Don't Let Dog Poop Be Your Dristi
Keeping Your Perspective Positive
Our perspective on life, relationships, events has everything to do with how this life unfolds for us. There are many circumstances in our lives that are difficult and painful. We see these every day when tragedy strikes, a relationship ends, a loved one is gone. While I think it is truly important to grieve when these events occur, not letting them get stuck in us, a shift in perspective is possible and helps us to heal. The universe has a plan for us that we cannot see. And there is a blessing that comes through in the suffering.
In yoga we have a focal point called a dristi. It is a place on the floor, on the wall, at our fingers. It is where we send our gaze in order to maintain our balance in the body as we hold our pose. It is super helpful in challenging poses. And it is super helpful in life, truly helps us to stay focused in the direction that we choose. Where attention goes, energy flows. It helps us to find that balance in our lives.
Last summer a friend and I rode bikes on the bike trail. Riding along on a beautiful day, we came across a pile of dog poop with a butterfly on it. He made the comment that people think it’s so cool when a butterfly lands on them, not thinking about the fact that the butterfly was just resting on dog poop. He was obviously having a bad day. Sometimes our dristi can be the negative qualities of someone you love, your circumstances, the way that you see the world and this life. His thought would not have occurred to me when a lovely butterfly landed on my arm. Later that summer I went camping at a friend’s place who raises dogs. She has a beautiful lake, an rv hook up for my camper, and an open invitation for me. I got up early, laid out my yoga mat on a beautiful morning, and there, in front of me, was a pile of dog poop. If I lifted my face and did not look down, I had a beautiful view of the lake through the trees, the still water, the morning sounds. I chose to let those things be my dristi for my practice. The dog poop was still there, yes, but I was able to look beyond the negative and to see all the beauty around me.
Things happen, relationships end, people get sick, they die, jobs are lost, tragedies occur. Sometimes we are broken. And while those things are undoubtedly difficult and painful, there is often a transformation in the suffering that is part of our journey. One of my students recommended a wonderful book, More Beautiful Than Before, by Steve Leder. This book is an exploration about how through suffering, our lives are transformed into something more meaningful, more beautiful.
Grieve. Be sad. Be angry if you must. Let it pass through you. Then look for the butterfly. Don’t let the dog poop be your dristi. See the good in the people that you love. Know that whatever your pain is, it is all part of a plan of which you cannot be aware. Allow your perspective to shift. You will find, with patience, healing and time, that you are more beautiful than before.