Optimist in the Making (Maybe)

While usually a realist, the glass isn’t half full or half empty, there is simply liquid that if red wine or coffee will probably spill on my non-black shirt or white table linens. Today, I am refusing to be anything but optimistic. The glass is half full…until I decide to drink it and my glass becomes empty and in need of a refill. I barely got enough sleep because I taught late last night and then early this morning spending more of the time in-between trying to shush my brain than sleeping. My morning commute consisted of a beautiful walk in the sun through the quiet early morning streets of my neighborhood. For the first time in over a month I got to shed my ankle-length down coat. My commute was a little lengthier than planned courtesy of a train conductor who seemed to be a little high, a little drunk, poorly trained at operating New York City subway cars, or all of the above and lovely tourists with huge suitcases who refused to let anyone pass them to catch the connecting train that was just half a flight of stairs away (let’s all hope they lose the luggage and gain some basic understanding of English or any of the other languages that were being politely screamed at them). And yet, I was still able to get coffee before teaching thanks to a completely empty Starbucks and a barista who understood I was in a rush so made my drink immediately instead of picking her nose, checking her phone for new texts or Facebook postings, or having a lengthy conversation with her co-worker about what she was going to do after work. As I was walking to the studio, coffee in hand, a Fresh Direct delivery guy walked by and said, “Pretty lady in purple!” I couldn’t help but smile and return with a, “Good morning.” (Note the lack of grumping about very little sleep and a yucky commute…full on optimism.)

I got to the yoga studio to find a full house. I admit, I was a little nervous, I was subbing a core yoga class for a teacher who is very different from myself and for a group of regular students who are rather particular about whom they take class with. At the end of class everyone was thankful and expressed having enjoyed class. Whew! The next two classes I have been teaching for two years, an intermediate/advanced vinyasa class and a slow flow/restorative class (don’t tell the students who attend my other classes, but I truly look forward to teaching these classes every week). There were lots of familiar faces and some new faces. I was inspired and energized by the focus and determination of the students in these three classes. I silently cheered on students are they tried again and again to find the shapes of difficult poses in their bodies. We all laughed together as I pointed out grimaced faces or fingers tensed into funny shapes. I breathed sighs of relief as I watched students take child’s pose when they needed rest. To watch as a tensed body finally discovers a moment of release, a faint smile creep across someone’s face, a steady balance after lots of wobbling, a breath deepen, a room full of people moving together – these are things that leave me feeling grateful for the ability to teach yoga. The regular students who return to their mats again and again and again inspire me to stay dedicated to my own practice. The new students who express feeling physically better or mentally calmer than they have in a long time remind me of why I come to my mat daily.

After I was done teaching I strolled through the sunlit streets of midtown Manhattan then descended into the subway to return home. We won’t talk about my rumbling stomach and plummeting blood sugar level or the REALLY annoying, REALLY loud teenager who would not shut up on the train. Or the fact that I had my heart set on a burrito from a place in my neighborhood that was not only closed this afternoon, but appears to be going out of business. Nope. Those are things this realist in optimist’s clothing is deciding to overlook today. We’ll focus on the beautiful weather and the gift of sharing something I love with others. I am now going to fill my glass with some wine, you can decide if it is half full or half empty (I’m wearing a black shirt so don’t worry about the spillage factor).

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About djunapassman

I teach yoga, write, and edit. I live in a Brooklyn neighborhood that is changing faster than I can, or care to, keep up with. Manhattan still beckons me to her island a few subways stops away, reminding me of when I lived amongst her daily hustle and bustle.
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