you know sometimes your teacher just tells you exactly what you need to hear.
I have an amazing assignment to Open to the Highest and set my feet firmly on the ground at least 20 times a day. This is really hard to remember to do sometimes in the real world off the yoga mat. This is sometimes even hard to remember to do on the mat. I am so blessed to be able to take my practice and studentship to the next level in the good company of Garden Street Yoga Kula, but as is life, I am not always in "good company".
in our first meeting of our Advanced Immersion, a subject came up about how hard it is to maintain this Opening to the Highest when we are sometimes in the company of negativity, whether it be people we work with, live with, deal with in the grocery line, on the freeway, etc. That, sometimes, it can be very lonely out there opening to the Highest. Opening to Grace in the midst of negative company. My teacher said that her teacher told her that in these instances you have to "suck it up and serve! This is your dharma!"
a common definition of dharma is:
"dharma is the doctrine of the religious and moral rights and duties of each individual"
so I guess that would mean that it is my individual duty to Open to the Highest, ESPECIALLY when surrounded by negativity. I wish I could tell you that I do that well. So I put myself to the assignment of 20 times a day on one of my more difficult days......double shift Sunday at the restaurant I work at!
Now I'm not even going to mention the name of the restaurant because it is my experience that this is the reality of most restaurants, not just this one. Restaurants are like sleeping Kulas, fast moving, loud, distracting, busy and always right at the edge of chaos. A perfect place really to test the waters of Opening to the Highest First.....looking for Shri (beauty) first.....see Shri and then be Shri! Easier said than done!
I have on purpose and strategically placed my just barely awake self (kind of like one eye just barely open first thing in the morning and there is a lot of goop around that barely open eye and it really wants to go back to sleep, lol) in this environment because it pays the bills and quite honestly I like to serve people. For every 10 tables I serve, I might get one table to break the routine a bit and have a little fun with them. I don't interupt people that are obviously there to catch up or in a meeting or in a hurry. But with some I have an opportunity to connect in some way, and I really do have to open to the Highest to be able to see that opportunity. I pay attention to that.....that I seem to have a knack for.
However, some people....for whatever reason.....like to go out to eat and look for things wrong to complain about. I don't understand this at all. They don't want to spend money, they know they are not going to like the food, they love to tell you about the bad experience they had last time and don't think I will do much better (i like to call this contempt prior to investigation, lol), they are going to want 10 free refils on their bottomless beverage, they are going to try to figure out the best way to get their meal for free or at least discounted, they are looking at their watch for sure, they see that you have a tray of food for another table in your hand as you walk by, but they somehow would like you to put that down and go fill their water and get more napkins right now because that is way more important than the hot food for the next table........oh....and the bathrooms are terrible.....and the music is too loud.....so is the next table full of kids. I could go on.......no really I could, lol. This kind of table deflects Shri and Light like you were offering it to them just to annoy them, lol. They know without a doubt you are literally trying to kill them with kindness! And they are definitely are not going to tip you....they knew that before they even walked in the door!
Pause.....breath.....soften.....open to the highest....set my four corners of my feet and begin again.
I recover and honestly.....I have lowered my expectations for my guest to be well behaved so then I'm really more surprised and happy when I get the happy family table that responds well to my smile and outpouring of Shri and automatically give it back. That one table out of every 10 is worth it all, it's all I need.
But double shift Sunday was not going down like that!! It was particularly negative for whatever reason and the one in 10 table was having a hard time showing up to help me keep going. So.......I paused and opened to the Highest and planted my four corners 50 times on Sunday!! No really I did!!
Two cool things did happen as a result of this. Another waitress I work with is also a former yoga student of mine from North Idaho College and knows what the for corners of the feet are and knows what it means to Open to Grace. She's another Light of Shri running around in this world and a joy to work with. She was having a hard time with the "rude guests" that she was serving (nope it wasn't just me that day, it really was just one of those days)....so I passed on to her my own assignment of the 20 times a day, and told her about the "suck it up and serve...it's your Dharma".....and she smiled at me....looked at me in the eyes.....and said, "your right...thanks Terri.....that really helps!"....and went back to being her Shri serving self! After that, I finally got the happy table....a table of women who were just dying for a good belly laugh, and I found the groove to joke around with them and have fun with them.....we had a good time, I was laughing with them and it was a nice little Shri fest with complete strangers. So maybe it was only one table that day....but it was a really good one!
Suck it up and Serve!!!!