Gift or Blessing


I woke up Sunday morning practiced yoga, sat for meditation, and readied myself for Yoga Sanctuary. During my meditation time, I asked myself what I needed to feel safe for leading at Yoga Sanctuary. I asked myself what I needed to feel confident, calm, and ready to listen. I asked myself what I needed from my family so that I felt supported and encouraged. To most of the questions, I had no answers, but I felt grounded, calm, and ready for the day. Later, I woke up my teenagers so that they could get dressed, eat, and head to church. This is where the trouble began. I woke up Peyton who said he was very tired. I gave him another five minutes by setting the oven timer so that it would chime and he would know it is now time to start getting dressed. After five minutes, he did not want to get out of bed. Once he got out of bed, he incited an argument about the schedule of our day. I answered his points of discussion with growing frustration. Then, I asked him to walk his dog. Sunday is the only day I ask him to walk the dog. He responded that he would not walk the dog unless I came with him. Our deal is that he needs to walk his dog on Sunday no matter if I can go with him or not. I came unglued with the resistance he put up to walking his dog. Words were yelled and what came out of my mouth was the answer to my meditation questions.


This Sunday at Yoga Sanctuary we discussed blessings. This is my favorite lesson in Henri Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved. He writes, “A blessing touches the original goodness of the other and calls forth his or her Belovedness.” Each of us have our own idea of what a blessing is: something done by a minister, a ritual enacted, words spoken, gifts given, time spent, health, children, home, breath, movement. Maybe for you the word blessing no longer resonates. Maybe it sounds too churchy. Maybe gift sounds better or affirmations. The intention behind the words is to help us think about ways in which we are made to feel that our life matters, that something within and beyond us supports and cares for us, and that our work in this world makes a difference.
For many of us, life moves so fast that we don’t take the time to reflect on our many blessings. We also don’t have a ritual or a practice that gives us the ability to see and hear the blessings when they are all around us—in the moment. OH, WAIT! We do. Yoga. Eddi Stern in One Simple Thing: A New Look at the Science of Yoga and How It Can Transform Your Life writes, “when we decide that we need to look at our lives through a new lens, moving our bodies into new shapes will help to change our perspective on ourselves and life because we are directly using our bodies to influence the way we process incoming information; our worldview can easily be altered by putting ourselves into postures.” The practice of yoga develops the power of presence. We observe the breath. We notice the body sensations. We watch the fluctuations of the mind. As we step off the mat, the power of presence continues to influence our lives.
After my son left to walk his dog, I felt overwhelmed by a sense of defeat. I allowed his mood to change me. I gave in to my feelings instead of noticing them rise within me and giving myself compassion so that I could be more compassionate with him. Shaming voices entered saying, “Who am I to lead Yoga Sanctuary. I can’t even control my temper. Great yoga teacher. Great leader of a compassionate practice.” Snarky!! Then, I remembered the words I yelled.

I need…. I need…. I need…

I am not good at understanding what I need. I had sat in meditation trying to get to the heart of the matter with what I need just that morning which resulted in very little answers, but what I needed came flowing out of me in the heat of the moment. What a blessing! What an unexpected gift! Even a yelling match can be seen with new eyes and new ears. Yes, I apologized to my son and he apologized to me. Yes, I had a great talk with my husband about what I need to feel supported by our family. Yes, I will continue leading Yoga Sanctuary with greater awareness and compassion.

May you see and hear the blessings that surround you each and every day!

And as my good friend says, “The best blessing is Namaste!”

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