Friday, December 9, 2011

Facing Fear, Facing Failure

December 5th, 2011

Tonight I realized why I have so much resistance about my yoga practice, and life in general.

Yoga puts me up against my edges, it stretches me as far as I will stretch (or as far as I think I can), and then some.  While my body folds, I feel every thread of tension in my muscles, and I am disappointed in my own limitations.  I feel like folding, throwing in the towel, getting off the mat.  I wait for viyasana so I can lay with my body, still, not moving.

I don't want to be reminded of my limitations.  While the toxins slip out, the ghosts slip back in and the screeching, it is haunting.  I compare my pose to the person next to me, I silently try to love my body that is so rigid, and I think about a failed English lesson, errands to run (although, in your first two weeks in a foreign country, I think they are referred to more appropriately as "missions"), all of the grudges I hold against myself.

I feel their weight digging into me, pushing every time I pull, a cruel kind of mental and emotional isometrics.

I just want to be free from it.  And isn't that always my story.

But this is the beauty of yoga, right?  You can bring everything to the mat, and it is accepted.

The hitch is, I bring ME onto the mat, and I am not always accepting.

When it's possible to bring only the shiny perfect bits of me to the mat and to leave all the junk behind, will you let me know?  Can I get on some kind of a waiting list?

The point is, I resist challenges, but I also keep inviting them.

Moving to Hungary to teach English was (and is) a challenge.  My ego can feel good about wanting this, about making it happen (because aren't I so cool/original/brave for being here and doing this?), but it's also fucking hard.

I am facing my own failure every day.  Getting lost, failing to communicate or understand, "bombing" a lesson or "losing" a student  -- this has become my practice.

Up against my own edges, I am ready to throw up my hands, and sometimes I do.  Sometimes I can't hold the pose, I can't do anything but surrender to so-called failure.

Or, I can ask for help.  Sometimes, this means taking my tired body into extended child pose, and sometimes it means calling Peter to pick me up because I got lost on the way to school.

It always involves getting over my own ego and tuning into my own needs.

And it definitely involves letting go.

All we have is this moment, which will ease into the next one, and the next, and the next.

Why hold on to what was never ours to hold?  Why grip what is and will always be passing like the clouds?

Why not let go?

My practice is one of letting go, of sinking deeper into poses, or getting out of them entirely.  I am learning that I have a much larger capacity towards letting go than I thought.

My intention in my life is to keep it light.  The lighter things seem to me, the faster they unsnare themselves from all the booby-traps my ego sets.  The ego sits, ready and waiting to pounce, but I am getting lighter on my feet.  I fall for the traps less and less all the time, and I hold more kindness for myself when I get tangled up in then.

Perhaps this is most important.

Not whether we "fail" or "succeed" but that we don't get stuck.

Let us wash our hands of everything that has come before this moment, and not think about the befores or afters, real or imagined.

Let us, sudsy hands at the sink, just be at the damned sink.

And let us, please, when we are sucked in to befores or afters, to guilt or self-hatred, when we lose our way -- let us remember our own lightness, which will always guide us home.

But if for some reason it doesn't, you can always call Peter.

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