Practice, Not Perfect

December 12, 2018

As easy as it is to blame other people for things like small frustrations, it’s just as easy to forget that we are responsible for our own actions and, more importantly, our reactions.

Today was a particularly annoying day as far as days go. It started off well, with a morning like any other- I woke up, made myself some tea and meditated as it steeped. I fed the cats, relaxed for a bit, got ready for work and left early for once. Then as soon as I pulled onto the highway, a driver sped up and cut me off to get into my lane, instead of keeping his speed and letting me into his lane then making moves behind me... so in true east coast style, I flipped him off, flashed my lights, and sped up to get next to him before the lanes went their separate ways. Where did this land me? Stuck in traffic, with nowhere to go but the depths of my own mind. Then I sat there feeling my heart beat quickly and upon noticing this intense physical reaction, I pondered why I reacted so aggressively to such a small inconvenience caused by another person. Sure, he initiated the aggressive action, but I perpetuated it by getting upset and reacting with more aggression.

The annoying day kind of built on from there- more traffic on my way home, even though I left before rush hour. Unnecessary attitude from the gas station attendant when I asked him to exchange my dollar for quarters to use the air pump. A long line at the post office, despite my efforts to get there early. And a few more little things like that, which, in retrospect, seem far less annoying upon reflection than they did in the moment.

I let that aggressive morning interaction dictate how I viewed the rest of the day. It’s that common mistake of the “oh so this is how today is going to go” mentality. When in reality, we make our own choices and we can dictate how our days go. Things are only annoying if we choose to let them annoy us.

This is the yoga practice that goes beyond the mat. This is the real shit, the stuff we all inherently know and yet tend to forget in the heat of the moment even though it’s so easy to remember when we’re focused and in tune with our own energies. And most of the time we know it’s wrong to react a certain way but we do it anyway! Why? That’s crazy! Hopefully, these types of days get fewer and farther between when we take the time to connect and check in with ourselves regularly. And we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it either, because even the best of us falter on occasion.

At the end of the day, I can go on cursing other people for not behaving the way I want them to behave, or I can go home, make myself some tea, and curl up with two warm kittens and tell myself I’ll be a better version of me tomorrow.


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