Surviving Stressful Situations

Pacific Coast Highway

Lainie Devina via Mimosa Lotus, 03/13/2014

From the moment I got in my car this morning I hit every red light. Every. Single. One. As my frustration, irritation and anger continued to build throughout the day, I was done in, ready to call it quits, and run away with a glass of red wine in my hand and not look back.

I couldn’t take it anymore. My mind was racing with angry thoughts that I couldn’t control. I am a yoga teacher for g-d’s sake! I should be able to do this better than most and instead, all my years of practice flew out the window. Berating thoughts were spinning all around me, “I am a fraud. If only my students could see me now.”

After a whirlwind of head noise, I fell quiet. I didn’t consciously decide to pause, but there it was… I recognize this feeling. It’s what I experience everyday when I sit quietly in meditation. It’s the space inside of me and all of us that is beyond our physical ego and taps into the source of universal consciousness. A moment that opened the door to remember I had a choice. What a relief. I hadn’t abandoned myself after all…

What I came up with was to simply make a game out of it, so I could keep my mind off of the maddening circumstances. At each light, I would count how many breaths it would take to turn green. (I thought it was a silly idea that I would have made up for my kids to get quiet in the car.) At the very first light I took three full, deep breaths. and wouldn’t you know… I found green lights the rest of the way home – for real. The yoga teacher forgot to practice yoga. But one thing that I know for sure… We always have an opportunity to begin again at each moment.

In the past, I have been really hard on myself for not being the perfect representation of a yoga teacher (and yes, it’s an unrealistic, crazy picture that lives in my head – she has a super model face with an athletes body and has reached enlightenment with flawless skin!)… But as I get a little older and am learning to know deep within myself that I am enough, that my path is my own and it’s beautiful – this is just another disconnected moment that lead me closer to knowing myself more. This ridiculous moment (or in my case many, many moments within several hours) gave me an opportunity to do the work. Since that day, riding in the car has been a way for me to check in with myself, connect to my breath and consciously practice the other 7 limbs of Yoga… Most of the time!”