Sh!t I Learned in YTT - Living my yoga off of my mat - aparigraha

     It never ceases to amaze me how at times, everything in the universe comes together to teach you a lesson.  The stars align, circumstances fall into place, and HOPEFULLY, you can put it all together, and learn.  I always learn best when I experience something first hand.  I have never been able to "take someone's word for it".

     One of the hardest of the yamas for me to practice in my life is definitely aparigraha.  I hate when things don't go my own way.  I feel sick to my stomach getting rid of things that I barely even use.  I hold onto feelings that I should have let go a long time ago.  None of it serves me well.  And it is something I have been trying to change for a while. 

       Because I live in such a busy, scatterbrained headspace, I require frequent meditation.  Out of any singular aspect of my yoga, missing a meditation is one that I would feel the effects of right away.  Missing an asana practice I can live with.  It definitely catches up with me, and I can't miss them continually without feeling like shit, but I can handle my life still.  Missing a meditation has a profound, immediate effect.  I forget even more then I already do.  I get even more flustered.  I get angry faster.  Even if I can only fit in a short meditation, it works wonders for my mental stability.

     Wednesday, last week, after finishing running errands, I had carved out some much needed meditation time for myself.  I stopped by my favourite new spot to meditate.  I rolled out my mat on a rock for a little comfort, I took my mala in hand, and I began a simple mantra meditation, "SO HUM".  Getting a little out of my comfort zone, I decided to do the meditation, out loud, in public.  I decided that the worst thing someone could think, is that I was crazy.  Which I kink of am, so, whatever.  I worked through my 108 mantras.  I had set a timer on my phone, so that at no point would I be distracted wondering about what time it was.  I could just focus on my mantra, knowing that I wouldn't run late, and not make it home to get the kids off the bus.  Only focus, breathe, and chant.

         Just as I was coming close to the end of my meditation, my phone rang.  I first thought it would be a telemarketer, and wasn't going to answer, but had a gut feeling that I should answer.  I did, and it was an awful phone calI. The man who had killed my best friend 14 years earlier had successfully appealed his parole hearing from a year ago, and was being granted a new hearing. It was enough to make me sick to my stomach.  I sat there, crying, trying to collect my thoughts.  Once I had composed myself as much as I could, a thought popped into my head.  "What an awful way to wreck a beautiful meditation."  I was overcome with anger.  I had set aside this time to take care of myself, and this phone call had undone all of my hard work.  Immediately my stomach was back in knots, as was my back, neck, shoulders.  Fuck. 

     I left, feeling deflated.  I had this idea of this picture perfect meditation, and it had been ruined by this news.  As I drove, I began to think.  By the time I got home, I had realized something important.  Maybe it wasn't that my meditation was ruined.  Maybe things hadworked themselves out so that I could receive this phone call in the best setting, at a time when I was feeling calm, at peace, and introspective.  Then I saw the bigger picture.  This phone call was about something that has long been a source of sadness, a source of pain, and also a source of hatred.  Maybe after all of these years, I should at least visit the thought of allowing these feelings to slip away.  I have been grasping onto these feelings for so long now, and maybe I need to work on aparigraha in the biggest things in my life.  Not just decluttering and giving up control.  It was the first time that it had ever occurred to me that it might be okay to move past this.  And it also occurred to me that moving past a situation doesn't mean that we concede that it was okay.  It only means that we no longer give it the power to keep bringing us down to our darkest places.  It means that we can experience peace.  We can let other people carry the weight of their own actions.  We don't have to carry that weight for them.

       The following day, I had my YTT training.  Our focus for the day...letting go.  Coincidence?  I will let you decide...

Living through the chaos, even when it hurts...