Over the course of the last two weeks, I have had the great fortune to teach at a number of fundraising events from Des Moines to Denver.
These classes have benefitted a number of causes from child-safety and organ donation to flood relief for Boulder, Colorado. Though the stories differ in their details, they share a common theme: the turning of tragedy into triumph.
Sometimes a difficult choice, the choice for celebration, is always and especially present in times of tragedy. In these dark times, strong tools are sometimes required to create the perspective required to choose joy.
Here are a few that have worked for me:
The gift of service is not the service that we perform, but that we get to perform some service for someone at all. The gift of service is not received by who we serve, but an opportunity given by those that we get to serve. Serving is giving and receiving and just feels good.
Don’t give till it hurts, give when it hurts.
Nothing I know of has the profound potential of pushing the pause button on the stories of the past like intense physicality. Feeling down? Sit down deeper—nothing makes you more present than sitting lower for longer in utkatasana. If nothing else, the story of tragedy will pause and be replaced by an intense dislike for this moment.
When all else seems to fail, get high. Marijuana—like God’s many other gifts to humanity—is often misunderstood and vilified, but consider that nothing on this planet exists or occurs without purpose. That a thing exists, manmade or otherwise, is evidence enough of its intrinsic role in the ongoing human drama called life.
Don’t over-think it: if you’re feeling low, get high.
By utilizing some of these tools or others, an enhanced presence becomes possible. From a place of presence, acceptance flows and from acceptance, enthusiasm grows.
Next time you are called to turn tragedy to triumph, make a choice.
Serve someone else even in some small way. Put on some Franti, get high, sit low and feel your heart glow. The choice for triumph is not always an easy one, but the perspective created by serving others, the incredible presence nurtured by sweating and serving ourselves, and the eventual elevation that these three tools can produce when employed with regularity make the choice easier and easier.
Use the tools once and they can change your day. Make them daily practices and they will change your life.
Relish the times when we are presented with adversity, for only from tragedy is true triumph possible.
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