This is part 9 in IzzyJi's Yoga off the Mat series.
“God has not promised me sunshine That's not the way it's going to be But a little rain (a little rain) Mixed with God's sunshine A little pain (a little pain) Makes me appreciate the good times Be grateful” ~Be Grateful, by Walter Hawkins
This gospel song came out in 1978. I remember listening to it all the time as a little girl. I loved it so much that when I had the opportunity years later to teach a gospel music class at Loyola University, I decided to make it a part of my curriculum. Presently, it is still a song I keep on my gospel playlist over 40 years after it was released.
As much as I always loved the song just as a beautifully written piece of music, life happened. I began to appreciate the song in a different way. Heartbreaks, disappointments, setbacks, failures, betrayals, and challenges are all a part of life, whether we like it or not. Whether we are prepared or not. Whether we are a “good person” or not. The pains of life don’t discriminate, although our ego may nudge us to believe that we are the only ones getting the short end of the stick. How can we possibly practice gratitude when life hands us lemons?
Last week, I had a really good PT session on Monday. My next session was on Thursday. For some reason, my legs didn’t want to cooperate-- neither the surgical leg nor the one that needs it next. I was tired. At PT I was given an assessment (of all days, when my legs felt like jello). My therapist did a lot of pushing and pulling on my legs to assess how strong they are. The determination was that my pained and swollen surgical leg is actually now stronger than the non-surgical leg, which is supposed to be helping me get through my recovery! I got home, took a painkiller and collapsed on the couch, knowing I shouldn’t teach that night. I started having a pity party for myself. I began thinking about all the things I felt I couldn’t do. My mom reminded me that it didn’t mean I wouldn’t do them again. I just couldn’t do them right now. My fellow yoginis at Urban Yoga let me know it was ok to have my pity party that day, and to not worry about class. Hubby texted me from work to remind me how strong I was and that I would get through this too. My bestie (who also works in physical rehabilitation) reminded me that I was doing great, but no matter what, to still try to take a walk later. I rested the rest of the day and got a good night’s sleep.
The next day, I felt much, much better. Not only did my knees and legs feel better, but I was able to think much more clearly.
“Thank goodness for my amazing mom who is here to help when my sweet hubby has to be at work! Thank goodness for my patient dad who “gives up” my mom when I need her!”
“Thank goodness for my radiant circle of yoginis who jump in at a moment’s notice, who have held space for me and my students these last few months, and who let me both shine and be pitiful!”
“Thank goodness for my beautiful bestie who still keeps it real and makes me remember what I need to do!”
I told one of our amazing members who took my class last Tuesday that writing this blog has been very therapeutic for me. Had I not gone through this surgery, who knows if I would have been recognizing how much practicing yoga has impacted my life off the mat! That person then said they were grateful for my knee surgery, because they have really enjoyed reading the blog as a result, and how much it helps them. That particular comment really stuck with me. We truly have a ripple effect even when we don’t know it.
There is a quote from the television show, “This Is Us” that I have always loved:
“Take the sourest lemon life has to offer and turn it into something resembling lemonade.”
As we approach Thanksgiving this Thursday, I encourage you to not think of Thanksgiving as just a holiday, but as I like to say: “Thanksgiving is a whole vibe”. Literally. Vibrate an attitude of gratitude. It truly helps to turn the lemons of life into something resembling lemonade. The sweetest kind. And, it’s contagious. In a great way.
I am grateful for you all! Happy Thanksgiving -- today, and every day!