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.
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.