Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Being brave by choice and by necessity

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)


CJ Tracy said...

Oh, I just love your posts, Deb, and especially this one. First of all, I see we have a lot in common. All of those things would make me nervous too (and I am pretty certain I could never kill a scorpion by myself! Yikes!) Way to go, stepping out of your comfort zone and helping others to do so as well.

debs14 said...

Coco is a pigeon chaser too but ours are clever and stay up in the trees/on the wall/on the fence - I don't know what she would do if she caught one but I don't think it will happen as the minute she sees one she starts barking which gives them a bit of a warning that she's on the prowl!
A scorpion? Eek! I think that squishing is the best thing to do there, after all you don't want him bringing his wife and family round to live in your garage. I'm not sure I would have done it with just a flip flop though - I would have wanted something much heavier so I didn't have to get too close.
How cute that the little girl trusts you enough to go with you to class, I love the way you say that every time you step out of your comfort zone, that zone gets a little larger - wise words!

Audrey said...

Oh my, Deb. A scorpion? Phew. I've never even seen one outside of being in a tank at a zoo yet I've always been so terrified of them. I do not think I'd crawl under a car with a flip flop to kill one. That was quite brave of you!!! :-)

Millie likes to hunt mice and other beings that congregate up on the berm in our backyard under the bird feeders. She's actually managed to kill one mouse and completely handicap others. I am so unbelievably soft hearted when it comes to animals (yes, even mice!) and it kills me to have to clean up what she leaves behind. My neighbors have seen me more than once (I'm sure) running across the yard screaming in hysterics at Millie to get her away. Once, when I was not here, she did the same to a cardinal. Now you know me and my Harry Winston!!!! I was broken hearted and actually considered giving Millie back to the rescue club. I can handle many things but I cannot deal with her hurting/killing my beloved cardinals. I got talked off the cliff that time (because my girls worship Millie) but I do worry that she may one day do it again. So I feel your pain on the pigeon front. Sorry you had to go through that!

I really enjoyed this post!!! Hope things are going well with the new house! XOXOXO

Susan Jarvie said...

I love your theme of stepping out of our comfort zones. There's probably something each of us does everyday that requires stepping out of the zone. I'm so excited you were forced out of your notes for your yoga class and had to wing it. Now you know you can, and you will again and again. Look at your students and you'll know what to teach. Nice job!! P.S. I once had to clean up the remains of a tortoise my Golden Retriever chewed and left on my white carpet in front of my reclining chair in the living room. I mistakenly thought a dog couldn't chew through the hard shell of a tortoise. It as awful but I wasn't alone, a neighbor was braver than I and "helped" while I watch. ;)

Karen said...

It's pretty intimidating to step outside our comfort zones. I had to present an adult ed piece at our church last Sunday. I stressed over it for weeks, but it went really well. I can't say I'm glad I said "yes" to it, but I feel pretty good now that it's over!

Stephanie@LaDolceVita said...

wow! you are braver than I am! I would have called him and said - oh yeah, there's a dead bird to take care of! lol! ew!

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