10 years ago this month my family relocated from South Florida to a small town that sits along the Hudson River 15 miles north of NYC. At that time I had a 4-year-old daughter and an 8 month old son and I was definitely in the weeds trying to get settled and learn the ropes of a new town. I didn’t know much, but what I did know was that I wanted to get back to teaching yoga as soon as possible. I am the best version of myself when I am mindful and present and teaching helps me be that way in my life.
In order to get back to teaching, what I badly needed was a babysitter. I went on sittercity.com which is like a dating site for babysitters. As with dating, I “dated” a couple of sitters that didn’t work out before I stumbled upon a profile that seemed promising. I immediately called her. After a brief conversation I just knew. I told her I was going to hang up and call her reference and then call her back. I begged her not to accept another position in the meantime. She laughed and told me she wouldn’t. She had worked for a divorced man and his two boys as an au pair. As soon as the father answered the phone and I explained why I was calling he asked me a question that I will never forget. He asked “Do you know what you have there?” and I said “I think I do.”
Over the years I have asked myself that question quite a bit “Do I know what I have? Do I even realize how lucky and blessed I am? Last week one of my daughter’s friends mothers passed away. She left a husband and three beautiful children and it was quite a shock for all of us. I again found myself asking that very important question “Do I know what I have?”
In my classes this week I asked my students to let that question be their practice both on and off the mat. To probe deeply and realize the depth of their blessings. As we moved and flowed it was with this spirit… Gratitude. We took the chance to focus on the gifts, the blessings both on our mats and even more importantly, in our lives. We explored some challenging poses like an Arda Chandra Chapasana variation (shown above) to help us with the practice of Gratitude; letting go of what isn’t available, instead remembering and being thankful for what is.
Ten years is a big marker for me, a decade. It is twice as long as I have lived anywhere since I was 18. My adorable 4-year-old daughter is a 14-year-old amazing almost woman and that tiny 8 month old baby just left my house this morning to walk to school on his own. The little village we moved to went from being new to being ours as we became part of a very special community. And that “babysitter” is part of our family forever. One of the most powerful things I have gained over this last decade is perspective. Through loss and trauma and joy and introspection, this perspective is what brings me back to Gratitude.
Back in class, as my students came into Savasana, I reminded them to let go of the physical practice, to release the appreciation of what they had available in their bodies. It was time to go deeper into the mind and ask that very important question “Do I know what I have?” and to hopefully be able to answer clearly and gratefully… “yes I do”. Namaste.