On Just Getting Through the Day

7 days to 50.

Something interesting came up at work today. I was talking to a few friends about the choices we make. One of the managers in our company just went out on leave because the cancer she fought 2 years ago came back. She is in a very stressful position and we were talking about her personal responsibility in handling her stress levels.

As a cancer survivor I’ve done a lot of work on myself. I knew when I went through treatment that one of the contributing factors to my disease had to be my stress level. I took very definite steps to change that. I found a therapist, I found Kundalini yoga, I learned how to leave work at the office and unplug when I got home. These things were not easy but I knew they were necessary.

Of course I have a tremendous amount of compassion and empathy for her. I clearly remember a situation with her about six months ago where she was under so much stress that her lip was trembling because she was about to cry and I just kept chanting Kundalini mantras in my head trying to calm the situation. I looked at her and wondered how she did it. Life is so short. We had talked a few times about how her focus for life had shifted after cancer treatment and there I was watching her right back in the same situation again.

My friends at work think that the company should have gone easier on her. That she should have received some special anti-stressful treatment because she had been sick. I disagree. I think she had a responsibility to herself to lower her own stress level. Now I’m absolutely not saying that she gave herself cancer again, in fact, this post this really isn’t even about her. This is about my perspective vs. my friends’ perspective.

When I voiced my opinion I was faced with rather aggressive arguments that she didn’t have any choices. She had to keep working, she was probably scared, she probably had a lot of personal responsibilities. All of which really aren’t about this woman at all, they are about my friends and their perspectives on their own lives.

When I responded that I had the same issues and I’ve made major changes in my life I was met with the following-

Most people can’t be like you. They are so busy just trying to get through the day that they don’t have time to go on a spiritual path.

To which I responded-

Well, that’s the real tragedy.

I think about that. Most people are so busy just trying to get through the day- get the kids to school, pay the bills, pick up the dry cleaning, make dinner that they don’t have time to spend on their spiritual development.

I used to be one of those people. I bought spiritual books and kept them on a side table in my bedroom, ready for the instant I would suddenly be able to devote precious time to being more “spiritual”. I followed Oprah’s webcast with Eckhart Tolle. I did the same things a lot of people do, I took little steps towards the goal of THINKING about becoming more spiritual.

But looking back after finally being on this path for 5 or 6 years, I realize that all the books I’ve read, and the courses I’ve taken, up to and including the Kundalini Yoga Teacher training were invaluable. I see clearly that investing in my spiritual growth, both the time and the money was the best investment I have ever made. Teacher training alone would have been a bargain at ten times the price.

I see the world from a different place. I see opportunities where I saw only oppression before. It’s not just about being more positive or the fact that I’m happier, although those are both great things. It’s that I understand my place in my community and my world in a vastly different way. It is in finding and accepting my own truth that I can connect with other human beings in a deeper and more profound way. Isn’t that what we are all here for- to connect with others in a deeper way? I believe we’re here to share our truth with others, and to be of service to those who need us the most.

My hope is that more people will see that working on their own spiritual growth is a necessary and wise investment. Nobody should be in a position where they are just “getting through the day”. As one of my master teacher often says-

Peace and Joy are Your Birthright.

I know in my soul this is true- not just for me, but for everyone.

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