I have been practicing yoga now for over three years ago. I started off with yoga nidra as a way to relax and wean myself off the brown paper bag and Bach’s Rescue Remedy that I carried around to combat the ever present anxiety attacks. As I have shared before, coming from an Evangelical Christian background, I was pretty skeptical about yoga but learned quickly that maybe there was something to it. It actually took me some time to work into asanas (physical poses) since at that time I was dealing with a hernia and later hernia surgery recovery.
In the past year, I have gotten pretty serious about my personal practice. I prefer being in the studio but practice almost daily regardless of if I make it to the studio or not. Yoga is my drug of choice these days, it keeps me flexible and it probably keeps me sane. Yet yoga and the practice of learning to relax both my mind and spirit has taught me one thing…I don’t have to do a damn thing. I just have to be present in this moment. Let me repeat that, I don’t have to do a damn thing but just be and the truth is neither do you.
In the US which is where I live, we are fucking addicted to busy, consumed with what we must do, how we must be, frankly it is insanity! Day after day, I talk with people offline, online, wherever and we are all so stressed and consumed with our kids, partners, jobs, and whatever else to the point that if we were to be frank with ourselves, are we even enjoying this ride we call life? Sure, some of us get off on and even thrive on all this busy, but I suspect that many of us are doing it because we think we have to do it.
It’s taken the combination of yoga and the gift of getting older to realize more times than not that many times the pressures we face are pressures we put on ourselves. I thought about that this morning as I emptied my mind and let go of some residual tension that I had been hanging onto. I thought about it again this evening when I came home from work, grumpy and tired and pissed off about making dinner. No one said I had to make dinner; there is no law whatsoever that says BGIM must cook. Hell the man unit is a proficient cook and in that minute of intense frustration I decided I didn’t want to cook tonight, instead my partner made dinner. If he had been unavailable we would have figured it out. Worse case we would have eaten apples and Raisin Bran and it would have been fine.
Lately I find myself letting go of expectations in all areas of my life and telling others when I simply can’t and won’t do things and it’s liberating. I still have moments when I buy into other people’s scripts about what a wife, mother, worker, etc. is supposed to be and generally those are the moments I stop just being me and they pretty much all end in disaster. In many ways my new found willingness to just be has been liberating to those closest to me, I no longer get down on the floor and play with stuffies, Barbie or Lalaloopsy unless I want to. My daughter is now doing a lot more self-directed play which is a gift to all of us. My partner is feeling better that he can do more around the house, even my assistant is more confident and eager to take on more at work as I trust that if he shows up instead of me at a meeting, that it will all be fine.
I admit I wish I could scream it from the rooftops, but none of us have to do a damn thing but live and die. Those are the only things we are contractually obligated to on this journey called life. This journey is too short to waste on anything less than our personal best in whatever form that takes. So sit back and just be.