I have problems. I bet you do too.
Did I say I have problems?
And they have tied my insides into knots, brought tears to my eyes and thrown me off balance.
Note the problems did this. I did not.
I did go for a long walk with a friend and her dog this afternoon. The sun was out. The air was crisp but not cold. I had a good dinner, a healthy dinner. I got a potential lead for a new client tonight. I emailed my teacher and said, to quote Tara Brach, I want to be happy for no reason.
There are always problems, challenges, situations. One fellow teacher whom I had not seen in a few years has a tumor and takes a steroid that made it so I did not even know who she was. Another teacher died of cancer this week. My dad has shingles.
My cat has asthma and his own credit card now.
I decided today, that come what may, I want to be happy. I want to hold my grief and challenges in my heart and acknowledge them but I want to focus on the joy of living, the small miracles, the world of possibilities.
I remember when I was told I don’t need a reason to cry.
It seemed radical. I did not have to analyze tears and sadness. I could simply cry.
That was years ago. I don’t ever analyze my happiness. I don’t want to either. I just want to be it.
I want to notice my kitty sitting on my knee right now, ready to purr. I want to think of the new friends I am making, and people I will meet. I want to enjoy the coffee I am drinking at 10:37 p.m. I want to embrace the arctic cold coming our way here in Washington, DC, the possibility of snow. I want to listen to more Tara Brach podcasts. I want to do more yoga. I want to think of the good dinner I’ll cook tomorrow.
I want to celebrate the gifts because there are so many in every moment.
Yes. I have problems. But yoga to me is not the pose I do on the mat, yoga to me is how I choose to engage my life, myself, my work, my community.
Yoga is about relationship.
I don’t have a lot of party tricks in yoga. In fact, I have one. And I have been practicing since 1997. But I do have a practice and what I have learned from doing the asana is how to be in my body with less fear and tension and anxiety. It may seem simple, but for me it was not, and still tests me moment by moment.
I have courage and integrity and compassion.
Most are surprised to hear I exist in a state of fear most of the time.
But little by little, breath by breath, moment by moment, I am able to be, simply. And today I choose to focus on happiness and joy, no matter what happens, every day.
So thank you to all my teachers who tell me to keep the faith and teach from their heart. Thank you to the healers who help me find wholeness. Thank you to elephant journal for the community and the opportunity to hone my craft and share my passion.
Today there’s a chance that more than a few will read my poetry. And that is a reason to be happy, not that I am looking for one.
I am someone who loves to share and thrives on being with others. My craft whittles moments into meaning and eases my heart. I learn best by listening. I teach yoga and I write. Life is challenging but simple. My kitties make me happy. My husband is my best friend. Check my blog here.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel