I was driving along a busy street last week and came to a stop at a red light. As I looked around, I saw to my right a store selling glittery clothing, elegant shoes, and adornments for weddings and parties. The windows gleamed joyfully, conveying the sparkling promise of happiness, hope, future. To my left was a store selling wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and other products for the elderly, the injured, the recovering, the disabled. The items looked dusty and old, the signs in the window yellowed with age. The store exuded a dim, tired sadness.
I gazed from one to the other until the honking from the car behind me stirred me out of my musings.
“This is life,” I thought. There is hopefulness and the promise of a shiny future. And there is the sad “other:” the challenging times, and maybe life toward the end of its span. Life is all that, and everything in between.
I was glad to have yoga then, and mindfulness, to steady me. The vast chasm between the two storefronts tugged at me. But yoga, breath and awareness helped me understand something that felt big and important: that I am not at that place of glitter and shine, nor am I at that place of sad decline. I am here, in this moment, breathing in, breathing out. It held me, this returning to the present moment, pulling me back from the tug of despair, back toward just me, between the storefronts.
There is something for me to learn here, about steering away from the extremes, toward balance and a contentment with the everyday that is neither glitter nor gloom. I’m OK with that.