Yoga: a metaphor for life

Grace-full living isn’t always easy or natural.  Sometimes it requires focus, flexibility, conscious effort, and the willingness to let go of being right, of being sure, and of being comfortable.  And it always requires the commitment to be positive, actively look for good and expect the best.

I went to yoga class tonight.  7:15pm slot as I worked a little late and walked the dogs.  Mike (not his real name) was teaching.  The theme of class was “yoga practice as a metaphor for life”: the way you deal with your shit on the mat is the way you deal with your shit in life.    This week my shit is frustration– mostly at work.  Just before I left for the studio I got an email from my colleague, Gayle (not her real name) that made me grind my teeth.  I decided oohhmmmming was better than replying. So I went to my mat.

I got my favorite spot in the corner of the studio, laid out my mat, block, strap, water, and towel– I have a routine.

And so we began.

Child’s pose.

Deep breaths.

Focusing on an intention.

Some cat/ cows.

And then high plank… and hold it… and Hold it… and Hold It…. and HOLD IT– I’m getting frustrated!

When I push back to downward facing dog for a break, he chides the urge to rest.  I take it personally.

I rock back to high plank… and hold it… and hold it… I’m really irritated now.

He finally calls us out to downward dog and I rebel.  I come out of the poses all together– take a sip of water, fluff my hair– not typical yoga protocol.  I grudgingly join back in.  He goes too fast, I lag behind.  He goes too slow, I roll my eyes.  He says arms up and I keep them low.

He’s not the boss of me.

His tempo/ verbiage/ tone don’t resonate with me.  Is he doing this on purpose?  Am I the only one that is uncomfortable?  Is he calling me out specifically?

That email from Gayle… what the deuce?  Who does she think she is?  Is she questioning my competence?  Is she telling me how to do my job?  She’s never done my job and wouldn’t be able to!

Ohhhh.. the light is starting to flicker.

This isn’t personal.  Mike is teaching his class, Gayle is doing her job.  Neither of them are attacking me– in fact both are trying to help me, even if the style doesn’t resonate, the intention is positive without  a doubt. I don’t have to embrace their input/ suggestions, but it might not be bad to at least try them on and see if they fit.

I don’t have to push back or be defensive, I can just bring my hands to heart center and breathe.

I can acknowledge their wisdom and success and my own at the same time– even if we have different perspectives. I can honor them and believe that they honor me.

Most importantly I can appreciate their effort and contribution to the greater good of our community and myself and the fact that I am truly better because of each one of them.

I gave Mike a heartfelt thanks for class tonight which I meant, but I’ll choose other teachers when that is an option (which is ironic since I’ve now written a blog post about how impactful his class was for me).  And I sent an appreciative email response to Gayle agreeing with her assessment, explaining my point of view and asking for her to explain the context of her request– which she did immediately and I found very helpful.

So my lesson for today is about perspective.  Standing on the balcony and observing your own gifts and challenges, looking at a situation through the eyes of another, giving everyone the benefit of the doubt and assuming everyone has the best of intentions brings a totally different outcome than if you assume that there are people put on this earth for the sole purpose of pissing you off or making you feel small.

Namaste my friends, Namaste.

Momentum

I woke up this morning and frittered.

I indulged in the guilty pleasure of surfing Facebook and then plopped down on the couch intending to better myself by catching up on some world news.  After just a few minutes in I was so depressed, I switched to TLC and started drowning my sorrows in a sea of Say Yes to the Dress re-runs that I’d already seen.  In my head the list of shoulds rolled through like movie credits.  I should be walking the dogs, re-starting my diet, getting the car washed, cleaning up the flower beds, doing paperwork, updating my budget, going to yoga, planning my Grace-full Living Retreat, writing my book, writing my blog…  It could have gone either way today– couch potato with a little woe is me, or optimism, activity, and forward motion.

Thank goodness the Universe has been conspiring to coax me out of this state of inertia and propel me towards progress, fulfillment and joy.  Last week my friend invited me to a meetup about achieving goals that he lead and one of my takeaways was the concept of One Thing:  What one thing do I do today to make the most impact on my desired state (my desired state was finishing my book)?  Hmmm… I pondered this morning.  Not a conundrum… write!  Yesterday at an impromptu brunch, my friend talked about trying to be a little bit better each day.  “What does that mean for me today?” I asked myself as I drove to the store.  And the answer was simple: Any day that the world is a little better because I got out of bed is a good day.

So I enjoyed some trash TV/ chilling’ time AND I also did some things to help propel me toward goals and dreams…

  • I read a few chapters of The Book of Joy by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop, Desmond Tutu.  Enriching and Inspiring!
  • I paid for the car behind me in the drive through line.  Pay it forward is SO fun!
  • I went to yoga class– that one helped me get closer to multiple dreams– getting certified as a yoga teacher by the time I’m 50, staying healthy and getting skinny, and connecting with all things sacred and spiritual in and around me.
  • I wrote a blog entry– first one in almost a year!
  • And I worked on my book– first time I’ve opened the doc since August of 2016 which has been driving me crazy because it’s really important for me to finish it, but I’ve been avoiding it.

I know these are small things– I’m not expecting a ticker tape parade.  But what’s exciting to me is the subtle shift in focus and momentum.  It’s all about physics–objects in motion stay in motion and I’m excited about the direction I’m moving today!

Cheers!