I found this sunshine-y little message on one of my little jaunts on social media. I saved the image to my desktop and have to tell you that it has been haunting me with the burning intensity of 10,000 suns ever since.
Here's the story. I have a new (awesome) yoga teacher / mentor who recently said " I can tell almost everything about a person's approach to life by how they show up and practice on the mat."
At first I thought this was an arrogant statement, one that was just tossed out there willy nillly to make me even more self-conscious about my own practice. Great, now it's not only a yoga practice, but a glimpse into my soul. Then I sat with it awhile, meditated about it, dreamed about it, and then I cried. A lot. A. Whole. Lot.
The aforementioned statement combined with my teacher's statement made me realize, that for me personally, it was true.
A moment of truth: when I'm scared, self-conscious, tired, angry, and dear god, even happy, I have a tendency to try to control the feeling and situation by holding on TIGHT. I grip. I dig in deep. I force it. I clench and tighten and jam shut my eyes and try to make the negative feelings vanish and make the positive feelings stay forever. I try to pretend things don't effect me when they clearly do. I try to look and behave "perfectly" in the face of things that are far less than perfect.
I do this in yoga. I do this in relationships. I do this at work. I do this at the grocery store when I'm standing in line behind a woman in need of a good coupon organizer. How I do anything, is how I do everything.
This is not working for me. (thank you captain obvious)
Yesterday I was struggling with some strong emotions brought on by some less than optimal interactions with someone I care about. I was angry and frustrated and sad. In spite of my best intentions and actions, things were NOT going the way I wanted them to.
Time for yoga. I arrived on my mat, and in the quiet minutes before class, I realized my habit for clenching and holding on tight to these emotions. I set an intention to practice an hour of letting go. I mean completely letting go. Letting things unfold the way they are meant to. Flow. Breathe. Rinse and repeat. I let my body and soul express my yoga the way that was the least resistant to whatever was happening in the moment. It was beautiful. It was liberating. It was amazing. I let go of what it was supposed to look like, how fast it was supposed to go, how I was supposed to look as the "teacher" practicing next to my own students. It made me realize that if I want less suffering in my life, I need to learn to do this in practice OFF the mat. I need to love hard, to be present, and to let go of the outcome. (Why does that sound so much easier than it is??)
Letting go isn't easy for me. It's a constant process. It's recognizing my own tendency to try too hard. It is now my intention to let go and trust that things will work out in the best interest of all involved. I'm going to let this unfold naturally. The way it is meant to.