Our lives are always unpredictable and can sometimes be very hectic. However, I notice on a daily basis how this affect my students yoga practice. Typically when life gets crazy, the first thing that we let go of are the "extras" so that we can deal with whatever the biggest thing on our plate is. This is a good strategy, but really it comes down to whether or not you think that your yoga practice is an "extra". If it is, then it is seems easy to skip practice that day and instead deal with the stress in your life head-on. However, I would like you to consider if an hour of practice would instead help you face the challenges with a clearer mind?
Our yoga practice helps pull us through those hard times. We would not, hopefully, skip brushing our teeth or our hair - even during these stressful times. Why would be put yoga in a separate category? Isn't it just as important in your life as having clean teeth? What about a clean and calm mind? An open heart?
Our yoga practice is similar to building a brick wall. Each day that we come into practice, we put another brick on that wall, getting a closer glimpse of where we are headed and just how big this experience really can be. Yoga is like the other things in your life, in order to get there, you have to keep moving towards the goal and putting each brick down securely.
Yes, you read that right. Happiness is a choice! It is a choice that you face each moment of every day. Ultimately you get to choose whether you want to face whatever is going on in the moment with happiness and patience or anger and victimization.
We are faced with many challenges on a daily basis. Our kids fight, our boss is over demanding, we get cut off while driving in our car, the line at the grocery store is too long, the doctor is running an hour behind schedule... All of these are the typical things we face on a day-to-day basis. But each time we face one, we have the choice on how we want to react.
Let me give you an example. You are cut off by someone while driving. Maybe your normal knee-jerk reaction is to get angry, say a few not-so-nice things and then grumble about how inconsiderate and rude that driver was for the rest of the way to your destination. Maybe instead we should consider what might be going on in the life of the other driver. Did they have a family member just call them from the Emergency Room? Or a sick child at home? Or a sick pet they are rushing to the vet? Also, it would be worth considering how their action is really a gift to you. Maybe by cutting you off, they slowed you down or brought you more present to your driving. Maybe this prevented you from getting a ticket or, worse, into an accident. Next time this happens, it would be the perfect opportunity to send them a blessing hoping that all is well for them and then thank them for making your travels more safe.
Each challenge we face in our lives is an opportunity to grow and learn. We can choose to see the world as half empty or we can choose to see the things in our lives as lessons that are taking us exactly where we need to go. The people who get through a "crisis" the best are those that are able to step back and see that it is a gift that leads them to an even better place on the other side of it. Life is similar to one large staircase. For each step up that we take, there needs to be something that we have learned that has helped change us and move us there. Be thankful for each challenge that got you up to the next level of understanding.
So, if each moment you have the ability and the right to choose happiness or sadness.... which will you choose? This isn't a matter of deciding you will never be sad again, this is a matter of watching moment to moment how you choose to step on to the path you are taking.