When It Rains, It Pours… but not on my mat please!

April 23

It’s about 2:30 in the afternoon on a gorgeous Saturday. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the warm breezy air is a long awaited and welcomed friend. It’s the kind of a day that everyone seems to be outside under the clear blue sky, smiling and celebrating the end of our brutal winter. All week, I have been exited for this weekend weather and wondering how I’d make the most of this gorgeous day outdoors. Knowing I would start the day with a yoga class at Sangha, made my expectations even higher on how perfect this day would be. Yet, it seems the universe had other plans.

It’s been one of those mornings, you know the kind of morning you wish you stayed in bed, or better yet just started over. The kind of morning that includes a flat tire on the way to yoga, road detours in route, the computer system malfunctioning, getting yelled at, one of my flip flops breaking while getting my tire fixed- all the while, a constant throbbing headache (which I do not often get) that seems too fierce for the powers of my peppermint oil. Yet all I could do is shake my head, laugh quietly, and wonder what cosmic energy I pissed off, knowing “it could always be worse”.

To be fair, I have not had one of these “everything seems to go wrong” days in a long time. And I know it does not seem like that bad of a day, because so much worse could happen, but when it’s one thing after another in such a short time frame, it feels like “one of those days”.   However, I was able to gain some insight on myself and learn some valuable lessons.

One lesson is that, I am proud of myself for handling most of it in a positive way, with grateful thoughts running through my head throughout those few hours. In the past I would have been grumpy and attracting more misfortunes my way. But today, I am just thankful it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, which I attribute that to my deepened practice of gratitude and positivity.

Another lesson learned was I still have a long ways to go when it comes to being present on my mat! Despite my positive attitude, the time I let it all get to me was during my yoga practice. I believe, the time on the mat is supposed to be a time to let go of all thoughts and feelings that do not serve you and create unity with the body, mind and soul.   This time should have been my calm time, my time to focus on what I can control which is my breath. That was not the case. Instead I had constant worried thoughts about check-in- did I get everyone?, where did the other page go?, did I explain the expiration policy to the irate lady in a kind manner? Or my car woes- do I need a new tire, how much is that, will someone break into my husband’s car parked on Baltimore Avenue with the broken window all the way down…focus Christine, breathe, enjoy, breathe. Ugh do I need a new tire when I just got one?, what a pain I just want to enjoy the day! Focus Christine there is nothing you can do about it, just breathe, inhale, exhale. Along with those nagging thoughts, I was annoyed at the deep-breathing people very close to my mat, and then annoyed at myself for having those feelings and not being kind and present. This was not how I anticipated my morning would go, and I was confused why I was letting my thoughts get the best of me.

I am not a worrier and I try hard to be kind to all beings, especially myself. One of my intentions this year was to have a non-judgmental attitude, which was good because the annoyances were short lived due to my inner voice repeating “Be Kind and have No Judgments”. The constant worrying, however, was not so good, and it robbed me of most of my practice. The final pose-Shavasana-was the only time I was able to let go and be present. It was nice, though short-lived, due to a car alarm, which triggered instant panic over someone breaking into the car. By that point, I just wanted the practice to end to settle these nagging thoughts in my head. However, the “calm Christine” voice kept saying its fine, there is nothing you can do about the past or future, so be present and enjoy the now.   The conflict between my negative thoughts and positive thought patterns was intense, and during my practice the negative had won.

I am proud of my overall attitude before and after yoga, yet my time on the mat was not so positive. I was not able to enjoy and be present during the practice, a time that would have been benefited me the most. I felt disappointed in myself for giving into all those negative feelings and thoughts. I have not had an experience like that in as long as I can remember, though I read it about people bringing their negative thoughts and feelings to the mat. Yet, I realize that it happens and I can appreciate that experience for what it is-a lesson learned. Looking back over the conflict between the negative and positive thoughts and feelings, I realize how powerful that pull can be. However, it was only during that hour on the mat, that I experienced it, which perplexes me most.

I know it’s over, and it’s okay, and all I can do is learn from it. When you cannot control what is going on around you, keep in mind that you can control your breath and the present moment. I see this morning as an insightful lesson, though not pleasant, but necessary to help me be aware, to help me grow, to help me let go of what does not serve me, and to help me continue my practice of mindfulness.                                                                                                                     “Life is a journey, with problems to solve, lessons to learn, but most of all experiences to enjoy” ~Unknown

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