“If our aim is to alleviate the world’s suffering, we must begin with our own minds and bodies. We must do yoga. Each action taken in compliance with the eight-limb path brings with it an increase in our own peace and happiness–and our happiness is welcomed by the universe.”
-Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga
Day 7 – Yesterday I listened to several podcasts on my “sick” day. My mind frazzled, my body achy, and my spirit breaking under the burden of school bureaucracy, I have been taking in so much negativity and discontent (some discontent quite justified), I decided to let go of my physical presence on that day in my classroom (which, I believe, will be a welcome relief to my students) and do the mountains of paperwork I am required to do for whichever the next meeting it is that we are about to have. I settled into a few good podcasts on nutrition, anatomy, and hormonal balancing, but the best was on how to finish what we started.
The book, Finish, was featured on “The Yoga Talk” podcast with Lucas Rockwood. The book’s author, Jon Acuff, writes about the “gift of being done” with what one starts. We do, too often, celebrate the beginnings of our journey. We are amped up to start our diets, our new ways of exercise, a program, a goal, but we rarely–94% of our beginnings, in fact, have no endings–finish. As an educator, I see this all the time with planned professional developments, unit plans, projects, etc. Everyone is happy to begin these, but students (and their teachers) rarely have the stamina to carry through with the same zest. And, like all things, I haven’t completely “finished” this podcast, nor read the book, so all I can do this morning is ask Why?
What are the finishing habits of the mind which allow us to step on the mat day after day after day in yoga practice? What are the finishing habits of the mind that let us take on others’ problems and try to solve them? What are the finishing habits of the mind that allow me to march down the road of righteous public education? In today’s read, Rolf answers: “When we let go of our own suffering, we participate in the salvation of all living things.”