The other day, I sat down in the dentist's chair for a cleaning, and my hands automatically started looking for the buckle to fasten my seat belt. That's when it struck me: I've been traveling too much lately.
I guess I should have realized it earlier, because a couple of days before, when we missed our connecting flight by one minute in Minneapolis because of a #@*& overzealous gate attendant, I did what I try to avoid and really don't like to do: I threw a hissy fit.
You know, one of those I-just-lost-it-and-someone's-gotta-pay-the-price-cuz-I'm-lookin'-for-blood kind of fits. Know the kind? It was only a minute, and it was reasonably civil in a bitingly snappy sort of way, but nonetheless. It was unmistakably a hissy fit.
I hated the part where I had to quickly rein myself in, because my husband was looking at me, embarrassedly, making excuses to the horrified gate attendant. As upset as I was, this wasn't worth turning into a major marital debacle as well. I also hated the part watching my husband turn lemons into lemonade, striking up a conversation with a third passenger who missed the plane, who teaches Conflict Resolution at University of Kansas and could end up being a good contact for his Masters-bound son.
I hated having to admit to myself that as far as rolling with The Stuff That Comes Your Way, my husband was a far more skilled athlete than I. I also hated to admit that ultimately, with my hissy fit, I was the one losing out.
And, I even more hated the fact that, once I resigned myself to the four-hour delay and we went to the Delta lounge to finalize the talk I was giving the next morning, that the timing was actually better. Now, instead of having to finish the talk late in the evening, I had a nice, long afternoon to work on it. I grumblingly had to acknowledge that okay, yes, lemons can turn into juicy lemonade, and that once I changed my attitude, the frustration and anger evaporated.
The experience was doubly poignant, because we were on our way back from the Anusara Grand Gathering at the Yoga Journal Conference in Denver, and one of the more memorable things I took away (apart from some great yoga classes) was Martin Kirk quoting Douglas Brooks:
"Part of being a yogi is deciding which part of you gets to tell your story."
It was yet another lesson in how we, consciously or not, create our reality. My husband chose one way to tell the story about the missed flight. I chose another. One way wasn't right, one way wasn't wrong. We were both right. The reality of the incident could be interpreted and digested in any which way. I'm sure my husband's new friend from Kansas had another, totally different take on it.
Who tells your story? It's probably one of the most important we can ask ourselves. Or more succinctly--which part of you do you let tell your story?
We live in a world in part of our own creation. What we see is our experience of the world. That's a simple truth that spiritual teachers have told us for millennia. It's a simple truth anyone can experience for themselves: Go without adequate sleep for a night, and see how you create your world. Get back to work after a weekend of rest and relaxation, and now see how you create your world.
The relativity of experience is easy to keep in mind, intellectually. As my little airport incident painfully reminded me, it is much harder to live. You can think about adopting a more positive outlook or attracting more positive things into your life till you're blue in your head, it won't get you further than the next annoying incident that comes your way. As people experimenting with the Law of Attraction, the Secret, and other forms of positive thinking often learn the hard way, changing reality by superimposing new thoughts on old, tired worn-out mental habits doesn't quite do the trick.
However, there are ways, and many of them, that help us transform our world. Simple techniques like meditation. at least in my experience with the TM technique, help us paint our world in a brighter glow. And so does something as straightforward as a yoga practice. Most anyone who has gone to a yoga class exhausted, worried, stressed, and anxious, have had the experience of walking away after an hour and a half feeling energized, peaceful, joyful, ready to take on challenges that before seemed daunting.
Why would anyone's world transform after just an hour and a half on the yoga mat? In my experience, the reason is this:
As we change our body, we change our mind.
If the world, as physicists tell us, is pure vibrations of energy and ultimately consciousness, body and mind are the instruments through which we break this nebulous energy soup into our lived experience. And of these, the body is by far the easiest through which to affect change.
Our body, more than anything else, has a tremendous impact on how we feel, and even how we think. What far too few people realize is that tiredness, fatigue is like poison to our body, our mind, and soul. It's not just that it makes you feel crummy, it makes you think differently, and as my little airport incident shows, it makes you experience events differently. A lot of wrecked marriages, wasted lives, and untold human suffering could be avoided if people would realize this simple truth.
Douglas Brooks via Martin Kirk again: "The one you want to tell your story is the one whose deeds, whose yoga reveals the very best of you."
So this, ultimately, IMHO is the Secret behing THE SECRET: How do you let tell your story. Which part of you do you give the mike to. Who gets to tell your story?
Follow Eva Norlyk Smith, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EvaNorlykSmith