A few weekends ago, some yoga friends and I attended a 3-day yoga workshop in Punta Gorda taught by one of my all-time favorite and respected teachers, Tias Little. I had been really looking forward to Tias’ visit and the opportunity to be a student for the past year. And after looking forward to it for so long, I at first found myself, ironically enough, really distracted and unable to enjoy being there. I felt fidgety and unfocused. I told myself I “had” to have my phone nearby in case there was an emergency (granted, there’s been a lot of those lately), and although it was on silent, I checked it frequently. On the second day, the tears started to flow. Not the sobbing, gut-wrenching kind, but the slowly trickling into your ears when you lie on your back kind. They were gentle, but steady. I became aware of my exhaustion -- the kind you get when you’ve been fighting back grief for so long. I worried the grief was a bottomless pit and I would never get out. I worried the flow of tears would be never-ending. I was sure I’d have swimmer’s ear by the end of the workshop. On the third day, the tears were still there, but only intermittently. And I became aware of something underneath the grief, underneath the exhaustion. It seemed familiar, but at first I wasn’t sure what it was. And when I finally got a minute to myself, I remembered its name. Gratitude. I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude. I was grateful for Tias and his teachings; I was grateful for yoga in general and for my own yoga mat, in particular. I was grateful I was able to attend the workshop; I was grateful for all my yoga friends and students; I was grateful for my great husband who told me to cry as long as I needed to. And I realized I’m grateful that I’m able to take care of my father even though it’s hard and nerve-wracking and stressful. It’s caused me a lot of pain because it’s required me to grow in innumerable ways. I don’t think growth has to be painful, but I do think it requires looking at things a new way. And we don’t have to be afraid of growth, because it gives us the opportunity realize our potential. Even the smallest acorn has the potential to be a mighty oak. “Libre” means freedom, so I will leave you with this quote from Nagarjuna. What is inside is me, What is outside is mine---- When these thoughts end… Freedom dawns. Hope to see you on your mat very soon.