not a coincidence

One of the notions I subscribe to is that nothing in this life is a coincidence. Well, April served me not-a-coincidence, straight up and on the rocks. (And as a preface, I never do this much online shopping. Ever.)

There were some new items I ordered for my kitchen that needed replacing – a blender (smoothie season, anyone?) and some sharp cooking knives (my soup season literally broke my knifes. Too much good squash.) I was expecting to reap of Amazon’s 2 day shipping glory, making smoothies before I could even muster the shopping for my greens. On the expected delivery day, I arrived home to find the kitchen knives delivered, but not the blender. I waited another day or two before checking the status – Amazon could somehow not find my address to deliver my blender. I’ve lived in the same place for the last 2 years and have ordered a number of things in that time. All to the same place, same name, same apartment number. And, I JUST had the knives left at my door. But after too many phone calls, and several days later, the UPS driver (I don’t know whether to bless or curse this person) conceded and sent my package back as a “refused package.” I then went to Target and bought my blender off the shelf like a proud 90’s kid. Took me all of 30 minutes. And cost me all of my ego.

Embarrassingly enough, shortly after, I ordered a new bathing suit. Not from Amazon (but I should have.) I called and placed my order over the phone. I confirmed my shipping details, and I even redeemed a coupon code – all thanks to a representative who was kind and likely meant well, but who ended up sending my package to a friend’s house. Yes, my bathing suit was sent to the wrong address, one that must have just been plucked from my online address book, rather than the one that I confirmed to match my billing address. I caught this minor detail in the shipment confirmation email, just a little too late to make a change. Again, as if I was in control.

As if I could have, should have, REALLY must have been able to pick up on the pattern by now (stop ordering things Katie… stop expecting things to come on time…or at all…stop… just… stop…making…it…harder.) I’ve hauled enough boxes of old clothes off to donate, and so I needed a few summer items. Ordered. Paid for 2-day shipping to better my odds and ensure ease. Right?!?! Wanna guess what happened? My package was never delivered. I called, I was told it would be delivered by end of day. This repeated for a few days. Day 3, I insisted to know where the actual physical box was, drove to a UPS shipment center that was no where near where I live, only to be told by the woman at the desk that she had no idea where my box may be. You would think this package held family heirlooms, but no, I’m just a Capricorn and stubborn as hell and if I ordered something, well damnit I’m going to track it down.

Clearly still missing the point. The whole point. Pushing past the point.

While all of this absolutely unnecessary excess minor drama that I brought into my own world was going on, I am working, teaching weekly classes (3 added just in April alone), running my first yoga retreat, trying to build on my own practice, healing from physical injury, having my family into town, and trying to keep myself alive.

I asked my corporate class on Friday morning how they were doing, what their week was like – I always ask them this. This past Friday, they asked me back, “How are you?” And I was honest… I told them “I’m good, overall, really. But April truly kicked my ass.” Their reply was instant, “You said that about March.”

Served at my own game.

When do we stop beating ourselves down? When is enough, enough?

What am I saying yes to? What am I inviting in? Why am I doing what I’m doing – from the choices I make, to the life bits that maybe just need to be LET GO OF or heck, AVOIDED. When we think we’re fast tracking forward, life steps in to remind us that actually, we’re taking steps back. We’re back tracking. And it’s this way on the mat when we move before we breathe, and we keep moving and pushing and exerting so much so that then we lose the breath completely. And then we’re either injured or exhausted or just not doing yoga – we’re practicing from a place of physical exertion. Each time, when we can catch ourselves in it, and we bring ourselves back to the breath, we come back into sync. Back into rhythm. What we’re doing on the mat is most likely what we’re doing in our lives. And if you’re not catching it in your practice, be wary of online shopping and delivery, because that spiral is some trap to catch yourself in. But I get it now.

In all honesty and in all goodness, catch your breath. Find it again. And let yourself make it last longer than a few moments. Let your steadiness go first in life, and in your practice. Let your breath guide your movement. Otherwise, life is just one push after another. And then our experiences become all dried up because there’s less life to our lives.

I recently had some one-on-one time with a teacher who invited me to come to know what my quality of the breath is like in the course of my life, when I feel an emotion or have an experience. Essentially knowing the qualities and traits of my breath in life too, in addition to my breath in my practice on the mat. And that fascinated me. Before I heard this, I could tell you exactly what my body does when I get angry – I tighten up, my gut wrenches, my heart pounds, I begin fuming, maybe I shake. I can elicit that physical response because I know it. I could tell you what my body does when I get sad, excited, frustrated, tired. I can describe and I know much of how I experience and move in this life on a physical plane, but I can’t say I know my breath as well. The breath, more subtle yes, but arguably most vital.

Now I’m starting to pay attention. I’m learning about my breath. It quickens, it deepens, certain people/conversations/daily tasks make my breath respond in different ways because they reflect something I either really can lean into about myself or something I’m shying away from. Just as our breath needs the right conditions to become known to us, so do we in order for the noticing to even take place. Give yourself time. Give yourself space. Even just a small space to notice – how much am I taking in, taking on, inviting in, causing, how am I reacting tangibly, how am I responding subtly in my life? And then how, qualitatively, does it change my rhythm? Breath first. Then move.

Life as a reflection of our practice? Our practice as a reflection of our life? Not a coincidence. Not one bit.

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