Cutting Through Doom

By Colleen Saidman Yee, January, 2016

I woke up very early this morning with a sense of doom. Life is always a bit weird, but right now it’s downright bizarre—I can’t seem to calibrate, or make sense of what’s going on. Nothing was really wrong this morning, but all felt strange: the weather in New York was like summer around Christmas. The Presidential debates are incredibly unsettling. The media is feeding us fear. I’m missing my mom, I’m missing our kids. Life seems so fragile. Where is the tether in times like this?

Poor Rodney, to wake up to me having a hard time catching my breath.

Finally, I got up and started planning my Tuesday morning class. I picked up my favorite Pema Chodron book, When Things Fall Apart, looking for a spiritual teaching for my class. This is what I opened up to:

“When you wake up in the morning and out of nowhere comes the heartache of alienation and loneliness, could you use that as a golden opportunity? Rather than persecuting yourself or feeling that something terribly wrong is happening, right there in the moment of sadness and longing, could you relax and touch the limitless space of the human heart? The next time you get a chance, experiment with this.”

If we can become quiet, quite often a message or a guide will appear in a way that seems more than coincidental. Thank you, Pema, for being my guide on so many days when I have felt helpless. I hope this passage can help those who may be having mixed emotions at this time of year. Relax and use whatever comes as an opportunity. Beautiful, sage advice.

Colleen Saidman Yee

A graduate of Jivamukti’s 1998 teacher-training program, Colleen opened Yoga Shanti, in Sag Harbor, in 1999. She has taught several teacher trainings at Yoga Shanti, some with her husband, Rodney Yee. The New York Times christened Colleen "The First Lady of Yoga," and has also been featured in Vanity Fair, New York magazine, Oprah, Marie-Claire, Allure, and Yoga Journal. Before that she had a varied career: She was a cover girl, a student of shiatsu, and she lived in Calcutta, working with Mother Theresa at the Home for the Dying and Destitute. More recently, together with Rodney, Colleen helped to create Urban Zen's Integrative Yoga Therapist Program, Donna Karan’s worldwide initiative. Colleen's latest yoga DVD is "Calorie Killer Yoga." Colleen is a co-founder of Yoga Shanti New York.

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