“My mind wanders a lot. I’m always thinking about work – focusing on whatever happens there, and if not there, then in every other aspect of my life. I felt like here, in my first yoga class, I was finally in the moment. Yoga wasn’t something I would have typically tried in the past, but I’ve been making an effort now to just go with the flow. When things present themselves to me, I keep an open mind and try them out. Even though I’ve never done yoga before I felt comfortable doing it for the first time, and when we ended, I felt more centered and focused.
I really liked the progression of the class – how you start out slow and it seems to get more physical, and then end by slowing back down. That’s when I was able to recenter my thoughts – after I got my blood flowing, and became still again.
I’ve meditated before, but adding the physical aspect gave it more of a whole body and mind experience. One day I was stressed out about work, and came home to shovel the driveway and ended up staying out there for an hour. Just doing that simple, physical task took my mind off everything that was going on. It relates directly to the class, where I was focusing on not trying to fall over, focusing on the tangible; the breathing, and getting back to basics. The physical with the meditation aspect created a really interesting combination for me.
I think back to the day we went to the sunflower fields. It was SO random! I was just stopping in The Local Moose to get a coffee on my way home to do something stupid like chores or yard work, and started talking to you, and then helping you hang up your photographs in the shop. Paul Nelson was playing his guitar there, and was leaving soon to play again at Coppal House Farm sunflower field in an hour – so we decided to go! Why not, right?!
I’m not even sure why I did this on that day because it’s so uncharacteristic of me to make a spontaneous move. I’m so glad I did though, because look at the chain reaction it created – and I’m now here talking to you about yoga! That day was all about living in the moment, and really experiencing life in that way. It was surreal. I’m never that person who meets someone in a coffee shop for the first time, and ends up doing something spontaneous like ending up in some sunflower fields I didn’t even know existed even though I grew up here. I want more experiences like what we had; ones where I’m just going with the flow.
The reason I think that viewpoint of going with the flow is so important is because I work with the elderly and I’ve sat with a lot of people at the very end of their lives when they’re dying. I hear them breathing, and it puts you in this different frame of mind. I have to be present in that moment because their moments are very fleeting. I see the culmination of what makes up someone’s life, and am able to receive from them a snapshot of what really, is actually important.
It makes you think hard on what’s important in your own life. I might be with someone who’s financially or academically successful, or even someone who spent their life as a janitor – and I’ve realized that none of that really matters. Their occupations or social status’ don’t define what was important to them as a person. What defines the person and what reflects a fulfilling life are the relationships they made in that life and how they treated the people within it. It was never about the material or superficial accomplishments. It was more about how they treated their husband, wife, children or friends, or even people who weren’t their friends. They all help put life into perspective for me.
Look at somebody who has dementia. The last thing they retain are their emotions: how they feel in that singular moment. It’s also very telling as to what’s important to us as human beings. My first yoga class was definitely a really eye-opening experience, and I’m not equating all these revelations to taking one class, but I know it does help keep our self-awareness at the forefront and to not forget what holds value for us. Even though I’m personally quite self-aware of these aspects, I sometimes forget because it’s easy to get stuck in our own worlds with whatever may be going on.”
Follow Bret’s story on Instagram: @justaguyandhisdog7
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