I tend to be a very introverted person. I think that’s one of the things that attracted me to teaching yoga. It allows me to get out of my head for a little bit and into my body, and it allows me to connect with others in a way that doesn’t always require a huge amount of words. I love that I can barely have spoken to someone, and yet after an hour and a half of class (or more, if they’re a regular student) I still feel a sense of connection to them. That’s not at all to say that I “know” them in their truest sense, but there’s still some sort of magic that happens as we learn to explore and unleash our bodies to their fullest extents. Non-verbal stories seem to unfold.
How is it then that, when it comes to my own self, there seems to be so much uncertainty? I spend so much of my time with others, trying to help them explore their own beings, and I have such a fully wonderful experience doing so, but when it comes to many things in my own life the answers resoundingly seems to be, “I don’t know.” I used to be okay with that answer. I’d much rather it be that than I make up something just to seem correct in the moment, but now when it seems to be the predominant answer to an astounding amount of my life’s questions…? I’m not so sure. It’s funny, because for someone that spends so much time in his own head, I lately am finding I know my physical self much more than my mental self, which is never a place I thought I’d be.
This post easily seems to be skewing towards an end tagline of “You do you” or “If you don’t love yourself […]” and maybe that’s partly true. The other part of the truth is that I know I still have a long way to go in loving others unconditionally, and I want to continue on that path. Honestly, that sounds pretty awesome.
Where my practice seems to be these days is continuing to explore and cultivate that love for others that I am so desperately interested in, while still trying to find the time, energy, and resources to cultivate the same love for myself. Parts of me have been running on empty lately, and I know that if I continue on that same trajectory I’ll only continue to deplete myself, so it seems like this week of working on lovingkindness couldn’t come at a better time. For me, it’s also a matter of allowing myself to let go of my shortcomings (maybe not the best word choice, but there it is) and to gently begin again, without judgement. Too often I know I’m harsh with myself and feel that my tiredness or unhappiness (or whatever) comes from a place of not trying hard enough, or not being motivated enough, and HOW DO I FIX THAT? Somehow the answer often winds up being Do It Again or Do More, and thus I wind up depleting myself further. So perhaps a lot of that exploration is in forgiveness and letting go, and realizing that I’m right where I need to be, and maybe it’s good to take a nap every once in a while.
Here’s to everyone this week receiving the happiness, health, safety, and ease that they need and deserve.
“We will never have a perfect world, but it’s not romantic or naïve to work toward a better one.” – Steven Pinker, via my Chipotle take-out bag
– Clayton Okaly