Gracious acceptance is an art – an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving…. Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you-
Throughout our live(s) we have been led to believe that giving outweighs receiving. During the Christmas/Holiday/Festivus season, the humble “art” of giving serves as a counterbalance to society(s) increasing narcissism and isolation. Witnessing what others need to be happy requires compassion and kindness, your head to be up, eyes forward, heart open … As I walk along Regent Street, I asked myself – aloud– waiting to cross Lensfield road, a rather simple question walking to class yesterday afternoon:
Can we openly allow ourselves to be nourished by a strangers kindness? If so, how deeply do we let it in?
Weaving through the arriviste crowd onto Hills Road, I turn a corner. Life goes on.
I love going on lazy walks (especially when its 60°F in December), and as strange and awkward as it may seem (those of you who know my true shy nature) I really enjoy sharing a smile, or a “good afternoon” to those passing along in the opposite direction. In Cambridge, when I pass along a favor of stepping aside for another cyclist, the hammering of their affectionately adorned brass cycling bell, ringing in my ears … When I smile and say “hello” to a group of walkers sauntering closer to me? I’m not sure if they feel awkward, shy, or are they simply not used to people sharing kindness?
Lost in the folds of these fleeting greetings, my awkwardness and whatever, the beauty of the gift slips out of their hands. This slight on their part, eats away at me, and my mind often travels to a dark area. Where each and every question I ask myself, diminishes my ability to share compassion and kindness. I feel guilty, I continue moving on with my head down. Life goes on.
A salve for my loneliness, my increasing isolation walking to yoga class along Union Road? Is taking a moment to pause, to seek out more opportunities to share compassion and kindness when the odium comes flying in my general direction.
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf-
You Dear Reader(s), help me up, when I’m feeling down – Each and every one of you make me feel alive! It has been an inspiring week and I hope each of you, every one of you, have a wonderful weekend!
I know how I feel having you in my life – I’m feeling good!
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway-
Dear yoga studio,
Not long ago, I visited you after settling into your lovely city. This letter is nothing personal, it’s just that you remind me of who I am not: someone who is vain and self-centered.
To clarify, I’m not the least bit upset with the caring teacher(s) and the helpful staff. It’s just frustrating to be surrounded in a studio environment, by things I can’t stand, and embarrassing to acknowledge how I used to act that way.
My Saturday morning vinyasa flow “experience” also made me realize that I live in a world full of “things” I don’t love, and sometimes, its me.
Which makes me wish for one of two things this dreary Cambridge morning: to become a vain, “look at me yoga student” in a trendy studio, or to become more compassionate towards myself and those around me. And seeing I’m too cheap to play the lottery, I’m striving for compassion. Besides, I suspect that compassion is considerably more fulfilling than being sweaty and having a chiseled body (or so I tell myself in the mirror every morning).
Understand, I have nothing against your Lulu clad, and mirror adorned studio. And yes! It is possible to attend some classes without falling upon the hedonic treadmill that is egotism and vanity.
I guess what I’m just trying to say is, that I ache for a more nurturing and compassionate yoga studio environment. What seemingly began as a harshly toned letter, has gently evolved into a “Thank you” note.
Without the heart opening class in your studio, I never would have fully realized who I’m not: someone who needs to look “good” in order to feel good.
Sometimes I sit alone under the stars and think of the galaxies inside my heart and truly wonder if anyone will ever want to make sense of all that I am-
Tis the season for “thankfulness” posts, acts of appreciation and a warm glowing sensation of gratitude wafting in the chilly air outside. As if some magical switch is naturally flipped, our thoughts turn towards being grateful this Thanksgiving week. I have found myself thinking more about what loving kindness means, and how it relates to being “thankful” after a series of rather unusual events for me personally the past two weeks.
I’m lonely and saddened here in Cambridge, by the idea, that we change how we feel, in order to fit a superficial idea of what kindness and thankfulness should be during this time of the year. Kindness to me, is a light that shines from the inside, every day. Loving kindness is the warmth we share with others in a cold yoga studio or stopping to offer your only spare tube to another rider walking home in the pouring rain (thanks mate!). Kindness can also be the simple act of touching someone’s shoulder, gently reminding them they left their umbrella on the bus seat while traveling home. Kindness resides in our heart(s). Kindness, is living with a deep sense of gratitude, giving sincere “thanks.”
What if this Thanksgiving we pause to give thanks for the compassion and kindness that surrounds us?
When I’m able to do this? The loneliness that grips me will subside, and my true spirit will glow.
It really has been too long since my last “real” post hasn’t it?!? What could Rapha, Camyoga, cyclocross racing, buddhism and minimalism have anything to do with your humble blog-o-thing? I suppose starting next week we will find out together, until then? Take care and have a wonderful weekend!
Winter winds cold and blea
Chilly blows o’er the lea:
Wander not out to me,
Jenny so fair,
Wait in thy cottage free.
I will be there.
Wait in thy cushioned chair
Wi’ thy white bosom bare.
Kisses are sweetest there:
Leave it for me.
Free from the chilly air
I will meet thee.
How sweet can courting prove,
How can I kiss my love
Muffled in hat and glove
From the chill air?
Quaking beneath the grove,
What love is there!
Lay by thy woollen vest,
Drape no cloak o’er thy breast:
Where my hand oft hath pressed,
Pin nothing there:
Where my head droops to rest,
Leave its bed bare.
I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy”-
Saunter into your local yoga studio and undoubtedly you will inundated with talk about – Mindfulness.
Why is this so? Primarily due to the images of relaxation, stillness, or acting in some idealistic way that mindfulness provides us in this atmosphere. Most yogi’s and mindfulness “practitioners” operate under the assumption that mindfulness, means continually being calm, serene and in control of your surrounding, even as the lady next to you in class rolls out her mat inches away from your perfectly oriented to the East sacred space. It’s because of this, that a mindfulness practice often feels as though we are failing in life, it erodes our personal sense of self-worth. Breaking News – Life is hard enough without aiming to be mindful and perfect all the damn time. Mindfulness, to me, is not a quest for perfection.
My mindfulness practice revolves around a well-known and often forgotten aspect about “life” – Life itself is deeply unpredictable. To translate the last statement into laymen terms – Life sucks most of the time, imperfection is the norm, and perfectionism will only lead you down a dark path. It’s how we live with and balance these hardships, that influences our moment-to-moment, mindful well-being. Even while practicing mindfulness, I can’t for the life of me, pay attention for an extended period of time. You know what most easily distracts me? It’s not the blonde hair or being a dude, or some new person in class … Its my own mind. I’m continually lost in my thoughts yet again, even right now. Yet, I bring myself back to the moment, even while dropping a screw fixing my bike or forgetting someones name I just met.
Many yogis’ or whatever, shroud themselves in the serious of a mindfulness practice, what’s lost is our collective sense of humor. Our minds often do what they want without us, if you can, look around during class and notice the stern faces and the concentration poured into being “mindful.” I often find myself spending an awful lot of effort aiming for something not fully attainable during class, during life. Mindfulness and a healthy dose of perfectionism only serve to make me feel worse about myself. The secret ingredient that is missing? A heartfelt smile and a sense of humility.
Shit happens in life, I make a mess of things a dozen or more times during the day. Mindfulness allows me to find comfort and humility in the midst of a crazy life. There’s no perfect mindfulness practice – Just you. I’m flawed and so is everyone else, but when you aim for improvement, instead of perfection? Everyone smiles.