Sunshine vs. rain. Day vs. night. I've been thinking about this concept a lot lately in regards to people, personalities, and relationships. I think it all started when I began examining how the events of the past year have affected my work. As a wellness professional, especially one who's main focus at the moment is guiding people through exercise/yoga sessions, my job is to be encouraging, bright, joyful, fun...all the things that help counteract people's natural tendencies to throw in the towel and switch out their tennis shoes or yoga mat for the TV remote. Creating an environment where people feel welcome, energized, and cared for is part of what helps keep good classes well attended.
I once read an article that mentioned one of the worst things an instructor can do for the moral of his/her class is to come in with the weight of the world on his/her shoulders and making sure everyone knows. People have their own problems...they come to class to step away from those, not to hear about yours. I try to be aware of how my posture, energy level, choice of music, choice of routines or asanas affect those who come to class. Yoga classes can be especially affected by the instructor's (and surrounding participants) mood. One's willingness to let go, to open, can easily be stifled if the energy of the environment leans towards darkness rather than warmth, light, safety, and comfort. And so began my inner dialog about light and dark, day and night.
I can easily point out to you the people in my life who are sunshine. Those who when they walk into one's presence, brighten the atmosphere a notch or two. My friend Laura is one of those people to me. When she is around, the world is a happier, more peaceful, more hopeful place. Even just thinking about this trait in her makes me smile. Being with Laura gives me energy and brings comfort to any situation.
Of course, we all know people who, for one reason or another, have the opposite affect. Think about this type of comment for a moment:
"I can't believe so and so is going to be there. She always goes on and on about her problems likes she's the only one who has challenges in life. I get so tired of hearing about."
My guess is you've either heard it said OR have said it yourself!
I'm worried I'm becoming the later type of person. That I'm leaning towards "the dark side", and I don't like that feeling one little bit!
Now, I'm not saying that it's not OK to get down a bit when when life deals you a tough hand, but I feel a little more than just down right now. I'm having a hard time finding a "good" response when asked "How are you doing?" I learned early on during the past year that pretending like everything is A-OK when it's NOT does nothing more than make me feel like a fraud and exacerbates the negativity of our struggles when I do confront them. On the flip side, as stressful as things are, we are still SO blessed, still in a better place than so many citizens of this planet we call Earth. I don't want to loose perspective on that by constantly complaining and bringing people down with my "Poor me" story. So when asked that very loaded question, what does one say?
And that's where I am. Sitting here, writing this without an answer.
What I do know is this: I'm sorry for those in my life who have had to listen to me whine and cry and bitch and moan REPEATEDLY about certain fucked up aspects of my life over the past year. I'm sorry that I don't have better news to share with you about the immediate future. I'm sorry if I've not helped you celebrate your joys or haven't listened to your problems as you have so graciously done for me. To my girls, I'm sorry Mommy hasn't had the patience and the tolerance for silliness that she should, that you need. I'm sorry I haven't been able to bring more light into your days. I THANK you all for hanging in there and being by my side when I've needed to talk, to vent, to cry.
This is not meant to be a pity party. I'm simply stating the truth of my feelings in hopes that by addressing the fear, I can nurture some warm glowing embers until I'm ready to re-stoke the fire and get back to spreading light. That I can hang on to who I am and not let adversity change my beliefs in goodness. That I can consciously be aware of when I'm slipping into the darkness and pulling others down with me. That I can come through this a better person, a better mother, a better wife, and a better friend. That as long as I keep believing, this too shall pass.