Perhaps a revolutionary happiness is possible if we allow our boats to flee. Such a happiness would be alive to chance, to chance arrivales, to the perhaps of a happening. We would not wait for things to happen. You make happen. Or you create the ground on which things can happen in alternative ways.
having a project—something to do for or with others that takes you from the ordinary routines of your life—can energize us and that energy can acquire its own force: if we lack a project, a sense of purpose, our purpose can be to find one.
That Sacred Pause
In addition to teaching yoga to “big kids” (college students, my peers), I also teach yoga to little kids at the after school program in my college town. These little kids are in kindergarten and first grade and are unbelievably precious, but that’s kind of besides the point in this story.
Last week, one of the kids didn’t want to participate in the asana class. As always, asana is a 100 percent optional part of the yoga practice so I let him draw in the corner of the room (today, when I used this story as my dharma talk in a class of “big kids,” I told them that they are more than welcome to draw in the corner instead of doing a side crow as well; they laughed). One of the students who was participating in the class drew all over this other little boy’s drawing when he wasn’t looking. The little boy who had his drawing effed up got really upset, but contained it momentarily.
On our way up to homework help, I didn’t see the upset little boy. I panicked, afraid that I lost a kid, but when I looked down the stairwell, I saw a small body sitting on the bottom stair, head buried in his hands.
I sat down next to him and asked what was wrong.
"I…I…I just got so mad I didn’t know what I was going to do," he said. Then, he threw his hands in the air and said, "Sometimes I just can’t control myself, Miss Shira! So I’m giving myself a time-out!"
I responded, “The fact that you are sitting here and giving yourself a time-out means that you can most definitely control yourself. That is something most grown-ups don’t know how to do.” Then, I told him to give me five high-fives and he went upstairs to homework help and made more drawings, forgetting what he was mad about in the first place.
In my head during that entire interaction, I was amazed. That “time-out” that six-year-old took when he was agitated and hurt is, to me, the essence of yoga. It is the space between the cause and the reaction. It is that sacred pause where we can breathe deeply, collect ourselves, and then learn how best to move on.
And sometimes, if we’re lucky, our best teachers are kindergarteners who are learning all of this for the first time and have not yet had the chance to forget.
Our stability is directly connected to our ability to love.
What happens when you combine smart liberal arts college students with fitness, wellness and yoga classes? A really fucking well-written blog on incorporating health into a college lifestyle often stigmatized as unhealthy. We’re just trying to let the world know that wellness + college aren’t mutually exclusive and I think we’re doing a damn good job so far. So…READ THIS! So grateful for my fellow teachers and this incredibly cOMmunity!
A great reminder for this time of year, college yogis!
Every experience is a moving force. Its value can be judged only on the ground of what it moves toward and into.