Mother Teresa's Anyway Poem
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
In Yoga there is the practice of Ishwapranidan, or Surrender to the Will of God/Higher Reality. This practice is one of the Niyamas, or observances of Yoga and directly follows the practices of cleansing, contentment, austerity and Self Study, for very important reasons. I'll highlight the reasoning that these preliminary practices put us at an edge that helps us discern the voices within that are not helpful to our ultimate journey toward wholeness and keep us in a state of ignorance. And, sometimes ignorance dresses in the most convincing disguises. For example, fear dressed as practicality. People pleasing and avoidance of punishment dressed as kindness and responsibility. Addiction or co-dependence disguised as discipline or unconditional love. I'm only naming the cloaks of ignorance I continue to remove from myself. This work can, by nature be heavy, and I've had to stretch myself to be objective and humor has helped to creative objectivity in ways that have been profoundly useful.
I remember saying to a therapist I used to see that I am aware that I use humor as a defense mechanism when I am looking at my issues and I understand that I will have to let go of it eventually. To which she responded, " your humor, used in this way is ok and is allowing you to be honest with yourself without going into self hatred. Why don't you keep it." So I did, and I invite you to do the same. This is not an invitation to use cynicism or sarcasm to replace vulnerability, but to keep a certain levity, while working on yourself, lest the work itself may leave you too weary to apply it in relationship, which, I think, is the very point.
I'll share with you the story of the rug.
Last February, my Yoga studio was thriving with students who were really enthusiastic. The physical space of the studio was limiting and so I decided to move into a bigger space and signed a 5 year lease for a building a few blocks away. I gave notice to my (then) current landlord that I would be leaving. It felt like a big stretch, and if I was honest with myself, it didn't feel right. I didn't get any of the grants that I applied for, so my response was to double my workload to save the money needed for the bigger space. I was already teaching too much and I was tired. Then, my mom died. Though she had been sick for a long time, the events that lead to her death still felt sudden and the image of death itself was shocking. I was riddled with regret and sadness and I shouldered the responsibilities of funeral details. I developed some disturbing symptoms of health problems and began a series of tests that would eventually lead to surgery and a hospital stay.
Meanwhile, the new landlords had asked my husband, Eric and I to come over and talk about the construction of the new studio, as it was being built to suit.
The "new landlords" were a couple in their late 60's, early 70's-the man was from Turkey, a rug importer, with a thick accent. The woman, American, was a sweet woman that reminded me of someones kind great aunt, who smoked alot. I could tell as soon as my husband and I sat down at their kitchen table that something was wrong. The woman of the pair was averting her gaze and looked worried, while her husband had a nervous smile and kept saying to Eric and I how nice he thought we were and that he "would have loved to work with us." With some prodding, we finally got out of him that there was a problem with the septic line of the building that would cost $20,000+ to fix and that, of course they were unwilling to pay it(and so were we). Within minutes, the 5 year lease I had signed was tore up and a check for $3,000 had been written to refund my deposit(Thank God). As the turkish man began to go into his story of inconvenience over having already started construction, I politely said I needed to leave, as I fought back tears. I knew then that I didn't have the energy to look for another studio space, nor did I plan to go back to the space that I had outgrown. Within less than a half hours time, I was choosing to let go of my dream of running a Yoga studio, because I was tired, grieving, sick, and because there was no place for my "shit" to go(septic problem). And, I felt relieved that I had an excuse, or several, to take a break.
As, we walked out, the husband and wife were visibly uncomfortable. He was still trying to tell us that we are good people and she was crying and looking around for something to give to us to relieve her sense of guilt. She stopped in the hallway and looked down at the turkish rug there.
"I want to give you this", she said.
The rug looked expensive.
"Honey, isn't there something else", said turkish man, knowing it was.
"No, I want to give them this rug", she said.
"You don't have to give us anything", said Eric.
"I'll take the rug", I said, and just like that, we rolled it up, Eric threw it over his shoulder and we left with a refund and a rug. We got into the car and started laughing(me still also crying). The practice of surrender had never been so hilarious(and the need for it so obvious).
Update: Dawn and Eric used the refund money to travel through Europe for 2 weeks and Dawn also traveled to CA and NM to visit friends and family. In total, she took a 2 month sabbatical to rest, grieve, and focus on health. In August, Dawn received a call from a realtor about a studio space for rent. MotherHeart Studio reopened in its new location, 2359 East Susquehanna Avenue on Halloween.