In addition to my work as a therapist and healer, I am a yoga teacher –and I love it. Being a part of the yoga community is rewarding, being a teacher is an honor. Finding the right time-slot for a class is both art and science, as we try to figure out when people can, and want to, come to class. Two weeks ago I spoke with the owner of the studio where I teach, and we decided to start my class 15 minutes earlier. I think this is a fantastic idea: it will bring more students to the class; it will make my day end a little earlier. The new time was to begin yesterday. The problem is, I forgot. En route to the studio, I realized my mistake. Instead of being ten minutes early, I was going to be five minutes late.

And then, a miracle happened: I didn’t beat myself up.

I spoke with the studio owner, who was on site as she had just finished teaching. She was gracious and handled the situation with a problem-solver’s good humor. She said she’d start the class, and I could take over when I got there. Her grace made it easier for me to hold mine. That is huge. That is HUGE. That is something we can all learn from. We can make the world a safer, happier place by choosing to panic less and to be calm and kind.

According to the Dalai Lama, the purpose of life is to be happy. It is difficult to be happy when we are caught in a constant barrage of criticism, especially that sneaky and pervasive self-criticism. Giving others grace is profound. Giving ourselves the same grace that we would grant another is life-changing. We are going to make mistakes; we are human. How we respond to those mistakes can determine our overall happiness. It can take us closer to, or move us away from, the very purpose of our lives.

I have a history of deep, pervasive, acerbic self-criticism. But I have been really working on this stuff since 2002. I have an arsenal of effective and well-honed techniques that have helped me: hypnotherapy; EFT and other Energy Psychology techniques; Reiki and other energy healing; an almost-daily meditation practice. (Note this is a meditation practice, not a perfect. I have yet to achieve samadhi. I barely find pratyahara. It’s all good.)

I’ve also grown older, and at 46, I’m not the same gal I was at 33. My dad, known for his character and wisdom, once assured me that “these [crises] have a way of working themselves out”. Crises do pass, and while they are with us, they teach us a lot. Sometimes I think of my Higher Self speaking to me like a light-hearted Mafioso, saying “We can do this the easy way, or we can do it the hard way….” Let’s do the easy way, please.

Yesterday’s mistake showed me how far I have come. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sarah. Good job yesterday! Congratulations on not freaking out or beating yourself up. And please, keep up the good work―life is much happier that way.