"Mmmmm...there's a situation...looks like we are going to be holding here for a while," said the conductor over the intercom. We're waiting in a tunnel, underground, in the subway, and we've been waiting quite a while already. This doesn't sound good I think to myself.
I took one of my earbuds out, taking a partial break from Taylor Swift happily singing "Shake it Off" in both my ears. I become alert. I start tuning in my observation to the people around me. The car ahead that I can barely see through the window. And I wait. In times like this, a wait like this can feel like eons.
After a very long pause, the conductor comes back on the intercom to inform us that there has been a fire on the tracks ahead and we're ordered to evacuate the train. Some people look at their watches and sigh. They're going to be late. Others look to each other and smile in sarcasm at the dysfunction of the metro. Others look anxious wondering if they'll be safe. I can relate to all of these reactions as I search for my own feeling about what is happening. I patiently wait and converse with the people around me as we wait to walk from the back of the train to the front of the train to get out. Gratitude for a moment to connect with strangers passes through my mind with moments interspersed of memories of the last time there was a fire in a tunnel which resulted in death and illness as a result of smoke inhalation. How this will end, no one really knows.
But isn't that life? The potential outcomes, off ramps, spins, and turns around any situation can be numerous. And with these ups and downs, can anything prepare us for the moments where we're faced with the gravest of reality? A turn for the worst? I say yes...brightness.
Look for the bright spots in life. No matter what.
Shine the light of awareness on what is working. What is something to be grateful for. What you love about a person even in the heat of an argument. The humanity of a person who's knocked you down as you try to get back up.
Life is gritty sometimes. 2016 has been tough. It's been knocking me down hard...over and over again. And while I've had my moments of crying, wanting to give up, I have found a newfound strength and resilience after totally dedicating myself to seeing the bright spots in everything no matter what. Which means in the moments where I feel like the Light has left me, I'm still able to find It and see It, no matter how dim It might seem to my mind. It's there. And when I find It, It gets brighter.
As you can imagine, since I'm writing this Joy Tip, I got out of the subway safely. I emerged to a station staggering with packed herds of people, smoke, firefighters, and made my way to exit onto the street with more confusion, people rushing to where they needed to go, and a sigh of relief that I made it out safely. What bright spots did I find? Life. Grateful that I was alive. Service. Another opportunity to be a channel for all the amazing teachings I've received through teaching my regular Monday night yoga classes. Redemption. More breathes to make right what feels wrong. To apologize. To embrace. To forgive. To love more.
Yesterday I spent my day on and off trying to resolve a personal conflict with someone I love. They felt angry, resentful, emotions boiling over. I did my best to listen, to receive, to hold sacred ground for them to run around and scream. To take responsibility for my part. To not fight back. Sometimes I did a great job. Sometimes I didn't. After I returned from a yoga class in the evening, my phone rang. One part of me wanted to ignore the call. Another part of me asked me to pick up, so I did. On the other line was this person I hold so dear in my heart still...upset. My voice on the other line, upbeat, calm, happy after spending an hour and half focusing on my center in my yoga practice was not received well. Misunderstood as making light of a situation that they deemed so serious resulted in a sudden escalation, the phone hanging up, and me sitting in silence on the other end of the line starring in space.
I sat on my bed in reflection and I decided to meditate on the situation. My intuition told me to pull a card from a sacred card deck I have. The card I pulled was the whirling rainbow. A Native American symbol of peace, unity, and harmony. An invitation to foster all three. There it was, the Universe whispering, look at the bright spots. The teaching suggested a practice of sending this symbol of peace, unity, and harmony into the dreams, headspace, heart, life, of the other person I was in discord with, so I did. I spent the evening imagining them encircled by a whirling harmonious, peaceful, circle of rainbows. I imagined myself encircled in my own. And as I went between imagining myself and imagining them encircled in love and harmony, all the emotional parts inside me and the physical muscles that were tight started to soften.
The truth is that even though I'm hurting from this person and the situation at hand, I've seen their bright spots and they've seen mine. Those sacred moments of seeing through it all and seeing the deepest depths of another human being's soul. We've all had these special moments. And in moments of conflict, it's easy to forget them. Easy to erase them. Easier to pretend they don't exist. Easy to separate.
Maybe I'm crazy for looking for the goodness in everything I see, but I don't know how to live any other way.
It takes courage in moments of conflict to remember the moments that warmed your heart with the person you're fighting with. It takes humility to admit that there is more than your mind can see when you are angry. I can absolutely say that when I practice this, I feel better. I enjoy more. I forgive always. And I love SO MUCH MORE. Why? Because it moves me past the separation of my mind and into the whirling rainbow world of harmony, unity, and peace.
For this week's Joy Tip Wednesday I want to invite us to see the bright spots. Spend your day dedicated to looking for all that is good. All that is right. All that is loveable. All that is worthy of acknowledgement. All that is beautiful. All that is sweet. All that is admirable. All that is trustworthy. All that is happy. All that evokes joy. All that energizes you. Look for it all. And when you see it, soak it in. Pause with it. Be with it. Don't brush by it. Let it nourish you. Let it seep into your very being. And do it over and over again. No matter how grim, how down, how disappointed you feel. Let your awareness heal the painful and sensitive parts inside of you to bring you resilience to see the whole picture. Light and dark.
Now what? Who knows. But as I continue to meditate on the whirling rainbow, envisioning myself and this person I care for encircled in harmony, peace, and love, I know no matter what the outcome there is always brightness in it. It's part of the Law of the Universe. And it's up to us to tune the radios of our minds and hearts to that station. Are you willing?