The Sum Total

The more work I do in Yoga, the more I realize that my focus is to help people realize their greatest, most expansive & ideal selves…to permit them to dream bigger than they ever thought acceptable, and then to pursue those dreams with unflinching confidence and determination. Whether these dreams embody one’s desire to live free of insecurities, or whether one dreams of being on a stage in front of tens of thousands of people, the road to realizing our greatest hopes is the same. In this era of shameless self-promotion, driven by the irrational hunger for fame (often with nothing to offer in return once the fame is achieved), we are conditioned by society and the media to focus on our selling points…how absolutely fantastic we are…how marketable, how picture-perfect, how dumbed down we can allow ourselves to get in order to be adored and devoured by the masses. It is exactly the flip side to this approach that fascinates me and which I encourage those who hear what I’m saying to pursue…to focus on what makes us different, what is unique to each of us, often tapping into that which remains buried under layers of defense mechanisms and insecurities. The traits and attributes that are specific to us as individuals (and that may have at one time or another been a point of embarrassment and shame) will largely determine how we are remembered, and it is in nurturing these differences that our greatest potential often unfolds.

The book I’m currently reading, Cutting For Stone, tells the tale of Abu Kassem, a merchant who held onto an old, deteriorating pair of slippers until they were falling apart, but when he finally tried to rid himself of them, disaster ensued. “When he tossed them out of his window they landed on the head of a pregnant woman who miscarried, and Abu Kassem was thrown in jail; when he dropped them in the canal, the slippers choked off the main drain and caused flooding, and off Abu Kassem went to jail…”

One bystander who is listening to this story remarks, “Abu Kassem might as well build a special room for his slippers. Why try to lose them? He’ll never escape.” After pondering this comment, the other people gathered for the storytelling realize the truth in the old man’s words. “The slippers in the story mean that everything you see and do and touch, every seed you sow, or don’t sow, becomes part of your destiny…The key to your happiness is to own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don’t. If you keep saying your slippers aren’t yours, then you’ll die searching, you’ll die bitter, always feeling you were promised more. Not only our actions, but our omissions, become our destiny.”

So what are your slippers? And how long have you been trying to lose them? Have you succeeded, or are you still trying?

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3 thoughts on “The Sum Total”

  1. Bram, I rock – I don’t need slippers :-p

    OK, in all seriousness, I think one of my slippers is how hard I am on myself and how much I expect of myself (and consequently, from others). This is something that’s been ongoing for as long as I can remember, and it’s something I can’t shake off. I’ve tried to mellow out on that front, be less demanding of myself (and others),let go a little and allow for more flexibility, but it’s tough. If I’m ‘too’ flexible, I feel like I’m slacking off on all fronts, like I’m not doing my best and giving my all, but I think this is my own perception and not necessarily others’. I have no answer for you today – still a work in progress. How can I love and accept my slippers?

  2. Love Bram!!! Sweet read ; )
    I have the same slippers since I am a teen, not kidding, we were talking about this last night with my family, they are called hot feet. What is interesting about them, is how they are still in one piece after all these years & so warm. My mom offered them to me for X-mas, at the time I was a little brat, expecting another kind of slippers, which my mom tried to find, and only found these ones. I have a tendencies to have cold feet, so that is why she found these, to always have warm feet. We are always given what we exactly need at every single time, and it all starts with MERCI!!! Accepting it, differences or sameness, it comes down to the same. Yet as you said we need to celebrate the uniqueness we all have been shape as, which is to be share for the benefit of all. Love reading you sweet Angel! Thanks for being you! Merci!

  3. Talk about we are given exactly what we need at exactly the right time…
    Lately my slippers feel like boomerangs!I keep throwing them out the window and they just zip right back.

    I am an extremely sensitive person and tend to care and feel more deeply than the average human. Over the last little while, I have found myself wishing that I wasn’t built this way. That I could take things in stride the way other people seem to do. That what I deem to be small things shouldn’t feel like a punch to the stomach.
    Over the last few years I have worked so hard to release attachment to drama, to toughen up and to remind myself that the little things are not the end of the world. Because of all the personal development books and cds and lectures that I have been to and the discoveries that they have all led me to make, I now feel like I have no idea how I should react to things. “Is it ok to be angry about this? Should I just breathe it out and I’ll feel better after? Am I being over-sensitive? Am I victimizing myself? I want to cry over my boyfriend not wanting to hang out but just because he doesn’t want to hang out doesn’t mean that he doesn’t like me,it just means that he doesn’t want to hang out. Right? Right?!?!?!”

    With a brain so busy because of a heart so full, I can only conclude that it would be so much easier if I could simply not care. Wouldn’t I be less tired? Wouldn’t it be less taxing?
    Part of me knows that this isn’t true and that my acute sensitivity is something that sets me apart. It’s my superpower (both a gift and a curse.)
    I’m finding it really hard to feel the love for those slippers but I am also trying to find the way to harmony and loving acceptance.
    More yoga, right B?? 🙂 xo

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