Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sippy Cups for Everyone!!

I’m moving across the floor in Nia class and finding myself becoming more and more annoyed with the woman dancing in front of me.

The room is packed—it’s a farewell class for one of our dear members who’s moving out of state—yet the woman I’m watching seems oblivious to this. Twirling, spinning and flailing –she’s claiming space enough for three!  And as I wonder for a moment how I could remedy the situation and consider moving to the back of the room, I feel a smile creep across my face and I suddenly see this sweet pony-tailed middle aged woman as a fanciful, quirky two-year old girl. (We’ve all seen these toddlers—they’re on their own planet, spinning through outer space and dancing to a theme song only they could have written.)

As I experienced this shift and my irritation turned to compassion and even delight as I backed up to give her more space, I thought, “Wow, what if we could view all our fellow tribesmen as toddlers?” 

The naysayer in the staff meeting who finds fault with every idea—becomes the analytical three year-old who no doubt, could take apart a toaster and put it back together. The conversation hog who loves to be the center of attention is transformed into the princess in training pants who precociously commands her minions to do her bidding with a sweep of her pink, glitter-covered wand. The electronically-distracted husband who seems to be ignoring your requests for help in the kitchen is suddenly a small preschooler, legs splayed across the floor, head bowed and face buried in Where the Wild Things Are …and my adolescent son when he’s rounding out a solid hour of “push back” because I won’t let him play Minecraft, is magically transformed into a beaming curator of Cheerios and miniature yellow school buses.

I left class an hour later with a huge smile on my face. And gratitude for this shift in perspective. What would the world be like if we could all challenge our own thinking? Is it possible that just by seeing things differently we can embrace a new way of being (read more) and how we relate not only to situations but to each other?

When I shared this story with my husband, he asked, “What were you thinking right before you had this shift?” I don’t remember. But, I do know that more and more, my desire to feel good, to feel peaceful—and to feel a sense of well-being—is growing stronger each day. And I’m observing that the desire to feel good, more often than not---trumps the pull to feel bad.

Let’s play! (Lord knows I need a shift in perspective! My child care for the week just flew out the door—along with my summer intention--and I’m staring down the barrel at a week of deadlines, book re-writes, interviews and events prep!) For the next  seven days, every time I find myself getting irritated or frustrated at someone, I’m going to open my heart and mind and picture them with a red sippy cup in one hand, peanut butter smeared across their cheeks and small, chubby legs .

Will you join me? Let’s just see what’s possible when we challenge our own thinking and assumptions about one another. Who knows what might happen!

P.S. Interested in exploring how you could cultivate a shift in perspective towards self and others? There's still room in my June 22-24 New Way of Being: Women's Self-Renewal Retreat if you want to join us at the beautiful Kripalu Center for Yoga & Wellness in Massachusetts! We'd love to have you continue this conversation with us in our upcoming women's circle.

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Photo at top: My exhuberant preschooler, several years ago, after he made it to the top of Enchanted Rock--ready to take on the world.

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