On the weekends, please enjoy the Retro Throwback where I share my favorite posts from some time ago. Keeping the Peace was originally published in February 2012.
Recently, I came across this great quote, “Let nothing steal your peace.” It’s a great quote to think about when practicing, but it’s also a great quote to think about outside the hot room.
In the hot room, there are of course many things that can steal my peace. I can let the heat or the sweat get to me. I can be distracted by someone else drinking water or falling out of a posture. I can let the postures themselves steal my peace. In the hot room, if something steals my peace – even for one set of one posture – then I’ve missed out. I didn’t get all the benefits I came for. And I would like to say, that I am pretty certain something steals my peace at least once (probably more) every class. That’s because I’m human. I’m learning here. The key is to recognize when I’ve lost my peace and then regain it and move forward.
In life, I lose my peace all the time.
Several weeks ago I was hopping around on the internet reading a bunch of yoga blogs. On one of them – and I wish I knew which one – someone pointed out that when things happen to us in life (particularly the not so nice things) we can take two approaches. The most common approach is to make ourselves a victim. This is the, “Why is this happening to me?” outlook. The second approach is to consider that this event is not happening TO you but FOR you in order to teach you something should you let it. I really liked this second view. I am trying to adopt it and apply it more regularly.
Considering why something is happening FOR you is not easy. I actively tried it a few days ago when a passive aggressive person showed up in my life and tried to make it sound like it would be my fault if she did not do something we agreed on (several weeks before!) very well. Let me recreate this. Pretend I own an ice cream parlor, and I have an employee (Sally) who has worked there for awhile and knows all the ropes. Here’s the exchange:
Me: Sally, when the customers order ice cream give them one scoop. Then, take this spoon and use it to put sprinkles on top.
Sally: How many sprinkles?
Me: Just take the spoon, fill it to a reasonable amount, and spread them on the ice cream.
Sally: I need you to tell me EXACTLY how many sprinkles go on the ice cream.
Me: No, you don’t. You know how to do this. You’ve done it before. Don’t get hung up on that detail. It’s not important.
Sally: If you won’t tell me exactly how many sprinkles I need to apply then I will probably apply too many and spill them everywhere. I will make a big mess, and it will be your fault because I asked you to tell me how many and you won’t tell me. You’ll have to clean up my mess. I am trying to prevent you from having to clean up my mess. I can’t do this if you won’t tell me.
Me: That won’t happen because I trust that you can do this well.
While I really did keep my cool in my real life situation and actually said that last line, I wanted to bang my head into the wall and scream, “Why are you acting like this? Just do the *!*!%*$% work like you’re supposed to.” See? Sally just stole my peace. Sally also totally knew what she was doing and in the end did a fine job. Why the games Sally?
I caught myself this time and saw a pattern. Passive aggressive people seem to pop in and out of my life on a regular basis. Maybe they are happening FOR me. Maybe I need to learn something from them or about myself. I have no idea what that lesson is. I think the first one is to not let them steal my peace. I am hopeful that if I pay attention to this group of people and really engage and try to learn from them that eventually the universe will decide I have learned my lesson and stop sending them to me. That right there is motivation enough to change my approach. I am not a passive aggressive person. I do not understand this approach to life. This could kill me. I could die (yeah, right).
The yoga room is a great place to practice keeping my peace and keeping my focus. I can think, “Why do I feel so crappy in class today?” or “When will my hips stop feeling so horribly tight in triangle?” but when I do that a bit of my peace is lost. I can acknowledge that my hips are tight or that I don’t feel my best, but then I have to work with it in some way. If I embrace the awful and try to learn from it, then it can’t steal my peace. It IS my peace in the hot room and in life.