New Beginnings are often disguised as Painful Endings. -Lao Tzu

It is August first here in Maine. Which means Queen Anne's Lace all over the roadside, corn on the cob and tomatoes abounding in back yard gardens and farmer’s markets. Blueberries are sold by the quart everywhere you go. I love the predictability of the seasons here in Maine and how they change. As a yogi, who has studied the sutras quite a bit, I've been thinking about samskara lately. Samskara, in Sanskrit, simply means “habits”- the things we do habitually. For the past 19 years my summer has been organized around my children. July was summer camp month and August was family vacation month. September was back to school. Simple routines, simple seasonal rhythms have kept us together, as a family, in body and soul. We are a traditional bunch. We dearly love our family jokes and our time tested traditions- and of course it can be so comforting to be in a familiar groove. There is security in traditions, safety in knowing what comes next. But as a yogi I know that there is a shadow side to samskara- which can look like being completely stuck in a rut or even addicted. Sometimes you need to shake things up in order to create new patterns and enable yourself to be truly conscious and not just sleep-walking along the familiar well worn path.

This August I am preparing my twins to leave the nest. Soon they will move out of our house and start college in states far away. Just like that- empty nest. And although I like to say that nature has prepared us all well, I find myself sobbing in the car when a sentimental song comes on the radio. Clearly there is grief at the end of this phase of our family life, and anxiety about what the future will hold without all of the comfortable traditions that have kept us happily chugging along a safe track. There is also joy in knowing that they are well prepared and that they take our values with them and such excitement for the ways in which they will grow- and the ways in which I will grow too.

Endings and beginnings. You can't have one without the other. For 19 years I have organized my life around my beloved children. And now I am organizing my life around this new service organization and that feels just about right. I know that my kids will come back and circle the nest from time to time but I also know that this is the end of this phase of my life. And the beginning of a new phase. For all of us.


Diana Lee