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Today, rushing to my lunchtime hatha yoga class, I found myself sipping the last of my power green smoothie, only to capture a tiny chia seed in between two of my teeth.  Quick mirror check revealed the seed wasn’t visible, and it was not going to budge, regardless of my frantic picking and prodding.  I entered class, seed firmly in place, and began my practice.  I found myself desperately attempting to ignore the intruder; it wasn’t causing me any pain and it certainly didn’t require my attention.  I would look for some dental floss after class and take care of it.

No matter how much I tried to pretend that the seed was not there, I found myself noticing its presence.  I dedicated my practice today to being present with my seed.  I didn’t need to change it, and I had already attempted to do so, unsuccessfully.  It was there.  It was menacing and annoying, but it wasn’t going anywhere.

My mind wandered to some of the other minuscule,  yet ever present, stressors in my life.  They are there, and they aren’t budging, just like my chia seed.  Sometimes they cause distress, and I wish they would leave me alone, but they are there.  Is it possible to be present with these stressors?  What about the really big stressors?  If I could learn to co-exist with this tiny little seed, firmly lodged between my incisors, could I also learn to be okay with my daily stressors?  Isn’t this what yoga is really all about?

As we worked through downward dogs and sun salutations, I began to feel something that initially felt foreign to me-gratitude.  I became thankful for the seed, for bringing me to this mindset and helping me to think through some of this mess.  I noticed and allowed my mind to wander to other gratitude-inducing events and felt the space around my heart opening wide.  I was thanking the universe for my education, my career, my health, my kids, my boyfriend, my parents, and everyone in between.  I even became thankful for my recent divorce, my overweight and changing physical form, the loss of a recent job, my chronic pains, my bad habits, even the ex-wife of my boyfriend who has been a significant source of stress over the past year.

As we settled down into savasana, I felt myself being present with all of the obstacles, stress-causers, irritations, and situations in my daily existence.  I became willing, for the first time, to be present and okay with what surrounds my soul each day.  Whether it’s desired or unwanted, my goal has been to be present with and sit with myself by taking a moment to observe and reflect, rather than trying to orchestrate and correct.  As I lay in silence and peace, I felt the seed dislodge and realized at once that this was what I intended to get from today’s yoga practice.

I am okay with me, at least for today.  I am thankful for who I am and all the parts that compile my life.

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.”   ~Henry Ward Beecher~

I’m glad it decided to take root within my soul today.

Featured image: Blessing Seed Illustration by Alison Dexter