Today just moments before departing for Dance Camp, my daughter discovered that her ballet shoes were too small. Not a huge surprise since we bought them last September, but the result was an emotional outburst with whining and despair.
Last week I left a "To Do" Note for my Summertime kids. At noon I received an insulted phone call from my son, declaring that I was asking too much … these things weren’t his job!
I know people who have looked at an action taken by a friend as an insult and stopped speaking to them, deleting them as Facebook friends and ignoring them in public. Years of happy moments lost in a perceived slight or careless word or misspelling. No steps taken to discuss the issue ... just a friendship dissolved in an instant.
At my Thursday yoga class, our guest instructor seemed to perceive this whirling dark energy that takes hold of the thoughts ... this destroyer of peace. And Rob took us in a completely unique direction. Beside the fact is that I sweat more than I ever had in my life and we did moves I’d never done in a slow flow yoga session. Key to the experience was the moment we were holding a particularly difficult pose after a really, really challenging flow and he gave us a mind warning.
What is that, you ask? What is a “Mind Warning.” I mean, he didn’t say it was a Mind Warning. There was no flashing sign stating ... Get this now! This is the important message of the day!!! Wouldn't it be nice if there were?
No, he just stated a particularly compelling thought that gelled in my mind. Here we were sweating (okay, gonna admit that I was dripping sweat) and holding this balancing pose and he made a remark that stuck with me. It ran something like this: “Right now, Drama is trying to sneak into your mind and pull your focus and even insight a little panic. Don’t let it take hold.”
The Human Spirit is amazing. It can handle and withstand more than we think it can when we are in the midst of a crisis moment or difficult time. Not that holding a yoga pose is truly a crisis moment. But, all around us people -- including you and me -- make ordinary moments into crises all the time! Psychologists blame this on our Fight or Flee response. Either we meet the challenge or we run from it. But what if we do neither? What if instead of fighting or fleeing we consider the challenge a balloon … a balloon we don’t pop but deflate.
We’ve all heard it before, bad things happen. People stress about why these bad things happen to good people. Why they happen to them. Why they happen at all. Something these bad things lead to good things. Sometimes these bad things challenge us and stretch us and help us grow. Sometimes these bad things seem to be pointless. They never seem to end or teach anything and just suck.
In the midst of our “Bad Things” are choices … How to respond, how to behave, how to handle whatever Drama is flying our way. Lash out? Blame? Cry? Scream? Shop? Run away? Exercise? My daughter tends to whine. My son chooses to argue and debate. But, in the middle of it all, we DO have a choice in our response.
Back to yoga and Rob’s Mind Warning. Drama will come and go. If we dwell on the stress or pain or anger or frustration or fear or unkindness or hurt or _______ (fill in the blank with your current personal drama), we get stuck in it. Trapped in a tar of our own making. We spin out of control. We start shaking. We have anxiety or panic attacks. We stop sleeping. We distance ourselves from the offender or from people in general.
What if instead of giving into the Drama, we embraced the idea that whatever was happening was temporary and let the Drama drift through us?
What if instead of holding a grudge or blaming someone or allowing the anger to rise, we embraced the idea of uniqueness and diversity and the concept that not everyone sees things the same way and we’re all just doing the best we can?
What if instead of thinking there is only One Right Way to Be or to Act, we accepted our own differences, "weirdness" and individuality, embracing and honoring it instead of denying or fighting it?
What if we forgave and moved forward instead of dwelling on past injuries done to us by those we love most?
I’m a passionate, dramatic person. Those of you who know me well may know that I have highs and lows. But Rob's Mind Warning isn't something I choose to forget. And I encourage you to join me. You see, I see the Drama whirling around me and trying to take hold in my mind. I recognize the darkness and the hurt and the rejection and the __________, and I choose to take a mental break, releasing the air from the balloon. And if I don't happen to have a balloon handy, I release a deep sigh.
And I leave the Drama on the stage.
"Sometimes the best thing that you can do is not think. not wonder. not imagine. not obsess. Just Breathe. And have faith that everything will work out for the best."