Yoga saved my life.
Pretty grand statement, I know. And perhaps other people say that, too. I guess depending on where you are in life or what you happen to be going through, there are a lot of things that can save your life. A good book could do it, a sign from the universe or maybe even a strong martini. But when I say that yoga saved my life, I mean it truly came into my life during one of the darkest moments I had ever experienced and gave me back my desire to really live — fully and entirely.
A few years back, I found myself completely paralyzed with anxiety. I couldn’t go to work, drive my car or even leave my house without a potential panic attack. This anxiety made me angry. It made me resentful. But most of all, it made me an entirely different person. I became a shell of what I used to be. A lot of people thought I’d stay that way. Full disclosure: I thought I’d stay that way too.
In the last few weeks, I have had several clients and other acquaintances who have shared their discontent. Their challenges range from unsatisfying relationships to chaotic work environments to spiritual disconnection to complete exhaustion. As I listened to each person there was a similar question that kept running through my mind: “Is your container too small?”
In the east end of my city is a methadone clinic, a safe place where opiate addicts can ingest a less harmful substitute under the supervision of doctors and addiction specialists. This clinic is new, operating out of a pharmacy in a residential area.
Concerned residents, led by a university student who lives in the area, are outraged that a methadone clinic was opened without consulting the neighborhood, though it adheres to the city’s bylaw that clinics in residential areas serve no more than 40 people.
The group has taken to photographing the addicts as they come and go, which has, of course, created an environment of fear and shame among those who use the clinic, already prone, as addicts often are, to fear and shame.
These protesters insist that they’re only taking photographs so that “if crime increases,” they’ll have shots of the “likely criminals.”
The media story around this has inspired equal anger on the parts of many citizens, who have sent e-mails filled with threats and accusations to the protesters. An eye for an eye, it would seem.
Newsflash: Yoga teachers are just as damaged, depraved, sordid, angry, insecure and proud as everyone else. Perhaps the only difference is that some yoga teachers are more aware of their flaws than others. But that isn’t a given; plenty are oblivious to them.
People are people. I’m not excusing abhorrant behaviour; I’m merely observing the fact that we are more similar than we might like to think. We have feelings. We get hurt. Exploited. Taken advantage of. Pissed off. Irritated. Fed up. Lost. Angry. Furious, even. Exhausted. Whiny. Grumpy. There’s a whole range of drama going on within all of us in the wrestle of the upward and downward spirals.
What can make all the difference, though, is connecting the inner to the outer and finding balance between them.
It’s often said that we’re living with our best teacher, and nowhere is that more true than with our children. No one has the ability to push our buttons the way our kids do. And no one offers us the opportunity to practice the things we preach — about love, forgiveness and staying centered — like our kids do.
Every parent wants to stay cool, calm and collected. We don’t want to threaten to send them to bed without their supper when they’ve sassed back, or tell them they’re grounded for a month when — yet again — they refuse to honor their curfew. But taking a deep breath or counting to ten can seem almost impossible in the presence of kids who seem to know exactly how to push our biggest buttons.
As a parent and grandparent, I was very hesitant to watch Rabbit Hole because I knew that it focused on parents who were dealing with the death of their child. After much encouragement from my wife, Lauren, and one of our community members (Mark), and with the tragedy in Tucson in the background, we watched the film last night and were absolutely mesmerized.
I have been contemplating gratitude for the past few days. What came forward for me was that everything is a gift. When I look back on my life, I can see how every event, experience and person supported me in being the person that I am today.
Dear Arielle and Brian,
One year ago, I discovered that my husband and my best friend were having an affair. As you can imagine, I was heart-broken and devastated and left him. I was fortunate to find a great coach who has been helping me work through the pain and grief, and I finally feel like I am ready for new love. Some days I am happy and sunny again and anticipating a future with a new man. But other days, I wake up sad and lonely and convinced I’ll never find love again. What am I doing wrong?
By Katherine Robertson-Pilling
I met Sandrine a year after she had been injured in a terrible car accident; she had spent months in the hospital, and still had very limited use of her arm. “You can’t sit around waiting,” she announced, “You have to get back to life.” Today she is stronger than ever and training for a bicycle race in Paris.
There’s a honk and then there’s a HONK!
Back from India, Colleen and I reflected on the nonviolent and nonetheless insane driving in the streets of India. Most of the time, you have to blindfold yourself in order not to jump out of your seat every 5 seconds.