The Joy of Kitty Litter | iHanuman


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The Joy of Kitty Litter

I have discovered the secret of a happy life! It came to me again recently while vacuuming. I say "again" because we all know this truth, but most of us overlook it. My husband Dave and I were having friends over for dinner. He was cooking, and I was in charge of cleaning the house, not usually my favorite job. I put the Three Tenors on the CD player and cranked it up. As I vacuumed and listened to the music, I became totally immersed in the job, enjoying seeing the dust bunnies, pet hair, and various other interesting objects disappear into the vacuum cleaner. I continued cleaning for a couple of hours, singing away, marveling at the improvements appearing before my eyes.
Reflecting on this experience I realized why I felt so happy: I was fully present in the experience of cleaning. Instead of wanting to be doing something else, I was fully engaged in each moment, feeling fully alive.
Yoga teaches us that the quality of attention we bring to our poses is very important. The quality of our attention has a tremendous influence on our experience of any activity. I've discovered that I actually enjoy doing almost anything, if I totally pay attention to what I'm doing. I even like doing Complete Boat Pose (a challenging abdominal strengthener) ... if I'm totally there, paying attention to all the nuances of the pose and not thinking about when it will end! I've even found that I enjoy changing the kitty litter, if I totally pay attention!
However, most of us are not fully present in the moment: we're at work and thinking about running errands; we're home and worrying about work; we're cleaning the house and thinking about what we have to do next week; we're doing yard work and thinking about reading a book ... and so it goes. The most stressed out people I see are those who are not living in their present moments. Basically they are out of the flow and rhythm of their own lives.
So the dilemma is, how can we want to be doing whatever it is we are currently doing, or need to be doing. The technique that helps me the most is to acknowledge that I have choices in how I respond. I can complain and wish I were doing something else, or I can fully engage myself in the task at hand. This realization of having choices is very empowering, because I am taking responsibility for how I feel. I may not be completely responsible for the situation, like getting stuck in traffic for instance, but I am completely responsible for my response to it. With this understanding we take our yoga awareness off the mat and into our lives.
In life, you have to be present to win!

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