Museum of Negativity

Joy is the abundant gift of life.  Yet, I was reminded this week-end of the 8th anniversary of 9/11.  I recalled the intense shock and despair felt by our country.  A few months ago, a dear friend lost her job and another friend lost his.  A month ago, I lost a friend suddenly – she was 55 years old and living in the happiest moments of her life.  My sister is struggling with her weight.  Saturday, I was honored to assist my teacher in a yoga teacher training – it was Day 1 of an year-long training.  In the 7 years since my training, I had forgotten the anxiety, self-diminishment and lack of self-confidence with which we all greet that day.

Amid the joyful days, some days are sad, painful, full of grief, fear, lack of self worth.  Those days we do not feel inclined to roll out our mat.  We have a hissy fit, resort to childlike tendencies to soothe ourselves – feeling fearful, angry, jealous, small and unworthy.  And these experiences are unpleasant.  Who are we to practice yoga at this moment? 

In Anusara, everything belongs.  We are welcomed to the mat in all of our humanity.  In the total sum of our experiences.  In the brightness and darkness, happy or sad, fearful or brave.  We are invited to just sit and feel our body; to breath and feel the aliveness of the sweet movement of our breath.  To take refuge in that flow of energetic awakening.  Through the powerful energy of the breath, we slowly feel our body move.  We step into the unbroken wholeness of our experiences. Fogg Still_Rembrandt

And, as we sit, in what I am borrowing from poet Michael Palmer ‘the museum of our negativity,’ we see images, feel emotions, hear thoughts. As we continue to be quiet in that museum, we note the feelings are feelings and the thoughts are just thoughts and they become the art on the walls.  We own the experiences, we even cherish them in time, but we do not own the art.  As we feel the quiet calm of acceptance, we stand up, pick up our umbrella and coat, and walk out of the museum.

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