These days, I’ve been starting off my yoga classes with a reminder to my students: every time we step on to our mats, it provides an opportunity for us to practice being okay with both where and who we are at this moment.
It’s an opportunity to give ourselves permission to be okay, to take a look at ourselves (bumps, bruises, rough edges and all) and honor that this is the very best version of ourselves that we can achieve in this moment. There is nowhere else we have to be, there is nothing else we should be doing, and to expect more is doing ourselves a disservice.
What’s funny is that even though I speak this truth every time I sit down to teach, I have a really hard time following it in my own life. It’s a fairly classic “do as I say, not as I do” scenario, and it goes hand in hand with making excuses instead of just following my own advice and taking care of myself.
This is where I fall into the “not enough time” trap, or where I end up “trying to take care of myself” instead of actually doing it. We can make all the excuses in the world about why we can’t do certain things, many of them completely viable. But in the long run, we’re missing out on making a positive impact in our lives by making these excuses.
My question is: why in the world do we do it??
Why, when we know that we need to get enough sleep every night, do we cut corners and try to get away with the bare minimum? Why, when we know how good we feel after a yoga class or a good workout, do we procrastinate and end up skipping it? Why?
I think it’s because we’re human. We’re these inherently flawed, yet unimaginably wonderful and capable creatures who are wired for immediate gratification, and our human nature often wins out over the intellectual argument between our bodies and our minds.
And speaking of the mind… we often live so deep inside a constantly active, chattering, future-thinking, past-remembering clump of synapses that we forget about this moment. Remember in last week’s post where I compared the mind to a drunken, scorpion-bitten monkey? It’s no wonder we have such a hard time just being, much less being okay with where we are in this moment.
Toward the end of the last Skype call I had with my business coach, we touched on this subject. Between being in location transition and it being summer, I have the perfect opportunity to really settle in and do my own work. Instead, I’ve been beating myself up about all the things I should be doing, and the fact that I haven’t progressed as quickly as I would like in certain aspects of the business. Instead of being honest with myself, I claim that I’m “trying” to take care of myself. Instead of being proud of the things I’ve accomplished, I beat myself up over what hasn’t happened.
One of the things that I hold dear with Rebel Yogi is the chance to be transparent about the process. Yes, it sucks (a lot) to admit that I struggle as much as the next person. But my hope is that by laying open the dark side of the story, rather than just the bright and shiny side that is usually the only side of the story that makes a public appearance, we begin to see that we’re not alone. We are all on our own twisty journey – the yoga journey (of the self, through the self, to the self) – but we do have traveling companions along the way.
It’s the major reason I started the Changemaker Q&A series – to share the stories of those fellow travelers, to remind us that we’re all in this together. We all struggle, we all fall, and we all have this beautiful opportunity to smile anyway – to get back up after those falls, to dust ourselves off, to find the beauty in the struggle – and to find a way to be okay with where we are, even in the midst of that struggle.
So am I okay with where I am in this moment? If I’m being honest: most of the time, no. But I’m making an effort to be more aware of the times when I’m not, and taking those opportunities to pull myself out of the boiling pot of mind-stuff, to become present in the moment, and to just be.
Our lives are a work in progress. Let’s give ourselves a chance to open up to that idea, and maybe ultimately to be okay with it.
I’m in. Are you?