The key to prevent drowning in negativity, in my experience, is in locating my authentic gratitude in the middle of the bullshit.
So, a while back I had a day that kinda blew. I had money stolen and it began a chain reaction of chaos that was eventually resolved but was not fun at the moment. We’re often under pressure as yogis and people who promote awareness and healing to only share the good stuff. I believe in emphasizing and amplifying the good. But I don’t believe in pretending I feel great when I don’t. Human beings with awareness are still HUMAN BEINGS. Life happens and it spans a broad spectrum of feeling: joy, tragedy, disappointment, injustice, victory, laughter, tears, boredom, fulfillment and much more. So in keeping with that complex reality, while that day sucked, I want to share some sweetness from the day that immediately followed it.
Shirley has always been one of my most faithful, feisty students during the past 3 years of teaching seniors at the assisted living facility. She practiced yoga when she was young and I do my best to include her expertise in our class even though it’s from a completely different tradition than the one I practice and frequently doesn’t really fit in with what we might be doing in a given situation. Doesn’t matter. It makes her feel relevant and I care a lot more about that than whether we know the same breathing techniques. Anyway, in the past couple of months, she’s gotten into this rather odd habit of bringing me bits of her breakfast that she didn’t finish. One week it was half a bagel with a makeshift go container of cream cheese. Last week it was the most horrid looking “danish” I’ve seen in some time. She proudly hands it over as if we’re exchanging state secrets. I always thank her sincerely for her generosity even though I have no intention of eating this basically unappetizing food. But something in her wants to give me something, wants to nourish me in the only way she can and I think that’s so extraordinary and kind it moves me to tears!
The day after I was robbed, I taught the seniors. Shirley presented me with a styrofoam bowl of fruit covered in cellophane. I thanked her as usual and thought it was interesting that not 24 hours after my bank account froze due to theft, she brought me an offering that I would actually eat. This tender, bemusing cycle of giving we established in the weeks prior was in place during an otherwise crappy financial moment to help me feel cared for, fed, remembered, and happy to be me. So Shirley “made” my breakfast that morning and that made my day.
That’s definitely worth sharing.