the practice of gratitude

In the beginning of this month, I set the intention to bring my yoga practice into focus, along with the practice of gratitude. This week, I have managed to make space for yoga everyday with the exception of wednesday. The space has been sometimes early in the morning, sometimes in the evening before the chaotic dinner time and tonight, after 7.00. The commitment to five poses has been liberating. I have felt good about extending my yoga practice when time permits, but I have not held it against myself to have a brief practice at times. Doing yoga more than just a couple of times has been so good for me. One, it has helped me sleep better. Two, I am able to be more mindful of my spine extending and able to sense more resilience in my body and mind. My mind has felt clearer at the end of the day, with less of the dullness I usually feel by the time my family duties are over. I’m energized by the possibility that doing yoga more frequently IS possible. 


Regarding gratitude, isn’t this an endless journey!? Just when I was noticing yesterday that I have been feeling less inclined to anger lately, today I was hit by it out of nowhere. Yes, it is true, I have felt less prone to strong emotional upheavals in recent months; partly because of better diet and movement and partly because I have enjoyed many activities with Anjali. Her growing up into her 4s, has meant less irrational tantrums for her, and more calm for me. And I have taken time to notice this for sure. But today, my familiar friend Anger threw me for a loop. I had dropped down my guard. I had not taken my pause in a busy morning. I was also nursing the beginning of a headache. And there He was. Waiting. Of course. And I had forgotten my beloved Rumi’s words: 

“Learn the alchemy true human beings know. The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given, the door will open. Welcome difficulty as a familiar comrade. Joke with torment brought by the friend.”

There is no other way but through, and gratitude leads us through. I feel humbled by my own emotions and vulnerability. My body’s tiredness and limitations sometimes and the shortcoming in mY own capacity to respond with wisdom. I think this is essential to compassion. If I were perfect, I would be unable to understand and empathize with the imperfections of others. When I see through my own humanness, when I accept the troubles, then my heart softens. My daughter said to me, ‘mom you are not being kind to me.’ It tore my heart open in that moment. The situation doesn’t matter – that I carried her crying, through the playground before she had a chance to say goodbye to her teachers, even though she had had adequate warning and plenty of time to play. Yes, I was not being kind. I was busy in a battle with my ego, my anger. My stories. My heart wrestled in that moment with the truth of the words. I was crushed against the weight of my own judgment. Anjali forgave me soon. She moved on. We had a beautiful afternoon. But  I didn’t really move on, until now, until the breathing softened me, through the yoga.


We hold ourselves with such love when we hit these tender moments. That is what we learn through the practice, and that is the way through. May we appreciate these moments of waking up. May we have peace through this journey of life. This moment is like no other. May we welcome this full moon, this new day with open heart. 


With love,  S.


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