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And now I get it…

It’s been a day of grated nerves and grated knuckles, of great ambitions and little progress. My impatience cup doth runneth over.

I return to work tomorrow after nearly two weeks holidays, during which I logged some 32 hours of overtime in the Communications Centre and Lord only knows how many hours doing Yoga Stuff™. Not bad for a few days off, eh? I justify working most of my scheduled days off by the fact I have nearly the entire month of October off; however this two weeks would have been nice as well. Alas, what’s done is done and it’s time to move on.

Today, I found myself huffing in the grocery store checkout line, after a morning of spinning my wheels and undone plans. Reality had hip-checked my schedule. I’m sure the checkout clerk didn’t wake up this morning with malicious intent to most grievously foul my plans for the day but, by the jumpings, she was doing an excellent job of it. I had no idea that a human being could move that slowly and not develop rigor mortis.

So tell me, is it merely ironic that a self-professed yoga teacher for the sorely stressed should find herself so sorely stressed by the little things in life? Or have we elevated it to the realm of hypocrisy? As the old expression goes, “Those who can’t do, teach.”

The fact of the matter is that yoga, while it is many, many things, it is neither magic or ritual. There is no promise that if I do so many asanas, in such and such an order, and chant magic-infused words and breathe in certain rhymed patterns, that everything in my life will go smoothly. I wish it were otherwise. But the sad fact of the Universe is that yoga does not, nor has it ever, made the world an easy or simple place in which to live. Furthermore, the Universe just doesn’t give a damn about my plans, or yours for that matter. It will unfold as it is meant to unfold, with or without our approval.

In fact, yoga probably makes me even more conscious of the little niggling things that irritate the living daylights out of me because I’m more aware of my surroundings and myself. Undoubtedly, this is because I didn’t have enough in my life to piss me off.

So as I stood in the lineup at the grocery store, deliberately trying to get my shoulders to relax, trying to breathe, trying to keep the tensions our of my jaw and all the other places I habitually hold it. I tried to keep my foot from tapping in impatience. I make a conscious decision to smile at the slowest grocery store clerk EVER.

It wasn’t until much later in the day that it occurred to me that the problem wasn’t the relatively speed of the clerk, nor was it the constant and lengthy interruptions to my plans for the day. It was because I had woken up with a vision of what today was going to be. I was going to go to market and get blueberries. Then I was going to do X and then Y and then I would have time to make the jam and then I would…and … and… and… it was all so neatly organized in my head.

And this is where it went awry. I mistook the future I had imagined as some form of reality. When the reality I was experiencing fell short of the reality I had conjured up, I felt cheated. And angry. And very, very, very irritable.

Every once in a while, my husband and I will buy a lottery ticket. It’s a complete waste of money and we know it ahead of time. We buy it because it’s a $2 flight of fancy and we will have an hour long conversation on how we’re going to spend the riches we truly know are never coming. It’s cheaper than going to the movies and has about as much substance.

So if I don’t get all bent out of shape when my lottery fantasies don’t pan out the way I think they should, what gives with my expectation that any of my other imaginings should come true?

Yoga will not give me the universe I want or even the one I feel I deserve. It does, however, give me the wisdom to discern between reality and fantasy, even if it sometimes takes me a while to ‘get it’. The fact of the matter is I didn’t have a crappy day. I chose to make it a crappy day by clinging to my imagined future of efficiency and completed tasks. And now that day is turning to night and it’s almost time to go to bed, those shoulders are starting to soften and my jaw isn’t so tight. In truth, it’s all been a self-inflicted injury. I am the author of my own Duhka … my suffering.

Thanks for reading and Namaste,



About Kate MacKay

I'm a certified Viniyoga teacher, in Fredericton, NB. I was a 9-1-1 operator and emergency services dispatcher for 22 years. Surprisingly, the two worked well together, or as I liked to put it, from the sublime to the ridiculous -- all in a day's work. I'm currently off work as a result of a stress-induced cardiac condition that's thrown a few crimps in my lifestyle. I'm not actively teaching yoga in the classroom right now and probably won't for several more months. That said, this blog is one of the forms of practice I can do and I thank you for joining me in this exploration of all things yoga.

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