At yoga last night, we set the intention for our practice by thinking of someone who brings us joy and gratitude.
Generally, when I think of someone to focus my practice on, it’s usually my husband or my children. Or someone who has helped me grow in one form or another. This is automatic and there’s no thought process required. What my husband and children have taught me and brought to my life cannot compare to anyone else. Devoting my practice to them, more often than not, is a given.
These days I’ve been focusing on slowing my thought process. I’m beginning to find that my first reaction or response to a question or decision is the right one. You might say I’m learning to follow my gut. It’s that first thought I have to catch before it sails on through with many other options on it’s heels. It’s that first thought that speaks the truth and my truest feelings. It’s that first thought that is the right one.
Last night when I was asked to think of someone who brings me joy and gratitude – that first thought was me.
It was kind of shocking when I realized what my inner voice was saying. I actually stumbled a little. Does no one else bring me joy or gratitude? I know that can’t be true. Am I not grateful for anyone else in my life? Um, that wasn’t the question. I pondered. And in sitting with my thoughts for the good first portion of the class*, I realized it has nothing to do with anyone else bringing me joy or gratitude.
It has more to do with it is me who is responsible for giving myself joy and gratitude.
No one else can make me feel that way and no one else can control my innermost feelings. If I have joy and gratitude, it’s because I allowed that to happen. If I am unhappy or lacking in gratitude, it’s because I’m not paying attention. Or I’m ignoring what’s happening around me.
I’ve seen people in the trenches of the most awful situations handle it with grace, joy, and even gratitude. It’s totally in their approach to life and how they handle all life throws at them. I truly hope that if I were faced with a life-altering situation I could muster up some big “kahoonas” and dig down deep to find the joy and gratitude regardless of the situation. It might not be easy but…
It’s possible because joy and gratitude doesn’t have to be packaged with a perfect bow.
So in those moments when things are tough – like when I’m doing yoga and it feels like a train wreck is going on in my body – I need to remember that joy and gratitude is totally within my hands.
*I’m so grateful for those early easy breathing (see: non-balancing) poses.
Photo credit: Received this from my yoga instructor and will totally be using it as a bookmark in The Book of Awakening which I read daily.