Thursday, May 27, 2010

Windshields and what is there

"I know that sometimes, all I can see is how I feel
Like the world is on the other side of a dirty windshield.
I'm trying to see through the glare
I'm struggling just to see what is there"
--Ani Difranco, "Virtue"

Windshields! You can get clarity in the oddest of moments.

I'm one of those people that hate labeling days. I feel like it's an exercise in futility to label a day "bad" or "good." A wonderful seed could have been planted during that bad day, and a choice you made on a good day could come back to haunt you later.

But jeez-oh-man, I gotta admit: this was a rough day. It started with a tough yoga class. It was scorching hot, and there was a serious lack of energy in the room. I swear, I was one of three people who didn't leave the room. I did, however, sit out about four sets of postures, including a set of Camel (I've grown to love Camel! I never skip it). Usually, even if my class is miserable, I feel great afterward. Not the case today--I felt fatigued for the rest of the day.

And then there was a buildup of just, well, crappy occurrences. Among other things, an issue with a student cropped up (isn't it supposed to be summer?). I got a wrong address and missed a writing class with my dad. An old man in his car literally shook his fist at me for a stupid traffic mistake, despite my sincere mouthing of "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"

I was starting to feel especially sorry for myself when it started raining lightly. As I clicked on the windshield wipers, I remembered the wiper fluid was empty, so all the wipers did was smear the grime all around. I had to struggle to see through it.

That was when the line from the Ani Difranco song came to me. We get so wrapped up in our self-centered emotions and feelings that we start thinking the universe is out to get us. The universe placed that angry old man in front of me to remind me I'm a thoughtless person. Nature decided to open up and rain down on me, in San Diego, in May, to show me she has it out for me.

What an absurd way of thinking.

As lay in my bathtub after I got home, the windshield thing really came together for me. The grime and dirt is there, sure, but if I focus I can see beyond it. I remembered as I sat in the tub, soaking the day away, that extraordinary things happened today, despite the yuckiness. When I was lost and trying to find my dad's writing class, I pulled over and went into this Tibetan Gift Shop. I had a wonderful encounter with the girl who worked there. She was so sweet, she even let me use her computer to let me check my email to see if the correct address was there. There was something so kind and genuine about this young woman--even in the midst of my "OMG! Life is hard!" mentality, I could see her good-natured-ness. Before I left we exchanged names and talked a little bit about ourselves, and she said, "I hope you find what you need."

Of course, I'd forgotten all about that meeting in my grimy-window state of mind. It wasn't until I remembered there was something beyond that grimy window that I was able to remember the good stuff.

The connection to yoga will be tenuous today, but I don't think it's forced. Yoga helps us in a couple of ways here. It requires us to focus on what's truly happening and on being present, and we learn to identify that windshield and see the self-created stress as separate from what's actually happening. Then, yoga gives us a path to work on actually cleaning that windshield, so we can see clearly what is there.

Whew. What a day, and what a lengthy post this turned out to be! Hey, if you're in San Diego, do me a favor and go to that gift shop, OK? It might be just the respite you need.


catherine said...

That shop is about four blocks from my high school. I remembered the building as soon as the link loaded. :) Thanks for your sweet comment, too. Love Ani – she has so much truth to disseminate!

bikramyogachick said...

My windshield is very dirty right now. :)
Thanks for the reminder to focus and see beyond it!