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When the student is ready the teacher will appear.

Affirmation: When I am open to knowledge and guidance, it comes
to me.
 
In the TV mystery series Murder She Wrote starring Angela
Landsbury, Jessica Fletcher was renowned for her sleuthing abilities.  The series ran for twelve seasons and in each
episode, Jessica was somehow involved in solving a very mysterious murder.  She did this because of her remarkable
ability to notice and remember all the little details that led up to the
crime.  I was in awe of her ability.  Certainly, she’s not the only sleuth to have
amazing powers of observation.  In my
opinion the most famous of all characters with this ability is Sherlock.  Yes, Sherlock Holmes.  I’ve always loved the works written about him
and Doctor Watson.  I mustn’t be the only
one considering there never seems to be a time when there isn’t some sort of
series or new movie about the famous British detective. 
How are your powers of observation?  I decided after watching Murder She Wrote
that I would not become a sleuth.  I
don’t pay close attention to the daily minutiae that occurs in my life.  I have a tendency to see the bigger picture.
Sometimes I think it’s simply because I’m going too fast.  Have you noticed how different a street or a
neighborhood appears when you walk through it versus when you ride through
it? 
Recently I was with a friend at a restaurant that we’ve been
going to for over thirty years.  She
turned to me and pointed out a new logo they had designed.  It was hung on one of the walls and
practically covered half the wall. 
“Wow,” she exclaimed, “that is beautiful.  I wonder when they created that?” she questioned.  “At least twenty five years ago,” I
replied. She didn’t believe me but when we checked with the owner, we found out
it had been there for well over twenty years. 
She had just never noticed it before. 
She hadn’t been ready to see it until this visit. 
“When the student is ready the teacher will appear,” is
a saying some attribute to the Buddha even though that’s not true but whoever
said it presents us with an interesting concept.  When we are ready and only when we are ready
will we learn what we need to learn.  How
many times have you heard someone state that they wish they had known about
something before now?  They might have
been given the information many times but they didn’t hear it.  They couldn’t hear it until it was the right
time. 
Recently my study group was presented with the question,
“What do you have the most difficulty remembering?” I have a lot of
difficulty remembering the dates of significant events, like when my children
graduated or when they married.  I have
to have it written down to know the right answer.  I am very envious of people who can recall
that information without hesitation.  I’d
love to be someone who remembered everything I ever learned.  My husband, Sandy, is amazing when it comes
to recalling information.  He can still
remember most of the science he studied in pharmacy school.  He remembers dates and historical facts to
name just some of his recall.  Not
me!  Thank heavens for Google! I don’t,
however, get upset with myself when I fail to recall that which I am trying to
uncover from the recesses of my brain.  I
am aware, however, that I am aging and sometimes that presents physical
challenges to the brain.  I desperately
hope that’s not the reason I’m not recalling the information I’m seeking.  With that caveat in mind, I have learned that
what is really important to me and that which I need to know, I usually do.
I took a private yoga class once because my hip was very sore and
I needed some extra guidance.  I was
concerned at the end of the session that I hadn’t written everything down about
which I was told.  When I voiced my
concern to the teacher, she told me not to be concerned, I would remember that
which I needed to remember and it was true. 
The rest of the stuff just drifted away. 
When I need that information, I am sure it will come to me.  It usually does. 
This is about more than just our visual intake.  I have discovered that answers to many of my
life’s challenges arrive just when I need them most.  I don’t think I’d receive them if I weren’t
actively looking.  I can’t get the answer
if I’m not willing to open the book, to check on the computer or to believe
that the solution or even better, the miracle is out there somewhere and I need
to wait with open arms the “teacher” for that situation. 
Back to being a world class sleuth.  I had an appointment with someone I visit
once a week.  One week recently I noticed
some delightful feathers she had strung along the mantle.  They were all different shades of blue and
fluttered in the light breeze of the room. 
“When did you put those up? I asked.  You probably guessed the answer, ‚ÄúSeveral
weeks ago.”  Once again I was
grateful I didn’t need to make my living by being intensely aware of my
surroundings.  I am gentle with myself.  I remind myself that it’s OK not to be able
to remember everything.  If I remain open
that which I need will come to me, either through a deliberate effort or
through Divine intervention.  I remind
myself to relax, to breathe and to embrace the concept that all is exactly as
it’s supposed to be at this very moment and that might include not having the
answer to all of my questions.

The Fragile Ego

Affirmation:  I have a childlike ego.
The yoga teacher took us from Warrior II into Side Angle.  The pose requires you to bend your front leg and lean over it and rest your forearm on your thigh.  Normally, your palm is faced downward.  “Turn your palm up” she said, “pretend you are holding something fragile, perhaps your ego.”  I laughed out loud.  This is why I practice yoga.  I look everywhere for those messages that will enrich my life.  I search every day for those insights that will enable me to know myself better so that I may live a fuller, more meaningful existence.  This day, it came to me from my teacher, Karin Johnson, at Rex Wellness here in Cary, NC.  How fragile is my ego?

One day while attending a class we were encouraged to go into an asana known as Crow.  In this pose you squat down with your feet and knees wide and your palms between your legs, flat on the ground.  You are then suppose to raise up onto your palms while balancing your thighs against your upper arms.  I’ve done this pose.  It’s not easy and requires upper body strength as well as balance.  Another reason I practice yoga is to take me out of my comfort zone.  When I attempt a pose that I know does not come easily, it makes me feel brave.  It’s brave with a small “b” but it empowers me when I’m out in the world to be brave, sometimes even “Brave.”  I took the position and slowly raised up onto my palms and then fell straight over onto my nose.  I fell with a very loud “whack!”  This particular yoga class had about thirty people in it and I know everyone of them heard the sound of my flop.  I hoped they were so involved in trying their own pose that they didn’t look up but I was sure everyone was looking at me, if just to make sure I was still alive.

 “Yoga is not a competitive sport.”  I start most of my classes with that statement.  “Bring you attention to your mat, into your body.”  The purpose of yoga is to unite the mind and the body.  I usually add, “and the spirit.”  I believe when we only focus on the physical aspect of the practice, we deny ourselves the real essence of yoga.  When we practice we are called to be present, to stay in the moment.  That’s the reason the ancient yogis initially came up with all these contortions.  It’s almost impossible to stand on one leg with your hands high in the air, Tree pose, and to be thinking about anything other than what you are doing in that moment.  You are fully present.  It’s a gift.  It’s the main lesson of the practice, stay in the here and the now.  Once you learn to do that on your mat, it too is something you can take out into the world and practice in your everyday life.  

I was lucky and my fall didn’t result in a broken or bloody nose but it did result in a dented ego.  Most of the class knows I am a Registered Yoga Teacher and I pride myself on my ability to do some of the more advanced positions and there was my lesson.  I was prideful.  I am always telling people, “Anyone can do yoga.”  But, the response I usually get is that they are not flexible enough.  What they are really saying is unless I’m already good at something, I am not willing to try it.  Our egos have become the wall that keeps us imprisoned in our small comfortable space.  Whenever I think of that fall while attempting the Crow pose, I laugh.  It was a wonderful lesson.  It was humbling and it was exactly what I needed to learn from that day’s practice.  

Recently I attended the NC Senior Follies.  One of my fiddle buddies, Constance Belton, is the teacher and choreographer of the line dancing team, The Cary Cure Alls.  She and six other women did a mock strip tease to the song Fever.  They came out in scrubs and white coats with caps on their heads, surgical gloves and wearing stethoscopes and began to remove one item at a time while they tap danced.  (Look them up on YouTube.) They won one of the Gold Medals and were the overall champions.  There were about a dozen different acts.  Some of the seniors sang, some played musical instruments and one group call themselves The Shakers.  They are the Senior Game cheerleaders.  The event was pure fun.  

After being told to “hold my fragile ego gently in my palm.” I began to think of all those other times when my ego prevented me from fully experiencing life.  I wondered when did that begin?  Certainly, as a child I wasn’t afraid to try new things.  If that were true, one would never learn to walk or to talk.  One would never learn anything!  Those amazing seniors had put away their egos in order to go onto the stage and share their skills.  That’s another secret to a full, rich, fun filled life; hold your ego gently and don’t let it prevent you from trying something new, something at which you might not be good, something at which you might be terrible but who cares!  Life is too short not to experience it all.  Gently place your ego down and live life like a child whose is first exploring their world.

I heard a story about an older successful executive who was with a group of people when the topic turned to, “What have you always wanted to do that you haven’t yet done.”  He told the group he always wanted to try tap dancing.  That evening he looked up dance studios in his area and the next day he began his lessons.  He loved it!  For all I know, he’s out there somewhere competing in his local Senior Follies.  For me, well maybe I’ll try standing on my head in my next yoga class, maybe!