I love my Thursday morning yoga with Jody at the Y. I am not a yoga fanatic, but this is always my best workout of the week and I absolutely loved it this morning! We did a lot of moves that required shoulder strength which is hard doing next to my friend, Bri, who has the shoulder strength of a gymnast goddess. Because I, on the other hand, do not. So then Jody tells us to get into dolphin pose. That includes clasping your hands, moving your elbows out to make a triangle on the ground, and sticking your butt up in the air, keeping your legs straight, making a tent with your body. This is hard enough, but then she has us lift one leg, put it down, then then the other leg. I’m literally dripping sweat at this point. Then, she says move your feet in a little closer making your tent a little tighter. Yowza! My shoulders were dying, but I was determined not to come out of the pose because I know that Jody pushes us further than we want to go, but she understands most of us are not the yoga elite, and she’ll give us a break when we need one. So I push through, and finally - she tells us to come out of the pose. Relieved, and mega proud of myself, I relax.
And then, I look over at the guy next to me, who is doing a freaking handstand on his dolphin-triangled hands and elbows.
I mean, immediately there’s a flurry of thoughts in my head. I didn’t even know that was a thing! But obviously, what Jody was having us do is what builds up to being able to do that. That makes sense. I’m sure glad all my back patting was in my head. Simply staying the pose was my proud moment, but look at this guy! I could *maybe* do that someday? Maybe?
But my last thought is, now that gives some perspective.
We live(d) on a quiet, quaint little golf course. Recently it was purchased by a developer, much to my dismay. This afternoon I came home to all of the trees being cut down on the golf course. In one afternoon, one guy and some crazy piece of machinery can tear down decades of growth (and my hopes for no backyard neighbors). Along the process I got involved in my local government in a way I never had before by writing letters and attending meetings and talking to my city council members. (Bonus: I was invited to be part of the city branding committee! Super fun!!!) At one point in the process, one of the councilmembers said if I didn’t want the land to be developed I should have bought the land. To which I rolled my eyes and thought, obviously. I sure wish I could have, because, man, there was some great business potential in that place! But I couldn’t, so today comes, and I’m pretty upset about it. I see these gigantic downed trees just five feet from my fence line, and I think how crazy it is that I have taken in that view as “my own“ and yet I have zero control over what happens on the other side of my fence.
How often do we do that? Expand our fence lines in our head into areas we truly have no control in, and then get all worked up when plans change, people change, circumstances change, scenery changes...
Now that gives some perspective.
We’re reading an amazing book for my book club called The Book of Joy, and it’s interviewing the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu about how they have joy, and what they’d tell others about how to have joy, in the midst of this life we all know is so hard.
One of the things they say is a pillar to having joy is being able to change your perspective on a situation. The Dalai Lama says you should view a situation from 6 different perspectives. They referred to "the eight-century Buddhist master, Shantideva, who wrote, 'If something can be done about the situation, what need is there for dejection? If nothing can be done about it, what use is there for being dejected?'"
That’s certainly a different perspective.
Do you know your default perspective? Did you know you have one? Your Temperament determines how you perceive yourself, others and the environment around you. It comes by such default that we often don’t recognize it. That’s "just how we are"; that’s "just how we think". Of course it is. Doesn’t everybody? No, not everyone defaults the same way you do.
It’s a gift to be able to learn your default, and learn the ways others perceive things. I’m not suggesting you change your default; I don’t believe that’s fully possible on this earth. What I am suggesting is you give yourself the gift of a pause to assess your first, instinctual response, to be able to choose to respond rather than react.
Did you know it’s really hard for some Temperaments see things from another perspective? Really, it comes so much more easily to some of us that we don’t even realize how challenging it is for others. But it certainly not impossible. It’s like my learning to smile to break up the RBF (see my last post). We are extremely intelligent and adaptable creations. We get to learn new behaviors that complement our in-built wiring to help us live happier, more joyful lives. The Bible says in Romans 12:2 to be "transformed by the renewal of your mind", and to me, the best part is that it means our minds CAN be renewed! We don't have to sink to our Temperament weaknesses, we can rise to our Temperament strengths!
So I've been trying to put this into practice in my own life. Not gonna lie, it's hard. I started by thanking God for the golf course being developed, even though I don't know why I'm thanking Him yet.
What do you need to view from a few different perspectives, so that you can experience more joy, peace, confidence, forgiveness, relief, purpose, or wholeness?