My husband Willie and I recently joined Ruben Vasquez and a group of yoga friends and family on a yoga retreat in Italy. During one of our classes Ruben quoted the famous English philosopher, Winnie the Pooh, who said, “Today is my favorite day” and challenged us to make each and every day our favorite day. That was easy at the 800-year-old Tuscan villa Locanda Cugnanello where you awaken each day to the sun peering over the mountains and the peace of the bird’s song greeting the morning. In Tuscany, every direction you turn offers a new panoramic postcard view of the beauty of the rolling hill countryside. The locally grown organic food; horse back riding or hiking through mountain trails; pizza parties; pasta making; wine tasting; twice daily yoga sessions with my favorite teacher; and the ancient magnificence of the cities like Florence and Sienna. Walking out onto the Piazza del Campo and seeing the famous sculptures and paintings felt as if we were stepping back into history. It was impossible for each day not to be your favorite day.
But what happens when you step off the plane and are smacked in the face with the reality of everyday life? I returned home with the knowledge that one of my cousins had passed a couple days before we returned; the following morning my husband’s stepbrother passed as we were rushing to visit him; and I attended one of my life long friends Celebration of Life. How is it possible to make days like these your favorite day? I must admit I’m challenged.
If I may be so bold as to paraphrase the wisdom of Paramhansa Yogananda: we are at the mercy of nature and may feel a sense of helplessness by acts of God or when without rhyme or reason, illness or accident takes someone close to us. We realize how little we’ve accomplished in the way of evenness of mind and how little control we have. Yogananda says: “If you lack imperturbable inner peace, you cannot remain tranquil during mental conflict……a peace crystallized individual remains radiantly serene even when trial besets him from all sides.”
There are many days, even “every day” days that I feel can be my favorite. But hard as I try, some days for me at least, it’s just not possible to make every day a favorite day. So I will continue to try to meet Ruben’s challenge; try and find Yoganandas
“Imperturbable peace;” be content that it still is a challenge; and continue to question if today can be my favorite day.