Vail YogaSoup: Two sides of life |

Vail YogaSoup: Two sides of life

Maria DeSimone
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado “-As Forest Gump said, “Life’s like a box of chocolate – you never know what you’re going to get.” And it’s so true, you certainly never know what you’re going to get. A box of chocolates filled with health care reform, stock market ups and downs and changes in the job market can appear to many people as undesirable, but if you were to dive into that box, you might just be surprised by the outcome.

If you want to experience the joy of chocolate you will have to be open to the bitter and the sweet. Sure, there are some people who enjoy a good 85 percent dark chocolate, but those people are not the majority. Instead, most prefer the sweeter version. Life’s kind of that way. The bitter and the sweet are always present, the two balance the overall experience of joy.

In difficult economic times, it serves us to take a moment and allow what is to unfold. You might taste the bitter first, but guaranteed, if you are open, the sweet will present itself. Change is part of life. Where there is a beginning, there is an end. Life doesn’t come without death ” new homes deteriorate, cars break down, we get older, trust is given and taken and friendships and relationships come and go. There isn’t one thing that isn’t subject to change. We can willingly participate and take what presents itself, or play the role of the victim. We don’t always experience the sweet side of chocolate right away. Life has a way of broadsiding us in order to open a door to growth and opportunity. If we never got sick, would we value health? If we didn’t suffer financially, how sweet would that new outfit be? If Bush wasn’t our president would we value Obama as much? The list goes on.

We all want two things out of life, yes just two things … peace and happiness, and we spend a lot of time, money and effort trying to achieve them. If we want to experience peace and happiness, accepting what is and making the most of it is the first step. If we want to go beyond moment to moment experiences we can ask where does this response to this life situation come from? How deeply ingrained are my conditioned habits? Why do I presume life should be a certain way? If we want to truly understand and truly participate we have to be willing to take responsibility. The path to peace and happiness is in the mindfulness of our thoughts, speech and actions. This is our power, this is how we generate what we want to experience next. By mindfully offering others what we in turn want for ourselves, we put in motion the pursuit of peace and happiness. Sure, jobs will change, people will come and go, bank accounts will go up and down, but we have the power to make choices according to the opportunities presented.

How can you ensure you’re not continuously falling into old habit patterns that don’t serve you? Take the time out to contemplate forming new habits, one that will serve not only you, but others. Sit down and watch your breath come and go, allow thoughts to naturally come and go, without judgment or force. You’re developing the power to cultivate a more responsive pattern to life’s experiences. The breath is a beautiful way to tap into peace where ever you are, on a cushion or in a sticky situation, it’s always there. When we learn to maintain our focus on breathing, we become less reactive and more responsive ” less likely to be pulled away by every negative emotion or sensation. You are basically reprogramming the synapses in your brain to fire differently. For the most part we don’t even realize how reactive we are until we sit down, close our eyes and go inward. When we see how crazy and distracted we are by to do’s, past conversations, and pursuing our desires, we begin to understand the nature of the mind. The ability to step back and make choices from a place of mindfulness is a beautiful thing. You will grow, you will find humor, you will be of assistance to others, this is peace and happiness! Savor the bitter and the sweet and life will present itself in a beautiful way.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Maria DeSimone has taught yoga for nine years. She teaches Mondays at 8 a.m. at the Westin Resort in Avon and will be teaching an outdoor yoga class at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens twice a week this summer. E-mail comments about this column to

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