Today I tell a tale of a day when life gave me challenges to rise above.
And then a tale of a young friend who is braver still.
Brave thing #1:It was a morning like any other. I was running late for work and still needed to feed the turtles, make sure the cat wasn't locked in a closet or my craft room for the day, and put the dog outside.
We’ve been dealing with an excessive number of pigeons in our backyard. They congregate near the patio and wait for Lucky to walk away from his food bowl. As soon as he turns his back, they flock to his bowl and devour his food. So annoying.
So on that particular morning, Lucky and I headed outside and were greeted by about six pigeons waiting for his bowl to be filled. Lucky's instincts are to lunge at the birds. He does this cute little hopping movement and runs a little circle around the yard, making sure all the birds scatter – so adorable. Except for on that particular morning when he lunged and one fearless pigeon was all, "Meh" and Lucky caught the bird. As in, killed the bird. Right in front of me!
I tried hard not to freak out. Lucky is a dog and he was just doing what came naturally. And it might upset my bird loving friends to know that I dislike pigeons so much I wasn't really all that heartbroken for the planet to lose one. The thing that was most upsetting was that Doug had already left for work and I knew I had to deal with a freshly dead bird. Ew.
Removing a dead bird was challenging, but doable in Doug's absence. The image stuck with me the whole rest of the day.
Brave thing #2:I teach a yoga class on Wednesday evening and it's always a rush for me to get home from work, change clothes, and head for class. As I stepped into our garage to leave for class, I saw something run underneath my car. Ugh. A scorpion.
Now, I could have just hopped in my car and drove off, leaving the scorpion to roam our garage and possibly be around to sting one of us in the future or worse - make more scorpions. Doug wasn't home from work yet and I figured, "Hey, I've already dealt with a dead pigeon today..." so I pulled off my flip-flop, got down on my hands and knees, reached under my car, and I squished the scorpion. I squished him a few times. Ew.
Brave thing #3:
After the scorpion incident, I headed for class. I was so happy about my class plan for that night. I loved the sequencing of poses and the quote I chosen to share. I had read through it a few times and felt really proud of myself for what I had in store for my students.
When I got to class I rolled out my mat and got things set up. I greeted my students as they arrived and settled in. And then I realized, I didn't have a copy of my class plan with me. Gulp.
Now, experienced yoga teachers typically don't use notes - or if they do they hide it well and it's never been noticeable to me. And there was nothing for me to do but wing it at that point - and it went really well! I remembered most of the poses I'd planned to lead and, on the fly, I re-themed my class to be about stepping out of our comfort zone. My students were none the wiser. Phew.
All those chances to be brave in one day?! Sheesh. I was pretty full of myself by the end of the day, telling Doug about my courageous accomplishments.
Another kind of brave...I've had the good fortune to befriend the 9-year old daughter of a friend of Doug's. I met her one evening at a family gathering and we became fast friends. She lives with her dad in a household of boys - an older brother and a younger one in the mix. At the end of the evening I asked if she'd be interested in attending a yoga/mandala workshop that I would be co-leading soon. She didn't even hesitate when she said, "Yes!" I asked if she'd ever practiced yoga before - if she knew what yoga was - and her answer was no, but she still wanted to go with me.
On the day of the workshop her dad dropped her off at our house. I was nervous for her! She barely knew me, knew nothing about yoga or mandalas, had no idea where we were even going, but she showed up at our house ready and willing.
She stuck fairly close to me that afternoon and she loved the workshop! When I took her home she thanked me sweetly and gave me a hug. In a conversation with her dad later, he told me she can’t wait to practice yoga with me again sometime and I was so impressed. What a brave 9-year old girl she is!
And isn't that how life is? We encounter these little challenges along the way that we can face head on, or choose to walk away from. Facing our fears along life's path helps us build confidence, and that confidence can have a snowball effect on our psyche. The more we practice stepping out of our comfort zone, the more our comfort zone expands bit by bit.
I know that my little friend will have many more opportunities to be brave as the years roll on for her. But now she knows yoga and I know I can dispose of a dead pigeon if I need to.
And I've since taught a few more yoga classes without having notes on hand. :o)