Point to Ponder:
What frustrations or challenges do you currently experience that could become teachers and helpers in your life?
As I did yesterday, every Saturday I attend a Power Vinyasa Flow class. Each week my goal is to balance out my more intense strength and interval training workouts with yoga, and while I take yoga from three different instructors, my favorite instructor leads on Saturday mornings. This particular class is taught by a man, and what I love most is his introspective and intuitive nature. He is always teaching, both physically and mentally, and I regularly walk away with nuggets of information and wisdom, as I did this Saturday.
Like in all of his classes, they are heated and we begin in child’s pose (my absolute favorite pose in the world). Yesterday, as we melted in child’s pose he said this, “As you can feel, this room is heated. This may frustrate you, but it’s here to help you.” Ahhh….there’s the wisdom that I count on! As my body heated up with the room and I flowed in and out of poses, I contemplated his words.
In the case of his yoga class, the heat, especially once my body is covered in sweat, can be extremely frustrating and maddening, but it helps my tight body ease in and out of the poses more comfortably. And, when I am dripping with sweat, I become more uncomfortable and my mind becomes agitated, so I take long deep breaths and focus on calming my mind. The heat is my teacher that helps me control my breath and my thoughts.
Then, as I moved past the thought of how the heat is irritating yet helpful, I began reflecting on other frustrations and challenges that I currently experience and have experienced, and wonder if they have helped me? The answer is a consistent “yes.” Each one has helped me and taught me a valuable lesson. From unmet expectations and deadlines, being married and having children, to the annoying unknowns and unanswered prayers, they are all my helpers.
For example, the extremely frustrating unmet expectations and deadlines have helped me to relax more and recognize that no matter how long or hard I work, nothing will ever be perfect, there is always room for improvement and there will always be more to do. So, breathe, let go of control, have fun and celebrate all victories- big and small.
As for my husband, he absolutely makes me crazy and I know I make him crazy too. However, marriage has helped me understand compromise and that my way isn’t the only way. Being in a committed relationship helps me realize the significance in letting things go. Even though I always want to be right, I don’t have to be right (all of the time, at least) and just because I do it one way, doesn’t mean that it can’t work another way.
With regard to our children, while I have a ton of fun with them, they drive me bonkers. However, as every mother would confess, as irritating as children (off all ages) can be, children are the best teachers and helpers in life. No matter what age, children help teach patience and letting go of expectations. Little children help me find beauty in the little things. They love without judgement, they do not judge themselves (even their plump bellies and dimply rears), they are fearless, they believe in themselves, and they only want to love and have fun. They help me to slow down, not sweat the small stuff and live for the moments.
Finally, for the obnoxious unknowns and unanswered prayers, they are my helpers because they consistently teach me humility and patience. They have given me the gift of letting go and the understanding that just because I want it now, doesn’t mean that I need it now, or that it’s the best thing for me, now. They are my faith-building helpers and protectors.
All in all and frustrating or not, I think everything and everyone can be our helper. It’s all a matter of awareness and perspective. If we choose to look at things as helpers, then they will become our helpers, but if we choose to fight them and see them only as annoyances and inconveniences, then that’s what they will be. Therefore, rather than avoid a perceived uncomfortable or challenging situation, conversation or opportunity, or wish it to just go away, remember that what we resist, persists, and with a mindset shift these things can become our greatest teachers and helpers.