Wise Little One
By Laura Mills
I turned around at the sink and locked eyes with my two-year-old. She sat straight up at the kitchen table, pointing to my empty chair, glaring at me. It was one of those mornings where I had hustled her out of bed and down to breakfast, my plan being to grocery shop and run a few additional errands and then make it home in time to take advantage of her naptime window. I had eaten my breakfast and now, while she scooped the last pieces of cereal up from her bowl, buzzed around the kitchen washing dirty dishes and sorting clean ones.
That morning she had told me to sit a few times before, but not quite so emphatically. Each previous time I had answered her with something like, “I can’t right now, I have to finish cleaning the kitchen.” This time, though, I just stopped. Manners, Honey. We don’t talk to other people like that, I thought, and the words were nearly on my lips when I stopped again….
How many times while teaching yoga had I instructed my students to slow down, to pause, to just breathe? How many times had I preached that what seems important in a frazzled moment may not really matter? How many times had I reminded my students to cherish the blessings of everyday life, to tune in to what’s right in front of them, to remember the spaces between the lines on their to-do lists?
Holding my daughter’s eyes another moment, now I took a deep breath. I took my teacup from the counter, pulled out my chair, and sat next to her at the table. She held her sippy cup out to me, and I clinked my teacup against it in salute. Never having trained to teach yoga, never having even attended one yoga class…she still knew, still possessed the inherent wisdom I had lost with the years.
“You’re right, Honey,” I said. “Thank you for reminding me.”
THE JOY OF BEING A STUDENT OF YOGA
"Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new." -- OG MANDINO
AUGUST 3RD, 2010 This practice of yoga has taught me above all else how to be a better Student of Life. No matter how you might judge me as a "yoga teacher" or "life coach" I can honestly say that my best skill set is of being an amazing student.
I AM TEACHABLE.
I never for a moment assume I know too much. Actually ever year of this practice I learn more and realize how little I actually understand. My time on the mat reminds me to stay thirsty for knowledge. It inspires me to get off my mat and apply this "TEACHABILITY" off the mat. And I do. Of course not without some lifted eye brows and sometimes harsh criticism from some folks.
I take great honor in saying every year I take time off from teaching and go to study with my teachers. I sit in the SEAT OF THE STUDENT an open vessel soaking in the open hearted wisdom of my teacher. This last week has been an amazing experience studying Vinyasa Yoga with a great teacher of yoga and life.
I have been inspired, and challenged and prodded and supported in new ways. I want to say thank you first to all those that would judge me for making time for myself to be a student. You too have been some of my greatest teachers. For without your friction I would not have had to dig deep to still do what I knew was best for me. And to all my students, friends, clients who have kindly supported me every year to keep learning I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my root chakra when it would get shaken and I'd wonder should I make time for me or not?
There are wisdom teachers everywhere and as Students of Life the point is to be open to seeing the teachings that surround us every day of our lives both formally and informally. Sometimes our most difficult teachers are our best teachers. And that's ok: pleasant, unpleasant, neutral. It's all good.
And finally what I hope everyone learns no matter your opinion is to step outside your comfort zone and KEEP LEARNING. Do not atrophy. REMAIN TEACHABLE.
Teachabiilty and being lovable are intimately linked as sweethearts.
May you all find the courage to expand your knowledge! With compassion and peace to you all, Silvia
PS - Join me for my certified yoga teacher training program starting October 15th, 2010 at total body yoga
INCONVENIENCES OF LIFE AND LOVE
Life is simple not easy says Jon Kabat Zinn. Nothing is promised to us as easy. Life requires effort and discipline mostly because we have a lot working against us in keeping us mindful and present, more all the time to be honest. So a certain amount of work is required. And this is what inspired me today. When Pema Chodran says Life is so inconvenient I said to myself YES! that’s true. I just never heard it said so straightforward like that before. The word inconvenient is very different than something like saying life is hard. And what I’ve also found to be true is that following our hearts, love itself is inconvenient.
Pema Chodran writes, “when you hear some teachings that ring true to you and feel some trust in its being a worthwhile way to live then you’re in for a lot inconvenience. From an everyday perspective it seems good to do things that are kind of convenient; there is no problem with that. It’s just that when you really start to take the warrior’s journey – which is to say, when you start to want to live your LIFE FULLY, when you begin to feel this passion for life and for growth, when discovery and exploration and curiosity become your path – then basically, it you follow your heart, you’re going to find that it’s often extremely inconvenient.”
This single teaching continues to resonate with me, not just the first time but in all the years since. To read more check out her book The Wisdom of No Escape.
Hey remember when we were kids on a road trip with our parents and from the back seat we’d ask, “are we there yet?” So why were we asking? The truth is that it’s easier to just stay home. It’s a lot more convenient, especially for our parents but they took us on the road anyway. My own parents not only took us around the
The waking up is inconvenient. Quite frankly waking up to one’s life is very inconvenient. But Pema goes on to say, “But what spiritual practice teaches is that once you know that the purpose of life is simply to walk forward and continually to use your life to wake up rather than put you to sleep, then there’s that sense of wholeheartedness about inconvenience, wholeheartedness about convenience. If we choose cozy, safe as our primary reason to exist then this becomes an obstacle for our very existence in trying to live fully where we take chances, offer ourselves to making new choices, take a risk, explore.”
COMFORT ORIENTATION MURDERS THE SPIRIT
When we are on the path, involved in our own pilgrimage its inconvenient to be on the road (as a road warrior in the corporate world traveling 70% of the time I know this) but staying home and avoiding life but not engaging it is the death of our spirit. It’s not easy but certainly it’s worth the inconvenience to dare the difficult.
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare;
It is because we do not dare that they are difficult. Seneca 4 BCE – 65BCE
You guys, really if you think about it there are lots of inconveniences about life. It’s inconvenient to buy groceries, it’s inconvenient to make the bed each day, to brush our teeth, to prepare our meals, to get sick, to lose your job, to have your kids throw up on you, to get divorced, to get married, to clean the house, to get gas, to have a baby, it’s inconvenient to find yourself embarrassed or heart broken too. Tell me what do you think is convenient? And is that meaningful?
The thing is that if we want to love life we’ll learn that the inconvenience is not the obstacle. Of course we’re going to get “poked and prodded like someone’s laughing in your ear, challenging you to figure out what to do when you don’t know what to do. It humbles you. It opens your heart.” (Chodran) And when it comes down to it I’d rather have my heart opened up then live life tight in the bud. I’d rather have something spectacular on my tombstone when this life ends than to have written, “had great health insurance and lived an ok life” So please really sit with this and see how it can change your life as it has mine. Love your day, your life, yourself! Silvia
The way of experience
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance;
Let me use danger as material for courage;
Let me use reproach as material for long suffering;
Let me use praise as material for humility;
Let me use pleasure as material for temperance;
Let me use pain as material for endurance.
-John Baillie (1886-1960)
BEING A STUDENT
JUNE 27, 2009: Yesterday I went to the dentist for my annual cleaning. I don't naturally feel comfortable at the dentists. So I practiced breathing and took to heart the idea that good things will happen if I relax. If I just tense up it will only be more difficult for him and for me. So I said to myself don't tense up, relax and breath.
As I used the falling out breath in between cleaning efforts by the hygenist I felt myself stay calm and her energy softened up too. What I was really doing was trying to be a really great student of that situation. I new I was there to receive their help and knowledge and all that was asked of me was to be diligent in staying open. So it all reminde me of this great article by Russell Shields about Ten Tips from a Yoga Student on how to get more out of the teacher/student relationship. I went through these things in class durign the practice so we could feel philosophy in motion. If you want a copy of the detailed article email me at email@example.com. In the meantime, really think about today what kind of STUDENT OF LIFE you are? How could you get more out of the relationship between YOU and all the WISDOM TEACHERS that surround you each day? Love yourself, love your life! Silvia
1. Be a Student
2. Be Open
4. Expect Odd Situations
5. Hang in There
6. Do It Their Way
7. You Do
9. Relaxe/Don't Tense Up
10. Honor and Encourage