So, here is a fun thing. My blog won a non-contest. I just found out yesterday.
Check it out: www.cirkla.com/newsletters/112209.htm. I kind of laughed at the review- "At first glance, this appears to be just another yoga blog...." (hmmm... meaning, what, exactly?) But the review gets much better after that. I am teasing. Sort of...
And speaking of blogs, I wiped the former blog roll clean and have added folks back who told me they would like to be linked to my blog. So if you would like to be linked here, just let me know, happy to add a link even if your blog is "just another yoga blog..." (Kidding. Totally kidding.)
Anne and I spent some time together yesterday, I did a bunch of work on my computer, had a phone conference with a woman I am mentoring through the final stages of certification and then went to Peggy's class, which was wonderful as always. I had dinner at Guerro's with a lovely troupe of yogini's who are organizing a Texas Yoga Conference, a Texas Yoga Association response to the increase in legislation we are all facing with Teacher Training Programs and one of whom is beginning a Yoga Teacher Talent Management company. Very interesting evening indeed.
So it is Thanksgiving week which means I suppose it is time to ponder gratitude out loud.(In fact, someone wrote to me suggesting this as a topic of consideration and while normally I do not take requests I thought it might be a good topic. Actually that is a lie. I totally take requests. Well, that is a lie also. Sometimes I take requests.) Anyway, I think about gratitude a lot because I find it is a virtue that when I cultivate creates a lot more happiness in my life.
Recently I was walking with Gioconda and was kind of in a complaining mood which she was patiently and indulgently listening to and toward the end of the conversation she told me, "You know, you might find that as you focus on the stuff that is going well for you, the things you are dissatisfied with may seem less important." Ahh... such a wise and skillful way to say, "Stop bitching and be grateful!"
Manorama spoke to this a bit in Corpus Christi. She said that "The mind always wants what it does not have and has what it does not want. The yogi reverses the paradigm and learns to want what they have and to have what they want." Yes, another example of the radical nature of the path. The mind of our biological machine is not necessarily set up to be grateful. It would seem that if the mind is set up like Manorama suggests- to want what it does not have and to have what it does not want- then we need to waste no time feeling bad about ourselves when we find ourselves in that particular orientation. We are simply being true to that aspect of the mind.
So on one level, it would seem complaining, perceiving lack, longing for something other than what is, is somewhat "natural." But like Laurie Blakeney taught us all those years ago, "Yoga is about being super natural." (Oh and save the date- she will be teaching in Austin in June 25-27) Maybe gratitude is a yoga siddhi, a super power of some kind that we can cultivate and learn to incorporate as a primary outlook.
That is the thing. It may be perfectly natural to complain and to want to corral others into telling us we are justified in our very natural outlook and our very understandable perceptions that stem from "wanting what we do not have and having what we do not want." But just because that outlook is natural does not mean it is optimal or that it is the Highest level of natural. Really, we can do better. And the yogi is being called to do better.
I was thinking about this recently with my work. I was on the phone with someone who really wanted to talk about the many ways the work I do must be so stressful and so forth. I got off the phone, having followed that particular thread in the conversation, feeling like I really sold myself out. The thing is, sure it is difficult. (Truth be told I have never had a job I enjoyed that wasn't, on some level, difficult. One time I had an "easy" job- I had to sit behind a counter at a health club and hand out towels and locker keys. That job almost killed me it was so "easy.") So sure, there are some challenges in the way that I have organized my life but there are so many more amazing things about it.
I got off the phone and realized I did not say one thing about the fact I am deeply, profoundly grateful to get to do the work I do. I get to be part of an incredible community of like-minded people all over over the world who are exploring what I consider to be some of the most profound teachings ever. We are not doing it perfectly, we are not doing it not without mishap, not without challenges internally and externally, but really... we are in an incredible game together, all of us.
I didn't say that I am probably happiest in those moments when I am teaching yoga- when I am being used in that particular way to share what I have learned and to share in what others are learning.
I didn't say that even though I may get tired from sitting on a plane, switching times zones, talking so much and so forth that never do I step in front of a group of people to teach and wish I was doing anything else in the entire world in that moment. When I am in the act of teaching, I want what I have.
I didn't say that I wouldn't want it any other way. I didn't say that I consider what I do a dream job. In that conversation I slipped into the lowest common denominator of complaint and what I was left with was not the remorse of "I should have been more positive" from some outside standard. What I felt was a deeper remorse from not having taken a stand for the High Vision I actually hold for what I do which revolves around a deep sense of gratitude for this path and its teachings.
Asserting a perspective of gratitude and standing for it in this world where to be savvy, discerning and cultured often involves fault-finding is an act that requires great courage and vulnerability in a way. The intellect complains. The heart experiences gratitude. To feel grateful we have to allow a kind of tenderness in and to share what it is that we feel grateful for definitely exposes a place of raw tenderness in us. Sharing from a tender heart requires a much different level of intimacy than simply revealing oneself at an intellectual level.
So those are my musings for today. There is more so perhaps more tomorrow.