For those of you that know me, this blog post title is probably a surprise. For those of you that don’t know me well, let me state upfront I don’t curse (well at least not 99.9% of the time). Thanks to my parents & grandparents, I’m just not a fan of it. Though I’m sure we can all admit every now and then it’s appropriate because every now and then sh*t happens!
Stuff happens all the time, right? You’ve made it through airport security and you find out your flight is delayed 3 hours, how do you react? Or you paid a bill online (on time) but for whatever reason the new statement you just received shows you’re “past due” with a finance charge…what happens? Or picture this…You’re working on a big project for your company and you find out either a) it’s well exceeded the budget and/or b) a main contributor has just quit (or been fired, transferred, whatever). Or how about…You wake up on a beautiful Saturday morning geared up for yoga class (dressed in your new lululemon or Athleta with your Manduka in tow) and in route to your neighborhood yoga studio you get a call from a good friend (insert family member, neighbor, whoever) who really needs to talk with you about a rough patch in his/her life. How do you respond when life throws you a curve and interrupts your pretty plans?
When unexpected things happen, shifts within us happen whether we are aware of them or not. We have multiple systems within us (think nervous system, digestive system, endocrine system, muscular system, immune system, etc.) that often go haywire simply based on how we chose to respond in the moment. It’s natural to run the other way or emotionally react – fear, anger, anxiety, loss, etc. – but often this can be unhealthy. It’s not just bad for our health to emotionally/automatically react but it’s bad for the health of what’s to come next. We clearly can’t control the external stuff, sh*t and shifts. What we can control is how we respond (or don’t respond). When we take control of how we react, we are in control of the internal shifts and space within.
Let’s take it a step further. I’m a huge believer that things happen for a reason. So when sh*t happens, it’s better to go with it vs. against it, and not just for physiological reasons. I’m not saying that you need to agree with it all but take the time to sit in it, be in it. Be in the the space of “being uncomfortable”. Be in the space of learning something new. Be in the space of seeing something different than what you’ve been use to. Be in the space so you can create new space for you to grow. Sh*t happens because it’s often serving (not always) as the healthy manure your little seed that the universe planted needs to flourish.
Two personal examples. First, I wouldn’t be teaching yoga today if I hadn’t been laid off from my last corporate job. I lived and breathed marketing for over 10 years in various tech/telecom companies. The truth is I lost my passion for it the last couple years I was doing it. During that time, I did my first 200-hour yoga teacher training in Washington, DC and started teaching a Sunday morning yoga class at a local gym. During this time, I never really thought teaching yoga was the end all/be all for me. It was when I was walked out the door at my last corporate gig, I took it as a sign to sit and be. I took it as a sign that maybe sitting at a desk all day was not my calling anymore. It was through the sitting and being that I figured out teaching yoga really was my calling.
Another example is I was recently working on launching a 200-hour yoga teacher training program. My web designer even created a new webpage for it (that will be up on the new abellaYoga.com website launching in June). However, the brakes were slammed on the 200-hour teacher training (out of my control) and I took some space to think about it. I took it as a sign to use this new space to help nourish a little thought-seed that’s been rolling around in my head for a year or so. As a result, I’m in the midst of creating a yoga teacher guidance program (you could say yoga teacher mentorship program but I don’t like the word mentorship) to answer questions like…What are the differences between teaching private yoga clients vs. studio classes vs. office yoga classes? Do you “Om” in corporate yoga (office yoga) classes? Do you offer hands-on assists with private yoga and office clients? How many classes do I need to teach a week to go full-time? How much do I charge? The list of questions is endless so back on subject with the post.
This “being” thing takes practice. For me, the “being” alive in the midst of both the good and messy stuff is what my yoga practice has taught me. My favorite quote from Swami Satchidananda captures the essence of this post: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” And I say “roll with it, flow with it, be in it.”
Note: Though this post didn’t mention a single yoga sutra (something I’ve been focused on the last year or so), Swami Satchidananda offers a great translation of The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali.