On letting go: growing pains and book publishing

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Life has been exciting and overwhelming lately, as I get ready to have my memoir published in June by Beaufort Books. I’m beyond thrilled and have been busy learning my way around the publishing industry.

And of course, I’m realizing that my rootedness in yoga and mindfulness are essential in getting through all of it.

I’m at the point with my book where I need to submit the final draft of my manuscript to the publishers. Because then, copyeditors and proofreaders can do their work and try to make some logical sense of the random places where I chose to put commas. Then it will go off to the designers and on to the presses and off the presses and into cardboard boxes to go off to bookstores.

It’s entirely exciting.

And incredibly painful.

Because for the last several years, I’ve been watching this book grow from a crazy idea, into the 275 page manuscript that sits before me. I’ve been getting up in the middle of the night with this book. I’ve been startled awake by the persistent, restless whimpering of a thought or a memory or a funnier word choice – I get out of bed and rush to this computer. I sit in the glow and nurse my book to better health.

And that time is almost over. That part of my job is done.

Now, I have to send this book out into the world.

To be adored or criticized or ignored.

Not to be too dramatic or anthropomorphize too much (who am I kidding, I’m a writer/former actor and my car is named Gwen) but I feel like I’m sending my book off to college to live her own life and I’m not sure if I’ve done enough to prepare her. I’m not sure if she’s strong enough to make it in the real world. I’m worried about where she’s going to sit in the cafeteria.

Why is it that humans have such a hard time letting go? We live in a transient world, full of constant change. Births and deaths and seasons and uncontrollable events. And yet, we always assume that some things, if we hang on tight enough, will last forever.

But let’s face it, that desperate clinging never feels good.

There is such beauty in change. In growth. We see that all around us right now. It’s fall and the trees are turning magenta in preparation to let go of their leaves. It’s the essential nature of life.

One of my favorite Buddhist stories is about a monk and a glass of water. He says, “I love this glass. It holds the water admirably. When the sun shines on it, it reflects the light beautifully. When I tap it, it has a lovely ring. Yet for me, this glass is already broken. When the wind knocks it over or my elbow knocks it off the shelf and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ But when I understand that this glass is already broken, every minute with it is precious.” *

I love this idea. This understanding that everything is impermanent, so why not embrace the present moment, with all its joy and discomfort and transformation — right now? Why not surrender to the realities of this world and just choose be happy in the face of it? It’s all temporary. Even you. So have a blast and love wholeheartedly, before it’s gone.

And then let it go with grace.

I want this book to go out in the world. Because I want you to read it. And because I want to sit up at 4 AM in the glow of my computer screen, and nurture another book into existence.

So, now you know where I’m going be the next few nights, until I have to turn my manuscript into an email attachment and push Send. I’ll be sitting right here, enjoying my little baby…while she’s still just mine.

And then I’ll let it all go, and get ready for whatever comes next.

——–

* This version of the quote is from a wonderful PBS documentary called The Buddha. It’s a great introduction to the concepts of Buddhism and it has “Keep Until I Delete” status on my TiVo. Even though “Keep Until I Delete” reflects an amount of permanence and control that is clearly not very Buddhist…

“Other” yoga

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At first it felt a little like cheating.

Are you going to Bikram?” They’d ask.

“Umm. No. Other Yoga.” I’d respond, nervously picking at the edge my yoga mat.

It started as a joke. There was “Our Yoga” (Bikram) and then there was “Other Yoga.” That was the yoga that was in other places – the yoga that other people did.

We weren’t disparaging it. We just weren’t into it. It just wasn’t our thing.

But then things changed.

When the studio where I practice moved locations, they started offering Other Yoga (AKA hot Vinyassa) as well as Bikram. Wanting to be supportive of the new endeavor, I went.

And it’s fabulous.

We do Downdog and Child’s pose and Warriors with different numbers. There is music and flow and something I totally can’t do called a bind.

What I love most about this Other Yoga is it’s essential Otherness. It’s just different. I have now been doing Bikram for almost 5 years. It is my heart. It is my home. But this Other Yoga has it’s place, too. There is room in my heart for both.

I now practice Other Yoga once a week, and I’ve been thrilled to realize that it strengthens my Bikram practice. My arms and shoulders are getting more defined. My balance is improving. And because Vinyassa integrates different postures in a different order, it keeps me on my toes. My mind can’t wander, because it’s not like I know we are going from Half-tortoise to Camel to Rabbit. Other Yoga sharpens that muscle of attention, so that when I am back in the Bikram room, I am more focused.

Best of all, Other Yoga has brought me back to the roots of this tradition – I had to return to my beginner’s mind. As I walked into the room, I didn’t even know which direction my mat should face. I struggled to keep up through a basic sun salutation. And with each new posture, each time I fell over trying to attempt it – I learned something new.

I invigorated my capacity for patience and compassion.

It’s so easy to get dogmatic about a specific branch of yoga. Once you’ve found the thing that changes your world and opens your mind, sometimes we narrow our focus too sharply. In doing that, we might close our hearts to something that might help us in a new way as we move along our path. Something that could bring a different glimpse of enlightenment.

Bikram remains my home and my happy place.

But Other Yoga is a pretty nice fling on the side.

————–

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Meditation Intervention

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This week, I’m going to do a Meditation Intervention with a friend of mine.

This is not because I’m The World’s Best Meditator or anything. She asked me to share my experience and offer advice, since I’m familiar with this particular stretch of turbulent waters. I’ve been fumbling my way through the often frustrating landscape of meditation for a while now.

My friend is an incredibly strong person, who has recently gone through difficult things that give me heart palpitations even thinking about. She has been doing some meditation, but she’s feeling pretty stuck at the moment.

I’m sure this sounds very familiar to all you meditators. We’ve all been there…bogged down by Monkey Mind and feeling like we are just not good at meditation. We think we are weak-willed or doing it wrong or just inherently incapable. Worst of all, we say the most horrible things to ourselves about what this apparent failure means about our character.

So, I’m going to try to shake some self-compassion into her – because here’s the thing:

Meditation is our natural state, we’ve just forgotten how to linger there.

Stillness, presence, awareness – look at any other animal in the natural world and you’ll see that they are constantly living in that state. We are the only animals that have misplaced that skill. It’s there somewhere, lost amongst the clutter of incoming texts and deadlines and trips to the DMV. We simply need to practice getting that stillness back, but our culture is so far removed from those natural skills that getting it back is really hard.

We spend decades learning to multi-task, use our critical thinking skills and plan ahead…which is all great.

But we almost never practice getting our brain to shut the hell up.

I confess: I am not a great meditator. It’s not like I sit down and it’s all stillness and light in there. I have to work – hard. It takes a lot of focus and energy for me to center myself for even 50% of the time that I am sitting on my meditation cushion.

Have I mentioned that I have had a daily meditation practice for 7 years?

Nevertheless, this is something that I have committed myself to, because of what it does for the rest of my life. It’s like to going to the gym. You don’t go to the gym to be really good at going to the gym. You go to the gym because it makes you healthier for the rest of your life outside of the gym.

Meditation is the same way. I might not spend my 25 minutes in the morning in a perfect state of bliss. I might have to chase down my mind, like I’m chasing after a puppy in a theme park. I might have itches and kinks and a really annoying eyelash in my eye. I just need to surrender to all of that.

Because regardless of how that all goes, the process of sitting down with the intention of being in stillness always causes me to spend the rest of my day in a greater sense of awareness.

Always.

So, I’m not entirely sure what I’ll say to my friend for our Meditation Intervention. There is no magic bullet for this stuff, but maybe I’ll start with this:

Meditation is one of those things you simply can’t fail at. The only failure is in being unkind and giving up on yourself.

——–

In case you are looking for a little motivation or inspiration, these are books that I really like:

Wherever You Go, There You Are – Jon Kabat-Zinn Ph.D:

He’s a molecular biologist, you can’t get much more straight shooting than that. He has an entire center dedicated to the proven medical benefits of meditation (or mindfulness, as he calls it, so that people don’t get intimidated). You can’t go wrong with any of his books.

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook – Edmund J. Bourne:

This is the first book my therapist started me off with when she recommended meditation for my panic attacks. It has clear directions for anxiety reducing techniques and short writing exercises.

Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation – Sharon Salzberg:

Perfect for beginners. I love this one because it’s a 28 day program that comes with a CD of 15 minute guided meditations.

After the Ecstasy, the Laundry – Jack Kornfield:

Besides that it’s an awesome title, this book has some great thoughts on waking up to our life.

When Things Fall Apart (or really anything) by Pema Chodron:

Particularly wonderful if you are dealing with specific challenges.

10% Happier – Dan Harris:

This is a great book for the cynic or the person who is convinced they can’t meditate. There are some things I don’t love about the book, but it explains complicated concepts very clearly.

Also, anything by Thich Nhat Hanh, Sylvia Boorstein or Eckhart Tolle.

And if you are looking for guided mediations, check out these from the University of Virginia Mindfulness Center.

 

Some of my favorite meditation posts:

 

Changing the construction

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Why doesn’t yoga always feel this peaceful?

Last year, our yoga studio moved to a new location. It’s in a shiny new building with nice bathrooms and freshly painted walls with no fingerprints on them…

…and it’s also got construction.

Lots of construction.

The space above us is being renovated, so there are drills and hammers and all kinds of loud things I can’t even identify. Sometimes I suspect they are doing shot-put with bowling balls for the hell of it. The yoga studio walls shake in savasana. It’s not ideal.

So, I sigh loudly. And I cringe. And I think This studio is my happy place where I come to finally get quiet and de-stress and why isn’t it all calm like doing yoga on a peaceful beach and DEAR GOD WHY???

The other day, one of my yoga teachers – who, not coincidentally, is one of the most enlightened people I know – commented on the construction. She said it made her crazy for a little while, but she just thought about the person who was on the other side of that drill on this Saturday morning. She sent out a little love and gratitude to them for doing their job, so that she didn’t have to work construction and she could be down here, teaching yoga.

Holy shift, Batman.

I was instantly dragged out of my own whiney issues and with such beautiful simplicity, the situation morphed into something positive. It was an opportunity to practice sending some compassion to another being that I don’t even know.

You know what’s really crazy? I don’t even hear the construction anymore. It was like flipping a switch in my mind. And when someone mentioned that the construction was going to be continuing for the next 6 months – I though, well, that’s not too bad.

Because really? In the grand scope of things, what is 6 months?

A mindful, open-hearted comment like that can cause such a shift in perspective. Instead of getting cranky about the construction and therefore ruining my own yoga practice, I can choose a different choice.

Of course, as with everything with yoga, this has been working beyond the mat, too. Instead of rolling my eyes when the lady in front of me at the grocery store wants to fight about the sale price of pretzels – I can change my mind and just be present and feel my feet on the floor. When I have to get blood drawn for my annual check up, I can change my mind and do some deep breathing instead of tensing up my entire body, and almost passing out for lack of oxygen.

Every moment is a choice and you are always allowed to change your mind. It’s shocking to see how often my initial instinct is to make something harder than it needs to be. So much of life is completely out of my control, it makes sense that I should at least choose to make my responses a little more pleasant. It is clear from experience that sending out bitchy, negative energy to a difficult situation is only going to make it worse. For everyone.

The construction is going to be there, whether I am ruining my yoga practice over it or not.

Not seems like a way better choice.

————–

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The yogi cat: lessons on stillness

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Several months ago, I started volunteering at my local no-kill animal shelter. Spending time there has now become one of the great joys of my life. How can it not be when I am greeted by a sweet face like this when I go into work?

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Darla

At first I was rather intimidated by the whole thing. I was scared it was going to be depressing. Plus, the shelter needed the most help with the cats, and I’ve always been firmly planted in Camp Dog. The night before volunteer orientation, I stared at the ceiling at 3 am, convinced that this whole shelter idea was going to be too hard and just wasn’t my thing.

I’m so glad I try things that I’m convinced aren’t my thing. (See also: doing yoga in a really hot room.)

I immediately fell in love with my new gig and found myself a niche. I now tend to work with the … um … “difficult” cats. For unknown reasons, I gravitate to these troubled souls. I love the ones who have just recently come into the shelter, the ones who are not cute nor cuddly. They are freaked out and terrified and just a tiny bit evil-looking.

Usually, with lots of patience, love and salmon-flavored treats, they get more comfortable. They slowly relax and become sweet creatures who can be adopted to their new forever homes. It’s incredibly rewarding to watch a cat under my care transform from holy terror to purring lap companion.

The other day, I was working with a cat that has been exceptionally challenging – Xena. I was just talking to her for about 20 minutes while she was in her cage. I attempted to slowly scratch her ears but she kept backing away and giving me that wide-eyed killer cat look, and so I just talked to her more. I hate to admit it but at a certain point, hearing myself blabbering on to her – without seeming to give her any comfort – got a little tedious.

My mind wandered. I thought about checking my phone, I wondered if we had food in the house for dinner…when WHAM! SLASH! Out came Xena’s claws and suddenly my hand was a bloody mess. I was shocked: she had felt me mentally wandering away and my lack of mindfulness had made her nervous and defensive.

By the time I stopped swearing and pouring hand sanitizer all over my shredded fingers, it all struck me as pretty fascinating.

Animals are much more in tune with things like this, but anyone can see it when we are really being aware. Xena’s behavior exemplified something that happens everywhere in my life – when I forget to stay in the present moment, life gets much more uncomfortable and challenging.

Another place I can see that very clearly is the hot room. I can be doing a perfectly acceptable Standing Bow, but when I let my mind go off to write that email and recreate that misunderstanding with my friend…I fall on my face. It’s all about balance and when my monkey-mind is in charge, the balance is off. When I’m truly present in my yoga practice, I can connect with each muscle and tendon and cell in my body.

When I’m present with the shelter cats, I can be totally attuned to the nuance of the connection with them. I can feel when they are overwhelmed and need to crawl back into their beds to be alone. I can feel when they are ready to surrender a little and that sweet, warm motor inside them starts to purr. I can feel when they are ready be held for a little while and I can walk them up and down the aisles of the shelter so they can observe the bustling activity from the safety of my arms. I can connect with both myself and the world around me when I’m not distracted by my own thoughts.

But when I’m lamenting about the fact that I need to go return that thing at Home Depot, I miss all that beauty. I overlook all the potential in Xena, the potential in me and the potential in life itself.

And living that kind of life that is even more painful than Purelle on a cat scratch.

———–

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Travel yoga and humidity humility

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Bikram Yoga Brickell in Miami

Recently, Husband had a work trip in Florida. He asked me if I wanted to go with him to Fort Myers and it was February and I’m not stupid so I said yes.

While he did work stuff, I took a little road trip to Miami to see a dear friend of mine who now lives there. She is a Bikramite but had not practiced in a while, since she was expecting her cutie-pie son. He was 9-weeks old and Mama needed the hot room. I was honored to be able to go with her to her first class back.

Understandably, she was nervous about returning to yoga. She wondered if anyone would remember her (they did) and if she would spend the whole class crying on the floor (she didn’t). But I was nervous, too. I always get nervous before travel yoga. I was anxious about what the room/teacher/students/temperature would be like.

This is the paragraph where I explain what all the problems were. Like, it was vacation yoga and I had been eating vacation food (fried artichoke and goat cheese po’boy, anyone?) and I’m not used to practicing that late in the evening (we were doing our first sit up around the time that I usually go to bed) and I had cramps and it’s really humid in Florida and …yeah.

I can come up with a lot of reasons why it wasn’t totally my fault that the woman who was still recovering from a c-section was pretty much kicking my ass.

But I realized during the second set of bow pose I had to take my own advice and sit down before I passed out.

Doing yoga in Miami is a little different than in Virginia. It was just a little…showier. There were modified breasts and rippling abs. Even in February there were a lot of tans. So, I had to dig extra deep into my pasty white soul to feel good about collapsing on my mat while everyone else locked out their knees.

I looked in the mirror, attempting to sit stoically. That annoying little part of me that wanted my friend/the teacher/Miss Boob Job to think I was a great yogi: that’s all just ego. That’s not helpful to me or anyone. This is the practice. But still, it flared up and tested me.

So, looked at that reflection of myself – an exhausted, wrung-out yogi on the floor – and tried to be kind. I tried to be present and breathe. Eventually, I got off the floor and back to the postures.

And when class was over I was so proud of my brave friend. As we walked to Publix and bought Coconut waters and cut up watermelon, she said she had been struck by the teacher’s comment that the mirror was “for alignment, not for judgement” and how she was grateful for the freedom to remove self-criticism completely.

I nodded, and it occurred to me for the first time that it’s not just alignment of your hips, it’s about alignment with the truth. Alignment with the moment. Alignment with your authentic self. Alignment with what is possible, and not possible, that day.

And then my friend got teary-eyed and said that even though class was hard, it was the first time in a long while that she had just taken a deep breath.

And she reminded me what this whole thing is about.

Thanks, L.

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Dear new yoga bra:

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Hello, my darling.

Hello, my darling.

Dear new yoga bra,

I shouldn’t be having these kinds of feelings for you. It’s too much.

But the way I feel when we are together — it’s magic. When I wear you, I show enough cleavage that I feel perky and cute, but not so much that I look like a dancer by the airport.

You make me feel supported.

And even in those rough, humid, almost-want-to-vomit classes, you are there for me. 

But I’m overcome with guilt about my feelings. I should be a wise enough yogi that the top I bought on sale at Target three years ago should make me just as happy as you do. You know…equanimity and detachment and all that.

I shouldn’t feel like my backbends are just a little deeper when I’m enveloped by your slim little straps. I shouldn’t feel that my grip is just a little bit tighter in rabbit pose when you hold me close.

But I do.

I can’t deny it any more.

And every time someone comments that you are adorable (which they do, because you are) I can only nod in agreement and say “thanks” – as if I had anything to do with it.

So, new yoga bra, I feel better now that I have confessed my obsession. I hope we can just keep this love affair between the two of us. There are a lot of other tops in the drawer, and I don’t want anyone to get hurt.

Until we sweat again,

~Lisa

Backbending in 2014: New year’s eve yoga

Ridiculous sparkly Buddha wishes you a happy new year!

Ridiculous sparkly Buddha wishes you a happy new year!

Happy 2014, yogis!

I hope you were able to peacefully close out last year and are feeling ready for all the good stuff that is to come.

Since I’m a classic introvert, I’m really not into big parties. Just seeing the Times Square ball-drop insanity gives me heart palpitations. Our usual December 31st appointment with sweatpants, the couch and a bottle of Champagne suits us just fine.

But, we did something a little different to celebrate this time around – Husband and I spent new years in the hot room! We attended a special class that started at 10:45 pm. Our teacher practiced with us and played music in place of the dialogue. We welcomed the new year in savasana.

It was blissful.

There was no pressure to drink or be loud or wear high heels. We got to be with friends, doing something we love, setting a healthy, peaceful intention for this new beginning.

In hindsight, I don’t know why we’d do anything else for new years, but at about 10 pm, I totally didn’t want to go.

I was nervous about going out. Our studio is located downtown and I was intimidated by the mere thought of drunken drivers and overly-enthusiastic partiers. That kind of chaos is the perfect storm for my anxiety and it made me want to throw the covers over my head.

But I had heard other yogis talking about this special class and how it was such a beautiful start to the year. I knew we needed to try it. So, we packed up our water bottles and dragged ourselves out of the house, leaving as few claw marks on the door frame as possible.

About 40 other folks came to sweat in the new year, a couple of brave souls were there for their very first class! The classical music our teacher played was such a nice change. Us Bikram yogis are not used to hearing music during yoga, but I found that I was able to just get lost in it. Having something else to engage my senses other than the dialogue brought a different dimension to class. (Since then, I’ve added some music to my home practice, and I’m loving that. I just prefer to totally hippie-out with some Jai Utal instead of classical.)

Our teacher counted down to midnight while we were in savasana and the air filled with this blissed out celebration. We were all bathed in gratitude for a fresh new year of opportunities.

After all the sweaty hugging of fellow yogis, we were ready to go home and wish the dog a happy new year. When we emerged from the studio at 12:30 am – much to my surprise – the world was so beautiful. Downtown was alive with flashing lights and and thumping music. The streets were full of joyful people embracing each other and rows of taxis transporting the tipsy.

I found I was able to enjoy the chaos and not feel overwhelmed. And that is what yoga always does for me. It enables me to take a step back, take a moment and put some space between me and the rest of the world. I can enjoy the inner stillness and smile at the craziness, without feeling dragged into the middle of it.

I’m sure that as the year wears on, life will creep in and I will get flustered and wrapped up in nonsense. But the fact that I started 2014 with this deep sense of presence and calm makes me hope I can find it more often this year.

And it made the satisfaction of going home and putting on sweatpants even sweeter.

I wish you all a year full of peace, love and backbends!

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I can’t do everything

(I posted this yesterday on my other blog, but since it deals with that pesky concept of suffering – something that mindful/yogi/Buddhist types generally spend some time thinking about – I thought it might be appropriate here. I hope you enjoy it, and happy holidays, yogis! Here’s to another year of backbending!!)

I’ve always been one of those people who gets overwhelmed by the world.

I think my emotional nature is a left-over occupational hazard from being an actor during my formative years. For 18 years I needed to be able to cry on cue, and it seems those floodgates just never closed. Suffering of any kind leaves me weak in the knees and injustice makes me feel like clawing my skin off.

I still have a touch of the drama, apparently.

But I realized that I can’t just shut my eyes to the suffering in the world. I tried putting my hands over my ears and singing until it went away. That didn’t work. So, instead of crying about it, I’ve decided there might be a little something I can do. But what? And how do I handle the fact that I can’t fix everything? How do I save the whales and cure hunger and stop global warming? I’m one small person so how do I make a dent? How do I pick just one thing in this sea of need? It’s useless, right?

But then I read this:

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

- Edward Everett Hale

Hells yes, Mr. Hale.

I started volunteering at my local non-kill animal shelter. Which happens to be the place where we met our darling girl, Grace. I figure that I owe them, big time.

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So, I cuddle cats and clean litter boxes and let puppies chew on my fingers. I address thank you notes and fill out donation forms. I thought it would be too sad to work in a shelter. It’s not. It’s joyful. Even the photocopying is joyful. And it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. They are short-staffed during the holidays, so I’ll be there to try to fill in the gaps.

The other day, I was opening up their mail and organizing the checks that came in. When donations arrived for $200 or $300, my heart leapt. That would buy so many treats! New beds! Pay for more surgeries!

But when I opened the checks for $5. That’s when I lost my shit. That’s when I cried.

Because those people understand so much better than I do that even a little bit helps. Those people, regardless of their financial situation, made the decision to do what they can and speak up for what they believe in.

I want to hug every one of them. Because they remind me of something that I don’t want to ever forget. It’s good to have empathy, but it’s not so good when I drown in it and apathetically throw up my hands in defeat. The whole point of life is to wake up and do something meaningful. Make the moment count.

I can’t cure cancer and I can’t make sure every animal is in a forever home for Christmas. But I can spend twenty minutes talking to the new scared kitten that just came in and encouraging her to eat some food. I can write a note to the man who donated $5 and tell him that his donation meant something. That he means something.

And if I can do that in this season – this season that at its core is about love and giving – that’s all I really need.

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Hippos on the floor

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After a yoga class the other day, a woman went up to our teacher and said,

“I was kind of surprised that you referred to us as hippos. It seemed mean and unlike you.”

Our teacher was horrified. “What? When??”

In floor bow, you said “arms up, legs up, everything up. Only hippos are still on the floor.”

Our teacher smiled and reassured her that she had said “only hip bones are still on the floor. Not hippos.”

And everyone laughed because it was a cute misunderstanding and we went on our way.

But something startling occurred to me. How ready are we to hear something terrible about ourselves? How quick are we to assume the worst and only hear the negative?

I am guilty of this. Give me 100 complements and I’ll only remember the one thing that was not so glowing. That’s the one that will wake me up in the night and leave me cringing and sweating at 2AM.

This is something that I am trying to change. It’s easy to go out of my way to see the best aspects of other people, but when it comes to myself, I tend to be deaf to any praise that might be aimed at me. I’m much more likely to assume someone just called me a hippo.

I love the Three Jewels and it’s part of my daily meditation and gratitude prayers. I especially love this part:

I take refuge in the dharma, the spiritual teachings. I commit myself to the truth as it is.

Because dharma can mean the words of the Buddha and it can also mean the absolutely clear nature of reality. We can make up all kinds of drama to go along with life, we can imagine that he gave me a nasty look or she called me the third largest land mammal on the planet. We can put a negative spin on experiences and get all worked up about them – or we can remove that lens and see the truth as it is.

Acknowledge, accept and then let it go.

It’s a choice.

And when I’m being mindful, I chose that joyful surrender to the truth. It’s way better than being called a hippo.

————————————–

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