American culture, Edinburgh, Yoga

Gratitude for the annoyances

It’s Thanksgiving and for us expats or travelers, its yet another one away from the states.  Unlike the others spent in Asia, this one will be spent in Europe and with loved ones, minus my boyfriend as he’s still in Norway.  A few days late, but Sarah and I will be putting together a scrumptious feast this Saturday for our non-American friends.  Thanksgiving is the real start to the winter season for me and it also signifies a month long indulgence in food.

Indulgence and abundance, two words I love and have often taken too literally.  It’s good to indulge, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying life.  However, its the attachment to always needing to partake in it.  Complete lack of self control, as many have during this time of year, leads to debt and weight gain.

Ohhh but how I do love the winter holiday season!  Some of my friends think my enthusiasm for this time of year is a bit over the top, but isn’t that the spice of life?  I have so much to be thankful for and my list could go on forever.  Of course, I’m thankful for my incredible friends, my loving family and my gorgeous boyfriend, BUT I’m really thankful for the ability to get excited about things!!!  Excitement brings me energy and energy leads to joy.

I’d also like to highlight my gratitude for teaching and teachers.  Teaching involves a lot of stories, reasons, and questions.  I’ll never be able to do this/that,’ ‘I can’t do that,’ ‘I can’t remember,’ ‘I had bad day,’ ‘I’m in pain,’ ‘why?,’ ‘how?,’ ‘when’…the most important thing for me is being steady and perceiving what is best needed to handle the situation.  Teaching across all disciplines is generally the same.  Perhaps the teaching instruction and methodology differs from subject to subject, but the interaction between the student and teacher doesn’t differ too greatly.  If someone doesn’t do their homework, their grade will obviously suffer.  Of course, for teaching at a private institute (a foreign language for example) or yoga, we don’t give out scores.

There are certain types of students as well.  There are ones who are devoted, and others who could careless.  There are those who are too intense and others who need to care more.  There are ones who are incredibly lazy and then there are the ones who talk way too much.  The frequent talkers are the ones that get under my skin the most.  I have a student who has a story for everything.  She comes once a week, every week, and I know every time she’ll tell me too much about her personal life at the most inappropriate times.  It’s tiring, she interrupts, she asks my opinion too much, and I want her to stop talking.

Last night, I could feel my frustration rising.  She says something and all I hear is “blah, blah, blah.”  Its hard to speak out of love and sincerely listen.  Horrible isn’t it?  I can’t even get past my own judgements to hear what she needs.  As I left the yoga shala, I realized what I need to do…I need to set healthy boundaries, I need to listen clearly, and I need to respond with love.

NOT EASY.  But, I’d like to express my gratitude to her today.  She is a sweet woman and all she wants is to be acknowledged and told she’s doing okay.  While this seems strange, I’m joyful for moments when people cause me to see myself with all my weakness and areas where I lack in kindness.  I’m thankful for the annoyances that help me scrape below the surface.

There’s a lot of growing, changing and evolving to be done.  The process of uncovering ourselves never ceases and we should never let realizing ourselves discourage us from continuing to go deeper.  It’s scary, it’s beautiful and its filled with joy.

Happy Thanksgiving! Photos and food to come soon.

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