We go through life asking ourselves extremely existential—if not somewhat depressing—questions. Whether we realize it or not. We each answer them differently as well. For example, I submit the ever-popular inquiry: “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
The question to this day is pondered the world over by modern day philosophers and scientists alike, and there is no “right” response.
If I were a physics buff, my reply might be “no.” I would say that sound is merely a perception—without a human (or animal) ear to perceive the noise of a fallen tree as sound, it is nothing more than vibration.
If I were a philosopher, I might say that it hardly matters because the fallen tree is simply an imperfect earthly representation of the concept of “treeness” floating through space and time.
I’ve always enjoyed hearing people’s responses to such questions because not only am I nosy (shocker! I am a journalist, after all), but it is fundamental to our wellbeing to hear viewpoints other than our own. However, there occasionally comes a time when one also has to put aside their unrelenting concern for the goings on in other people’s daily lives and focus on their individual wellbeing.
At least, that is what I’m noticing in my quest to find my place on the path unwinding (thank you, Elton John!).
Desperately in need of a salve on my wounded spirit, I returned to my Yoga practice in the last two weeks—for the first time in about a year. The recent wounds inflicted were not so deep; they were the type that comes from the ins and outs of daily living. Yet it hardly matters when one doesn’t take the time to check in with themselves and address those wounds. They just pile up until the essence of who they are becomes ridden with gaping sores oozing with infection.
For me, Yoga has been a reliable safe-guard against such emotional sickness. In fact, I can’t recall ever attending a practice session where my Yogi didn’t use the phrase “check in with yourself (and body).” That’s why it was particularly disheartening when I arrived one morning to the Yoga studio in Chelsea I’d been frequenting of late… and felt what I can only describe as the invalidation of my existence.
Dramatic, I know. Don’t worry—I’ve gotten over myself.
But wait, hmmm. A question of existence, eh? Just like my friend The Tree, though I doubt she spends time questioning the nature of her existence…because she just knows. At least, that’s what I started thinking about after the very first Yoga class I had at the aforementioned location when I struggled to maintain…(you guessed it!)…the “tree pose.”
My fantastic Yogi that evening told us all, “Don’t worry if you fall. I think we all know that saying, if a tree falls, it’s still a tree.”
It was that thought that carried me through the class that didn’t start off so well; I was able to check in with myself and think about why I let silly things bother me.
So what if the receptionist seemed more preoccupied with the customer behind me and appeared to be rushing me along? So what if nobody opened the door for me when I arrived—even though they saw me struggling in the rain? Because I AM STILL ME.
No matter what life lessons—harsh or otherwise—come my way,
I am still me, and you are still you.