So here’s the story…
I drive into a gas station and a gentleman drives up next to me to ask me if I could fill up his tank. I decline. He continues to pester me, while I ignore him. Halfway through filling my own tank full of gas he calls someone on his phone and begrudgingly yells out that he might be late and is still in “fag-town.” I’m thinking to my self, just let me get back home in peace – not pieces.
I had just wrapped up teaching yoga for the day, and honestly, I just wanted to get back home so I could take a shower and relax for the rest of the evening. Coming from a zen environment to something so toxic as this, put me on edge.
The guy continues to press on, and inquires about my scarf, “Is that a Tibetan scarf?” I’m thinking maybe he’s just trying to butter me up so I’ll buy him gas. “Yes,” I reply, “I’m a yoga teacher.” Automatically he goes into a rant as to how the “men of these days are too metrosexual; you all are faggots; learn to be a man and build something with your hands. You’re a fucking fag…” over and over and over… even as I left the gas station with his scowl on his face.
I know there are bigots out there in the world, and I realize that there are those who cannot (or choose not to) accept others for their differences. His intentions were surrounded by evil and his unjust animosity towards me was disturbing. But how I felt soon after that incident was shaken.
It’s times like this where I try to mirror myself in someone else’s shoes. Maybe he had a bad day. Maybe he was raised in an environment that wasn’t as open to different things. A part of me wanted to get into a fight with him. The disciplined, yogic part of me told me to breathe. I sit here writing this blog with some thoughts on my mind. And given I’ll likely process this for the remainder of the evening, some quick quips of wisdom:
- I cannot control or fully understand how another person feels.
- I have agency to choose how I feel about a situation or person(s).
- Don’t let toxic people steal your energy.
- Hold compassion for those who have trouble holding compassion for others.
So there’s no perfect remedy for situations like this, nor can you not expect to react to difficult situations that try to destroy your ego. But if you can breathe and not dwell on the negative ideas, your suffering will likely be reduced, and you’ll find balance sooner than later.