The other day I was in forward bend in yoga and thought, “Horrors, my pedicure is in terrible shape, and is that . . . glitter? How did I get glitter on my yoga mat? And that loose thread is ominous . . . oh great, a hole in my yoga pants. I am a TJ Maxx girl in a sea of Lululemons. Oh no, did I turn my phone off? That cautionary ring tone for my famous bad boy ‘I knew you were trouble when you walked in’ seemed like such a good idea at the time . . .”
I did not think, “Wow. Isn’t it wonderful how my body has the strength and flexibility to reach down and touch the floor and rise up gracefully with no pain or strain? I am so proud that my daily ‘practice’ has created a sense of health and well-being in this not-so-young-subpar-yoga-pants-wearing body.”
It is all too easy to focus on the negative, especially in the current economic, cultural, political, and Venice flooding, California wild fire burning, death of Peconic Bay scallops climate. So, as we are all sitting down to Thanksgiving, the question is, “What are we grateful for?” Or for those of us who find ending a sentence with a preposition akin to fingernails on a chalk board, “For what are we grateful?”
Often people say they are thankful for their blessings. Which is true, but blessings seem to be like mocha lattes magically descending from the Starbucks heaven on unicorns recycled out of cottage cheese cartons and leg warmers. Mostly, we work very hard for the good things in our lives. These do not need to be big things like finding a way to cryogenically keep Ruth Bader Ginsburg alive for a few more decades or establishing the Ministry of Loneliness in every country, which can send cadres of compassionate workers to spend time with those who feel left behind, or inventing, please God, something as effective as two glasses of Chardonnay to combat anxiety without the caloric count or health detriments. It is about focusing on what is in our control.
As I write, I know the power of words. As an experiment, record a conversation and note how many statements you make that are negative and how many are positive. I am all for a good bitch session that elicits gasps of, “No way! I can’t believe he did that? Let’s go kill the f***er or at least mount a vicious Facebook attack.” But wouldn’t it be pleasant to talk about what you are passionate about and what excites you and what small pleasures you had that day or, my personal favorite, a good book you are reading? Most everyone I know is struggling either financially or emotionally or physically or has suffered a major life disappointment. Aside from “The Real Housewives,” there is no prize for the most aggrieved, so focusing on the positive and gratitude is literally soul enhancing. All the more important to see the beauty and magic in small things.
Contemplating this, I go back to that glitter on my yoga mat. Maybe that is my blessing from angels above, because each time I look down at my battered pedicure and small piece of duct tape on my inseam, I focus instead on the sparkle. And even though no one may know it through some very awkward asanas, I have a personal party going on my yoga mat each and every day. Namaste.