What Shark Week, Yoga, and Autism have in common

I love Shark Week, which was this past week. If you are not familiar with Shark Week, it is a week when the prime time shows on the Discovery Channel are devoted entirely to sharks. I have been watching Shark Week for over 20 years. Now you are probably thinking, “This has absolutely nothing to with yoga…” – I promise you that I will get to the connection, at least the connection to my effort to achieve a more peaceful and purposeful existence.

When I watch Shark Week, I am reminded how big the world is. So much of the planet is unexplored water that holds complete mysteries. This shows that we are just a small part of the equation, just a tiny little speck in a great big world. Sometimes, my stressors seem too much to bear and my problems suffocate me. I don’t always know how I’m going to pay for my bills, let alone my son’s medical treatments. I wonder what will happen to him when I’m not here to take care of him. Sometimes just getting through the day can be a challenge. When I am able to look at the world on a larger scale, these problems seem much smaller.

Since I began watching Shark Week, I’ve seen many new discoveries. When I first started watching it, the Great White was king, but scientists then learned that the Bull Shark can be far more aggressive and deadly. The rare Greenland Shark was through to be a peaceful shark that eats plankton, but when they dissected one a few years ago researchers were surprised to learn that they eat reindeer. It was probably only a decade ago or so that researches first saw Great White Sharks jumping high out of the water, gracefully hunting. And it is only is the last few decades that scientists learned of the Megamouth Shark.

Who knows what else they will find?

These discoveries give me so much hope. There is still so much to be learned about everything. This includes medical treatments. I will never give up hope on healing my son, and new discoveries are being made all the time.

Maybe the treatments that unlocks who is trapped inside his impaired body is just around the corner. 

I have always found the ocean very peaceful. But, it really is a whole other world, so much of which we know nothing about. This really is a metaphor for my son – if you just look at him, he looks like an ordinary child. You wouldn’t know how hard he struggles just to do things that come naturally to everyone else. And I don’t know what is beneath the surface – what he thinks about, how he feels most of the time, what he is afraid of, what he likes. This usually makes me sad, but thinking about it like the ocean reminds me that I can appreciate the beauty and mystery of something without fully understanding it.

Obviously, watching Shark Week is not something that solves my life problems or takes all of my stresses away. It is just a small escape from the sometimes harsh realities of my day-to-day life. But I will never tire of watching these beautiful creatures – majestic, strong, and mysterious – and I am fascinated at how they’ve evolved and adapted over the 400 million years. No matter what happens, sharks accept. Sharks make it work. They beautifully go with the flow.

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