Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Relationships... A Practice in Presence

Madison, Jared & Mallory
I sent thank you cards to my nieces last week. My sister aimed to snap a picture of their excitement only to capture the moment after their brother swiped a card. Pure sibling fun that took Madison's happiness with her brother's sneaky move. I don't expect a 4-year-old to be unbothered by such an event; however, we can contrast it with this 2 minute funny video where at 47 seconds she makes the decision to keep her happiness despite her grumpy, unwilling-to-share sister.

Madison attached her joy to the card and when the card was gone so was her happiness. I'm sure you recognize the phrases, "I'll be happy when…" and "I was happy when…." Instead of attaching our happiness to an event, set of circumstances or outcome, we can recognize the elements of now and stay connected to the peace and contentment that lives within. Madison didn't need her older sister's block to be happy; she was content in her efforts to build a higher tower. It was her efforts in present time not the final goal that was fulfilling. She didn't go vent to her mom; she said "okaaaay" and moved on.

Imagine if Madison would have judged Mallory's cranky response as a personal attack. Madison could have perceived Mallory's "no" as an example that "no one wants to help me" or "no one cares about me." Her persistence and confidence gave no room for judgment to bring her down. Our adult world swirls with all types of communication that may lead to assumptions and perceptions which are forms of judgment. When fused with our emotions, judgments can lead us to an undesirable reaction rather than a thoughtful and perhaps more educated response. What if we held strong to the notion that "everyone is trying their best?"

Relationships create a perfect setting for us to explore yoga off the mat as the practice of non-attachment and non-judgment cultivate a more genuine opportunity for conversation and personal contentment. In class, I invite students to observe their experience without judgment or attachment hoping to welcome all to be fully present. This practice on the mat ultimately empowers us to take it off the mat into our interaction with the world.

So I ask... has someone stole your card? Are you expecting things to go a certain way or someone to respond just so? Or have you heard/read words that weren't actually said or written? If so, bring yourself back to present by deepening your breath and becoming aware of sensation in and on your body. "Step back" from the situation and observe the facts without judgement (perception, assumptions, etc.) and let go of any attachment and expectations of actions or to the outcome. With this unbiased awareness, how would you like to respond with external and internal action/inaction? Move forward anchored by your breath to the present moment and your internal peace. 

At the end of the day, what matters is how well we have participated in our lives. Conversation about life skills enrich our experience and creates a community of support. I'm super excited to be bringing together individuals living life authentically for a yoga and book discussion to explore what it means to live skillfully. I hope you'll join.

A couple more things to learn from my sweet little niece in this video:
  • Sometimes it all falls down and we just need to "build it again."
  • Caring for others has no age requirement. ("Scoot back, guys. I don't want you to get hit Bruce.")
  • The power of a good glare. (See video at 1 min.)
  • You can be independent and ask for help.

Always a Yogi,
Lynn Marie