When you are doing balancing postures during yoga, one of the skills you learn early on is developing a drishti, or a focal point. The idea is the more you focus your gaze on one fixed object, the more your body steadies itself. I am not entirely sure why or how finding a drishti works, but I know from experience that a very wobbly body in a balancing posture is quickly steadied once focused on a drishti. It is a strange sensation, but when the drishti is engaged, the gaze of the eyes has complete power over the entire body, creating a sense of self-possession, control, and power.
I was talking to a fellow parent this past week and when we talked about parenting during a pandemic, I told her I felt like I was standing on shifting sand. Just when I would start to figure out a rhythm or start to feel like I had some modicum of control over family life, things would change – whether the formal arrangement with hybrid learning, the changing of teachers mid-quarter, or even my own child’s changing ability to adapt and thrive. Just when I feel like our family is finding our balance, something makes us wobbly all over again. That kind of uncontrolled imbalance, of attempting to stand on shifting sand leaves the body weary and fatigued.
But as I have been thinking about pandemic parenting and my learning in yoga, I’ve begun to wonder if what this wobbly parent might need is a pandemic drishti. For some parents that might mean focusing on the blessing of your children – so that no matter what tempter tantrum they are throwing today, what argument you are having as a family, or what door they have slammed, you focus not on the anger and frustration of the scene immediately in front of you, but on the love you have for your child (even if it’s only the love you see when they are fast asleep). For me, my drishti is the love of God surrounding us on every side: the one who loves me when I fail as a parent, the one who loves my child as they receive another setback in expectations, the one who loves each of us when all we can see is the heat of anger and frustration in one another. Once I focus on God’s love of us, slowly my demeanor starts to shift, my balance starts to return, and my steadiness strengthens.
This week, I encourage you to claim your pandemic drishti. Whether you focus on God’s lovingkindness, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, or the ever-present blessing of the Holy Spirit, take whatever time you need to shift your gaze on God. My guess is the more you practice steading your gaze on the goodness of God, the more your wobbling, weary body will feel grounded in goodness too. We cannot control the shifting sand of these times. But we can control our steady gaze in the face of a storm.