Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"NO Lions!"

Autumn has officially arrived in New England! We've got sunny days and chilly nights, perfect for outdoor activities like walks in the park, corn mazes, and apple picking. I have done all of those things in the past week, because I'm a little bit dorky like that. I even went to the zoo this morning, with my Mom, who was visiting from out of town.

Whenever I'm looking for someplace new to go, especially if I'm brining a guest along, I check out the online reviews to see which places are worth a look. Last weekend, I checked the Yelp page for the Roger Williams Zoo to see what to expect. All the positive reviews were pretty accurate - nice little zoo, well-maintained grounds, not huge, great giraffes. And then of course there were a few negative reviews, including one person who was really angry because there were NO LIONS. This person went to the zoo expecting lions and tigers and bears, and her expectations were not met.

Of course there are plenty of cool animals at this zoo. There are elephants, giraffes, penguins, dwarf goats, red pandas, wild dogs, moon bears, seals, emu, flamingo, and a baby anteater. So I can't help laughing at the image of this poor person walking around the zoo, looking at all these fun animals, and growing more and more irate because they are NOT LIONS.

I guess some people's days are easily ruined, right?

I once noticed a review that gave only one star to a Bed and Breakfast because their caesar salad was missing the salad dressing. (I can't make this stuff up.) The gist of the review was: "This place is immaculate, the grounds are stunning, the service was impeccable... At dinner, the salad I ordered had NO dressing. It was JUST LETTUCE!!" One star (out of five).

In Bikram yoga, almost every studio has a couple of negative reviews written by people who went into Bikram expecting something else. I've seen at least one review of Bikram yoga that said, "This is NOT real yoga. In the whole class, there was NO downward dog!!" Like, what is the big obsession with that posture? Some styles use it, and some styles don't. Try to concentrate on the postures that actually are in the class, not the ones that are not.

Many of you probably read this stunning little blog post a couple weeks ago, written by studio owner Nicole Deacon, titled "Your Focus Determines Your Reality." (If you haven't already read it, you should.) Nicole's article talks about a paraplegic student who made phenomenal improvements to his fitness and his life through Bikram yoga. And the key thing with this student was that he focused on what he could do, not what he couldn't do. I have to quote this bit directly:
Do everything you can to the best of your ability and you will receive the benefits of this yoga.  Maybe all you can do that day is get to class.  Maybe all you can do is breathe.  Maybe all you can do is 10% of the posture.  Great!  Do that!  Come back the next day and do that again! There is a universal law called the “Law of Praise and Increase”.  If you want a dollar and have a dime and you curse the 90 cents you don’t have, you won’t get it.  But if you praise the 10 cents you do have, more will come to you.
That pretty much sums it up.

There's no use getting all caught up in the things that are missing from your day - or the things that you think are missing - because a) it will make you unhappy and b) it's counterproductive. There's no lions, there's no downward dog, I didn't get my salad dressing, I can't touch my toes. "No, no, no..." "Can't, can't, can't..." Stop that! Talk about something good, instead. Appreciate the good things that you already have - right here, right now. Drop your expectations.

"We love the things we love for what they are." (Robert Frost)

Oh, and if you have a few minutes, give your local studio some love on its Yelp page. I guarantee that your teachers will appreciate it.


Here it is, your moment of Zen: