under you. I hope I get to experience that myself, someday.

In other news, last weekend was the first weekend of my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training, and I think it is a case of fate pointing me in the right direction. Rewind back to the beginning of this year: I was ready to sign up for a teacher training in Mexico, but right before I paid the deposit, Zika became a health crisis in South America. If I had been in my early twenties, I would have gone despite the risk. On the cusp of thirty, I knew that it wasn’t the right decision for me.

So I signed up for a Level One training through a different program. It was a weekend-long intensive, and after the first day, I came home and cried – not the good kind of cry. Something about the program really didn’t resonate with me about it. Even now I can’t really identify why, it just didn’t feel like a good fit. Somewhat dejected, I finished out the weekend so that I could get my certificate and begin teaching at my home studio.  I vowed that I would get my 200-hour certification eventually, and I put it on a shelf with other things to be done “One Day”.

Fast forward 6 months to September, when I realized that life plans that I made for myself hadn’t panned out exactly the way I thought they would (do they ever?). I still wanted to get my 200 hours, but I came up with 50 different reasons as to why now wasn’t a good time. I realized that I was making excuses for myself, and that there really was no better time to get it done than now.

I started exploring my options. I found a training in Pittsburgh that started a few weeks from that date. It was a 4-month intensive, every other weekend. I’d be done in January – what better way to start 2017 than by finally checking off this goal of mine?  I looked for more excuses to say no. I figured there was no way the training weekends wouldn’t interfere with weddings, holidays, and other scheduled plans. I checked my calendar – not a single conflict. I waffled anyways. Finally, after 3 weeks of going back and forth my dear husband (who knows I need a push every now and then) finally said something to extent of, “You’ve been talking about this for years, just do it already!”

I bit the bullet and signed up. I tried not to think about it too much, because one of the things that yoga teaches is to go into new experiences without expectations. In other words, do for the sake of doing, not for the desired outcome. Subconsciously, I was still afraid that I would come home after the first night of training and kick myself for wasting my time and money. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case at all. The weekend was long and tiring for sure, but I came home with an overwhelming sense of being where I belong.

At lunch the first day, I was talking to one of the other girls and she told me that she had done the training in Mexico (that I had to back out of) and she didn’t have a great experience. Back in February, I was so disappointed in not being able to go. Now, it seems like I might have dodged a bullet.

I guess the theme of this post is that I am learning to trust the process. I’m learning to have patience with the journey, and realize that I am not in the driver’s seat. After years of not really having any sort of faith, I’ve been praying more often.  Not prayers for anything specific, just praying to have peace with what I cannot control.

A few weeks ago I found a non-denominational Christian Church in the area, and although I was reluctant to go, I wanted to give it a fair shake. I really enjoyed the service and found it uplifting, although I wasn’t necessarily thawed the the idea of making it a regular “thing”. Last Sunday, I was surprised to realize that I was sort of disappointed that I had to miss it because of training.

We went back this morning, and I again left with a sense of peace and hope, even among my dwindling skepticism. I feel like I found a sense of belonging on the Island of Misfit Toys; even if I don’t fit the religious mold, I can still acknowledge that I need to believe in something bigger than myself. I guess you could say my relationship status with God changed from “divorced” to “it’s complicated”. For once, I’m not trying to overthink it.