Sunday, May 1, 2011


I am easily enchanted by the world around me:  The yellow flame of the palo verde bloom, cottonwood leaves fluttering, finches on the feeder in the morning...yet those who know me well know that although I am highly appreciative of the natural world, there are times when my understanding of this world (from a scientific stance) leaves something to be desired.  Instead of fully understanding a phenomenon, I more likely will create a fantastical story to explain it:  I may be a creator of 21st century mythology, ignoring modern understandings.

I have been paying attention, however, to certain occurrences in my days, and fully reveling in reality:
1)  I saw a gila monster ( Thursday night on a hike with Lyle.  This was a fun surprise (though was glad my dog was smart enough to take a step back, and I had to text a friend to ascertain that this was indeed what I had seen).  A gorgeous animal, a lizard the size of my and gray and hissing.  He was slow moving and was kind enough to let us know that we simply didn't need to harass him in any way, and we could walk away unscathed.  We agreed.

2)  I've been spending time with a friend who makes me laugh so hard my stomach hurts (both a lovely gift and a wonderful surprise), who is wise and smart (as we know,  these are two very different things).  I find that when I spend time with people who can move through the world comfortably in their own skin, I can be fully myself, with no artifice or apology.

3) My students surprise me every day--their words and their responses to tasks I ask them to complete surprise me in the best possible way--those moments when what you hoped was going to happen, indeed, does.

There's an interesting balance to be struck between believing that great things will happen, but allowing yourself to be surprised when they do anyway.

Surprises can be surprises because we let them.  I have thought a lot about how my yoga practice allows me to be better prepared off the breathe through the negative surprises (and to ask myself:  what about that really surprised you?)  as well as the positive and embrace them all.  I am trying very hard to not be caught off guard by events that don't necessarily engender calm feelings in me.  I have been tripped up a couple of times in the last few days.  I wonder at this, but also know I am not superhuman.  And I cope as I do.  No judgment.  This, in itself, is new for me.  Too often I've beaten myself up for not having as much grace as I'd like in the face of certain life events.  These fissures, however, are just part of being human; maybe I can reframe this and become more and more proud of my own fallibility.  I can at least try.

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