Seeing the Positive

“Practicing Yoga does not eliminate life’s challenge, and neither does it provide us with a convenient trap-door to escape from life’s distractions. Instead, Yoga gives us the skills to meet life head-on with dignity and poise.”

                                                                                                                                        Donna Farhi

Within the midst of a busy week last week, I had the very unpleasant experience of having my car break down while driving. Fortunately, I was able to safely coast it to the side of the road in order to be out of the way of other drivers and after doing so I promptly broke into tears. I texted my partner, T to inform him of my situation and then started to try and figure out what needed to be done next.

In my true independent nature I wiped my tears and attempted to fix this problem on my own. After the engine died the oil light came on so I figured if I added some oil, all would be ok (this is comical, because I know very little about cars). I searched my trunk looking for an old bottle of oil that I randomly had back there and then spent close to 20 minutes with the car manual in hand trying to figure out where to add the oil underneath the hood (everything under the hood of my car is covered in plastic so it’s not easy!)  After locating the oil tank and adding what little oil I had, I, with my fingers crossed, tried starting my car… and nothing. Whomp. Whomp.

I then rested my head on the steering wheel in defeat and called T to explain my attempt and subsequent failure. Tears started to build up again. At this point he was in route to provide me assistance and made the suggestion to call AAA.

While waiting for both AAA and T to arrive, I continued the deep descent into feeling sorry for myself while shedding even more tears. And then a light bulb went off! This was an opportunity to live my yoga!

Although this situation totally stunk, I had the ability to see the positive aspects of it, just like I spoke to in this post. So, that is exactly what I did! I started making a list of all the positive things I could think of regarding this situation, and this is what I came up with while in this terrible, no good situation:

  • I have a lighter yoga teaching schedule- I had two less yoga classes to teach last week, due to one being canceled because of weather and the other being canceled for a studio teachers meeting. This meant that I had 2 fewer responsibilities to figure out while I was uncertain about my car’s fate.
  • I am not far from home- My closest family in Maine is more than 300 miles away and there have been plenty of times in which I have made that long drive to spend time with them. Fortunately, my car did not break down during one of those treks and instead I was only a few miles away from home.
  • I am safe- My car broke down on a side road of a quiet subdivision and I was able to coast it out of the middle of the road unharmed.
  • I have a AAA membership- After dealing with numerous unfortunate instances where having this membership would have come in handy, my mom very kindly added me to her AAA membership last Christmas (best gift ever!). This was the first time in which I have needed to use it and I was so thankful I had it!
  • I have a great support system- I am so, so grateful for T. He was the first person I called and he immediately rearranged his plans to come to my assistance. He provided comfort while I shed more tears and ensured me that everything would be ok. I also am so thankful for all of my co-workers who have offered help, even if all they have been able to offer is an ear to listen. It really has meant more than I can even begin to express.
  • I received kindness from a complete stranger- Although I broke down in a quiet subdivision, I still experienced quite a few people driving right on by rather than stopping to see if I needed help. However, there was one person who displayed a level of kindness that absolutely blew me away! A woman from a nearby house came out to check on me and see if there was anything she could do to help and asked if I wanted to come inside her home while I was waiting for assistance. Although I declined the help she offered, I am still so thankful for the kindness she showed to a complete stranger!
  • I am so grateful for my yoga practice- Life is full of difficulties and challenges and regardless of how long I have been practicing yoga, I will not be immune to them. As these difficulties and challenges arise, it is easy to allow them to swallow you up. But these difficult times are the very times in which you must live your yoga, to take what you have learned on the mat to all other aspects of your life. And it is going to be a constant practice. That is the most amazing thing about yoga, there is never an end point and as a yogi living in the modern world, I will encounter many distractions to this practice. But the most important thing to remember is there will always be the opportunity to practice again.

So instead of waiting for the storm to pass, can you allow yourself to dance in the rain?